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Zen Arcade Reviews: NJPW Dominion 7.5 in Osaka-jo Hall

July 6, 2015 | Posted by Jake St-Pierre
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Zen Arcade Reviews: NJPW Dominion 7.5 in Osaka-jo Hall  

We are LIVE from the Osaka-jo Hall for the first time in 21 years.

Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, Ryusuke Tagachi, Mascara Dorada & Sho Tanaka vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask IV, & Yohei Komatsu
I’m almost tempted not to review this just because it’s the same thing every big NJPW show opens up with, but I’m not doing anything else with that 10 minutes today.

Komatsu and Liger start things off, and the crowd is pretty psyched for this. Komatsu hits a running elbow that drops the legend, but Liger comes back with a Tilt-A-Whirl Backbreaker and a Surfboard. Taguchi and Tiger Mask enter now, and Taguchi bounces off the ropes to give Tiger Mask an ass to the face. Taguchi misses another ass attack, and Nakanishi and Tenzan tag in. Hiroyoshi Tenzan has the most hilarious run I’ve ever seen in wrestling. He and Nakanishi trade some stiff chops, until several Mongolian Chops send Nakanishi to the mat. That prompts Yuji Nagata to take everybody on the opposing corner out, and he and Nakanishi work over Tenzan. Satoshi Kojima tags in and gives Nakanishi a good amount of chops, followed up by a diving elbow for a two count. Yuji Nagata tags in proper and gives Kojima a Yakuza Kick in the corner, but Kojima fights back with a barrage of stiff forearms. Kojima hits an Ace Crusher but misses a Lariat, and it’s bonzo gonzo as everybody comes in at once. Nakanishi throws Tenzan into his opponents, and Mascare Dorada and Komatsu do a pretty cool little sequence that ends with a diving cannonball from Komatsu. Dorada fires back with a nifty monkey flip and a moonsault that results in another bonzo gonzo. Spinning Magnum Driver from Dorada to Komatsu gives his team the win in 8 minutes. ** If you’ve seen one of these matches, you’ve seen them all. The crowd just happened to be a little more into this one than usual. I was impressed by Komatsu and Dorada down the stretch, though.

We get a pretty nice video package running down the card as the show starts proper.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match: The Young Bucks © vs. reDRagon vs. Roppongi Vice
The Bucks being absolute goofs in New Japan works too well for words.

Matt and Beretta start things off, and Matt wastes no time telling Trent to “suck it”. Once he finds himself in danger, he tags in Kyle O’Reilly. Nick and Matt get too cute telling Kyle to suck it, and they find themselves on the floor for it. Bobby Fish tags in, but Matt Jackson blind tags him out immediately and tries to steal a pin. Matt gets slapped by Rocky and tries to tag out, but Kyle isn’t having it. Nick pulls his brother out and the Bucks try to nope out, but Fish and O’Reilly put a stop to it. RPG Vice tries to pescado out onto them, but the Bucks move and let reDRagon take the brunt of it. The Bucks try to leave again, but it’s all a ruse as they goad RPG Vice into superkicks! The Bucks very nearly get a countout win, but Romero makes it back in. Tope Con Hilo scores for Nick, and the Bucks use Cody Hall to help corner Romero. They send Kyle into the guardrail with the headscissors/dropkick, and they continue cornering Romero. Romero sends Nick outside, but can’t quite get the tag to Trent as Nick pulls Beretta down just in time. Beretta stops the Tandem Tombstone, and Romero sends Matt outside with TJ Perkins rope trick. Rocky stumbles Nick with a kick and tags in Kyle O’Reilly, and reDRagon get their first taste of success in the match. Beretta tags in and cleans house himself, hitting everybody in the match with a high impact move. He accidentally causes Matt to kick his brother, and Matt takes the Doomsday Knee outside! Rocky Romero goes crazy on Nick inside the ring, followed by Beretta hitting the younger Jackson brother with a Busaiku Knee for two. Kyle hits a double Rebound Lariat on RPG Vice, and they dispose of Nick with the partner assisted Wheelbarrow Suplex. Fish DOES THE DEAL with an Avalanche Falcon Arrow, but against all odds, Rocky Romero kicks out. The Bucks break up stereo submissions from reDRagon with STEREO 450’s! The Bucks nearly get the pin on Romero with the rope hung Swanton, but they can’t get it. Matt lands on his feet on a Beretta avalanche German, and superkicks him out of the ring! ROMERO DIVES INTO EARLY ONSET ALZHEIMER’S! THEY MAKE KYLE TOMBSTONE FISH! SUPERKICK TO O’REILLY! More Bang For Your Buck on Romero wins it for the Bucks in 15 minutes. ***1/2 I don’t watch all that much NJPW, so it’s still amazing to me how much dorkier and animated the Bucks are in Japan compared to their American exploits. They work the crowd even more here than they manage to do in PWG, which is hilarious to think about and ultimately watch. As for the match, it’s about what you would expect. These six work together a lot in New Japan and it shows, as they seamlessly worked a blistering pace for 15 minutes without stopping. Not a lot of guys can pull this off but these guys can, and it’s all for the better. It wasn’t ever going to reinvent the wheel, but it’s great for what it is.

Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma vs. Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi
If I’m reading right, the story here hinges on whether Naito will work together with Honma or not, as a stay in CMLL has caused Naito to lean a little bit too close to the dark side for comfort. His partner Honma is one of the best underdog workers you’ll ever come across in wrestling, so I think he’s the perfect guy to put in this situation. It’s Booking 101, this.

The Bullet Club jumps Honma before the bell rings, and Naito takes his sweet time getting to the ring to stop it. Honma manages to get Takahashi up for a suplex and tries to tag Naito in, but Naito doesn’t care and taunts him instead of helping him. Fale bulldozes Honma over as Honma continues his onslaught on Takahashi. Honma dodges a Fale avalanche in the corner, but Naito again ducks the tag and leaves Honma to die. Honma escapes the Bad Luck Fall and attempts to lariat the big man down, and eventually drops Fale with a third lariat! Naito finally tags in, but he hilariously leaves his shirt on as he lackadaisically strolls into the ring to clean house. Naito dives out onto Takahashi and Fale outside the ring, and POSES FOR THE HARD CAM as the referee counts them out. Fale gets the ropes on a Figure Four, and Naito is reluctant to break it until the referee forces him to. Naito runs into a mean lariat from Fale, who tags in Takahashi soon after. The crowd manages to show appreciation for Naito’s moves as well as hating his personality, which is amazing. Honma has to tag himself in at the behest of the non-challant Naito, but he runs right into the Bullet Club as Naito takes a timeout in the aisle. Takahashi hits a Fisherman’s Buster on Honma for a close two count, but Honma battles back and Naito actually helps him with a missile dropkick, that Honma follows with a falling headbutt for two. Honma drops Takahashi with a flying headbutt as Naito neutralizes Fale on the outside, and Honma hits the diving headbutt for the win in 9 minutes. **1/2 The action was nothing to write home about, but that didn’t really matter as they told a great story of Naito being a total dick to Honma throughout the match and only helping when he absolutely had to, to get a win that Naito didn’t really seem to care about all that much. Honma, as I said, is a fantastic plucky babyface who just has a natural likability about him (it’s hard to believe he was ever a deathmatch guy!), and the crowd cares about him enough to get pissed off at Naito for how much of an ass he’s being. The heelish tendences Naito showed through this were great, including the bored facial expressions, the constant timeouts and the pose for the hard cam during the countout spot. I think he’ll finally be able to break through as a heel, because he’s never quite been able to get there as a babyface. This was a better story than a match, but it’s a great story, and I’m pretty anxious for the full heel turn whenever it comes.

Naito struts away from Honma after the match, posing for the camera as he walks to the back.

Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kazushi Sakuraba
For all the punishment he’s taken, Sakuraba doesn’t look as bad as he should. This match is going to be the tits though, either way.

They waste no time clinching, and Shibata bitch slaps Sakuraba in lieu of a clean break. They both look for cross armbreakers, but they come to a stalemate after Shibata dodges a double stomp from the MMA legend. Sakuraba takes a breather after dodging a hard kick from Shibata, and fires off some knees as they get back into the ring, but Shibata fires back with stiff forearms. Sakuraba follows Shibata into the corner with a knee, and he locks in a guillotine in the middle of the ring. This just pisses Shibata off, and Shibata MURDERS SAKURABA WITH TWO CORNER DROPKICKS! God, those are uncomfortably stiff. Sakuraba ain’t dead though, and he crumples Shibata in the corner with some Muay Thai knees to the gut, but Shibata ain’t impressed by the kicks Sakuraba throws afterwards, until he’s forced to collapse to the mat in pain. Sakuraba shitcans Shibata and dives out on top of him with a pescado! Shibata gets back into the ring and Mafia Kicks Sakuraba in the face for his troubles. Sakuraba fires back though and tries to choke Shibata out, and he prevents a rope break by putting in a Butterfly Lock! LARIATOOOO from Shibata scores after a rope break, but Sakuraba puts in an armbar! Shibata is fading! Shibata gets to the ropes! Awesome sequence. Sakuraba attempts a Kimura afterwards, but Shibata prevents it by again getting to the ropes. Sakuraba is relentless with attempting it though, and Shibata counters out and HITS A GERMAN! PENALTY KICK! Sakuraba counters a Fireman’s Carry with a Rear Naked Choke, but Shibata elbows out and SLAPS THE HELL OUT OF SAKURABA! SLEEPER FROM SHIBATA! Saku attempts to break it, and nearly counters it with a Kimura, but Shibata locks it back in! RUNNING KICK! Shibata picks up the win in 12 minutes. ***3/4 This match was a bit uncomfortable to watch in places, especially the corner dropkicks, but it evolved into an awesome UWFi-esque matchup down the stretch, as is the norm for these two. They told a great story with Sakuraba being the better submission artist, as he had Shibata’s number throughout the match that way. Shibata was the better striker though, and he pulled it out by pretty much knocking Sakuraba out with a kick. It’s simple in-ring storytelling but it adds a meaningful layer of psychology, which ups the quality of a match if it’s executed well. The best match of the night so far.

We transition into a fantastic video package of the Best of the Super Juniors winner KUSHIDA. It shows some pretty funny footage of him wrestling with pillows and moonsaulting what I assume is his brother as a child. He had one hell of a moonsault as a kid, I’ll tell you what. Even better is his flawless Tiger Suplex on a doll. I mean, his bridge is better than some guys who have been doing it for a decade, and he was like six! They also profile Kenny Omega’s heel run a little bit, and it’s predictably great. Great video package to make the upcoming match seem like a huge deal.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Kenny Omega © vs. KUSHIDA
I don’t see this match being anything other than fantastic, so it’s safe to say we’re in for something great here.

The Young Bucks accompany Kenny Omega to ringside, including Omega’s straight up EPIC entrance. Seriously, that music can make anything seem cool. KUSHIDA knocks the Young Bucks off the apron, and he and Omega throw leather from the get-go. They find themselves trading shots outside, where KUSHIDA throws the champ into the guardrail. The Bucks throw Omega a garbage can, but KUSHIDA kicks the garbage can into Omega, throwing Omega over the barricade. Omega comes down with a picture perfect tope con hilo. Kenny MURDERS KUSHIDA by giving him a front suplex onto the apron! Omega uses that to go after KUSHIDA’s knee, ripping off the gauze and making it even more vulnerable. Kenny gives him a kneebreaker onto the press table to make it even worse, trying to win via countout pretty much with all these outside attacks. Kenny centralizes the attack in the ring though, sending KUSHIDA into blood-curdling screams with every strike or move. KUSHIDA begins fighting back with forearms, and he gets his knees up on an Omega moonsault, which hurts him more than it does Omega. KUSHIDA fights through it and suplexes Omega, and following up with a springboard dropkick and a handspring kick that sends the champ to the outside. HUGE TOPE CON HILO OUT TO THE BULLET CLUB! He hits a moonsault back in the ring for a nearfall. Omega fires off a hard chop and hits a release Dragon Suplex to buy himself some time. KUSHIDA gives Omega a flatliner into the corner, and he rolls into a Kimura! Kenny rolls into the ropes before he is in real trouble however. Omega kicks KUSHIDA’s legs out from under him on a back handspring and puts him on the top rope, but KUSHIDA puts in a kimura on the top rope! Kenny fires back with a step-up knee, coming down with a SUPER 2K1 BOMB! KUSHIDA manages to kick out. ONE ARMED SITOUT POWERBOMB FROM OMEGA! Awesome selling of the arm there from the champion. KUSHIDA fights out of Croyt’s Wrath and hits a wind-up punch, followed up by a Dragon Suplex! KUSHIDA’s knee gives out on the bridge though, which allows for Omega to kick out. The selling of the knee has been spotty, but that was a good spot. KUSHIDA misses a corkscrew moonsault, and KENNY STIFFS HIM WITH A RUNNING KNEE! CROYT’S WRATH… COUNTERED INTO A KIMURA! KUSHIDA ROLLS THROUGH! KENNY TAPS! KUSHIDA wins the Junior HW belt in 20 minutes. **** Now let me preface what I’m about to say by telling you that this match was fantastic and everything it should have been. I would advise you to certainly go out of your way to seek this out, because it’s a great face/heel dynamic that involves the plucky, fighting good guy overcoming the odds to beat the dickhead bad guy. BUT! KUSHIDA’s selling of that knee was spotty as best, which unfortunately prevents this match from edging into the Match of the Year quality I thought it was capable of. I’m very liberal with match ratings as I’m sure many of you know, but I do have a few opinions that prevent me from gifting certain matches certain ratings. If you spend half of a 20 minute match making a guy scream in absolute pain, and the guy only decides to sell that injury when it’s convenient, you’re setting yourself up for issues and fundamental detractions. I’m not a guy who needs story to enjoy wrestling, but if there IS a story, I want it to be well-executed and worth the time I’ve decided to invest in it. Aside from a couple clever spots down the stretch, KUSHIDA abandoned the knee when he had to pull off springboards and diving moves and never seemed to indicate that he was having any trouble springboarding at his heart’s will. That’s why this otherwise excellent contest plateaus at four stars. On the other hand, Kenny Omega sold his lower-key arm injury throughout and did really great in compensating with strength, i.e. the one-armed Ligerbomb. He was a good heel, and did a fantastic job of targeting the knee of KUSHIDA and making him suffer. These two also managed to piece together a wonderful finishing stretch that relied on impactful counters more-so than badly timed nearfalls, which earns positive marks from me. If KUSHIDA had sold the knee in the manner it deserved, you’d be looking at a MOTYC. Don’t let that deter you from watching this though. I loved the moves as well as the awesome crowd reactions, and the heel/babyface dynamic was way more than enough to salvage the aforementioned shoddy selling.

NEVER Openweight Title Match: Togi Makabe © vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Alright, New Japan. I get it, you’re having a good show. You don’t need to rub it in!

Ishii drops Makabe with a lariatto start off, and Makabe rolls out of the ring, stunned. DIVING CANNONBALL TO THE OUTSIDE FROM ISHII! Ishii works over Makabe as Makabe finds his way back into the ring. Ishii unleashes a stiff Violence Party on Makabe, who runs into a suplex for a two count. Makabe isn’t impressed by the murderous chops Ishii is giving out, and he throws a punch to the table that would make Vader proud. They eventually just start trading strikes with reckless abandon, and Makabe drops Ishii with a lariat to catch a breather. The grunts these guys are pulling off would make Adam Bibilo from the Attitude Era Podcast jump for joy. Makabe hits a couple short lariats, but collides with Ishii as he comes off the ropes. Makabe staggers Ishii, but the challenger is able to battle back and drop the champ with a running lariat for two. Ishii puts Makabe up top and hits a Superplex for a two count. Ishii misses the Emerald Dream and runs into a Makabe Samoan Drop that hurts his shoulder. Makabe staggers Ishii with a forearm, and eventually drops him with a clubbing blow to the back. Ishii fights back with a German Suplex, but Makabe cares not and drops Ishii with a hard lariat. Makabe hits a German of his own, bridging for a nearfall. Ishii Germans Makabe into the corner as the doctor examines his shoulder. He’s good to go, and we’re at a stalemate. Ishii hits a Northern Lariat, and headbutts the champ down. Emerald Dream scores for Ishii, and he clubs Makabe down with another lariat for two. Makabe gets out of a brainbuster and drops Ishii hard with a Dragon Suplex. Ishii fights out of a lariat at one, but eats a couple more. Ishii still won’t die, as he staggers up again. Makabe massacres Ishii with short arm lariats in the corner, and he tries to suplex him off the top rope, and HE HITS A SPIDER SUPLEX! KNEE DROP TO THE BACK OF THE HEAD! Makabe retains the title at the 20 minute mark. ***1/4 This just went around and around with no real purpose until the last fifteen seconds or so. Ishii’s style isn’t always conducive to 20 minute matches and this is a good example. Just watching these guys throw lariats and forearms for that long doesn’t cut it. I did like the story of Ishii just getting worn down at the end by the relentless strikes, which prevented this match from getting a harsher rating. Overall, what I expected to be a barnburner turned out to be a pretty monotonous and disappointing experience.

We take a break from the action to announce the G1 Climax participants. AJ Styles gets the biggest reaction out of everybody, maybe except for Shinsuke Nakamura. Michael Elgin being in the G1 is odd because NJPW is basically throwing him straight to the wolves, and the crowd has almost no idea who he is if their reaction to his announcement has anything to say about it. The biggest pop of this segment goes to the announcement of the Nakamura/Ishii match though. And for good reason, that is a ridiculous matchup. Okada vs. Ishii almost tops it, but not quite. Some of the matches on this G1 are ridiculous and hopefully everyone manages to stay healthy between then and now, because it has some stiff competition next to BOLA.

NJPW Heavyweight Tag Title Match: The Kingdom © vs. The Bullet Club
I will never understand why Mike Bennett is a part of NJPW’s title history, but I suppose leeching off of your wife’s heat and sex appeal gets you places in wrestling. The camera only focuses on Maria Kanellis throughout the Kingdom’s entrance, which proceeds to bury their CHAMPIONS and make my heart flutter a little bit at the same time. What a woman.

It’s bonzo gonzo to start things off, and the Kingdom pull off stereo tope con hilos on Gallows and Anderson. The crowd doesn’t care a single bit about this match unless Maria does something at ringside, much to the surprise of no one. They do react for Karl Anderson, which helps. Anber Gallows slaps Bennett behind the referee’s back as the Bullet Club works over Bennett. Gallows hilariously asks Bennett, “How do you like getting punked by a bitch? How do you like a girl doing shit to you?” Bennett fights back and hits the Box Office Smash. Anderson dodges a Lionsault from Matt Taven, but the Kingdom drops Gallows with a double team. Anderson takes a spinebuster and a Lionsault from the Kingdom for two. The Bullet Club fights back and hits a Back Suplex/Neckbreaker double team for two. Spinning Gun Stun on Taven only gets 2. Maria tries to distract Anderson and does the whole dancing schtick. Gallows sees this and says, “I’m gonna kick her fucking ass”, so Anderson gives chase for Maria, who runs into Anber Gallows outside. Maria gets out of a Bullet Club attack, but Anber Gallows attacks her and chucks her outside. Sick Kick/Backpack Stunner scores for the Kingdom, but it only gets 2. Anber Gallows crotches Taven on the top rope, and GALLOWS SUPERKICKS MARIA! That pisses Bennett off, but Mike Bennett being Mike Bennett, he’s not very good at defending her and he eats a Gun Stun on the apron. Taven fights out of a double team and tries fighting them both, but the Bullet Club pick up the win and the titles in 10 minutes with their finisher. *1/2 This match made The Kingdom look like a gaggle of complete idiots, but I’m just glad it’s over. I can only take so much of Mike Bennett piggy-backing off of his wife before it’s too much. The crowd was silent for everybody except Maria, and I can’t blame them. Awful match.

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Toru Yano
I suppose this is New Japan’s way of letting Tanahashi rest before the G-1, which I can’t really complain with. The guy isn’t exactly a spring chicken anymore. I mean it’s Tanahashi, so his 70% is better than most people’s 110%, but still.

Toru Yano looks like a Japanese Bray Wyatt in the face (if Bray was clean-shaven), and has the figure to match. Yano plays games and talks shit to Tanahashi, who hangs him up in the ropes for his troubles. They take off the corner pads and hit each other with them, and Yano takes control momentarily by dropping Tanahashi off of the second rope and pushing him outside. Yano chucks Tanahashi into the crowd, and works over him after Tanahashi struggles back into the ring. Tanahashi comes back with a standing elbow and a senton for a nearfall. Tanahashi skins the cat inside and stops a Toru Yano taunt, but Yano tries as hard as possible to stop a suplex by grabbing the referee and then the ropes. The ref puts a stop to that and Tanahashi pulls it off for a two count. Yano pushes the ref into the ropes to crotch Tanahashi, and Yano powerbombs Tanahashi for a two count. Yano pulls out the trusty chair and attempts to hit Tanahashi with it, but Tanahashi hits him with a Sling Blade. Tanahashi attempts High Fly Flow, but Yano puts up the chair to stop it! Tanahashi fights back however, but gets run into the exposed corner for a close nearfall. Yano even hits a low blow, but Tanahashi kicks out again. Tanahashi hits one of his own, but Yano kicks out! They both walk around clutching the nether regions, until Tanahashi drops Yano with a Sling Blade. The High Fly Flow gives Tanahashi the win in 12 minutes. *** This wasn’t ever going to be a great match, but they worked a a really fun, comedic match with some of the most solid low blow psychology you’ll ever see. Tanahashi is so good he can make ‘working the dick’ something respectable. This isn’t something I’ll revisit a month from now, but it was fun enough to justify its existence.

IWGP Intercontinental Title Match: Hirooki Goto © vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
The entrances for this match are suitably epic. Nakamura’s much more than Goto’s, but trying to out-awesome Shinsuke Nakamura isn’t something many can even think of attempting.

It’s a slow start as they feel each other out. Nakamura speeds things up by baseball sliding Goto into the guardrail. Nakamura takes Goto to the other side and knees him over the guardrail, sliding into the ring to take a breather. As Goto enters the ring, Nakamura takes control how only he can. Goto stuns Nakamura momentarily with an elbow, and drops him hard with a Backdrop Driver. Goto follows up with a lariat, and the crowd helps him build some momentum. Goto hits a Bulldog for a two count, but Nakamura fires back with a spinning wheel kick for a two count. Nakamura goes to town with knees to the gut, but Goto manages to survive. Nakamura hits a Sick Kick and a gordbuster, followed up by some hard knees to the ribs. He measures Goto for Boma Ye, but settles for countering a lariat into a triangle choke! Goto finally gets to the ropes, but he’s in trouble. Nakamura slows it down and just tries to choke Goto out, but Goto won’t die. Nakamura measures Goto up again for Boma Ye but he runs into a LARIATO. Goto hits an Olympic Slam but Nakamura powers out at 2. Goto puts the challenger up top and hits a rope hung neckbreaker! Nakamura escapes a brainbuster, but Goto corners him and tries for a superplex, but Nakamura doesn’t go easily. Nakamura slithers out and hits a powerbomb! DIVING BOMA YE! They meet in the middle of the ring and slug it out, and Nakamura axe kicks Goto down! SLIDING BOMA YE! GOTO KICKS OUT! GOTO CATCHES BOMA YE! FIREMAN’S CARRY INTO THE KNEE! ARGENTINE FACEBUSTER! NAKAMURA KICKS OUT! HEADBUTTS FROM GOTO! HELLEVATOR! GOTO WINS! Goto retains the IC belt in 23 minutes. **** Just about as awesome as you’d expect this to be. The clash of styles here was something to behold and probably the best bit of storytelling of the bout. Nakamura is slow, methodical, and calculated with how he picks apart his opponents. He looks for Boma Ye at every opportunity, but doesn’t rush it. Goto on the other hand, every time he came back from these onslaughts, he would piece together a sequence of fast-paced, hard hitting moves that sharply contrasted with how Nakamura went about things. The nearfalls down the stretch were wonderfully timed and it felt like Nakamura could take it home at any moment. Some matches are telegraphed in such a way that you can’t buy nearfalls, but these guys went hell for leather during the finishing stretch and did a great job fooling the crowd on a few different occasions. This was a tremendous co-main event, and you’ve got to wonder if Nakamura is going to chase after the Heavyweight Title after this.

Now we see a video package to build to the main event of Styles vs. Okada. It’s not as awesome as the KUSHIDA package was, but this match doesn’t need a video package to be a huge deal.

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: AJ Styles © vs. Kazuchika Okada
Oh yes. This is the good shit.

They feel each other out in the earlygoing. AJ dips after a fast sequence that almost saw him dropkicked. The entire Bullet Club is at ringside, so they make it their mission to tell Okada to suck it as much as possible.. Anber Gallows grabs Okada’s leg and allows for Styles to take control. Styles get nuclear heat for telling Okada to suck it, and he backs it up with a suplex. AJ distracts Red Shoes while the Bullet Club puts the boots to Okada. Red Shoes finds this out, and ejects the Bullet Club. HE TELLS AJ AND THE BULLET CLUB TO SUCK IT! YES! The Bullet Club is out of here, and now we’ve got a fair match. That was incredible. Okada uses this to fight back against the champ, hitting a flapjack for a one count. Styles fires back with the Moonsault Reverse DDT. AJ looks for the springboard elbow, but Okada kicks the adjacent set of ropes to crotch him, and then he dropkicks Styles out of the ring. Styles gets the upperhand back as they go to the floor though, finally hitting the springboard elbow, this time off of the guardrail into the front row. They get back into the ring, where Styles continues working over the challenger. Styles looks for another springboard elbow, but Okada dropkicks him out of the air! A diving elbow drop scores for Okada, who looks for the Rainmaker, but Styles is able to get out of it and snap suplex Okada into the corner, dropping the Rainmaker on his head. This allows Styles to hit the Springboard Elbow proper, but Okada counters the Styles Clash into an Air Raid Crash on his knee! They trade some sweet forearms, and Okada gets pissed after Styles stiffs the bejesus out of him. Okada throws some uppercuts, but Styles sends him to the mat with a barrage of forearms and stomps. Okada fires back and they counter back and forth with tombstones…until AJ hits a Tombstone Piledriver! SPRINGBOARD 450! Okada kicks out at two! Okada fights AJ on the top rope AND FIREMAN CARRIES HIM ONTO THE APRON! That bump was naaaasty. Missile Dropkick scores for Okada! TOMBSTONE FROM OKADA! RAINMAKER… COUNTERED INTO A PELE KICK! BACKSLIDE…COUNTERED….STYLES CLASH…OKADA ESCAPES…BLOODY SUNDAY…COUNTERED…ELBOWS COUNTERED INTO A BACKSLIDE! LARIAT! RAINMAKER…COUNTERED…GERMAN SUPLEX! RAINMAKER!~! ONE, TWO, THREE! OKADA WINS! Okada wins the title back in 26 minutes. ****1/2 This was straight up incredible and one of the best matches of 2015. I’d personally put it third behind Owens/Cena from Money in the Bank and Sabre Jr/Strong from PWG, but that’s not what we are here to talk about. AJ Styles and Kazuchika Okada just showed us why people consider them to be the cream of the crop. They showed us that TNA let go two of the most exciting, charismatic, and special talents wrestling has ever seen. And once again, New Japan showed they know how to take the best of what they have and manage to make it even better than what’s expected. This wasn’t the most psychological affair, and it didn’t need to be. They traded bombs at each other, and they got bigger and bigger until Okada was able to keep AJ still enough to hit the Rainmaker. The interference, the ref ejecting the Bullet Club, and Okada finally being able to beat Styles… everything here was nearly perfect. The finishing sequence doesn’t even need to be editorialized, but I will say it’s some of the craziest 30 seconds of wrestling I’ve ever seen and even if the rest of the match was terrible (and believe me, it’s FAR removed from terrible) it would be worth it to see that. If you don’t watch anything of NJPW until the G1, just make sure you see this. It’s worth all the hype and all the hyperbole heaped upon it. Incredible main event to cap off an incredible show.

9
The final score: review Amazing
The 411
This is most definitely a Show of the Year candidate. I know you guys are used to me reviewing and fanboy-ing over PWG, but I came away from this just as impressed with Dominion as I was Don't Sweat The Technique. This card was sequenced well, hit the highs it needed to, and gave us a genuine Match of the Year contender with its main event. Add that with the tremendous KUSHIDA/Omega and Nakamura/Goto matches, and you've got a PPV that would give any promotion a run for its money. If you're not familiar with NJPW, this show is a great way to feel out the style and the storylines, as well as get a taste of their state-of-the-art in-ring quality. You can't beat a show like this for 999yen a month!
legend

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