Differ Ariake Arena
Ah yes, the annual calm before the storm show for everyone that isn’t booked on the Tokyo Dome main card. I’m not expecting anything great or even good for this event but I am expecting to be entertained and I’m very intrigued to see how the young lions fare in their first outing. This event is much like WWE’s WrestleMania axxess show, both shows don’t mean much in the long term and it’s just a hype show for the major event the following day. So strap yourselves in for a night of black trunks, black boots, dropkicks and Boston Crabs.
The show opens up with Hirooki Goto and Hiroshi Tanahashi hitting a large drum with a hammer and posing for photos.. JAPAN!!! following that the NJPW theme plays while the there is nothing happening in ring, everyone has left and it’s really weird. Following this 4 women come into the ring for a long time, I don’t speak Japanese so this doesn’t mean anything to me. I will continue with the coverage once the matches commence because this stuff isn’t for me.
Very good outing for the 18 year old kid, he is only two years older than yours truly. He only looked lost once and that was for a split second. Probably a 6 minute match, everything looked crisp and Kawato hit a beautiful drop-kick and body slam. Very intrigued to see more Kawato matches and Kanemitsu matches for that matter, quite sad as this could be Komatsu and Tanaka’s final match (barring the rambo) for New Japan for a couple years. I predicted a few paragraphs ago that there will be Boston Crabs and believe it or not that is exactly what Komatsu won with!
Basically the exact same match as the previous bout except instead of a body slam, Kanemitsu hit a gut-wrench suplex which was very clean. Clean was a good way to describe this match, nothing good but a solidly worked basic match that all rookies should have to do. The best part of the bout came when Tanaka tapped Kanemitsu out to the lethal Boston F’N Crab! I have to start using this move, I will win all my matches.
Orange masked Liger makes a return. The crowd likes Taguchi and he and Tiger Mask have a nice little opening exchange centered around Rysuke’s ass. Same run of the mill tag match you get on every house show from New Japan and what was worse there were spots I have seen numerous times involving the exact same men. That is why many people call NJPW stale because it’s always the same and predictable. But if you forget about that stuff it was a solid match, Jay White got a radical tan and wrestled like a champ. Dorada hit the Dorada Sscrewdriver on White for the win.
This has a chance to be the absolute dirt worst. Nakanishi is balding terribly and Tenzan’s offence looks so bad I feel sorry for people that have to sell for him which is very bad to say about a former great. The highlights of this match were Nagata and Kojima interactions, those two men could have headlined the Dome anywhere from 2000-2012 and no one would blink an eye. I do think Juice has potential in front of an American audience but in Japan he just doesn’t fit, he did his usual Dusty jabs and sold for a while, which was basically most of what he has been doing. Everyone hit their moves and some looked good and some looked terrible but it’s not like New Japan is going to change their ways and no longer employee Tenzan and Nakanishi. The only time you will not see those men working in New Japan is when they physically are 100% gone which isn’t too far away. Kojima picks up another fall pinning Captain with the Lariat. Not as terrible as I thought it would be but nothing great. I expect Kojima to win the Rumble 100% as he cut a promo post-match saying he will win and with all the wins he has been getting it’s almost a lock barring EVIL getting a sneaky win.
This show was just an undercard of a house show and nothing good to be honest. It was very cool to see new young lions though. The broadcast ended at 6 hours! With only 35 minutes being actual wrestling matches, if any other company did this it would be torn to shreds but for less than 10 dollars a month you can’t be too angry.
Catch us tomorrow night immediately following Wrestle Kingdom 10 on Mixlr for our live reaction show featuring a roundtable of team members from Wrestling With Words.