NJPW had a show presenting their brand as a business to an audience of university students at Korakuen Hall tonight, and to the surprise of the few people watching, the ring was there for a reason. Matches took place as well! I decided I might as well whip up reviews for them because they were very fun for a spotshow, and since this is the premier destination for New Japan coverage and analysis, it’s a must for me. Let’s get into the handful of matches.
I had a feeling we’d be getting matches since there was a ring set up. Fans are only filled to the back of Korakuen with empty side bleachers which makes for a cool sight; still more people packed in than a NOAH show. My expectations for matches on this show were extremely low because it’s fan service, but man could this have been on a pay-per-view undercard or something. All these guys clicked well together and all the mix-ups of combinations were well done. The match started off with KUSHIDA/Taguchi and White/Finlay typical grappling, which led to Finlay playing face in peril to the crowd with huge “Let’s go Finlay” chants. Taguchi got a hot tag to a great reaction, hit hip attacks everywhere, but White reversed Taguchi and did his act even better! Very good sequence between the two. Finlay got lots of offense in vs. KUSHIDA, but eventually took a pin via moonsault. Great short little spot show match.
Whoa. What a crazy match for a fan-service spot show. Loved it on paper and in translation. I prefered the opener but this got about as much time and everybody got their moves in, and it was still very fun. The crowd elevated these matches, and whether or not they were mic’d up louder, they went BONKERS for Liger, Honma, and Okada. Liger was put in the peril situation which works every single time. He fought through everyone to get to Shibata. Shibata and Ishii went nuts on each other for a New York Minute which led to Shibata hitting Goto out of the ring! I was hype at this point. Makabe pushed Gedo up out of a pin to look like a monster. Great Bash Heel isolated Goto until we got the “everyone get your stuff in sprint”. Honma did a kokeshi to break up a pin, Liger hit a step-up enziguri on Okada, Shibata took out Ishii, Goto took out Shibata, Makabe hit a double lariat on Goto and Gedo, and hit a King Kong Knee Drop on Gedo for the team non-CHAOS victory.
For a complete surprise this was a fun two match spotshow. The juniors and young lions gave great performances, and the 8 man mayhem main event did everything it needed to do. These as aforementioned were all elevated by the extremely hot crowd, and keep in mind they were only in the back of Korakuen. No commentary made it even better. For only about 30 minutes, the actual wrestling show part of the event was easy to take in, and gets a recommendation from me if you’ve ran out of things to watch. For all your NJPW coverage, you’re already in the right place, Wrestling With Words.