NJPW WWW Review Archive (December 2015-July 2017)

NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka (February 11) Review & Results


NJPW The New Beginning in Osaka 

Watch: NJPW World

EDION Arena Osaka – Osaka, Japan

Taka Michinoku def. Henare*1/2

What worked:

  • Henare getting a match against a vet.
  • Had a good comeback.
  • Taka looked like a strong veteran beating a young boy.

What didn’t work:

  • This was just Taka basically having a squash, unless you really like Taka and Henare there was nothing important to this match.

Verdict: Veteran beats up young lion, will probably happen again, skippable and generic.

Taka pins Henare in 4:37.

TenKoji ( Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) def. KUSHIDA & Yoshitatsu**

Tatsu is leaving on a short (only a few weeks, maybe even two) excursion to CMLL.

What worked:

  • Tatsu attacking before the bell sold that he cared about this.
  • KUSHIDA looked strong against a Heavyweight tag team, stuff like this helps talent out in the long run.
  • TenKoji looked effective as a unit, working over Yoshi and KUSHIDA well.
  • Kojima hit a LARIATOOO which is always fun.
  • Post match brawl between Tatsu and Kojima set up a Tatsu return as a heel.

What didn’t work:

  • Yoshitatsu looked like a clear weak link in this match, he looked worse than everyone else in both execution of his moves and in how his hair looked!

Verdict: Another match with clean work and a average story, but at least we got a story in Tatsu being a failure and going to CMLL for a rebirth. Skippable.

Kojima with a LARIATOOO to Tatsu for a win in 6:57.

Juice Robinson, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask IV & Yuji Nagata vs. CHAOS (Hiroki Goto, Gedo, Jado & YOSHI-HASHI)**1/2

What worked:

  • Gedo & Jado swearing is entertaining.
  • Liger & Goto had some fun interactions. I’d be down for a Liger title shot.
  • Juice looked Strong and appears to be set up for another title shot, getting the pin for his team.
  • We got dives! The breakdown at the end of the match was fun.

What didn’t work:

  • If this match was just Goto and Jado (to take the pin) vs. Juice and Liger this match would not be that different.
  • All the bodies brought the quality down (looking at you, not Liger old dads)!

Verdict: A nice uptick in quality for the show, we got a NEVER belt match setup between Juice and the last real Samurai of CHAOS, Goto.

Juice Robinson hits Pulp Fiction on Jado in 7:35.

Juice did an “I want a title belt” motion to Goto.

Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi) vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Rocky Romero & Beretta)***1/4

What worked:

  • The champs looked like champs, taking on the Gun trio head on, with some RPG dives at the beginning.
  • Suzuki-gun worked good heat on Trent.
  • Minoru Suzuki in particular was just violent as, well, Minoru Suzuki is so very violent.
  • Suzuki continues to work the knee of Okada, keeping a clear consistent story when they meet.
  • Okada hit a clean looking dropkick, but didn’t follow up on it due to knee pain. Hooray for consistency!
  • Rocky with some trash talk and a fiery babyface comeback.
  • Set up some title challengers for RPG Vice and Okada.

What didn’t work:

  • I was fine with the interference this time (low blow and weapon usage) but it will be very repetitive if Suzuki-gun keep doing this.
  • Why does Suzuki keep working the knee and never try something else? He put Okada in a sleeper at the end of this match and it was pretty effective.

Suzuki-gun win in 10:27.

Verdict: Fun for now with storyline investment, these two factions seem to be improving the already pre-existing stories they have.

NEVER Six-Man Tag Team Championship: Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA, BUSHI & EVIL) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Manabu Nakanishi & Ryusuke Taguchi (c)***1/4

What worked:

  • Tana and Friends dressed up as LIJ parodies. That is how you humiliate your enemies.
  • SANADA wrapped Taguchi up like a pretzel.
  • Tana and Friends all have a cool submission spot at the same time (Taguchi with ankle lock, Tana with cloverleaf and Nakanishi with a torture rack).
  • LIJ winning was absolutely the right call here, and SANADA’s finisher (skull end, a dragon sleeper) was kept strong.

What didn’t work:

  • Generic Ingobernables brawl at the beginning.
  • The need for mist annoyed me, but I feel that’s a minor nitpick.

Verdict: Clean fun, the essential midcard match.

RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship: Katsuyori Shibata def. Will Ospreay***3/4

What worked:

  • Both men do some catch style mat wrestling, showing a unique and different side to both wrestlers.
  • Ospreay with some of the most high flying based counters I’ve ever seen.
  • Shibata’s strikes were sold like one hit death by Ospreay.
  • Crazy good suplex sequence between the two.
  • Ospreay had a great imploding 450 near fall.
  • Ospreay looked like a future star, I will be sad if he doesn’t stay with NJPW at the end of his contract.
  • Shibata came off as a pissed off monster built off chops and destruction.
  • Ospreay was a highlight here stealing Shibata’s taunts, coming off as a focused man here.

What didn’t work:

  • Ospreay screaming when stretched a few times was a bit to annoying sounding to me.
  • Ospreay needs to stop trying to do the Rainmaker as his opponent always counters, even in kayfabe his need to keep trying makes no sense.

Verdict: Crazy good match that made both men and the title look great, some sequences were unreal, but I do feel this wasn’t exactly a MOTYC. Might rewatch to see if it deserves a higher rating.

Shibata hits the PK to retain at 14:00.

Show of respect from the champ to the challenger post match.

IWGP Tag Team Championship: CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (c) def. Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma), Suzuki-gun (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Takashi Iizuka)***

What worked:

  • Iizuka did not ruin this match.
  • Makabe and Ishii had some great interactions.
  • Yano had some good comedy.
  • Some good continuity with Yano trying to avoid Iizuka.
  • Smith looked Strong as hell when he started working over Yano.

What didn’t work:

  • Too similar to the last NB show and the Dome show tag title matches.
  • Too much fluff/filler during the brawls.
  • Iizuka’s iron claw bit is very worn out.

CHAOS win in 12:31.

Verdict: You saw last week’s tag title match? More or less this, although Iizuka did help freshen things up.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu Takahashi def. Dragon Lee****3/4

What worked:

  • Dragon Lee is already an over aabyface for NJPW with a sick dub theme.
  • The video package beforehand did a great job showcasing their history.
  • These two have spectacular chemistry, and their counters show their history.
  • Their snap German suplex trading is amazing.
  • Hiromu’s offense is brutal with sentons and powerbomb galore.
  • When Hiromu is trapped in the corner, him throwing Dragon Lee to the floor was both original, and looked very painful.
  • We get a great near fall involving mask pulling.
  • By the end this felt like a historic chapter in their rivalry, and far from their final battle in the most epic way possible.

What didn’t work:

  • You can’t help but worry about their health when watching this. One of the English commentators mentioned how they don’t care about their long term health. You can tell.
  • By the end some moves were a bit sloppy, a minor gripe though.

Takahashi wins via Timebomb at 18:40 for the pin.

Verdict: Absolutely loved this. High end motyc. This rivalry is awesome. The action was awesome. It felt unique to everything else in wrestling. Some minor sloppiness is the only thing keeping me from five stars, and it can still get that on a rewatch.

After the match Taguchi showed up and challenges Hiromu. Hiromu tried to attack, but Taguchi countered into a ankle lock.

I liked this, Taguchi has been on an entertainment role, and you can’t have Hiromu face the high end challengers (Ospreay, KUSHIDA, and maybe RPG Vice, Suzuki Gun and BUSHI) right away.

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito def. Michael Elgin****1/4

What worked:

  • Damn good crowd, booing evil Naito and trying to will Elgin down.
  • #BigMike has #BigStrength, seriously the strength he showed was unreal here.
    • Including, but not limited to:
      • Rolling Germans
      • Buckle Bombs
      • Powerbombs to the apron and barricade
      • Falcon Arrows
      • Lariats
      • Senton off the apron
  • Naito worked classic heel tropes such as eye pokes and ruthlessly targeting the knee.
  • Naito’s knee work did a great job at logically changing the pace so whenever Big Mike had the upper hand, Naito would take back control.
  • Naito eventually hits Destino, and Big Mike KICKS OUT! The power of protecting a finisher everyone!
  • Elgin teasing the Burning Hammer to have it countered was a great near fall.
  • All the Destinos needed to beat Elgin made him come across as a star, and Naito as unbeatable.

What didn’t work:

  • This could have afforded to go on for less time, maybe five or ten minutes less, but the length doesn’t hurt the match.
  • More minor things, you think Naito would be punished for attacking the eye so much, guess the LIJ money is too much for NJPW to afford punishment for Naito.

Naito gets the pin via Destino in 36:28.

Verdict: Good old school face vs. heel match up with a hot crowd, good action and near falls. These two have had a great rivalry, and if it ends here, it has ended on a high note. I could see some people putting this very high on their MOTY lists.

Post-match LIJ celebrated with confetti and all the shiny gold they now have. Naito promised big things for LIJ in 2017.

  • Great - 8.0/10


Two absolute classics in the main and semi main, and a good Shibata vs. Ospreay undercard match all elevated the competitors and are all worth a watch. The other matches weren’t bad, but nothing must see, although you won’t miss much.



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