NJPW Reviews

NJPW Road to The New Beginning (1/30/16) Review

Not much of a show barring the massive main event that is important for so many reasons. It is Nakamura’s send off match in New Japan Pro Wrestling, he is on his way to WWE and this is last match in Japan. It sounds like a fantastic match, he is in the ring with 5 of his buddies and should tear the roof of the building. This event sold like an NXT house show and all tickets were gone shortly after they went on sale. I am glad to see 2 singles matches on the card, especially the young boy vs. young boy match of Finlay vs. Kawato, It will just be headlocks and forearms but it’s great to see some new young lions. I am pumped and FIRED UP for the main so let’s get to it!

David Finlay Jr. vs. Hirai Kawato**1/2

Finlay and Kawato were somewhat over which was great to see, Finlay has a very bright future ahead of him. Someone in the crowd was wearing a Super Sasadango Machine mask which I was in tears over. As I expected it wasn’t much of a match because both are young boys but everything looked good. Finlay was in control most of the match but whenever Kawato got offense in it looked good, He legit has a dropkick like Okada! Finlay wins with a Boston crab.

Jay White vs. YOSHI-HASHI***

Crowd was behind Jay to begin! Jay is going to be a superstar, even in a spot like this he comes off looking a million bucks. Loved this match even though it was short, Jay was incredible and everything he does has a purpose. He does some awesome moves in this match including a devastating missile dropkick. This is the sort of match NJPW needs to put onto house shows, random singles matches like this are the best. The crowd was ready to explode when Jay had Yoshi in the Regal stretch, White got more offense in then Yoshi which is confusing. Taco’s won with a powerbomb. Short but sweet.

Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi & Tiger Mask IV***1/4

The over 40’s club is in full effect. You know everyone in the match is old when Tenzan is the youngest man in the match. This match is legit straight out of 1997 New Japan. This is what imagine how most Japanese men spend their night out on the town. Enough with the puns, this was seriously so good. It entertained the shit out of me and that’s all I want, the story of the match was everyone pissing off Nakanishi and it built to his hot tag which was the greatest. I had a smile on my face this entire match, all 6 guys had a role and they performed their respective roles perfectly. Tencozy hit the ‘Tencozy Cutter’ on Nakanishi which Tiger breaks up but Kojima finishes Nakanishi with a lariat.

Toru Yano & Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi*

This match looks gross. It was gross. I don’t want to write about it at all, Fale and Yano have been feuding since G1 and it hasn’t been good. I love Yano but I hate Yano with Fale who I also enjoy in singles matches. Thank god this was really short, Saku did honestly nothing in this match whatsoever. Fale pins Yano with a Samoan spike, so it looks like the Bullet Club are going to be winning the NEVER 6 man titles at New Beginning In Osaka.

KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi & Captain New Japan vs. Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & BUSHI**1/4

I am super hyped about this BUSHI/KUSHIDA match coming up, it’s going to be lit. They work so well with one another. This was fine, crowd was into Taguchi but everything was sort of hit and miss with the Korakuen crowd. EVIL is a good worker but I can’t get into this gimmick, it’s WAY too over the top. I wish Captain would go away, he sucks. I love Taguchi, so all you Taguchi haters can go home. KUSHIDA is phenomenal but his pushes have been the shits. BUSHI is great and I think he will feud with Kamaitachi when he returns. Naito is great but house show Naito does absolutely nothing. KUSHIDA attempted a spring board but got misted and hit with a beautiful tope suicida. That allowed EVIL to hit the STO which is called EVIL (I know it’s stupid) for the win. Post match Naito teased more stuff between himself and Milano.

Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Michael Elgin & Juice Robinson vs. Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows & Cody Hall***

What a weird match, few notes on entrances. Karl said “Love you Shinsuke” and Doc was wearing a mask that was painted like Finn Balor’s body paint. Kenny Omega is wearing his independent gear, not the black trunks he usually wears. This crowd was not into Honma at all which is puzzling, maybe the news of his women troubles got out?? Elgin was incredible, the man has found his calling in life at New Japan. This wasn’t as good as I thought it would be but still it was solid, everyone’s timing was good and yeah not much else to say. The spot of the match was when Elgin powerbombed Karl Anderson from the ring to the outside onto Hall and Doc. Omega hit a reverse frankensteiner on Elgin and 2 bicycle knees on Juice for the win. I thought coming out of this match that we would know Omega’s opponent but with him going over clean it didn’t make me think Elgin was “X”.

Nakamura’s Send-Off Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii****

They played an incredible video before the match, recapped his entire career from beginning to this night on the 1/30/16 show. I am in tears and am incredibly emotional but I love it, I love wrestling, I love Nakamura. This building is hype for this bout. This crowd was solely here to see Shinsuke, the reactions all night were weak but Shinsuke was over like Hogan circa 1985. The whole crowd had banners that said “YeaOH”. This match was very special, it will be on many MOTY lists at the end of the year purely for how important of a match this was. The crowd HATED Goto with a passion whenever he moved the crowd booed LOUD. Chaos were definitely the good guys in this match, Korakuen was lit whenever Chaos did anything cool. Shibata was the star of this match, he was absolutely incredible, he may be my 2nd favorite wrestler in the world. Honestly, the work was very good but it didn’t reach that next level, the emotion and crowd made this match a classic. Nakamura had great moments with Tanahashi in the match, it could be the last time the 2 share a ring together! That is such a sad thought. Ishii and Shibata is going to be incredible and Goto vs. Okada should be very good but the crowd is going to be 100% behind Okada. Shibata was pinned after basically death by chaos, dropkick from Okada, Boma-ye from Nak and a sheer drop brainbuster from Ishii. Great finish, very special match and I highly recommend you watch it.

Post-match Kenny Omega came out and cut a great promo which was interrupted by Tanahashi and it looks like he is going to be “X”. Tanahashi will be wrestling Omega on the 14th of February at New Beginning In Niigata for the vacant Intercontinental championship.

After that the entire Chaos stable came out (Saku, Yano, Jado, Gedo, Okada, Ishii, Yoshi-Hashi) and celebrated with Shinsuke. Okada and Nakamura were in tears and so was half of Korakuen. I was in tears. Okada carried Shinsuke out on his shoulders in a true exit for a king. #ThankYouShinsuke

New Japan house shows are weird because it feels like most of the guys don’t care and just are phoning it in, I would much prefer to see a WWE/NXT or even a CMLL house show over New Japan because the guys in those promotions always put in 100% effort. The under card wasn’t important on this show because the main event is what sold the tickets and made me watch the show. I said it in my review but it was just a very special moment in the history of New Japan Pro Wrestling. Nakamura is gone and it’s so sad but so cool, Shinsuke Nakamura will perform at Wrestlemania in 2017, that’s pretty awesome. I would give this show a C, terrible low/mid card stuff barring the old dudes match but the 6 man tag in the main event saved the show for me.

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