I’ve been going back and forth on reviewing this show as it is headlined by someone I believe to be scum. However, there is a solid undercard to blab about, so I’ve decided to go ahead with it. Just don’t expect me to focus on the piece of shit.
Yota Tsuji and Yuya Uemura fought to a time limit draw
Tsuji has a weirdly rectangular head. That’s got nothing to do with anything, I just wanted to point it out.
These two love a grapple, as they should because they’re damn good at it. It’s clear Tsuji and Uemura are working with the basics, but the way they execute those basics make it feel like they are doing a lot more. They are better at the fundamentals of wrestling than people who have been on the go for years. Look at the aggressive way that Tsuji attacked Uemura’s leg and tell me that’s not fantastic work? Then the way Uemura sold it was perhaps even better.
Of course, they’re far from perfect. Tsuji was going in and out of selling his arm while the limited move-sets do restrict what they can do. Yet, they’re building thrilling matches with ebbs and flows after only a few months. Imagine how good they’ll be when they have proper experience under their belts?
These two have now faced off seven times with every single one going to a time limit draw. You better believe NJPW is establishing a feud that will go on for a long old time.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi defeated Shota Umino and Tomoyuki Oka
Bring your kids to work day has come to New Japan as Nagata and Nakanishi face off with their Young Lion counterparts.
I love a bit of Nagata vs Umino. They’ve got fantastic chemistry and rarely fail to impress. More surprisingly, Nakanishi and Oka had a few fun interactions too. The two bulls spent some time running into each other and Oka even managed to get the big man over for a suplex.
If you’re a New Japan regular, you have seen it all before. Even with that caveat, it was still a good match.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
The Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori and Yujiro Takahashi) defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Ren Narita
Poor Narita. He spends a lot of time getting the shit kicked out of him. The slaps Yujiro was throwing did not look fun.
There wasn’t much to this one. Narita had a flurry of offence on Ishimori which I enjoyed, but it was short-lived as he ultimately tapped to the Crossface. Elsewhere, Tenzan and Takahashi are Tenzan and Takahashi. You get exactly what you expect from them, which is fair enough in Tenzan’s case, the poor bugger can hardly walk.
Verdict: Two And A Quarter Stars
Taguchi Japan (KUSHIDA, Toa Henare, Ryusuke Taguchi, Jeff Cobb and Togi Makabe) defeated CHAOS (SHO, YOH, Rocky Romero, Toru Yano and YOSHI-HASHI)
Taguchi is in World Cup mode as he brought a football to the ring. He also brought along a Lovely Jeff. He not only got the win here, but went on to challenge Goto after the main event which is great news.
These multi-man matches are as good as the combinations they throw up, and this one had a few intriguing ones. SHO and KUSHIDA worked what was essentially a sped up version of their Super Juniors encounter before Roppongi 3K showed off their comedic chops with Taguchi. It was good fun while never breaking into anything spectacular.
We finished with Cobb and Rocky in the ring as Big Jeff got the chance to show off a bit. The Japanese crowd popped big for his standing Moonsault while the Tour Of The Islands is a devastating looking finish. Let’s hope Jeff is around for more than just the US shows.
Verdict: Three Stars
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, Evil, Sanada and BUSHI) defeated Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Takashi Iizuka, TAKA Michinoku, El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
I feel like I’ve reviewed enough LIJ vs Suzuki-gun tags that I don’t have to go into this one. They did all the stuff they usually do and, as you’d expect, it was pretty entertaining. The lack of Suzuki and the introduction of Iizuka certainly didn’t do it any favours but, thankfully, the format meant we didn’t get too much of him anyway.
Instead, the focus was pushed towards Despy and Takahashi who got a minute or so to show off their tricks. As you read this their match has already happened, although I have yet to see. The snippet we got here gave me full faith that they will tear the house down.
Afterwards, Takahashi wound Desperado up which sent him into a frenzy. Then, Naito wound Takahashi up by dropkicking the Super Juniors trophy. New Japan might want to get a new one for next year, I don’t think that one is going to be in great shape by the time they get it back.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii and Jay White) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson and David Finlay
Wee Kazu looks so lonely without his belt. Thankfully, he’s still sporting the ‘don’t give a fuck’ tights, so his confidence can’t have been completely destroyed.
Even with the full stop that was put on their feud, the crowd noticeably heated up the second Okada and Tanahashi stepped into the ring together. While this was about building towards Robinson and White, it was hard for them to grab the attention when the greatest feud in modern wrestling was being teased at the same time.
Even that was overshadowed by Ishii’s sneer when Tanahashi was dumb enough to chop him. I love underdog Ishii, but badass Ishii is even better.
White and Robinson did what they needed to do in the bulk of the match. They’re both great wrestlers, and I have faith that they will put on a show at the Cow Palace. The real magic came after the bell, though, as White conducted a vicious beatdown of Robinson focusing on his hand which he has (I believe legitimately) injured. There was a coldness to his violence that perfectly suits what White is going for and I adore this character.
This was a damn fine showing from all involved. When you’ve got that much talent in the ring, they’d almost have to work hard for it not to be.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Hirooki Goto defeated a piece of shit to win the NEVER Openweight Title
Let’s all laugh at Michael Elgin.
If you’ve read my articles in the last few months, you’ll know that I avoid reviewing Michael Elgin. I believe that you would be better served by using the time to improve society rather than supporting a man complicit in scummy behaviour. Normally, this hasn’t felt like a big deal. He’s been wrestling mid-card tags and, beyond slight storyline advancement, skipping it hasn’t been a problem.
However, this was the main event, and with G1 coming up there are going to be a lot of other big matches in Elgin’s future. So, the temptation is there to drop my Fuck Elgin policy. Especially as he is a fantastic wrestler, and I’m sure a lot of those match-ups will be incredible.
I’m not going to do that, though. In a perfect world, all wrestlers would be beautiful people, and I’d be comfortable reviewing them. We don’t live in an ideal world and me missing out on good wrestling is a tiny price to pay compared to what someone like Mo has gone through.
There will be some people out there screaming about him being innocent until proven guilty, but I’ve seen enough to make up my mind. I continue to urge you to go out and make a difference rather than watching Michael Elgin. Find a local charity that helps those dealing with abuse and donate some money or give them your time.
Verdict: Fuck Michael Elgin
I can’t really rate a show where I refuse to watch the main event. It was fun, though. Nothing on the undercard was spectacular while at the same time none of it will make you puke. You won’t miss anything if you choose not to watch it, but you won’t hate yourself if you do.