I feel I should pre-warn you all that I won’t be reviewing the main event of this show. If you have read any of my A Block write-ups, you’ll know that I don’t talk about Michael Elgin because he’s a piece of shit. Being in the main event doesn’t change that. That aside, this is, well, not a particularly sexy show. Still, we must occasionally suffer for our art. I’m sure someone will pull a good match out of their arse.
Bad Luck Fale (3-3) defeated Togi Makabe (2-4)
You know when you were a kid and thought that Hulk Hogan vs Andre The Giant was the coolest thing in wrestling? Then you grow up a bit, go back to it and discover that underneath the spectacle it’s all a bit shite? Neither man is what you would call agile and what once seemed like a colossal battle now looks a bit slow and dull? Yea, that’s this match.
To make matters even worse, we didn’t even get the joy of watching Fale be slammed. Instead, The Firing Squad continued their antics, and despite having been yanked out of the ring by Tanga Loa, Marty Assami counted the fall. It’s bullshit. When you get a bit of Zack Sabre Jr or Naito, I can just about stomach these shenanigan fests. Makabe vs Fale, though? I’m struggling to give a single shit.
Verdict: One Star
Jay White (4-2) defeated Hangman Page (1-5)
White vs Hangman is a bit more like it. There’s no hiding the fact that I’m a bit of a mark for these two, but even taking that out of the equation, this was my favourite match of the night. They went out there and told a simple story with some good action backing it up. While it wasn’t wrestling excellence, it was damn good all the same.
The story they went for was Jay White working over Hangman’s back. It’s a perfect target for him as it allows him to continue to piss off the announce team by launching his opponents into the barricade in front of them. Sadly, neither Rocky Romero or Kevin Kelly have jumped the barrier yet. Still, there are a few more nights to go.
By working over Page’s back, White was able to undercut a lot of his offence. The Buckshot Lariat, in particular, became almost impossible for him to hit. He kept going for it, only to be brought grinding to a halt by a twinge of agony. Then, when he did manage to push through, the damage he did to himself prevented him from getting White up for the Rite Of Passage. It would all build to an insane bump, where White pushed him off the top rope onto the apron and then down to the floor below.
Despite that madness, White was unable to put Hangman away, so he went to his trusty ally, the steel chair. That led to a fun final sequence where they battled for possession of the chair and who could use it without being disqualified. Sadly, Marty Assami removing it from the ring would end up being the deciding factor as White leapt on the chance to hit a low blow to set up the Bladerunner and with it the victory.
This felt like a glimpse into the future of NJPW’s gaijins. It’s clear the company likes both these men, and if your Kennys and Codys do move on someday, they’ll be the people expected to step into the gap. With every big performance from them, I’m more confident that they will do just fine if that day comes around.
Verdict: Four Stars
Minoru Suzuki (4-2) defeated EVIL (4-2)
I am going to shock absolutely no-one by letting you know that this one was a brawl.
To be honest, I’m going to keep it short. If you’ve ever watched these men wrestle you should know what to expect. Loads of strikes, some cheeky chair shots and a Gotch Piledriver to finish it off. None of which is a problem, by the way. It was a serviceable match. Just don’t expect them to change-up the habits of a lifetime. They are men that are suited to certain opponents, and while I do think they work relatively well together, they will have better showings with other men. Watch it if you’re a fan, if you’re not, you can probably skip on by.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Hiroshi Tanahashi (5-1) defeated YOSHI-HASHI (1-5)
Is New Japan trying to get over the idea that the only person the Butterfly Lock is lethal for is YOSHI-HASHI? All tournament he’s been seen to be overly reliant on it, despite the fact no-one taps out to it. Then, when he tried to lock it in on Tana, the Ace used it as an opportunity to roll him up and slip out with the victory. I’m pretty sure that gives the Butterfly Lock a score of one and the person that it beat was YOSHI-HASHI.
What I said about EVIL and Suzuki could almost be repeated here. It’s Tanahashi and YOSHI-HASHI, you know what you’re picturing in your mind? Yea, that’s what it was. A perfectly enjoyable, if slightly underwhelming match. The only real surprise was that it went as long as it did, as Tanahashi missed a High Fly Flow and then had to rely on the aforementioned roll-up for the win. As rubs go, it’s hardly a huge one, but it’s a slight stroke for YOSHI at the very least.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Kazuchika Okada (4-2) defeated a piece of shit (2-4)
Verdict: Fuck Michael Elgin
The only remarkable thing about this show is that there is absolutely nothing remarkable about it. Everyone you would expect to win won, and no-one went out there and did the incredible. I enjoyed Hangman vs White, but even that was lacking holy shit moments. If you’re going to skip a night, this is probably a good choice.
Top Three Matches So Far
- Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii – Five Stars
- Hirooki Goto vs Tomohiro Ishii – Four And Three Quarter Stars
- Tetsuya Naito vs Kenny Omega – Four And Three Quarter Stars