New Japan’s Anniversary show is an underrated date on their calendar. The last two years have seen Kazuchika Okada take on Tiger Mask W (aka Kota Ibushi) and Will Ospreay while this year sees Will get his second main event in a row against Jay White. Gedo seems to view it as an opportunity to bend the rules a bit, and that’s always going to be fun.Continue reading
Takashi Iizuka is hanging up his boot, and despite (at best) being ambivalent about him, I can’t help feeling a bit emotional. Sure, I’ve spent the last couple of years moaning about his bitey ways, but that doesn’t mean I hate the old cannibal. He’s alright really. Let’s see him out in style!Continue reading
Night two of the Japanese New Beginning shows finally saw some gold being placed on the line. Both sets of tag belts and the IC title were up for grabs with Taichi getting another chance to show he can be a big game player. Can he? Well, let me tell you.Continue reading
Fantastica Mania is quietly one of my favourite times of the year. Post-Wrestle Kingdom the NJPW roster gets together with their CMLL pals to piss around for a tour, what’s not to love about that? There will be some build for New Beginning, but this tour will mainly be focused on wacky lucha fun. I can’t wait.Continue reading
After a decent, if unspectacular, Super Junior Tag League, New Japan rolled into their final major show of the year, Power Struggle. They’ve put together one hell of a card too, as it’s one of the strongest collections of matches you’re likely to see without the Heavyweight Title being defended. With a section of the NJPW fanbase in a bit of a grump recently, this might be what they need to turn the mood around.
I’m not going to change my tournament long policy of ignoring the undercard, but it would be remiss to not mention what happened in the final multi-man match of this show. In what has become a common theme, The Firing Squad went after Okada post-match and Tanahashi made the save. This time, rather than rejecting the Ace’s help, Okada embraced in. In fact, Okada and Tanahashi shook hands while Korakuen Hall exploded. I watched that moment spoilt, yet it still gave me goosebumps. It’s so much more than a handshake, it’s the greatest feud in pro-wrestling coming full circle. Okada and Tanahashi gave the Juniors an impossible moment to follow just by clasping hands.
We now live in a world where Lanny Poffo is commentating on New Japan shows. That’s a world I distrust. I’ve got nothing against Lanny Poffo, it’s just fucking weird. Anyway, we’re back in Korakuen which means we’re getting four tournament matches and hopefully a smidge more effort.
The Super Junior Tag League rolls on and, to be honest, I don’t have much to say in this intro. It’s another one camera show with only two matches on it, so we know not to expect much. Hopefully, someone will surprise us.