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
The final night of Fantastica Mania is like the end of an all-night party. You’ve had fun, perhaps done a few things you know you’re going to be ashamed of, but now the sun is coming up, so you just want to go home, drink some water and return to reality. Does that work? I’m going to say it does.Continue reading
If you’re new to NJPW, think of New Year Dash as a bit like the Raw after WrestleMania. With the big show out of the way, it’s time to set-up the year ahead with recent years featuring the return of Suzuki-gun and Jay White turning down Kenny Omega and Bullet Club. With the Dome seeing a changing of the guard, it’s an interesting time for New Japan fans, and this show will give us an insight as to what we should expect.Continue reading
It’s January 4th which means New Japan is in the Tokyo Dome, nothing more needs to be said. Let’s watch some wrestling.Continue reading
Now we’ve got all that Christmas and New Year malarky out the way we can get down to the real business. It’s Wrestle Kingdom season, truly the most wonderful time of the year. Last year I put together a little preview/prediction post intended for people who haven’t watched much NJPW, and I’ve decided to do it again. I’m going to dive into the background of each match, how I think they’ll go and who should come out as the winner. WRESTLE KINGDOM!Continue reading
We’ve made it! After what feels like years, it’s time for me to close out World Tag League by reviewing the all-important final. Who will seal that hallowed spot at Wrestle Kingdom? That’s not something that you can earn by just walking through the curtain and demanding to be added to the match… Anyway, unlike the rest of the tour, I’m going to review the whole show because why not? We’re entering Dome season, so I’m in an excellent mood. Let’s do this!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.