New Japan World Pro Wrestling on AXS (01.23.15)

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New Japan World Pro Wrestling on AXS
January 23, 2015

Your hosts are Mauro Ranallo and former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett.

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  • Suzuki Army (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, and TAKA Michinoku) vs. CHAOS (Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, and Jado) – (Tokyo Korakuen Hall, 3/23/2013)

In case you don’t know, Lance Archer is known here in the states once upon a time in TNA as Lance Hoyt. Here he is as co-holder of the IWGP tag titles with Davey Boy Smith Jr. who form a team called Killer Elite Squad. The always charismatic Nakamura, Ishii, and Jado make up a faction named CHAOS. Now a four-time IWGP Intercontinental champion, this is Nakamura nearing the end of his first reign. Big ringside brawl to start as everybody takes whips into the guardrails. JIP ahead to Jado in trouble with Archer. He gets away and makes the hot tag to Nakamura. He cleans house on everybody but Archer and knees him a bunch in the corner. Ranallo informs us that Daniel Bryan thinks Nakamura is the best wrestler on the planet. We see Suzuki and Ishii square off in the middle of the ring with elbow smashes and headbutts. Backdrop driver on Suzuki gets two. Suzuki tries to put Ishii to sleep so he can take him over with the GOTCH-STYLE PILEDRIVER, but Nakamura saves the day with a Backcracker. Ishii levels Suzuki with a LARIAT for 1-2-NO! Suzuki flips away from the BRAINBUSTER and pulls Ishii to his corner so that Suzuki Army can triple team him with big boots and kicks. Nakamura saves the day again for his partner and hoists Michinoku up onto his shoulders as Ishii helps out with a suplex! That gets two. Archer stops the pin, but Nakamura enziguri kicks Archer into a German suplex by Ishii. Suzuki slaps Ishii into La Magistral cradle by TAKA for two. LARIAT destroys TAKA and so does the BRAINBUSTER as Ishii covers him for the win as Suzuki is inches away from stopping the pinfall. (5:05 shown) Match went 14 minutes, so I don’t feel comfortable giving this a rating. I do wonder how good the heat segment on Jado was. Afterwards, Davey Boy Smith Jr. joins Lance Archer to answer a challenge made by Nakamura and Ishii for the IWGP tag belts. KES accepts the challenge and then Davey Boy Smith Jr. challenges Nakamura for his IWGP IC title to which Nakamura accepts. Hindsight being 20/20, I can tell you now that both champs retain.

In the back, Shinsuke Nakamura tells the world that he and Ishii have nothing to worry about. They will teach those good-for-nothing dummies a wrestling lesson. YEAH-O!

Kazuchika Okada talks about the New Japan Cup and how winning it makes you the #2 guy in the company. You also receive an IWGP heavyweight title shot if you win. He had a tough semifinals match earlier in the night with Toru Yano, but come on. How tough could that really be? His opponent in the finals – Hirooki Goto – defeated Davey Boy Smith Jr. in the semifinals and has one of the most painful looking moves in wrestling: the SUPER USHIKOROSHI. That is something he wants to avoid.

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  • 2013 New Japan Cup Finals: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hirooki Goto – (Tokyo Korakuen Hall, 3/23/2013)

Ranallo likens winning the Royal Rumble to winning the New Japan Cup. Interesting story to this: Goto won the New Japan Cup in 2012 by defeating Hiroshi Tanahashi and went on in a losing effort against Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP heavyweight title. Now Tanahashi is the IWGP champion again by beating Okada and now Goto has to face Okada in order to get to a guy he’s already beaten once before and who happens to be the IWGP heavyweight champion now. Are you confused yet? Very interesting dynamic here. Some wristlocks and headlocks to start. Goto wants to concentrate on the neck with a rear chinlock, so Okada is thinking the same thing as he boots Goto to the floor with a kick to the side of the head. On the outside, Okada sticks Goto’s head through the guardrail and pulls back before kicking the guardrail into the back of his head. VINTAGE OKADA! Back inside, Okada applies the Deep in Debt submission hold. Goto chops back and elbows down Okada, but Okada delivers a strait jacket neckbreaker followed by a strait jacket hold. Goto escapes and catches Okada with the Marufuji clothesline. Spinning heel kick in the corner is followed by the Backdrop Driver. Back to the floor, Goto clotheslines Okada over the rail into the crowd. In the ring, Goto continues to put pressure on the neck, but charges into a flapjack. Okada puts Goto up top and dropkicks him real good to the floor. He then Yakuza Kicks Goto into the crowd and delivers the draping DDT onto the floor! Back in, Okada hits the flying elbow drop and calls for the Rain Maker, but settles for Heavy Rain instead for two.

They fight over a Tombstone, but neither one gets the move as Goto drills him with a Running Lariat instead. Both men are down! They stand up trading elbow strikes, which Goto wins. However, Okada is playing possum with him and delivers the Best Dropkick in the Business. He tries desperately for RED INK, but Goto makes the ropes. Red Ink is countered by Goto into the Shoryu Kekkai (nasty Ole Anderson armbar) and then repositions Okada in for a type of Koji Clutch. Okada makes the ropes, but JIGOKU KURUMA gets two. Rain Maker gets countered again this time with a Ushikoroshi! As they grapple over to the corner, Goto delivers an AVALANCHE USHIKOROSHI! This is the move Okada needed to avoid at all costs, but it only gets two! Ura Shouten by Goto gets 1-2-NO! Now Goto tries the Shouten, but Okada knees him in the head and catches Goto with an inside cradle for 1-2-NO! Goto charges him in the corner and gets caught for a SCHWEIN ONTO THE KNEE! Okada calls that the Reverse Neckbreaker. That gets two. Goto avoids the Tombstone and the dropkick as he sets Okada up for the GOTO SHIKI, but Okada rolls through for 1-2-NO! Okada looks for the RAIN MAKER again, but Goto blocks with a headbutt! Shouten again is countered this time as Okada flips away and dropkicks him in the back of the head. TOMBSTONE sets up the RAIN MAKER for the 1-2-3. (23:52) Well that was an amazing match. They just kept on blocking one another knowing exactly what the other person was going for until Hirooki Goto just couldn’t take it anymore. ****¼

Afterwards, Gedo comes out and says that Okada is the mightiest invader beyond the imagination of human kind. As for the IWGP champ Hiroshi Tanahashi, he is a talent within the human imagination. Well, he comes out only for Okada to tell him it was a miracle that Tanahashi defeated him in the Tokyo Dome back on January 4. He will prove that to Tanahashi on April 7 when they meet at Invasion Attack. Tanahashi responds to say that LOVE will win over MONEY. He’s such a romantic.

To close out hour number one, Okada talks about how awesome Hirooki Goto is in the spring for winning all those New Japan Cups. He will win the G-1 Climax again, but won’t enter the New Japan Cup because he’s constantly the IWGP champion.

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  • IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada – (NJPW Invasion Attack, 4/7/2013)

This is match number four for these two. Tanahashi has won two of their matches. Lots of screwing around with each other to start in between some headlocks. Tanahashi tries to catch Okada with the Rain Maker, which would be a HUGE insult. Okada slaps him for it and delivers a Yakuza Kick before applying a chinlock. Tanahashi escapes and catches Okada with the Fujiwara armbar now making his gameplan clear. He even holds onto a short arm scissors after Okada has made the ropes to draw boos from the crowd! Over on the apron, Okada makes Tanahashi pay with a DDT! Back inside, Okada flips over onto Tanahashi’s neck and pulls back on his arms for the ultimate painful submission. Tanahashi tries to come back with a crossbody block out of the corner, but Okada ducks and applies a chancery and traps the arm on the mat. Tanahashi makes the ropes, but gets taken over with a Dragon Screw leg whip. To the floor we go again, Okada looks for a Tombstone on the floor, but Tanahashi escapes and smashes Okada’s arm repeatedly into the ringpost. Tanahashi then heads up top and delivers a FLYING BODY PRESS TO THE FLOOR much like he did in the Tokyo Dome. Back in the ring, Tanahashi reverts back to his gameplan and violently slams the arm and shoulder down on the mat a bunch. Just out of force of habit, Okada tries to fight back with elbow smashes and finds out that’s a bad idea. Even so, he catches Tanahashi charging with a flapjack. Schwein on the knee by Okada connects. He switches elbow pads onto his right arm to deliver the flying elbow drop. Tombstone fails again, but Okada catches Tanahashi with the dropkick and unsuccessfully tries for Red Ink.

Tanahashi counters Heavy Rain with a Sling Blade, but can’t capitalize. Running dropkick and an arm trap suplex gets two by Tanahashi. Twelve Six connects as well! Tanahashi heads to the top, but Okada pops up and dropkicks him to the floor. Okada meets him on the outside and Yakuza Kicks him over the guardrail for the draping DDT! Back in the ring at the count of 19, Tanahashi walks right into Heavy Rain for 1-2-NO! After they trade counters, Okada manages to hit the RAINMAKER and Tanahashi looks completely out. Slow cover gets 1-2-NO! Tombstone is countered again this time into a victory roll! Okada reverses the victory roll and applies the RED INK! WILL HE TAP OUT? Of course not. Tanahashi makes the bottom rope. Okada elbows the neck in the corner, but misses a big charge. With Okada holding onto the top rope, Tanahashi lowers the boom on the arm to hyperextend the elbow. HERE COMES TANAHASHI. Flying body press sets up the Sling Blade which leads to the DRAGON SUPLEX for 1-2-NO! HIGH FLY FLOW to the back! Tanahashi looks for one more, but Okada brings up the knees! They go through some super dramatic Tombstone and Rainmaker counters ending with Okada putting Tanahashi away after finally hitting both of them to regain the IWGP heavyweight title. (31:41) The WON Match of the Year in 2013. It’s really amazing how careful they are with the psychology put into Okada’s finishing sequence. Tanahashi fears the Tombstone so much because he knows what comes next and he won’t be able to block it because the effect the Tombstone will have on him. Anyways, fantastic story with Okada selling the arm really well here, yet FIGHTING SPIRIT~! won out in the end. ****½

After the celebration, Minoru Suzuki comes out and rips up Okada’s fake money before calling Okada weaker than him. OH SNAP. Okada throws his pose at him and gets slapped for it. Gedo gets the slap as well and even tastes a moment of the Sleeperhold until Okada runs him away. Okada – “Suzuki, it was nice working with you.” That seems to be his catchphrase.

NEXT WEEK: It’s supposed to be a replay of Tanahashi/Okada from Invasion Attack, so we’ll do this again in TWO WEEKS!

IN TWO WEEKS: Two matches from the Dominion 6.22.13 iPPV! IWGP heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada takes on Togi Makabe while Hiroshi Tanahashi meets Prince Devitt!

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Posted on January 24, 2015, in NJPW and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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