New Japan World Pro Wrestling on AXS (03.13.15)
New Japan World Pro Wrestling on AXS
March 13, 2015
Your hosts are Mauro Ranallo and former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett.
- IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) vs. Tetsuya Naito – (NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 8; 1/4/14)
Ranallo points out that Naito does have a big win over Okada back in the 2012 G-1 Climax, which Okada went on to win. We get to see Okada’s epic rain making entrance. Fans voted on what would be the main event of this show and chose Nakamura/Tanahashi instead of the IWGP heavyweight title match. Does that say how over Nakamura and Tanahashi are or the love for Naito has dissipated. More than likely the latter. Feeling out headlocks to start. Okada backs Naito into the ropes and threatens a chop to the chest, but pats Naito on the chest instead. VINTAGE OKADA! He whips Naito into the ropes though only to receive an armdrag and a dropkick. Naito works a reverse chinlock and transitions to a full nelson using the legs. Over in the corner, Okada scouts the slingshot dropkick and puts Naito back on the apron for a dropkick of his own to send Naito to the floor. Okada applies a lucha stretch hold on the platform only to wear down Naito and give him a sliding dropkick to try for a countout. Back in, Okada delivers the hilo to Naito and takes a breather. In Okada fashion, he doesn’t seem to be sweating this match. Deep In Debt crimps on Naito’s neck, but no submission. Naito reverses a corner whip to set up his slingshot dropkick move. He mounts a comeback and beats Okada down in the corner and out of the ring. Okada baits Naito for a possible tombstone piledriver on the floor, but Naito counters and hits a tornado DDT as he kicks off the apron. Back inside, Okada tries to block the PLUMA BLANCA only for so long. He makes the ropes and challenges Naito to some vicious elbow smashes, which switches over to headbutts. He basically no-sells the headbutts and hoists Naito up on the top turnbuckle for a dropkick down to the floor. Oh! Naito’s leg [the uninjured leg] gets caught in the ropes on the way down. Okada hits the draping DDT on the floor and Naito makes it back inside without getting counted out. Flying elbow by Okada sets up the Rainmaker, but Naito elbows him back. Heavy Rain gets countered by a DDT to create some separation. PLUMA BLANCA once again ends up in the ropes. Okada fires back with a flapjack. A DDT sets up Red Ink, but Naito manages to find the ropes. Knowing it’s the prelude to the end, Naito avoids the tombstone again and hits a flying forearm. Flying Headscissors leads to the Dragon Suplex for 1-2-NO! Gloria gets two as well. He should have gone for the STARDUST PRESS immediately after Gloria because when he does, Okada moves out of the way. Okada comes back with the Reverse Neckbreaker and Heavy Rain for 1-2-NO! Uranage by Naito leads to another exchange of elbow smashes. Okada wins that battle and goes for the Rainmaker again, but Naito ducks and slaps Okada back. Okada misses the Rainmaker a few more times, but you know it’s coming. It takes TWO tombstone piledrivers, but Okada finally does nail the RAINMAKER and gets the win. (30:58) The first twenty minutes or so was rather unspectacular than what we’re used to seeing with Okada title defenses. Everything after the Rain Maker Pose was fine though, but a great finishing stretch doesn’t make a great match in my opinion. ***½
NEXT WEEK: More Wrestle Kingdom 8 action! We’ll see the other main event which features the IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura against the challenger Hiroshi Tanahashi.