New Japan World Pro Wrestling on AXS (03.27.15)


New Japan World Pro Wrestling on AXS
March 27, 2015

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

Invasion Attack 2014 takes place on the same day as WrestleMania XXX, but Tokyo is 14 hours ahead of New Orleans, so you can use that information however you like.


  • NEVER Openweight Champion Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito (NJPW Invasion Attack, 4/6/2014)

This is Naito’s title rematch after losing the belt back on February 11 in Osaka, which was a WON MOTYC at ****¾. Headlocks and shoulderblocks to start. Of course Naito won’t knock down Ishii with those and switches things up with dropkicks. Naito plans for his signature slingshot dropkick down in the corner only for Ishii to shut him down with a lariat. JIP ahead to a stalling superplex from Ishii for two, which is just awesome. Elbows are traded, but Ishii then counters a Uranage with a DDT. Running Lariat by Ishii turns Naito inside out for two. Last Ride Powerbomb scores a nearfall as well. Tons of suplex counters, but Naito gets the Uranage slam he wanted earlier. Seems like after Ishii countered it, he wouldn’t try it again. Hmpfh. Another series of elbow smashes leads to a high angle Bridging German Suplex by Naito for two. Gloria connects, but the STAR DUST PRESS misses. JIP again as Naito may have knocked out Ishii with an enziguri kick. Ishii pops up with a headbutt and Naito fires back with the same. Enziguri kick by Ishii! Cover, 1-NO! Only a one count. Naito thinks he’s owning Ishii with slaps to the face, but Ishii fires back and puts Naito on his back side with one real good Lariat for 1-2-NO! Counters are traded again as Ishii delivers the Sliding Lariat to Naito. BRAINBUSTER finishes Naito off though as Ishii retains. (7:52 shown) There’s about ten minutes we don’t get here due to time constraints, so I won’t give this a rating. Meltzer gave the whole thing a ****½. Ironically enough, Ishii would go on to lose the NEVER Openweight title to Naito’s former tag partner and arch-nemesis Yujiro Takahashi with some help from the Bullet Club on June 29.


  • IWGP Intercontinental Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura (NJPW Invasion Attack, 4/6/2014)

Speaking of title rematches, Tanahashi defeated Nakamura for the IC title back at Wrestle Kingdom 8 on January 4 and then beat Nakamura again on February 9, so this could have been Nakamura’s final rematch as long as Tanahashi is IC champion. Hammerlocks and headlocks to start. When Tanahashi goes for the first dragon screw, he elbows Nakamura on the knee even though Nakamura is in the ropes to draw some boos. They show how well they know each other with some quick counters. Nakamura gets the better of him for now as he buries some knees in the corner. Tanahashi one-ups Nakamura by posting the knee. We get some guardrail action, but Tanahashi ducks away from a running knee, causing Nakamura to bash his knee into the guardrail. Tanahashi elbows and smashes the knee into the guardrail a few times. He even slams the door on Nakamura’s knee. Back inside, Tanahashi continues to work on that right knee to take away his primary weapon. In an effort to mock Nakamura, Tanahashi grinds his boot into Nakamura’s knee over in the corner. He even shoves the ref away! Forearm smashes are traded, but Tanahashi kicks the knee to stop him. Nakamura manages to put together a bunch of kicks and grinds his foot into Tanahashi’s throat. VINTAGE NAKAMURA! He places Tanahashi up in the corner and delivers THREE running knee strikes to the ribs for 1-2-NO! Tanahashi blocks the Reverse Powerslam and stops Nakamura with another dragon screw. And another. And another. And another. HIGH FLY FLOW to the leg! It was his left leg and not the right, but whatever. Nakamura rolls out and receives a flying body press from Tanahashi. Ya know, VINTAGE TANAHASHI! Back inside, Nakamura ducks the Sling Blade and delivers a lungblower. You dummy! Reverse Powerslam connects, but Tanahashi lands on his knees and chopblocks Nakamura. Capture Suplex to Nakamura gets two. Nakamura avoids the Dragon Suplex and delivers a straight right to put Tanahashi on his knees. BOMA YE! Cover, 1-2-NO! Tanahashi stops a second Boma Ye and dropkicks the knees. HIGH FLY FLOW to both knees! Tanahashi applies the CLOVERLEAF, but Nakamura manages to find the ropes. Tanahashi goes for another HIGH FLY FLOW, but Nakamura brings up the knees! You dummy! Tanahashi stops another forearm exchange with a kick to the knee. Sling Blade! Dragon Suplex is followed for 1-2-NO! Nakamura counters the CLOVERLEAF into the cross armbreaker! Since it’s wrestling, it’s not an instant tapout once the elbow is hyper-extended. He makes the ropes though. While Tanahashi is recovering on his knees, Nakamura catches him with an unexpected NASTY BOMA YE! Great camera angle there. He comes off the second rope with a big kick and follows up with a BOMA YE from the second rope! Tanahashi blocks one BOMA YE with his forearms, but doesn’t block the next one. Cover, 1-2-NO! ANOTHER BOMA YE! Cover, 1-2-3! (26:49) So Nakamura has won the IWGP IC title for a third time. Afterwards in typical NJPW fashion, someone comes out and challenges the winner. Daniel and Rolles Gracie want Nakamura and “The Gracie Hunter” Kazushi Sakuraba. That’ll go down at the Wrestling Dontaku event on May 3. Match was really good with Tanahashi fleshing out heel aspects of his character and Nakamura exploding on Tanahashi with Boma Ye’s was pretty fun. ****¼


IN TWO WEEKS: The World Pro Wrestling season finale. We head Back to the Yokohama Arena from May 2014.

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