New Japan World Pro Wrestling on AXS (04.03.15)

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New Japan World Pro Wrestling on AXS
April 3, 2015

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

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  • IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks vs. The Forever Hooligans – (NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2014)

Nick and Kozlov start us off here. Lots of ducks and counters as they run and jump all over the ring. Kozlov extends a handshake and Nick freaks out and begs away. When Nick does shake his hand, Kozlov flips him over and delivers a spin into a backbreaker. We get the same style of ducks and counters from Romero and Matt next. Romero hangs in between the ropes and baits Matt into a dive on the floor. We JIP ahead to some hijinks between the Hooligans. Are they going to come to blows? No, of course not. JIP ahead some more to the Springboard Doomsday Device to Matt. More skipping ahead. It’s just a ton of Young Bucks stuff. The Indytaker or as Mauro called it the More Bang for your BEEEEP on Romero gets two. The Young Bucks take out Kozlov as he flies down into STEREO SUPERKICKS. MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK on Romero gets the win for the Young Bucks. (4:57 shown) We get only about a third of the match here as it goes 15 minutes, so I won’t give it a rating. Looked a little too silly for my tastes though. Meltzer went ***1/2 on it for those interested in his opinion.

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  • IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Kota Ibushi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi – (NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2014)

Some feeling out stuff to start. When that lets up, Taguchi slides back in the ring to prevent the moonsault press to the floor and hits the springboard Chris Jericho dropkick to send Ibushi to the floor. Taguchi wipes him out with a somersault plancha and then does the Prince Devitt pose who was about two weeks away from signing with WWE at this time. Ibushi headscissors Taguchi over and lands that moonsault he wanted earlier. JIP ahead, Taguchi drills Ibushi with some clotheslines and even though he counters the first try, Taguchi hits the DODON’S THRONE for 1-2-NO! Trying to finish off Ibushi, he has to nail Taguchi with a big clothesline to get him to stop. Golden Star Bomb leads to the GOLDEN STAR PRESS to retain the title. (5:52 shown) Another match with only a third shown. Looked pretty good to me. Meltzer gave this ***3/4 for those interested.

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  • IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) vs. AJ Styles (w/the Bullet Club) – (NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2014)

So AJ Styles made his return to NJPW as the new leader for the Bullet Club back at Invasion Attack on April 6 and gave Kazuchika Okada the Styles Clash – making his presence felt and clearly sending a message as to why he’s here. Ranallo tells us that AJ Styles still feels that Okada is that same young boy who was in TNA a few years back. Okada on the other hand feels AJ’s career is in a decline and as usual doesn’t seem all that concerned. Hammerlocks and headlocks to start. As they start missing corner charges, Okada tries to sit AJ up on the top turnbuckle for a dropkick only for Styles to kick him back. AJ then proceeds to snap suplex Okada into the corner. Backbreaker by Styles gets two. AJ does that leapfrog and the dropkick he’s known to do. Okada rolls out and must immediately regret that because he’s getting stomped by Karl Anderson and the Young Bucks. Back in, Styles delivers the jumping knee drop and a suplex to do further damage to the back. Running clothesline in the corner gets two. When Okada starts throwing elbows, AJ dumps him out to the Bullet Club for more stomping. When Red Shoes sees what’s happening, Karl Anderson puts him back in the ring. It looks like the ref wants them gone, but Okada takes them out all with a somersault plancha. Now they decide to head back to the locker room. Back inside, Okada hits a neckbreaker and a senton splash for two. Meanwhile, Josh Barnett is discussing Ultimo Dragon wearing a baby blue suit, his mask, and a fedora.

AJ rakes the face to get Okada to stop and goes after the leg. This culminates in a move New Japan fans are long familiar with: the Muta Lock. Styles stops pulling back on the chin and wrenches the leg some more since that’s his main focus. Okada fights up and hits a flapjack. Corner splash sets up a DDT for two. AJ rakes the eyes again and comes back with the Springboard Forearm Smash. Suplex into the neckbreaker gets two. Okada finally stops AJ up top and delivers that standing dropkick to start some guardrail violence. Okada hits the draping DDT on the floor. Back in the ring, Okada hits the Flying Elbow and calls for the Rain Maker. AJ knows it’s coming and counters to the CALF KILLER. Barnett thinks of ways AJ could shred Okada’s knee in that hold. Okada reaches the ropes though. Somehow, Okada manages to catch AJ with another dropkick. They exchange elbows with Okada getting some FIGHTING SPIRIT going. He wants the RAINMAKER again, but AJ ducks and lands the Pele Kick. Wheelbarrow facebuster by AJ gets 1-2-NO! Styles Clash gets countered to the Reverse Neckbreaker by Okada! Styles charges into the Tombstone, but AJ slips away and hits a not-so-good Asai DDT for two. SPIRAL TAP misses and Okada hits him with another standing dropkick. Okada delivers the Tombstone and wants the Rainmaker, but the Bullet Club are back out and hop up on the apron. While Karl Anderson discusses God knows what with Red Shoes, Okada wipes out the Young Bucks. As an extra insurance policy, a guy in a black and white hoodie jumps in the ring and clotheslines Okada down. He reveals himself to be YUJIRO TAKAHASHI – one of the members of Okada’s Chaos organization. Takahashi delivers TOKYO PIMPS (sitout dominator) to Okada. As a nod to Prince Devitt, AJ gives Okada BLOODY SUNDAY. STYLES CLASH ends it all for Okada though as AJ wins the IWGP title. (24:31) Good not great match to get AJ over as this evil invader from the dastardly Bullet Club. Couldn’t help but feel like Okada was holding back a bit though, but he’s had a long reign and probably needed some time off to get his mojo back. ***¾

Just because I like facts like this, AJ Styles became only the sixth gaijin to win the IWGP heavyweight title on 5/3/14. He joins the likes of Big Van Vader (1989), Salman Hashimikov (1989), Scott Norton (1998), Bob Sapp (2004), and Brock Lesnar (2005).

NEXT WEEK: The World Pro Wrestling season finale. We head Back to the Yokohama Arena from May 2014.

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Posted on April 5, 2015, in NJPW and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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