New Japan World Pro Wrestling on AXS (04.10.15)

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New Japan World Pro Wrestling on AXS
April 10, 2015

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

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  • Minoru Suzuki & Shelton Benjamin (w/Suzukigun) vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka – (Back to the Yokohama Arena, 5/25/14)

Not really a match. Iizuka immediately turns on Yano and jabs him in the throat with his iron glove to leave CHAOS and join Suzukigun. Suzuki delivers the GOTCH-STYLE PILEDRIVER and pins Yano in about eight seconds. Ranallo doesn’t think Meltzer will give this five stars. He definitely has been handing them out for the past couple years. Suzuki Army makes an example out of Yano and even attacks Gedo, Jado, and some Japanese commentators at ringside.

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  • IWGP Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles (w/Bullet Club) vs. Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) – (Back to the Yokohama Arena, 5/25/14)

Here is the immediate rematch for Okada. Feeling out process to start with armbars, headlocks, and armdrags. That culminates with finisher attempts that go nowhere. Okada punishes AJ with some stiff forearm smashes and a high backdrop. AJ escapes a chinlock, but takes a jumping senton splash and then gets booted out to the floor. They fight on the apron, but Okada delivers a hilo ala Eddie Guerrero and places his foot on AJ’s chest to show his dominance. Karl Anderson grabs hold of Okada’s foot from ringside, which gets Red Shoes to kick the Bullet Club back to the locker room. After that situation calms down, Styles delivers his kip-up headscissors and the jumping knee drop gets two. He hits a nice backbreaker and the leapfrog-dropdown and the Best Dropkick in the Business. They fight over a suplex on the apron. Styles gets pulled from inside out onto the apron only to suplex Okada ON THE APRON. He then runs Okada into the guardrail and tries to win via countout. Back inside, Okada fights out of a chinlock and avoids a superplex as he then kicks AJ back into a corner. HERE COMES OKADA~! He’s a house of fire and catches Styles up on the top turnbuckle with his standing dropkick to send AJ down to the floor. Off a whip, Styles leapfrogs the guardrail and springs off the guardrail with a flying forearm smash. Back in, Okada avoids a corner charge and delivers a DDT. Styles knocks Okada down from the top rope and gives him a snap suplex into the corner for two.

Okada fights back and counters the suplex neckbreaker for Red Ink. Sensing trouble, the Bullet Club returns to the ring. He fights off Gallows and Tonga, but Yujiro Takahashi throws him to the floor. That may have been a screwed up hotshot move though. In the ring, Takahashi looks for Tokyo Pimps when fellow CHAOS member Tomohiro Ishii breezes past the Bullet Club to run Takahashi out of the ring. Various refs including Tiger Hatori head out to get rid of the Bullet Club once and for all. Meanwhile, Okada lands the Reverse Neckbreaker and Heavy Rain for 1-2-NO! Flying Elbow connects, but AJ elbows away the Rain Maker. They start throwing elbow strikes showing off their testicular fortitude. Styles gets us back on track with the Asai DDT. Styles unloads on Okada, but charges into the Tombstone position. AJ escapes and lands an enziguri, but then runs into Okada’s dropkick. He hits the Tombstone, but Styles prevents the Rain Maker by grabbing hold of Red Shoes. Once Red Shoes gets out of the way, AJ hits the Pele Kick. BLOODY SUNDAY to Okada! He tries to fight out of the STYLES CLASH, but Okada just can’t. AJ lands the death blow and retains the title. (26:05) My problem with AJ Styles is that you know he can go to that next level, but he never seems to get there. I’m not sure that he’s passed his prime because he’s still an amazing athlete. Not to say this wasn’t a really good match, but I always feel like they are holding back for some reason. Maybe that will pick up once we hit the G1 Climax and he’s still getting used to being on top in New Japan. However, his heel persona is definitely there. I’m buying what he’s selling in that regard. ****

In case you haven’t heard, New Japan on AXS will be on hiatus until May 22. Twelve more episodes will be coming that are rumored (and logically so) to focus on the Best of the Super Juniors and the G1 Climax tournaments that took place in 2014. In the meantime, I plan to get up to speed on Lucha Underground, which is only about twentysomething episodes deep right now, so be on the lookout for that in the coming weeks!

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Posted on April 12, 2015, in NJPW and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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