New Japan World Pro Wrestling on AXS (05.22.15)
New Japan World Pro Wrestling on AXS
May 22, 2015
Your hosts are Mauro Ranallo and Josh Barnett.
- Best of the Super Jr. 21 Semi-Final: KUSHIDA vs. Taichi – (Tokyo, Japan; 6/8/14)
Taichi had KUSHIDA right out the tunnel here with a chair. Don’t know why there isn’t a ref yet. To the ring, Taichi crack the chair over KUSHIDA’s head. Ranallo rightly chastises him for doing such a thing with all we know now about concussions. An injured Alex Shelley comes out to try to get Taichi to stop, but fellow Suzukigun member TAKA Michinoku is there to stop him. Taichi uses the chair to further damage Shelley’s shoulder. Finally, Tiger Hatori is here and rings the bell. KUSHIDA makes a comeback with a springboard head chop and a flying forearm. Onto the floor, KUSHIDA takes out Michinoku and Taichi with a somersault plancha. Back in, Taichi avoids a corner charge and delivers the Liger Bomb for two. KUSHIDA avoids the superkick, but the Flying Moonsault hits knees. Taichi gets his mic stand and tries to pull an Eddie Guerrero on KUSHIDA. It doesn’t work on Hatori. Gedo Clutch by Taichi gets two. KUSHIDA escapes the BLACK MEPHISTO and the ref gets bumped. While TAKA tries to help his buddy, Shelley gets a surge of energy and cleans house. He wakes up Hatori just as KUSHIDA applies the HOVERBOARD LOCK for the tapout. (5:12 shown) This was a lot of nonsense. Right man clearly won though. *½
- Best of the Super Jr. 21 Semi-Final: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Ricochet – (Tokyo, Japan; 6/8/14)
Looked like it was just going to be a quick showcase for Ricochet, but Taguchi cuts off the Space Flying Tiger Drop with an enziguri on the apron. Springboard dropkick by Taguchi sends Ricochet to the floor for a somersault plancha. JIP ahead to a forearm exchange in the middle of the ring. They trade a series of running dropkicks in the corner before Taguchi has enough and baits Ricochet into a Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Ricochet stops the Three Amigos (second Eddie Guerrero reference here tonight), but Taguchi gets a sitout gourdbuster for another nearfall. Ricochet avoids the Tiger Suplex from Taguchi and finds a way to get the BENADRYLLER for the win and advances to the finals. (3:52 shown) Yeah, Ricochet is awesome. **½
- Best of the Super Jr. 21 Final: Ricochet vs. KUSHIDA – (Shibuya, Japan; 6/8/14)
KUSHIDA’s plan of attack is clear: he needs to work the arm to get to the Hoverboard Lock. They work off some arm work for the first 5-7 minutes. It’s all really good stuff, but won’t translate well here. Despite the arm work, Ricochet shows off with a Space Flying Tiger Drop to KUSHIDA. Back inside, he delivers a running back elbow in the corner and snapmares KUSHIDA over for a kick to the shoulder blades in between trying to get his left arm to stop bothering him and undo KUSHIDA’s work. Hilo by Ricochet leads to a sliding European Uppercut to KUSHIDA’s shoulders and neck for two. After stopping a corner charge from KUSHIDA, Ricochet lands a flying European Uppercut to the jaw for two. A turning point comes when KUSHIDA sees a handspring off the ropes coming from Ricochet as he dropkicks the guy in the injured left arm. While Ricochet takes a powder, KUSHIDA lands a somersault plancha. Back inside, a Flying Moonsault from KUSHIDA gets two. Ricochet ducks a Buzzsaw Kick and hits the GTS to the ribs for two. Nice hesitation-style dropkick in the corner sets up the Springboard SSP, but KUSHIDA moves out of the way. Oklahoma Roll by KUSHIDA gets 1-2-NO! KUSHIDA kicks on the left arm and hits a handspring back elbow to set up the HOVERBOARD LOCK! Ricochet reaches the ropes, but KUSHIDA stays on the arm. Dragon Suplex gets two. Time for MIDNIGHT EXPRESS, but Ricochet rolls away. They trade elbow strikes from their knees. KUSHIDA snaps Ricochet’s arm over his shoulder, but then Ricochet kicks him back and still manages the Northern lights suplex and deadlift vertical suplex combo for 1-2-NO! Big struggle up top leads to a SUPER BENADRYLLER for 1-2-NO! 630 SENTON connects! Ricochet covers for 1-2-NO! Another BENADRYLLER attempt misses as KUSHIDA kicks him back. Handspring by KUSHIDA leads to him landing on Ricochet’s shoulders. We could see a Hurracanrana, but Ricochet blocks and lifts him back up on his shoulders in position for the BENADRYLLER. KUSHIDA finds a counter right into the HOVERBOARD LOCK~! They roll around on the mat leading to KUSHIDA ending back up on Ricochet’s shoulders. Ricochet has to put him down and connect with another spinwheel kick before he can hit the BENADRYLLER in full force for the 1-2-3. (23:06) Ricochet joins the ranks of Chris Benoit, Eddie Guerrero, and Prince Devitt has the only four gaijins to win the BOSJ tournament. I enjoyed the arm work here and liked KUSHIDA’s well-placed shine moments and comebacks. I loved the finishing sequence here as that was real fun. Ricochet though to me, while a very awesome offensive wrestler, seems to have a hard time selling because he needs his entire body to be strong to get in the spots that people have come to see, so his matches look really cool while a little less compelling than they could be. Put it this way: he’s has a five-star offense, but his psychology is about two and a half. ****¼
NEXT WEEK: Ricochet gets his IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title shot against Kota Ibushi. Plus, much more from Dominion 6.21!