PLEASE TAKE A MOMENT TO BOOKMARK US & VISIT US DAILY
By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN’S NJPW “WRESTLE KINGDOM 9” PPV REPORT
JANUARY 4, 2014
Pre show: 15-Man New Japan Rumble. Eliminations came come via pin, submission, DQ, or being tossed over the top rope.
Tiger Mask and Yuji Nagata kicked things off. Taichi came out next, but took his time coming to the ring to sing a song. He brought out El Desperado and Taka Michinoku with him. Desperado, Taichi, and Michinoku got into the ring and attacked Tiger Mask and Nagata. Jushin Liger ran down to the ring as the next entrant. Liger went to work on Desperado and the fans fired up a bit. Sho Tanaka entered the ring next and sprinted into the ring. The announcers fired up as Hiro Saito made his way down to the ring. The crowd roared after he hit a senton on Liger. Saito continued to run wild with spine busters and sentons. Yohei Komatsu was out next. No eliminations so far. Captain New Japan was the next entrant into the match. He wore a green camo outfit. Captain New Japan dished out uppercuts to everyone and the fans fired up a bit. Tama Tonga was the next man to enter and he snuck in behind Captain New Japan and tossed him out of the ring for the first elimination. Liger and Desperado were the next men eliminated by Tiger Mask and Taichi, who kicked them off the apron. YOSHI-HASHI was the next man to enter the match. He did not immediately enter the ring. Liger and Desperado were shown brawling back to the locker room. Manabu Nakanishi was out next and the announcers freaked out. Yoshiaki Fujiwara made his way to the ring next and the announcers were very excited for his entrance. He went after Tiger Mask and nailed him with slaps and headbutts. Fujiwara continued to dish out headbutts and the fans fired up. Nagata cut him off and beat the crap out of him, but Fujiwara nailed him with a low blow and a head butt. The Great Kabuki was the next surprise entrant. Everyone in the ring stopped and watched his entrance. Taichi and Michinoku jumped Kabuki, but he fired up on them with strikes. He blew red mist into Michinoku’s eyes and was DQ’d. Michinoku was eliminated next via an arm bar from Fujiwara. A pile of men then pinned Fujiwara to eliminate him. Taichi was eliminated with a double pin from by Komatsu and Tanaka. Saito was baited into going for a top rope senton by several people, but they dragged his target out of the way and then piled up on top of him to eliminate him via pin. Komatsu and Tanaka put Tiger Mask on the turnbuckles and nailed him with a double dropkick over the top to the floor to eliminate him. Nakanishi hit a double suplex on Komatsu and Tanaka. He then eliminated Tanaka with a torture rack. Tonga was saved from the torture rack a short time later and he rolled up Nakanishi to eliminate him with the pin. Tonga eliminated Komatsu with a leaping DDT. He hit a TKO on HASHI, but he kicked out at the last second. Tonga went for a stinger splash, but HASHI back dropped him to the floor. HASHI and Nagata are the last men left in the match. HASHI caught Nagata with a big lariat, but he kicked out at the last second. Nagata caught HASHI in his signature arm bar and the fans fired up. Nagata teased rolling his eyes up, but didn’t and transitioned into an arm bar, but HASHI got the ropes. HASHI went for a sleeper, but Nagata countered it into a Saito suplex with a bridge to win the New Japan Rumble.
Nagata was given a trophy for winning the match and he posed with it before leaving the ring.
Winner: Yuji Nagata – There were some fun surprises in the match, but overall this wasn’t very a very good edition of the Rumble match from NJPW.
The opening video package kicked off the main show. The video package ran down each match on the card with a Japanese narrator.
They set up a short fireworks display on the stage and went right to the entrances for the opening match. The Young Bucks were out first. They threw crotch chops and superkicks on their way down to the ring. They hadn’t gotten to the ring when Forever Hooligans came out next. The Time Splitters came out next. The stage for this show is just epic. ReDRagon came out last to their ROH theme. They looked pumped to perform on this stage.
(1) IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Champions ReDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. Forever Hooligans (Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov) vs. The Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA). The action picked up quickly and The Time Splitters sent the Young Bucks out of the ring with a double backdrop after they had thrown some crotch chops at them during the early going. Fish ended up working over KUSHIDA, but Koslov made a blind tag on him. Koslov ran wild on Fish and decked him with a dropkick. Koslov got his hat and did his dancing kicks on Fish. He finished off the sequence with a running double stomp to the head for a 2 count. O’Reilly did his version of a dancing kick on Koslov before tagging in Fish, who continued to work him over a short time later. The Young Bucks both tagged in on Fish and w2ent to town on Shelley with a head scissors/dropkick combination that sent him to the floor. Nick accidentally kicked Matt going for a running kick on Koslov from the apron. Koslov fired back on Nick and caught him with a kick to the head inside the ring a short time later and the fans fired up. Romero got the tag from Koslov and ran wild. He began hitting clotheslines in different corners on Matt, Nick, Fish, and O’Reilly. The fans fired up after he wiped out The Young Bucks with a double clothesline. The action continued at a rapid pace as KUSHIDA got a tag and went nuts in the ring. O’Reilly went for a flying kick off the apron on Shelley, but got nailed with a superkick. The action continued at a rapid pace as a big dive sequence began. Nick wiped out everyone with a sick corkscrew splash to the floor. KUSHIDA then hit a big swanton off the top to wipe out a pile of men. He tossed Matt into the ring and Shelley began working him over. The Time Splitters hit a neck breaker/splash combination on Matt, but Nick broke up the pin. The Young Bucks began throwing around superkicks as the pace picked up once again. Romero hit a double doomsday device on The Young Bucks, but they landed on their feet and wiped out several people with superkicks. They then hit the Meltzer driver on Romero, but the pin got broken up. I loved the Japanese announcer saying IndyTaker on commentary. The Young Bucks set up for more bang for your buck on Romero, but Fish broke it up. Fish & O’Reilly nailed Shelley with a back breaker/knee strike off the ropes combination. They continued to run wild in the ring and Fish nailed Nick with a falcon arrow off the top. They set up for chasing the dragon on Romero, but it got broken up. They isolated Romero again and hit chasing the dragon. Shelley tried to break up the pin, but was unsuccessful.
Winners: Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish to retain the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Championship
Star rating: (***1/2) – The match dragged a bit at the start and the crowd didn’t get into the action until the very end. It seemed like they were rushed to get from sequence to sequence, but they fit a lot into the time they were given.
The entrance for Team New Japan began before all of Bullet Club had gotten to the ring for the second match on the card. Honma was wearing a Honmania jacket for his entrance, which was awesome. Karen shoved Honma before the match began and Bullet Club went on the attack.
(2) Bullet Club (Jeff Jarrett & Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale w/Karen Jarrett & Scott D’Amore) vs. Team New Japan (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma) in a Six Man Tag match. Tenzan and Kojima fired back and got the upper hand in the ring while Jarrett and Honma brawled on the floor. Kojima went to town on Takahashi, but Fale cut him off. The action settled down in the ring with Jarrett working over Kojima. Kojima took a beating as Bullet Club tagged in and out of the ring. Kojima finally cut off Takahashi and tagged in Honma, who ran wild. Honma went for a running headbutt on Takahashi, but he got out of the way. Honma fired back and caught Takahashi with a leaping headbutt as he came off the ropes. Jarrett set up for a guitar shot on Honma, but Honma cut him off. Takahashi held Honma for Jarrett, but he got out of the way and Jarrett nailed Takahashi with the guitar. Kojima and Tenzan cleared Jarrett and Fale from the ring. They hit a 3D on Takahashi. Honma then set up Takahashi for his top rope diving headbutt. The fans went ballistic as he climbed the ropes and connected for the three count. I haven’t been this excited about the finish of a five minute match my entire life after watching G1 Climax 24 and dying for Honma to get a win last year. Incredible finish to the match.
Winners: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma
Star rating: (**1/2) – The match wasn’t much, but man that finish was fantastic for true believers in Honma like myself.
(3) Naomichi Marufuji & Mikey Nicholls & Shane Haste & Toru Yano vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer & Shelton Benjamin & Takashi Iizuka in an Eight Man Tag match. Iizuka came out the side entrance while his partners came out the main entrance and the announcer got very nervous. Iizuka went past the announce table and didn’t attack anyone. The NOAH wrestlers then came out with Toru Yano. Iizuka’s team cleared the ring. Yano and Iizuka then went at it with everyone else brawling on the floor. Yano took the pad off in the corner, but Iizuka nailed him in the head with it a short time later. Yano kept trying to cheat and hit his pose, but it kept getting broken up. The action broke down and TMDK got the upper hand on KES and nailed them with a combination of moves. Archer hit a sick choke slam on Haste and the fans fired up. Marufuji and Iizuka then went at it. Marufuji lit him up with a series of kicks for a 2 count. Benjamin caught Marufuji with a belly-to-belly suplex off the top and the action broke down. Iizuka got a rope and choked Marufuji with it, but Marufuji fired back and nailed him with a big knee strike to the head. TMDK nailed Iizuka with a double team slam and Marufuji finished him off with a big running knee strike to the head.
Winners: Naomichi Marufuji & Mikey Nichols & Shane Haste & Toru Yano – The action was fine while it lasted, but they kept it short. This was a good match for the time it was given.
Minoru Suzuki came out first for his KO or Submission match against Sakuraba. Suzuki came out wearing white trunks instead of the usual black with a towel on his head. The announcers freaked out as he made his entrance. Suzuki took off his towel and he had died his hair white as well. Sakuraba made his entrance next.
(4) Minoru Suzuki vs. Kazushi Sakuraba in a Knockout or Submission match. Sakuraba went for a Pride style stomp early, but Suzuki got out of the way. Sakuraba and Suzuki both got leg submissions, but ended up rolling into the ropes. The ref yelled at Suzuki, who was slow to break the hold. Both men began trading slaps near the apron. Suzuki ended up countering a slap from Sakuraba into an arm bar in the ropes. They eventually began brawling up the ramp. Suzuki tried to set up Sakuraba for a running kick on the ramp, but he got up and they began trading kicks, knees, and strikes on the ramp. Sakuraba got a kimura on the ramp, but the ref made him break it up. Sakuraba was slow to release the hold, but he finally did and Suzuki screamed in pain while holding his arm on the ramp. Suzuki slowly began walking back towards the ring while selling his arm like it was broken from the Kimura. He finally got back into the ring and Sakuraba nailed his arm with several kicks. Sakuraba continued to kick away at Suzuki’s arm and the ref backed him away and began giving him a standing 10 count. Suzuki got to his knee and glared before getting back to his feet. Sakuraba continued to kick away at Suzuki’s knee. Suzuki fired back and nailed Sakuraba with several open hand strikes to the head. The ref began giving him the standing 10 count, but Sakuraba quickly got up. Sakuraba went for an arm bar, but Suzuki blocked it. Sakuraba eventually got the hold and Suzuki rolled around in agony, but eventually got to the ropes. Sakuraba continued to work over Suzuki’s arm with kicks, but he wouldn’t stay down. Suzuki finally fired up and told Sakuraba to kick his arm. Suzuki blocked a kick and nailed Sakuraba with two big palm strikes and a running kick to the head. Suzuki then grabbed a sleeper and hit his signature judo throw. Suzuki held onto the sleeper and the ref checked on Sakuraba, who eventually went out. That was one heck of a war between these two.
The ref checked on Suzuki’s arm after the match as Sakuraba recovered. Sakuraba offered Suzuki a handshake after the match. Suzuki grabbed his arm and gave him a hug. Sakuraba then raised Suzuki’s hand in the ring.
Winner: Minoru Suzuki
Star rating: (***1/2) – This wasn’t what I was expecting from these two. I was expecting more of a strike based match with some MMA thrown in, but Suzuki sold his arm for all it was worth after Sakuraba got a kimura on the entrance ramp in the middle of the match. Suzuki fired up and mounted a quick and decisive comeback in the end to finish off Sakuraba.
(5) NEVER Openweight Champion Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe. Both men went at it right away and began tagging each other with strikes in the middle of the ring. Ishii hit a powerslam and Makabe no-sold it. Makabe hit a powerslam and Ishii returned the favor. They came to a stalemate and began exchanging chops. Ishii got the upper hand and grounded Makabe with a pair of chops to the throat. Ishii yelled at Makabe and began nailing him with headbutts. He then began nailing him with light kicks and Makabe fired up. Both men began trading blows again. Makabe got the upper hand and hit a pair of big clotheslines in the corner and then ten punches from the mount, but Ishii walked out and slapped him right in the face. Both men began exchanging blows again in the middle of the ring. Makabe hit a northern lights suplex with a bridge, but Ishii managed to kick out at 2. Ishii began to fire up and no-sold a series of punches and began walking right at Makabe as he threw forearms. Ishii then nailed Makabe with a huge clothesline in the corner and he collapsed to the mat. Ishii then hit a vertical superplex and followed up with a huge powerbomb before folding up Makabe into a pinning predicament for a near fall.
Makabe fired up a short time later and wiped out Ishii with a clothesline. He followed up with a Liger bomb variation and held on to Ishii for a 2 count. Ishii tried to elbow out of Makabe’s grip, but he nailed him with a dead-lift German with a bridge for a near fall. Makabe placed Ishii up top a short time later and went for a belly-to-back suplex. Ishii hit several elbows and hung Makabe upside down on the turnbuckles, but he bridged up and nailed Ishii with a punch. Makabe then lifted Ishii onto his shoulders and hit a super DVD off the top for a nearfall. Good grief these two are beating the heck out of each other. Makabe hit two clotheslines, but Ishii wouldn’t go down. Ishii went for a kick, but Makabe blocked it. Makabe turned Ishii inside out with a clothesline, but he kicked out at 1. Makabe tried to lift Ishii, but he held onto his knee pad. Ishii hit a German, but Makabe popped right up. Ishii nailed him with a huge lariat and Makabe kicked out at 1. Both men were slow to get up, but when they did they went right back to beating the heck out of each other in the middle of the ring. Makabe hit a pair of chops, but Ishii decked him with a huge headbutt. Ishii followed up with a sliding clothesline, but Makabe kicked out at the last second. Makabe blocked a brainbuster, but Ishii nailed him with an enzuguri. He then rolled on top of him for a nearfall. Ishii hit a clothesline, but Makabe got right up. Ishii went for another clothesline, but Makabe countered it into a dragon suplex with a bridge for a nearfall. Ishii and Makabe began trading shots on their knees. They got up and continued to trade blows. They had an awesome exchange and Ishii hit a headbutt and Makabe returned the favor. Makabe took Ishii down with a double axe handle. Makabe hit another double axe handle, but Ishii kicked out at 1 and screamed. Makabe nearly murdered Ishii with a running lariat, but he kicked out at 2. Makabe then set up Ishii and went up top and hit the King Kong knee drop for the win. This was one hell of a war.
Both men sold the effects of the match after the pin. Ishii stumbled down the aisle and grabbed his neck. Makabe eventually left the ring and held up the title.
Winner: Togi Makabe to become the new NEVER Openweight Champion.
Star rating: (****1/4) – This was one hell of a war. Makabe seemed to have an answer for everything Ishii threw at him. They had some great strike exchanges and really turned it up a notch late in the match with some fantastic fighting spirit spots. I think Ishii really could use a break at this point given the injuries he’s worked through since G1 last year. What a war this was!
They went to a video package announcing the big shows through August. They announced dates with ROH in May with the schedule of big shows. They announced three shows for Sumo Hall Aug. 14-16 for G1 Climax 25.
(6) IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Kenny Omega (w/The Young Bucks.) Omega’s new action hero gimmick is fantastic. The ref checked Omega before the match started and he threw his toothpick at him. Omega backed Taguchi into the ropes and gave him the lightest slap to the face possible. The pace picked up Taguchi caught Omega with a butt bump off the ropes and then shook his rear end before assaulting Omega once again with some butt-centric offense. Omega went for a hurricanrana, but Taguchi countered it into an ankle lock. Omega quickly escaped, but Taguchi sent him to the floor with a big clothesline. The young Bucks got up on the apron and distracted the ref. Omega then sprayed Taguchi’s in the face with his fragrance. Omega then sprayed his crotch and armpits on the floor. Omega began working over Taguchi inside the ring. Taguchi tried to block a suplex, but Omega managed to dead-lift him up into position before dumping him down to the mat. Omega began winding up his arm like a chainsaw before grinding it in Taguchi’s face, but the ref pulled him off. Omega shoved the ref, but the ref warned him to knock it off. Taguchi eventually managed to fend off interference from the Young Bucks. He then backdropped Omega over the top and he landed on the Young Bucks. Taguchi then wiped out Omega and The Young Bucks with a big flip dive to the floor. Taguchi went for the three amigos, but Omega countered the third attempt. He then hit a big leaping leg drop on Taguchi for a 2 count. Omega went for a buckle bomb, but Taguchi countered it into a hurricanrana into the turnbuckles. Taguchi went up top a short time later, but Omega cut him off. They went back and forth up top. Taguchi shoved Omega to the mat and went for a move off the top, but Omega nailed him with a dropkick. Omega hit a gut wrench sit-out powerbomb for a near fall. Taguchi beat Croyt’s wrath and eventually hit a knee strike. Taguchi hit a double underhook face buster and applied the ankle lock, but the Young Bucks jumped on the apron. Omega accidentally kicked Matt of the apron and Taguchi hit a big gutbuster for a near fall. Taguchi went for another butt bump, but Omega caught him with a snap German. Omega then hit a cradle shock variation for the win.
Winner: Kenny Omega to become the new IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion
Star rating: (**1/2) – The action was decent in this match. Taguchi managed to fend off the Young Bucks, but he couldn’t put away Omega. I really enjoy Omega’s new gimmick and I hope they match him up with some good opponents. It was definitely the right call to switch the title here, as the division has been a dumpster fire with Taguchi as champion.
(7) IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Champions Bullet Club (Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows w/Amber O’Neal & Tama Tonga) vs. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata. Goto & Shibata beat Gallows & Anderson to win the World Tag League in December. Shibata grabbed Anderson from the apron and Goto went for a kick, but he hit Shibata. Gallows then wiped out Goto from behind and Anderson began working him over. Goto took a beating for a long period of time. Goto finally mounted a comeback and nailed Gallows with a big clothesline. Shibata got the hot tag and ran wild on Gallows and Anderson. Shibata set up for his signature dropkick in the corner, but Gallows surprised him with a clothesline. Shibata fired right back with a dropkick off the ropes on Gallows. Anderson ran into the ring and the action broke down with all four men going at it. Shibata and Goto got the upper hands and worked together to hit a pair of stereo kicks on Gallows and Anderson in opposite corners. Anderson & Gallows fired back and nailed Goto Shibata with a combination of moves after taking out Goto. Anderson & Gallows hit a running kick/TKO combination on Goto. They then hit a combination neck breaker on Shibata, but he kicked out at the last second. Goto ran into the ring to save Shibata a short time later. He blocked the gun stun from Anderson twice as they went back and forth. Goto nailed Anderson with a neck breaker over his knee and Shibata followed up with a penalty kick, but Gallows ran in and wiped them both out. Gallows hit a baldo bomb on Shibata, but he kicked out at the last second. Shibata & Goto fired back on Anderson and nailed him with a double knee neck breaker off the top. Goto nailed Anderson with a huge clothesline and Shibata applied a sleeper, but Anderson got up on the apron. Shibata booted him off. Goto & Shibata nailed Gallows with a tandem GTS. Shibata then hit the penalty kick on Gallows for the win.
Goto & Shibata sat down with the belts around their waists and posed for pictures after the match.
Winners: Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata
Star rating: (***1/4) – This was a good tag match. It started out slowly, but the action down the stretch was excellent. Once again, it was time for the belts to switch and the right team won. I’m excited to see what Shibata & Goto have in store as tag team champions after being bitter rivals for so long.
(8) A.J. Styles vs. Tetsuya Naito. Styles jumped Naito once he got into the ring and went for the Styles clash, but Naito countered it. Styles went for the Styles clash again, but Naito picked him up and put him on the apron. Styles backdropped Naito to the floor and went for a moonsault off the apron, but Naito got out of the way. Naito eventually connected with a running dropkick off the apron on Styles to get the upper hand. Naito hit a missile dropkick back inside the ring and went for his signature dropkick off the ropes, but Styles caught him and hit a corkscrew. Styles began aggressively attacking Naito’s leg. Styles locked in a leg submission, but Naito got the ropes. Both men began trading shots in the middle of the ring. Styles went after Naito’s leg, but Naito fired back and hit a tornado DDT and both men were down. Naito got the upper hand and began working over Styles. They battled up top and Styles fought Naito off with a series of headbutts. Styles eventually connected with a springboard elbow and the fans fired up a bit. Styles flipped Naito over his head and hit a neck breaker after they went back and forth trying to go for a suplex. Styles hit a German on Naito and held on for a face buster, but Naito countered it into a small package for a 2 count. Naito then hit a German with a bridge for a 2 count and both men were down.
They went back and forth and Naito hit his signature jumping elbow off the ropes. Naito set up Styles and favored his knee. Naito then went up top, but Styles swept his legs out from under him. Styles went for a belly-to-back superplex, but Naito landed on his feet. Styles then caught Naito in a nasty leg submission using his leg and arms for a combination leg/ankle lock. Naito teased tapping several times, but managed to get the ropes. They went back and forth a short time later and Naito hit a uranagi. Naito then hit a dragon suplex with a bridge for a 2 count. Styles countered Naito and hit him with the Pele kick. He then nailed Naito with a bloody Sunday DDT and signaled for the finish. Naito fired up in the Styles clash position and backdropped Styles all the way to the floor. Styles barely beat the 20 count. Naito limped towards Styles, but Styles grabbed him and shoved him into the turnbuckles. Naito fired back and hit his signature corner dropkick. The fans fired up and Naito went for a top rope hurricanrana. Styles blocked it and held on for a top rope Styles clash. The crowd roared and the ref counted to three. Wow! This was really good.
Winner: A.J. Styles
Star rating: (****) – This was an excellent match between Styles and Naito. Styles worked Naito’s leg throughout the match and they built up to some great exchanges. The Styles clash off the turnbuckles looked devastating and that was a heck of a finish to the match. Naito is really good in his slot in NJPW right now. He has killer matches with a variety of opponents and makes them look good. He has credibility because of his past success in NJPW, so he’s a good guy to use to build Styles back towards a rematch against Tanahashi.
A video package aired for the Nakamura-Ibushi match. They showed Ibushi attacking Nakamura at the Power Struggle PPV in November to set up their match at “Wrestle Kingdom 9.” The video package highlighted Ibushi’s transition from the DDT promotion to being a full-time member of the NJPW roster.
Nakamura has really built up the IC Championship through multiple reigns. This title certainly means something in NJPW, unlike secondary titles in most US promotions.
Kota Ibushi came out first for his shot at the IWGP IC Title. Shinsuke Nakamura came out second. He was dressed like the statue of liberty with a red and black theme. Nakamura also had a long cape on. The fans and announcers went nuts for his entrance. Nakamura shimmied down to the ring and unzipped his fest to unveil the IWGP IC Championship.
(9) IWGP IC Champion Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kota Ibushi. The fans fired up for the opening bell and both men circled each other. They traded kicks to the leg in the middle of the ring. Nakamura did his signature rope break, but Ibushi shoved him away. The paced picked up with both men going back and forth before they came to a stalemate. Nakamura offered a handshake, but he ended up hitting a knee to the gut and a kick to the head. Nakamura went for the Boma Ye, but Ibushi countered and hit Nakamura’s signature boot choke in the corner. He then backed away and told Nakamura to bring it. Nakamura glared at Ibushi and told him to bring it. He tossed Ibushi in to the corner and hit the vibration boot followed by his signature running knee to the gut in the corner. Nakamura got the upper hand on the outside and hit a jumping knee to Ibushi’s head on the apron. Ibushi tried to get back into the ring, but fell to the floor. He managed to roll back into the ring and Nakamura went back on the attack. Nakamura hit a jumping knee drop and posed on top of Ibushi for a 2 count. Ibushi tried to fire back with some forearms, but Nakamura brushed his chest off each time. Nakamura then nailed Ibushi with several forearms. He held him by the head and slapped him in the face several times. Ibushi ducked a kick and fired back at Nakamura, but ended up eating a back stabber. Ibushi finally fired back with a leaping hurricanrana. He then dropkicked Nakamura off the apron to the floor and the fans fired up. Ibushi then hit a sick springboard moonsault off the top to the floor to wipe out Ibushi.
Ibushi continued to work over Nakamura back inside the ring. He decked Nakamura with a big kick to the chest and hit a running SSP for a 2 count. Ibushi went for a springboard a short time later, but Nakamura caught him with a dropkick and both men were down. Nakamura dumped Ibushi to the mat and hit several knee strikes to his head. He went for the Boma Ye, but Ibushi got out of the way. They battled up top and Nakamura shoved Ibushi to the apron. Ibushi fired back and hit a springboard hurricanrana off the top for a near fall. Ibushi caught Nakamura with a snap dragon suplex. Nakamura ducked a kick, but Ibushi went right to a standing corkscrew moonsault for a near fall. My gosh, Ibushi is amazingly athletic. Ibushi caught Nakamura with a roundhouse kick to the head a short time later. He then hit a huge pop-up sit-out powerbomb for a near fall and the fans gasped. Ibushi went up top for a Phoenix splash, but Nakamura got out of the way and hit the Boma Ye to the back of Ibushi’s head and both men were down. Nakamura hit several kicks to Ibushi’s head when Ibushi was tied up in the ropes. Ibushi snapped the rope into Nakamura’s mouth and fired back with some huge palm strikes. Good lord! Nakamura shoved the ref into Ibushi and nailed him with a huge forearm. Ibushi went for a clothesline, but Nakamura caught him with a flying arm bar. Ibushi got on top of Nakamura and booted his way out of the hold. He then hit several stomps on Nakamura’s head and hit a leg capture suplex. Ibushi mocked Nakamura’s setup for the Boma Ye and nailed him with it, but Nakamura kicked out at one. Holy s—t! Ibushi got up and began punching and kicking Nakamura’s head. The ref tried to back him up. Nakamura got up and booted Ibushi into the corner and began nailing him with kicks to the head. Nakamura then stepped on Ibushi’s face. The announcers freaked out at the action in the ring. Ibushi blocked a kick and they began nailing each other with huge slaps. Nakamura set up for the Boma Ye, but Ibushi got up and nailed him with a double stomp. OH MY GOD! Both men were down on the mat as the fans fired up. Ibushi got to his feet and fired up. The fans began to fire up as well. Ibushi grabbed Nakamura on the apron and jumped on the top rope and hit a million dollar dream suplex for a near fall and the fans went nuts. HOLY CRAP! This match is bonkers. Ibushi lifted Nakamura up and went for a powerbomb, but Nakamura headbutted his way out of it. Nakamura then hit several elbows and a jumping knee to the back of Ibushi’s head. Ibushi got right up and both men went for Boma Ye at the same time. Nakamura then hit a falcon arrow and followed up with Boma Ye for the win. Holy crap! Just an incredible match.
Nakamura went over to Ibushi after the match. They bumped fists, but Nakamura shoved his head after the match. The ref then put the IWGP IC Championship around Nakamura’s waist. Nakamura cut a promo after the match. The fans fired up and Nakamura pointed to Ibushi and the fans applauded. Nakamura then hit his catchphrase and the fans fired up.
Winner: Shinsuke Nakamura to retain the IWGP IC Championship.
Star rating: (*****) – What a match! What a match! What a match! Ibushi was amazing here and Nakamura took this match seriously and didn’t do any of his usual mannerisms. The timing of the strikes and counter exchanges in this match was incredible. They built to some absolutely incredible near falls down the stretch. I loved Ibushi going all-out here and hitting Nakamura’s signature offense on him.
A video package aired for the Tanahasi-Okada main event. The video highlighted Okada’s journey to overtake Tanahasi as the ace of NJPW.
Okada made his entrance for the main event first and came out from under the stage and posed at the top of the ramp. His entrance video looked amazing on the wall of video screens behind him. Gedo walked down the ramp with Okada holding his G1 Climax IWGP Hvt. Championship Title Shot briefcase. Tanahashi then made his entrance as fire shot out of the entrance ramp in the background.
(10) IWGP Hvt. Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi (w/Captain New Japan) vs. Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo). The fans chanted for both men after the opening bell. It sounded pretty close to 50/50 with Tanahashi holding a slight edge perhaps. Okada teased a clean breaker in the corner during the early going, but nailed Tanahashi with a big forearm. They went back and forth trading forearms. They eventually ended up in the corner where they continued to trade forearms. Okada finally went down to one knee and Tanahashi went to the second turnbuckle, but Okada hit an uppercut that sent him flying to the floor. Okada dominated the action on the outside. He went for a tombstone on the ramp a short time later, but Tanahashi fought out of it. Tanahashi played some air guitar as he got a running start after taking Okada down. He charged at Okada, but he countered and hit a big DVD on the entrance ramp. Okada worked over Tanahashi inside the ring, but ended up missing a senton. Tanahashi mounted a comeback and favored his back while working over Okada. Tanahashi hit a flip senton off the second turnbuckle for a 2 count. Okada fired back and caught Tanahashi with a flap jack a short time later. Okada locked in a modified crucifix with a chin lock in the middle of the ring. Tanahashi struggled for a long time, but finally got his foot on the bottom rope. They began trading forearms a short time later. Both men grabbed each other by the hair and went face-to-face. Tanahashi caught Okada’s leg when he went for a running kick and nailed him with an elbow to the leg. Okada fired right back with a shotgun dropkick that sent Tanahashi flying into the corner. Tanahashi countered Okada a short time later and hit a neck breaker for a 2 count.
They battled up top a short time later and Okada tried to lift Tanahashi onto his shoulders. The fans fired up and Tanahashi hit several elbows to the head and then sent Okada to the floor with an uppercut. Tanahashi went for the high fly flow, but Okada rolled out of the way and nailed him with a diving uppercut for a 2 count. Okada followed up with a neck breaker over his knee for another 2 count. Okada went up top and hit an elbow drop. He signaled for the rainmaker and the fans fired up. Tanahashi countered the rainmaker into a pinning combination for a 2 count. Okada went for a kick a short time later and Tanahashi hit a dragon screw. Tanahashi began targeting Okada’s leg with kicks. Okada tried to fire back, but Tanahashi hit a dropkick to his leg and Okada rolled to the floor. Okada tried to fire back on the floor with a running kick, but Tanahashi hit a basement dropkick that sent him flying over the guardrail. Tanahashi then went up top and hit the high fly flow over the guardrail to wipe out Tanahashi and the fans gasped. Holy crap that was impressive! Tanahashi dragged Okada back to ringside and tossed him into the ring. Tanahashi went up top and went for high fly flow, but Okada ran under him. Tanahashi hit a sling blade and went up top. He nailed Okada with a standing high fly flow. Okada tried to roll through into a tombstone, but Tanahashi flipped over him and hit a tombstone. HOLY S—T! Tanahashi went up top and hit high fly flow to Okada’s back. He went up top and hit a traditional high fly flow, but Okada kicked out at the very last second and the fans went nuts. THIS IS AMAZING!
Tanahashi went for a leg submission, but Okada kicked him off. Okada fired up and nailed Tanahashi with an uppercut, but he shook it off. Tanahashi hit another sling blade and mocked the rainmaker pose. Tanahashi went for the rainmaker, but Okada countered it into the rainmaker for a near fall and the fans went nuts. The fans began clapping with both men down on the mat. That was an incredible exchange! The drama in this match is off the charts. Both men began trading forearms from their knees. Okada got a nasty look on his face and nailed Tanahashi with a huge forearm. Tanahashi fired back as they dropped back down to their knees. Both men got up and continued to trade forearms. Tanahasi sold going down after a big forearm, but he popped up and nailed Okada. Okada fired back and went for the tombstone, but Tanahashi rolled him up for a 2 count. Tanahashi caught a kick attempt from Okada and dropkicked his legs out from under him. Tanahashi began nailing Okada with left hand punches. Okada dropped down and grabbed Tanahashi’s leg to hold himself up. They went back and forth. Okada went for a rainmaker, but Tanahashi countered it into a German with a bridge for a near fall. Okada then hit a German with a bridge for a near fall. Okada went for another rainmaker, but Tanahashi countered it into a dragon suplex with a bridge for a near fall. Okada caught Tanahashi with the too awesome dropkick and went for the rainmaker, but Tanahashi countered it and hit another dragon screw. Tanahashi then hit a dragon screw around the ropes. He went up top and hit high fly flow on Okada, who was draped over the ropes. Tanahashi then hit another dragon screw and went up top with Okada sitting in the ring. Tanahashi hit the high fly flow and went up top again. The fans went nuts as Tanahashi hit the high fly flow for the win. My goodness that match won’t be topped in 2015. Good lord!
Okada cried as Gedo helped him to the back after the match. The emotion here is just incredible. Okada collapsed and broke down as several fans chanted for him. Tanahashi got on the mic and shouted for Okada. I believe he told him he had fallen back down the mountain. Okada turned around and then continued to walk down the aisle crying.
Tanahashi teased leaving the ring, but then came back to do his guitar solo. Tanahashi then had the young boy hand him his guitar from under the ring. He then unleashed a mean guitar solo and collapsed on the mat. He then played another solo before smashing his guitar. The fans fired up and chanted his name. Tanahashi then had a fan toss him an air guitar and he began shredding in the ring. Tanahashi tossed the guitar back into the crowd and the fans applauded. Tanahashi walked up the ramp as the fans threw towels at him to conclude the show. When he got to the top of the ramp, fireworks set off as Okada played air guitar. Tanahashi then got back on the mic and the fans chanted his name. He thanked the fans and they roared as fireworks went off.
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi to retain the IWGP Championship
Star rating: (*****) – This was an amazing ending to an incredible show. This match had an incredible build with Okada and Tanahashi mirroring each other throughout the G1 Climax 24 tournament on opposite blocks. Okada was rehabbed by winning the tournament after losing the IWGP Hvt. Championship to Styles earlier in the year. Okada’s quest to become the ace of NJPW fell short in this match. Tanahashi kicked out of the only rainmaker Okada hit and countered every other rainmaker attempt from Okada. The work on Okada’s leg was brutal to set up the finish. This was an amazing story as Okada once again falls back down the mountain. Okada was never able to hit the tombstone or lock in red ink during the match.
Quick overall thoughts: (10.0) – This is one of the best shows I’ve ever seen. Nakamura-Ibushi and Tanahashi-Okada were just at another level on this night. The undercard felt a bit rushed in places, but nearly everything delivered what you would expect with Makabe-Goto and Styles-Naito being another pair of excellent matches on the card.
The story of Okada-Tanahashi is amazing. When you focus on how they built them up to face each other during G1 Climax 24 and Okada’s journey to finally topple Tanahashi and become the ace of NJPW only to fall short, it’s hard not to marvel at the storytelling. It was a fantastic story and Okada apparently falls back down the mountain. His journey to redemption is going to be interesting, as he appeared broken after the match. NJPW has the best long-term storytelling in wrestling right now and the Okada-Tanahashi dynamic is absolutely enthralling to watch. This was a show for the ages.
This show is available with English commentary via GFW on your local cable provider or you can watch the Japanese version of this show by signing up for NJPWWorld.com.
Please click HERE and click “like” to join the Radican’s Wrestling Community Facebook fan page.
THE TORCH REACHES MORE COMBAT ENTERTAINMENT FANS THAN ANY OTHER SOURCE
PWTorch editor Wade Keller has covered pro wrestling full time since 1987 starting with the Pro Wrestling Torch print newsletter. PWTorch.com launched in 1999 and the PWTorch Apps launched in 2008.
He has conducted "Torch Talk" insider interviews with Hulk Hogan, The Rock, Steve Austin, Kevin Nash, Scott Hall, Eric Bischoff, Jesse Ventura, Lou Thesz, Jerry Lawler, Mick Foley, Jim Ross, Paul Heyman, Bruno Sammartino, Goldberg, more.
He has interviewed big-name players in person incluiding Vince McMahon (at WWE Headquarters), Dana White (in Las Vegas), Eric Bischoff (at the first Nitro at Mall of America), Brock Lesnar (after his first UFC win).
He hosted the weekly Pro Wrestling Focus radio show on KFAN in the early 1990s and hosted the Ultimate Insiders DVD series distributed in retail stories internationally in the mid-2000s including interviews filmed in Los Angeles with Vince Russo & Ed Ferrara and Matt & Jeff Hardy. He currently hosts the most listened to pro wrestling audio show in the world, (the PWTorch Livecast, top ranked in iTunes)
REACHING 1 MILLION+ UNIQUE USERS PER MONTH
500 MILLION CLICKS & LISTENS PER YEAR
MILLIONS OF PWTORCH NEWSLETTERS SOLD
PWTorch offers a VIP membership for $10 a month (or less with an annual sub). It includes nearly 25 years worth of archives from our coverage of pro wrestling dating back to PWTorch Newsletters from the late-'80s filled with insider secrets from every era that are available to VIPers in digital PDF format and Keller's radio show from the early 1990s.
Also, new exclusive top-shelf content every day including a new VIP-exclusive weekly 16 page digital magazine-style (PC and iPad compatible) PDF newsletter packed with exclusive articles and news.
The following features come with a VIP membership which tens of thousands of fans worldwide have enjoyed for many years...
-New Digital PWTorch Newsletter every week
-3 New Digital PDF Back Issues from 5, 10, 20 years ago
-Over 60 new VIP Audio Shows each week
-Ad-free access to all PWTorch.com free articles
-VIP Forum access with daily interaction with PWTorch staff and well-informed fellow wrestling fans
-Tons of archived audio and text articles
-Decades of Torch Talk insider interviews in transcript and audio formats with big name stars. **SIGN UP FOR VIP ACCESS HERE**