RADICAN'S TAKE RADICAN'S NJPW SPOTLIGHT: NEVER Openweight Champion Ishii vs. Makabe 4/29 - hard-hitting MOTYC
May 2, 2015 - 9:12:12 PM
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By Sean Radican, Torch columnist
RADICAN’S NJPW MATCH SPOTLIGHT
NJPW WRESTLING HINOKOKO
NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPION TOMOHIRO ISHII VS. TOGI MAKABE
APRIL 29, 2015
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
Tomohiro Ishii defended the NEVER Openweight Championship is the first big NJPW Title match this month. The match headlined NJPW’s “Wrestling Hinokoko” house show that aired live on NJPWWorld.com as an iPPV special.
The story going into the match is that Makabe was stripped of the NEVER Openweight title in February because he was unable to wrestle. Ishii then beat Honma for the vacant Openweight title in a match to capture the NEVER Openweight Championship. Makabe had beaten Ishii for the NEVER Openweight title at “Wrestle Kingdom 9” in a fantastic match.
Their rivalry heated up at the “Invasion Attack” PPV last month in a multi-man tag match. After the match, Ishii and Makabe had a pull-apart brawl to set up their match to headline this show.
A video package highlighted the backstory to the feud between Ishii and Makabe before the match began.
Makabe came out first. The announcers then freaked out as Ishii marched down to the ring and glared at Makabe. They did the formal ring introductions. Makabe was introduced first and got a good pop. Ishii was announced next and he got a similar reaction to Makabe...
NEVER Openweight Champion Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe
The bell rang and the fans applauded. A chant for Makabe began. Both men kept going for shoulder tackles, but neither man would go down. They began yelling at each other. They then went to opposite corners and ran into each other shoulder first. They continued to go for shoulder tackles. Both men bounced off the ropes going for a shoulder tackle until Makabe finally dropped Ishii. Makabe began working over Ishii with forearms in the corner and he slumped to the mat. Makabe lifted Ishii to his feet and hit several overhand chops. Ishii fired back with a drop to the throat that dropped Makabe. Ishii began hitting Makabe with a series of big chops. He then slapped Makabe lightly across the face several times before hitting another big chop that dropped Makabe. Ishii hit a series of light kicks to Makabe’s head after choking him with his boot.
Makabe got up and glared at Ishii. He told Ishii to bring that s—t and they began trading forearms. Ishii sent Makabe into the corner with a big forearms and then alternated hitting chops and forearms on him in the corner. Ishii told Makabe to bring it and he crawled towards him. The fans chanted for Makabe as he hit several forearms to Ishii’s mid-section from his knees. Ishii just stood there and dropped him with a big forearm. Makabe slipped out of a brainbuster attempt from Ishii. Ishii went for another brainbuster, but Makabe managed to leverage his way back down to his feet before hitting a suplex. Makabe mounted Ishii in the corner after hitting a running forearm, but Ishii was having none of it and he powerbombed him to the mat.
Ishii went back on the attack and peppered Makabe with some light kicks to the head. Makabe fired up and told Ishii to bring it as he nailed him with big chops to the chest. Makabe dropped down to a knee and Ishii continued to nail him with big chops. Makabe fired up again and yelled at Ishii. Makabe shrugged off a running forearm off the ropes and hit a slam. He then said “f—k you” to Ishii and mounted him in the corner. Makabe hit several punches before hitting a northern lights suplex for a 2 count. Makabe caught Ishii with a powerslam as he came off the ropes a short time later. Makabe went for a powerbomb, but Ishii blocked it and backdropped him. The fans applauded as both men went at it in the middle of the ring. Ishii hit several forearms, but Makabe roared and dropped him with one forearm. Makabe taunted Ishii, who tried to use Makabe’s legs to drag himself to his feet. Makabe continued to taunt Ishii and dragged him to the middle of the ring and nailed him with a punch that sent him back into the corner. Ishii then dropped down on his knees. Ishii tried to hit some punches from his knees, but Makabe dropped him with a punch. Ishii yelled and tried to get back to his feet. Makabe hit several punches, but Ishii shrugged them off and began walking towards Makabe. Ishii finally decked Makabe with a big forearm that sent him into the corner.
They went back and forth and Ishii took Makabe down with a shoulder tackle and hit a powerbomb right into a folding pin for a submission. Ishii grabbed a double underhook submission. Makabe went for the ropes, but Ishii dragged him back to the middle of the ring. Makabe fired up again and went for the ropes, but couldn’t get there. He got to his feet, but Ishii turned it into a tiger suplex. Ishii went for a sliding lariat, but Makabe ducked it. Makabe went for a suplex, but Ishii hit a backwards headbutt. He then nailed Makabe with a big running clothesline in the corner. Ishii placed Makabe on the top turnbuckle and hit a delayed vertical suplex for a near fall and the fans gasped. Both men went back and forth blocking running lariat attempts. Makabe went for a dragon suplex, but Ishii blocked it and both men slumped to their knees. They went back and forth and Makabe hit a lariat to the back of Ishii’s head and both men were down. Both men went for lariats at the same time. They took a second and hit lariats at the same time again. They repeated the spot again. Both men came off the ropes and hit clotheslines at the same time. Both men slumped to the mat and did the double clothesline spot again. Ishii hit a running clothesline, but Makabe got right up and nailed him with two clotheslines and both men were down. Holy crap! Makabe hit a big powerbomb and folded up on top of Ishii for a near fall and the fans roared.
Ishii went for an enzuguri, but Makabe ducked it. Ishii ducked a clothesline and hit several slaps to Makabe’s face. They went back and forth swinging for the fences with punches and slaps. Makabe went off the ropes and Ishii hit a huge clothesline, but Makabe kicked out at one. They went back and forth again. Both men yelled at each other before resuming their exchange. Makabe nailed Ishii with chops and elbows and took him down with a double axe handle and the fans gasped. Makabe went to the turnbuckles, but Ishii grabbed his foot. Makabe hit a huge German with a bridge a short time later, but Ishii kicked out at the last second and the fans gasped. Makabe set up behind Ishii and the fans chanted for him. He nailed Ishii with a lariat to the back. He then set up for a spider German, but Ishii blocked it. Makabe nailed him with a punch and hit a spider German and the announcers went nuts. He went up top for the King Kong knee drop, but Ishii rolled out of the way. They showed a shot of the NEVER Openweight belt as both men were slow to get to their feet. Makabe hit a lariat and went off the ropes, but Ishii caught him with a huge dropkick and both men were down. The fans clapped and applauded as both men were slow to get to their feet. Both men got up and began exchanging forearms. They looked absolutely exhausted. Both men yelled at each other and continued to exchange forearms. Wow! Ishii slid around Makabe coming off the ropes and hit a German, but Makabe got right to his feet. They continued to go at it and Ishii capped a big exchange with a running headbutt to the chest and a sliding lariat, but Makabe kicked out at the last second and the fans lost their minds. Makabe blocked a brainbuster attempt twice. They went back and forth before selling exhaustion. Holy crap! They went back at it again and Makabe shook over an overhand chop and hit a huge German.
Makabe went for a running clothesline, but Ishii wouldn’t go down. Ishii fired back a short time later, but Makabe wouldn’t go down. Makabe hit a huge clothesline and Ishii slumped against the ropes. Ishii fired back with a clothesline, but Makabe wouldn’t go down. Both men slumped against each other. Makabe hit an axe handle, but Ishii wouldn’t go down. Makabe hit another running clothesline and Ishii went down to his knees. Makabe made the cover, but Ishii kicked out at 1! These are two tough SOBs! The fans went crazy and chanted for Makabe. He tried to lift Ishii, who sold death. Makabe hit several overhand chops, but Ishii fired back with a headbutt. Ishii nailed Makabe with several forearms going left and right, but Makabe decked him with a lariat. Ishii got up and Makabe hit another lariat, but Ishii kicked out at the very last second and the fans went nuts. GOOD LORD! Makabe hit several axe handles before decking Ishii. Ishii tried to get to his knees, but Makabe nailed him with the King Kong knee drop for the win!
Makabe was presented with the NEVER Openweight Championship after the match as Ishii looked on from the floor. A young boy strapped the belt around Makabe’s waist. Ishii shook off help from an attendant and stumbled down the aisle as Makabe looked on. Ishii continued to have trouble getting to the back and shook off help. Makabe glared at him. Makabe then cut a promo and the fans applauded his words. He thanked the fans to close the show. The fans stood and applauded as confetti came down from the ceiling. Makabe glared at the camera and flipped it off before heading to the back.
Winner: Togi Makabe to become the new NEVER Openweight Champion.
Star rating: (****3/4) – This was an amazing and brutal hard-hitting match between two warriors. It felt as if both men were fighting for the biggest prize on the planet. They had some insane exchanges, especially with both guys going for clotheslines at the same time and refusing to go down. They had several great near falls down the stretch mixed in with some fighting spirit spots before Makabe finally hit his King Kong knee drop finish on Ishii in brutal fashion. Ishii’s headbutts were a concern here, but otherwise this was incredible.
Other thoughts: I enjoyed this match between Ishii and Makabe a little bit more than their match at "WK 9" in January. They were given a little more table and were able to build an epic match that had so many big moments. The crowd during this match, along with the announcers, were a blast to listen to. The crowd got hotter and hotter as the match went on and gasped and groaned with every near fall and fighting spirit spot down the stretch.
Ishii and Makabe come across like absolute warriors in this environment. Their facial expressions and selling were spot-on for the entire match. The finish was particularly brutal with the valiant Ishii trying to get back to his feet only for Makabe to come of the top with his King Kong knee drop to finish him off. Do yourself a favor and go out of your way to see this match. It felt like they were battling for the biggest prize and earth and this match showcased why NJPW is able to have multiple singles titles that mean something.
Note: You can watch this show on VOD at NJPWWorld.com
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