Following the “Wrestle Kingdom” Tokyo Dome Show, New Japan presented the “New Year’s Dash” show with major developments for the new year…
RADICAN’S NJPW “NEW YEAR’S DASH” REPORT
JANUARY 5, 2015
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
This is the annual “Raw after WM” show for NJPW where they set angles in motion for the rest of the year. This show should be particularly newsworthy given the news breaking that A.J. Styles, Shinsuke Nakamura, Karl Anderson, and Doc Gallows will be departing from NJPW in the near future.
This show is taking place at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo. The card has not been announced ahead of time. Kevin Kelly, Matt Striker, and Yoshi Tatsu are on the call.
(1) Ryusuke Taguchi & Sho Tanaka & Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata & Shiro Koshinaka vs. Yoshiaki Fujiwara & Jushin Liger & Yohei Komatsu & Tiger Mask & Cheeseburger. The fans chanted for Cheeseburger before the opening match. Tanaka nailed Fujiwara with a chop. He no-sold it and nailed Tanaka with several chops before grabbing a kimura, but Tanaka managed to get to the ropes. Liger tagged in and he wanted Koshinaka. The fans fired up and Koshinaka got the tag. Cheeseburger got the tag, but Koshinaka cut him off right away. Tiger and Liger tried to whip him at Nakanishi, but he caught him and slammed him down to the mat. Nakanishi no-sold about 30 forearms from Cheeseburger and sent him down to the mat. The fans chanted for Cheeseburger as he continued to take a beating. Everyone took turns nailing Cheeseburger with hip attacks. Taguchi eventually covered Cheeseburger, but he managed to kick out at 2. Cheeseburger nailed Nagata with a series of forearms, but he no sold them all and nailed Cheeseburger with a big knee. Cheeseburger finally tagged in Tiger Mask, who ran wild. The action broke down a short time later. Taguchi took a combination of moves capped by a palm strike from Liger. They wanted Cheeseburger to get a move in on Taguchi, but he surprised him with a hip attack. Cheeseburger avoided a hip attack from Koshinaka and nailed him with a kick. He set up and ran off the ropes, but Koshinaka nailed him with a big hip attack. Taguchi eventually pinned Komatsu with a sit-out face slam.
Everyone raised their hands together after the match.
WINNERS: Ryusuke Taguchi & Sho Tanaka & Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata – This was a fun opener. It was really cool to see the crowd react to Cheeseburger.
(2) David Finlay & Jay White vs. Matt Sydal & Ricochet. Ricochet and White had a crazy exchange during the early going that ended with a huge Ricochet dropkick. Sydal hit his signature standing leg drop on White and the fans fired up. White continued to take a sustained beating from Sydal and Ricochet. White finally tagged in Finlay, who went at it with Sydal. Finlay caught Sydal with a big diving uppercut. Sydal fired back and tagged in Ricochet. They isolated Finlay, but he nailed them both with a series of uppercuts. Sydal countered him and whipped him right into a big kick from Ricochet. Sydal and Ricochet then hit stereo standing SSPs, but White broke up the pin. Sydal and Ricochet went up top on opposite ends of the ring and hit stereo SSPs off the top for the double pin. Wow!
Ricochet and Sydal shook hands with White and Finlay after the match. Sydal said they were coming for the Jr. Hvt. Tag Titles after the match.
WINNERS: Ricochet & Matt Sydal
Star rating: (**1/2) – This was a fun match. The crowd was really into it and although it didn’t build much, the action was solid throughout.
Juice Robinson was out next. Kelly and Striker mentioned he was trained by Truth Martini. ROH World Champion Jay Lethal was out next to face him to generic music. They also mentioned that Robinson was training in the NJPW Dojo.
(3) ROH World Champion Jay Lethal (w/Truth Martini) vs. Juice Robinson in a non-title match. Robinson took down Lethal with a shoulder tackle. Kelly mentioned ROH officials were in attendance and would be impressed if Robison picked up the win. Robinson sent Lethal into the turnbuckles with a belly-to-belly suplex for a 2 count. Martini pulled the ropes on Robinson and he spilled to the floor. Robinson landed on his feet and went after Martini, but Lethal nailed him with a dive through the ropes and the fans booed. Martini got into the ring and did a spinaroonie. The fans booed his antics. Robinson managed to get back into the ring and Lethal put the boots to him. They had a strike exchange in the middle of the ring. Lethal nailed Robinson with some sick chops. They continued to trade and Robinson finally took Lethal down with a leg lariat. The crowd applauded with both men down. Robinson hit Lethal with a series of rights before decking him with a big left. Robinson went up top and nailed Lethal with a cross-body for a 2 count. Martini ran into to interfere, but Robinson got him up in an airplane spin. The announcers said perhaps Robinson didn’t like his trainer. He put Martini down and he wobbled around before spilling to the floor. Lethal caught Robinson with an ace crusher out of the corner and then the Lethal injection.
WINNER: Jay Lethal.
Star rating: (**3/4) – This was a good match. Robinson looked good here, but they really do much to build things to a fever pitch. That being said, Robinson had a good showing here and definitely had Lethal in jeopardy before Martini interfered.
Kelly and Striker talked about who to follow on Twitter if you’re just getting into Twitter. They also plugged Chris Charlton’s “Lions Pride,” which is an English language book about the history of NJPW.
The Bullet Club theme played. Karl Anderson, Yujiro Takahashi, and Karl Anderson came down to the ring. King Haku and Tama Tonga joined them along with Amber O’Neal.
(4) Bullet Club (Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi & Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson & King Haku w/Amber O’Neal) vs. IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Champions Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma & IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion KUSHIDA & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima in a 10-Man Tag match. Everyone brawled right away after the ring introductions. Gallows choked Makabe on the outside with his own chain. Anderson was shown wearing Finn Balor’s demon trunks. Kojima got isolated and Haku tagged in to work him over. Kojima tried to mount a comeback on Haku, who decked him with a big chop. Haku’s son Tonga tagged in and continued to work over Kojima. Kojima fired back on Takahashi and hit a DDT, but Bullet Club cleared the apron before he could tag out. Kojima finally tagged in KUSHIDA, who ran wild. Takahashi eventually countered KUSHIDA and hit a suplex. Gallows and Makabe tagged in and went at it. Makabe got the upper hand and hit a big clothesline for a 2 count.
The fans fired up and chanted for Makabe. Gallows fired back and hit Gallows’s pole. He tagged in Haku, who nailed Makabe with big chops and strikes in the corner. Honma tagged in and went after Haku, but took a boot to the head. Haku then dropped a big running elbow before tagging in Anderson. Bullet Club cleared the apron and went after Honma with a combination of moves in the corner. Haku capped the sequence with a piledriver, but Tenzan made the save. Makabe broke up the magic killer on Honma. Makabe cleared the ring, but Anderson caught him with a gun stun. He then set up behind Honma, but he blocked a fun stun. Honma blocked another gun stun. Anderson caught him with a gun stun as he went for a kokeshi off the ropes. Anderson and Gallows then made the pin after hitting the magic killer on Honma.
After the match, Anderson posed with the tag title over Honma after the match. Anderson came in on commentary. He said he couldn’t remember being not hung over the day after WK. He said that’s why they’re the greatest faction in wrestling.
WINNERS: King Haku & Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga & Doc Gallows & Yujiro Takahashi. This was fine for what it was. Seeing Haku in a NJPW ring in 2016 is surreal, but he held his own. It looks like Anderson and Gallows are going to get one more shot at the IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Titles after Anderson got the pin on Honma in this match.
(5) Los Ingobernables (Tetsuya Naito & EVIL & BUSHI) vs. Michael Elgin & Mascara Dorada & Hiroshi Tanahashi. Tanahashi has removed “ace” from his tights, which is sad. Tanahashi tagged in and wanted to go at Naito, but Naito tagged in EVIL before they could go at it. Kelly speculated someone else was pulling the strings behind the scenes over Naito. Naito suddenly ran in and attacked Tanahashi with EVIL, but Tanahashi fired back and took everyone out and played some air guitar. BUSHI finally hit a knee to the back from the apron on Tanahashi. EVIL cleared the apron and the action spilled to the floor. Evil wrapped a chair around Tanahashi’s head and tossed him into the ringpost. BUSHI was shown trying to take off Dorada’s mask. Naito eventually tagged himself into the ring with Tanahashi down on the mat and went to work on him. Tanahashi finally countered EVIL and dropped him with an elbow. Elgin got the hot tag and ran wild on EVIL. Elgin no-sold a clothesline from EVIL. EVIL raked his eyes, but Elgin eventually caught him with a rebound clothesline. Elgin set up for a deadlift German and connected. Elgin kept a bridge, but BUSHI made the save. Elgin lifted BUSHI up and hit a one-arm military press on BUSHI while waving to the crowd. Elgin then lifted Tanahashi and nailed him with an Alabama Slam onto BUSHI. Elgin picked up EVIL and Naito and nailed them with a double fallaway slam. The fans applauded and Elgin covered EVIL for a 2 count.
The fans chanted for Elgin, who missed a charge in the corner on EVIL. EVIL eventually caught Elgin with a German. Both men tagged out and Dorada caught BUSHI with a big springboard splash. He followed up with a huracanrana that sent BUSHI to the floor. Dorada then nailed BUSHI with a huge dive through the ropes and the fans fired up big time. Dorado went up top, but BUSHI got his foot up. EVIL set up Dorada on the ropes and BUSHI nailed him with a huracanrana off the top, but Elgin made the save. The action continued at a rapid pace. Dorada ended up alone in the ring with BUSHI. BUSHI came off the top, but Dorada nailed him with a dropkick. BUSHI ran into the ref and blew mist into Dorada’s eye and hit a low blow. He then hit a leaping code breaker off the ropes for the win.
After the match, Dorada took a beating. Elgin tried to make the same, but Naito nailed him with a low blow. EVIL hit a STO on Tanahashi. BUSHI then ripped off Dorada’s mask and the fans booed. Dorada tried to cover his face with a towel. Several young boys ran in to try to help him cover his face, but they were tossed out of the ring. BUSHI blew black mist into KUSHDIA’s face when he ran down to try to make the save. BUSHI indicated he wanted a shot at KUSHIDA’s title. Naito held up KUSHIDA, who took a code red off the turnbuckles.
WINNERS: BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito & EVIL
Star rating: (***1/4) – This was a really good tag match. Elgin and Dorada really got a chance to shine. The post-match angle was really well done setting up BUSHI against Dorada and KUSHIDA down the line. I really enjoy the heel work from Los Ingobernables.
A.J. Styles’s music hit as the announcer reset things. He came down to the ring with Kenny Omega. Shinsuke Nakamura, the IWGP IC champion, was out next. The fans clapped along to his music as he came to the ring with YOSHI-HASHI.
(6) CHAOS (IWGP IC champion Shinsuke Nakamura & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Bullet Club (A.J. Styles & Kenny Omega). Styles and Nakamura kicked things off and had a nice back and forth exchange before coming to a stalemate. Nakamura offered his signature rope break, but Styles put a beating on him and went after his arm. They went back and forth again and came to another stalemate and the fans applauded. HASHI and Omega then tagged into the match and went at it. HASHI ended up placing Omega over the top rope before nailing him with a running dropkick for a 2 count. Omega cut off HASHI and tagged in Styles, who began working him over. Omega and Styles worked together to wipe out HASHI with a combination of moves and the fans applauded. Omega made the cover, but Nakamura ran in and kicked him to break up the pin. HASHI countered a suplex into a neck breaker and the fans fired up. HASHI made the hot tag to Nakamura, who knocked Omega off the apron before going after Styles. Nakamura hit the vibration boot on Styles in the corner, but missed a Boma Ye attempt. He then draped Styles over the turnbuckles and nailed him with a big running knee for a 2 count.
The fans fired up with Nakamura in control. Styles fired back and nailed Nakamura with an enzuguri. He then tagged in Omega, who went at it with Nakamura. Nakamura mist a kick, but caught Omega with a rebound kick. Omega fired back, but HASHI ran in and nailed him with a neck breaker. Nakamura then connected with Boma Ye on Omega, but Styles made the save! Nakamura went for Boma Ye, but Omega countered it and went for a moonsault. Nakamura got his knees up and went for another Boma Ye, but Omega nailed him with a clothesline. HASHI and Styles went at it on the floor. Omega hit a gut-wrench powerbomb on Nakamura, but HASHI made the save. Styles dragged HASHI back to the floor. HASHI accidentally clotheslined Nakamura. Styles hit bloody Sunday on HASHI and booted him to the floor. Omega nailed Nakamura with a Boma Ye. He set up and hit a second Boma Ye, but Nakamura kicked out at 1! The fans fired up and chanted for Nakamura. Wow! Nakamura fired back on Omega and hit a reverse power slam. Styles then surprised him with a springboard forearm. Nakamura tried to fend off Styles and Omega, but took a Pele kick and a reverse hurricanrana from Omega. Omega then pinned Nakamura with a one-winged angel for the win. Wow!
Omega sold shock after the win. The announcers played it up big that Omega had just pinned the IWGP IC champion.
WINNERS: A.J. Styles & Kenny Omega
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a fantastic match. The match built to some great exchanges down the stretch with Omega making a huge statement by beating Nakamura.
After the match, Omega went to pose on the turnbuckles with Styles, but he paused and then dropped Styles with a one-winged angel. The announcers and fans sounded shock. The rest of Bullet Club ran down and backed Omega away from Styles. Gallows, Anderson, and Hall lifted up Styles. The Young Bucks and Omega then nailed Styles with a triple superkick. Anderson, Gallows, and Hall looked upset. Omega stepped up and so did the Young Bucks asking them to too sweet. Anderson, Hall, and Doc agreed and then they put the boots to Styles. Several young lions tried to help, but ate superkicks for their troubles. Omega got on the mic and said Styles, the fans, and the people at home can’t be surprised. Omega said they had made Styles a star while he struggled being a junior. Omega said everyone called Styles a leader, but if he was the boss, he had now been fired. Omega said this was Styles’s severance package. Omega said he’s not a junior and will not challenge KUSHIDA. Omega said he was coming for Omega and the IC Championship. Omega said Bullet Club is for life except for Styles. The Bullet Club then joined in a circle and hit the too sweet hand gesture together over Styles. Several young lions were helping Styles, but Omega and The Young Bucks ran into the ring. The Young Bucks nailed Styles with a double superkick right into a Styles clash from Omega. Omega then mocked Styles and hit his pose while the Young Bucks flexed next to him.
The fans started a huge chant for Styles as the young lions tried to help him up. Styles then tried to get up on his own as a huge chant for Styles broke out. Wow! Styles used the ropes to climb back to his feet. The fans continued to chant his name and applauded when he got to his feet. What a moment! Kelly said there would be hell to pay for what Bullet Club had done. Styles then bowed to all four side of the ring. He’s had one hell of a run in NJPW. This is so well-deserved. Styles then got onto his knees in the middle of the ring before rolling to the floor where he was helped to the back. Striker asked where he went from here and Kelly didn’t know.
[ Reax: The post-match angle was really well done, as Omega takes over as the leader of Bullet Club and challenged Nakamura. This was an incredible post-match angle. ]
(7) IWGP NEVER Openweight champion Katsuyori Shibata & Bobby Fish & Hirooki Goto & Kyle O’Reilly vs. CHAOS (IWGP Hvt. champion Kazuchika Okada & Rocky Romero & Beretta & Tomohiro Ishii). CHAOS stood tall after clearing the ring during the early going. Several wrestlers fought outside while Romero worked a chin lock on Fish inside the ring. Fish took a beating for a long period of time. Striker tried to ask Tatsu about Okada and his importance to NJPW, but he didn’t seem to have a lot to say. Ishii tagged in at one point and Fish tried to fire back on him, but Ishii decked him with a big forearm. Fish tried to fire back once again, but Ishii caught him with a power slam. Goto made the save, but Okada tossed him to the floor. Fish finally cut off Ishii and tagged in Shibata. They went back and forth trading bombs. Shibata nailed Ishii with several forearms in the corner and followed up with his signature dropkick in the corner. Ishii countered Shibata and hit a suplex, but Shibata stood right up.
Shibata hit a German on Ishii, but he managed to kick out at 2. The fans chanted for Shibata, as he and Ishii continued to go at it. They traded bombs in the middle of the ring. The pace picked up and Ishii hit a lariat that Shibata no-sold. Shibata hit a kick and Ishii got right up only to eat another kick. Ishii was down, but got up a short time later and hit a big clothesline on Shibata. Okada and Goto tagged in next and went at it. He hit a DDT on Goto. RPG Vice then set Goto up on the apron and nailed him with a pair of dropkicks. Okada wiped him out with a diving uppercut, but O’Reilly made the save.
Okada went for a tombstone on Goto, but he blocked it. Goto then nailed Okada with a big clothesline. The fans chanted for Okada. Goto nailed Okada with a Saito suplex, but Okada kicked out at 2. Goto applied a cross-arm breaker and eventually transitioned the hold, but Romero broke up the submission. Okada fired back and caught Goto with a huge dropkick as he came off the ropes. The fans fired up and chanted for Okada. Beretta got the tag and hit a missile dropkick on Goto. He followed up with a tornado DDT, but Shibata made the save. RPG Vice nailed Goto with a double knee strike. They continued to double team Goto, but O’Reilly made another diving save by shoving Romero into Beretta to break up a pin.
ReDRagon went to work on Romero and nailed him with a combination of moves. The fans fired up as the pace increased. ReDRagon set up for chasing the dragon on Beretta, but Ishii broke it up. Shibata and Ishii went at it a short time later and ran into each other with forearms and both men went down. Wow! Goto caught Beretta with a huge clothesline and wiped out Okada on the apron. He then hit a neck breaker over his knee on Beretta. He then tied up Beretta in a double arm submission for the win.
The announcers said Goto looked very strong tonight and wondered if he would be the next challenger to Okada. It also was mentioned that the rivalry between Ishii and Shibata was heating up.
Goto got on the mic and called out Okada. Okada looked on from the entranceway. Goto said he would take the belt from Okada according to Tatsu. Okada came back down to ringside and entered the ring. Goto had left the ring and went to the back. Okada got on the mic. The fans laughed at his words. Goto looked upset and he came back towards the ring. The announcers said Okada was trying to goad Goto back to the ring before throwing him a curveball. The announcers said Okada accepted Goto’s challenge because he had beat him during the G1 Climax 25 Tournament.
WINNERS: Hirooki Goto & Kyle O’Reilly & Katsuyori Shibata & Bobby Fish
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was an excellent tag match. They worked a really fast-paced style that excited the crowd. Of course, the big story is Goto getting the best of Okada and challenging him to a match for the IWGP Hvt. Championship with Okada accepting due to Goto beating Okada during the G1 Climax 25 tournament last year.
Kevin Gill was shown sitting right behind the English announce team as the main event was introduced. He had a red KG shirt on display.
(8) NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team champions (Toru Yano & Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe) vs. Bullet Club (IWGP Jr. Hvt Tag Team Champions Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson & Bad Luck Fale w/Cody Hall). The announcers mentioned that this is the only title match on the show. Matt and Mark kicked things off. Mark wiped out Matt with a big running boot. Kelly claimed Mark Briscoe was the third smartest man in ROH when they gave an IQ test several years ago behind Bryan Danielson and Nigel McGuinness. Matt took a beating as his opponents tagged in and out to work him over. Matt finally made his way to his own corner and tagged in Fale. Yano wanted no part of Fale and ducked through the ropes. The fans chanted for a break with Yano. Yano slapped Fale in the back of the head and tried to undo the turnbuckles padding, but Fale cut him off. Yano undid the pad and thought Fale had run into it. He ducked a clothesline from Fale and tried to hit his pose. Yano ducked through the ropes and asked for a break, but the Young Bucks nailed him with a double superkick. Fale went to the outside and went to work on Yano.
Yano took a beating for a long period of time. At one point, the Young Bucks kept tagging in and out to throw crotch chops at Yano. They then put the boot to him and told the Briscoes to suck it. Hilarious. Fale whipped Yano into the exposed turnbuckle and he collapsed to the mat. Yano finally ducked a charge from Fale in the corner and he ran into the exposed padding. He fended off the Young Bucks and ducked a splash from Fale. The fans fired up and Yano finally tagged in Jay, but went to work on Nick with jabs. Jay hit a big neck breaker on Nick and made the cover for a 2 count. Kelly mentioned the Briscoes had debuted when they were teenagers in this very venue.
Cody tripped Jay from the outside and Matt flipped Mark right into a superkick from Nick. Jay managed to duck a kick from the apron from Nick, who nailed Hall. Mark ran wild and hit a block buster to the floor on Nick while landing on Hall. The Briscoes followed up with a powerbomb into a neck breaker on Matt, but Fale made the save. The Briscoes set up Matt for the doomsday device, but Matt landed on his feet. Nick ran into the ring and the Young Bucks threw a superkick party on the Briscoes. Holy s—t! The Young Bucks set up for the Meltzer driver, but Yano tripped Nick to the floor. Jay then hit the Jay-driller on Matt. Mark went up top and hit the froggy bow for the win.
After the match, Jay got on the mic. He didn’t speak, but the fans fired up. The mic didn’t work. It finally kicked in and then it broke again. The mic worked and Jay said The Briscoes had arrived. He said they came to NJPW and won the six man titles on their first damn show. Jay said this is only the beginning. Mark got on the mic and said they were looking at the baddest tag team on the planet. Mark then threw to the most amazing man, Yano-san. Yano then cut a promo and the fans laughed. He then hit his pose and shrugged. Tatsu said Yano told the crowd they didn’t understand the Briscoes, but neither did he. That’s why the fans laughed.
Striker, Kelly, and Tatsu then reset things. Kelly said he was proud to be part of these events. He then signed off to end the show as KG showed off his red t-shirt behind them.
WINNERS: Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe & Toru Yano to retain the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Titles.
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was an excellent match, especially down the stretch with the Briscoes and Young Bucks going at it. Matt landing on his feet after taking the doomsday device and Nick running in to throw a superkick party on The Briscoes was fantastic.
Overall Thoughts: This was a great show. There were some really good matches on the card, especially during the second half of the show, but it seemed like everything just clicked. The big angle with A.J. Styles being fired from Bullet Club was the main attraction on this show. They did a heck of a job setting the angle up with Omega leaving the Jr. Hvt. division and taking over as leader of Bullet Club going after pinning Nakamura in a tag match. Styles got a chance to say goodbye to NJPW as well once he recovered and took a bow. It has been one hell of a run for Styles as one of the top wrestlers in the world during the last two years.
The big matches set up for NJPW going forward appear to be Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson going after the NJPW Hvt. Tag Team Titles after Anderson pinned Honma in a multi-man tag. Elsewhere, it looks like KUSHIDA’s first opponent will be BUSHI for the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Championship.
As mentioned before, Omega will challenge for Nakamura for the IWGP IC Championship at NJPW’s next big PPV in February most likely. You have to think he will take the title from Nakamura and get a big push going forward unless Nakamura sticks around longer than expected before signing with WWE. Finally, Goto got the better of Okada during a multi-man tag and he will challenge Okada for the IWGP Hvt. Championship most likely in February as well.
The main event with the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Titles was fantastic. It was a nice way to cap off what was a really good show with a borderline excellent match with The Briscoes and Young Bucks having some great exchanges before Jay hit the Jay-driller on Matt and then Mark finished him off with the froggy bow.
Kelly, Striker, and Tatsu were really strong on commentary during this show, as they continue to get better and better as a unit. Striker in particular has really improved his commentary and developed good chemistry with Kelly. Tatsu didn’t add much, but he didn’t take away from the show either. Hopefully they are brought back frequently in 2016 to do English commentary.
This is a show that is well-worth going out of your way to watch, as it featured a huge angle with Styles and set some big things in motion for NJPW going forward in 2016 during a time when two of their big four are expected to depart imminently.
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