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New Japan “Invasion Attack 2016” PPV Report
April 10, 2016
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor
New Japan Pro Wrestling live-streamed the event on their pay New Japan World service in both standard Japanese and in English with ROH announcers Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino calling the show.
(1) Bullet Club’s Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi beat Ryusuke Taguchi & Juice Robinson. Solid opener getting over big-man Bad Luck Fale, who pinned Juice after an Outsider’s Edge.
(2) Kojima & Jushin Liger & Yuji Nagata beat Sakuraba & YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano in a six-man tag match. Nagata pinned YOSHI with a rolling back-drop hold as Liger held off the opponents. Yano tried to use shenanigans to neutralize the Legends Trio, but it did not work. Exciting six-man tag with some good sequences involving all six wrestlers, especially Liger.
(3) ROH TV champion Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto beat EVIL & BUSHI from Naito’s faction. High-energy tag match continuing to build to six tag matches on the rest of the card. Ishii smashed BUSHI with a sliding lariat for the pin and the win. Afterward, Goto and EVIL continued to fight on the outside. They could not be separated to continue their feud.
(4) RPG Vice (Rocky Romero & Baretta) beat IWGP Jr. Hvt. tag champions Matt Sydal & Ricochet to capture the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Titles. Sick tag match. Ricochet showed why he’s in high demand displaying freakish athletic ability and in-ring ability. Romero and Ricochet had a big in-ring battle leading to RPG Vice hitting a combination Dudebuster/springboard kick on Ricochet to win the tag belts. The expected result with Ricochet needed to be cleared of the titles, plus paying off Rocky’s quest for a sixth Jr. Tag Title run.
(5) IWGP Jr. Hvt. champion KUSHIDA beat Will Ospreay just past 15:00 to retain the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Title. Insanely good title match in Ospreay’s NJPW debut. Notably, Ospreay paid tribute to the late Kris Travis for this match. Mid-way through, Ospreay took advantage of Okada’s CHAOS endorsement by teasing The Rainmaker, but KUSHIDA ducked. KUSHIDA kept working on Ospreay’s left elbow/forearm throughout the match, eventually securing the Hoverboard Lock for the tap-out. The build-up to the finish was amazing with counters, reversals, and aerial high-flying. (****1/4)
Post-match, after Ospreay was helped to the back, Jushin Liger strolled down to ringside, wowing the crowd. Liger entered the ring and congratulated KUSHIDA before saying he wants a title shot. KUSHIDA accepted as NJPW continues to re-introduce the legends from the roster back in the various title pictures following big roster departures.
On the way out of the ring, KUSHIDA stopped by the ROH announce booth to tell Kelly & Corino to relay a message that he wants an ROH World Title shot.
NJPW went to a G1 Climax 2016 tournament announcement. July 18 is the kick-off. This is a lengthy tournament going all over Japan spanning 19 shows, concluding on August 12-14.
(6) Tanahashi & Yoshi Tatsu & Michael Elgin beat NEVER Openweight six-man tag champions Bullet Club (Kenny Omega & Young Bucks) to capture the NEVER Openweight Six-man Tag Titles. This was Yoshi’s big return after missing nearly two years from his neck injury. Right on cue, Bullet Club’s Elite teased the Styles Clash, scaring the crowd. But, Tanahashi and Elgin saved Yoshi. Lots of in-and-out tags and three-on-one type situations. A roller-coaster of potential outcomes with all of the big spots before Elgin hit a super Elgin Bomb on Nick Jackson to score the win and new champs. Also of note during the match is Cody Hall was part of an injury angle. The Bucks did a big spot from the balcony wiping out everyone on the floor, including Cody. Cody was KO’ed on the floor for a while until placed on a backbrace and taken out.
Post-match, Yoshi had a big celebration. Omega then entered the ring with his IWGP IC Title belt and challenged Elgin to bring it. Lots of cussing from Omega, who told him he’s on. Elgin then deferred to Yoshi to finish the celebration. Elgin and Yoshi left ringside, but Bad Luck Fale grabbed Tanahashi and attacked him ringside. Fale threw Tanahashi back into the ring and smashed him to the mat, setting up Tanahashi’s next singles feud.
Video Package: Yuji Nagata is leading Kojima, Tenzan, and Nakanishi trying to take back their places in New Japan. For Tenzan, at the age of 45, can he re-capture singles gold?
(7) NEVER Openweight champion Shibata beat Tenzan to retain the NEVER Openweight Title. This was a heck of a physical match. Shibata came out strong attacking Tenzan, who fought back with nasty-sounding headbutts. Shibata came back with a sleeper into the PK for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Yuji Nagata entered the ring to check on Tenzan. The fans thought Nagata was going to challenge Shibata, who took his title and walked over to the legends. Shibata bowed to Tenzan, then suddenly kicked Nagata in the head. Everyone cleared out as Nagata slowly got up and removed his shirt ready to fight Shibata. Nagata had to be held back as Shibata held his title belt in Nagata’s face. Shibata conquered Kojima, now Tenzan, when will he face Nagata?
(8) Bullet Club’s Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa beat IWGP World tag champions Honma & Togi Makabe to capture the IWGP World Tag Titles. The crowd was stunned by the Guerrillas of Destiny winning the belts. They hit a double-team combo on Honma two times to win the belts after neutralizing Makabe on the outside. Lots of close nearfalls throughout the match. Tama kicked out of the Kokeshi, then Honma hit another Kokeshi, but missed a top-rope Kokeshi that would have won the match.
(9) New Japan Cup winner Naito beat IWGP World Hvt. champion Kazuchika Okada to capture the IWGP World Hvt. Title. Everyone loves an underdog, especially a reinvented challenger, so the crowd was behind Naito at times, but Okada won them back by being, well, Okada. There was a super-close call of Okada fading out to a Koji Clutch after Naito kicked him in the groin out of the ref’s view. Ref Red Shoes nearly called the match, but Okada showed enough life to get to the ropes for a break. Okada then wanted Rainmaker, but Naito pulled the ref in the way, bumping him. EVIL and BUSHI hit the ring to attack Okada, then fought off Okada’s handler Gedo. Okada took them out, but a mystery man snuck up behind Okada and took him out. The man removed his mask to reveal … a completely different Sanada, complete with mohawk, dark clothes, and updated look. Okada tried to fight back after being attacked by Sanada, but Naito caught him with his Destino finisher. It was good for the pin and the win.
Post-match, Naito’s faction beat down Okada until CHAOS members Tomohiro Ishii and Goto sent them out of the ring. As Okada was helped to the back, Naito tried to get in the ring for his title presentation, but Ishii stood in his way. Big stare down with Ishii not letting Naito into the ring. Ishii eventually gave way and Naito kicked him from behind. Naito then received his title belt and trophy, then cut a promo mockingly thanking the fans for their support. He said they are an unstoppable faction taking over New Japan. Naito then threw down the title belt and left the ring, drawing gasps from the crowd, indicating he’s not that interested in the title, just the power that comes with it to make his faction stronger.