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RADICAN’S BIG MATCH SPOTLIGHT
NJPW WK 13: IWGP IC CHAMPION CHRIS JERICHO vs. TETSUYA NAITO
JAN. 4, 2019
THE TOKYO DOME
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM & FITE.TV
Commentators: Kevin Kelly, Don Callis, Chris Charlton
IWGP IC CHAMPION CHRIS JERICHO vs. TETSUYA NAITO – No DQ match
The bell rang with both men brawling on the floor. They brawled up the ramp and Naito hit a piledriver. Naito took a turnbuckle pad off and hit Jericho with it. Naito hit a running rana and hit his pose and the fans applauded. Naito clotheslined Jericho to the floor. He teased a dive and stopped short like he was going to hit a pose, but then he ran towards the ropes only for Jericho to nail him with a kendo stick. Jericho went up the turnbuckles and hit Naito’s pose before hitting him with the kendo stick again. Jericho put the stick between Naito’s legs and stomped down on it. Jericho sent Naito to the floor with his inside out springboard dropkick to the apron. Jericho grabbed a camera and filmed himself flipping off Naito. They brawled into the announcing area and Jericho spiked Naito onto one of the tables. WOW! Naito bumped right onto his head, which looked crazy. Jericho rang the bell and tried to get Red Shoes to raise his hand, but he wouldn’t do it.
Jericho went up top and his a crossbody for a two count. He hit the Lionsault a short time later for a two count. Naito fired back with some slaps and hit his signature flying forearm and the fans gasped with both men down on the mat. The announcers talked about how Naito’s quest to rise to the top had been derailed by Jericho. They referred to his loss to Okada at WK last year. Naito set Jericho up in the ropes and hit a neck breaker over his knee. He then hit a twisting neck breaker on Jericho for a two count. Jericho blocked Naito signature dropkick in the corner and locked in the Walls of Jericho. Naito struggled and the fans fired up behind him. Naito finally used his legs to toss Jericho off. Jericho went for a Code Breaker, but Naito tossed him off and hit a swinging DDT. Naito followed up with a sloppy looking Gloria. He went for Destino, but Jericho countered it and got the Walls of Jericho. The fans tried to rally behind Naito again. He crawled to the ropes, but Jericho dragged him back to the middle of the ring. The announcer said the 15 minute mark had passed. Naito managed to get to the kendo stick and he hit Jericho with it until he let go of him.
Naito smiled and grabbed the kendo stick. He whipped Jericho off the ropes and nailed him with a baseball swing of the kendo stick to the gut. Naito pretended to be a batter and swung for the fences, but Jericho ducked and hit a Code Breaker for a near fall! Jericho grabbed the kendo stick and put it down. He then went under the ring and began tossing chairs into the ring. Jericho stood behind Naito with a chair and nailed him with it. He then cracked the chair over Naito’s back. Jericho tried to slam Naito into a pile of chairs, but he countered it with a DDT into the pile of chairs. Naito then hit a code breaker for a near fall. Naito went up top with a kendo stick, but Jerico tossed a chair at him. Jericho lifted Naito out of the corner, but Naito slipped behind him and hit a German on a chair. Naito then went for Destino, but Jericho shoved the ref and hit a low blow. He then made the cover, but Naito kicked out! WOW! Jericho dropped a chair and went to the floor and grabbed the IC belt. He yelled at Naito and told him to get up. Naito caught Jericho charging at him and dropped him onto the exposed turnbuckle. Naito then hit Destino, but Jericho kicked out at two. That was a good near fall.
Naito made his eye pose at the belt. HE then set up in the corner with the title behind Jericho. He nailed Jericho in the head with the title. Naito then hit Destino on Jericho for the win as Callis sold dismay on commentary.
WINNER: Tetsuya Naito in 22:00 (***½)
After the match, Jericho slapped a Young Lion at ringside. Red Shoes gave Naito the title and he raked his eyes. Naito left the ring without the title, but then he had a Young Lion go get it for him. He teased hitting the Young Lion. He then bowed before spitting in his face.
This was a good match with the fans behind Naito and solidly behind the dastardly Chris Jericho. It seemed like at times they were a half beat off setting up some of their spots. They used a lot of weapons and this felt like a half baked hardcore match at times. I did like how well they teased Naito tapping out to the Wall of Jericho a couple of times during the match. The DDT spot on the outside with Jericho spiking Naito on the table was wild.
The finishing sequence of the match was nicely executed with both men kicking out of each others finishers before Naito nailed Jericho with the belt and hit Destino for the win. This match certainly didn’t feel like a memorable semi-main event at WK given some of the other semi-main event matches we’ve seen at WK in recent years.
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