Date: January 4th, 2007
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Welcome to the Tokyo Dome! Unlike in past years, this year New Japan didn’t even bother open up the upper level of the Dome and therefore had a much higher percentage of seats sold while saving money by only using the floor and the first level of seats. All Japan lent a hand for the show and were involved in every match in some capacity. Included are two inter-promotional championship matches and the Dream Match of Mutoh and Chono vs. Tenzan and Kojima. This is bound to be fun as hell. Here is the full card:
– Kikutaro, Nobutaka Araya, and Akira Raijin vs. Masanobu Fuchi, El Samurai, and Ryusuke Taguchi
– Jado and Gedo vs. NOSAWA Rongai and MAZADA
– D-Lo Brown, Buchanan, and Travis Tomko vs. Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, and Tomohiro Ishii
– Riki Choshu, Nakanishi, Iizuka, and Yamamoto vs. TARU, Suwama, RO’Z, and Giant Bernard
– Jushin Thunder Liger, Minoru, Milano Collection AT, Shuji Kondo, and “brother” YASSHI vs. Koji Kanemoto, Tiger Mask, Kaz Hayashi, TAKA Michinoku, and Wataru Inoue
– Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Toshiaki Kawada
– Triple Crown Championship: Minoru Suzuki vs. Yuji Nagata
– IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taiyo Kea
– Super Dream Tag Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima vs. Keiji Mutoh and Masahiro Chono
Let’s get started.
Kikutaro, Nobutaka Araya, and Akira Raijin vs. Masanobu Fuchi, El Samurai, and Ryusuke Taguchi
A light-hearted affair to get the ball rolling. Raijin and Taguchi start things off. Tie-up, side headlock by Raijin, Taguchi Irish whips out of it but Raijin shoulderblocks him down. Raijin goes off the ropes but Taguchi catches him with a dropkick. They trade forearm shots, but Raijin headbutts Taguchi to the mat. Raijin tags in Kikutaro while Taguchi tags in Fuchi. Tie-up, Fuchi pushes Kikutaro against the ropes and he gives a clean break. Tie-up again, Kikutaro gets Fuchi into the ropes and clubs him in the chest before backing off. Another tie-up, Fuchi gets Kikutaro against the ropes but he gives a clean break. Kikutaro imitates the referee, and the referee hits him to get him to stop. Kikutaro and Fuchi trade chops, eye rake by Kikutaro and he nails the Flash Elbow. Fake covers by Kikutaro, which makes the referee mad and he kicks Kikutaro to the mat. Fuchi grabs Kikutaro’s ankle but Kikutaro makes it to the ropes. Fuchi sets up Kikutaro in the corner with his leg across the rope, and he then shakes the rope to twist Kikutaro’s leg. Fuchi tags in El Samurai, but Kikutaro pokes El Samurai in the eyes. Low blow by Kikutaro, but El Samurai returns with a low blow of his own. Kikutaro then low blows the referee (perhaps on accident) before tagging in Raijin. Raijin throws El Samurai into the corner, Raijin hits a lariat as does Kikutaro, but El Samurai kicks Araya back when he charges in. Kikutaro and Raijin throw Araya to El Samurai but El Samurai kicks him back again. Araya gets mad at Raijin and Kikutaro, but they throw him towards El Samurai a third with the same result. El Samurai hits a diving headbutt onto Araya, cover, but Kikutaro breaks it up. Kikutaro throws Araya into their corner and Raijin tags in, but El Samurai hits a reverse DDT on him. El Samurai puts Raijin up on the top turnbuckle, climbs up as well, he goes for the Frankensteiner but Raijin blocks it. Spear by Raijin, he picks up El Samurai and hits a scoop brainbuster for a two count cover. Raijin goes off the ropes, but both men lariat each other. Raijin tags in Kikutaro but El Samurai tags in Taguchi. Taguchi and Kikutaro trade chops and Taguchi kicks Kikutaro into the corner. Irish whip, reversed, Kikutaro hits a lariat but Taguchi throws him off when he goes for the bulldog. Scoop slam by Kikutaro in front of the corner, he goes up top, but Taguchi rolls out of the way of the moonsault. Taguchi goes off the ropes, but Kikutaro dropkicks him in the leg and hits the Shining Wizard for a two count cover. Kikutaro picks up Taguchi and knees Taguchi twice in the stomach. Another knee by Kikutaro and he goes for a suplex, but Taguchi reverses it with a snap suplex. Taguchi goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, cover, but it gets a two count. Fuchi comes in and hits a backdrop suplex on Kikutaro and El Samurai follows with a reverse DDT. Dodon by Taguchi on Kikutaro, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Masanobu Fuchi, El Samurai, and Ryusuke Taguchi
Post match: The winning team does the Taguchi dance, except for Fuchi who refuses to do it. Kikutaro and Raijin join in as well. Araya finally joins in but Kikutaro kicks him low and the other four celebrate. Wacky stuff.
Match Thoughts: I actually wish this match had been a little bit more comedic and light hearted, since that was the general gist of the match anyway. I’ve seen Kikutaro and company’s shtick lots of times and it would have been fun if the New Japan wrestlers had gotten more involved with it during the match. There wasn’t a whole lot of “real” wrestling here as Kikutaro controlled the match (which is fine with me) and it almost seemed too short which is strange since the match went a little over eight minutes. Overall it was a decent opener and the post-match action was fun, but it seemed like they could have done more with it. Score: 5.0
Jado and Gedo vs. NOSAWA Rongai and MAZADA
NOSAWA and MAZADA jump Jado and Gedo to start the match and take it to the outside. NOSAWA kicks Gedo around the ring and throws him into the railing before choking him with a camera cable. MAZADA and Jado get back into the ring, Irish whip by Jado and the two collide with no clear winner. They collide again with no result but finally Jado shoulderblocks MAZADA to the mat. Irish whip by Jado but MAZADA hits a quick hurricanrana. Back up, the two trade chops, eye rake by MAZADA and he goes off the ropes but Jado catches him with a clothesline. Both men tag out, Irish whip by Gedo on NOSAWA but NOSAWA knocks him to the mat. NOSAWA goes off the ropes and hits a dropkick to the knee followed by a Shining Wizard. MAZADA comes in the ring, double Irish whip to Gedo and they hit a drop toehold/leg drop combination. Irish whip to the corner and they both slide out of the ring to pull Gedo groin-first into the ring post. Headbutt by NOSAWA to Gedo, he picks him up and throws him into the corner before tagging in MAZADA. Eye rake by MAZADA in the corner and he rubs Gedo’s face into the top rope. More eye raking by MAZADA, he picks up Gedo and punches him to the mat. Irish whip to the corner and MAZADA hits a lariat for a two count cover. MAZADA bites Gedo in the hand and NOSAWA bites the other one. MAZADA tags in NOSAWA, who punches Gedo in the corner. NOSAWA picks up Gedo and knees him in the groin. Cover by NOSAWA but Gedo gets a hand on the bottom rope. NOSAWA picks up Gedo and applies a stretch submission hold, but Jado breaks it up. Back up, NOSAWA kicks Gedo in the arm and stands on his head before kicking him repeatedly in the back. NOSAWA tags in MAZADA, MAZADA picks up Gedo and hits an armbreaker. MAZADA pulls apart Gedo’s fingers before throwing him into the corner. NOSAWA comes in the ring, double Irish whip and they hit a double flapjack followed by a double slam for a two count cover. NOSAWA picks up Gedo, Irish whip from the corner, NOSAWA hits a clothesline but Gedo moves out of the way of MAZADA’s Air Sabu attempt. Gedo then kicks NOSAWA in the head before finally tagging in Jado.
Jado clotheslines NOSAWA and MAZADA and then hits a German suplex on both men. Double Irish whip by MAZADA and NOSAWA but Jado hits a double clothesline. Jado picks up MAZADA, Irish whip from the corner, reversed, but Jado elbows MAZADA when he charges in. Rolling German suplexes by Jado, MAZADA blocks the third, but Jado ducks a lariat attempt and hits three more German suplexes. Jado picks up MAZADA and goes for a suplex, but MAZADA lands on his feet. Jado ducks a MAZADA lariat and slaps on the Crossface of JADO, but NOSAWA breaks it up. Jado throws NOSAWA out of the ring, but MAZADA has recovered and hits a DDT on Jado. Both men tag out, Gedo ducks an NOSAWA heel kick, Irish whip by Gedo and he hits a jawbreaker. DDT by Gedo, he goes up to the top turnbuckle but NOSAWA gets up and kicks the ropes, making Gedo straddle the top turnbuckle. NOSAWA joins him and goes for a superplex, but Gedo knocks him off. Gedo goes for the Superfly Splash but NOSAWA gets his knees up. MAZADA runs in and picks up Gedo, but Gedo hits a jawbreaker. Gedo goes for the tombstone piledriver but MAZADA reverses it with a spike hurricanrana. Shining Wizard by NOSAWA on Gedo, cover, but Jado breaks it up. Jado takes MAZADA out of the ring while NOSAWA stomps on Gedo, NOSAWA goes off the ropes but Jado trips him from the outside. Gedo grabs a wooden stick, the referee sees him, but Jado low blows NOSAWA while the referee is distracted. Irish whip by Gedo to NOSAWA into the corner, Gedo hits a running elbow and Jado follows with a lariat. Jado goes to the top turnbuckle, Gedo feeds him NOSAWA and they hit a double powerbomb. Gedo goes up to the top turnbuckle, delivers the Superfly Splash and picks up the three count pinfall. Your winners: Jado and Gedo
Match Thoughts: About as straight-forward and by the numbers as you can get. The only thing that really stuck out about the match is that both of these teams are real tag teams so they worked together extremely well. You don’t see that in wrestling too much anymore unfortunately, most teams are just temporarily thrown together. Besides that though this followed the Tag Team Formula about as closely as you can and they really didn’t do anything to shake things up. The crowd was pretty quiet for most of the match since it was two heel teams fighting and it did seem like an odd pairing. The action was crisp but it was just too slow and predictable to make it a particularly entertaining match. Score: 4.4
D-Lo Brown, Buchanan, and Travis Tomko vs. Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, and Tomohiro Ishii
On paper this looks really random, lets see if it works out that way. Tomko and Makabe start things off. They trade shoves and then chops, with Tomko getting the better of it. Tomko tags in Buchanan, arm wringer by Buchanan and he begins working over the arm. While holding Makabe’s wrist, Buchanan goes up to the top turnbuckle, but when Yano runs in to interfere Buchanan jumps off the top rope with a clothesline onto Yano. Buchanan boots Makabe to the mat and hits a series of elbow drops followed by a knee drop. Cover by Buchanan but it gets a two count. Buchanan tags in Brown, who kicks Makabe in the midsection. Snapmare by Brown and he clotheslines Makabe while he is in a seated position. Cover by Brown but it gets a two count. Punches by Brown, he goes off the ropes but Makabe catches him with a powerslam and tags in Ishii. Yano comes in as well, double Irish whip to the corner to Brown, and both men hit running strikes followed by a Yano atomic drop and Ishii lariat. Cover, but it gets two. Ishii picks up Brown and throws him out of the ring, where he is worked over by Yano with a chair. He and Makabe take Brown to the ramp, Brown clotheslines Makabe but Yano scoop slams him onto the ramp. Yano throws Brown back into the ring, Ishii goes for a brainbuster but Brown blocks it. Vertical suplex by Ishii, cover, but it gets a two count. Ishii throws Brown into his corner and tags in Makabe, who punches Brown in the corner. Makabe tags in Yano, who hits Brown with a wooden stick. Punches in the corner by Yano but Brown reverses things and hits his own punches. Irish whip by Brown, reversed, but Brown kicks Yano to the mat when he charges in. Brown goes for a moonsault off the second turnbuckle but Yano moves out of the way. Spear by Yano, he picks up Brown and makes the tag to Ishii.
Double Irish whip by Yano and Ishii and they hit a double shoulderblock to D’Lo. Ishii picks up Brown and elbows him in the back of the head. Ishii tags in Yano, Yano picks up Brown and goes for a suplex, but Brown blocks it. Vertical suplex by Brown and he makes the tag to Tomko. Tomko boots down Ishii and Yano and hits a half nelson slam on Yano. Powerslam by Tomko on Makabe and he hits a lariat on Yano. Tomko tags in Brown, and Brown nails the Sky High onto Yano for a two count cover. Brown picks up Yano, Irish whip, reversed, but Yano distracts the referee and hits a low blow. Yano makes the tag to Makabe but Brown hits him with a dropkick as he comes into the ring. Brown tags in Buchanan, double Irish whip to Makabe and they deliver a double flapjack. Cover, but it gets a two count. Back up, Buchanan and Makabe trade forearms, Makabe goes off the ropes but Buchanan catches him with a side slam for a two count. Tomko and Buchanan come in the ring and all three men hit running strikes on Makabe in the corner. Scissors Kick by Buchanan, cover, but Yano breaks it up. Buchanan applies the claw to Makabe and puts him onto the top turnbuckle, he goes up as well, but Yano grabs him from behind and Makabe hits a clothesline off the top turnbuckle. Cover by Makabe but it only gets a two count. Makabe waits for Buchanan to get up and goes for a lariat, but Buchanan catches him and delivers the Iron Claw STO for a two count cover. Buchanan goes off the ropes but Yano hits him from the outside with a chair, allowing Makabe to nail a lariat for the three count pinfall! Your winners: Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, and Tomohiro Ishii
Match Thoughts: Better then the last tag match as here they didn’t Formula it so it came across as more unpredictable and random. Course, there was no real story told here except perhaps which team could cheat better, but it was still pretty entertaining. I do wish though that Ishii had done more since I think he is a talented young wrestler, one of the problems with shortish six man matches is no single wrestler really gets the chance to stand out. Not bad and a solid showcase for the wrestlers on a big show, but nothing particularly exciting or special either. Score: 5.3
Riki Choshu, Nakanishi, Iizuka, and Yamamoto vs. TARU, Suwama, RO’Z, and Giant Bernard
Business is about to pick up. The Voodoo Murderers jump their opponents before the bell can even ring and the match is under way. The brawl goes down to the floor with the Voodoo Murderers controlling the action, but New Japan eventually gets the advantage. Choshu throws TARU into the ring and joins him, kicking him in the back. Lariat by Choshu and he kicks TARU in the chest. Choshu throws TARU into the corner and kicks him to a seated position before tagging in Iizuka. Stomps by Iizuka in the corner, he picks him up and forearms him to the mat. Back up, Irish whip by Iizuka and he hits an elbow strike. Iizuka tags in Nakanishi who comes off the top turnbuckle with a chop to the head. Nakanishi picks up TARU and throws him into the corner before giving him a headbutt. Nakanishi picks up TARU and chops him in the chest repeatedly, Irish whip and he hits a lariat. Iizuka goes off the ropes and hits a double fisted strike, cover, but it gets a two count. Nakanishi tags in Yamamoto, but TARU hits him low. Stomp to the back by TARU and he tags in RO’Z. RO’Z picks up Yamamoto and gives him a few headbutts, Yamamoto tries to fight back but RO’Z thrusts him in the throat. RO’Z throws Yamamoto against the ropes and kicks him repeatedly before tagging in Bernard. Double armed suplex by Bernard, cover, but Choshu breaks it up. Irish whip by Bernard from the corner and he delivers a running body splash before catapulting Yamamoto up into the bottom rope. Bernard picks up Yamamoto and knocks him to the mat after tagging in Suwama. Suwama picks up Yamamoto and delivers a release German suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count.
Back up, Suwama throws Yamamoto out of the ring where he is assaulted by TARU. TARU throws Yamamoto into the railing before sliding Yamamoto back into the ring. Suwama picks up Yamamoto but Yamamoto fights back with kicks. Suwama knocks him down however, cover, but Yamamoto easily kicks out. Suwama tags in TARU, who chokes Yamamoto with his wrist tape. Snapmare by TARU and he kicks Yamamoto in the back. RO’Z and Suwama both come in the ring and hold Yamamoto so that TARU can hit a scissors kick to the groin. Cover by TARU but it gets a two count. Back up, the two trade blows, TARU goes off the ropes but Yamamoto catches him with… well nothing since the move was botched but I think it was supposed to be a tornado DDT. Yamamoto tags in Choshu, Choshu goes off the ropes and nails a lariat on TARU. Suwama runs in but he gets a lariat as well. RO’Z is next, and he knocks Choshu back when he goes for a lariat. Bernard comes in the ring and holds Choshu for RO’Z, but Choshu moves and Bernard hits RO’Z by mistake. Lariat by Choshu on RO’Z and he tags in Nakanishi. Nakanishi elbows RO’Z against the ropes and hits a short armed lariat. Nakanishi charges up and nails a lariat on TARU, he picks him back up and puts him in the Argentine Backbreaker, Suwama runs in so Nakanishi throws TARU at him. RO’Z comes in the ring, Nakanishi tries to put him in the Argentine Backbreaker by RO’Z slides off. Bernard runs in and kicks Nakanishi, but Nakanishi manages to tag in Iizuka. Iizuka goes off the ropes and forearms TARU, he picks him back up and hits a capture suplex. Cover by Iizuka but it gets a two count.
A sleeper hold is applied by Iizuka with his team protecting him, but RO’Z manages to break it up. TARU tags in Suwama, forearm by Suwama, Irish whip from the corner and he hits a running lariat. Irish whip again and he hits a belly to belly suplex for a two count cover. Irish whip by Suwama to the corner, he picks up Iizuka and hits a running powerslam. Cover, but Choshu breaks it up. Back up, Iizuka and Suwama trade blows, Suwama goes off the ropes but Iizuka ducks a lariat and hits a capture suplex. Iizuka tags in Yamamoto, who comes off the top turnbuckle with a missile dropkick. Yamamoto picks up Suwama, Irish whip, and he delivers a dropkick. Irish whip to the corner by Yamamoto and he hits a jumping knee followed by a running kick to the face. Cover, but it gets a two count. Suwama applies a side headlock but Yamamoto gets out of it and kicks him in the legs. Yamamoto goes off the ropes but Suwama catches him with a powerslam and tags in Bernard. Bernard picks up Yamamoto, Yamamoto goes off the ropes with a forearm strike but Bernard won’t go down. Yamamoto goes off the ropes again but this time Bernard kicks him and nails an elevated Liger Bomb. Cover, but Choshu breaks it up. Nakanishi picks up Bernard and chops him, and the two trade strikes. Suwama tags himself in as Bernard is knocked back and he hits a clothesline on Yamamoto. Suwama nails a deadweight German suplex hold but it only gets a two count. Backdrop suplex hold by Suwama, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: TARU, Suwama, RO’Z, and Giant Bernard
Post match: Bernard is clearly mad about something and gets into an argument with Suwama and RO’Z. TARU holds them back but Bernard grabs TARU and tosses him to the mat. Suwama and RO’Z grab Bernard but Bernard slides out of the ring and leaves.
Match Thoughts: This match had all the emotion but none of the execution. The wrestlers here were obviously not on the same page on a number of spots, and the hot tag was wasted by a badly botched move that came right before it. I understand why it happens, with wrestlers that have never faced each other being thrust into a big match, but it still doesn’t look very good. Oddly enough, Choshu was the one who really stood out here as he gets the best reactions out of the crowd and is great at showing emotion. I also liked Suwama and Yamamoto going at it to potentially set up a feud between the companies’ respective young aces. Other then that though the match was disappointing overall as it dragged at points and the miscommunications were too frequent to ignore. Score: 4.5
Jushin Thunder Liger, Minoru, Milano Collection AT, Shuji Kondo, and “brother” YASSHI vs. Koji Kanemoto, Tiger Mask, Kaz Hayashi, TAKA Michinoku, and Wataru Inoue
Kondo and Kanemoto start things off. Elbows by Kanemoto but YASSHI comes in to help Kondo. Kanemoto hits a dropkick on both of them and then dropkicks YASSHI in the corner. Bootscrape by Kanemoto on Kondo, he goes off the ropes, but Kondo gets up with delivers The Original. Back up, Kanemoto and Kondo trade chops but Kondo hits a spear. Kondo tags in Minoru while Kanemoto tags in Hayashi and the two trade blows. Minoru gets the better of it, Irish whip by Minoru, reversed, and Hayashi hits a dropkick. Minoru falls out of the ring and Hayashi sails out onto him with a somersault tope suicida. TAKA and Liger get into the ring, but TAKA dropkicks Liger and dives out with a pescado. Inoue hits a jumping knee on Milano while Kanemoto and Tiger Mask hit dives as well. Kanemoto and company get back in the ring while waiting for Minoru, Minoru rolls back in and Hayashi hits a gutbuster before tagging in TAKA. Double Irish whip to Minoru and they hit a double elbow strike followed by a double elbow drop. TAKA picks up Minoru but Minoru rakes his eyes and hits a snap suplex. Knee drop by Minoru and he tags in Liger. Liger picks up TAKA and goes for a powerbomb, TAKA gets out of it and goes off the ropes but Liger drops him with a low blow. Stomps by Liger, he picks up TAKA and tags in Milano. All five wrestlers come in to club TAKA and YASSHI stays in the ring. Chop by YASSHI but TAKA returns fire. Eye poke by TAKA but YASSHI grabs him low. TAKA returns the favor, TAKA falls down first and then YASSHI falls to the mat, headbutting TAKA low in the process. YASSHI tags in Milano, Irish whip by Milano from the corner and he hits an elbow strike. Irish whip again, he goes for the cartwheel splash, but TAKA moves out of the way.
High kick by TAKA, he goes for the superkick but Milano avoids it with the Matrix and hits a superkick of his own. Milano takes TAKA to the apron and twists his legs around the ropes. Milano then gets a running start and leg drops TAKA while he is still tangled up. Milano tags Liger back in, Irish whip by Liger and he hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Romero Special by Liger, and he releases the hold to tag in Kondo. After knocking all their opponents off the apron, TAKA is thrown into the corner and everyone hits a running strike, ending with Kondo’s lariat. Cover, but TAKA kicks out. Irish whip by Kondo from the corner, but TAKA avoids the charge and hits a trio of kicks. TAKA tags in Inoue, Inoue ducks a Kondo lariat, but Milano comes in to help. Inoue hits a double spear on both of them however and chops Kondo into the corner. Kondo returns fire and gets the better of it, he goes off the ropes, but Inoue kicks him and applies the Triangle Lancer. Liger breaks it up however, Inoue goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick on Kondo. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Waistlock by Inoue but Kondo lifts Inoue over his head and slams him to the mat. Minoru and Hayashi are tagged in and both men avoid their opponent’s dropkicks. Hayashi goes off the ropes but Minoru finally catches him with a dropkick, Irish whip by Minoru but Hayashi hits the handstand rebound kick. Lionsault by Hayashi but it gets a two count.
Hayashi picks up Minoru but Minoru blocks the Final Cut and kicks Hayashi in the face. Minoru goes for a German suplex but Minoru lands on his feet, he goes for a second one but Minoru lands on his feet again. Minoru goes off the ropes but Hayashi hits a savate kick and nails the WA4. Cover, but Minoru barely kicks out. Full nelson by Hayashi but Minoru reverses it with the Minoru Special. Hayashi makes it to the ropes after a moment and Minoru breaks the hold. Kicks to the arm by Minoru but Hayashi catches one and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Hayashi goes off the ropes but Minoru kicks him in the stomach and hits a heel kick. Minoru tags in YASSHI, Irish whip by YASSHI but Hayashi kicks him and hits a bodyscissors into a bulldog. Hayashi tags in Tiger Mask, Tiger Mask goes to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick. Irish whip by Tiger Mask and he delivers the tombstone piledriver. Cover, but it gets a two count. Scoop slam by Tiger Mask, he goes to the top turnbuckle but Milano runs in and tosses him to the mat. YASSHI picks up Tiger Mask, Irish whip, and he and Kondo both dropkick Tiger Mask in the head. Assisted senton by YASSHI, cover, but Kanemoto breaks it up. All ten wrestlers brawl as Milano hits a backdrop suplex on TAKA and delivers a enzigieri to Tiger Mask. Milano goes off the ropes but Tiger Mask catches him with a backbreaker and TAKA dropkicks him out of the ring before sailing out with a plancha. YASSHI kicks Tiger Mask from behind, he goes off the ropes, but Tiger Mask catches him with an overhead kick. Standing Backflip Double Knee Drop by Tiger Mask and he finishes YASSHI off with a Tiger Suplex for the three count! Your winners: Koji Kanemoto, Tiger Mask, Kaz Hayashi, TAKA Michinoku, and Wataru Inoue
Match Thoughts: I wish that these ten wrestlers could have been split into three different matches (anyone else really want to see Kondo vs. Liger?), but I guess due to time constraints this was the best that they could do. Besides perhaps setting up feuds for the future a match like this can’t really accomplish much as 13 minutes simply isn’t enough time for a match with ten wrestlers. No one really stood out or made an impact because they weren’t able to, and they weren’t able to get anything going before time expired. Looking at the match strictly from an entertainment standpoint, however, they did a fairly good job and all the big spots were hit cleanly. The crowd seemed to really be getting into it towards the end and there were various fun moments in the match. It wasn’t bad by any means and I love some of these wrestlers, but ten man tags are just hard to make memorable as there isn’t enough time to really do anything special. Score: 6.4
Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Toshiaki Kawada
They feel each other out to start, Kawada goes for a takedown but Nakamura blocks it. Reverse chinlock attempt by Kawada but Nakamura slides out of it, eventually getting the top position. Kawada spins back on top however but Nakamura makes it to the ropes and Kawada lets him go. Chops by Kawada in the corner but Nakamura switches places with him and hits a series of elbows. Kawada comes back with his own elbows and the two trade blows. Kicks to the chest by Kawada and he applies a front facelock. Nakamura gets out of it after a moment and gives Kawada a high knee in the corner. Leg lock by Nakamura, Kawada reverses it but Nakamura gets to the ropes. Back up, knees by Nakamura and he applies a sleeper hold. Cross armbreaker by Nakamura, but he can’t get it locked on before Kawada gets a foot on the ropes. Nakamura keeps the hold applied for a bit afterwards however before finally breaking the hold. Knees to the back of the head by Nakamura but Kawada gets back to his feet. Rapid-fire slaps by Kawada and he kicks Nakamura repeatedly in the back even though he is in the ropes. Kawada knees Nakamura in the head but Nakamura kicks him back as the referee is knocked over. Kawada gets in the mount position but can’t get a solid hit in before Nakamura slaps on the cross armbreaker again. Kawada wiggles over to the ropes however and finally reaches the bottom one, forcing the break. Kicks to the arm by Nakamura, he goes off the ropes but Kawada catches him with a boot to the face. They trade lariats, but Nakamura gets the better of it as Kawada falls to the mat.
Nakamura goes for a German suplex but Kawada reverses it with an overhead kick. Forearm by Nakamura but Kawada hits a jumping high kick for a two count cover. Stretch Plum by Kawada and he releases the hold to chop Nakamura in the chest. Back to the Stretch Plum, cover by Kawada but it gets a two count. Now it is Kawada that applies the cross armbreaker, but Nakamura slides out of it. Kicks to the leg by Kawada and he kicks Nakamura in the back. Kawada goes off the ropes and nails a lariat, he picks Nakamura back up and goes for the powerbomb, but Nakamura drops to his knees. Back bodydrop by Nakamura but Kawada is back up and drops Nakamura on his head with a backdrop suplex. Nakamura springs to his feet and hits a backdrop suplex of his own, but Kawada is up again and hits his second backdrop suplex. Nakamura quickly rises and hits a release German suplex, but again Kawada gets up and delivers a third backdrop suplex. Now Nakamura hits a tiger suplex and both men lay injured on the mat. They get up at around the same time, Nakamura charges Kawada but Kawada kicks him back. Nakamura and Kawada trade elbows, knees by Nakamura in the corner but Kawada connects with a forearm. Big boot by Kawada but Nakamura reverses his lariat attempt with a cross armbreaker (Nakamura still has the quickness). Kawada gets a foot on the ropes however and Nakamura has to break the hold.
Nakamura goes for it again, Kawada reverses it, but Nakamura gets out of it and tries to re-apply the hold. Kawada stops Nakamura from locking it in completely however and gets to the ropes to force the break. Nakamura picks up Kawada, he puts him on his shoulders for the Landslide but Kawada elbows his way out of it. Kicks by Kawada but Nakamura catches one and hits a powerbomb for a two count. Kawada quickly applies a submission hold but is forced to break when Nakamura pins his shoulders to the mat. Knees to the arm by Nakamura, he picks up Kawada and goes for the Landslide again, Kawada tries to get out of it but Nakamura hits a Death Valley Driver for a two count. Nakamura picks up Kawada but Kawada elbows him and they trade blows. Knee to the midsection by Nakamura but Kawada kicks him in the leg. More forearms by each man, but Kawada injures his arm so he delivers a high kick to Nakamura’s head. Knee drop by Kawada, cover, but it gets a two count. Kawada picks up Nakamura and goes for the powerbomb, but he can’t get Nakamura up. Kicks to the head by Kawada, he goes for the powerbomb again and this time he nails it. Cover, but Nakamura kicks out at one. Nakamura gets back up but Kawada kick him and drills him with a brainbuster. Cover, but Nakamura barely gets a shoulder up. Nakamura comes at Kawada but Kawada catches him with a knee to the chest. Kawada goes for a kick, Nakamura ducks it, but when Nakamura charges him Kawada nails him with a middle kick. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Toshiaki Kawada
Match Thoughts: Well that was different, you can always count on Kawada to mix things up. It was a good match, but it developed pretty slow as things didn’t really pick up until the end. The no-selling spot was fine, I can tolerate it if it makes sense within the match and I think it did here as both wrestlers were trying to act as tough as possible throughout the match. Kawada’s selling of the arm in general was solid as usual and there were only a few miscommunications. The ending seemed a bit off as the final blow didn’t look near as hard as some of the other shots Nakamura had taken, I wouldn’t have minded if he had picked him up and finished him with a powerbomb or something more conclusive. It took awhile for the crowd to really get into it but they were clearly behind Nakamura whenever he went on any serious offense. Overall it was a fun and different match that resembled an old style All Japan match more then a New Japan match, which was a nice change of pace. Score: 6.8
(c) Minoru Suzuki vs. Yuji Nagata
This match is for the All Japan Triple Crown Championship. They trade elbows to start the match, but Suzuki pushes Nagata to the mat and puts him into the corner. Knees by Suzuki, Irish whip, and Suzuki slaps Nagata in the face. Nagata slaps him back and kicks Suzuki in the legs. Nagata elbows Suzuki into the ropes out to the apron, but Suzuki applies a cross armbreaker over the top rope as the referee pleads for him to let go. Eventually he does, and he pulls Nagata out of the ring with him. Knees by Suzuki and he applies an armbar, the referee tries to pull him off but he gets shoved down. Suzuki gets a chair and hits Nagata in the head with it while he is resting up against the ring post. Suzuki slides back into the ring while a now bleeding Nagata slowly recovers on the outside. He eventually makes it up to the apron but Suzuki gets a running start in the ring and boots him back to the floor. Suzuki goes out after him and stomps Nagata repeatedly in the chest. Suzuki gets another chair but the referee struggles to take it away from him. This allows Nagata time to recover and he kicks the chair back into Suzuki’s face. Kick to the back of the head by Nagata and both men lie hurt outside the ring on the floor. Nagata gets up first and forearms the bleeding Suzuki in the face before dropping him on his head with a brainbuster onto the floor. Nagata picks up Suzuki and slides him back into the ring, he waits for Suzuki to get up and kicks him in the chest. The referee starts a 10 count but Suzuki is up, only to get kicked some more by Nagata. Mid-kicks by Nagata in the corner, he drags Suzuki back to his feet, Irish whip, and he delivers a running boot to the face. Irish whip again, but Suzuki reverses it and applies the sleeper. Nagata doesn’t let him lock it in however and hits an armbreaker.
Kicks to the arm by Nagata and he applies the seated armbar. Suzuki eventually gets a foot on the ropes and Nagata is forced to break the hold. More kicks to the arm by Nagata and he boots Suzuki in the corner. Nagata grabs Suzuki and goes for the backdrop suplex, but Suzuki reverses his direction to land on his stomach and then connects with a running knee to the chest. While on their knees Suzuki and Nagata headbutt each other before engaging in a slap battle. Suzuki gets the better of it and he knees Nagata in the stomach. Gotch-style piledriver by Suzuki, cover, but it only gets a two count. Knee to the stomach by Suzuki and he applies the Octopus Hold. Nagata hiptosses his way out of the hold and both men slowly get back to their feet. They trade slaps again and then trade kicks, but Nagata catches one and delivers a high knee in the corner. Nagata drags Suzuki to his feet and hits a Thunder Death Driver. Backdrop suplex by Nagata, cover, but Nagata picks up Suzuki at two. Nagata waits for Suzuki to get up and kicks him hard in the chest, cover, but Suzuki kicks out at one and peppers Nagata with slaps. Nagata clubs him back and delivers a kick to the head, the referee starts his 10 count but Nagata picks Suzuki up. He goes for another backdrop suplex but Suzuki knees him in the head to get out of it and applies the sleeper. Sleeper takedown by Suzuki and he keeps the hold applied on the mat. Nagata struggles back to his feet and pulls one of Suzuki’s arms off, but he slowly falls back to the mat. The referee calls for the bell as Nagata loses consciousness! Your winner and still champion: Minoru Suzuki
Match Thoughts: This was a very good match, Nagata seemed fired up and Suzuki was… well, Suzuki. The slap battles were done much better here then it was done in Akiyama/Suzuki, and I liked that they jumped right to the hate without mat wrestling for ten minutes first. Not that I mind mat wrestling, but in hateful matches it makes more sense for them to bash each other with chairs and give brainbusters on the floor. One of my many pet peeves is grudge matches that start slow, so I was glad that they didn’t go that route. It dragged a bit in the middle as they seemed to lose focus, but by the end it picked back up. Also with all the arm work I would have thought that Nagata at the end would have been going for the cross armbreaker or a Nagata Lock rather then another backdrop suplex. One other small criticism is that Nagata didn’t seem to be out long before the referee called for the bell, I would have liked for Suzuki to have had the hold on longer before the knockout victory. Overall though the match was a lot of fun, killer Nagata is one of my favorite wrestlers in Japan and Suzuki hung with him very well. Score: 7.3
(c) Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Taiyo Kea
This match is for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Tie-up to start, Kea pushes Tanahashi into the ropes and he gives a clean break. Tie-up again, waistlock by Kea, reversed, hammerlock by Kea, reversed again, side headlock takedown by Tanahashi but Kea gets out of it and hits a takedown of his own. They trade side headlocks again and both wrestlers go for dropkicks before returning to their feet. Tie-up, Tanahashi pushes Kea into the ropes and slaps him. Side headlock by Tanahashi, Kea Irish whips out of it but Tanahashi shoulderblocks him down. Tanahashi goes off the ropes, Kea applies a waistlock but Tanahashi elbows out of it. Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Kea hits a hiptoss. Kicks by Kea and he delivers the jumping heel kick. Tanahashi slowly gets back to his feet, chops by Kea in the corner, Irish whip, but Tanahashi elbows him as he charges in and hits a body press off the second turnbuckle for a two count. Tanahashi picks up Kea, Irish whip, but Kea kicks him when he goes for a back bodydrop. Tanahashi dropkicks Kea out of the ring, goes to the ropes and goes for a plancha, but Kea moves out of the way. They trade elbows on the outside, but Kea floors Tanahashi with a superkick. Kea removes the mat at ringside, picks up Tanahashi and nails the TKO on the bare floor! Tanahashi should be dead now. Kea slides back in the ring, Tanahashi gets back on the apron after a moment but Kea grabs his leg and gives him a dragon screw leg whip into the middle rope. Kea then suplexes him back into the ring, cover, but it gets a two count. Forearms to the back by Kea and the two trade blows, chop by Kea and he elbows Tanahashi in the back again. Backbreaker by Kea, cover, but Tanahashi gets a foot on the bottom rope. Back up, Tanahashi fights back, Irish whip by Kea, reversed, but Kea avoids the dropkick and lariats Tanahashi while he is in a seated position. Cover, but Tanahashi kicks out at two. Scoop slam by Kea in front of the corner, he goes for the reverse splash by Tanahashi gets his knees up. Tanahashi goes up to the top turnbuckle, but Kea quickly gets up and hits a superplex. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Powerbomb by Kea, cover, but Tanahashi again kicks out at two. Kea picks up Tanahashi and goes for the TKO, but Tanahashi slides down his back.
Punches by Tanahashi, Irish whip, reversed, but Tanahashi hits a jumping forearm strike. Tanahashi charges Kea but Kea back bodydrops him over the top turnbuckle. Tanahashi skins the cat however, he goes off the ropes and delivers the Sling Blade. Tanahashi goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a missile dropkick. Enzigieri by Tanahashi and he hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Tanahashi picks up Kea and goes for the dragon suplex, but Kea blocks it. Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Kea catches him with a jumping lariat. Side Russian leg sweep by Kea, cover, but it gets a two count. Kea pushes Tanahashi into the corner, Irish whip, and he delivers a jumping forearm followed by a lariat for a close two count. Kea picks up Tanahashi and hits a brainbuster, cover, but again it gets two. Kicks by Kea but Tanahashi ducks the jumping heel kick and hits a quick elbow drop and senton. Irish whip by Tanahashi but Kea nails a DDT. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kea goes for the TKO but Tanahashi again gets away from it and hits a standing Sling Blade. Uranage by Tanahashi, he waits for Kea to get up, goes off the ropes, but Kea reverses the Sling Blade attempt with a backdrop suplex. Tanahashi quickly gets back to his feet but Kea plants him with the Surfing Suplex. Tanahashi and Kea both slowly get up and they trade elbows, then slaps, and Tanahashi hits an enzigieri. Kea returns with a jumping heel kick however, punches by Kea and he delivers the TKO34th. Cover, but Tanahashi barely gets a shoulder up. Kea picks up Tanahashi and hits a sit-down powerbomb, cover, but again it gets a two count. Kea goes for the Cobra Clutch, but Tanahashi gets out of it and hits a trapped German suplex hold for a two count. Kea gets back up but Tanahashi grabs him and nails a release dragon suplex. Tanahashi goes up to the top turnbuckle, delivers the High Fly Flow and picks up the three count! Your winner and still champion: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Match Thoughts: Don’t mind the haters, this match was fun as hell. Kea looked completely legitimate here as someone that could take the belt away from Tanahashi. His offense was very convincing and he did a good job focusing on the back for most of the match (even if Tanahashi wasn’t real concerned with selling it long term, short term he did great though). The slow set up for the TKO34th was done beautifully and if that had been the end then no one could have complained as it fit the match perfectly. Kea completely dominated Tanahashi and Tanahashi lucked out just like he has before… I know they like him being the underdog but he really got his ass kicked in this match without really giving much back. He almost won too easily at the end, as Kea had hardly been hurt when Tanahashi’s quick three moves helped him pick up the pinfall. I did like though that Kea quickly got to his knees after losing, showing that he wasn’t knocked out… as he shouldn’t have been. Overall I really enjoyed this match, Kea is winning me over as he really brings it for big matches. His offense was very solid here which really made the beatdown that much more entertaining. Score: 7.8
Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima vs. Keiji Mutoh and Masahiro Chono
Tenzan and Mutoh start things off. Mutoh quickly dropkicks Tenzan as the bell rings, dropkicks him in the knee and hits a Shining Wizard! Tenzan rolls out of the ring, Kojima tries to get in but Mutoh gives him a Shining Wizard as he is still in the ropes, causing him to fall back out. After a moment Tenzan gets back in, tie-up, side headlock by Tenzan, but Mutoh Irish whips out of it. Shoulderblock by Tenzan and he hits a series of Mongolian Chops. Chop to the chest by Tenzan, Irish whip, reversed, and Mutoh hits a hiptoss. Snapmare by Mutoh but Tenzan gets up quickly and headbutts him in the chest. Suplex by Tenzan but Mutoh rolls out of the ring to re-group. After a moment he gets back in and tags in Chono. Tenzan tags in Kojima, Chono and Kojima tie-up, Kojima pushes Chono into the corner and he forearms him before backing off. Tie-up again, Chono gets Kojima into the ropes and gives him a few body blows. Single leg takedown by Chono and he drops an elbow on Kojima’s leg, but Kojima applies a cross armbreaker. Chono quickly gets to the ropes but Kojima kicks Chono into the corner. Scoop slam by Kojima and he tags in Tenzan. Tenzan goes off the ropes and he hits a headbutt while Kojima hits a slingshot elbow drop from the apron. Chono tags in Mutoh, front facelock by Tenzan on Mutoh but Mutoh punches out of it and begins working on Tenzan’s leg. Snapmare by Mutoh and he delivers the Flash Elbow. Mutoh tags in Chono, Irish whip to Tenzan and they hit a double shoulderblock. Chono picks up Tenzan and hits a dragon screw leg whip before applying the figure four. Kojima tries to break it up, but Mutoh runs in and applies the STF on Kojima. The referee finally gets him off as Chono kicks Tenzan while he is in the ropes. Chono picks up Tenzan and chops him in the corner before tagging in Mutoh. Kicks in the corner by Mutoh and he hits a dragon screw leg whip.
Figure four by Mutoh but Tenzan gets a hand on the bottom rope. Mutoh tags in Chono and Chono promptly throws Tenzan out of the ring. Kicks to the leg by Chono on the outside and he slides Tenzan back in. Headbutts by Chono and he tags in Mutoh. Dropkick by Mutoh, he picks up Tenzan, Irish whip, but Tenzan kicks him and hits a Mongolian Chop. Tenzan tags in Kojima, who chops Mutoh repeatedly in the corner. Irish whip by Kojima and he hits a running forearm followed by a snapmare and the top rope elbow drop. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kojima goes off the ropes but Mutoh dropkicks him in the knee. Kojima blocks the Shining Wizard however and hits a dragon screw leg whip. Kojima puts Mutoh onto the top turnbuckle and hits the Frankensteiner, cover, but it gets a two count. Kojima picks up Mutoh, Irish whip, but Mutoh rolls out of the way of the lariat attempt and delivers a dropkick. Chono is tagged in and he hits a shoulderblock from the top turnbuckle. Irish whip by Chono to the corner and he hits a Shining Yakuza Kick. Chono goes for a brainbuster but Kojima reverses it into a brainbuster of his own. Elbows by Kojima and he hits a rolling elbow strike. Kojima goes off the ropes but Chono catches him with a Yakuza Kick. Chono goes off the ropes but Kojima kicks him and hits the Koji Cutter. Kojima tags in Tenzan, who hits a series of Mongolian and regular chops to Chono. Irish whip by Tenzan and he lariats Chono in the corner. Tenzan goes up to the top turnbuckle while Chono is in the corner and drives him head-first into the mat. Cover, but Chono gets a foot on the bottom rope.
Irish whip by Tenzan, reversed, and Chono hits an atomic drop. Chono goes off the ropes but Tenzan connects with a heel kick. Side slam by Tenzan, cover, but Mutoh breaks it up. Kojima comes in, and with Tenzan they hit a Koji Cutter/Anaconda Vice Slam onto Mutoh. Lariat by Kojima on Chono, cover by Tenzan, but it gets a two count. Anaconda Vice by Tenzan on Chono while Kojima keeps Mutoh well tied up, but Chono gets a foot on the ropes. Double Irish whip to Chono and they hit an assisted Koji Cutter. They go for a double TTD onto Chono, but Mutoh catapults off the referee’s back to hit a Shining Wizard onto Kojima. Dragon screw leg whip by Mutoh on Tenzan and he hits a Shining Wizard on him. Kojima nails Mutoh with a lariat however, but Chono kicks down Kojima. Stomps by Chono on Tenzan, he goes off the ropes but Tenzan catches him with the Mountain Bomb. Tenzan goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers a diving headbutt, cover, but Mutoh breaks it up. Koji Cutter by Kojima onto Mutoh, Tenzan holds Chono for Kojima and Kojima nails the lariat. Kojima does a pescado out of the ring to Mutoh, he gets back in the ring while Tenzan hits the TTD onto Chono. Cover, but Tenzan raises his shoulder before the three count. He picks up Chono again, scoop slam in front of the corner and he nails the moonsault. Cover, but Chono barely gets a shoulder up. Mutoh is back in the ring, Kojima holds him for Tenzan, but Mutoh somehow simultaneously elbows Kojima while catching Tenzan’s leg and he hits a dragon screw leg whip. Hashimoto chops by Mutoh onto Kojima and he hits the DDT. Chono then chops on Tenzan and hits a DDT on him as well. Chono and Mutoh wait for Tenzan go get up and they hit a Shining Wizard/Yakuza Kick combination. Chono applies the STF on Tenzan while Mutoh applies the figure four on Kojima, and Tenzan taps out! Your winners: Keiji Mutoh and Masahiro Chono
Match Thoughts: Mutoh is without a doubt my favorite wrestler in the world, but it is hard for me to watch him wrestle with his knees in the condition they are. He and Chono were pretty beat up coming into the match but they tried their best to hang with Kojima and Tenzan. I’d disagree with the ending if it wasn’t for the Hashimoto tribute after the match… not because I think Kojima and Tenzan need the rub (they both have singles wins over their respective foils) but because Chono and Mutoh were just obviously not on the same physical level of Kojima and Tenzan. This was a fitting last hurrah for Chono and Mutoh and I hope that is what it is… Chono is interested in promoting and Mutoh is the president of All Japan so they are not going anywhere, but they both need to step back a bit more then they already have as they are in the twilights of their careers. As for the match, it wasn’t bad, but it was pretty slow in parts as the crowd stayed mostly quiet until the end. The last few minutes were fast paced and fun, but it just took too long to get there. A fitting main event since it was done for Hashimoto, but otherwise this would have been a disappointing in-ring way to end a very solid event. Score: 6.0
Visit Puroresu Central for clips and pictures from this event. Feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, comments, or snide remarks.
The Inside Pulse
From top to bottom this was a very solid show. All Japan really added a lot as there were fresh pairings up and down the card, making the matches more fresh and original. Kea/Tanahashi for me was the best match on the show (even though it had its faults) and most of the matches I would call entertaining. The main event in-ring wise was flat, but since it was leading up to a Hashimoto tribute I can understand why they did it that way. All the show really lacked was that must-see match as the matches generally ranged from average to very good with probably none that will blow you away. A solid recommendation for the show as it was another step in the right direction for New Japan.