The SmarK Rant for New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS–05.22.15

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The SmarK Rant for New Japan on AXS – 05.22.15

My DVR found two episodes of the show on AXS tonight, so we’ll start with last week’s show and proceed from there. And yeah, I can watch it on NJPW World with the original commentary, but not on my TV and not with Mauro Ranallo.

Taped from YOYOGI NATIONAL GYM, June 2014. This would be the Best of the Super Junior 2014 finals.

Your hosts are Mauro Ranallo & Josh Barnett, who are clearly by leaps and bounds the best wrestling commentary team in the world right now. Like, 5 minutes of them and you’ll wonder how you put up with Michael Cole or the rotating geeks of NXT.

Semi-Final: Taichi v. Kushida

Taichi, apparently a very poor sport as part of those wacky Suzuki-Gun hooligans, attacks Kushida with a chair and runs him into the post, then does the old “breakaway chair over the head” gimmick in the ring. Japanese fans love that shit. Taichai and TAKA beat on Alex Shelley on the floor as well, which has Mauro questioning whether “WWF referee Danny Davis” is the official tonight. The match finally starts for real and Taichi gets two, then he follows with a clothesline in the corner, but Kushida fights back with a pair of kicks from the apron and a SPRINGBOARD CHOP. Taka cuts off a dive like a dick, so Kushida hits both heels with a super dive instead. Back in, Taichi with a high kick into a sitout powerbomb for two and the LEATHER PANTS ARE OFF. Now shit is about to get real. Kushida comes back with an enzuigiri , but a moonsault hits knees and both guys are messed up from that one. Taichi grabs a microphone and throws it into Kushida’s hands, then does the old Eddie Guerrero sell to try for a DQ. No dice from the ref, and Kushida comes back before the ref gets wiped out now. Finally Shelley has had enough and superkicks both heels, allowing Kushida to roll into a kimura and finish at 5:18. Some good stuff, but this was way too much nonsense and interference. **1/2

Semi-Final: Ricochet v. Ryusuke Taguchi

I still don’t get how WWE could seriously pass on Ricochet. Just goes to show that not every decision from HHH’s brain is gold. Ricochet flips into a headscissors, but Taguchi dumps him and flattens him with a somersault dive. Back in and they trade forearms, and then trade dropkicks into the corner before Taguchi gets the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Taguchi with a pair of rolling suplexes, but Ricochet fights out, so Taguchi hits a front suplex for two. Ricochet with a front rollup for two and he lands on his feet out of a Tiger Suplex, then hits a superman punch and Benydriller kick to finish at 3:40. Well that was brisk. ** They edited about 3:00 out of the match, but damned if I can see where.

Best of Super Junior Finals: Ricochet v. Kushida

Kudos to Kushida for the Marty McFly entrance gear, by the way. Test of strength to start and Ricochet gets to flip around out of that, but Kushida holds him down with an armbar. We take a break and return (with no edit) with Ricochet backflipping into a headscissors as my wife is busy cracking jokes until she actually watches the match and suddenly decides she loves Ricochet and never wants him to get hit in his beautiful, beautiful face. And again, WWE PASSED on this guy. Kushida tosses him (not the face!) and works on the arm back in the ring while the tournament losers all watch at ringside. Barnett has a nice touch, saying that they need to be out there wondering why they’re not in the ring right now and what they have to do to make sure they are next year. Because wins and losses DO matter. Kushida throws kicks at the arm, but Ricochet puts him on the floor with a high kick and follows with the SPACE FLYING TIGER DROP. If I was ever going to start a band, that’s what we’d call ourselves. Back in, Ricochet throws some stiff kicks and gets a low kick for two, into a springboard senton and flying forearm for two. Spinning forearm off the middle rope gets two. Ricochet tries a handspring elbow, but Kushida dropkicks him in the face in mid-move, and then puts him on the floor for a swanton bomb off the top to the floor. Well that was crazy. Kushida dropkicks him on the way in and follows with a moonsault for two as we take a break. Back with Kushida hitting a kick, but Ricochet counters with a GTS variation for two. That was more like a gutbuster followup, which actually looked more impressive than Punk’s usual version. Springboard SSP misses, however, and Kushida rolls him up for two. They slug it out and Kushida kicks the hell out of the arm and follows with a handspring elbow into the Hoverboard Lock (kimura), which has Ricochet frantically making the ropes. Kushida kicks him in the face for two. Dragon Suplex gets two. Kushida misses a corkscrew moonsault (“No water in the pool!” declares Mauro because he’s AWESOME) and they slug it out from their knees, which leads to Ricochet hitting a superman punch into a northern lights suplex for two. To the top and they fight over a suplex until Kushida goes down, but he fights back with a handstand kick. Ricochet catches him with a GTS from the middle rope, however, and gets a 630 (!!!!!!!!) splash for TWO. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. We take another break and return with Ricochet probably wondering what more he has to do to win this thing, but now Kushida gets an enzuigiri as Mauro is just losing his shit and it’s great. Kushida handsprinngs right into an electric chair, but reverses into the Hoverboard Lock from there somehow. Ricochet rolls him into the Benydriller, however, and wins the tournament at 23:16. The commentary made this into an epic. ****1/2

Afterwards, Kushida is pretty bummed, but he’ll get back to the top next year.

Ricochet cuts his victory promo in the ring, and lays out the challenge to Junior champion Kota Ibushi, which will be the featured match on next week’s show. So much beautiful in one ring!

The Pulse

Yeah, you know I’m all over this show now.