With the upcoming WrestleMania weekend madness, we would almost forgot WWE isn’t the be all, end all of wrestling. Far from it. On April 10; NJPW will hold its annual Invasion Attack show at the Ryogoku Kokugican in Tokyo japan. Traditionally, NJPW promotes various “Road to …” house-shows before their big events, usually culminating into one or two bigger shows where the big angles will happen. Quite a lot was featured on this show, including the continuing war between CHAOS and Los Ingobernables de Japon and a rather intriguing NJPW vs Bullet Club series of matches so let’s not waste any more time and start with:
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, Rocky Romero and Barreta) defeated KUSHIDA, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask IV and David Finlay in 9:49 via pinfall:
One would almost be tempted to say this was your typical NJPW multi-man opening match, but Ishii’s presence did offer a rather refreshing twist. For those who may wonder, no, Ishii isn’t being “demoted” to opening match duties because he pissed Gedo off or anything but, simply, because, as ROH TV Champion, he will be appearing on ROH shows on a more or less regular base for now so this explains that. Admittedly, the match didn’t make much sense from a storyline point of view, but, seeing Ishii interact with wrestlers he doesn’t usually interact with was fun enough to make this work. Good showing also by RPG Vice (who have been on fire during the Road To Invasion Attack House shows) and KUSHIDA (no surprises there). Romero and Baretta used the Strong Zero to put away Finlay and are now set to challenge IWGP Jr Heavyweight tag team Champions Ricochet and Matt Sydal at Invasion Attack.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi defeated Katsuyori Shibata, Ryusuke Taguchi, Captain New Japan and Juice Robinson in 10:54 via pinfall:
First a little recap of previous events. Some weeks ago Shibata made some derogatory comments about “certain people just hanging around and having no drive to win anymore ( shot at NJPW’s veterans). Nagata, Kojima, Tenzan and Nakanishi took exception to those comments and this has formed the base for the Shibata/Angry Old Dad’s feud. And, honestly, this has been a whsle lot of fun until now. We’ve already had Kojima vs Shibata at a previous show (and I hear that match was rather good) and will now be getting Tenzan vs Shibata at Invasion Attack. But first, the Angry Old Dad’s had a point to prove by delivering a firm ass-kicking to the young(er) ones. Robinson got the worst of it after an ill-advised “fuck you” to Nakanashi. Not a good idea to say that to the Human Wall. Or at least you should have the sense to walk away after saying it (no need to run, it’s Nakanishi after all). Anyway, Robinson got destroyed by Nagata and Nakanishi while Tenzan was explaining things to Shibata at ring-side. Big post-match brawl to hype up the aforementioned Shibata vs Tenzan match and fun was had by all involved (except maybe poor Juice).
NJPW vs. Bullet Club Match – Michael Elgin defeated Cody Hall in 7:09 via pinfall:
I believe this was Cody’s firt singles match with NJPW and he had a perfect opponent in the person of Michael Elgin. Not that there weren’t some rough spots here and there, but Cody is learning and, perhaps even more importantly, more and more making that all-important connection with the crowds. Great pacing for the kind of match this was supposed to be and Hall, wisely kept to his methodical style which suits him rather well. There was no question that Elgin would win, of course, but, for his first singles outing, Cody continued to show much potential and that bodes very well for his future.
NJPW vs. Bullet Club Match – Kenny Omega defeated Jay White in 10:25 via pinfall:
This was great. On paper it looked like a glorified squash match, and that’s exactly how it started, with the arrogant and over-confident Omega completely dominating the Young Lion. Until Omega went for the One-Winged Angel (his finisher)… and was countered into a near-fall by Jay WHite. Now, remember, this isn’t WWE were people kick out of finishers left and right, in Japan, finishers are very well protected so this of course got a huge pop. From there White threw everything he had at Omega whose outraged (and slightly panicked) expressions at being beaten up by a Young Lion were absolute gold. Some great near-falls followed before Omega managed to regain control and score the win with the Bome yé. After that, Omega told the camera: “I hate it when the Young Bucks aren’t in Japan”. Character-wise, Omega did great here as the overconfident asshole who actually knows he need help to win his matches but just doesn’t want to admit it. White really worked a great showcase here and it does seem Gedo is keeping a very close eye on his progress. Judging from this match it’s certainly safe to say the Young Lion is indeed ready for bigger things. Great stuff on all levels.
NJPW vs. Bullet Club Match – Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Yujiro Takahashi in 8:55 via pinfall:
Decent match, just not very interesting. Tanahashi did what he could here, but Takahashi without his girlfriend is just not interesting enough to keep anyone’s attention. On top of that, the Tokyo Pimp seems to be doing a Toru Yano tribute act nowadays, which makes little sense since the Sublime Master Thief is still very much around. Tanahashi did what he could here, but…
NJPW vs. Bullet Club Match – Bad Luck Fale defeated Tomoaki Honma in 9:45 via pinfall:
I’m still not a fan of Fale, but, credit where credit is due, in certain matches, against certain opponents, he does get the job done. More or less. Case in point, this very match against heroic loser Tomoaki Honma. Fale was supposed to basically murder Honma here (see the next match for the reason why) so that’s exactly what he did. Huge thanks of course to Honma’s excellent selling, but hey, The Underboss didn’t do badly here.
NJPW vs. Bullet Club Match – Togi Makabe defeated Tama Tonga in 8:46 via DQ:
This was more an angle than a match really, with the previous match also used to set up Tama Roa (WWE’s Camacho) big NJPW debut. Makabe and Tonga went back and forth until the inevitable run-in and, since Honma was still death from his match against Fale, he couldn’t make the safe, allowing the Guerillas of destiny to beat up Makabe. This all caused a DQ (a rare occurrence in NJPW) and was the perfect set up for the tag team title match at Invasion Attack.
Los Ingobernables de japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL and BUSHI) defeated CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI) in 17:35 via pinfall:
Wow, this CHAOS vs Los Ingobernables feud is really picking up heat very fast. Los Ingobernables did suffer a few loses on previous shows, especially when matched against the powerful combo of Okada, Ishii and Goto, but here, it was Naito’s boys who had CHAOS’ number. Good back and forth with YOSHI-HASHI, especially, bumping all over the place and making some great come-backs. But that was all basically a lead-up to the closing stretch which was awesome. After some great exchanges between the six, all hell broke loose after a ref bump, leading to Okada being blinded by BUSHI’s green mist and EVIL taking care of Goto, which left poor YOSHI-HASHI in a one-against-three situation, with predictable results. But Los Ingobernables wasn’t done as they proceeded to beat absolutely everyone, including Gedo, ref Red Shoes, the Young Lions and pretty much anyone they could lay their hands on. The show ended with Los Ingobernables standing tall amidst total carnage.
I really enjoyed this show. Best matches were the main event and omega vs White but none of the other matches (with perhaps the exception of Tanahashi vs Takahashi) felt out of place and all were at least fun to watch. More importantly, NJPW is clearly putting great effort into making all the Invasion Attack matches matter with some great angles and storytelling. there will be another big Korakuen show this Friday, I’m not sure I will have the time to make a full review, but, I’ll certainly keep you posted on whatever happens there during my Invasion Attack preview next week.
Tags: bad Luck fale, bullet club, BUSHI, Captain New Japan, Chaos, Cody Hall, David Finlay Jr, EVIL, Hirooki Goto, hiroshi tanahashi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jay White, Juice Robinson, Jushin "Thunder" Liger, Katsuyori Shibata, kazuchika okada, Kenny Omega, Kushida, Los Ingobernables de Japon, Manabu Nakanishi, Michael Elgin, Roppongi Vice, Ryusuke Taguchi, Satoshi Kojima, Tama Roa, Tama Tonga, Tetsuya Naito, Tiger Mask IV, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, Yoshi Hashi, Young Lions, Yuji Nagata, Yujiro TAkahashi