This was the first full NJPW show I’ve watched and recently had the chance to watch it from beginning to end again. Watching it fully a 2nd time though, I remember why I only watched it complete ONCE.
IWGP Heavyweight Title No.1 Contenders Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Hiroyoshi Tenzan
- This really wasn’t anything special, you could probably say it was a TV quality match. The rise of Hiroshi Tanahashi may have started around here, but this wasn’t his night as he jumped right into a TTD.
Match Rating: **
Takashi Iizuka VS Ken Shamrock
- This was seriously boring. I can stand watching Nishimura’s mat work, but not Iizuka’s, and I know Shamrock is capable of better than this.
Match Rating: *1/2
IWGP Jr. Tag Team Title Match
HEAT & Tiger Mask VS Jushin Thunder Liger & Koji Kanemoto
- This was a standard NJPW Jr tag match. And am I the only one who notices Liger has to brainbuster someone on the ramp on EVERY Dome show? It’s no secret NJPW Jr. matches are boring to me, but I seriously consider this to be just an average match, though one of the better ones on the show.
Match Rating: **1/2
I won’t rate the MMA matches since there really isn’t any chemistry involved in a shoot.
Vale Tudo: KENGO VS LYOTO
- LYOTO may be undefeated in MMA, but I don’t think he’s ever actually FINISHED a fight, always winning by decision. This fight was still boring either way.
Vale Tudo: Dolgorsuren Sumiyabazar VS Tsuyoshi Kosaka
- Blue Wolf’s brother was impressive in his promo video, but never got to show any skill as he jams his elbow on a take down and the match is halted.
Vale Tudo: Shinsuke Nakamura VS Jan ‘The Giant’ Nortje
- The future supernova topples the helpless Giant. Nothing much here either.
Vale Tudo: Josh Barnett VS Jimmy Ambriz
- The only MMA match on the card that had any actual crowd heat as the two big Americans slug it out. Ambriz may have been dominant in King of the Cage, but he didn’t have the stamina to even last one round here with Barnett.
Vale Tudo: Manabu Nakanishi VS Kazuyuki Fujita
- If Nakanishi wanted to be an MMA fighter, he seriously needs to learn how to throw a PUNCH! Fujita really didn’t have much trouble in this one.
Kazunari Murakami VS Enson Inoue
- This was another slugfest. I think the Crazy Dogs VS Makai Club feud produced some of the worst wrestling matches. These were two natural shooters, but all the blood and flying leather still couldn’t save this from being dull.
Match Rating: **
NOAH GHC Heavyweight Title Match
Masahiro Chono VS Kenta Kobashi
- The ONLY reason I wanted to watch this event, and my buddy TenzanTeam2K was fortunate enough to actually watch this one LIVE at the Tokyo Dome! This was seriously the best match of the night with Chono fighting an uphill battle due to his knee injury. I could only imagine what they could have done if Chono was 100%! Everything you want in a good match is here: good story telling, good chemistry and WICKED big spots, like Chono’s trifecta of dangerous backdrops and Kobashi’s almost endless barrage of half-nelson suplexes. This is a MUST SEE match and the best bout of the show!
Match Rating: ****
IWGP & NWF Double Title Match
Yoshihiro Takayama VS Yuji Nagata
- I was a bit disappointed by this one, as it was the only other match on the card I really wanted to see. Despite throwing some heavy strikes, this match never felt like it reached it’s climax when Takayama suddenly gets the win on a man who successfully made TEN IWGP title defenses after just ONE Everest German. I would have booked Nagata to kick out of the Everest, but get put away by a second. It would have brought the crowd alive before the actual finish. This was just an OK match.
Match Rating: ***
Like me, You’ll only want this show to watch the GHC title match and the main event as everything else was just plain stuff they could have done on any regular TV taping or house show.