With the G1 Climax currently underway, I thought I'd better get around to watching this since the G1 shows should be coming out soon.Yujiro VS Takashi Uwano (Highlights)
Yujiro seems to have beefed up quite a bit, as he almost resembles Nakanishi! They showed a lot of Yujiro in command, slamming Uwano multiple times for near falls. After one sloppily miss-timed STO, Uwano picks up the win with a German suplex-hold.Match Rating: -
El Samurai VS Prince Devitt (Highlights)
Devitt’s NJPW debut. He showed some good form hitting a Pele kick and a big diving foot stomp for a near fall. Samurai hit the reverse DDT and a diving headbutt for a near fall, but scored the submission win with a kimura armlock.Match Rating: - Tiger Mask & Ryusuke Taguchi VS Jushin Thunder Liger & Sangre Azteca
Liger put Taguchi in one of the most gay looking submission holds I’ve ever seen in this one, and I’m not even going to try and describe it other than say that the live fans even chuckled when they saw it. The rest of his offense was vintage Liger: countering almost everything thrown at him or no-selling what he got hit with. And you guys wonder why I’m not a Liger mark like most of the internet?
Azteca’s look sort of reminds me of Super Demekin in Osaka Pro. The guy just doesn’t do anything for me. Why the heck would he stop dead in his tracks after rebounding off the ropes to hit a dropkick? Wouldn’t it have made more sense to use the momentum to make the move more effective?
I like Taguchi now that he’s more than just a “Dropkick Monster” for beating Liger with one in 10-seconds. He’s a good worker and a definite future ace for the junior heavyweight division of NJPW. Tiger Mask for some reason I couldn’t care much about either.
Asteca scores the win over Taguchi with a cradle to counter a tiger suplex. The live fans liked it, I didn’t.Match Rating: *Riki Choshu, Manabu Nakanishi & Takashi Iizuka VS Black Strong Machine, Tatsutoshi Gotoh & Togi Makabe
This was just one big train wreck. Choshu either needs to retire from active in ring duty, or at least stop with the no selling of everything thrown at him. He’s over 50, not a young ace anymore. SELL DAMMIT.Match Rating: DUDIWGP Jr. Tag Title No.1 Contender’s Match: Koji Kanemoto & Wataru Inoue VS Jado & Gedo
Now this was a solid junior tag match. Lots of fan support and near falls, as well as false finishes! I only didn’t like how sometimes it seems like they have the signature submissions on for too long before it gets broken up by the partner. In some cases they were locked on so long that the guy in the hold just doesn’t act like he’s selling the pain of the hold anymore. The ending was a nice surprise though, with Jado pinning Inoue after the Crossface of Jado.Match Rating: **1/2Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Giant Bernard VS Scott Norton & Toru Yano
It was good to see Norton back in action again, even if he’s obviously put on A LOT of weight! He did seem to stumble around a bit because of it, but could still go toe-to-toe with anyone, and just seemed to work well with Bernard here. Whey NJPW aren’t teaming the two together is beyond me. Norton showed he’s still a powerhouse when he was able to suplex Bernard on his own, where as Bernard needed Tenzan’s help to do it!
There wasn’t a whole lot to see from Yano, but Tenzan and Bernard did seem to function well as a team. Bernard even did the Mongolian Chops! Bernard also did probably one of the ugliest release Germans I’ve seen in a while.
This match was fun, mostly to see the big gaijins going at it. Norton pinning Tenzan with the powerbomb was a bit of a surprise, but I guess it made sense since they were building up the singles match between Norton and Bernard to pass to torch.Match Rating: *1/2New Japan Cup: Naofumi Yamamoto VS Ryouji Sai
These two had a great match at the Tokyo Dome in January, and this one wasn’t much different as their rivalry continues to boil. I’ve definitely got a soft spot for Yamamoto in NJPW and hope to see him raise his game and get the spot that Katsuyori Shibata turned down when he walked out of NJPW. Despite being in enemy territory, Sai still had his fair share of supporters in the crowd tonight too. The two of them put on a fun back and forth match which had a lot of crowd heat from start to finish. Sai was able to pull off the win with a diving double foot stomp off the top rope, but he spoiled his victory celebration when he lost his footing and fell off the top rope to the floor! Talk about embarrassing. A fight breaks out between the NJPW and Z1M camps after the match, which is broken up by Choshu, but he gets decked by Kohei Sato and the brawl continued for a bit more.Match Rating: *1/2New Japan Cup: Yuji Nagata VS Tomohiro Ishii
This was a lot of fun if you enjoy watching seniors slapping around juniors. Ishii attacked Nagata before the bell and rained a barrage of hard elbow strikes. Nagata gets all pissed and then starts to beat the crap out of Ishii himself, battering him all the way out of the ring and bloodying Ishii’s mouth. Nagata continues his relentless attack on Ishii, causing the referee to bring the doctor in to check on him. The match continues, and Ishii is able to comeback and score a near fall with a German suplex! Nagata fires more hard kicks at Ishii before putting him away with a rather sick looking backdrop-hold for the win.Match Rating: *1/2New Japan Cup: Hiroshi Tanahashi VS Masahiro Chono
Hyped as the 2005 New Japan Cup winner versus the 2005 G1 Climax winner, this was clipped down to about 10 minutes from the original 25 minutes it went, which probably isn’t a bad thing when the match scored a lot of negative reviews as well as some really loud boos from the audience in attendance. Just a whole lot of the usual Chono Yakuza-kick offense and Tanahashi’s bursts of offense. Tanahashi SERIOUSLY needs a proper finisher as the Sling Blade just doesn’t cut it. At best it’s just a neckbreaker-drop, and nobody should score a pin with a neckbreaker drop if their name isn’t Giant Baba. It helps even less when the move looks like it has ZERO impact. Considering how quickly he beat Kazuyuki Fujita with a barrage of Yakuza-kicks, you’d think Tanahashi would have gone down after all the variations of the move Chono gave him.
I’m glad they didn’t air the whole match, as it really just looked like one big mess.Match Rating: *