Wrestle Kingdom Grand Opening VIENTO DORADO: Mistico, Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince DeVitt VS Averno, Jado & Gedo
More of a showcase match to introduce Mistico to the Japanese fans. I thought the New Japan guys were more impressive than the CMLL crew since they didn’t really do anything that we haven’t seen before by other junior heavyweights in other promotions. And since it was the lucha style, there were more than a few awkward moments that broke the pace of the match since they would just stand around to play to the crowd before continuing the match.Match Rating: *
Jushin Thunder Liger 20th Anniversary Match: Jushin Thunder Liger & Takuma Sano VS Koji Kanemoto & Wataru Inoue
Sano was really out of place in the match, and they teased how Liger & Sano couldn’t seem to function as a team since there were a few miss-timed spots that ended with them hitting each other. It was an ok match, but Liger’s 20th anniversary match deserved better than to be buried on the undercard of a big show like this.Match Rating: *
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles: NO LIMIT (Yujiro & Tetsuya Naito) [C] VS The Motor City Machineguns (Chris Sabin & Alex Shelley)
Note to NJPW: If TNA are ever stupid enough to release the ‘Guns, you guys better sign them to contract! Seriously! The ‘Guns totally overshadowed NO LIMIT here as they wowed the crowd with their tandem offense and flashy speed based offense. I just hope the fact that they actually won the titles here and have been back to Japan several times since is a sign of New Japan’s interest in the duo as great workers, as compared to TNA who really have no idea what to do with them.Match Rating: ***1/2
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Low Ki [C] VS Tiger Mask
I liked that Tiger kicked out of the Ki Krusher at the beginning of the match since he was still fresh, but I hated how after taking all the punishment from Ki that he did throughout the match that he only suddenly needed THREE moves to put him away and win the belt! A release half tiger suplex, followed by a tiger suplex-hold for a near fall and a bizarre half tiger, wrist clutch between the legs suplex hold for the win.
I think Ki deserved better, and it’s no wonder many of the IWC are hating on Tiger.Match Rating: **
Fighting Holdings Competition: Riki Choshu, Masahiro Chono, Kurt Angle & Kevin Nash VS Karl “Machinegun” Anderson, Tomohiro Ishii, Takashi Izuka & Giant Bernard
I know Nash is broken down and his move set is down to just 2 moves now (not counting punches & kicks), but I was actually expecting to see more Nash VS Bernard action. Nothing riles up the crowd more than 2 big men going at it. The whole match was probably more about setting up the aftermath where Bernard laid out Angle with the Bernard Driver after Angle took the win with the ankle lock.
Long story short, this was the match on the card that was thrown together to get the rest of the roster onto the card, plus two TNA guys who don’t really need the exposure. It served it’s purpose in that regard.Match Rating: *1/2
Zero-One World Heavyweight Title – Crusade for Justice: Yuji Nagata [C] VS Masato Tanaka
Take two rival promotions, put a belt on the line, and throw in a lot of HATE, and you get an awesome match! This is how you make a blood feud! Both men bleeding and still tearing into each other with all they got. I think my only complaint was that it was a bit on the short side, and maybe they could have let Tanaka kick out of a few more near falls during the ending sequence to build up even more drama, but other than that, still a fantastic match and the first one of the night to really bring the crowd alive.Match Rating: ****Click Here
to watch highlights from this match.New Japan VS NOAH Battle Tendencies – The Invasion: Manabu Nakanishi VS Jun Akiyama
Nakanishi’s power VS Akiyama’s cunning, and they put on a passable match based around the amateur backgrounds of both men, though amateur wrestling didn’t play into the match itself. Best spot of the match was when Nakanishi lifted Akiyama off the mat while he had him in a front neck lock and slammed him down on the mat. Akiyama escapes the Argentine Backbreaker and lays in a barrage of Exploders before taking down the big gorilla with a wrist-clutch Exploder.Match Rating: **Click Here
to watch highlights from this match.IWGP Tag Team Titles – Hardcore Rules: Most Violence Players (Togi Makabe & Toru Yano) [C] VS Team 3D (Brother Ray & Brother Devon)
The match that featured the infamous "bouncing" diving headbutt, where Devon does a diving headbutt and comes short by about a foot, but his impact bounces him off the mat to reach his target! It's pretty obvious that without the hardcore gimmick, Team 3D would be pulling off the worst tag matches in Japan. How these two got so lazy is beyond me, and it doesn't help that Ray likes doing comedy spots while working in Japan. Makabe & Yano really should have won this one, but then again NJPW have shown almost zero interest in getting their belts back from TNA Team 3D won the belts here.
And what is up with those kindergaren tables they used here? Did New Japan have to slash the budget to save on expenses that they couldn't afford adult sized tables to be used in the match???Match Rating: **
New Japan VS NOAH Battle Tendencies – The Encounter: Shinsuke Nakamura & Hirooki Goto VS Mitsuharu Misawa & Takashi Sugiura
Unfortunately this would be the last time we hear Misawa's name chanted in the Tokyo Dome. But it was a heck of a match! Even though limited, you could see Misawa was doing all he could for the match. But the star of the match was easilly Sugiura who carried most of the work load for his team. And it still amazes me how Nakamura does that flying cross-armbreker of his, though he probably over did his post match celebration when he won it for his team. Match Rating: ****1/4
*Match Highlight clip coming soon*IWGP Heavyweight Title: Keiji Mutoh [C] VS Hiroshi Tanahashi
If you like the dragon screw leg whip, you'll just LOVE this match, as at least 80% of the offense in the match consisted of that one move from various angles and positions. People might complain about Kobashi and his use of the chops, but this was downright ridiculous! At least Tanahashi remembered to sell the knee throughout the match, but Muto really needs to find some other structure to his matches other than countless dragon screws and Shining Wizards with a figure four tossed in here and there.Match Rating: **Overall:
It was a great show from top to bottom with more good than bad. Definitely worth checking out.
Labels: AJPW, NJPW, NOAH