by Bryan Rose, WrestlingObserver.com
Today’s show, held in Shizuoka at the Twin Messe Shizuoka, is a fixed camera show without commentary.
Jushin Liger and Tiger Mask vs. Jay White and Yohei Komatsu
Basic, but well worked match. Young lions had the veterans in a double submission at one point but neither tapped. Tiger Mask had White in his chickenwing submission but Komatsu broke it up. Tiger Mask isolates White again then drops him with the tiger driver for the win.
Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe and Captain New Japan vs. Bad Luck Fale, Cody Hall and Doc Gallows
Togi Makabe pinned Cody Hall with the King Kong knee drop. This was rather short and was mostly all action. A lot of brawling around the ring. Ibushi did all of his usual good offense including doing his moonsault off the middle rope to the floor.
Toru Yano and Yoshi-Hashi vs. AJ Styles and Tama Tonga
Another short match, but turned into a pretty good back and forth. Yoshi-Hashi and Tama Tonga are two of the more underrated workers in New Japan right now. YH held his own against Styles and looked good. Tonga went to spear Yano but he moved aside and shoved him into Styles, then Yano rolled up Tonga for the flash three count.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Natio and Mascara Dorada vs. Katsuyori Shibata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Ryusuke Taguchi
This was also pretty good. Mascara Dorada looked excellent whenever he was in, doing a step up arm drag off the top rope followed by a huge tope con hilo. Tanahashi looked really good here as well. Tenzan did not, moving really slow and sluggish. Taguchi ended up pinning Dorada with a running hip attack.
Satoshi Kojima vs. Tomohiro Ishii
This was a good back and forth brawl. Ishii held his own here and just pelted Kojima with everything you’d see in a Ishii match – stiff offense, headbutts, lariats and the like while Kojima did his usual comeback routine. Kojima took him out with a lariat at one point and after a while picked him up but he fired back with a vicious headbutt, a sliding D and a brainbuster to win the match. Very good, but not great.
Hirooki Goto vs. Yujiro Takahashi
This was decent, but nothing spectacular. The crowd wasn’t into it at all. A lot of the match was Yujiro on offense, which is fine, but wasn’t particularly exciting. Just missed something that made it stood out or even be that interesting. Thing with these matches is that the fixed camera hurts it a bit and the crowd’s been largely silent tonight. Eventually Goto made his comeback, hit the neckbreaker on the knee and pinned Yujiro after the shouten kai.
Tomoaki Honma vs. Yuji Nagata
The crowd woke up for this one, thankfully. Great match, easily the best of the night so far. Lots of great nearfalls from Honma. Everything just looked crisp and devastating, not to mention the two gel well together. Honma always gets a good reaction when on offense. Problem is, he kept missing kokeshi headbutts from the top rope, and that was his downfall. Nagata laid him out with a HUGE backdrop driver for a near fall. That looked crazy as Honma looked like he landed right on his neck. Nagata then pinned him with another, this time with a bridge.
Michael Elgin vs. Kazuchika Okada
Great match. Elgin’s style fits perfectly here and looked really good in everything he did, and came off as a powerful, athletic guy against Okada. He was able to get over here with not the best of crowds tonight, so more matches like this and he should be fine. One highlight was Elgin lifting up Okada from the apron, deadlifting him a la Cesaro, then turning it into a falcon arrow on impact for a nearfall. Okada came back and hit the tombstone after Elgin tried to counter, then hit the Rainmaker.
Karl Anderson vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Crowd went back to being largely dead for this. Nakamura kicked out of two stun guns, including one from the top rope. Nakamura went for the boma ye and hit it, then was going for another after a nearfall but Anderson dodged and hit another gun stun for the win in an upset. Good match, but not as good as the previous two matches and the crowd wasn’t as into it as other matches.
Anderson cut a promo in Japanese after the match mentioning his loss at the G1 finals in 2012 and essentially promised victory this year.