Monday, August 31, 2015

New Japan Pro Wrestling - New Year's Dash 2015 Review

It's the night after Wrestle Kingdom 9. What will the fallout be like!

So this show is basically New Japan’s version of the RAW after WrestleMania, where we see some fallout, and things being set up for the future. Let’s see how they follow up the night after one of the greatest shows in wrestling history!

NJPW New Year Dash 2015
Tokyo, Japan 1/5/15
1.) Suzuki-gun (Taichi & Taka Michinoku) vs. Tiger Mask & Sho Tanaka: **¼

The show kicks off with the Suzuki-gun juniors of Taichi & Taka Michinoku taking on Tiger Mask and one of the young boys, Sho Tanaka. Nothing much to this one. A pretty basic opener. The Suzuki-gun juniors get the victory.
2.) Non-Title Match - IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions & ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon vs. Forever Hooligans: ***¼

These two teams have faced each other many times before, in New Japan & ROH, but this would be their last encounter. It was revealed later that Alex Kozlov was finished with the company, apparently taking a sabbatical from wrestling (probably due to injuries piling up). The fact that Kozlov got pinned both at Wrestle Kingdom 9 and this show makes sense, knowing that he was leaving. A solid match here. Very respectable tag team match. As I alluded to earlier, reDRagon picks up the win.
3.) Ten-Man Tag - Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, Shelton "X" Benjamin & The Killer Elite Squad) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Captain New Japan, Manabu Nakanishi & Tomoaki Honma: **¾

While Minoru Suzuki won his match at Wrestle Kingdom 9, the rest of his teammates lost an Eight-Man Tag to Toru Yano & NOAH contingent that included Naomichi Marufuji & TMDK. Here, they’re taking on a random assortment on New Japan babyfaces. A fine Ten-Man Tag. It was pretty chaotic, as you would expect. Suzuki-gun would get the win, and they continued beating up the babyfaces after the match.
4.) NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Title - Jushin "Thunder" Liger vs. El Desperado: ***

I believe this was a match that was going to take place on the main Wrestle Kingdom 9 card, but I’m assuming due to the four hour time constraints of the PPV, it got bumped to this show. I thought that, as a whole, it was a fine match, though it had a few issues, such as going a little too long and outside interference from Suzuki-gun & Tiger Mask (the latter coming to Liger’s defense). In the end, Liger would get the win to retain his NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Title.
5.) Six-Man Tag - The Bullet Club (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & The Time Splitters: ***¼

So Kenny Omega is coming off of his IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title victory over Ryusuke Taguchi, while The Time Splitters are positioning themselves as the next challengers to The Young Bucks. A pretty solid match here. Good action from all six guys here, as you would expect. KUSHIDA would get the win for his team, setting up a future IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match.
6.) The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga) vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano): **½

Of course, Okada is coming off of his heartbreaking loss to Tanahashi in the Main Event of Wrestle Kingdom 9. He somehow has to bounce back against the monster of The Bullet Club, Bad Luck Fale. This was ok. The action was just kind of there, but the main story here is that Okada (who wasn’t at 100%, as he was taped up in several places) gets pinned by Bad Luck Fale, continuing his fall. One thing we know for sure, is that Okada has a long climb back to the top.

7.) Six-Man Tag - CHAOS (IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Kota Ibushi, NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe & Yugi Nagata: ***1/2
While Nakamura vs. Ibushi & Ishii vs. Makabe were big title matches on Wrestle Kingdom 9, Yuji Nagata & Yoshi-Hashi were relegated to the pre-show Rumble, which Nagata one. A very good Semi-Main Event here. Pretty entertaining stuff here. In the end, Nagata would get the win over Yoshi-Hashi. Nagata challenges Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Title after the match, which Nakamura seemingly accepts. So it looks like we’ll be getting that match soon.

8.) Eight-Man Tag - The Bullet Club ("The Phenomenal" AJ Styles, "Machine Gun" Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows & Yujiro Takahashi with Cody Hall & Scott D'Amore) vs. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito & IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata: ***½

Before the match, The Bullet Club introduces their “young boy” Cody Hall, the son of Scott Hall. As far as the match goes, it pretty much comprised of a few rematches from Wrestle Kingdom 9 (save for Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yujiro Takahashi). Much like the previous match, it was pretty solid. Good action throughout, and the match ended with Styles pinning Tanahashi with the Styles Clash. Afterwords, Styles calls out Tanahashi for a rematch, while Karl Anderson cut a Bullet Club promo to close the show.
Overall: 7.0/10

I thought this was a pretty solid show. Obviously, we weren’t going to get any spectacular, or even great, performances on this show, since everyone worked their asses of the night before to produce on of the greatest wrestling shows of all time. Still, this show served it’s purpose as a follow up very well. We got a lot of future matches set up here, specifically AJ Styles vs. Tanahashi, & Nakamura vs. Nagata. There was also a rare house show singles match with Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. El Desperado for the NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Title, the departure of Alex Kozlov, and the Fall of the “Rainmaker”, as Okada suffered a loss to Bad Luck Fale. The wrestling was pretty solid, but this show did more to set up what was to come in 2015.

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