Best Match: Prince Devitt vs. Gedo
Worst Match: TenKoji/Super Strong Machine vs. Jado/Izuka/Yano
1) TenKoji and Super Strong Machine d. Izuka, Yano and Jado by DQ: This started as all out brawl, but then settled down. It was good when it settled down in the ring, but the finish was lame. Throughout the match chairs were used by both teams, but referee finally DQ's Izuka when he uses his metal fingers gimmick. I thought they could have easily done a finish either way with Jado or Super Strong Machine taking the fall.
2) Togi Makabe, Kushida, Tiger Mask, and Nakanishi d. Hirooki Goto, Yuji Nagata, Takaai Watanabe, and Captain New Japan. This match was really good. Both teams are babyfaces and the crowd loved it. The crowd was really into Makabe and Goto hooking up. I am not a fan of comedy in wrestling matches, but Captain New Japan is comedy that I enjoy. Perfect guy to take the heat. Nakanishi really must have been feeling good as he did a lot more and took a lot more then usually does. Watanabe did not get in really until the end. He has a lot of fire and I think he is going to be star in the future. Kushida is the future of the Junior Division and I really hope they focus seriously on the juniors again. Kushida is just too talented and needs to be pushed as the top junior star.
3) Minoru Suzuki, Taka Michinoku, and Taichi d. Tomohiro Ishii, Rocky Romero, and Alex Kozlov. Another fun match. Romero and Kozlov are full on babyfaces now. I guess that happens when you team with Ishii. Suzuki versus Ishii was the focus in this match. The crowd went nuts every time they faced each other. I liked the finish of the Taichi getting the pin on Kozlov to set up a future Junior Tag Team Title match. I wish Taichi would change his gimmick to something serious. Hey has a good look, tons of charisma and really talented.
4) Shinsuke Nakamura, Masato Tanaka, and Yujiro Takahashi d. La Sombra, Tetsuya Naito, and Tomoaki Honma. Another good match. La Sombra really shined in this match. The crowd was into everything he did. A lot of big near falls. New Japan really needs to drop the Never title. It just is not needed and not over. The finish was a surprise as Takahashi pinned Honma. Not surprised Honma lost, but Takahashi getting the win. I would have given Nakamura the pin. I guess Takahashi maybe challenging La Sombra for the IC Belt next.
5) Karl Anderson & Bad Luck Fale d. Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi-Hashi. If it wasn't for the first match, this would have been my pick for worst match of the night. The right team won and right guy got the pin over the right guy taking the fall. What I did not like was Fale sold too much. He should have never left his feet. You could have had Anderson take all the shine, then cutoff Hashi for the heat. Okada comes in to make the hot tag, but never bumps Fale off his feet. Finally, tag in Hashi who ends up taking pin from Fale's finish. You might say Hashi was hitting Fale with his cane gimmick, but even with that Fale should have barely sold. Maybe I am just being too picky, but this match did not work for me.
6) Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jushin Liger d. Tama Tonga & El Terrible to win the CMLL Tag Team Titles. This was
under Lucha Libre rules so when one wrestlers goes to the floor, his partner can come into the ring. Good match, but the finish did not come off hot. The pop for the title change was huge however. There was a spot when Tanahashi was being double teamed and he was fighting back with so much emotion. Tanahashi is just on another level of ring work. It seemed from the post match with El Terrible shaking Tanahashi's and Liger's hand.
7) NJPW JR Champion Prince Devitt d. Gedo: Wild match and the crowd was really hot for it. Both guys are technically heels, so both sides cheated throughout the match. The crowd loved that aspect, but was cheering Gedo. Some really good near falls in this match that even had me reacting and I already knew the result. After Devitt kicked out of the frog splash, the crowd was seriously buzzing. You could see people looking to the person next to them and reacting to show close Gedo was to winning the gold. Looking at this match you could easily predict Devitt was going over because he had the big title match against Okada later in the month. The work was so good, that the crowd truly believed Gedo was winning. Great stuff.
Overall Thoughts: I real deal at $20. A lot of really good matches with one two bad ones. The main event was a lot of fun and very dramatic. Can't wait until the next New Japan IPPV. I watched it on demand and I highly recommend viewing it that way. I had no problems with the video at all. New Japan is really on a roll and it truly the best promotion in the world right now in putting on great shows.
Best match: KUSHIDA/Tiger Mask/Manabu Nakanishi/Togi Makabe vs Takaaki Watanabe/Captain New Japan/Hirooki Goto/Yuji Nagata
Worst match: Alex Koslov/Rocky Romero/Tomohiro Ishii vs Taichi/TAKA Michinoku/Minoru Suzuki
1) Tenzan/Kojima/Super Strong Machine vs Toru/Iizuka/Jado: An enjoyable opener. TenKoji and Toru/Iizuka are really over with me. I was into the shine spots and liked the DQ finish.
2) KUSHIDA/Tiger Mask/Nakanishi/Makabe vs Watanabe/Captain New Japan/Goto/Nagata: I absolutely loved this one. Great booking. I came out of it wanting to see singles matches between all these guys. Some superb sequences. Then just as it was fizzling out, a high tempo stiff finish made this fantastic.
3) Koslov/Romero/Ishii vs Taichi/TAKA/Suzuki: Not bad, but not great. TAKA and Taichi really let it down. They came across as dark match fodder. Based on Ishii and Suzuki, this match was awesome. The early exchange was electric and the post match brawl felt legit. I've never seen a man take offence to a juice box like Ishii did.
4) La Sombra/Homna/Naito vs Takahashi/Tanaka/Nakamura: I wasn't into it as much as the crowd, but it was still a damn good match. Tanaka's kendo shot to Naito's face was nasty.
5) YOSHI-HASHI/Okada vs Anderson/Bad Luck Fale: Started slow and worked up to be pretty decent. Okada and Anderson had some great counters.
6) Liger/Tanahashi vs Tonga/El Terrible: Tanahashi and Terrible worked well together. The result was hardly a shock and despite being technically sound, the match left me cold.
7) Gedo vs Prince Devitt: This match burst into life after Devitt's double foot stomp and turned into something special. I marked out for the false finishes and unlike the previous match it made me believe an upset was on the cards. Red Shoe's interaction with Anderson was highly entertaining and the pop Okada's drop kick got was incredible. The post match press conference was the icing on the cake. Devitt and Anderson were intense.
NJPW Kizuna Road PPV (07.05.2013)
Best Match: Devitt/Gedo
Worst Match: I have to wait 2 weeks for another one of these shows
Main event overachieved, as I expected a good match, but received something much better. Ishii vs. Suzuki looks like a killer match on 7/20. Their match tonight was fantastic, and the post-match felt very real. The CMLL Tag Title match could have gone a little longer, but that didn't kill the warm vibe that it left me with. Oh, and that G1 Block A is really something else. Hopefully, we will be able to view as much of that as possible. Really good 'In Your House' style PPV.
-- Scott Winter, San Francisco, CA