Thumbs in the middle
Best match: Minoru Suzuki vs Tomohiro Ishii
Worst match: KUSHIDA/Tiger Mask/Tomoaki Honma/Manabu Nakanishi vs Jado/Gedo/YOSHI-HASHI/Yujiro Takahashi
Expectations were high going into this one. On paper, it was a "show of the year" with three blockbuster "match of the year" contenders and a couple of sleepers that could steal the show. In reality, thanks partly to the dead crowd, it failed to live up to the hype.
KUSHIDA/Tiger Mask/Tomoaki Honma/Manabu Nakanishi vs Jado/Gedo/YOSHI-HASHI/Yujiro Takahashi: It had some fun moments. Overall, it didn't peak my interest.
Alex Koslov/Rocky Romero vs TAKA Michinoku/Taichi: Felt long, but was still enjoyable. I was highly impressed by Romero's work.
Minoru Suzuki vs Tomohiro Ishii: This got short changed on time and should of been higher in the card. Disregarding that, this was outstanding. Some fantastic holds and stiff strikes, in the same vein as Shibata-Goto II. Two stand out spots were an exquisitely worked sleeper hold and a delayed Gotch piledriver.
I found the Bullet Club promo hilarious, even though it was horrendously over the top.
TenKoji vs Takashi Iizuka/Yano Toru: Iizuka seemed more aggressive than usual, taking out a fleeing fan. I enjoyed elements of the brawl and TenKoji's work, but got less interested as the match went on. It was too long, it felt like I've seen it a thousand times before and I never believed Iizuka and Toru could win.
Masato Tanaka vs Tetsuya Naito: A hard hitting contest with a surprise result. The tension building on the table spot was the work of artisans. It got quicker and better as it continued. In the end, a very entertaining match.
La Sombra vs Shinsuke Nakamura: Fought at a methodical pace, it came alive intermittently with some spectacular spots. Like, Sombra's tope and his moonsault off the lighting rig. This eventually turned into a decent match. Fortunately, Nakamura's slip on the rope didn't detract like it did against Shelton Benjamin.
Captain New Japan/Jyushin Thunder Liger/Togi Makabe/Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bad Luck Fale/Tama Tonga/Terrible/Karl Anderson: A fun match. Seven out of the eight worked well. You can guess who didn't.
Hirooki Goto vs Katsuyori Shibata: I've seen two better versions of this match before. It wasn't as stiff as previous contests. However, the low drop kick to Goto was lethal.
Yuji Nagata vs Kazushi Sakuraba: This was the biggest disappointment on the show. Maybe it's because I'm not familiar with Sakuraba's work, but this went way over my head. It was too slow with too much groundwork. As it continued, it got better. Unfortunately, it never got out of second gear.
Kazuchika Okada vs Prince Devitt: Finally, the crowd woke up for this one. I was expecting it to be a lot better than what is was, but still a very good match.
New Japan - thumbs up
Best Match - Devitt vs Okada
Worst Match - Nagata vs Sakuraba
Dragon Gate - thumbs up
Best Match - BB Hulk & Akira Tozawa vs Naruki Doi & Ricochet
Worst Match - Stalker Ichikawa vs Fujiwara, but really nothing was bad
The Hulk/Tozawa match was incredible, a sure fire MOTY contender and one of the best tag team matches I've ever seen. Aside from the comedy match, nothing on the Dragon Gate show was below 3-stars. Main event went a little too long, but had a great finishing stretch.
Devitt/Okada was very good, but I liked recent main events Devitt/Gedo & Okada/Makabe better. Sounds like a backhanded compliment, but it really isn't. Nagata vs Sakuraba was pretty terrible. Just didn't work for me. Sakuraba bores me to tears, but his style is just not my cup of tea. Only other match that wasn't good was the tag title match, the rest of the show was solid top to bottom.
Best match Okada vs Devitt
Worst match iwgp tag titles
Enjoyed but nothing really blew me away like the june show or the Tokyo dome apart from the
main thought Okada/Devitt was a very good match
and the backstage interview was quality,Nagata/
Sakuraba wasn't great probably didn't help that
Nagata has a torn pec and Sakuraba is just back from his injury.And Goto/Shibata was not at the
same level as last month i hope they stop with the
crazy headbutts someone is going to get seriously
hurt doing them.
La Sombra/Nakamura was fun so was Ishii/Suzuki
all in all though a good show with a very good match and a butch of solid matches.
John BoyleOverall: Thumbs Up
Best match: Nakamura vs La Sombra
Worst match: Nagata vs Sakuraba
More of a good show by New Japan standards than a great one, without a real standout match of the year candidate like recent shows. But a good New Japan show is still well worth the $25 at this point. The finish of the Shibata match didn't do much for me coming a month after Dominion, nor did Sakuraba's match as a whole, but everything else pretty much delivered. La Sombra looked impressive in his match and aside from Nakamura's springboard problems they probably had the best showing of anybody.
- Chris, UK