Monday, 10 February 2014 10:52
The New Beginning 2/9
Best match: Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto vs. YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada
Worst match: Kazushi Sakuraba & Yuji Nagata vs. Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano
I'm giving this a "thumbs up" just because there wasn't anything overtly appalling besides the one obvious offender. With that being said, this was nowhere near the exceptional standard New Japan set for itself last year. Moving to this year and unlike recent cards, the first half was perfectly satisfactory. However, the entire undercard seemed toned down and quite mild for a big show. On paper some of these matches could of been very special but weren't given the time to shine. They felt like Korakuen Hall bouts that are ultimately building to something instead of the culmination of a story. I'm guessing they were limited so they wouldn't detract from the top of the card. If the Osaka show is like this, I'll have to say these IPPVs have taken a back step by diluting the quality.
BUSHI & Kota Ibushi vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & El Desperado: The finish fell a bit flat. Other than that, it was very enjoyable with a lot of action.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Tama Tonga: Not bad considering the amount of time it was given. They had some good exchanges and I wasn't disappointed when it ended quickly.
Kazushi Sakuraba & Yuji Nagata vs. Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano: I'm hoping if I ignore this it'll go away. The only positives I can say are Nagata's superb and the finish where him and Sakuraba fought fire with fire adequately outlined a potential strategy for the upcoming Gracie contest. I'm still not forecasting a classic though.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Michael Tarver: I didn't think this would be any good and I was pleasantly surprised. Tarver's Superman punch may not be as good as Roman Reigns, but he's got presence, personality and his work wasn't that bad (besides that rogue elbow). The large gash on Tenzan's head helped and contributed to an acceptable bout.
Satoshi Kojima vs. Big Daddy Yum Yum: Having never seen Big Daddy, I didn't know what to expect. And even though he was rough around the edges, the match turned out quite well with Kojima carrying him. Although, my favorite part was the aggressive Bruce Tharpe yelling instructions from ringside. As for the post-match shenanigans, it effectively did the job, setting up a tag match and the next NWA title contest.
Tomoaki Honma & Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Tomohiro Ishii: Before hand I thought this was one too many for Naito and Ishii. They sold their match a long time ago, now it's just overkill. Ignoring that, it's too bad all four weren't allowed to go out all guns blazing. It could of been sensational with more time. Pretty good, nevertheless.
Alex Shelley, KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi & Togi Makabe vs. Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson, Bad Luck Fale & Prince Devitt: Within this framework there are three feuds I'm really interested in. I cannot fathom the Bucks and the Splitters not having a great match on Tuesday, Makabe and Fale are two very convincing monsters who have yet to paint their masterpiece, and Devitt and Taguchi is years in the making. This was a commendable continuation without giving too much away. The only negative I can say is that it was like the previous match; I thought it would be longer and better than it actually was.
Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto vs. YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada: A fantastic match. One would think YOSHI would be deadwood, although he played a great role being like Scrappy Doo squaring up to the meanest dog in the fight. It showed great character. As did the moment when Shibata threw him into the corner so he could tag in Okada only to refuse and fight on gallantly. Also, he hit a beautiful neckbreaker on Goto. But he was a mere appetiser. The main course of Okada and Shibata was superb and a future program between them is a tantalising prospect. Besides those two, I believe Shibata and Goto are going to be tag team of the year. They were incredible together.
Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer: Considering this was the semi-main event, it didn't live up to my expectations. It was way too short and never got out of second gear. My only other bone of contention was Anderson not selling the Gun Stun he hit on the chair. He quite clearly took the brunt of it.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura: I think I preferred the Dome match, even if the last five minutes of this one were electric. And given that the majority of the undercard was stunted, I have to admit being disappointed that this wasn't the big bang I imagined it would be. The highlight had to be Shinsuke kicking out after the two High Fly Flows, and the low point had to be the worst air guitar I've ever seen.