by Zach Dominello
Mascara Dorada, Tiger Mask and Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Fuego, Sho Tanaka and BUSHI
No Yohei Komatsu this time, instead we get an in ring appearance by Sho Tanaka. Better than nothing.
Quick start with early suicidas from BUSHI and Fuego and Tanaka showing a bit of fire against Tiger Mask in the ring.
Dorada's mask is weird tonight. It looks like he has black hair sticking out of the back. I think it's his hair. Looks like Ronald McDonald hair, but black.
Tanaka ran straight into a high kick from Tiger Mask, followed up with a Tiger Driver for a near fall. Cool springboard dive over the barricade by Dorada onto Fuego. In the ring, Tiger Mask hit a top rope double underhook suplex on Tanaka followed by a crossface chickenwing to tap out Tanaka in 06'52.
Good opener. Tanaka got some nice heat from the crowd. Dorada got a bit of time to shine, but not enough as always.
Ryusuke Taguchi, Captain New Japan, Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe vs. Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Let's call this one a battle of the (old) ages.
A fine match with each guy getting some time to shine. The final sequence involved Nagata and the Captain in the ring while everyone else was on the outide goofing off (or fighting). Nagata pinned the Captain with a bridging backdrop in 09'46.
The Captain actually hit his flying headbutt on Nagata which is a bit of a rarity. Other than that, nothing else particular worth mentioning. Not enough action from Honma in my opinion.
YOSHI-HASHI, Kazushi Sakuraba and Toru Yano vs. TAKA Michinoku, Takashi Iizuka, Minoru Suzuki
Is there any doubt that YOSHI-HASHI is going to lose this one? No, there isn't.
I'm going to skip my usual "not this again" rant. I rant and I rant and it makes no difference. I am defeated. You've defeated me, Yano and Suzuki. Are you happy now? Are you?
Suzuki pinned you guessed it, YOSHI-HASHI with the Gotch piledriver in 09'10.
Suzuki and TAKA beat up on Sakuraba after the bell.
El Desperado vs. Alex Shelley
Time for Alex Shelley to get some revenge on Desperado after the low blow in their previous Kizuna Road match.
Early on, Shelley had Desperado in a wrist lock. Desperado stepped through the top and middle rope and came back in the ring through the middle and bottom rope, trapping Shelley's already injured arm in the rope. Simple and brilliant.
Great flying knee by Shelley to Desperado on the outside, sending Desperado flying backwards into the barrier.
Nice crossroads by Shelley, followed by a suicida that sent Desperado onto the announce table. Cool flipping suicida by Desperado. Desperado tried the same low blow spot from their last match. This time Shelly countered it into a pin to get the win in 11'51.
Good match here. Not too many wild spots, just good action and a few unique moves by Desperado.
I think this means Shelley gets a future IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title shot.
After the match, TAKA came out and attacked Shelley with Desperado. TAKA and Desperado left together. Interesting? Maybe.
Alex Koslov, Rocky Romero, Tomohiro Ishii, Kazuchika Okada and Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tama Tonga, Yujiro Takahashi, Doc Gallows, "The Machine Gun" Karl Anderson and Bad Luck Fale
Romero got beat up for a while. Hot tag to Ishii who came in like a wrecking ball. Quadruple big boot to Fale. One boot from Okada, one from Nakamura and two from Ishii in the middle. Funny. Good stuff between Yujiro and Ishii. Slaps by Yujiro, Ishii no sells, headbutts Yujiro then Lariats him out of his boots. Good work between Nakamura and Fale too, with neither guy really able to get the best of the other.
Okada clotheslined Gallows out of the ring and Romero hit Gallows with a suicida. In the ring, big dropkick by Okada to Tonga followed by the Rainmaker for the pin in 16'27.
Another fun outing between CHAOS and The Bullet Club. After looking like chumps at the last iPPV, CHAOS got some sweet revenge on this night.
The work between Yujiro and Ishii was really good, as was Fale and Nakamura. Anderson does some great heel work.
Style Note (Not AJ): Okada's middle part in his hair is not his best look. Go back to how you had it before please. This has been Fashion Police with Koala Mask.
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tetsuya Naito vs. Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata
I don't know if it's just good performing or not, but I really got the impression early on that Natito and Shibata do not like each other at all. Hopefully it's just good performing. There was certainly some venom in those slaps of theirs.
In a fairly comical spot, Shibata held Naito for Goto to lariat but Naito ducked. Then Goto held Naito for Shibata to Yakuza kick but Naito ducked again. If this was WWE they'd be broken up after something like that.
It really felt like I saw more of Naito and Goto than I did Shibata and Tanahashi. Still really great stuff. Naito hit Goto with Gloria followed by the Stardust Press for the win in 16'27.
A really good match, but what else was to be expected considering the talent and ability of all involved? Would have been good to see a bit more from Tanahashi though. But that's only a small complaint. Hopefully he's just saving himself for the big G1.
Kota Ibushi vs. KUSHIDA for the IWGP Jr. Heavywight Title
Nope Nope Nope. This was no good. 5 minutes in and Ibushi takes a handspring kick to the head from KUSHIDA and it looks like he is out on his feet. Ibushi is so clearly hurt. Ibushi grabbed the rope and KUSHIDA kicked his arm, but Ibushi didn't react at all. It was like he had no idea where he was. Really scary. Incredibly, the match continued. Ibushi tried doing his middle turnbuckle moonsault and just collapsed. It was really hard to watch this match continue. Somehow Ibushi had enough wits about him to finish the match, but it clearly didn't go down the way it was planned. KUSHIDA tapped him out with the kimura in 15'06.
Hopefully Ibushi makes a quick recovery and the injury isn't a serious one
I feel awful for KUSHIDA. He finally captured the IWGP Jr. Title, but definitely not the way he wanted to. Instead of the expected blow away match, we got a concussion 5 minutes in and then 10 minutes of an incredibly difficult match to watch.
After the match, Desperado and TAKA attacked KUSHIDA and Shelley. Taguchi came out to make the save. Looks like Desperado has joined Suzuki and TAKA and whatever their group is called. Suzukigun? The group that isn't Bullet Club or CHAOS.
Pretty good show, but an awful main event. That's not the wrestlers' fault, just an unfortunate injury that turned what should have been a blow away match into something really hard to watch, and quite honestly should have been stopped.
CHAOS got some revenge on The Bullet Club after being made to look like geeks in their last meeting.
I really enjoyed the little things that Desperado did in his match with Shelley. Simple, yet really creative stuff. His joining with TAKA and Suzuki's gang will hopefully lead to something interesting - meaning not a match against Yano.
Match of the night goes to The Bullet Club vs. CHAOS, followed up by Desperado vs. Shelley.
Thanks for reading and I'll hopefully see you for the G1 Climax. Until then, come and chat with me on twitter about pro-wrestling, comics or parenting - the three things that take up all of my time.