Saturday, 08 February 2014 23:20
Well, guess what, the show started exactly two hours before the listed time the last few days, but at the time it was originally advertised as starting. So I missed the first match. We'll pick up from here. The positive is with the earlier start time I'll be watching the whole show live so we'll have live coverage until the finish.
MINORU SUZUKI VS. TAMA TONGA
Well, we had more problems with UStream. The stream crashed so I'll have to watch the first two matches after it's over.
KAZUSHI SAKURABA & YUJI NAGATA VS. TAKASHI IIZUKA & TORU YANO
The one thing notable is that a lot of the fans are wearing heavy jackets inside, which means it'a cold day and I've been in that arena in the winter. A cold crowd is going to mean lousy crowd reactions.
This match wasn't very good. The finish saw Sakuraba get the iron fingers from Iizuka and use them on him for the DQ. Usual brawling. By the time I got back on, announcer Shimpei Nogami was spray painted like a white snow cone. Seemed like they mostly beat down Sakuraba until Nagata made the hot tag. Hopefully everything will work from here.
HIROYOSHI TENZAN VS. MICHAEL TARVER
This isn't promising. Bad match. They put Tarver over in his debut with a knockout punch. He's doing a boxer gimmick with the idea he's a former sparring partner of Mike Tyson. Early in the match, Tenzan was going to the mat and Tarver was flailing and his elbow caught Tenzan right above the left eye, slicing his forehead bad. He was bleeding all over the place. It was a nasty cut in a bad place but they kept the match going. Tarver mostly used chinlocks. Tenzan made a comeback but missed a diving head-butt.
SATOSHI KOJIMA VS. BIG DADDY YUMYUM FOR THE NWA HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
Not much of a match here. YumYum is tall, but came off like a minor league guy. I think there may be some potential there but he was out of his league here. He did a one arm Bruno Sammartino style backbreaker. It looked like he was going for it a second time, as things were clumsy, but Kojima escaped and hit a lariat for the pin. Tarver attacked Kojima after the match and Tenzan made the save. They cut out the sound during Bruce Tharpe's interview which wasn't fun.
It's intermission time. They are pushing the 3-D movie airing of the Tokyo Dome show at theaters near you starting on 2/22. Well, probably not theaters near you.
Nogami has his suit and dress shirt on but has his clown make up still on from the Iizuka attack as he's pitching the movie airing of the Dome show.
They are airing highlights of the early matches. Opener was Kota Ibuhsi & Bushi losing to Jushin Liger & Desperado when Desperado pinned Bushi after a power bomb. Not much heat for the finish.
Suzuki beat Tama Tonga when Taichi hit Tonga with a chair and Suzuki used the Gotch piledriver right after the 5:00 mark so a short match.
They are now showing Iizuka putting all the make up and using a magic marker on Nogami's face and red lipstick.
Okay, hopefully the fun starts here.
TOMOHIRO ISHII & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI VS. TETSUYA NAITO & TOMOAKI HONMA
This was the best thing so far, but nothing really special. It felt like Ishii and Naito were saving themselves for Tuesday. Some stiff stuff by Ishii and Honma showed some fire. Basic match that never built momentum with a predictable finish as Ishii pinned Honma after a brainbuster.
YOUNG BUCKS & BAD LUCK FALE & PRINCE DEVITT VS. TOGI MAKABE & ALEX SHELLEY & KUSHIDA & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI
Good match. Fale played monster. Bucks vs. Shelley & Kushida in particular was good stuff. They continued the Devitt vs. Taguchi feud with Devitt avoiding him most of the way. At the finish, Taguchi went for the Dodon, his finisher, but Devitt reversed out and hit the Bloody Sunday DDT for the clean pin. I'm not surprised Taguchi did the job here since The Bullet Club should have won, but was surprised Devitt pinned him that clean.
KATSUYORI SHIBATA & HIROOKI GOTO VS. KAZUCHIKA OKADA & YOSHI-HASHI
This was really good, easily the best thing so far. The only negative is nobody bought Yoshi-Hashi against Goto & Shibata and pretty much you knew in the end he was losing. The action with both Shibata & Goto vs. Okada was strong. i did get the sense Okada vs. Goto will be really good, and Okada vs. Shibata could be as well. Okada went for the rainmaker on Goto, but Shibata blocked his arm, and then they gave Okada a double-team shoulderbreaker. Shibata used a penalty kick (running kick to the chest) on Yoshi-Hashi and Goto followed witht he clean pin.
KARL ANDERSON & DOC GALLOWS VS. DAVEY BOY SMITH JR. & LANCE ARCHER FOR THE IWGP TAG TITLES
Another good match, but shorter than I expected. It was also hurt by the lack of crowd heat as the Japanese fans just aren't invested in this American vs. American/Canadian feud. Smith & Archer did the Killer bomb on Anderson, then on Gallows, and then when Tama Tonga tried to interfere, they did it to him as well. But that stalled for time as Anderson was able to kick out. Smith went for a Tiger suplex on Anderson, but Gallows saved with a high kick and then they used the magic killer on Smith and Anderson pinned him.
They are doing a video for the main event pushing it's been ten years since these men have been the two of the top guys in the promotion.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI VS. SHINSUKE NAKAMURA FOR IC TITLE
Killer match, not sure match of the year candidate but not far off and probably would have been in another building. Witht he exception of the tag match these two had on 12/23, it's the best match I've seen of late and I can't remember an IC title match as good, better than Nakamura vs. Sakuraba even though that was memorable because of how different it was. Significantly better than the Tokyo Dome match these two had. Really, they made the IC belt feel like it was the real world title belt and that should have been the goal.
Tanahashi retained with a dragon suplex after Nakamura had kicked out of the high fly flow and missed on a flying armbar attempt. Tanahashi was hurt when he did his big plancha on the floor and cracked his elbow. He continued the match but you could tell it was legit. When the match was over and the adrenaline was wearing off you could see he was in a lot of pain. Tanahashi had kicked out of the bom a ye just barely earlier. The crowd was heavily chanting for Tanahashi when it was over and they wanted Nakamura to win when it started. Crowd was really into Tanahashi after the match doing the air guitar. As far as keeping the crowd for several minutes after winning, he's second only to Hogan. Nobody came out to challenge.
There's something really cool about a Japanese PPV show ending before 2 a.m.
Tanahashi was still out there several minutes later. The place stayed packed while he was doing the handshaking, posing for photos.