About Us  |   Contact

New Japan on AXS report: AJ Styles vs. Tanahashi highlights more G-1 '15 action

Tenzan welcomed us to the show this week. I don’t think he’s been interviewed once since these shows started airing on AXS.

This is from August 14, 2015 in Sumo Hall.

Doc Gallows vs. Katsuyori Shibata

Gallows chokeslammed Shibata on the apron early, which is a big time owwie. I mean apron spots are cool, but New Japan has some of the nastiest ones I’ve seen. This wasn’t one of them, but they remind me of the ones Will Ospreay and Ricochet took during the Best of the Super Juniors. This was fine, but nothing memorable. Gallows got the surprising win with the Gallows Poll.

Kota Ibushi vs. Togi Makabe

Ibushi is so great at adapting to styles. He’s not only a terrific aerial wrestler but a great striker as well, and this that made this match memorable. Facially Ibushi is awesome at everything he does. A really fun, stiff match. Makabe is great in this role, but Ibushi shone in being able to hang with him. He got the win with the Phoenix splash.

Tenzan mentioned that 2015 was his 20th anniversary in the ring, so this year’s G1 was tough for him. He was outraged when someone wrote he wasn’t capable of being in the G1, and thus got him enraged and motivated. Regarding Naito, he says he really wanted to tear him apart and it was in his mind the whole time. He’s wasted his chances by acting out, doesn’t seem committed. He wonders if there is any motivation. He’s not a type of guy he enjoys wrestling against.

Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Tetsuya Naito

First off, I hope Tenzan didn’t read what I said prior to the G1 because...well, Tenzan has on and off days. Sometimes he’s super awesome, other times it’s kind of sad that he’s still wrestling. Time’s never kind to pro wrestlers, Tenzan being a good example of this in recent years. But despite all that, he did some great work in this match, and with the announcing of JR and Barnett, they turned this into a really good match.

Announcing was great here, getting over that Naito was being disrespectful to his former mentor. In terms of work, nothing blow away awesome, and some of it wasn’t pretty but as a whole the match was pretty good. Tenzan gets the submission win with the anaconda vise.

Tenzan ran down Naito after a match, saying it would take a million years before he could beat him. Naito said good job, was he able to regain his honor in the end? Nice work, he’s heading home now.

Tenzan mentioned that it was a really long G1 - he was determined, however, not to lose. It wasn’t a refreshing victory, and physically it was tough. At times, his body didn’t move like it wanted to. It is NJPW’s most prestigious series right now, though, and he wanted to fight until the end.

Tanahashi welcomes us to the 200th episode of World Pro Wrestling Returns! This also took place on August 14.

Toru Yano vs. Bad Luck Fale

This really wasn’t much. Jim Ross called it a “bowling shoe ugly” match and I wouldn’t disagree. They always tease the count out spot in New Japan, and here they finally did it as Fale didn’t make it to 20 and got counted out.

Already time for Tanahashi to talk. He mentioned his match against Kota Ibushi where he was lawn darted into the turnbuckle (and in hindsight, what a dangerous spot), and was still banged up from that spot.. AJ’s match was one of concern. He definitely didn’t want to lose against him. The winner of the match was going to the finals. He considered AJ one of the best wrestlers in the world - why wouldn’t he want to beat Styles and reclaim that title?

AJ Styles vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

They, of course, pulled out all the stops here and was a great match that you totally need to see if you haven’t yet. I really liked the leg work from Styles on Tanahashi early in the bout, only for Tanahashi to return it a while later. Another factor that you have to remember is that even before Styles came to New Japan, Tanahashi used the Styles Clash, so that was also a big part of the match, with Styles escaping before eventually landing one.

Styles even hit a high fly flow but Tanahashi kicked out. Finally Tanahashi hit a big high fly flow to a standing Styles then finished him off with another one. This was so fantastic, a great story told by both men. One of the best matches of 2015, easily, and stands out even more today thanks to the English commentary.

Tanahashi announced he was in the finals match to big applause. ‘

In his reflective interview, he mentions how it took eight years for his favorite match (vs. Goto) to be replaced by this one. He mentioned that how of the four wh made it to the semifinals, only two would be continuing to 2016 in New Japan, which shows how great 2015 was.

On Styles leaving, he would like to thank him as a member of New Japan Pro Wrestling. In his first match against him back in 2007, he was booed. But after, he said he wanted to face him again. “Let’s do this again, genius” is the exact quote. When AJ left for WWE, he told him the same thing.

First hour had some pretty good action. The second one is great and highly recommended, as it was fantastic.