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NJPW on AXS results: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kazushi Sakuraba

We’re back for a second look at the Dominion event at Osaka Jo Hall, held on July 5, 2015.

Tomoaki Honma and Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi and Bad Luck Fale

This was a fun little match. People are always into Honma so they buy his selling and comebacks even if 90 percent of the time he takes the fall in a match. Naito was just starting to transition into his current character. Ross did a really great job picking up on his heelish mannerisms. Homna picked up the win after the kokeshi headbutt off the top rope. Better match than you’d think.

Naito kept saying “tranquilo” and to remember his team name. Like the announcers, the interviewees didn’t know how to pronounce Ingobernables. You get used to it after a while. Honma couldn’t believe Naito’s actions.

Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe for the NEVER title

If you’ve seen these guys have a match, this was every match they’ve ever had. Not that it was a bad match, because they never had bad matches. They just oversaturated this feud so much in 2015 and I really wasn’t interested in rewatching their best of four or five series on these broadcasts. The problem in New Japan is usually not quality, but quantity as they went in the well too often with this bout, at least in my eyes. The crowd ate it up anyway as Ishii is going to get over no matter what he does.  Ishii did do some awesome stuff here, but Makabe retained the title after a King Kong Knee drop. Won’t be the last time they face each other in 2015, I can tell you that one.

Shibata talks about the upcoming match. He mentions it was Sakuraba who brought him back as a tag team to New Japan, and that’s how it all started. But Sakuraba injured himself, so he stuck to singles and focused on a singles career. He ended up liking current pro wrestling, having fun. Although they started together, they had changed a lot in three years, and he was sure Sakuraba had other things in mind now. He knew it was best enough to just do a match, see how things were. Osaka Jo hall was where he had a lot of great memories with Sakuraba, so he was excited to fight there.

Shibata vs. Sakuraba

Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kazushi Sakuraba

Ross again did a great job here building the rivalry between Shibata and Sakuraba, mentioning how Sakuraba beat Shibata in an MMA match back in 2007. This was a pretty good match. Sakuraba did some spots out of his element, including a tope to the floor at one point. A lot of it was grappling and transitions, which always works in a Sakuraba match as he’s good in that type of style. Shibata had the sleep in and tried to fight it off, but Shibata had it in forever. Sakuraba eventually found himself on the floor, allowing Shibata to hit the penalty kick to win the match. Not off the charts awesome, but a pretty good match and there was some great heat for it from the crowd.

An emotional Shibata was interviewed after the match, saying it meant a lot to fight Sakuraba in Osaka Jo Hall. It was the same Sakuraba he always knew. He bowed after the match because it was Sakuraba who gave him this run in New Japan, and it meant a lot to him. He hopes he gets a sense of what today’s pro wrestling is through that match.

In the reflective interview, he noticed that during the match he had more fun in the match, like using the plancha. He wasn’t completely sure, but he felt like it.

Good show this week. Nothing was bad, commentary was good and the action was great for the most part.