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NJPW on AXS TV results: Makabe vs. Ibushi for the NEVER title

Togi Makabe welcomes us to the show this week. Action is from September 23 in Okayama as we look at last year’s Destruction card.

Tencozy vs. IWGP Tag Team Champions Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows

This match is a good representation of the staleness of New Japan’s heavyweight tag team roster in 2015. With Archer and Smith gone, there isn’t much diversity - it was usually just these two along with The Kingdom, who aren’t even teaming anymore. Funny how things change in a year. As for the match, it was solid stuff. Tencozy are established veterans, and as a unit, they rarely have what you would consider a bad match.

Anderson and Gallows, for the most part, are consistently solid, and sometimes good under the right situations. Heat picked up towards the end with some good nearfalls. Anderson and Gallows retain with the Magic Killer. Afterward, Gallows said they would make Tencozy Tenlozy and they accomplished that. They toasted each other.

Kenny Omega vs. IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kushida

This was a good match and the same these two usually have,  but I didn’t like either the result or how the title changed hands. Karl Anderson ran in for no reason and laid out Kushida. Why? I don’t know. They never followed up on this. Omega then got the win with the One Winged Angel. First off, the finish was pretty stupid. It was totally an Americanized ending, and not a good one. It’s bad enough WWE and even Ring of Honor does these kind of cheap finishes, but the last place I want to see finishes like this is on New Japan.

Omega regaining the title seemed far too quick. I get that they were probably doing a switch at the Tokyo Dome, but Kushida had only won it a short time before. Oh well. Afterward, Kushida says you can’t move up the Junior ladder with a move like that. Are you really content with this, Kenny Omega?

Makabe talks about being hurt going into his match with Ibushi. Kota seems stuff on the outside, but is stoic when doing his match. He’s just amazing. He has great skills, he can admit that. But he know where he started off, in DDT. He didn’t respect Kota back then, respect is earned. The fans don’t mean anything as he’s the one doing his thing in the ring. Again, Makabe says he did have great skills, and did wonder how the match would turn out.

Togi Makabe vs. Kota Ibushi

Makabe is right when it comes to Kota’s facials in the ring - at times, he’s chillfully stoic, other times he’s on fire. I love Ibushi’s facials because they seem to unbecoming at times. You’d think since there was a size difference between these two, they wouldn’t work well, but they did just fine and had a hell of a match with some really stiff shots. Ibushi at one point went for the double foot stomp off the floor onto a table, hit it, but the table didn’t break. Ouch! They went back to the ring and traded some pretty good offense before Makabe leveled him with a spider Dragon suplex (seriously) then pinned him with the King Kong knee drop. This was a really good, fun match.

Makabe grabs a mic after the match and says you just saw him win, and Ishii came to challenge him (yes, this match again). He will show you what genuine pro wrestling is.

In interviews backstage following the match, Ishii says he hasn’t won against Makabe, but he just wants to be the last man standing and will take his title back. Makabe says that Ibushi has excellent skills, and there’s nothing more to say- he’s one of the top wrestlers and is only getting better. Only thing he needs to work on is his heart, and NEVER shows that really well.

Makabe noted in his reflective interview that the crowd thought this would be quick, but it wasn’t. He says people say when Ibushi loses it, you don’t notice it. Regardless, he put over his big finish and mentioned that his skill probably led to Makabe’s anger. When it comes to NEVER, we never dodge, hence why the division is so popular. We put our lives on the line, so it’s not a big surprise.

Final Thoughts:

Good show overall. Definitely check out the main event, as it was one hellacious battle. The other parts of the show weren't as good, and had some questionable booking but wasn't terrible.