Tonight's edition of New Japan on AXS features THREE HOURS of matches. Reminder, there will be no show next week.
First show is from October 12th, 2015 at Sumo Hall. It looks like all of these shows will feature matches from King of Pro Wrestling.
Tomoaki Honma defeated YOSHI-HASHI
This was really good, a great back and forth match. Announcers put over how Honma won his G1 match, and that played nicely into this match as he was looking to gain momentum. Honma had a back injury that also played into the match, but he got the win with the Kokeshi from the top rope.
Honma says YOSHI-HASHI is settling too much as he fights his best every day. He will never lose to him. YH says it’s not over just yet. He’s used to it, falling from the ranks. But out of the other wrestlers in New Japan, he is the most stubborn. If he had given up on every small thing, he wouldn’t be here. He’ll be waiting for the opportunity to repay him.
Kazushi Sakuraba, Toru Yano, & Shinsuke Nakamura defeated Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, & Bad Luck Fale
I wonder where Sakuraba has been in recent months? Seems to have largely vanished aside from the occasional six-man tags. This was fine, mostly just Sakuraba being worked on for Nakamura to get the hot tag. Yano was in when Tama Tonga came in to interfere. It backfired and Yano got the win with a roll-up on Fale.
Karl Anderson says no one cares what happened with Yano. He says after he beats Nakamura he’ll be a double champion. Two matches at the Tokyo Dome, he claims. Nakamura says he’ll machine gun his way to Osaka.
Tomohiro Ishii is interviewed. He says whenever someone takes a belt from him, he watches very carefully -- he never steps down. Without a win from Makabe there was no way for him to progress. He wasn’t thinking about never beating Makabe in a singles match -- he’s someone that he knows he can beat, he just hasn’t done it yet.
Tomohiro Ishii defeated NEVER Champion Togi Makabe to win the title
I think this was the blowoff to their year-long feud over this title. It lasted way too long and lost steam about two or three matches in. This was their fourth match and it was overkill, but I did like the way they framed this match saying that Ishii had never beaten Makabe in a singles match.
Not going to say this was a bad match by any means, it’s just been done too many times in such a short span. They worked hard and stiff, and the crowd liked it. Ishii got his big win over Makabe with a brainbuster.
Honma came in after the match and wanted a title match. Ishii agreed, saying you only have one shot and he’ll beat him up bad.
Ishii said now that he’s beaten Makabe, he can finally see ahead. He says last time he saw Honma he made a fool of himself, and now it’s payback time.
Ishii also notes he hadn’t made much progress all year, focusing on beating Makabe. But now he feels that there is a new chapter in front of him. The interviewer notes that this was a battle over the NEVER title. Ishii says it was more than that, it just so happens that the title was on the line.
Hiroshi Tanahashi’s incredible hair welcomed us to the second hour.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega defeated Matt Sydal to retain his title
This was good, but it felt like the crowd was dead for a lot of it. Maybe because Sydal was still relatively new at the time. It picked up towards the end. Sydal was such a breath of fresh air at the time when coming in. Sydal fought to escape from the One Winged Angel, but Omega struck the move and got the win.
Tanahashi calls Naito something of a looming presence. He wasn’t aware of Naito’s change, he lost touch back in the G1 match.
They go to an interview where Naito mentions his pareja. Tanahashi says Naito knows how to put on an image. He’s gone bad and the right to challenge for the IWGP title at the Tokyo Dome is now on the line. That really was Naito’s game, and he admits he has talent in that sense.
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Tetsuya Naito to retain his title shot at WrestleKingdom 10
Naito came out with his long entrance and introduced his pareja, who remained unmasked. It started off pretty well, your usual big match feel and work between these two.
Tanahashi worked on Naito’s leg. Eventually the masked man came to the ring and revealed himself as none other than the former Takaaki Watanabe, who would eventually be known as EVIL. Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata made the save as the match continued without interference. Tanahashi came back with two High Fly Flows and got the win.
Goto was laid out with an STO by EVIL after the match, setting up their encounter that will air next week. He says he really needs to step up and he’ll teach him a lesson.
Naito says he wasn’t interested in the challenging rights, he wanted to show off his pareja, his partner who can speak Spanish since they can say “hola” to one another.
Tanahashi guesses that even though Naito said he wasn’t interested, Tanahashi feels that it is just his way. Tanahashi calls himself a star and says he’ll be the only one.
Tanahashi said this match was genuine pro wrestling. For EVIL, it was a triumphant stage. The match was interrupted but he thought it was a great match. Tanahashi says people liked the match but were wary of the trespassing. But he and the crowd were happy because he was the hero that vanquished Los Ingobernables.
Kazuchika Okada welcomes us to the third hour, solely dedicated to the main event from King of Pro Wrestling 2015. He notes he took the title from AJ Styles in July. Okada knew he would go to the Tokyo Dome if he won.
But Okada was solely focused on Styles now. The interviewer notes that Okada suffered a direct loss in the G1. He felt ashamed by that and wanted to rectify it. His eyes were only on Styles.
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada defeated AJ Styles to retain his title
The Bullet Club were in full force and interfered early. Jim Ross notes that Styles is too good to need the Bullet Club. They worked on each other in a good back and forth match, despite the Bullet Club interference. Eventually the Bullet Club interfered again and were wiped out.
From here, it was a classic world title match. They struggled back and forth with one another. AJ sunk in the Calf Crusher but Okada managed to escape. Okada sold his leg after the fact.
Some fantastic back and forth counters near the end. Finally, after three Rainmakers, Okada pinned Styles after 30 minutes. I think they’ve had better matches in the past, but this was still really good.
Bullet Club reassured Styles after the match. Styles said he couldn’t believe Okada wouldn’t stay down.
Okada in the post-match interview says he wants to say three things. One, Styles, we have to do this again. The second, the main event at the Tokyo Dome has been decided. Tanahashi comes in, but Okada ignores him and says number three -- next time it will be you, Tanahashi.
Tanahashi says this brings back memories. He says champion and man over and over, saying that the champion should be the man. Tanahashi tells him what he’s said before in previous matches -- the IWGP title is just around the corner. Okada holds up the belt, and Tanahashi holds up the briefcase.
Gedo takes the mic and questions Tanahashi’s last statement, saying he can never beat the Rainmaker because he’s on a totally different level. As long as the Rainmaker is champion, at WrestleKingdom 10, the money will rain.
Tanahashi says he would like to bring the story of him and Okada to an end. Okada mentions this is the third time they've fought at the dome. He hasn't had good memories at the Tokyo Dome, and he wants to fix that. When asked about Tanahashi’s statements, Okada just says let him say whatever, he’ll show him.
The match with against Styles reminded him just how great of a wrestler Styles is, and Okada puts over his creativity. He says that he is the foreign version of Hiroshi Tanahashi. He is someone wrestlers around the world should pay attention to.
As the Rainmaker, this experience will live as a part of him. He knew he had to beat Tanahashi at the dome, as it is fate.
Good shows up and down the card. All three were good and pretty easy to watch.