The first ever “Invasion Attack” show wasn’t overly stacked but did feature a huge main event where the New Japan cup winner, Okada and IWGP Champion Tanahashi added another chapter to their rivalry. Elsewhere Nakamura looked set to continue raising the Intercontinental title’s prestige and the NWA looks to uphold the events namesake.
The match itself is very much your run of the mill Junior tag match. You’ve got some high flying early on, then things slow down as both teams try to work each other over, a few cool spots and then the finish. It’s not bad but it is entirely forgettable. The big story here is what happens after the match, as one union ends and a new pairing, which would unknowingly have a huge impact on the face of wrestling, begins.
We unfortunately have a handful of matches missing here, due to issues over rights. Thankfully nothing unmissable however.
This is a lot of fun, with the Tanaka/Honma segments in particular being great as the two men attempt to one up each other. Makabe meanwhile is a dominant beast who hasn’t taken too much of a liking to Takahashi. There’s some shenanigans but nothing that takes away from the match, which is worth a watch. Recommended
These two have just never gotten along that well. In 2013 Yano still had a some of his more sadistic side left in him and he starts the match by attacking an injured Taichi (it’s been said he deserved it). Yano then unwisely taunts and teases the always sadistic Suzuki and things get one sided very quickly once Suzuki gets his hands on him. When it comes to Yano though, you never know when he might just steal one.
This match can really be broken down into two singles matches, Goto vs. Shibata and Nagata vs. Sakuraba. Nagata and Sakuraba go with the MMA shoot style, which is all well and fine but with Goto and Shibata beating the hell out of each other, it proves to be the less exciting half of the match. This has some good moments but it all comes to an abrupt halt with a botched move leading to a legitimate injury.
Rob Conway made a name for himself as one half of La Resistance over in the WWE before the team split and he became a Buff Bagwell ripoff and jobber. He fared better outside of the WWE and became NWA champion. The NWA president Bruce Tharpe and fellow NWA wrestler Jax Dane are both at ringside for this match, which gives off the appropriate “Invading Force” feel to proceedings. The match itself isn’t anything special, playing out like a typical 90’s american styled match with lots of interference. The NWA “Invasion” feud would prove to be a solid midcard feud throughout its tenure and this match, like everything that followed, is OK when taken for what it is.
Smith managed to get an upset win over Nakamura during the New Japan cup and so gets a title shot here. Despite his previous win, no one would really buy into him as being a legitimate threat here. The crowd however doesn’t mind about that, they just want to see more Shinsuke, showing their support for every move he does. It plays out like you’d expect, with Smith working Nakamura over, whilst Nakamura (supposedly a heel at this time) makes the babyface comebacks. As things wear on Smith really starts stringing together some big moves, etching closing to a three count. Going in, this could be seen as a filler title defence but they do a good job of making something descent out of it and everyone comes out looking better then they did going in. Recommended
All of the Okada/Tanahashi matches are great and this ranks as one of the best. The story is simple, Tanahashi is out to destroy Okada’s arm and remove the Rainmakers effectiveness and as the match wears on, it seems this tactic might just work. Okada on the other hand isn’t just a young man trying to prove himself anymore, he’s Tanahashi’s equal and is out to take the title of “Ace” away from him. There’s no wasted motion here, every move, counter and hold adds a piece of the story and by the end the crowd is losing their minds. If you haven’t seen this yet, go watch it. If you have seen this, maybe its about time you watched again. Must see
One of New Japan’s greatest strengths is their ability to produce intriguing match-ups that generally deliver the goods, whilst also holding off on giving away too many of their big match-ups at once and that’s the story with the undercard here. By giving fans an awesome main event in Okada vs. Tanahashi, the rest of the card is about building towards the future, whether that’s furthering storylines, building stars or just experimenting with ideas. The result is a fun, if missable undercard topped off with a Masterpiece of a main event.
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