There were some odd booking choices made for Invasion Attack 2014 with the nights top two singles matches Ishii/Naito and Tanahashi/Nakamura having both been recently featured on other events. Then you’ve got a tag match featuring MMA guys and Okada in what seemed a nothing tag. At the end of the day though its NJPW and by 2014, while not impervious to mistakes, they had a proven track record of putting on consistently great shows. Also can you ever really get sick of Ishii vs Naito or Nakamura vs Tanahashi?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) (c) vs. El Desperado & Kota Ibushi
Just like last year’s invasion Attack, the event opens up with a Junior tag. This starts surprisingly slowly but that only serves to make the second half of the match, which is essentially a highlight reel of crazy Junior action, that much better. Ibushi is clearly the star of his team with El Desperado spending the majority of his time in the match taking a beating. The bucks on the other hand put in what was one of their best showings in a NJPW ring at that point. A solid and fun opener.
Kazushi Sakuraba, Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & TAKA Michinoku)
Suzuki one on one with either Makabe, Sakuraba or Nagata is potentially a great match (depending on the level of interference). This however is a Suzuki-Gun multi-tag full of your usual shenanigans. There is some good stuff here, generally taking place when Suzuki is going toe-to-toe with someone but there’s a real lack of any flow to proceedings and everything feels disjointed. Worth skipping
NWA World Tag Team Title Match
Jax Dane & Rob Conway (c) vs. Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima)
Kojima has already nabbed himself the NWA world title by this point and is now looking to add the tag titles too. Any fan of the old-school NWA will probably find themselves wanting this match to be better then it actually is. Unfortunately this match really isn’t anything special (The NWA president’s overacting is probably the biggest takeaway) although its fine as a midcard match. Despite all the NWA and its various titles have been through though, they still have a certain sense of aura around them and the Japanese crowd is excited at the possibility of a Tencozy win.
Pro-Wrestling vs. Jiu-Jitsu Mixed Martial Arts Match
CHAOS (Takashi Iizuka & Toru Yano) vs. Daniel Gracie & Rolles Gracie
Yes this is as bad as you think it is. Two guys who don’t know how to wrestle against two guys who choose not to wrestle. No amount of Yano being Yano can save this from being a giant turd of a match. Some matches are so bad it’s funny but this is just boring more then anything so don’t let that curiosity get the better of you.
Prince Devitt vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
One year after the split of Apollo 55, the Taguchi and Devitt rivalry comes full circle in one final grudge match. Devitt wants the match to be a fair one on one but the Young Bucks have other ideas. Devitt has his way in the end though, and we end up getting a fitting end not only to their rivalry but Devitt’s run in NJPW. Expect lots of big finisher kick-outs and a more serious Taguchi then usual.
BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga) vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI) (w/Gedo)
As a match this a fairly watchable tag, with the crowd excited to see Okada but it’s certainly nothing to write home about. The big story is what happens after the match though with the debut of AJ styles. It’s not as hot an angle as it could have been really but with Devitt now on his way out, this was the right way to go in order to keep the Bullet Club stable moving forward whilst introducing a fresh face to the main event scene.
NEVER Openweight Title Match
Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito
Great match here between these two. Naito is still trying to prove himself as a potential future ace and isn’t scared to go toe to toe with Ishii. This tactic (or lack of) proves to be detrimental to him though, as Ishii is a machine that just keeps charging forward. Naito stays in it though, determined to leave it all on the line to prove his worth. These two always work well together and this is one of their best. Highly Recommended
IWGP Tag Team Title Match
BULLET CLUB (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) (c) vs. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata
On paper this looks set to be an incredible semi-main event, so when they go for the slow build its easy to put your faith in these four that this match is going to turn out great. What it actually achieves is not bad but never really gets into that next gear, which is a bit of a shame. Solid effort nonetheless with a good closing stretch.
IWGP Intercontinental Title Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Both men start off with very dismissive and nonchalant attitudes to each other but Nakamura soon discovers the meaning of desperation as Tanahashi targets his leg in a big way. Nakamura’s selling is perfect and it really makes this match, as he takes every opening he can get to get back into it. Tanahashi meanwhile is almost playing the heel here, showing nothing in the way of mercy as he executes his plan of attack. Very good match to end the event on although they have done better elsewhere working with each other. Recommended
There were a lot of ups and downs to this event with the Gracies match in particular really stinking up the place. In the end though there was a lot more good then there was bad with a great main event and a show stealing performance from Naito/Ishii.
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Check out the review of Invasion Attack 2013 here