A card here that at first glance is relying heavily on it’s main event and Junior matches with big names held up in tags, a dull looking tag title match and a semi main that could really go either way in terms of quality. With New Japan in 2015 though, you can trust that they’re going to give you a show that has more highlights then low points.
Jushin Thunder Liger, Manabu Nakanishi, Ryusuke Taguchi, Sho Tanaka & Tiger Mask vs. Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA), Captain New Japan, Yohei Komatsu & Yuji Nagata
This match is a good mix of everything you want from a New Japan mixed tag opener, with each team carrying similar components. Taguchi and Captain New Japan provide the lighthearted comedy, Nakanishi and Nagata bring the old school heavyweight action whilst the future Ropongi 3K, Sho and Yoh (who are on opposite teams here) are the young lions fighting to prove themselves. Everyone else meanwhile brings some solid Junior action with the Time Splitters creating most of the real highlights. It’s a good way to start the show that doesn’t overstay its welcome.
BULLET CLUB (Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi) & Cody Hall vs. TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) & Tomoaki Honma
Not an exciting match on paper and not an exciting match in reality either. Thankfully for all involved, Honma’s headbutting antics are as super over as ever with the crowd and that proves to be the one saving grace in this match. Not enough to stop it being a complete dud though. Skip it.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) (c) vs. Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero)
The first match in the Roppongi Vice/Young Bucks rivalry is a thrilling spotfest that sets the tone for all their matches to come. Here we find the Young Bucks at the peak of their parodying antics with suck-its and superkicks abound, as well as a slew of crazy moves. Roppongi Vice are somewhat more grounded but work the spots well and are the perfect dance partners for the young Bucks. Neither team holds anything back and while part of you may end up wandering “how are these guys still supposed to be alive?” a larger part of you probably won’t care. Recommended
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match
Kenny Omega (c) vs. Mascara Dorada
This match took place shortly after Dorada signed a one year contract with New Japan and he has a good bunch of the New Japan faithful (the likes of Taguchi, Tiger Mask and Kushida) in his corner supporting him as a New Japan guy. Omega doesn’t take the masked man too seriously though and he remains cocky and nonchalant throughout. As you might expect from Dorada and Junior era Omega, this match is full of highlight reel moments. Some of the spots come off a little too set up here though and the psychology and storytelling isn’t quite strong enough to make this overly memorable.
IWGP Tag Team Title Match
BULLET CLUB (Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson) (c) vs. The Kingdom (Matt Taven & Michael Bennett) (w/Maria Kanellis)
There’s nothing necessarily wrong with having a valet who acts as eye-candy at ringside but the camerawork is just a little too much on the pervy side when it comes to Kanellis. The storyline going into this match, Gallows and Anderson’s obsessing over Kanellis, is also something that seems pulled from a late 90’s episode of WWF’s monday night Raw rather then a 2015 Japanese pro wrestling (keyword there) show. Then there’s the actual in-ring work wherein probably lies the answer as to why NJPW went with the Maria angle as its a total snore fest, not helped by the fact it had to follow two Junior matches. Gallows and Anderson’s run in NJPW sometimes gets the rose-tinted glasses treatment from fans but they’re definitely better then this. A match and feud that did the IWGP Tag title scene no favours and is not worth a revisit now.
CHAOS (Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Hirooki Goto, Tetsuya Naito & Togi Makabe
Six man tags designed to build feuds are an underappreciated art and can be hugely compelling when done right. Nakamura/Goto and Makabe/Ishii are the feuds going in with the latter being particularly hot with fans. The different elements each man brings work well together here: the cocky Nakamura is dismissive of his opposition but Goto is out to make sure he starts paying attention, Ishii meanwhile is banged up but as stubborn and prideful as always whilst YOSHI & Naito are really just extras here but they take their moments to shine nonetheless. With everyone delivering and a fun closing stretch this match not only achieves in hyping future matches but is great in its own right. Recommended
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Toru Yano
Its the ultimate battle of the true aces! Okay its actually just Yano being Yano around Tanahashi. Most anyone paired off with Yano makes for an odd couple team but Sakuraba is a strange choice indeed. The result is a match that is an odd combo of light comedy and shoot fighting. If your really into the idea of Shibata vs Sakuraba then your appreciate their moments together in this but otherwise this is worth skipping.
Bad Luck Fale vs. Kazuchika Okada
The story here is Okada has been stuck in a slump since his loss to Tanahashi at Wrestle Kingdom 9 and has been trying to catch a break. He did manage to get a tag match win over Fale and is hoping to build from that momentum here. Fale is a more capable wrestler then he is given credit for but what Okada manages to get out of him here is simply incredible. Big spots are teased and returned to later, momentum shifts at the right moments and the near falls are completely believable, in what proves to be a very well put together match. Highly Recommended
IWGP Heavyweight Title Match
AJ Styles (c) vs. Kota Ibushi
Styles doesn’t think Ibushi is ready for the likes of an IWGP world champion and early on it seems Styles might just be right, as Ibushi starts far too tentative and ends up on the back-foot. As the match wears on it seems that Styles has Ibushi well scouted, getting the better of most exchanges, avoiding his big moves and thwarting all comebacks. Ibushi can’t be held down forever though and slowly but surely the momentum shifts over the course of the match. Add onto that all the mad good spots because obviously it’s AJ Styles and Kota Ibushi and you have a main event that delivers in a big way. It’s worth mentioning that a rather torn looking Omega is ringside for this one too, offering a dramatic subplot to proceedings. Highly Recommended
Some of the tag matches here were predictably duds, with the IWGP Tag title match in paticular being trash. This show delivered where it needed to though and the semi-main exceeded all expectations, arguably being Fale’s greatest singles match. This show is worth a revisit but its worth skipping a fair portion of it.
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