Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the only reviews know to cause Frostbite (heh, get it), Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, as the reason I’m making cold related puns is because we’ve got our very own Puro Pal Defrost in the house tonight as we tackle the biggest Japanese wrestling show of the year, NJPW Wrestle Kingdom V. For those of you Cewshkateers who have followed us from the very beginning, you will remember that this is the 3rd year in a row that we have reviewed the very greatest that our neighbors to the Far East have to offer, and each year it sets the benchmark for greatness in wrestling that every other promotion in the world strives to compete with. With any luck this will be no different and Defrost will be here to make sure none of us misses a beat.
So what are we waiting for? This is Wrestle Kingdom night motherfuckers! Put on your best suit, grab a date (immediate family members not allowed), and prepare for a classy evening of having your socks lariated off. Its puro time!
Cewsh: Before we get the video, we get a sweet ass countdown to the show starting and the fans are all already buzzing at the crazy rad show they expect to see. The set and the overall presentation make this seem like an event on par with Wrestlemania, which is a big fucking deal and no mistake.
Then we get all of the various ring announcers out to introduce themselves, one for each company that has contributed a wrestler to this show. I only actually recognized two of them (SMASH’s drop dead gorgeous ring announcer, and the intrepid Jeremy Borash), but even a little detail like having them all formally introduce themselves together is a nice touch that makes this event seem like such a special show. I mean fuck, they’ve clearly already got me in their pocket before the show even starts. Dare I ask how the video is?
Frankly, New Japan shits on every other promotion in the world at production right now and its so not even a competition that I almost wish they’d reign it in to stop making people look bad. The music choices, the sets, the presentation and the fucking videos which could sell Braden fucking Walker as a legend of all time, it doesn’t get better than this. They give each match equal focus, and about halfway through it occurred to Vice and I that this card is totally ridiculous and stacked. How in god’s name are we supposed to review this show without squealing like schoolgirls?
Ah well, on with the show. Take it away, Frost Man.
– Muscle Orchestra, the team of Manabu Nakanishi and STRONGMAN of CMLL, won the Tokyo Sports Tag Team of the Year despite being a tag team for roughly 2 weeks in 2010. This did not please Karl Anderson.
– Beer Money had beaten the champions, Bad Intentions, in a non title match.
– Bad Intentions spent most of 2010 locked in a three way feud over the IWGP Tag Team Titles with No Limit and Blue Justice.
– At Wrestle Kingdom 4 Bad Intentions were also in a 3 Way Tag Title Match against the Dudley Boys and No Limit.
– Karl Anderson is not fond of Tokyo Sports as evidenced by his screaming into the camera, “Fuck Tokyo Sports.”
Cewsh: Kicking us off on this magnificent evening is a three way tag match between three teams chock full of randomness. First we have Muscle Orchestra, featuring Strong Man and Manabu Nakanishi, who both have quite a few muscles but lack musical instruments. Then there’s Beer Money who often are seen carrying beer but rarely money, and finally we have Bad Intentions who have, well, you can probably guess.
NJPW seems to have a weird thing for these 3 way tag matches, because it seems like every time we review one of their shows, it has one of them on it. This one is similar to the way all of those go, with each team looking strong (especially Muscle Orchestra) for a minute or so before being merked by the next team in line. Matches like this don’t tend to have any flow, and this match doesn’t even try, instead going for straight up fun and fan service instead. Strong Man and Nakanishi have a great time posing and playing to the crowd while Bernard acts like a monster and Beer Money act like sneaky assholes. Karl Anderson, for his part, goes right and ahead and doesn’t let down my expectations of him by being entirely useless in any respect whatsoever. Even when they win and retain the title, it seems more like Bernard won on his own.
But I digress. As far as opening matches for big shows go, this was perfectly serviceable. It was fun, it was fluffy, and it didn’t wear people out. More big shows could take a serious cue.
71 out of 100.
Defrost: What we have here is your basic 3 way match just with 6 guys instead of 3. So what you’d have is one of the teams taken out by the other two and then have one team do their spots, in comes another team, rinse and repeat. It was an entertaining opener even if the crowd didn’t much care. TNA has no tv in Japan so no one had much of an idea who Beer Money were, and STRONGMAN and Nakanishi are sorta a cultish team. Which is great in Kōrakuen Hall not so much the Tokyo Dome.
– FANTASTICA MANIA are two CMLL run shows, with heavy NJPW participation, in Kōrakuen Hall at the end of January.
– Jushin Liger spent a good chunk of 2010 in CMLL. He won the CMLL World Middleweight Championship which allowed him to participate and win CMLL’s Champion of Champions tournament.
– Liger will defend the CMLL World Middleweight Title against La Sombra at Fantasticamania.
Cewsh: This match is fucking batshit.
I, and pretty much anyone else who has watched wrestling for awhile, have gotten a little jaded to lucha libre. Its nice in moderation, but after you’ve seen some of the more impressive guys it all kind of runs together into a glut of storyless, soulless matches that you’d have difficulty picking out of a line up. But then, every once in awhile, there comes along a guy who makes your eyes pop with the things he is capable of. A guy who has perfected the art of lucha libre to such a degree that its jaw dropping. A few years ago, that man was Mistico. Today, that man is La Sombra.
I mean, fucking look at this shit!
That’s the most perfect rope flip senton I’ve ever seen. And while i’m at it, here’s a move that would make John Morrison cry himself to sleep in a pile of hair product.
And it wasn’t just those two moments. The whole goddamn match was like that. That’s not even mentioning how awesome Liger is (he is super awesome) or how weird it was for Hector Garza to come out in a full bodysuit and then strip it off piece by piece as the match progressed.
Ultimately this is the exact kind of match that you want early in a big show. It wont overshadow anything later on, but it’s a spectacle that you’ll remember after the show is over. Brilliantly done, and keep an eye on young master La Sombra. He’s going places.
80 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
Defrost: One reason to love shows like this is how many different styles of matches you get. You have a basic 3 way match. You have Heavyweight Japanese style. Jr Heavyweight Japanese style, hardcore matches, a match with a drug addict who has no desire to be in Japan, a sleeper hold match coming up next, and here Lucha Libre style. In WWE you only get their one style of match over and over. In TNA all you get is stupid. So this really speaks to me.
As I said this is a lucha match. There are a lot of dives. A lot of time with guys standing around waiting to be dived upon. There are botches. When everything requires a 360 spin that tends to happen. Lucha is not known for psychology it is all about flashiness. This was 7 minutes of flashiness. It was different than everything else on the show. I enjoyed it.
– The only way to win is via sleeper hold.
– Former 4 time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroyoshi Tenzan recently returned after missing 15 months with neck surgery. After his second match back he was attacked and choked out by Izuka. Izuka was formally stablemates in GBH, Great Bash Heel, with Tenzan but when Makabe took over that group Izuka led a beat down on Tenzan and they have been enemies ever since.
Cewsh: Takashi Iizuka is the scariest man on Planet Earth. Every single feature on the guy is like something dreamed up in the nightmare of a child about a crazy Japanese pirate who wants to suck your soul out through your no no places.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, on the other hand, has a face you could chop wood with and is in the middle of his big comeback tour after his horrific injury a few years back. He had worked himself back to health and ring shape for his comeback…only for Iizuka to be exactly as evil as he looks and dick him around. Now, as Frosty said, they’re having a match that can only be won via sleeper, which seems like something Iizuka wouldn’t want, what with Tenzan’s finisher being a sleeper variation and all, but he really doesn’t seem fazed by it. Or anything really.
These guys have the kind of match I think of when I see an evil bastard and a legend having a blood feud. They brawl into the crowd, they use weapons, these use their fists, Iizuka taunts and mocks at every possible opportunity, and does crazy shit like attack EVERY FUCKING PERSON IN SIGHT in the middle of a match for no reason. In the end though, the color commentator turns the tide (after having been attacked by the crazy bastard) and Tenzan locks on a very familiar looking sleeper variant to choke the batshit buccaneer out for good.
This wasn’t a technical wrestling marvel, and it wasn’t the best match on the show by a long shot. But this match revolved around a character and gimmick so strong that it could levitate small objects and a legend getting revenge, and as such the crowd was hot, the action was intense, and the finish was satisfying.
Can’t ask for more than that.
83 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
Defrost: Izuka for a while now has attacked the New Japan commentator at every show. I thought it was just some wacky thing, but it actually came into play in this match. Wataru Inoue, Yuji Nagata’s tag partner in Blue Justice, was doing color commentary and came to the aid of the the PBP man. Later on after Izuka bumped the ref and low blowed Tenzan, Inoue ran in to save the day. I love it when a plan comes together.
As for the workrate a lot of smoke and mirrors in this one. Izuka is more a gimmick than a worker, and Tenzan’s gas tank is just about empty. So they got by with some crowd brawling and weapons and Izuka being evil and had a fine little battle.
– Jesus Christ Jeremy Borash is fucking terrible.
Cewsh: I’m going to go ahead and assume that anyone reading this is aware of who Rob Van Dam is, as he’s one of the two guys on this show widely known to American audiences. But Toru Yano you may not know, unless you might happen to recall a string of matches with Team 3D that we reviewed at an earlier Wrestle Kingdom. Can’t quite recall? Maybe this gif will help:
Yes, there we are. Anyway, as near as I can figure, Yano’s job in New Japan is to be the mean, stupid henchman guy who likes chairs. He has cleverly added depth to this gimmick by dressing in a silky shirt and drinking tons of booze like he’s going for his black belt in the Drunken Master technique.
As you can probably piece together from what you now know about these two men, this was a wacky, sloppy brawl with tons of weapons, and RVD generally flying around doing RVD things while Yano looks confused. In fact, trying to recall now, I’d be hard pressed to actually tell you anything that Yano does in this match other than take RVD’s entire moveset before getting easily pinned. But, frankly, that sounds like pretty much the ideal Yano match to me.
It was fun, it was refreshing in between two super serious matches, and it may go down in history as the single best match Toru Yano will ever have. Now Beer Money and RVD have done their home promotion proud (to some extent). I wonder how that fourth guy is going to do…
70 out of 100.
Defrost: Going into this show I was expecting this to not only be the worst match on the show, but perhaps the worst Professional Wrestling match of all time. Yano is the shits and RVD in 2011 is RVD in 2011. However, my mistake was to underestimate just how useless Jeff Hardy is when not under the thumb of Vince McMahon. I’ll get to that later on.
This was basically a 1998 WWF PPV Hardcore match. So it was fun. Unlike some other people on this show RVD seemed genuinely happy to be there and his effort showed. I might be comparing this to a later TNA abortion and coming down favorably. If so oh well. Not sure I understand following the Deep Sleep match with a hardcore match, flipping the order of the Lucha match and the Deep Sleep one would have worked better. It’s just an observation. I’m not going to hold it against the match as it is not really a big enough nit to pick.
– This is a rematch from Wreste Kingdom I where Minoru Suzuki successfully defended the Triple Crown, the All Japan WORLD Title, against Yuji Nagata.
Cewsh: Yeah, this is not my kind of match.
The backstory for the match drew me in simply and effectively enough, showing clearly that these are two people who have been linked throughout their careers from the very beginning when they were doe eyed nobodies.
Now they’re meeting in a fucking blood feud, and to watch the video explain it, this shit is beyond intense, with Suzuki being his usual dickface and Nagata wanting to make him shut the fuck up for a change. The match is heated, and based clearly in the competitive nature of two men who have never proven to themselves or others who the superior man really is. The trouble for me is when they actually begin to go about the matter of fighting it out and proceed to kick, slap, and chop each other in the face so fucking hard that I went cross eyed in sympathy. They then did it some more and some more and some more HOLY SHIT WHY HAVEN’T THEIR EYES BURST YET?!
These guys delivered blows to each other back and forth in the middle of the ring that would kill elephants and neither one sold for one shred of one second, each of them refusing to be the guy who admits he’s in pain. Its emotional, certainly, and riveting, absolutely, but what it doesn’t make for is a super fantastic match. If you want to sell me the idea that two men hate each other and want to complete total annihilation, its kind of hard for me to accept that when they’re standing next to one another waiting patiently for their turn to do the kicking.
But, as I said, that’s just me.
76 out of 100.
Defrost: What a great match. These guys bring the hate. Just smacking the shit out of each other. Their similar styles really mesh. Minoru Suzuki having been a shoot fighter and Nagata having been trained by Kazuo Yamazaki. Going back over the years to Wrestle Kingdom I and the Inoki Army vs New Japan battles the booking is such that this is a blood feud. And really the only thing I think this match was missing was blood. With how hard they were going at each other in this one blood would have been a perfect cherry on top to get the deal over. As it was it was a damn fine hard hitting hate filled easy to love wrestling clash.
– Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega beat Prince Devitt and Rysuke Taguchi for the IWGP Jr Tag Titles in October 2010 when Ibushi pinned Devitt. Tokyo Sports named it Match of the Year.
– Prince Devitt beat Kota Ibushi in the final of the annual Best of the Super Jr tournament in 2010.
-Kota Ibushi works for DDT an independent promotion famous for having matches in wacky places. He is also one of the best high flying wrestlers in the world today.
Defrost: Well we have a leader in the clubhouse for MOTY. Even if Jeremy Borash tried to spray the stink of TNA all over this thing before it could start. He has no idea what title Prince Devitt has. And how the fuck do you turn Guy X is coming to the ring into a 10 paragraph soliloquy? Shut the fuck up.
Enough of that. Back to the goodness. This was awesome. First of all Prince Devitt had new gear and for whatever reason I mark out for new gear on the big show. Loved how they meshed Ibushi’s high flying with Devitt’s recent Davey Richards induced broken ribs. I loved how they didn’t go over the line of overkill on kicking out of everything. There were a lot of moves in this match, but Devitt never kicked out of the Phoenix Splash, and Devitt’s MDK Finisher the Avalanche Bloody Sunday finished it. The combination made the match pitch perfect. Going right to the edge and balancing things together. Artistic is how I’d describe it. Go out of your way to check this one out.
Cewsh: I liked this match maybe a smidge less than Frosty, but that’s not slighting it in any way since he called it a match of the year candidate, and I’m placing it just shy of that level.
The fact is that these two are really, absurdly fucking good at what they do. Devitt is silky smooth and crisp at everything and has such powerful crowd support, and Ibushi is simply the greatest high flier working in professional wrestling right now. He had so many great and insane moves in this match that our minds shut down and picked one at random that doesn’t even have anything to do with high flying. He’s so good he makes fucking SCHOOL BOYS into an awesome move.
These two deliver everything you could possibly ask for, and yet they hold a bit back in what I think is a brilliant move. These two are a hot ticket together (as well as their respective tag teams, Apollo 55 and the Golden Lovers) so they left a little for next time and they left a little for the main event, and they didn’t burn the crowd out, they just revved everyone in the arena up to 800 miles per hour and gave them a satisfying clean finish that they could feel happy about.
After so much overbooking back in America, there is something just so satisfying about that.
86 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Donwload Seal of Approval.
– Third year in a row Goto and Sugiura wrestled each other on this show. At Wrestle Kingdom 3 Goto teamed with Shinsuke Nakamura in a winning effort against Sugiura and the legendary Mitsuharu Misawa. At Wrestle Kingdom 4 Sugiura successfully defended the GHC Heavyweight Championship, the NOAH WORLD Title, against Goto.
Defrost: Okada was just out of the New Japan dojo and sent to TNA for a learning excursion. TNA never used him because why would they but that is a different matter. He is coming back here as having grown from that to show that he is to be taken seriously as an up and comer in New Japan. New Japan is obviously high on him. However, there is no way he goes over. So the basic idea is he shows a lot of fighting spirit against rival promotion ass kickers and gets over for showing heart in a losing effort. That’s not what happened here. Okada really showed no fire at all. In a vacuum this match would be okish. Maybe slightly below average. However, in context it was a failure. It did nothing to help Okada in my eyes and that was the goal. I would compare it to Summerslam where the whole show was built around one match. So if that one match succeeded it would have been a thumbs up show. We all know what ended up happening and to me Summerslam was the worst show of the year. That is why I have to say this was a bad match.
Cewsh: Well while we may disagree about Summerslam, we damn sure agree about this.
There were, by my reckoning, three problems with this match. The first was that Goto was here at all, because this entire show had been booked and hyped for months and months as Goto vs. Kojima. This was going to be the show where Goto become the Third Musakteer of the new generation with Tanahashi and Nakamura. But along the way he was mysteriously removed form his title shot, jobbed out for a month and then placed in this match which, while not being without prestige, is a pretty lame consolation prize. The second problem in this match was Suguira, and for a very similar reason. The Pro Wrestling NOAH champion who has been dominant for a full year gets put in a match that revolves around everyone in it EXCEPT him. And finally, there is Okada. Theoretically this match, which is highly placed on the biggest card of the year, is designed to get him over and to put over his feud with Takayama, but boy does that not really happen.
Also let it be known that Takayama is not part of the problem, but is still reeeeeeeeeally ugly.
This match is well wrestled, don’t get me wrong, but it is such a colossal disappointment based on who is involved that it may as well have just been a shitty match instead. Maybe Okada can grow into a bigger role, and maybe not. But this right here? This did nobody any favors.
73 out of 100.
Cewsh: Oh Jeff.
What the fuck was this Jeff? What did you think you were doing when you stepped into the ring for this match? Did you wonder if you had prepared enough for the immaculately conditioned Japanese wrestlers? Did you think you’d try your very best to have the best match possible to add international prestige to the TNA World Heavyweight Championship? Did you think about how you’d actually look in that crazy Avatar mask/welding helmet thing of yours?
Did you wonder what your opponent thought of you?
After the match started did you wonder why the other guy cared so much about having a good match and why he was moving so fast that you were exhausted in the first minute?
As the match progressed, did you wonder what life would have been like if you hadn’t gotten caught breaking a billion laws in the middle of Vince McMahon pushing you to the moon? Did you wonder what the fuck you were doing in Japan wearing a toy belt wrestling a guy who was a jobber in the company you represent while staring down your court date on the horizon? Did you wonder where it all went wrong?
Did you wonder anything Jeff? Because I wondered all of that on your behalf.
This match was rank. It was not Naito’s fault.
50 out of 100.
Defrost: Well we have a leader in the clubhouse for WMOTY. Even before this show you could see what was coming. At the press conference Jeff Hardy really seemed like he could not be bothered to even be there. He had no idea the name of the guy he was wrestling, and mentioned being annoyed he wasn’t wrestling Liger. Basically he was acting like the prick Youtube has shown the Hardys and their ilk to be.
Borash delivers the Gettysburg Address as the wrestlers come to the ring. Sunaho has blown Borash out of the water on this show.
I feel really bad for Tetsuya Naito. He was put in a bad spot here. New Japan is very high on him so they put him in this spot, and they should he is overflowing with charisma, and Jeff Hardy blows everything up. This is the third year in a row Naito has been forced to deal with TNA guys and it has been progressively downhill. At Wrestle Kingdom 3 he, and his tag partner in No Limit Yujiro, lost the IWGP Jr Tag Titles to the Motor City Machine Guns. Last year No Limit won the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles beating the Dudley Boys and Bad Intentions.
What the hell is Hardy supposed to look like? And that TNA ORLANDO OPENWEIGHT Title belt makes me pine for the spinner belt. Christ Almighty. A minute in and Hardy is already blown up. Wonderful. Jeff Hardy botches a leap frog in this match. A leap frog is jumping straight up. Hardy botched this. Has to be worse than the D-Von bouncing headbutt. Hardy is gasping for air 3 minutes into this thing. This is pathetic. I think Hardy just took a long nail file out of his pocket and threw it somewhere. And why is Hardy limping around and clutching at himself like he had a run in with The Gimp? Hardy is lucky he wasn’t in there with Kanemoto or Nagata because they would have started smacking this idiot around for this debacle.
In a pretaped promo Hardy said he’d have the best match ever in the Tokyo Dome. He may have had the worst.
– A rematch of their 30 minute draw on the last night of the G1 Climax, and of Go’s victory on NOAH soil. The final night of the G1 Climax Tournament is New Japan’s second biggest show of the year.
– If Jeremey Borash says, “And now” one more time I am going to drive a spike through my skull. Holy shit he just said it again.
Shin-sooooooooo-kee? Fuck you Borash. Fuck you in your eye.
Ahhhhhhhhhhh he said “And now” three times in 10 seconds. Dear God he sucks. Fuck Borash. Fuck Jeff Hardy. Fuck TNA.
Cewsh: A year can make a very large difference.
When we last visited Wrestle Kingdom a year ago, Shinsuke Nakamura was not somebody I had a great deal of fondness for. As a diehard Hiroshi Tanahashi fan (4 Lyfe!) it probably had a lot to do with choosing sides, but it also had a lot to do with the role they had him in. He really had virtually no personality to speak of, with nearly all of his character, such as it is, being comprised of the fact that HE HAS TONS OF POTENTIAL AND DID GOOD IN MMA. It certainly propelled him to the top of the card with lightning speed, but it wasn’t anything inspirational. But then, as a I prepared to be disappointed by the man yet again, an entirely different person walked down the ramp.
THIS Nakamura was flippant, uncaring, and entirely heelish with the aura of a rock star and his bands name was “We Don’t Give A Fucking Fuck, Fucker.”
Instantly, without so much as a promo to cement the character in my mind, I was super into it anyway. As he carried it over into the match, taunting and underestimating Go Shiozaki (who has a very similar character to Nakamura last year) I was taken aback by how this more intriguing character transformed what would have otherwise been a lackluster match into something really interesting, as Shiozaki battles for respect and worthiness while Nakamura toys with him like a cat with an injured bird. As Shiozaki fires up and fights back, Nakamura fires up too, almost in spite for making him have to try, and finally, after a hot ending sequence, buries Go with the Boma Ye, possibly my new favorite move in all of professional wrestling.
This wasn’t the best match either man has had or will have. But as an introduction to the new Nakamura and as more experience for Go is was a resounding success. It would be a crime not to recommend it.
86 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
Defrost: It may be the Rosa Mendez pants, but whenever Nakamura goes face to face with his opponent I think he is about to go in for the kiss.
This was the kind of match that felt like it was just getting started when it ended. I’d rate their previous two encounters higher than this one. Not much heat here either. Just some leg work. Go hits some big moves. Nakamura blocks the Wrist Clutch Manslaughter. Boma Ye. Over. Not really much. Wasn’t bad just nothing special or anything.
– This match came about after Tanaka legit hurt Makabe’s neck performing a brainbuster through a table. Makabe returned and they have taken turns attacking each other ever since.
Cewsh: There are times when, doing these reviews, I come to the realization that I am very likely enjoying a match more than most others would enjoy it. That leaves me with somewhat of a dilemma. Do I tell you how I feel, knowing full well that some may disagree heartily, or do I try to tell you what I think YOU, the casual observer, might think while watching it? It’s a tough question. In this case I have to go with what I think because a) I’m not a mind reader and b) its my review so nyah nyah nyah.
The discrepancy between my thoughts and others is mostly about the degree to which I liked this match. It certainly is of high quality by any standards, with Makabe and Tanaka being two of the best brawlers anywhere in the world, and they go all out, fucking shit up all over ringside, through a few tables and all the while focusing on Tanaka’s taking advantage of Makabe’s neck injury. All great stuff. But what really tickled my fancy about this match is that, godammit, this is how a hardcore match is supposed to be. These two are serious about hurting each other. But rather than grabbing a bunch of shit and whaling on each other for no reason, every hardcore spot is built to deal the most damage possible. Tanaka tries to brainbust Makabe on a diagonal table because that’s how he injured him last match, whereas Makabe ultimately defeats Tanaka in the way Mike Awesome was famously known for doing in their ECW matches, as he powerbombs that sucker off the apron right through a table.
They keep in mind that this is match first and hardcore second, tell a fantastic story throughout, and at the end they make Makabe look like an unstoppable murderbeast.
If all hardcore wrestling were like this, then IWA:MS would have me as a fan.
88 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
Defrost: The prematch video ends with REVENGE. I’d call powerbombing someone off the apron through a table REVENGE.
It’s interesting the difference between a midcard hardcore match and a top of the card one. The RVD vs Yano match was kinda goofy with nothing really new or creative just chair shots and whatnot. The innovation was mostly comedy. Here everything is serious and the bumps are bigger with more creative spots. For instance Tanaka rapping a chain around Makabe’s throat and the post and swinging a kendo stick at his head. Or again brainbusting Makabe through a table. Or Makabe’s powerbomb through the table for REVENGE. A very good hardcore match that played well with the booking.
– Kojima defeated Tanahashi in the G1 Climax Final. Mentioned in the prematch video, and I had forgotten, the brawl many years ago after Kojima won the IWGP Title the first time. After that match Kojima, who was also Triple Crown Champion, threw down the IWGP Belt provoking Tanahashi. Kojima is technically the only man to hold both titles at the same time.
– The G1 Final already has a leg up on this one. They have gone from MASAHIRO CHONO ring announcing to jeremy borash.
Cewsh: You should know by now that I can’t be impartial about Tanahashi. This much we all know. Thankfully for me, I’m a fan of a wrestler who has such fucking great matches that he never lets down my faith in him, and good god was this no exception.
Its important to realize, when going into this match, exactly what this match really means over there in the strange world of Japan. See, Tanahashi is the Ace of New Japan. That means that he is their figurehead and that he is responsible for defending them against invaders. Satoshi Kojima is a fucking invader and a half, as he has not only invaded New Japan, but has seemingly conquered it with his Lariat of the Gods. He’s beaten everybody, including Tanahashi once before, and he is a freelancer, not a New Japan wrestler, so if Tanahashi can’t beat him here, the idea is that he could basically take the belt home with him and tell everyone to fuck off forever because he will have won. So not only does Tanahashi want to win back the title, its his goddamn DUTY to win it back. And that is serious business here, my friends.
In the quest to get it back, we have what can basically describe any Hiroshi Tanahashi match. The beginning is white hot, as the crowd is going insane for Tanahashi to beat the prick Kojima. Then, towards the middle it slows down, except for one spot where Kojima clotheslines Tanahashi on the apron, upon which Tanahashi tries to do the shooting star flip to sell it and winds up landing right on his neck on the goddamn apron, OUCH.
Then we get to the end, and Tanahashi may as well be Japanese for “hot finish” (mind out of the gutter people) because this shit is WHITE hot. Kojima goes for the Lariat, Tanahashi improbably blocks it, but Kojima lands another one anyway. Tanahashi kicks out of that shit and Kojima is in disbelief. He goes for it again, but Tanahashi dusts him with a sequence of killer dragon suplexes which can’t get the job done.
Tanahashi hits two High Fly Flows and STILL there’s no ending. Finally, after ducking a few more lariats, tanahashi nails the High Fly Crossbody, and positively leaps over the ropes in his haste to hit the High Fly Flow that wins the match and the title. 1…2…3. The scourge has been removed. The king has reclaimed the throne.
What else is there to be said? This match had everything, the backstory, the top stars, the fresh matchup and the aura of a big fight taking place. Add into that a finish that had everyone in the building on their feet and it could scarcely have been a bigger success.
94 out of 100.
Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.
Defrost: Great main event. Everything was built around Kojima’s Lariat of Doom that he had used to defeat the Four Kings(Tanahashi, Makabe, Nakamura, Goto) and the Jr. Ace Prince Devitt. So the question going is was could Tanahsahi avoid the fate he suffered in the final of the G1 or would the Lariat of Doom cause his…um doom.
Tanahashi worked over the arm, and was able to survive when the Lariats came. There were great nearfalls. The aforementioned lariat, Kojima brainbusting Tanahashi back into the ring, Kojima kicking out after the High Fly Flow. The match was put together or called in the ring in a way that brought everything together. While Nagata vs Suzuki was great for the hatred, and Devitt vs Ibushi was great because of their athletic ability this was a great wrestling battle for a wrestling championship. It goes back to what I said earlier. This was a show that brought to the fans a wide variety of Pro Wrestling matches. The main event was a perfect cherry on top to that fact.
Cewsh: This show was absolutely wonderful. It had everything. It had high flying, it had mat wrestling, it had bloody emotional brawls, it had wacky hardcore hijinks, it had a crappy match and a match of the year candidate. This was a variety show of the highest order, and as such it should come as no surprise to learn that not only did this show have a high score, but it had the most Download Seals of Approval of any show we’ve ever reviewed (6). That’s HALF THE FUCKING SHOW.
So do yourself a favor and track this down and watch it. With any luck, it’ll revitalize your love of wrestling like it did for me.
Defrost: All in all there were three great matches, two good ones, with the rest ranging from fun to disappointing. Well except for one abject disaster wrought by Jeff Hardy and Total Nonstop Action. I’d rate this over last year because there were more great matches this year.
Alright, that’ll do it for us this week, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed the pomp and circumstance of Wrestle Kingdom, and don’t come down off that cloud just yet, because we’re not done this week. Later this week, we’ll be hitting you with the right hook to this review’s set up jab with our review of the WWE Royal Rumble 2011. New debuts, crazy results, wacky predictions, we’ll have it all. So until then, be sure to keep reading and be good to one another!