New Japan "NEW YEAR DASH!!" 2014
A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: January 5th, 2014
This event took place the day after the Tokyo Dome, and was a combination of setting up new feuds and continuing old ones. This event also had the debut of El Desperado! Here is the full card:
- KUSHIDA and Alex Shelley vs. Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. Rocky Romero and Alex Koslov vs. TAKA Michinoku and Taichi
Let's get started!
KUSHIDA and Alex Shelley vs. The Young Bucks vs. Romero and Koslov vs. TAKA Michinoku and Taichi
Match Thoughts: A shorter and less exciting version of what they did at the Tokyo Dome. There were less “big moves” and more just kinda pedestrian tag team double teaming with little excitement. I did like the spot with the referee getting hit, and as always these teams work together very well, but it was really quite blah for a spotfest. If a match is going to be just a spotfest, it needs to go as big as possible and this match was underwhelming. Score: 4.0
Minoru Suzuki vs. Sho Tanaka
Match Thoughts: I gotta be honest, not what I was expecting. This match was probably 75% Tanaka on offense, if not higher. I mean he wasn’t going to beat Suzuki but Suzuki gave him a lot. And the crowd was really behind it as well, cheering on everything that he did. For a four minute match they managed to go through the full “rookie tries against veteran, veteran too strong” arch… sometimes less is more, if this was a ten minute match they may have lost the crowd or it may have been less noticeable how much offense Tanaka had. Good match here. Score: 6.5
Toru Yano, Iizuka, Jado, and Takahashi vs. Yuji Nagata, Nakanishi, Super Strong Machine, and Komatsu
Takahashi tags in Yano, and Yano throws Komatsu into the corner and stomps him repeatedly. More stomps by Yano and he tags in Iizuka. Kicks by Iizuka and he stomps on Komatsu as well. Iizuka tags Yano back in as Iizuka gets a microphone so he can choke Komatsu with it over the top rope. Komatsu’s teammates come in to help and Iizuka releases Komatsu, and Jado slides Komatsu back in the ring. Stomps by Iizuka onto Komatsu, Komatsu tries to fight back but he is clubbed back to the mat again. Iizuka picks up Komatsu but Komatsu fires up and hits a series of elbows. Iizuka goes off the ropes but Komatsu catches him with a dropkick. Running forearm smash by Komatsu and he makes the tag to Nakanishi. Nakanishi cleans house, chops by Nakanishi to Iizuka into the corner, Irish whip, and Nakanishi hits a lariat. Another Irish whip but this time Iizuka kicks Nakanishi back, Iizuka goes off the ropes but Nakanishi catches him with a spear. Nakanishi gets the lariat ready and hits Iizuka with it, cover, but he only gets a two count. Argentine Backbreaker by Nakanishi to Iizuka but Takahashi breaks it up. Nakanishi knocks down Takahashi, he goes off the ropes but Yano kicks him from the apron. Irish whip by Iizuka to Nakanishi and he hits an atomic drop. Iizuka tags in Jado as Komatsu is tagged in by Nakanishi, Irish whip by Jado to the corner but Komatsu flips out of it when he charges in. Komatsu goes off the ropes and hits a running forearm, cover, but Jado kicks out. Komatsu picks up Jado, his teammates come in and they all hit running strikes in the corner. Butterfly suplex hold by Komatsu, cover, but it only gets two. Single leg crab hold by Komatsu to Jado, but Takahashi breaks it up. Nakanishi comes in and kicks Takahashi, sending him back out of the ring. Komatsu elbows Jado, he goes off the ropes but Jado hits a kick and a kneelift. Lariat by Jado to Komatsu, cover, but Komatsu gets a shoulder up. Jado drapes Komatsu’s legs on the top rope and hits a DDT, he then quickly applies the Crossface of JADO. Komatsu fights it for a moment but has to submit! Your winners: Toru Yano, Iizuka, Jado, and Takahashi
Match Thoughts: Actively not a good match. A “stomp” is one of the lazier moves in pro wrestling, and it does have its place, but ideally not at such a high quantity. Nakanishi basically wrestles now like Taue in a fat suit (not a compliment) and is hard to watch, and Machine isn’t much better. All Japan used to be bad about letting old wrestlers stink up the undercard for years after they should have gone to the back office, and now New Japan is doing it. Great. Anyway, the ending was ‘hot’ but other than that just a listless way of wasting ten minutes on a house show. Score: 3.0
El Desperado and Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Kota Ibushi and BUSHI
BUSHI picks up Liger, snapmare, and he applies a reverse chinlock. Elbow drop by BUSHI, cover, but it gets two. Stomp by BUSHI, Irish whip, reversed, waistlock by BUSHI, reversed still, BUSHI elbows out of it but Liger hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Liger rolls to the corner but Desperado won’t tag in because he wants Ibushi. BUSHI grabs Liger, snapmare, and he tags in Ibushi. Ibushi goes for a missile dropkick off the top but he misses and hits BUSHI instead. Now Desperado is desperate for the tag and he gets it, and Desperado hits a diving crossbody onto Ibushi. Superkick by Desperado, cover, but it gets a two count. Desperado picks up Ibushi but Ibushi elbows him off, Desperado returns fire, Irish whip by Desperado to the corner but Ibushi avoids his charge and kicks Desperado in the chest. Standing corkscrew moonsault by Ibushi and he tags in BUSHI. BUSHI charges Desperado in the corner but Desperado moves out of the way, kick by BUSHI and he hits a missile dropkick. Desperado pushes BUSHI off but BUSHI connects with a sunset flip for a two count. Another cover brings Liger into the ring to break it up, Ibushi comes in as well and they double team Desperado. Cover by BUSHI on Desperado but it gets a two count. BUSHI picks up Desperado, he goes off the ropes but Desperado catches his hurricanrana attempt and hits a powerbomb for a two count. Ibushi and Liger come in the ring as well, Ibushi knocks Liger out of the ring and goes for an Asai Moonsault, but Desperado grabs the ropes from inside the ring to make Ibushi fall. BUSHI rolls up Desperado from behind but Desperado rolls through and hits a superkick. Desperado picks up BUSHI and drops him with Guitarra de Angel, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners: El Desperado and Jushin Thunder Liger
Match Thoughts: I thought this was a really solid debut for El Desperado (formally Kyosuke Mikami). He made it clear he didn’t really care about Liger, which I like since…. why would he? He just wanted a piece of Ibushi. His dive into the crowd was nuts and I am assuming that is a spot he won’t be repeating as it isn’t the 1980s in Japan anymore, they generally don’t attack the fans, even though it is entertaining. Add in a painful looking finisher and out-smarting his future opponent for the belt and overall I think things went quite well. And that is really the only way to view this match, but the other wrestlers looked good as well and they kept things to the point. Score: 7.0
Prince Devitt and Bad Luck Fale vs. Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma
Lariat by Makabe, he throws Fale into a different corner and hits another lariat. Punches by Makabe in the corner but Fale fights him off. Fale goes off the ropes but Makabe catches him with a lariat. Makabe goes off the ropes and he hits a second lariat, but Fale is still on one knee. He goes off the ropes again, Fale hits a big boot, but Makabe rebounds back with a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Makabe goes off the ropes but Fale hits a Samoan drop and tags in Devitt. Devitt goes up to the top turnbuckle but Makabe moves out of the way of the diving doublestomp. Lariat by Makabe and he makes the tag to Honma. Chops by Honma into the corner, Irish whip, and he hits a jumping elbow followed by a face crusher. Honma waits for Devitt to get up and goes off the ropes but Devitt catches him with a dropkick. Devitt goes for a vertical suplex but Honma reverses it. Fale comes in the ring, Honma fights him off and goes off the ropes but Fale hits a shoulderblock. Makabe comes in the ring but Fale cuts him off, double Irish whip to Makabe but he hits a double lariat. Honma then goes to Devitt, scoop slam by Honma and he goes up to the top turnbuckle, but Devitt rolls out of the way of the diving headbutt. Devitt then goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the double stomp to Honma’s back, cover, but it only gets two. Devitt picks up Honma and goes for the Bloody Sunday, but Honma pushes him into the corner. Irish whip by Honma but Devitt moves when Honma charges in and then Fale hits a running splash onto Honma. Devitt goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the diving doublestomp, cover, but it only gets too. Devitt quickly picks up Honma and nails the Bloody Sunday, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Prince Devitt and Bad Luck Fale
Match Thoughts: Fale is one dull mofo, I don’t hate him but his offense is just plodding, and Makabe’s is no better. But the match did pick up when Devitt and Honma were in there, and really if they just focused on them with Fale/Makabe doing an occasional ‘power’ spot that would have been fine. But a bit too much Fale and Makabe for my taste, the match just dragged when they were involved. Good showing for Devitt and Honma though. Score: 5.0
Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Shelton Benjamin vs. Karl Anderson, Gallows, and Tama Tonga
Gallows kicks Archer in the corner and hits a running body splash. Elbow drop by Gallows and he hits a second and a third. Cover, but Archer kicks out at two. Archer tries to make the tag but Gallows grabs him and clubs Archer in the back. Gallows grabs Archer and hits a vertical suplex. Gallows tags in Tonga, Tonga goes off the ropes and hits a jumping elbow drop. Tonga picks up Archer and grabs him so he can’t make the tag, while Anderson runs in and hits Smith and Benjamin on the apron. Tonga tags in Anderson, and Anderson rakes Archer in the eyes. Anderson tags in Gallows, punches to the stomach by Gallows but Archer comes back with elbows. Irish whip by Archer but it is reversed and Archer collapses in the corner. Punches by Gallows but Archer blocks one and hits the sit-down powerbomb. He finally makes the hot tag to Smith as Gallows tags in Anderson, and Smith shoulderblocks Anderson to the mat. Smith knocks Anderson’s teammates off the apron, but when he charges at Anderson, Anderson kicks him back. Anderson goes off the ropes but Smith catches him with a Powerslam. Smith picks up Anderson, Irish whip to the corner, Benjamin runs in the ring and they both hit lariats. Superkick by Benjamin onto Anderson, then Smith hits a Tiger Suplex hold onto Anderson for a two count. Smith goes off the ropes but Anderson catches him with a spinebuster. Anderson tags in Tonga, Tonga charges Smith in the corner and hits a jumping body press. Tonga goes off the ropes but Smith catches him and hits a belly to belly suplex. Smith tags in Archer, and Archer hits a pair of hiptosses. Body splash by Archer, cover, but Tonga kicks out at two. Archer picks up Tonga and goes for a powerbomb, but Tonga punches out of it. Tonga goes off the ropes, ducks a kick and delivers a spear. Cover, but Smith breaks it up. Anderson dropkicks Smith, Benjamin comes in the ring and hits a heel kick onto Anderson. Gallows floors Benjamin with a big kick, he charges Benjamin but Benjamin holds down the ropes and Gallows tumbles out of the ring. Inside the ring, Irish whip by Tonga onto Archer, reversed, Archer goes for the Blackout but Tonga slides down his back. Tonga goes off the ropes but Archer catches him, Smith runs into the ring and together they hit the Killer Bomb. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Shelton Benjamin
Match Thoughts: I must say, even though parts were a bit cookie cutter and predictable, the crowd was really into this match. They loved them some gaijin clubbin’. And some parts were quite good, power contests in small doses are entertaining and the action stayed at a decent clip. I don’t know where Smith’s Tiger Suplex came from, I’m sure it’s not the first time he has done it but I just didn’t know the move was in his repertoire, it’s not the easiest move to hit. After all these years I am still not an Anderson fan, he is always just “serviceable” to me which is probably why he has been the face of the New Japan Gaijin Tag Team since 2008. A solid mid-card tag team affair that won’t blow you away but kept the crowd engaged from start to finish. Score: 6.0
(c) Rob Conway and Jax Dane (with Bruce Tharpe) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima
Dane applies the neck crank to Tenzan, Tenzan elbows out of it and goes off the ropes, but Dane catches him with a spinebuster. Dane waits for Tenzan to get up but Tenzan kicks Dane when he charges in. Spinning heel kick by Tenzan and he makes the tag to Kojima. Dane tags in Conway, Kojima kicks Conway and throws him in the corner, but Conway kicks Kojima as he charges in. Chops by Conway, but Kojima reverses positions with him and hits a series of chops. Irish whip by Kojima and he hits the jumping elbow smash before then hitting the diving elbow drop off the top turnbuckle. Cover, but it only gets a two count. Kojima picks up Conway but Conway elbows him and the two trade blows. Conway ducks the roaring elbow and clubs Kojima in the chest, Conway goes off the ropes and delivers a big boot. Cover, but Kojima kicks out. Conway grabs Kojima and hits a modified side slam, but Tenzan immediately breaks up the pin attempt. Conway knocks back Tenzan, he picks up Kojima but Kojima kicks him and hits the Koji Cutter. Kojima knocks Dane off the apron, he goes back to Conway and goes for a vertical suplex, but Conway blocks it. Conway then drapes Kojima’s legs on the top rope, but Tenzan runs in and hits Conway from behind. This brings in Dane, punches by Dane to Tenzan, Irish whip, but Tenzan reverses it and throws Dane out of the ring. Tenzan kicks Conway but Conway fights him and Kojima off, Irish whip by Conway to Tenzan, reversed, and they hit the 3D. Cover, but Dane breaks it up. Mongolian Chops by Tenzan to Dane, Dane goes off the ropes but Tenzan catches him with the Mountain Bomb. Tenzan goes out after Dane while Kojima prepares for the lariat, he goes off the ropes and nails it onto Conway. Cover, but Tharpe comes in the ring. While Kojima threatens Tharpe, Conway comes up from behind, hits Kojima low, and does a school boy onto Kojima for the three count! Your winners and still champions: Rob Conway and Jax Dane
Match Thoughts: I appreciate they are trying to make the NWA bigger again, but rehashing match endings from the 80s that don’t really work today isn’t the way to do it. Stupid and lazy ending aside, Dane and Conway just had way too much offense for this match to really be interesting. Conway really tried and I don’t want to just knock a guy but him and Dane really don’t have ‘it’ and no amount of ‘it’ from TenKoji was going to carry this match. But really all I am going to remember is the ending anyway which was stupid and insulting, and not really want I want to see in my current wrestling. It’s cute to go back and watch old matches from back in the day that the manager interfered and stayed in the ring and the wrestler would act like he wanted to hit him, etc. but now it just comes across as hokey and contrived. Score: 3.5
Tanahashi, Goto, Tetsuya Naito, and Captain New Japan vs. Okada, Nakamura, Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI
Okada picks up Captain New Japan and hits a slam, he then goes out to the apron and delivers a slingshot senton. Cover, but Captain New Japan gets a shoulder up. Okada tags in Ishii, and Ishii kicks Captain New Japan in the head. Vertical suplex by Ishii and he kicks Captain New Japan in the leg. Ishii stares down Naito again and tags in YOSHI-HASHI. YOSHI-HASHI puts Captain New Japan on the top rope and hits a dropkick, cover, but it gets a two count. Naito has finally seen enough and he runs in the ring after Ishii, and they trade elbows. Meanwhile YOSHI-HASHI is choking YOSHI-HASHI with a pole. The referee finally gets Naito back, YOSHI-HASHI goes for a vertical suplex on Captain New Japan but Captain New Japan reverses it. YOSHI-HASHI cuts off Captain New Japan before he can make the tag, Irish whip by YOSHI-HASHI but Captain New Japan hits a crossbody. Captain New Japan finally makes the tag to Tanahashi as Nakamura is tagged in, and they trade elbows. Irish whip by Nakamura but Tanahashi hits a jumping elbow smash. Tanahashi picks up Nakamura, scoop slam in front of the corner and he hits a somersault senton. Cover, but it gets a two count. Nakamura is back up, knee by Nakamura and he boots Tanahashi into the corner. Irish whip by Tanahashi but Nakamura knees him hard in the stomach and puts him over the top ropes so he can hit a running knee to the ribs. Cover by Nakamura but Tanahashi is in the ropes. Nakamura picks up Tanahashi and goes for the inverted powerslam but Tanahashi blocks it. Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Nakamura hits the inverted Powerslam anyway. Tanahashi dodges the next Nakamura attack however and hits the Slingblade, giving him time to tag in Naito. Naito punches Nakamura, Irish whip, and Naito hits a hiptoss followed by a dropkick. Naito picks up Nakamura, Irish whip to the corner, reversed, and Nakamura hits a knee to the ribs. Nakamura tags in Ishii, and Ishii chops Naito in the corner. Elbows and chops by Ishii, Irish whip by Ishii and Ishii hits a running lariat. More chops and elbows by Ishii, Irish whip, and Ishii hits another lariat. Ishii drags Naito to his feet and slaps him, but Naito elbows him back and they trade slaps. Ishii gets the better of that one, he picks up Naito and goes off the ropes, but Naito ducks the lariat and hits an enzigieri. Naito dropkicks Ishii into the corner and elbows him repeatedly. Naito goes out to the apron and hits a slingshot dropkick, he then gets a running start and dropkicks Ishii while he is crouched in the corner.
Back up, Naito goes for a suplex but Ishii elbows him off. Elbows by Naito but Ishii hits a headbutt, Ishii goes off the ropes but Naito hits a rolling kick. Lariat by Ishii, he picks up Naito, Irish whip, but Naito hits a jumping elbow strike. Naito tags in Goto while Okada is also tagged in, and Goto hits a lariat onto Okada. Kicks to the chest by Goto, Irish whip from the corner and he hits a jumping heel kick followed by a backdrop suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Goto picks up Okada but Okada elbows him off. Goto fires back with an elbow of his own however as he knocks Okada into the corner, Goto gets a running start but Okada catches him and hits the Schwein onto his knee. Okada picks up Goto and hits a scoop slam, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and delivers the diving elbow drop. Okada grabs Goto and goes for the Rainmaker but Goto ducks it. Uppercuts by Okada, Irish whip, reversed, but Okada catches Goto with a dropkick. Okada tags in YOSHI-HASHI, YOSHI-HASHI picks up Goto, Irish whip to the corner and he hits a lariat followed by a neckbreaker. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kick to the back by YOSHI-HASHI, he picks up Goto and hits a series of elbows but Goto elbows him back. Goto goes off the ropes but YOSHI-HASHI catches him with a lariat. Cover, but it is broken up. While a brawl ensues outside the ring, in the ring YOSHI-HASHI slams Goto in front of the corner. He goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a Swanton Bomb, cover but Captain New Japan breaks it up. Ishii takes care of Captain New Japan as all the other teammates take turns running into the ring to try to help. Elbow by YOSHI-HASHI onto Goto, he blocks the Goto lariat and goes off the ropes but Goto catches him with a fireman’s carry onto his knee. Goto picks up YOSHI-HASHI and nails the Shouten Kai, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Tetsuya Naito, and Captain New Japan
Match Thoughts: Better than I thought it would be, eight man tag matches tend to be pretty pedestrian but they really focused on the stories they wanted to tell and the other wrestlers mostly just watched. This was mostly about Ishii/Naito as they went at it throughout, but we also got some Tanahashi/Nakamura snuck in there as well. The beatdown segment of Captain New Japan didn’t have to last so long since it served no ‘bigger picture’ purpose, but I guess the main event of a show can’t be a 15 minute match. It plodded at points but the feuding pairs did try to make it meaningful, so not a bad match either by any means. Score: 6.0
Best Match: El Desperado and Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Kota Ibushi and BUSHI. I thought that El Desperado’s debut was solid, and they kept the match fast paced and to the point. This was just done to show off Desperado’s character, and from his moves to his attitude you got a good idea of what he is all about during the match. Everyone else looked solid too, but this was about El Desperado and I think he came across very well which helped the match as a whole.
MVP: Tomohiro Ishii. While many people already like Ishii, he hasn’t really gone up the card too much and didn’t even have a match at the Tokyo Dome. Here though in just a few minutes he elevated himself to Naito’s level as he more than held his own in their exchanges (and at times slapped him around like a child). He gave off the impression that he was Naito’s equal, which is a big change from the night before.
Overall: In a lot of ways this was just a glorified house show. Lots of multi-man tag team matches (which I don’t really like), and most the action being pretty predictable. The only “big” match (the title match) sucked, but we did have a fun debut of a new character and a few other really solid matches as well. If you are a completest or want to check out El Desperado this isn’t a bad event, but a casual fan can probably skip it since El Desperado will have a title match in a month that should be a better display of what he has to offer going forward.