New Japan Pro Wrestling “NEW YEAR DASH!" Review on 1/5/15

New Japan Pro Wrestling “NEW YEAR DASH!" 2015
A Casual Review by Kevin Wilson

Date:  January 5th, 2015
Location:  Tokyo Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance:  1,995

After a very successful Tokyo Dome event, New Japan returns the next night for another show.  Obviously, some of these wrestlers are going to be sore and tired, and I feel bad for them having to wrestle again so soon.  We do have a title match on the event, as Liger defends the NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Championship, but beyond that it is just lots of tag matches.  Here is the full card:

- TAKA Michinoku and Taichi vs. Tiger Mask and Sho Tanaka
- Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish vs. Rocky Romero and Alex Koslov
- Minoru Suzuki, Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Shelton Benjamin, and Iizuka vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Kojima, Nakanishi, Honma, and Captain New Japan
NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. El Desperado
- Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Alex Shelley, and KUSHIDA
- Bad Luck Fale and Tama Tonga vs. Kazuchika Okada and Toru Yano
- Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI vs. Yuji Nagata, Togi Makabe, and Kota Ibushi
- AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Shibata, and Tetsuya Naito

And away we go.

TAKA Michinoku and Taichi vs. Tiger Mask and Sho Tanaka
Michinoku and Tanaka start things off and trade some submission holds with neither getting the upper hand.  Michinoku stomps on Tanaka but Tanaka hits an armdrag.  Slam by Tanaka and he hits elbows but Michinoku regains the advantage and tags in Taichi.  Kicks by Taichi and both he and Michinoku attack Tanaka in the corner.  Taichi tags Michinoku back in, but Tanaka fights back and hits a dropkick.  Tanaka tag in Tiger Mask, dropkicks by Tiger Mask and he delivers a back kick.  Crucifix pin by Tiger Mask but Michinoku kicks out.  Tiger Mask beats up both Michinoku and Taichi, scoop slam to Michinoku but Michinoku avoids the diving headbutt.  Tiger Mask and Michinoku trade kicks, flooring them both, so both tag out.  Tanaka dropkicks Taichi and hits a jumping elbow.  Suplex by Tanaka but it gets a two.  Tiger Mask and Michinoku get in the ring which Tiger Mask gets the better of, high kick by Tiger Mask and Tanaka slams Taichi to the mat for a two count.  Tanaka charges Taichi but Taichi moves and Tanaka is attacked by Taichi and Michinoku.  Dual thrust kicks to Tiger Mask, Taichi picks up Tanaka and with Michinoku they hit a Union Black Mephisto for the three count.  TAKA Michinoku and Taichi are your winners.  I thought that Tanaka showed a lot of spunk here, I was really impressed by him.  A decent way to open up the show, Tiger Mask looked oddly inspired and it worked well.  Score: 5.5

Kyle O'Reilly and Bobby Fish vs. Rocky Romero and Alex Koslov
Fish and Koslov start off things, they do the customary submission trading until Koslov clears the ring.  Koslov runs out of the ring after his opponents, and Romero flies off the apron with a jumping knee.  Koslov and O’Reilly get in the ring and Koslov tags in Romero.  Hurricanrana by Romero and he avoids O’Reilly as O’Reilly sails out of the ring.  O’Reilly snaps Romero’s arm on the top rope and O’Reilly hits an armbreaker.  O’Reilly smacks around Romero for awhile before tagging in Fish, and Fish hits a slingshot senton.  Fish tags O’Reilly back in and Fish comes off the top turnbuckle, but Romero rolls out of the way.   O’Reilly gets Romero and slams him, he goes up to a different corner but Romero avoids both of their diving headbutts.  Double dropkick by Romero and he tags in Koslov.  Koslov takes out both of them, he gets his hat and kicks O’Reilly repeatedly in the head.  Romero comes in and dropkicks O’Reilly, and both attack O’Reilly in the corner.  O’Reilly regains the advantage and applies an armbreaker to Koslov but Romero runs in and lariats O’Reilly.  Koslov puts O’Reilly on his shoulders but Fish pulls Romero off the apron as O’Reilly rams Koslov into the corner.  Fish and O’Reilly attack Koslov and O’Reilly hits a diving kneedrop for a two count.  Romero kicks back Fish, but Romero is hit with an assisted DDT and assisted wheelbarrow suplex.  O’Reilly grabs Koslov but Koslov gets away, he rolls up O’Reilly but gets two.  Knee by O’Reilly and Fish hits a suplex on Koslov.  Chasing the Dragon by O’Reilly and Koslov, and they get the victory.  Standard tag team match, nothing surprising from these four.  So solid, but not memorable.  Score:  6.0

Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Benjamin, and Takashi Iizuka vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi, Honma, and Captain New Japan
As you probably guessed, this match began with a giant brawl.  Smoke settles with Archer and Nakanishi in the ring, Smith comes back in with Benjamin and they beat up Nakanishi.  Nakanishi hits a double spear and clubs Benjamin.  Honma comes in and he hits Benjamin with a face crusher but Benjamin avoids the headbutt and hits a knee.  Benjamin dumps Honma to the floor and everyone starts brawling again.  Benjamin and Honma get back in and Benjamin covers for two.  Archer and Smith double team Honma and Smith hits a delayed suplex.  Iizuka comes in and chokes out Honma before clubbing him around the ring.  Suzuki is tagged in and he kicks Honma.  Front Necklock by Suzuki but Honma reverses it with a vertical suplex before tagging in Kojima.  Kojima chops Suzuki in the corner but Suzuki knees him and hits a PK.  Koji Cutter by Kojima but Suzuki knees him and tags in Iizuka.  Tenzan is also tagged in and Tenzan clears everyone off the apron before hitting Mongolian Chops on Iizuka.  Calf Branding by Tenzan and he hits a vertical suplex.  Iizuka gets away and tags in Archer, Mongolian Chops by Archer but Tenzan hits the Mountain Bomb and tags in Captain New Japan.  Everyone comes in the ring with Captain New Japan but it doesn’t work out, and Archer’s friends come in the ring as well.  Tenzan is knocked around the ring by literally everyone but Nakanishi comes to the rescue, then each wrestler takes turns taking each other out.  Captain New Japan is left alone with Archer and Smith, and they hit an assisted lariat for a two count.  Captain New Japan fights back but is planted with the Killer Bomb for the three count.  Suzuki-gun are the winners.   An inoffensive match with way too many wrestlers in it, poor Captain New Japan.  Score:  5.0

(c) Jushin Thunder Liger vs. El Desperado
This match is for the NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Championship.  Kimura takedown by Liger but Desperado gets a foot on the ropes.  Liger controls the action with submission holds before hitting a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Armbar by Liger but Desperado’s buddies come down and attack Liger’s arm with a chair.  Desperado humorously hides the referee’s eyes while Taichi and Michinoku attack Liger on the floor.  Desperado joins them and he hits Liger’s arm with the bell hammer.  Desperado puts a chair on Liger’s arm and hits it with another chair as Liger appears to be in considerable pain.  Back in the ring Desperado stomps down on Liger’s arm.  Armbar by Desperado and he hits a body press onto Liger’s arm.  Desperado sets up Liger in the corner and puts him up on the top turnbuckle, and he goes after Liger’s mask.  The referee gets Desperado off but Desperado flings the referee out of the ring.  Normally this would be a DQ, but not in New Japan.  Liger hits a lariat but he does it with his bad arm so it hurts him anyway, then Taichi runs in to beat up Liger.  Tiger Mask runs down for the save and he hits a tope suicida onto Taichi and Michinoku.  Shotei by Liger, he puts Desperado up on the top turnbuckle and he hits a Frankensteiner.  Desperado goes off the ropes and he hits a spear.  Desperado sails out with a dangerous looking tope con hilo because he is nuts, he gets back in the ring and waits for Liger to return.  Desperado dropkicks Liger as he returns to the ring and he hits a Last Ride for a two count.  Cross armbreaker by Desperado but Liger gets a foot on the ropes.  Guitarra de Angel by Desperado, but Liger gets a shoulder up.  Desperado goes for a hurricanrana but Liger catches him with a powerbomb.  La Magistral by Desperado, but that also gets a two.  Desperado goes off the ropes but Liger hits a Shotei.  Brainbuster by Liger but it gets a two count.  Liger Bomb by Liger, he puts Desperado up on the top turnbuckle and hits the avalanche brainbuster for the three count.  Liger is still the champion!  I enjoyed this match, it was worked really smart.  The arm work was good, Liger sold it the whole time (even when he occasionally used it), and Tiger Mask negating the interference worked well.  Liger is limited these days but he can still put on an entertaining match within those limitations.  Score:  7.0

Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Alex Shelley, and KUSHIDA
Matt and KUSHIDA start off but KUSHIDA is quickly triple teamed and Matt tags in Nick.  KUSHIDA gets away and tags in Shelley, and Shelley snaps Nick and Omega’s heads over the top rope.  Shelley chops Matt and Nick pulls Shelley out of the ring.  Shelley starts getting back in the ring but Matt and Nick double team him, sending him back out.  Shelley climbs back in the ring and Matt stomps on him.  Omega is tagged in and he hits a backbreaker onto Shelley. Shelley is stomped down in the corner and the Young Bucks trade moves on him.  Cover by Matt but KUSHIDA breaks it off.  Matt tags in Nick and Shelley is choked in the corner.  Shelley is dragged out of the ring and Nick kicks him from the apron.  Omega stomps Shelley but Shelley knees out of the suplex attempt.  Enzigieri by Shelley and he tags in Taguchi, Taguchi swandives in the ring but Omega kicks him.  Hip attack by Taguchi and he hits a sitout slam for a two count.  Hip attacks by Taguchi to everyone, Omega grabs him but Taguchi moves when The Young Bucks go for a superkick and Omega is hit by accident.  Ankle hold by Taguchi but it is broken up.  Taguchi tags in KUSHIDA and knocks down Matt, he kicks Omega off the apron but Nick comes in the ring.  Double Irish whip to KUSHIDA, KUSHIDA lands on his feet after a double backdrop suplex attempt and avoids them both in the corner.  Double crossbody by Shelley and he dumps Matt out of the ring, KUSHIDA comes back and they double team Nick.  Taguchi comes in and they all hit pescados out of the ring.  KUSHIDA and Matt return to the ring, and Matt is kicked by both of them.  Matt gets away and powerbombs KUSHIDA in the corner.  Nick calls for the Meltzer Driver but Taguchi grabs Nick from the apron as KUSHIDA sets up Matt with a Japanese Leg Clutch Hold.  Nick gets in the ring so KUSHIDA hits a German suplex hold on him while having Matt in the Japanese Leg Clutch Hold, and he picks up the three count.  Really cute spot at the end, hadn’t seen that before, and they kept the action moving.  Score:  6.5

Bad Luck Fale and Tama Tonga vs. Kazuchika Okada and Toru Yano
Okada and Fale start things off, Okada’s ribs are heavily taped up so I sense this will not go well for Okada.  It doesn’t, as Fale hits a shoulderblock.  Okada hits a sliding kick and Tonga tags himself in as Yano tags in as well.  Yano bails but returns after a moment and Tonga  knocks him to the mat, even as Yano tries to hide behind the referee.  Yano pulls down Tonga but Tonga dropkicks Yano while he is posing for the crowd.  Tonga tags in Fale and Fale stands on Yano near the ropes.  Tonga comes back in and stomps on Yano but Yano moves when Tonga charges in to the corner.  Yano removes a turnbuckle pad and moves it so that Tonga hits the exposed steel.  Yano tags in Okada and Okada hits a flapjack.  Sunset flip by Tonga and he applies the Red Ink, but he releases the hold to kick Fale out of the ring.  Irish whip by Okada but Tonga hits a spear.  Tonga tags in Fale and Fale punches Okada in the ribs.  Okada avoids the elbow drop and he hits a scoop slam.  Okada goes up to the top turnbuckle but Fale throws him off.  Body press by Fale but it gets two.  Body avalanche by Fale to Okada and Tonga hits one as well.  Tonga and Fale hit a lariat/spear but Yano breaks it up.  Fale picks up Okada and drops him with the Bad Luck Fall for the three count victory.  This match was more about Okada being too banged up, not sure why he needed to be in a match here.  As good as Okada is, not much to the match.  Score:  5.0

Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI vs. Yuji Nagata, Togi Makabe, and Kota Ibushi
Makabe and Ishii start off and they take turns running into each other.  Makabe wins the battle but Ishii fires right back, elbows by Ishii but Makabe gets away  and tags in Nagata, so Ibushi tags in YOSHI-HASHI.  YOSHI-HASHI gets Nagata in the ropes and chops him.  Nagata avoids the lariat and he slaps YOSHI-HASHI before hitting  a big boot.  Ibushi and Nakamura are tagged in, they jockey for position and Ibushi kicks Nakamura to the mat.  Nakamura knees Ibushi in the corner, he puts Ibushi up in the corner and knees him in the stomach.  Nakamura picks up Ibushi, snapmare, and he hits a knee drop.  Jumping kick by Nakamura and he tags in YOSHI-HASHI.  YOSHI-HASHI picks up Ibushi, Irish whip to the corner and YOSHI-HASHI hits a lariat.  YOSHI-HASHI tags in Ishii, elbows by Ishii but Ibushi elbows him back.  Ishii wins the battle and he hits a vertical suplex.  Ishii tags in Nakamura, he covers Ibushi but it gets a two.  Irish whip by Nakamura,  Ibushi delivers a dropkick but YOSHI-HASHI and Ishii run in to knock their opponents off the apron.  Ibushi flips away from Nakamura and he hits a hurricanrana but Nakamura rolls through for a two count.  Doublestomp by Ibushi and he tags in Makabe while Nakamura tags in Ishii.  Powerslam by Makabe and he lariats Ishii twice.  Northern Lights Suplex by Makabe but it gets two.  They trade elbows and Ishii hits a powerslam.  Ishii and Makabe both hit lariats, and Ishii tags in YOSHI-HASHI.  YOSHI-HASHI goes off the ropes but Makabe lariats him and tags in Nagata.  Kicks to the chest by Nagata but YOSHI-HASHI hits a lariat.  Nakamura comes in with Ishii and everyone attacks Nagata in the corner.  Dropkick by YOSHI-HASHI but it gets two.  All the wrestlers come in and trade moves on each other, neckbreaker by YOSHI-HASHI to Nagata but Nagata drops Nakamura with a German suplex.  Ibushi comes in and sails out of the ring onto Nakamura.  YOSHI-HASHI goes off the ropes but Nagata knees him.  Quick pin but YOSHI-HASHI, it doesn’t work, nor does the lariat.  Ishii comes in but Makabe lariats Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI.  Nagata hits a brainbuster on YOSHI-HASHI but it gets two.  Backdrop Hold by Nagata and he gets the three count.  Mostly this was just everyone pairing with their own nemesis, the type of match WWE puts on before the big event, not after it.  I couldn’t really get into it since I can’t buy YOSHI-HASHI beating anyone, but solid action.  Score:  5.5

AJ Styles, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Katsuyori Shibata, and Tetsuya Naito
Tanahashi and Styles start things off for their respective teams.  Gallows helps Styles, Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Anderson grabs him this time.  Styles tags in Gallows so Tanahashi tags in Shibata.  Gallows and Shibata trade elbows, and Shibata elbows Gallows down in the corner.  Gallows punches him back but Shibata delivers a jumping kick.  Shibata tags in Naito as Takahashi is tagged in and they trade wristlocks.  Hiptoss by Naito and he dropkicks Takahashi.  Takahashi kicks Naito in the leg, another kick by Takahashi and he avoids Naito when he charges in the morning before slamming his leg into the post.  All of Bullet Club run into the ring to clear out their opponents while Takahashi keeps using the post on Naito.   Back in the ring Anderson drops a knee onto Naito’s leg, Styles is tagged in and he works over Naito’s leg as well.  Styles tags in Gallows and Gallows throws Naito hard into the corner.  Snap suplex by Gallows and he applies the figure four.  He releases the hold and tags in Takahashi, cover by Takahashi but it gets two.  Takahashi tags in Anderson and he kicks Naito in the leg.  Naito finally kicks back Anderson and hits a tornado DDT.  Naito tags in Goto, kick by Anderson but Goto hits a lariat.  Another lariat by Goto but Anderson avoids the next one.  Goto kicks Anderson in the leg but Gallows attacks him from behind.  Shibata and Goto hit a double backdrop suplex onto Gallows, then both attack Anderson in the corner.  Backdrop suplex by Gallows but it gets a two count.  Goto clears the ring but Anderson hits a spinebuster.  Goto tags in Tanahashi while Styles is also tagged in.  Hiptoss by Tanahashi and he hits an elbow smash.  The rest of Bullet Club come in the ring and they all hit strikes on Tanahashi in the corner.  Cover, but it is broken up.  Styles goes for the Bloody Sunday but Tanahashi gets out of it and hits the Sling Blade.  Tanahashi goes up top but Takahashi trips him from the apron.  Styles grabs Tanahashi but Shibata comes in the ring and boots Styles in the face.  Fisherman buster by Takahashi but Naito hits a missile dropkick.  Gun Stun by Anderson, elbow by Goto but Gallows hits a big boot.  Jawbreaker by Tanahashi to Gallows but Anderson comes in and go for the Magic Killer.  Tanahashi gets out of it but Styles drops him with the Pele Kick.  Magic Killer by Anderson and Gallows and Styles hits the Styles Clash for a three count.  Bullet Club wins!  I really liked the ending stretch as it was timed really well and they all work together so smoothly, but the leg work on Naito went nowhere and most of the match meant nothing.  Like other matches, solid action but lacking anything meaningful.  Score:  6.0

Final Thoughts: 

This was like a super house show.  The wrestlers were a bit banged up, which was clear at times, so the massive amount of tag matches helped protect them.  Goto and Shibata were barely even in the main event at all, for example.  Every match was at least average and the action was generally solid but no standout matches or anything that needs to be watched.

Grade:  C+

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review completed on 1/15/15