New Japan "Road to Invasion Attack"
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date:  March 22nd, 2015
Location:  Baycom Gymnasium in Amagasaki, Japan
Announced Attendance:  5,200

I am jumping back a bit for one main reason:  I love Liger and since I don’t know how many title matches he has left in his career I try to watch them all.  Course while I am watching one match I may as well watch the entire event, so here we are.  Nothing else really special here but Styles is on the entire tour this time so we get to see him in the main event.   Crowd is huge for a random mid-tour match, they must not swing by this part of town very often.  Here is the card:

- Sho Tanaka vs. Yohei Komatsu
- Manabu Nakanishi, Captain New Japan, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Máscara Dorada vs. Yuji Nagata, Alex Shelley, KUSHIDA, and Jay White
- Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson vs. Rocky Romero, Baretta, and Gedo
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, and Honma vs. Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, and Cody Hall
- NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Tiger Mask
- Bad Luck Fale and Tama Tonga vs. Kazuchika Okada and YOSHI-HASHI
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Hirooki Goto, and Katsuyori Shibata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazushi Sakuraba, Toru Yano, and Tomohiro Ishii
- AJ Styles and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito and Kota Ibushi

This event aired on TV and not on NJPW World so the first few matches are clipped to hell.  Just a warning.

Sho Tanaka vs. Yohei Komatsu
Joined in progress with Tanaka in control until Komatsu hits a jumping elbow.  Half hatch suplex hold by Komatsu and he applies a single leg crab hold, but Tanaka gets to the ropes.  Komatsu picks up Tanaka but Tanaka rolls him up for two.  Tanaka picks up Komatsu but Komatsu slaps Tanaka in a single leg crab hold and he gets the submission victory!  Way too clipped up to really get into but they looked fine.  Score:  N/A

Nakanishi, Captain New Japan, Taguchi, and Dorada vs. Nagata, Shelley, KUSHIDA, and White
Joined in progress with Nagata in the ring with Taguchi.  Hip attacks by Taguchi but Nagata blocks the jumping one and kicks Taguchi in the butt.  Exploder by Nagata and Taguchi and tags in Nakanishi.  Nakanishi hits a spear on Nagata and he hits a lariat for a two count.  Nagata blocks a lariat and puts Nakanishi in a seated armbar.  Dorada and White are tagged in and White hits an elbow.  Irish whip by White to the corner but Dorada rolls him up for a two count.  KUSHIDA comes in the ring as does Shelley, and Dorada is triple teamed.  Missile dropkick by White but the cover gets two.  Springboard elbow by Dorada but the pin is broken up.  Dorada goes out to the apron and hits a swandive body press followed by modified Falcon Arrow for a three count.  Poor Dorada slipped a bit doing his springboard move but he didn’t hurt anyone so no harm done.  Still too clipped up though, less than half was shown.  Score:  N/A

Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson vs. Rocky Romero, Baretta, and Gedo
Nick and Baretta start off with some arm work and Nick hits a heel kick.  Baretta tags in Romero and Romero hits a headscissors.  Nick dropkicks Romero and Romero crawls back to his corner.  Gedo and Omega are tagged in and Gedo stomps on Omega when he goes for a monkey flip.  Omega knees Gedo and he crawls back to his corner, but Baretta and Romero both bail.  Backbreaker by Omega and he stomps on Gedo.  Chinlock by Omega and he tags in Nick.  Nick rakes Gedo in the back, Matt comes in and Gedo is double teamed.  Matt picks up Gedo and slams him into the corner.  Matt tags in Omega and Omega clubs on Gedo.  Omega elbows Gedo into the corner, Irish whip, and Omega hits a jumping elbow.  Cover by Omega, but it gets two.  Gedo finally gets the better of Omega and he tags in Romero.  Springboard body press by Romero and he hits a hurricanrana before lariating both Matt and Nick.  Baretta comes in, he puts Nick in the ropes and Romero hits a swandive dropkick.  Sliding kick by Baretta to Nick but the cover is broken up.  Romero takes care of Omega while Baretta grabs Nick, but Nick elbows him back and Omega hits a release dragon suplex.  Triple superkick by Omega and The Young Bucks but Romero clears the ring.  Romero hits a tope suicida on Omega and Matt.  Nick goes for a swandive move but Baretta catches him and nails the Strong Zero for the three count!  This was a shockingly dull match with these six.  The action didn’t pick up until literally the last minute of the match, up to that point it was mostly just a slow beatdown segment on Gedo.  The end result made sense, it just wasn’t as exciting as I was hoping it would be.  Score:  4.5

Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Kojima, and Tomoaki Honma vs. Karl Anderson, Gallows, and Cody Hall
The Bullet Club attack before the match starts and control the action until Kojima and Tenzan make a comeback, suplexing Gallows.  Anderson is then double teamed and Tenzan tags in Honma.  Honma chops Anderson and he hits a scoop slam, but he misses the Kokeshi.  Anderson rubs his arm in Honma’s face and he tags in Hall.  The Bullet Club takes turns on Honma until Honma hits a lariat on Anderson which gives him time to tag in Kojima.  Kojima chops Anderson in the corner and he hits a diving elbow drop.  Anderson gets up and trades chops with Kojima, roaring elbow by Kojima but Anderson hits a heel kick.  TKO by Anderson, but Kojima gets a shoulder up.  Kojima comes back with  Koji Cutter and he tags in Tenzan.  Gallows is also tagged in, Gallows kicks Tenzan in the throat and he elbows Tenzan in the corner.  Lariat by Tenzan and he headbutts Gallows in the corner.  Calf branding by Tenzan and he covers Gallows for a two.  Mongolian Chops by Tenzan but Gallows hits a big boot and tags in Hall.  Hall punches Tenzan but Tenzan hits a heel kick.  Tenzan tags in Honma and Honma elbows Hall before hitting a face crusher.  Hall avoids the Kokeshi and Honma is triple teamed in the corner.  Lariat by Hall to Honma but the cover gets two.  Hall picks up Honma but Honma slides away and Kojima lariats Hall in the back of the head.  Tenzan is in also and with Kojima they drop Hall with an assisted neckbreaker.  Honma goes up top and he nails the diving Kokeshi for the three count.  This was a better match, a little shorter then I’d have liked but everyone got a chance to do something.  I like Tenzan and Kojima in the role of entertaining midcard tag team wrestlers and the Bullet Club B Team looked fine in defeat.  A pretty fun match.  Score:  6.0

(c) Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Tiger Mask
This match is for the NWA Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.  They jockey around to start but neither can get a clear advantage.  Liger applies a stretch hold on the mat and chops Tiger Mask into the corner before hitting a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.  Romero Special by Liger, Tiger Mask falls out of the ring but he blocks the baseball slide attempt.  Tiger Mask kicks Liger in the leg and he hits a diving kneedrop off the top turnbuckle to Liger’s knee.  Liger falls out of the ring and Tiger Mask sails out onto him with a tope suicida.  Tiger Mask slides back in the ring and waits for Liger and his bum leg to make it back in, but he never does so Tiger Mask goes out to get him.  Tiger Mask applies a kneelock and then knees Liger repeatedly in the leg.  Tiger Mask puts Liger in the figure four leglock but Liger makes it to the ropes.  Tiger Mask keeps working over Liger’s leg, he goes off the ropes and both wrestlers lariat each other.  Liger grabs Tiger Mask but Tiger Mask rolls him up and applies a kneelock.  Liger eventually makes it to the ropes, Tiger Mask picks him up him but Liger drives Tiger Mask into the corner.  Crucifix pin by Tiger Mask, but it gets two.  Tiger Driver by Tiger Mask, but Liger kicks out.  Tiger Mask picks up Liger and goes for a tiger suplex, but Liger gets out of it and hits a quick Shotei.  Liger puts Tiger Mask on the top turnbuckle but Tiger Mask slides between his legs.  Tiger Mask jumps behind Liger and he hits an avalanche backdrop suplex.  Tiger Mask picks up Liger but Liger nails the rolling koppu kick.  Liger goes for a Liger Bomb but Tiger Mask gets out of it and applies a triangle choke.  Liger gets a toe on the ropes to force a break.  Tiger Mask kicks Liger in the leg but Liger hits a Shotei.  Brainbuster by Liger, he waits for Tiger Mask to get up and nails a final Shotei.  Cover, and he picks up the three count.  This was a good match but nothing mind-blowing.  The leg work by Tiger Mask was good and Liger is great at selling, he emotes better with a mask than most wrestlers do without one.  The ending seemed underwhelming but Liger did hit a brainbuster first so it wasn’t a flash Shotei that got the win.  Definitely a solid match but nothing really memorable.  Score:  6.5

Bad Luck Fale and Tama Tonga vs. Kazuchika Okada and YOSHI-HASHI
Okada and YOSHI-HASHI are attacked from behind to begin things, and Tonga attacks YOSHI-HASHI in the corner.  Hurricanrana by YOSHI-HASHI and he tags in Okada.  Snapmare by Okada and he hits a sliding kick to Tonga’s head.  Okada tags in YOSHI-HASHI and they double team Tonga.  YOSHI-HASHI picks up Tonga but Tonga gets away.  Fale pulls YOSHI-HASHI out of the ring and throws him into the guard rail.  Okada is attacked outside the ring also and they brawl around the floor.  Fale and YOSHI-HASHI return to the ring but Okada attacks Fale from behind.  Tonga grabs Okada and Fale throws Okada out of the ring.  Tonga is tagged in but YOSHI-HASHI hits the Bunker Buster and tags in Okada.  Fale is also tagged in and they trade elbows, Okada avoids Fale’s body avalanche and he hits a scoop slam.  Okada goes for a tombstone but Fale back bodydrops out of it.  Samoan Drop by Fale and he tags in Tonga.  DDT by Tonga, but Okada kicks out at two.  Okada is double teamed in the corner and Tonga hits a spear on Okada for a two count.  Tonga picks up Okada but Okada hits the Heavy Rain.  Shoulderblock by Fale to Okada but Okada dropkicks him and YOSHI-HASHI runs in to hit a lariat on Fale.  YOSHI-HASHI hits a pescado down onto Fale while in the ring Okada dropkicks Tonga.  Okada scoop slams Tonga, he goes up top and he hits a diving elbow drop.  Okada grabs Tonga and he nails the Rainmaker for the three count.  For storyline purposes this one worked, and Tonga looks good when he gets a chance.  Nothing exciting but functional.  Score:  5.5

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Hirooki Goto, and Katsuyori Shibata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Kazushi Sakuraba, Toru Yano, and Tomohiro Ishii
Shibata and Sakuraba start off the match but they don’t do much before tagging in Makabe and Ishii.  Ishii and Makabe trade strikes but neither gets an advantage.  Tanahashi and Yano are next in but Yano avoids Tanahashi and tags in Nakamura.  Nakamura knees Tanahashi in the corner after his team helps him out and he tags in Ishii.  Headbutts by Ishii to Tanahashi and he Irish whips him into an exposed corner.  Ishii tags in Sakuraba and Sakuraba kicks Tanahashi in the chest.  Jumping stomp to the face by Sakuraba and he tags in Yano.  Yano throws Tanahashi into the exposed corner but Tanahashi hits an atomic drop.  Jumping elbow by Tanahashi to Yano and he makes the hot tag to Makabe.  These teams seem weird, I just realized that.  Anyway Makabe punches Ishii in the corner and he hits a Northern Lights Suplex.  Makabe and Ishii trade elbows and lariats, until Ishii knocks down Makabe and gets a two count cover.  Lariat by Makabe and he hits a second one.  Makabe tags in Shibata and he elbows Ishii into the corner.  Ishii levels Shibata with a lariat however and he tags in Sakuraba.  Sakuraba applies a sleeper to Shibata as they trade sleepers back and forth.  Backdrop suplex by Shibata to Sakuraba but Sakuraba returns the favor. 

Sakuraba tags in Nakamura and Nakamura does the shaky leg in the corner.  Shibata knees Nakamura in the stomach when he charges in and he tags in Goto.  Goto hits a heel kick on Nakamura in the corner and he hits a backdrop suplex for a two count.  Goto and Nakamura trade elbows and Nakamura hits a heel kick, sending Goto to the mat and his teammates in to help.  Goto is beaten by everyone and Nakamura hits an inverted powerslam.  Sling blade by Tanahashi to Nakamura, Yano takes care of him but Makabe hits a lariat on Ishii and Yano.  Sakuraba kicks Makabe out of the ring but Shibata elbows Sakuraba.  Shibata dropkicks Nakamura in the corner and he hits a suplex.  Elbow drop by Goto, cover, but it gets a two count.  Goto drops Nakamura neck-first onto his knee but Yano slides in and hits Goto low.  Boma Ye by Nakamura to Goto, and he picks up the three count!  This match took way too long to not go anywhere.  I know, I normally complain about eight man tags being too short but there was just no structure to the match whatsoever and it took ten minutes to really get cooking.  There were some good pairings here and there but as a general rule this match was pretty dull until the end stretch.  Disappointing for a match that had a fair number of quality wrestlers.  Score:  5.0

AJ Styles and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito and Kota Ibushi
Takahashi and Ibushi start things, punches by Takahashi and he rakes Ibushi in the eyes.  Big dropkick by Ibushi but Takahashi bites his hand.  Takahashi tags in Styles but Ibushi hits a hurricanrana.  Styles falls out of the ring, he returns after a moment and Ibushi tags in Naito.  Wristlock by Naito to Styles and he yanks on his arm.  Naito tags Ibushi back in, wristlock by Ibushi and he tags Naito.  Naito elbows Styles in the arm and he hits a few elbows followed by a dropkick.  Takahashi comes in but Naito hits a senton on him.  Naito grabs Styles but Styles snaps his neck over the top rope.  Styles dropkicks Naito and Takahashi comes in so they can double team him.  Takahashi stays in and chops Naito, Takahashi drops Naito neck-first on the top rope for a two count.  Takahashi tags Styles, scoop slam by Styles and he hits a knee drop.  Backbreaker by Styles and he tags in Takahashi. Naito elbows Takahashi back but Takahashi drops Naito neck first on the rope.  Olympic Slam by Takahashi to Naito, and he gets a two count cover.  Takahashi picks up Naito but Naito hits a tornado DDT off the ropes.  Naito tags in Ibushi while Styles is also tagged in, and Ibushi hits a swandive dropkick.  Ibushi kicks Styles into the corner and he hits a standing shooting star press for two.  Styles catches Ibushi with a reverse DDT.  Styles picks up Ibushi but Ibushi hits a back bodydrop.  Styles tags in Takahashi, Takahashi throws Ibushi into the corner and hits a series of elbows.  Big boot by Takahashi to Ibushi and Takahashi hits a sliding kick.  Takahashi picks up Ibushi and he delivers the fisherman buster for a two count.  Naito comes in and he hits a hurricanrana on Takahashi.  Styles drops Naito with a Pele Kick, they both grab Ibushi but Ibushi kicks back Styles and Takahashi.  Styles hits a swandive elbow smash on Ibushi, Takahashi grabs Ibushi and he hits a deadlift German suplex hold for two.  Styles goes for the Styles Clash but Naito interrupts.  Naito elbows Styles out of the ring, and Naito hits a pescado.  Takahashi boots Ibushi but Ibushi hits a hard lariat.  Last Ride powerbomb by Ibushi, he goes up top and he nails the Phoenix Splash for the three count!   Better than the last match but it still felt like something was missing.  For a main event it never did anything you wouldn’t have seen on the midcard, even though it is always a pleasure to see Ibushi bust out the Phoenix Splash.  The beatdown segment on Naito dragged a bit and there wasn’t enough Styles doing Styles stuff.  Not bad but not really main event quality.  Score:  6.0

Final Thoughts:

New Japan just be default puts on decent shows just because they have such a good roster.  But there was simply nothing special about this event.  The quality wrestlers were stuck in multi-man matches that never really got going, and while I enjoyed Liger/Tiger Mask I can’t pretend that it was this over the top blow away match.  With some other really quality New Japan events this year I can’t really recommend this one, even though it wasn’t a bad event overall.

Grade: C 

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review completed on 4/10/15