New Japan "Wrestling Hinokoku"
A Review by Kevin Wilson

Date:  April 29th, 2015
Location: Gran Messe Kumamoto
Announced Attendance: 2,460

New Japan lately has been changing up their style a bit.  Instead of having one big event with a lot of Championships defended, they are giving each of the non-junior singles Championships a chance to shine.  So here, we have the NEVER Openweight Championship in the main event, with Ishii taking on Makabe.  This event is also the NWA themed show, as two NWA Championships are also up for grabs.  Here is the full card:

- Rocky Romero, Beretta, and Gedo vs. Sho Tanaka, Yohei Komatsu, and Jay White
- Satoshi Kojima and Captain New Japan vs. Yujiro Takahashi and Cody Hall
- Manabu Nakanishi, Taguchi, and KUSHIDA vs. Yuji Nagata, Tiger Mask, and Máscara Dorada
- NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Steve Anthony vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
- NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Big Daddy Yum Yum
- Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, and Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito, Honma, and Alex Shelley
- Bad Luck Fale and Tama Tonga vs. Kazuchika Okada and YOSHI-HASHI
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Goto, and Shibata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Sakuraba, and Toru Yano
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe

I am not going pretend that I am excited about all those six man tag matches, but I only review whole shows so to get to the good stuff we gotta slug through it all.

Rocky Romero, Beretta, and Gedo vs. Sho Tanaka, Yohei Komatsu, and Jay White
Beretta and Tanaka start off things and Beretta shoulderblocks Tanaka to the mat.  Dropkick by Tanaka and Romero is tagged in.  Romero clubs down Tanaka and goes off the ropes, but Tanaka hits a shoulderblock.  Komatsu and Gedo are tagged in, Irish whip by Komatsu and he hits a jumping elbow.  Romero and Beretta run in to help and Gedo punches Komatsu down in the corner.  Gedo tags in Romero and Komatsu is double teamed, ending with a Beretta standing moonsault for a two count.  Beretta tags in Gedo, snapmare by Gedo and he rakes Komatsu in the face.  Komatsu and Gedo trade chops and elbows, hard elbow by Komatsu and he tags in White.  Beretta is also tagged in, elbows by White to Beretta as Komatsu and Tanaka come in, and Beretta is triple teamed in the corner.  White hits a missile dropkick, cover, but Beretta kicks out.  White applies a crab hold as do Komatsu and Tanaka, but Beretta makes it to the ropes.  Enzigieri by Beretta to White but White rolls him up for a two count.  Romero runs in and lariats White in the corner, Beretta grabs White and with Romero they hit the Strong Zero for the three count!  A pretty basic opener, although I really like the Strong Zero so it leaves a good final impression of the match.  Looking forward to seeing Tanaka and Komatsu advance one day.

Satoshi Kojima and Captain New Japan vs. Yujiro Takahashi and Cody Hall
Kojima and Takahashi start off, side headlock by Kojima but Takahashi bites his hand.  Takahashi tries for shoulderblocks but fails, and Kojima hits a shoulderblock of his own.  Captain New Japan is tagged in but Hall runs in and knocks Captain New Japan to the mat.  Irish whip by Takahashi and he avoids Captain New Japan’s jumping shoulderblock.  Punches by Takahashi to Captain New Japan and he hits a sliding kick for a two count.  Takahashi tags in Hall and Hall lariats Captain New Japan in the corner.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Captain New Japan avoids Hall’s elbow drop and he tags in Kojima.  Kojima lariats Takahashi and then chops Hall in the corner.  Jumping elbow by Kojima, he goes up top and hits a diving elbow drop on Hall for a two count.  Hall and Kojima trade elbows, and Hall hits a side slam.  Takahashi hits a big boot in the corner and Hall DDTs Kojima.  Hall grabs Kojima but Kojima gets out of the Outsiders Edge, hitting the Koji Cutter.  Hall boots Kojima when he hesitates tagging in Captain New Japan, and Hall tags in Takahashi.  Kojima hits a DDT on Takahashi and now he does tag in Captain New Japan.  Captain New Japan hits a jumping shoulderblock on Takahashi and he delivers the Hirai End, but Hall breaks up the pinfall.  Kojima lariats Hall out of the ring, Captain New Japan goes up top but Takahashi avoids the diving headbutt.  Takahashi lariats Captain New Japan and he hits a Fisherman Buster for a two count.  Tokyo Pimps by Takahashi, and he gets the three count!  The only thing I liked about this match is I am pretty sure Kojima didn’t want to tag in Captain New Japan because he knew Captain New Japan sucked and would get pinned.  He was right.  Just a predictable lower card match, average at best.

Manabu Nakanishi, Taguchi, and KUSHIDA vs. Yuji Nagata, Tiger Mask, and Máscara Dorada
Tiger Mask and KUSHIDA start off and they trade armdrags, dropkick by Tiger Mask and KUSHIDA bails out of the ring.  Tiger Mask tags in Dorada and KUSHIDA tags in Taguchi.  Hip attack by Taguchi to Dorada and he hits a series of hip attacks.  Irish whip by Taguchi but Dorada hits a springboard elbow strike.  Dorada sails out of the ring with a tope con hilo on Taguchi, back in the ring he puts Taguchi in a stretch hold.  Dorada tags in Nagata and Nagata knees Taguchi in the stomach for a two count.  Taguchi gets away but Nagata boots him, Nagata goes off the ropes but Taguchi hits a jumping hip attack.  Taguchi tags in Nakanishi and Nakanishi chops Nagata in the corner.  Irish whip by Nakanishi and he lariats Nagata, another Irish whip but this time Nagata boots him back. Dropkick to the knee by Nagata but Nakanishi hits a spear.  Lariat by Nakanishi, cover, but it gets two.  Nakanishi applies an Argentine Backbreaker but Nagata gets out of it, atomic drop by Nakanishi but Tiger Mask runs in to help.  Nakanishi hits an atomic drop on him also but Nagata drops Nakanishi with an exploder.  Nagata tags in KUSHIDA while Dorada is also tagged in, headscissors by Dorada to KUSHIDA but KUSHIDA kicks him back.  KUSHIDA goes for a swandive move but Dorada dropkicks him on his way in the ring.  KUSHIDA is triple teamed in the corner, swanton bomb by Dorada to KUSHIDA but Taguchi breaks up the pin.  Tiger Mask dives out with a tope suicida on Taguchi while Dorada dropkicks KUSHIDA in the ring.  Dorada runs around in the corner but KUSHIDA avoids him when he jumps off, they go off the ropes and KUSHIDA applies a Japanese Leg-Roll Clutch Hold for the three count!  Short match, enjoyed it when Dorada and KUSHIDA were in the ring, cried on the inside when Nakanishi was in the ring.  An odd mix for sure but it mostly worked.  Inoffensive but extremely skippable.

(c) Steve Anthony vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
This match is for the NWA World Jr. Heavyweight Championship.  They take it to the mat straight away but after a moment return to their feet as Tharpe is already distracting Liger.  Headscissors by Liger but Anthony gets out of it, side headlock by Liger but Anthony Irish whips out of it and hits a shoulderblock.  Anthony charges Liger but Liger back bodydrops him out of the ring.  Baseball slide by Liger and he hits a cannonball off the apron while Tharpe protests.  Liger slides Anthony back into the ring, drop toehold by Liger and he applies the Romero Special.  Liger goes off the ropes but Tharpe trips him from the floor.  Liger goes out after Tharpe but Anthony attacks Liger from behind.  Anthony picks up Liger and he throws him into the guardrail before sliding Liger back into the ring.  Anthony stands on Liger’s head and he hits a side Russian leg sweep.  Moonsault off the second turnbuckle by Anthony but the cover gets two.  Anthony kicks Liger in the corner and both wrestlers lariat each other.  Shotei by Liger in the corner, he puts Anthony on the top turnbuckle and he hits a Frankensteiner.  Liger Bomb by Liger, but it gets a two count.  Liger goes up top but Anthony gets his knees up on the diving body press attempt.  Double underhook slam by Anthony, but Liger kicks out.  Anthony goes up top and hits a missile dropkick, he then slides out of the ring and dropkicks Liger in the head.  Anthony picks up Liger but Liger gets away, waistlock by Liger and he pushes Anthony into the referee.  Shotei by Liger and he nails the brainbuster, cover, but the referee is still out.  Tharpe comes in and hits a low blow on Liger, Anthony picks up Liger and he nails the Explanation Point for the three count!  Anthony is still your champion.  I had not seen Anthony before but he seems very solid.  The outside interference was a bit excessive but not surprising nor a big deal since it was for a NWA Title anyway.  A good match and hopefully there will be more of Anthony down the road.  Mildly Recommended

(c) Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Big Daddy Yum Yum
This match is for the NWA World Heavyweight Championship.  More Tharpe!  Tenzan tries to shoulderblock Yum Yum over with no luck, and Yum Yum chops Tenzan to the mat.  Shoulderblock by Yum Yum but Tenzan hits Mongolian Chops.  Tenzan stomps on Yum Yum, Yum Yum pushes Tenzan into the ropes and he Irish whips him into the top rope.  Yum Yum throws Tenzan out of the ring and throws him into the guardrail.  They return after a moment, chinlock by Yum Yum and he drops Tenzan with the Stun Gun.  Leg drop by Yum Yum and he picks up a two count cover.  Elbows by Yum Yum but Tenzan elbows him back.  Mongolian Chops by Tenzan, Irish whip, and Tenzan hits a lariat.  Vertical suplex by Tenzan, cover, but it gets two.  Mountain Bomb by Tenzan, cover, but Yum Yum kicks out.  Yum Yum grabs Tenzan and hits a modified double arm DDT, but the cover gets two.  Big boot by Yum Yum and he slams Tenzan to the mat.  Moonsault by Yum Yum, cover, but it gets a two count.  Tenzan hits a heel kick, he goes up top but Tharpe gets on the apron.  Tenzan chops Tharpe off the apron and he hits (somewhat) a diving headbutt onto Yum Yum.  Tenzan applies the Anaconda Vice and then hits the Anaconda Buster, picking up a two count.  Tenzan now applies the Anaconda Max, and he picks up the submission victory.  Tenzan is still your champion!  A definite step down from the last match, Tenzan isn’t really in the position to carry anyone at this point and the action was just lackluster.  There was never really a sense of urgency or importance, nor a structure, they were just going through moves at a pedestrian pace.  A bit disappointing for a title match, even if it was just the NWA World Heavyweight Title.

Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, and Kenny Omega vs. Tetsuya Naito, Honma, and Alex Shelley
Honma and Gallows start off and trade strikes back and forth, Gallows avoids Honma’s Kokeshi and goes for a vertical suplex, but Honma reverses it.  Honma tags in Naito as Anderson is also tagged in, and Anderson bites Naito in the corner.  Snapmare by Naito and he hits a rolling senton before tagging in Shelley.  Anderson tags in Omega, and Omega clubs on Shelley.  Irish whip by Shelley to Omega, chops by Omega but Shelley kicks him in the midsection.  Omega charges Shelley in the corner but Shelley flips out to the apron and snaps Omega’s neck over it.  Shelley goes for a slingshot splash but Omega gets his knees up.  Backbreaker by Omega and he tags in Anderson.  Headlock by Anderson to Shelley and he rakes him in the eyes.  Anderson tags in Gallows, and Gallows hits elbow drops on Shelley.  Gallows tags in Omega, and Omega continues working over Shelley.  Shelley finally makes the hot tag to Naito, and Naito cleans house.  Naito kicks Gallows in the corner but Gallows catches him when he goes for the slingshot dropkick.  Gallows and Naito trade elbows until Gallows hits a backbreaker.  Gallows tags in Anderson and Naito hits a tornado DDT on Anderson, giving him time to tag in Honma.  Jumping elbow by Honma to Anderson and he hits a facebuster, but Anderson avoids the Kokeshi.  Lariat by Honma and finally he hits the Kokeshi, Honma picks up Anderson but he gets knocked back.  Honma is triple teamed in the corner.  Triple neckbreaker to Honma, but the cover is broken up.  Anderson picks up Honma and he hits the Gun Stun, cover, but Honma kicks out.  Gallows comes in but so does Naito, which leads to all the wrestlers running in.  The ring clears as Honma hits a jumping Kokeshi on Anderson, he goes up top but Anderson avoids the diving Kokeshi.  Cutter by Anderson, Gallows comes in and they hit the Magic Killer for the three count.  This was a pretty good six man tag, when the wrestler quality improves the match quality naturally improves with it.  The beatdown segment on Shelley went a bit long but once they got done with that it was entertaining.

Bad Luck Fale and Tama Tonga vs. Kazuchika Okada and YOSHI-HASHI
Tonga and YOSHI-HASHI start off, elbows by Tonga but YOSHI-HASHI hits a flipping neckbreaker.  YOSHI-HASHI drops Tonga on the top rope and he hits a dropkick for a two count.  Tonga gets away and tags in Fale, so YOSHI-HASHI tags in Okada.  Okada and Fale tie-up, elbows by Okada and Okada hits a sliding kick.  Wristlock by Okada, YOSHI-HASHI is tagged in and Okada hits a senton on Fale.  YOSHI-HASHI lariats Fale in the corner but Fale fires back with a shoulderblock.  Scoop slam by Fale and he hits an elbow drop for two.  Fale sits on YOSHI-HASHI and clubs him in the back and he tags in Tonga.  Things break down as the action spills outside of the ring, but Fale slides YOSHI-HASHI back in for Tonga, and Tonga hits a body avalanche in the corner.  Body press by Tonga but it gets a two count.  Tonga elbows YOSHI-HASHI but YOSHI-HASHI hits a neckbreaker and tags in Okada.  Fale is also tagged in but Okada hits a DDT.  Fale elbows Okada but Okada slides away and hits a body slam.  Okada picks up Fale but Fale blocks the tombstone, Tonga runs in but Okada hits a flapjack on him.  Samoan Drop by Fale and he hits a body press for two.  Fale picks up Okada but Okada slides away from the Bad Luck Fall, and he dropkicks Fale back.  Fale tags in Tonga, Tonga punches Okada into the corner but Okada avoids him when he charges in.  Spear by Tonga and he hits the body avalanche in the corner, as does Fale.  Tonga Twist by Tonga, but YOSHI-HASHI breaks it up.  Tonga goes for a DDT on Okada but Okada blocks it, hitting a reverse neckbreaker.  Red Ink attempt by Okada but Fale comes in the ring, YOSHI-HASHI comes in and lariats Fale.  Tonga kicks Okada but Okada drops him with a dropkick.  Diving elbow drop by Okada, he picks up Tonga and he nails the Rainmaker for the three count!  Tonga should always take the Rainmaker, he makes it look so pretty.  This was plodding, mostly because of Fale, and predictable.  I keep hoping the Okada/Fale feud will end but I guess I will have to keep on hoping.  Nothing to this one.

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Goto, and Shibata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura, Sakuraba, and Toru Yano
Goto and Nakamura start off and they trade strikes, Irish whip by Goto and he hits an armdrag.  Shoulderblock by Goto and Nakamura tags in Sakuraba.  Goto tags in Shibata, Sakuraba and Shibata jockey for position and go to the mat, Shibata goes for the armbreaker but Sakuraba blocks it.  Shibata pushes Sakuraba back and Sakuraba tags in Yano.  Shibata tags in Tanahashi, Yano runs from Tanahashi but Tanahashi punches him against the ropes.  Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Sakuraba grabs him and applies a choke.  Yano throws Tanahashi out of the ring and then into the guard rail, as all six brawl around ringside.  Tanahashi and Yano return to the ring, and Yano throws Tanahashi into the exposed corner.  Nakamura puts Tanahashi up in the corner and he hits a running knee to the ribs.  Yano tags in Sakuraba, and Sakuraba kicks Tanahashi in the chest before hitting a jumping footstomp.  Sakuraba kicks at Tanahashi and he throws Tanahashi into the exposed corner also.  Sakuraba tags in Yano, Yano stomps on Tanahashi, Irish whip by Tanahashi but Yano hits an atomic drop.  Dragon screw leg whip by Tanahashi and he tags in Goto.  Goto trades elbows with Nakamura, an exchange that Goto wins, and Goto hits a lariat for a two count.  Goto hits a heel kick on Nakamura in the corner, and Shibata runs in to hit a dropkick.  Suplex by Shibata and Goto hits an elbow drop for a two count.  Goto picks up Nakamura but Nakamura knees out of the Shouten, he hits a cross armbreaker takedown into a triangle choke, but Tanahashi breaks it up.  Inverted powerslam by Nakamura to Goto, Nakamura kicks Goto in the head but Goto headbutts him.  Nakamura kicks Goto in the head again, and Nakamura tags in Yano.  Goto lariats Yano and he tags in Tanahashi.  Jumping elbow by Tanahashi to Yano and Tanahashi throws Yano into the exposed corner.  Yano returns the favor and he rolls up Tanahashi for a two count.  Tanahashi elbows Yano, Shibata and Goto get in the ring and everyone attacks Yano in the corner.  Tanahashi charges Yano, Yano tries to throw him out of the ring but Tanahashi skins the cat.  Trapped German by Tanahashi, but Yano kicks out.  Sling Blade by Tanahashi, he goes up top but Yano avoids the High Fly Flow.  Tanahashi goes to run off the ropes but Yano pulls him down by the hair, covering him for the three count!  The parts with Goto and Shibata were really good as were the parts with Nakamura.  Tanahashi’s back is wrecked, which you can tell, and Sakuraba doesn’t do much for me but there was more good than bad here overall.  Goto and Shibata are awesome so just about any match with them is going to be decent, looking forward to the upcoming Nakamura vs. Goto match.  Mildly Recommended

(c) Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe
This match is for the NEVER Openweight Championship.  They bounce off each other to start, a battle Makabe wins with a shoulderblock.  Makabe elbows Ishii in the corner but Ishii chops him back and they trade strikes.  Ishii floors Makabe with a hard headbutt but Makabe hits a vertical suplex.  Lariat by Makabe in the corner and he hits another lariat.  Ishii powerbombs Makabe out of the corner and he hits a series of chops, but Makabe absorbs the blows.  Powerslam by Makabe, he picks up Ishii and lariats him in the corner.  Mounted punches by Makabe and he hits a Northern Lights Suplex for two.  Irish whip by Makabe and he delivers the powerslam.  Makabe elbows Ishii into the corner but Ishii fires back with a shoulderblock.  Powerbomb by Ishii and he applies a stretch hold before hitting a release tiger suplex.  Ishii goes for a sliding lariat but Makabe ducks, lariat by Ishii in the corner and he puts Makabe on the top turnbuckle.  Delayed superplex by Ishii, cover, but it gets a two count.  Headbutts by Ishii but Makabe lariats Ishii in the back of the head.  Ishii and Makabe trade lariats, powerbomb by Makabe but it gets a two count.  Ishii goes for a jumping kick but Makabe blocks it, Makabe goes for a lariat but Ishii ducks it and they trade slaps/elbows.  Lariat by Ishii but Makabe clubs Ishii to the mat.  German suplex hold by Makabe, but Ishii kicks out.  Makabe lariats Ishii in the back and puts him up on the top turnbuckle, Makabe joins him and he hits a spider German suplex.  Makabe goes for the King Kong Kneedrop but Ishii rolls out of the way.  Lariats by Makabe in the corner but Ishii hits a dropkick.  Ishii and Makabe trade elbows and Ishii hits a release German suplex, jumping kick by Ishii and he hits a ramming headbutt.  Sliding lariat by Ishii, cover, but Makabe gets a shoulder up.  Ishii picks up Makabe but Makabe  blocks the suplex attempt, Ishii goes off the ropes but Makabe clubs him in the back of the head.  Ishii chops Makabe in the neck but Makabe hits a release dragon suplex.  Ishii and Makabe trade lariats, Makabe gets the final blow and covers Ishii, but Ishii kicks out.  Makabe chops Ishii, headbutt by Ishii but Makabe fires back with two more lariats for a two count cover.  Polish Hammers by Makabe, he goes up top and as Ishii gets up he nails a King Kong Kneedrop, picking up the three count!  Makabe is your new champion!  I think this went a bit longer than it should have but for the style of match it was still entertaining.  Makabe and Ishii are the same style of wrestler so you know what you are getting with these two – lots of hard hits and power moves and that is what they delivered.  The King Kong Kneedrop looked lethal and I am sure both were sore the next morning.  If you like these guys you will like this match, even though it went a bit too long for my personal tastes.  Mildly Recommended

Final Thoughts:

I knew looking at the card that it was basically a one match show, which was pretty much true.  There were a few other pleasant surprises, such as Liger/Anthony, but for the most part up to the main event nothing was special.  The main event is exactly what you’d expect, for better or worse, with my only real complaint being it went so long that it got a bit repetitive by the end.  Nothing on the show was bad, but nothing really popped out to me as must see.

Grade:  C+

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event reviewed on 4/30/15