A Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: April 5th, 2015
Location: Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan in Tokyo, Japan
Announced Attendance: 9,500 (Super No Vacancy Full House)
New Japan visits the famous Sumo Hall venue for the first time in 2015! This is one of New Japan's bigger events of the year, sandwiched between the Tokyo Dome Show and the G1 Climax in the summer. That means that there are four Championships up for grabs, although surprisingly the #2 and #3 Championships are not amongst them (New Japan has a ton of Championships). We also get a special match as Okada takes on Fale one on one for hopefully the last time in his career. Here is the full card:
- Manabu Nakanishi, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Sho Tanaka vs. Yuji Nagata, Captain New Japan, Alex Shelley, KUSHIDA, and Yohei Komatsu
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, and Tomoaki Honma vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Tama Tonga, and Cody Hall
- IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. Rocky Romero and Barreta
- IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega vs. Máscara Dorada
- IWGP Tag Team Championship: Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows vs. Michael Bennett and Matt Taven
- Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI vs. Togi Makabe, Hirooki Goto, and Tetsuya Naito
- Hiroshi Tanahashi and Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kazushi Sakuraba and Toru Yano
- Bad Luck Fale vs. Kazuchika Okada
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship: AJ Styles vs. Kota Ibushi
Sumo Hall is sold out for the show, and I fully expect it to be entertaining. I was out of town all weekend so I've read nothing about it, so I am going in with an open mind. Let's get to it!
Manabu Nakanishi, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Sho Tanaka vs. Yuji Nagata, Captain New Japan, Alex Shelley, KUSHIDA, and Yohei Komatsu
Nakanishi and Nagata start off and immediately start trading elbows. Nagata snaps off an exploder and a big boot but Nakanishi hits a spear. Lariat by Nakanishi and he puts Nagata in the Argentine Backbreaker, but Nagata gets out of it and applies the seated armbar. Taguchi is tagged in but Nagata kicks him out of the ring and tags in KUSHIDA. Tiger Mask is also tagged in, he kicks KUSHIDA and Tiger Mask hits a tiger driver for a two count. Tiger Mask tags in Liger and Liger hits a backbreaker on KUSHIDA. Liger puts KUSHIDA in the Romero Special, Tiger Mask comes in but KUSHIDA hits a double handstand elbow strike. Captain New Japan and Taguchi are tagged in and Captain New Japan elbows Taguchi in the corner. Hip attacks by Taguchi but Captain New Japan punches him in the butt when he goes for another one. Hip attacks by Captain New Japan but Taguchi hits a jumping hip attack. Taguchi tags in Tanaka and everyone attacks Captain New Japan in the corner.
Powerslam by Tanaka and a cover, but it is quickly broken up. Captain New Japan hits a shoulderblock on Tanaka and he tags in Komatsu. Komatsu elbows everyone as Nakanishi is tagged in, and Komatsu elbows Nakanishi out of the ring. Tanaka re-appears and elbows Komatsu but Komatsu hits a side slam. Komatsu tags in Shelley, and Shelley trades elbows with Tanaka. Superkick by Shelley as KUSHIDA comes in, but Tanaka avoids their double team. Jumping elbow by Tanaka but things break down again as wrestlers run in and take turns doing moves. Shelley and KUSHIDA double team Tanaka again, this time successfully. Knee by Shelley to Tanaka, he picks him up and he delivers the Automatic Midnight for the three count. Not a bad way to open the show, needless to say a ten wrestler match that does eight minutes isn't going to be swimming in structure but it was fast paced and fun. Most of the wrestlers are better than this but it got them on the card, New Japan is just over-crowded at the moment with quality wrestlers. Score: 6.0
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, and Tomoaki Honma vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Tama Tonga, and Cody Hall
The Bullet Club attack to start the match,
with Honma ending up in the ring with Tonga. Honma avoids Tonga's Kokeshi and hits one of his own, Hall runs in but he eats a Kokeshi also. Takahashi comes in and is attacked by Kojima and Tenzan, Tenzan lariats Takahashi in the corner and hits the Calf Branding. Headbutts by Tenzan but Hall runs in to help. Takahashi chops Tenzan into the corner and he tags in Tonga, with Tonga chopping Tenzan in the neck. Choke by Tonga and he tags in Hall. Lariat by Hall in the corner to Tenzan and he hits a series of knees. Neck crank by Hall and he tags in Takahashi. Takahashi rakes Tenzan in the eyes but Tenzan hits a heel kick. Tenzan tags in Kojima and Kojima chops Takahashi back into the corner. Jumping elbow by Kojima in the corner and he hits a diving elbow drop. Kojima elbows Takahashi but Takahashi bites his hand. Fisherman buster by Takahashi and he tags in Tonga. Tonga knocks Kojima to the mat and he hits a body press for two. Koji Cutter by Kojima but Tonga hits a spear when he goes for the lariat. Honma and Hall are tagged in, lariats by Honma but Hall hits a big boot. Takahashi comes in and Takahashi boots Honma in the corner. Big lariat by Hall to Honma but the pin is broken up. Hall picks up Honma and goes for the Outsiders Edge, but Honma slides away. Kojima and Tenzan come in the ring but Hall knocks back both of them. Jumping shoulderblock by Honma to Hall, and Hall is dropped with an assisted neckbreaker. Honma goes up top and nails the diving Kokeshi on Hall, and he picks up the three count! A step down from the last match but time restraints didn't do them any favors. Hall is improving which is the main thing I got out of this, and the crowd still loves Honma. Nothing actively wrong with it but it was just average. Score: 5.0
(c) Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson vs. Rocky Romero and Barreta
This match is for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.
Nick and Barreta start off with Barreta hitting a big back bodydrop. Northern Lights Suplex by Barreta but it gets a quick two. Barreta tags in Romero and Barreta lariats Nick. Nick tags in Matt but Romero kicks him as he dives in. Romero tags in Barreta and Barreta rakes Matt's face with his boot. Romero kicks Matt and Barreta hits a standing moonsault for two. Nick pulls Matt out of the ring so they can re-group, they grab their titles and threaten to leave but they superkick Romero and Barreta when they charge them. Barreta barely makes the count back and Matt tags in Nick, with the duo double teaming both Romero and Barreta. Matt hits the back scratch on Barreta and then hits a jawbreaker. Nick is tagged in the ring as they go back and forth attacking Barreta. Nick goes up top and goes for a swanton bomb but Barreta gets his knees up, tornado DDT by Barreta and he makes the hot tag to Romero. Romero swandives into the ring and then hits a hurricanrana on Matt. Romero lariats both of them and hits a double hurricanrana. Swinging DDT by Romero on Nick and he covers him for two. Barreta runs back in and they double team Nick, cover by Romero but Matt breaks it up. Matt tags himself in and he lariats Romero in the corner. Romero returns the favor but Matt hits a superkick. Another lariat by Romero and both wrestlers are hurt on the mat. Romero almost makes the tag but Nick pulls Barreta off the apron. Nick hits the swandive face buster on Romero and then flips out of the ring with a DDT onto Barreta. Nick goes up top and hits a swanton on Romero, cover by Matt but it gets two. Matt picks up Romero but Romero tosses Matt. Romero joins Nick up top but Matt superkicks Romero and they hit the Indytaker for a two count cover. Barreta comes in but he eats a double superkick. Matt picks up Romero and he powerbombs him into the corner. Matt gets Romero up and they go for the More Bang For Your Buck but Barreta blind tags himself in and he suplexes Matt off the top turnbuckle. Barreta picks up Matt and he hits the Strong Zero while Romero dropkicks Matt, picking up the three count! Romero and Barreta are your new champions! This is what happens when you have a promotion's 6th most important title.... you are in a forgotten lower mid-card match. Honestly I prefer titles like these get co-main on a smaller show since generally they get more time and can go more 'big' with the match but no one asked me. That being said it was a really good match with some great spots, a bit random since Roppongi Vice are a new team to New Japan fans but still entertaining. The Young Bucks hit their stuff perfectly as they always do and it stayed exciting from start to finish. I bet these four could blow the roof off in a better setting but I enjoyed it. Score: 7.0
(c) Kenny Omega vs. Máscara Dorada
This match is for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
Trips and armdrags by Dorada to start but Omega avoids Dorada's springboard attack. Omega slams Dorada into corner but Dorada hits an armdrag off the ropes. Dorada runs around in the corner and hits a hurricanrana, sending Omega out of the ring. Dorada gets a running start in the ring and sails out with a tope suicida onto Omega. Omega throws Dorada into the guard rail, Dorada goes for a hurricanrana off the apron but Omega catches him and powerbombs Dorada into the apron. Dorada rolls back in the ring, Omega goes up top but Dorada avoids the dive. Omega dropkicks Dorada in the back and he applies a reverse chinlock. Dorada gets to the ropes, Omega picks him up and clubs Dorada in the back. Backbreaker by Omega and he chops Dorada back up but Dorada hits him back and they trade blows. Eye poke by Omega but Dorada rolls out of the way of the standing shooting star press. Spinning DDT by Dorada, he grabs Omega's arm and hits a springboard dropkick for two. Dorada sends Omega out to the apron and he jumps over the top rope, hitting a hurricanrana down to the floor. Back in the ring Dorada goes for a moonsault but Omega gets his feet up. Dorada charges Omega, Omega gets him up but Dorada cradles Omega for two. Punches by Omega, he picks up Dorada and he hits a spinning backbreaker. Cover, but Dorada gets a shoulder up. Omega picks up Dorada but Dorada hits an armdrag followed by a over the shoulders victory roll for a two count. Omega rolls out to the apron, Omega fights back but Dorada gets caught on the second rope and Omega hits a Frankensteiner for a two count. Dorada goes up top, he walks the top rope and he hits a moonsault. Dorada taunts Omega, he picks him up but Omega hits a dragon suplex hold for two. Omega picks up Dorada, Dorada initially gets away but Omega connects with the One-Winged Angel for the three count! Omega is still your champion! I really like Dorada and think he has some great spots, even though some are a bit contrived. This was a really fun match, it felt important and the only miscue was covered up well (the benefit of having veterans in a match). Like the last match I wouldn't have minded if they got more time but they used it well, it didn't feel rushed or like it ended too early so they did the best with what they had. Good stuff between these two. Score: 7.5
(c) Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows vs. Michael Bennett and Matt Taven
This match is for the IWGP Tag Team Championship. It is also the last of the title match trifecta here in the middle of the card.
Maria is going to be center-stage during the match so I want to point out in the beginning that she is out there with Bennett and Taven. Anderson pushes Taven into the corner to start but Taven hits a pair of armdrags. Taven tags in Bennett but Anderson rakes his eyes and tags in Gallows. Punches by Bennett to Gallows but Gallows hits a backbreaker. Gallows and Anderson go out after Maria so Maria runs into the ring. Gallows grabs Maria but Bennett punches both of them until Gallows hits a superkick. Gallows punches Bennett into the corner and he tags in Anderson. Snapmare by Anderson and he hits mounted punches onto Bennett. He tags Gallows back in and Gallows punches Bennett in the corner. Snap suplex by Gallows but Bennett hits a missile dropkick and tags in Taven while Anderson is also tagged in. Dropkick by Taven and he hits an enzigieri. Gallows comes in but Taven kicks him as well before hitting a kick combination on Anderson. Anderson avoids the quebrada but Taven hits a rolling neckbreaker before tagging in Bennett. Cutter by Bennett and Taven hits a swanton bomb for a two count. Double Irish whip to Anderson but he knocks them both back. Taven spears Bennett by accident and Gallows runs in to boot Taven. Anderson and Gallows attack Bennett in the corner and then hit an assisted neckbreaker. Cover, but Taven breaks it up.
They take care of Taven, Anderson picks up Bennett and drops him onto his knee for a two count. Gallows gets in and they go for the Magic Killer, but Taven breaks it up. Taven hits a crossbody on Gallows, sending them both flying out of the ring. Big boot by Anderson to Bennett, but it gets a two count. Anderson fires himself up but Makabe gets on the apron and waves at Anderson, distracting him. Gallows gets on the apron and yells at him but Anderson is transfixed on Maria. Gallows grabs Maria from the floor while in the ring Taven kicks Anderson and Bennett hits a spear. Taven sails out of the ring with a tope suicida on Gallows (mostly hitting the guard rail), he then gets on the top turnbuckle and they delivers a spike piledriver on Anderson for the three count! Bennett and Taven are your new champions! I hate to side with someone that wants to punch a woman but Gallows was right here. This is some 1980s NWA shit and I don't mean that as a compliment, Anderson gazing forever at Maria instead of winning the match like he had never seen a pretty woman before suspends belief more than I prefer to suspend it. I mean Maria is hot for sure but not worth losing a title over. Just silly, it would be ok on the lower card but it being in a title match doesn't do anyone favors since it makes Anderson look like a goober and the new champions look like they need a hot woman to win matches. Definitely not the ideal way to go about it. Score: 3.0
Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI vs. Togi Makabe, Hirooki Goto, and Tetsuya Naito
Nakamura and Goto start things off, Nakamura gets Goto into the corner and taunts Goto before kneeing him in the midsection. Goto comes back with an armdrag and hits a shoulderblock before elbowing Nakamura into the corner. Makabe has to get Goto off of Nakamura and he tags himself in, Makabe wants Ishii so Ishii tags in. Elbows and chops by Ishii to Makabe and he hits a lariat, but Makabe stomps Ishii down to the mat. Ishii gets back up and they trade elbows until Makabe hits a shoulderblock. Makabe tags in Naito, Irish whip by Naito and he elbows Ishii. Somersault senton by Naito and he elbows Ishii into the corner, Irish whip by Naito but Ishii runs over and elbows Makabe. Makabe elbows him back as things break down and spill out of the ring, with everyone pairing up with their mortal enemy from the other team. Ishii chokes Makabe with a chain and hits him in the head with it before he returns to the ring. Nakamura is thrown back in and Ishii tags in Nakamura. Nakamura drops a knee on Naito and he then boots Goto off the apron. Nakamura tags in YOSHI-HASHI as all his teammates come in so Naito can be triple teamed. Neckbreaker by YOSHI-HASHI to Naito, he picks him up and hits the Head Crusher but it gets a two count. YOSHI-HASHI picks up Naito but Naito gets away and manages to tag in Makabe. Ishii is also tagged in, and Makabe lariats Ishii into the corner. Mounted punches by Makabe and he hits a Northern Lights Suplex for a two count.
Powerslam by Makabe and he hits a pair of lariats, but Ishii doesn't go down. They trade lariats until Makabe wins the exchange, he picks up Ishii and plants him with a powerbomb for two. Makabe elbows Ishii into the corner but Ishii elbows him back, and Ishii hits a big lariat. Ishii tags in Nakamura, kick by Nakamura but Makabe hits a short range lariat and tags in Goto. Goto kicks Nakamura into the corner but YOSHI-HASHI attacks him from behind. YOSHI-HASHI and Nakamura pick up Goto as Ishii also comes in but Goto has none of it, knocking down all three of them. Nakamura and Goto trade elbows and Nakamura hits a swinging kick followed by the inverted powerslam. Naito flies in the ring with a missile dropkick on Nakamura and Makabe lariats the other two. Goto picks up Nakamura, Nakamura gets away and he delivers a jumping Boma Ye. He goes for another one in the corner but Goto moves out of the way. Boma Ye off the second turnbuckle by Nakamura and he goes for a final one, but Goto catches him and hits a neckbreaker onto his knee. Goto grabs Nakamura and he hits a backdrop suplex for a two count. Goto picks up Nakamura and he hits a headbutt then a lariat. Shouten Kai by Goto, and he picks up the three count! This was done to set up a future match between Nakamura and Goto so it makes sense. A perfectly acceptable tag match with some good heat that accomplished its goal, I enjoyed parts of it quite a bit. Enjoyable match all the way around. Score: 6.5
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kazushi Sakuraba and Toru Yano
Tanahashi and Yano start off as Yano runs away from Tanahashi
and he tags in Sakuraba. Tanahashi tags in Shibata and he rolls on the mat with Sakuraba as they both go for leglocks. Sakuraba rolls out of the ring but he returns after a moment as so far this match has more stalling than anything else. Finally back in Shibata puts Sakuraba in the corner and he tags in Tanahashi. Tanahashi elbows and uppercuts Sakuraba but Yano grabs his foot from the apron and pulls Tanahashi out of the ring. Yano throws Tanahashi into the rail and hits him with a chair. Yano removes a turnbuckle pad and slides Tanahashi back in the ring. Kicks by Sakuraba to Tanahashi and he stomps on Tanahashi's face. Sakuraba tags in Yano and Yano stomps on Tanahashi. Tanahashi elbows Yano back but Yano drops Tanahashi on the second rope and rolls him up for a two count. Yano throws Tanahashi into the corner but Tanahashi hits a jumping elbow. Yano pulls Tanahashi down but Tanahashi returns the favor and he tags in Sakuraba. Shibata tags in also and he elbows Sakuraba in the corner. Dropkick by Shibata and he hits a single arm suplex for a two count. Shibata puts Sakuraba's shirt over his head and kicks him in the back. Sakuraba takes the shirt off and kicks Shibata in the chest. Knees by Sakuraba and he applies a choke, but Shibata gets into the ropes. Sakuraba applies the Sakuraba Lock, and Shibata submits! This was a nothing match, mostly stalling and pretty basic action. Sakuraba just isn't a good pro wrestler and the match went down to his level instead of Shibata and Tanahashi bringing him up. I guess they set up future Shibata and Sakuraba confrontations which makes me sad as I like Shibata. Limited redeemable traits although Yano was still funny. Score: 3.5
Bad Luck Fale vs. Kazuchika Okada
Okada elbows Fale right off the start but Fale elbows him hard back. Okada hits a drop toehold on Fale followed by a dropkick, he goes off the ropes but Fale hits a shoulderblock. Okada rolls out of the ring and Fale follows him, hitting another shoulderblock. Fale eventually brings Okada back into the ring after brutalizing him on the floor and applies a neck nerve hold. As people that read my reviews know, the neck nerve hold is my least favorite submission hold so Fale works it for several minutes. Okada returns to this feet and he elbows Fale before booting him. Fale fires back with a big boot of his own, he goes for a big splash but Okada moves out of the way and lariats Fale out of the ring. Okada goes outside also and he kicks Fale over the guard rail. Okada gets a running start and jumps at Fale, but Fale catches him. Okada slips away and he lariats Fale back over the railing to the floor. They return to the ring and Okada hits a jumping elbow in the corner followed by a DDT. Okada picks up Fale and goes for a tombstone piledriver, but Fale blocks it. Samoan Drop by Fale and he hits a body avalanche in the corner. Body press by Fale, but it gets a two count.
Fale picks up Okada but Okada hits an uppercut. Fale picks up Okada but Okada slides away and hits a body slam.
Okada goes up top and he hits a diving elbow drop. Okada goes for the Rainmaker but Fale blocks it. Fale throws Okada into the corner and goes for the Bad Luck Fall but Okada reverses it into the Heavy Rain. Okada grabs Fale but Fale lands on top of him. Big boot by Okada but Fale levels him with a spear. Fale picks up Okada and drives him back into the corner. Scoop slam by Fale, he goes up top and he hits a diving body press for a two count. Fale goes for the Bad Luck Fall but Okada wiggles free and dropkicks Fale in the back. Fale grabs Okada but Okada kicks him away when he goes for the Grenade. German suplex hold by Okada, but it only gets a two count. Okada picks up Fale but Fale elbows Okada away. Fale goes off the ropes but Okada delivers his patented dropkick. Okada picks up Fale and drops him with a tombstone piledriver. Okada drags Fale to his feet and he nails the Rainmaker, picking up the three count. That is the end of this feud, right? This actually wasn't a bad match, if you take out a few of the early minutes where they were just wasting time. Okada came out looking strong as he blocked all of Fale's big moves and managed to get him up for the tombstone before getting the definitive win with the Rainmaker. For what it was not bad, but I'm looking forward to Okada moving on to better wrestlers. Score: 6.0
(c) AJ Styles vs. Kota Ibushi
This match is for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
They circle to start and tie-up, and Styles throws Ibushi out of the ring. He returns but Styles quickly hits an armdrag. Ibushi returns the favor and he hits a snap hurricanrana, sending Styles out of the ring to think things over. They take it to the mat and trade headscissors, then they trade quick pinfalls with neither having any luck. Styles catches Ibushi's kick but Ibushi flips out of it and hits an elbow. Back kick by Ibushi and he hits a PK. Styles kicks Ibushi back but Ibushi delivers a dropkick. Styles falls out of the ring, Ibushi charges the corner but Styles hits him from the apron. Ibushi elbows Styles back down to the floor and goes for a moonsault, Styles moves but Ibushi lands on his feet. Ibushi charges Styles but Styles catches him and hits an overhead German suplex on the floor. Styles returns to the ring with Ibushi slowly following, scoop slam by Styles and he hits a knee drop. Styles throws Ibushi into the corner and he hits a jumping elbow. Backbreaker by Styles and he drops Ibushi with a dropkick. Ibushi and Styles go back out to the floor and Styles drops Ibushi on the guard rail. Back in the ring Styles picks Ibushi in the Muta Lock. Styles puts Ibushi in a reverse chinlock, he picks him up and throws Ibushi into the corner but Ibushi drops Styles onto the apron and kicks him when he goes for a swandive move. Ibushi kicks Styles in the chest and hits a standing moonsault for two. Styles catches on of Ibushi's kicks, he goes off the ropes and he dropkicks Ibushi in the leg. Styles stomps on Ibushi's leg and he applies a knee lock, but Ibushi gets out of it. Styles goes off the ropes and goes for another dropkick to the knee, but Ibushi hits a double footstomp when Styles goes for the move. Styles falls out of the ring, Ibushi charges the corner and hits a moonsault down to the floor. Ibushi rolls Styles back in the ring and he hits a swandive missile dropkick. Styles kicks Ibushi back but Ibushi hits a powerslam. Ibushi picks up Styles and he hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Styles suplexes Ibushi into the turnbuckles and he nails a perfect Stylin' DDT for a two count.
Ibushi hits a kick combination but Styles hits the Pele Kick. Ibushi returns the favor, which sends Styles out to the apron while Ibushi is down in the ring. Ibushi grabs Styles from inside the ring and he tries to suplex him back in, but Styles elbows Ibushi off. Swandive Superman Punch by Styles and he hits a facebuster for a two count. Styles picks up Ibushi and he hits the Bloody Sunday. Styles picks up Ibushi but Ibushi kicks Styles off. Styles applies the Calf Killer but Ibushi gets to the ropes. Knees by Ibushi to Styles but Styles levels him with a lariat. Styles grabs Ibushi and goes up to the second turnbuckle but Ibushi recovers and goes for a Frankensteiner. Styles catches him and goes for the Styles Clash but Ibushi kicks out of it. Ibushi goes out to the apron and he hits a springboard Frankensteiner for a two count. Ibushi goes for a powerbomb but Styles gets out of it. Ibushi goes for it again, Styles punches out of it but Ibushi hits a big lariat. Sit-down powerbomb by Ibushi, but Styles gets a shoulder up. Ibushi positions Styles, he goes up to the top turnbuckle to go for the Phoenix Splash, but Omega gets on the apron. Ibushi sees him and Omega steps back down to the floor, but this gives Styles time to recover and he catches Ibushi in mid-air as he goes for the Phoenix Splash before nailing the Styles Clash! Cover, and Styles picks up the three count. Styles is still your champion! This was a great match because Styles and Ibushi are great, but it wasn't a classic for a few reasons. First there was no real heat or emotion, these two weren't feuding, it was just two great wrestlers that both wanted the belt. So it was missing some steam. Second I am not a fan of interference directly leading to a win in a title match, I just would rather see a straight match or for the wrestler to overcome the interference even if they eventually lose. That being said, aside from one mistake they were really smooth here and the time really flew by. The Stylin' DDT was one of the best I've ever seen him hit and it was an exciting match. Great effort from both, it wasn't a classic but it was still really fun to watch. Score: 8.5
This was an odd event from New Japan. They had their title matches early even though they had the more entertaining wrestlers, then I had to sit through some good but not great random tag matches before getting back to the meat of the show. I realize this is due to the pecking order, Bennett and Taven are not wrestling on the card higher than Tanahashi, it just made those titles seem less important by having them so low on the card. Much of this event hovered around the 'solid' line with only the Tag Team Championship match being the big disappointment (I wasn't disappointed by the Yano/Sakuraba tag match because I wasn't expecting anything). The main event was great, it just lacked some emotion since there wasn't really a feud tied to it. Overall an enjoyable show for sure as there was a lot of quality wrestling spread throughout, the Jr. Heavyweights saved the show as without those two early matches all we'd have to talk about was the main event. Not near the level of the Tokyo Dome, but still an easy recommendation, just skip the tag title match.
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review completed on 4/6/15