Saturday, November 28, 2015
I ended up liking this more than I thought I would. The Addiction seem to be getting more comfortable with each of their appearances, which is good. Tama Tonga once again showed me that he can do pretty well for himself and I’d still like to see him graduate from his current role in the near future. Similar to my note about the Kingdom a few shows ago, it’s interesting to see the Addiction work as faces, but they did well with it. Fale would accidentally hit Tonga, leading to Celebrity Rehab and two points for the Addiction in a solid bout.
For those that haven’t seen much NJPW this year, these two teams had a rivalry where they traded the IWGP Tag Team Titles. It was also notable that Karl Anderson is pretty obsessed with Maria Kanellis, though I can’t blame the guy. I wouldn’t consider any of those matches to be very good and the same goes for this one. I did like how they worked the match like two teams that didn’t like each other, with some outside brawling and they even through the guardrails into play. They brought back Maria distracting Anderson but it wasn’t enough as Taven ate the Magic Killer. A fine match here that I liked more than their Title matches earlier in the year.
On paper, this reminded me that Kazuchika Okada and Yuji Nagata had an awesome match in the G1 Climax. This wasn’t anything like that however. There was too much Manabu Nakanishi in this, meaning that the fun Okada/Nagata exchanges were kept to a minimum. YOSHI-HASHI also isn’t really good enough to pull something great out when he was in there, meaning this match left a lot to be desired. Okada would hit Nakanishi with the Rainmaker to score the win and end this to my enjoyment.
Now, the entire fifth night is available on NJPW World, but again, I was too pressed for time to see the entire thing, so I just chose to watch the Tag League matches.
I’m not sure what to call Tenzan and Kojima. Some call them Tencozy and some use Tenkoji. BUSHI no longer comes out dressed exactly like Naito. He still wears the blazer and stuff, but he now has a sweet new skull mask. There is a bit of history here as EVIL once teamed with Tenzan as a replacement for an injured Kojima. This was a solidly worked match. Kojima and Tenzan did some double teams and, as always, showed great chemistry. Naito is just so incredible to watch in this character. I can’t praise him enough. Tencozy or Tenkoji hit a damn 3D at one point. The finish came when Kojima went for the lariat but Naito grabbed the referee. BUSHI ran in and spit the mist at Kojima, which Naito followed with a low blow and Destino. The biggest issue was that with the camera set up, we could clearly see Tenzan watching and not doing anything about it so the fall could take place. Still, this wasn’t bad.
After the first few shows, I was starting to question my choice of picking Makabe and Honma to win this thing. Honma doesn’t exactly have the best track record in tournaments. They righted the ship here. Michael Elgin continues to be a breath of fresh air in Japan. When I see him in ROH, it’s like he’s a completely different wrestler. Both teams are faces, but they still worked the hot tag to Togi. That was fine since Honma is a great babyface in peril. After a relatively slow start, this really picked up and concluded when Elgin fell to the King Kong Knee Drop. Side note, I’d like to see Elgin vs. Makabe down the line. This was one of the better matches of the tournament.
Okada and YOSHI-HASHI are working their fourth match of the tournament while the teams in the next match are about to be on their second. Outside of their excellent match on day one, this was their best match and the best one from the Addition so far. I found it really cool to see Okada work with a guy I’ve liked for about a decade, Christopher Danielson. It’s weird to see Daniels hit the Best Moonsault Ever but have no reaction for it. He nearly got hit with a Rainmaker but Kazarian broke it up. That led to Celebrity Rehab being hit on YOSHI-HASHI for the win. Solid stuff here.
Of the entire World Tag League, this was easily the match I looked forward to most. Granted, there are some that look better on paper but this is the first interaction between Nakamura and Styles. Not only that, but I also get a taste of Styles and Ishii, which is another match I’d love to see. Styles and Nakamura started and if their interaction is any indication of what we’re getting at Wrestle Kingdom, then we are in for a treat. It was a good teaser for the big match. It was also cool to see Ishii and AJ go at it. The heat was mostly worked on Ishii with Nakamura getting a relatively hot tag. There were some close calls, especially one after AJ got hit with Boma Ye and a lariat but Yujiro made the save. Ishii would take the pin after getting hit with the Styles Clash in a match that had me on the edge of my seat. Maybe I rated it higher than some because of my love for AJ and Shinsuke, but I really enjoyed this.
Overall: These seven matches combined to make for a good time. The second batch of matches, from November 27th, were definitely a cut above, producing three strong matches, including two of the best four or five so far. If you can only find your way to see one thing from these shows, watch the last match.