Saturday, June 18, 2016
Night four was phenomenal. This show certainly has a lot to live up to.
Oh, this should be manly. I was right because they just wail on each other with chops, slaps and forearms. Kojima starts unleashing chops in the corner, which the crowd always loves. Ishii eats them all, turns it around and starts laying into Kojima. They continue to go at it until Kojima spikes Ishii on a DDT. There goes that great selling from Ishii again. He bumps pretty badly on a second DDT though, this one on the apron. Kojima is relentless, taking Ishii to the second rope and hitting a cutter for two. It’s Ishii’s turn to light him up with chops again. Kojima comes back with a cutter in the middle of the ring and a lariat to the back of the head but he falls out from being worn down as well. Time for these two to trade forearm blasts again. Kojima wipes him out with a vicious lariat and pulls out the win.
These are my favorite kinds of Ishii matches. Two guys enter, two guys wage war and only one walks out. It was a great choice, getting things off on the right foot. One of the better matches of the tournament so far.
It’s the two men with the least amount of points in their Block, other than Minoru Suzuki. Toru Yano attacks as soon as Tenzan enters the ring. He continues the attack for a bit before things spill outside. Once there, they fight deep into the crowd. Yano whacks him with a chair and makes it back to the ring first. Tenzan beats the count and they go back at it in the ring for a bit. Tenzan starts a comeback with those Mongolian chops but Yano stops him in his tracks. Tenzan still rallies and locks in the Anaconda Vice. Yano fights, but Tenzan hangs on. As he slams him down, the referee takes a bump. Yano tries to use this to his advantage, but he ends up eating a chair shot. Tenzan follows with the moonsault for the victory.
I’d say this was the typical match I’d expect from these two. It was filled with all of the usual Yano antics, though something about it didn’t work very well.
Coming into this, I was interested because of their styles. They play right into those styles from the start. Shibata wails away on Archer and Archer retaliates by clubbing him down with powerful blows. Archer continues to show that he’s pretty great at talking trash while beating up his opponents. He goes for a powerbomb but Shibata slips out and hammers away. Archer then just launches him overhead and to the outside. Back on the apron, Shibata catches a big boot and just starts upper cutting it. He’s found his target. Shibata locks in a figure four. Archer escapes and continues to try and toss Shibata around. Shibata hops on his back and wears him down with a big sleeper hold. The Penalty Kick follows to end things.
Short, sweet and to the point. They didn’t get much time, so they made sure to make the best of it. Shibata was the hard hitting guy, Archer was the powerful guy and it worked well. With more time, they probably could have played into the leg work more.
As a fan of both guys, this is something I was looking forward to. Quick paced start as Naito sends Benjamin outside with a dropkick. While outside, Benjamin pulls Naito into an ankle lock on the apron, then brings is down to the floor outside. Benjamin moves things back inside, where he wears down the high flier. Like his Suzuki-Gun buddy Lance Archer, Shelton is good at smack talk. Naito gets in a slight rally but runs into a superkick. Shelton nails a nice bridging German for two. They get into a fun exchange of countering each other’s enziguris. Almost from out of nowhere, Naito climbs up and wins with the Phoenix Splash.
This unfortunately came to an end just before things really kicked into second gear. I felt like their styles meshed well together. Given a bit more time and a less abrupt finish, this could have been really good.
Two members of two heel stables. They open with a feeling out process that sees Suzuki nearly lock in an armbar, only for Anderson to rake the eyes. Things move outside, because they almost always have to, and Suzuki works the arm, wrapping nit around the guardrail. The next few minutes just sees Suzuki mercilessly go after the arm. He wrenches it and bites it at times. It’s pretty great to see both guys trying to heel it up. Suzuki is relentless with his kicks and strikes. Both guys miss strikes at one point, so Anderson resorts to just biting Suzuki in the head. They block each other’s finish and Anderson grabs Suzuki by his odd haircut. Suzuki slaps him and locks in the sleeper. He moves to the Gotch style piledriver but Anderson counters. Suzuki blocks the Gun Stun two more times before using the sleeper and piledriver to win.
The fun match that I expected from these two. Both are really good at being dicks and they didn’t change up their styles at all here. They worked to their strengths and it made for an enjoyable match.
Kota Ibushi is coming off of one of the best matches of his career, while Yuji Nagata has been solidly consistent throughout this tournament. Their feeling out process sees Kota give a clean break. It quickly evolves from a standard wrestling match to something more hard hitting. Like Nagata is going to teach this youngster a lesson. Ibushi is never one to shy away from a fight, hitting back just as hard. Ibushi turns to his strength with a moonsault to the outside followed by a missile dropkick back in. They go back to trading shots, this time with kicks. Nagata slaps on his trademark armbar, complete with Undertaker like eye roll. Ibushi gets free and snaps off a top rope rana for two, which he can’t believe didn’t end things. He hits a huge sitout powerbomb but Nagata kicks out of a seemingly slow count. Ibushi lands on his feet on a German and again, Nagata seems slow to kick out, causing the official to stutter a bit. He goes up for the Phoenix Splash but Nagata meets him and they trade blows up there. Nagata wins out and scores with a top rope exploder which still isn’t enough. They trade blows once more and Nagata hits a backdrop suplex for yet another near fall. A second, bridging one ends it.
Just shy of being our new match of the night so far. Nagata going after Ibushi’s arm was great and him withstanding the onslaught of his younger, faster opponent worked well. Ibushi continues to deliver with each performance. A great, hard hitting effort from both men.
One of these guys is one of the best wrestlers on the planet. The other is Yujiro Takahashi. Takahashi has no ladies with him tonight and does a weird dance as he removes his shirt. They go through an exchange where Takahashi annoys Shinsuke by doing that damn dance again. Nakamura lights him up with knee strikes until Yujiro throws him over the top. He goes to dive out but runs into a kick. Nakamura now takes this time to just kick Yujiro’s ass. Takahashi gets pissed and shoves him, followed by a running front suplex. He does some offense and picks up a few near falls, but the outcome is never really put in doubt. Nakamura rolls forward with a kick in an innovative counter and hits a backstabber. Takahashi chooses biting as his form of blocking. There’s been a lot of biting on this show for some reason. Also for some reason, it takes two Boma Ye strikes to beat Takahashi.
Like most Yujiro Takahashi matches, I had a really hard time getting into this one. It was fine for what it was, but was definitely the least impressive showing for Nakamura so far.
Yes, despite being IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Okada is 1-3 so far. Early on, Smith shows off his power, just placing Okada on the ropes like he was nothing to carry. That carries the next few minutes as Smith continues to show his power, with Okada having to find ways around it. The match spills outside where Smith targets the arm, kicking it into the guardrail. Usually that’s a cool spot but it’s been done already on this show. Smith spends the next few minutes wearing down Okada. Okada begins a comeback and nails the top rope elbow. RAINMAKER POSE! Smith gives no shits and locks in a sharpshooter. Okada survives and then kicks out of a superplex. Okada and Smith both pick up near falls on some great moves, like a tiger suplex. Smith comes very close to winning with a powerbomb and his reaction to the kick out is priceless. Okada ends up connecting with the Rainmaker and gets back on the winning track.
A solid match, but I was hoping for more. That kind of sums up Okada’s tournament so far to be honest. Reusing a spot from earlier in the show is something I didn’t like and I wish Smith continued the arm work to take away the Rainmaker. It would have been logical.
Once I saw the blocks at the start of the tournament, this was a match that really intrigued me. Devitt, ever the heel, quickly messes with Goto by running around the ring and suckering him in. This allows Bad Luck Fale to get involved, laying out Goto. Devitt takes advantage, beating up on Goto in the ring. When Goto tries to get something going, he eats a pretty dropkick. Again, Devitt seems to get in trouble and just runs down the official. Goto drops him with a neckbreaker and I’m surprised Fale hasn’t gotten involved. Just as I write this, he enters and hits Goto with a chair in the knee. Goto still headbutts him but Devitt hits him in the back with a chair. Fale drops him with a Samoan drop and Devitt nails the diving double stomp onto a chair. Goto somehow kicks out. Fale again tries to cheat but is clotheslined over and out. Goto levels Devitt with a lariat and nails Shouten Kai to overcome the odds.
Too short and too filled with interference to really be anything. Again, I understand that Devitt, being a junior and the leader of a heel stable needs help, but it doesn’t make his matches batter. They did well when it wasn’t riddled with Fale stuff at least.
They spend the first few minutes looking for an advantage. Tanahashi taunts after a cross body, so Makabe just shoulder blocks him down, shutting him up. As they go outside, Tanahashi is surprisingly the one to take out Makabe and get the near countout tease. I usually see Tanahashi on the other end of that. Once back inside, Makabe hammers on Tanahashi, using his power advantage with the shots. Makabe fires up and hits some corner clotheslines before doing the ten punches. He seems to be working more like the babyface than Tanahashi in this one. They trade blows in the middle of the ring until Makabe gets tired of that and just wallops him with a lariat. Tanahashi comes back with that straight jacket suplex of his for two. He misses High Fly Flow however, opening the door for Makabe. He gets some near falls but can’t seem to put away Tanahashi. Tanahashi connects on the slingblade and goes up top for High Fly Flow again. Makabe gets his knees up to block it though. Tanahashi takes a lariat, but still gets a sunset flip before hitting a damn Styles Clash. He finally nails High Fly Flow and wins.
I’d consider this to be a good main event, but it never reached great level for me. They had a crisp back and forth, building to some drama before giving us some cool false finishes.
Overall: I found this to be a pretty average show. A lot of the matches are good, only one is something I’d consider great and the other ones were rather average. The crowd in Ishikawa was very disappointing, especially after seeing shows in Korakuen Hall and Osaka. It’s the easiest show to skip so far, but still worth a watch, especially the opener.
Hirooki Goto 8 points
Prince Devitt 6 points
Satoshi Kojima 6 points
Katsuyori Shibata 6 points
Tomohiro Ishii 4 points
Hiroshi Tanahashi 4 points
Togi Makabe 4 points
Kazuchika Okada 4 points
Davey Boy Smith Jr. 4 points
Lance Archer 4 points
Kota Ibushi 6 points
Tetsuya Naito 6 points
Shinsuke Nakamura 6 points
Yujiro Takahashi 6 points
Yuji Nagata 6 points
Karl Anderson 6 points
Minoru Suzuki 4 points
Shelton X Benjamin 4 points
Hiroyoshi Tenzan 4 points
Toru Yano 2 points