Cewsh Reviews – NJPW Destruction 2013
Welcome, cats and kittens, to yet another installment of the only reviews that own a giant mech robot for crushing our enemies, Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight, and while I may always say that, I well and truly mean it today. Recently, we asked our readers to tell us what they depended on Cewsh Reviews for coverage of, and the resounding answers were Japanese wrestling and TNA. Since TNA is lucky if they can even run a complete show, we’re instead going to focus on Japan, and starting here, we will be covering each and every New Japan iPPV from this point on. The reason why we’re focusing on New Japan will be clear to anyone familiar with them, but to those who aren’t, New Japan has recently been on an incredible out of control hot streak that has led to them not only resurrecting themselves from obscurity, but has seen them rise to be the second biggest wrestling promotion on the planet. With stars like Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada, New Japan has set it’s sites on becoming a global product, and are eagerly courting American fans, (meaning you.) So it’s lucky for you that you have the trusty Cewsh Reviews team there to get you on the ground floor of the biggest wrestling movement since the late 90s. Yes THOSE late 90s.
So let’s dig into a show where Okada’s title is in jeopardy, where a cocky little crusierweight has become one of the greatest heels in wrestling, and where literally every match has someone awesome in it, just waiting to become your new favorite wrestler.
So without any further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!
Cewsh: Alright, boys and girls, let’s immerse ourselves into the wonderful world of New Japan. Now, the big news in the company recent was the annual holding of the G1 Climax Series, which is like the King of the Ring tournament if it were round robin style instead of it’s usual format. This year’s version was the 39th, and by all accounts, (including mine,) it was the greatest G1 Climax Series in history. It was so great that I actually considered reviewing it, even though the whole big bastard is 10 shows total, with each being 4 hours long. It’s that crazy awesome.
Ultimately it was a young up and comer named Tetsuya Naito who won the tournament, beating Hiroshi Tanahashi in the finals. He now has an automatic title shot at Wrestle Kingdom in January, which is New Japan’s big Wrestlemania show. And this is a very big deal indeed, because winning the G1 basically cements you as the real deal.
This show is the first after the G1 Climax, and the influence of that event is all over this one. Nearly every match on this card springboards off of something that happened at the G1, whether it be a shocking victory that someone wants revenge for, (Suzuki vs. Yano,) a feud ending match between two long standing rivals, (Tanahashi vs. Devitt,) or a title match based off of a convincing win over the champion in the tournament, (Nakamura vs. Benjamin, Okada vs. Kojima.) And while these are all exciting enough, the real point to all this is that New Japan’s fans loved the G1 tournament so fucking much that after 10 straight nights of the same guys wrestling each other, we’re getting another show where they CONTINUE FIGHTING. And people are crazy for it! Including me! AAAHHHH!
No wrestling promotion on the planet has more momentum than New Japan right now, or even close to it. But momentum is a tricky thing. Can New Japan keep the arrow pointing up as we begin to roll on towards Wrestle Kingdom? Let’s find out. Come along, boys and girls.
Cewsh: Hi there, reader! Were you a fan of the Motor City Machine Guns, but wished that you could see them outside of the hideous vortex of fuckery known as TNA? Did you think that Chris Sabin was the boring, replaceable part of the team? Do you just like to see cool people doing awesome things? Well then, do I have the tag team for you. The Timesplitters are essentially the Motor City Machine Guns in almost every way. The chemistry, the moveset, the style are all similar, except that KUSHIDA, (Tajiri’s protege,) has more personality than Chris Sabin, (as do many forest creatures and all but the ugliest rock formations.)
New Japan has taken to having them open most of their PPVs recently, and for good reason, because they wring excitement out of meaningless matches like they’re getting paid by the ounce. Seriously, if you’re despairing of the state of tag team wrestling in 2013, do yourself a favor and watch their matches against the Forever Hooligans. In fact, i’ll include one right here, because I care about you, and I forgot your birthday, champ.
Right? Wasn’t that awesome? Unfortunately, I’m not reviewing that match, I’m reviewing this match. And this match is pretty definitively not that match. TAKA Michinoku, (who may be in the best shape of anyone you saw during the Attitude Era,) and Taichi are great undercard heels, and the crowd loves to hate them, but they aren’t a great fit for the 100 mile an hour spectacle of the Timesplitters, so the match gets slowed down in a lot of places, and the chemistry just isn’t there.
That’s not to say it’s a bad match, because it’s still a great opener, with the exciting babyfaces doing cool stuff, (including a great remix of the Motor City Machine Guns’ old finisher,) and the heels being total dicks all the time. But these guys didn’t exactly steal the show here. It might be kind of cruel to expect them to do that every single show but, well, they can and have. So there you go.
70 out of 100
Segment 3 – NWA World Heavyweight Championship – Rob Conway (c) vs. Jushin Thunder Liger
Cewsh: If you’re just reading about New Japan for the first time, and come across this match listing, you might be pretty confused about it. Hell, I’m still pretty confused by it myself, as for yet another show, Rob Conway gets to ply his trade against a Japanese legend.
Now, it would be impossible to talk about this without explaining a little bit about what has been going on in the National Wrestling Alliance recently. A few years back a man named R. Bruce Tharpe essentially staged a hostile takeover of the NWA. Well, depending on who you ask. Since then, he kicked NWA Championship Wrestling from Hollywood out of the alliance, vacated the NWA championship, and crowned Kahagas as the new champion. Then, Tharpe showed up out of nowhere on New Japan shows, claiming that he was going to invade the company with an NWA chosen representative. Most of us assumed it would be Kahagas, who is of Japanese descent, which would have been a problem, seeing as he’s nowhere near good enough to be a player at this level. Instead, the NWA put the belt on Rob Conway and named him the representative, because at least he has some experience wrestling as a heel in front of thousands of people.
The problem with choosing Conway is that he works an old school Southern heel style. And I don’t know if you’ve watched much Japanese wrestling lately, but it’s not exactly a Memphis influenced style. So for months, we’ve been subjected to shabby title defenses where Conway fails to click with his Japanese counterpart, but escapes with the title anyway. So the hope clearly is that putting him with Liger, who has gobs of experience in the US, will help with this.
Luckily for us, it does, but only barely. Liger is getting up there is years, especially for a jr. heavyweight, and he can’t exactly be a bump machine for Conway. The crowd, for their part, doesn’t seem to care one way or another about Conway, because they don’t really respond to arrogant heels. That’s not really a thing in Japan. So mostly, this is just Liger trying to turn back the clock, while Conway turns in his usual solid, but unspectacular performance. The result is…fine. It’s not offensive, though it really makes you wonder what the endgame for this storyline could even be. If they’re going to put the title on a Japanese wrestler, you have to believe that it’ll be someone who will leave for an extended run in America, but at this point, that’d be a huge step down for any of the big stars that Conway is facing.
I hope it comes to something. Because the matches themselves sure aren’t paying the rent.
60 out of 100
Segment 4 – Team New Japan (Captain New Japan, Togi Makabe, Mascara Dorada and Tomoaki Honma) vs. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Rey Bucanero, Tama Tonga, and Karl Anderson)
Cewsh: One of the most interesting developments in New Japan in recent years has been the growing influence of lucha libre. Due to a close partnership with CMLL, New Japan has really opened the door to promotion intermingling. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Jushin Liger currently hold titles in Mexico, and nearly every major New Japan show now features luchadors, as the style has grown in popularity in Japan. That explains why they’re part of this match, which is basically just a collection of New Japan babyfaces who had nothing better to do, up against Prince Devitt’s heel stable Bullet Club, which is comprised of wrestlers from Ireland, America, Tonga, Mexico and New Zealand.
I’ve mentioned before, that New Japan likes to run these big multiman tag matches on every show, and the purpose of them is really to have no purpose. You wont see any major storyline progression or character building in one of these things, and you sure as hell aren’t getting a classic match out of any of them. Their sole reason for existing is to make fans happy by giving them wacky babyface teams, little bit of humor, and usually a decisive babyface victory. And while that’s actually a fine thing to have on a show, it basically gives me zero reason to even tell you what happened. So…this is kind of awkward now. What should we talk about? How’s your mother doing after her hip surgery? Can you believe how much toothpaste costs now? Do you think dinosaurs would have liked the show Dinosaurs?
Is that enough small talk? Okay, let’s move on with the show.
AND OF COURSE NOT, DINOSAURS COULDN’T EVEN WORK A TV REMOTE, GOD YOU GUYS
65 out of 100
Segment 5 – Toru Yano vs. Minoru Suzuki
Cewsh: Okay, remember when I told you earlier that one of these matches was made because of a shocking win at the G1 Climax? Yeah, this is that match. Toru Yano, who is essentially a drunken pile of ridiculousness, somehow managed to beat one of the biggest badasses in Japanese wrestling history, Minoru Suzuki. He did it by summoning the god of mischief and unleashing every heel tactic ever invented all at the same time, and to say that Suzuki is pissed doesn’t quite say it.
So now he gets his chance to get his hands on Yano and this is horrible, horrible news for Yano, whose skills can most closely be compared to Super Porky’s. But you wouldn’t guess that from looking at the goofy bastard as he makes his way to the ring.
It’s important to point out before we begin, that Toru Yano is not a great wrestler. He’s not even good. He’s basically been a comedy jobber who rips off other people’s catchphrases, shills his merchandise on the way to the ring, and has elevated cheating to a zen like state. Minoru Suzuki is an accomplished MMA fighting, former World champion pro wrestler, and all around bad, bad man. This match has all the makings of a snuff film, except for one thing. For the first time in his career, Toru Yano has a plan.
The atmosphere in the building is one more commonly found at public executions as things get started. Yano starts off by mocking Suzuki, because once you’re 5 feet deep, you might as well go the full 6. His actions have the expected result, but much to everyone’s surprise, he spends the entire like grinning and laughing, almost as if this is all according to plan. Yano lures Suzuki out of the ring and tries to tape his arm to the guardrail, but Suzuki grabs the tapes and turns Yano into the world’s laziest mummy with it. Whatever Yano’s plan is, he’s going have to try harder than that against a guy who could knock out a statue if you gave him 3 tries.
As Yano continues to frustrate Suzuki by pulling out every heel move in the book, Suzuki starts tossing the referee around for getting in his way. This, of course, only makes things harder for him, as the referee gets up in his face time and time again, giving Yano time to lay elaborate traps to piss Suzuki off even more. These traps have varying degrees of success since Suzuki isn’t an idiot, but every time Yano is successful, he pisses Suzuki off just a little bit more, and puts him just a little bit further off of his game.
The major set piece of the match comes when Yano grabs a pair of handcuffs and attempts to cuff Suzuki to the guard rail. Suzuki fights him off and loses so pissed/incredulous that Yano tried it on him, that I immediately feared for Yano’s life. But Suzuki decides to punish Yano the traditional way and actually handcuffs Yano’s hand to his so he can’t escape the beating.
And a beating is exactly what it is, as Suzuki turns the rascal’s face into mashed potatoes. As Yano fights to stay in the match, the crowd comes alive for him, and Yano manages to use the ref to dump all 3 of them out of the ring. And it’s there that Yano’s plan comes to fruition. Suzuki slams him into the guardrail again and again, and dumps water on Yano’s head, only to have it reversed on him when Yano spits the water right back into Suzuki’s face. In the confusion, Yano grabs the key out of his tights, unlocks his hand, and handcuffs Suzuki to the rail, before diving back into the ring to win by countout.
I’m not sure what was louder, the joy of the crowd when it realized what had happened, or the furious screams of Suzuki as he punches everyone around him and tries to tear the guardrail apart. By the time Suzuki gets free, Yano is already long gone up the ramp, grinning like a madman and covered in money from the DVDs he sold WHILE RUNNING FOR HIS LIFE.
And thus, Toru Yano the joke was replaced by Toru Yano the mad scientist. He out trolled the troll king, and made it look easy.
This wasn’t technically a great match or whatever, but I adored it from start to finish. This whole thing was a masterclass in playing a character by both Yano and Suzuki, and this is easily the biggest win of Yano’s career. And if it means more of this big, goofy bastard outsmarting men 10 times better than him, then i’ll be a happy man.
82 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Segment 6 – Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi vs. Laughter 7 (Katsuyori Shibata and Kazushi Sakuraba)
Cewsh: At the end of last year, New Japan was invaded well and truly when their new President brought in one of the country’s greatest sports heroes, (Kazushi Sakuraba, the MMA fighter,) and a man once thought to be the future top star of New Japan, (Katsuyori Shibata.) Those two, completely disrespectful of New Japan and wrestling in general, showed up and began kicking faces off of heads in a terrifying way, until they were finally turned back at Wrestle Kingdom. Ever since they’ve still been a thorn in the side of anyone who ran into them, though Sakuraba has shown more respect in general to wrestlers who could hang with him in terms of MMA skills.
A few months ago Yuji Nagata, who is very much one of those guys, accidentally broke Sakuraba’s arm in a match in utterly gruesome fashion. This is Sakuraba’s comeback match, to show Nagata what’s up, and this is another opportunity for Nagata to prove that he, and no one else, is the finest technical wrestler of this generation.
That’s a great backstory, but I have to be honest with you. MMA style worked shoot matches bore the hell out of me except in very specifically circumstances. If you’re an MMA fan, and especially a fan of Sakuraba’s, there’s a lot to interest you here. Nagata and Sakuraba struggle for positioning, and challenge each other on the man, standing up, and in a number of clinches, with neither man proving the superior. Meanwhile, Nakanishi and Shibata bide their time to go nuts on everyone, because they’re not the real show here. Eventually, Sakuraba manages to stay on top long enough to get the pin, but things are far from settled as the two groups explode into a brawl as soon as the match ends, with Nagata showing that he’s completely unwilling to be bested like this.
It’s all very well put together, but as I said, this style of match is absolutely not for me. I wish I had Vice here to give you a breakdown of the tropes they were referencing, or to tell you if it was great, but I can only go by my standards here. Take that for what you will.
73 out of 100
Segment 7 – Lumberjack Match – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Prince Devitt
Cewsh: Despite Japan’s growing acceptance of “sports entertainment” you would be right in assuming that seeing a lumberjack match take place on a major show like this is a decidedly odd occurrence. To explain why a bunch of assholes are going to stand around and watch these two wrestle, we have to go back in time.
Not so long ago, Prince Devitt was the clean cut star of the junior heavyweight division, engaging in classic feuds and matches with the likes of Naomichi Marufuji, Kota Ibushi and Low Ki. Over time, though, his dominance of the junior division made him look elsewhere for challenges, and he managed to secure a championship match against Hiroshi Tanahashi. Now, this was a huge opportunity for Devitt, as no Jr. Heavyweight had ever won the Heavyweight championship before, and he was carrying the credibility of his entire division on his shoulders. He trained hard and came at Tanahashi with everything he had in a thrilling match, but ultimately he came up short.
For most people, that would have been the end of it. But Devitt just couldn’t shake his failure, and the loss seemed to eat at him. Over the weeks to come, he began to exhibit a more brash and disrespectful attitude, refusing to acknowledge anyone for anything. His tag team partner, Rysuke Taguchi, grew concerned over this, while Devitt attempted to convince him to follow down the path he was going. Taguchi seemed unsure of what to do to cheer up his friend, but a Jr. Tag Team Championship match against The Timesplitters seemed like the perfect opportunity to get things back on track. But after losing the match, Prince Devitt revealed that the changes in him went far deeper than wearing black pants and frowning a lot, as he introduced a new bodyguard who helped him destroy both the Timesplitters, and his former best friend Taguchi.
And thus was born the age of the ROCKNROLLA. Soon, Karl Anderson and Tama Tonga joined the group that Devitt dubbed, “Bullet Club” and started wrecking havoc on the foundations of New Japan. Also, Prince Devitt debuted one of the coolest entrances in all of wrestling, which isn’t important to the story, but it’s awesome and your eyes deserve nice things.
No one was safe from the onslaught of Bullet Club. Hell, Jushin Liger, Alex Shelley and even Hiroshi Tanahashi fell victim to sneak attacks and humiliation. Tanahashi, being the living embodiment of this generation of New Japan, stepped up to sit the cocky shithead down, in a match to determine who would face Okada for the title. But by that point, Bullet Club had gotten too powerful for one man to stop, and Tanahashi found himself beaten and humiliated again.
As the months went by, Tanahashi began to build an army of those loyal to New Japan, enlisting men like Captain New Japan and Togi Makabe, while Bullet Club bolstered their ranks with a rotating stable of rudo luchadors on the lam from CMLL. Finally, both armies will meet here tonight, as both groups surround the ring while their generals fight, with only one prize at stake. The future of New Japan.
Now look. Pretty much all lumberjack matches suck. It’s a major struggle to choreograph that many moving pieces, and most of these matches are just normal matches with a few spots taking place outside to validate the concept. I’ve seen a lot of these matches come, and I was happy to see nearly all of them go, and that’s why I’m pretty comfortable saying that this is the best lumberjack match that I have ever seen.
What makes this one stand apart is the fact that it isn’t a feud between two people with a bunch of others on the sidelines, this is a feud being two factions with Tanahashi and Devitt acting as avatars for their sides. So everyone on both teams is working every minute of this match to make sure that their team gets the win. There’s brawling between the sides, metric fucktons of interference, and Tanahashi and Devitt use themselves as flying projectiles against whole teams whenever possible. This a goddamn turf war, and in a setting like this where you never see stuff like this, its fantastically engaging.
I’m not saying this match is perfect, or that the match itself wouldn’t have been better if they had just gotten to go 1 on 1 for 20 minutes. Having the lumberjacks get so continually involved kind of steals away any flow of momentum that Tanahashi and Devitt’s match builds up, and what goes on outside the ring gets as much attention as what goes on inside of it. But this was more than a match, it was the culmination of a promotion wide storyline, and to hear the crowd erupt when Tanahashi finally vanquishes Devitt is as rewarding as you could want it to be.
All future lumberjack matches could take a number of notes from this one. Or just not take place at all. Yeah, on second thought, it’d be great if they just didn’t take place at all.
88 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Segment 8 – NEVER Openweight Championship – Masato Tanaka (c) vs. Tetsuya Naito
Cewsh: Tetsuya Naito is the future of New Japan Pro Wrestling. The man may as well have that stamped on his forehead, because it could not be more obvious that they have a world full of expectations for him. He’s a great talent with a bright future. But this match is a stark exhibition of his biggest flaw to such an extent that I’m going to save it and wheel it out for future reviews if Naito bombs as a main eventer, so I can say, “I told you so.”
Here, Naito is up against Masato Tanaka, whose face is in the dictionary next to the phrase, “capable upper midcarder”. Tanaka’s job here is to be a victim on Naito’s road to the top so he can build credibility going forward, and Tanaka does everything he can to do just that. He lets Naito beat him in numerous slap battles, he sells for all of Naito’s offense, and Naito winds up beating him clean with the Stardust Press. No faulting Tanaka, who brings essentially the same thing to every match he has.
So with that in mind, I have to tell you that this match is sloppily put together and extremely dry until the end. The responsibility for that has to fall on the shoulders for Naito, who, at various points in the match, seemed to visibly be trying to invent a new spot to do next while his face showed less emotion than an unconscious Clint Eastwood. In fact, if I had to apply one word to describe Naito’s performance here, it would be “robotic” and if I had to apply two words they would be “robotic” and “reallyfuckingrobotic”. Japanese wrestlers aren’t known for huge displays of emotion all the way through matches, but this is just fucking ridiculous.
The reason I’m harping on this is because in professional wrestling, the emotion that the characters convey, communicates the stakes of the match. Obviously, the whole thing is a predetermined soap opera, and everyone knows it, so it’s your job to sell every aspect of the match in the way you act. Here, Naito looked like he was more concerned with the rising price of microwave burrito than he was with winning this title, and considering that this is our future emperor for life, that’s more than a little cause for concern.
This match isn’t bad exactly, and Tanaka brings the good stuff, but just remember what you saw here. Because if this becomes a recurring problem, we may be looking for a new king before this one has time to get the throne warm.
72 out of 100
Segment 9 – NJPW Intercontinental Championship – Shinsuke Nakamura (c) vs. Shelton “X” Benjamin
Cewsh: Yes, that is Shelton Benjamin. Yes, the Shelton Benjamin who wrestled for WWE. No, he was not accompanied to the ring by his Mama, he was accompanied by TAKA Michinoku, which is plenty weird in its own way.
Benjamin has done a few tours of New Japan before, but this time he was brought over by TAKA specifically as an assassin aimed right at Shinsuke Nakamura and his Intercontinental Championship. The two have met a few times already, and Benjamin has given Nakamura all he could handle every time. Which begs the question: when did Shelton Benjamin get kind of awesome?
Well whatever awesome sauce he’s been chugging is working, but there isn’t enough of it in the world to put him on Shinsuke Nakamura’s level. In fact, let’s do this. I’ve talked about Nakamura endlessly in these reviews, and about how wacky and swaggy and lovable he is, but how about I let you see for yourself. This is how Shinsuke Nakamura came to the ring for his title defense:
Now this is a good match. Not a great match, not a bad match. A good match. Shelton Benjamin hasn’t become Daniel Bryan overnight, and his style is still a little soft for a Japanese promotion. But he and Nakamura have a jolly good time, right up until Benjamin isn’t having a good time anymore.
And that, as they say, is that.
But the real story of this match is what happens after it. As Nakamura celebrates in his wacky way, a man with a funny haircut and a cardigan sweater wanders down to the ring and gets inside while the fans immediately begin to buzz like crazy. The reason they’re buzzing is because this man is NOAH star Naomichi Marufuji, and New Japan has been teasing us with the possibility of a match between these two for YEARS. Before I can even make out what is going on over the rising force of my massive mark out, the two men shake hands in their own personal way, (which is to say that they don’t at all,) and the match is on.
There aren’t a ton of dream matches left in Japan. This is mostly because, with very few exceptions, all the major stars in the country work for New Japan now, or have worked with each other on countless shows. But the charismatic, defining Jr. Heavyweight Ace of the 00s up against the delightful master of all things wrestling for the first time ever absolutely qualifies for dream match status. So, um, prepare for me to gush. A lot. A lot lot. In fact, if you unfollow me on Twitter for the next month and come back when the show is over, let’s just say I’ll understand.
78 out of 100
Segment 10 – IWGP Heavyweight Championship – Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Satoshi Kojima
Cewsh: Since Kazuchika Okada first arrived on the scene like a stampede of elephants last year, it could be said that the man has faced very few real challenges. Oh, there was his epic quest to defeat Hiroshi Tanahashi, which is a feud that will mark his career until one of them retires, but Okada has floated to the top of the company with very little resistance. And if you could attribute just one thing to this being the case, you would have to point to The Rainmaker.
The Rainmaker is a whipping lariat that is so devastating and unbeatable that it makes Stan Hansen wonder if Okada found a cheat code somewhere. To date, no one has kicked out of it. Nobody has even almost kicked out of it. It’s a death sentence in the form of an arm. And with it, Okada has put away every major foe that has confronted him during his mighty to rise to the highest heights of Japanese wrestling. And after at last vanquishing Tanahashi and gaining the championship, Okada was riding high coming into the G1 Climax. See, in the G1, the champion is allowed to participate too, and if he won, who the hell knows what would happen? Okada had every reason to believe that he could do it, but along the way he ran into a major problem. That problem’s name is Satoshi Kojima.
Kojima just happens to be the modern day master of the lariat. So every single time that Okada tried the Rainmaker on him, Kojima had an answer.
Kojima bludgeoned Okada and contributed to keeping the champion out of the G1 finals picture altogether. So now, with the ability to neutralize Okada’s greatest weapon in hand, and his partner Hiroyoshi Tenzan behind him, Satoshi Kojima is on the warpath once again. And our young champion has perhaps the greatest challenge of his title reign thus far. Can Okada adapt to survive? Or will Satoshi Kojima enjoy one final moment in the sun?
Well no, no he can’t. But not for lack of trying. While this wasn’t the greatest match of either man’s career, (or even their best match with each other,) Kojima really brought his A game here to convince everyone watching that he really was a credible threat to the title after a long run of midcard obscurity. And all through the match, it seemed like he really did have Okada’s number. While Okada is a genetic freak with off the charts athleticism, he’s still a young man and is susceptible to being outsmarted and having his moves turned against him, and the wily veteran Kojima concentrated on doing just that. He kept Okada off balance all the way through, and even busted out his partner Tenzan’s legendary moves to take Okada out. And when Okada went for the Rainmaker at the end, Kojima was waiting for him, and reversed it into a lariat of his own, the same way he did when he beat Okada at the G1 Climax.
Unfortunately for Kojima, Okada is a fast learner. Before Kojima could capitalize with a mega lariat of his own, Okada sprang up into the air and dazed him with a dropkick, before burying him with a Rainmaker that Kojima had no answer for.
And so Kazuchika Okada continues his reign as the young face of New Japan Pro Wrestling. And while he does have his vulnerabilities, he has proven to be a man that is nearly impossible to beat in big matches. Honestly, in his entire run as a main eventer thus far, there’s only one man who have frustrated and beaten Okada with any kind of consistency. But luckily, it’s not like Hiroshi Tanahashi is going to wander out and challenge Okada to a rematch or anything…
Oh sweet jesus. New Japan has officially attached a vacuum to my wallet and they won’t be happy until they’ve sucked out every cent. And that’s fine by me because HOLY SHIT YOU GUYS YES YES YES.
82 out of 100
Cewsh’s Seal of Approval
Cewsh: Ah, New Japan. The sparkling jewel of the wrestling industry in the 2010s. Here, we have a show that was basically a bunch of retreads and minor matches that serves as a transitional show as we get ready to march towards Wrestle Kingdom. And yet, it still manages to have a handful of matches that get the stamp, exceptional performances from Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura, and more backstory and continuity shaping per match than TNA has managed in their entire run of existence. It isn’t hard to see what fans like me find in the promotion right now, or why we’ll be covering their monthly events from this point on. Hell, if nothing else it’ll save me having to write these gigantic essays of backstory before I get to the match itself. But as we go forward, just remember this: this show was the worst I have seen from New Japan this year. And if this is the bottom of the barrel, just wait and see what awaits you at the top.
Well that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed another visit to good ol’ Japan, and the ridiculous abs of it’s inhabitants. Next week we’re going to be covering the PROGRESS show we promised, as well as WWE Battleground. And with any luck, you’ll get our review of WWE Night of Champions BEFORE our review of Battleground, because otherwise the pressures of the time distortion will rend us all limb from limb and plunge us into a dark age in the dungeon dimensions. So as I wish us all the best of luck with that, remember as always to keep reading and be good to one another.
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