January 5, 2016
English Commentary: Kevin Kelly, Matt Striker, Yoshi Tatsu
Sho Tanaka & Ryusuke Taguchi & Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata & Shiro Koshinaka vs Yohei Komatsu & Cheeseburger & Tiger Mask (IV) & Jushin Thunder Liger & Toshiaki Fujiwara
Result: Taguchi pins Komatsu after Dondon (chickenwing facebuster)
This was a fun multi-man tag match. It was kind of the typical, fast-paced action you’d expect to see in a match like this, but it was fun. Cheeseburder got multiple chants from the crowd and seemed to be the sentimental favorite. One of the best parts was when Fujiwara headbutted all of the members of the other team, then Cheeseburger clapped for him and Fujiwara chopped him just because. He headbutted Cheeseburger after that and Tiger Mask and Liger tried to point out that they were all on the same team.
Liger continued to support Cheeseburger which is a carryover from Wrestle Kingdom. It’s hard to tell whether he likes the kid or if he just thinks it’s funny to see him try to fight and get beat up. Probably a little of both.
Everyone had a chance to shine in this except for maybe Tanaka. He wasn’t really in the match much, which is expected for the lower ranked kids, but Komatsu is on the same level and was able to get a little time and offense. Still, I can’t really say anything bad about the match. Quick, fast, and fun. After the match everyone raised everyone’s hand. Then Fujiwara headbutted Cheeseburger. Good stuff.
Jay White & David Finlay vs Matt Sydal & Ricochet
Result: Ricochet pins Finlay after a shooting star press
This easily could have been a squash match and an exhibition for Ricochet and Sydal, but it was actually a good and fairly competitive match. Finlay and White had some good offense and a sequence in the middle of the match where they were dominant and showed some impressive moves. Finlay especially stood out with a powerful German suplex and a generally violent and eccentric attitude. He looks like he’ll be a good, powerful brawler as he develops.
Ricochet and Sydal were great in this match though. Their teamwork and amazing agility was on display. They are clearly one of the top teams, and though this match wasn’t a huge challenge for them, it showed off a little of what they can do. They are a very exciting team to watch.
After the match Ricochet and Sydal shook hands with White and Finaly, although seemingly a little grudgingly on Finaly’s part.
Juice Robinson vs Jay Lethal (ROH World Champ) w/ Truth Martini
Result: Jay Lethal wins via pinfall after a Lethal Injection (handspring cutter)
A pretty good match. Robinson made a good showing, but Lethal outclassed him. The commentators put over the history between Robinson and Truth Martini and it helped add a little drama to the match even if it didn’t directly affect it. Martini interjected himself in the match on a few occasions which wasn’t terrible. Overall, a pretty solid match.
Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi & Doc Gallows w/ Amber Gallows & Karl Anderson & King Haku vs KUSHIDA (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champ) & Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tomoaki Honma (IWGP Tag Champ) & Togi Makabe (IWGP Tag Champ)
Result: Anderson pins Honma after Magic Killer
This one was pretty chaotic. Lots of breakdowns and brawling. The Bullet Club really seemed to dominate this one. Haku wasn’t in the ring much, but when he was in there he couldn’t really be stopped. Gallows and Anderson also looked particularly strong. They fought like they were mad about losing the titles, and the new champs didn’t put up much of a fight. Pretty good match.
Bushi (CMLL World Welterweight Champ) & EVIL & Tetsuya Naito vs Mascara Dorada & Michael Elgin & Hiroshi Tanahashi
Result: Bushi pins Mascara Dorada after red mist and MX (diving double knee facebreaker)
This match had a little of everything. There was some drama between Naito and Tanahashi, a power contest between Elgin and EVIL, and some fast lucha action between Bushi and Dorada. It really worked well to put together a good, fun match. There wasn’t a whole lot of chaotic breakdown, it was mostly just two guys in the ring at any given time except for a few transitional periods.
Elgin and EVIL’s segment of the match seemed to be the highlight. It was power versus power and both got some good moves in at one point or another. Bushi and Dorada finished up with some fast action. Los Ingobernables used some dirty tactics, but not too extensively as to detract from the match.
After the match, Los Ingobernables continue to attack their opponents and Bushi rips off Dorada’s mask. KUSHIDA comes out to help Dorada and Bushi spits green mist in his face. Bushi gets on the mic and challenges KUSHIDA to the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Kenny Omega & AJ Styles vs YOSHI-HASHI & Shinsuke Nakamura (IWGP Intercontinental Champ)
Result: Omega pins Nakamura with a Katayoku no Tenshi (one-handed electric chair driver)
Very good match. Everyone looked good, but Omega especially stood out. He got a lot of offense and looked pretty unstoppable. He and AJ had much better tag chemistry than Nakamura and YOSHI-HASHI and it played in to how the match progressed.
There were some pretty exciting parts in this match and a few good near falls. The pace had a nice build to it. At first it felt like AJ and Nakamura were going to be the stars of the match, continuing where they left off from Wrestle Kingdom, but Omega stepped up and made it more about him. It’s cool to see things develop in the ring like that, and it’s a great way to set up a new feud.
After the match, Omega attacks Styles as he celebrates the win. The Bullet Club (Young Bucks, Cody Hall, Anderson, Gallows) comes out and holds Omega back. They help Styles to his feet, then the Young Bucks and Omega triple superkick Styles. The rest of the Bullet Club then joins in and stomps Styles.
Omega gets on the mic and says AJ is no longer the boss. Omega says that he is not a junior. He’s going after Nakamura. The Bullet Club starts to walk away, but Omega goes back to the ring and delivers a Styles Clash to AJ.
After a while, the crowd chants for AJ as he makes it to his feet. AJ bows to the crowd.
reDRagon & Katsuyori Shibata (NEVER Openweight Champ) & Hirooki Goto vs Roppongi Vice & Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada (IWGP Heavyweight Champ) w/ Gedo
Result: Goto wins via submission on Baretta with Shoryu Kekkai (modified seated armbar)
Another really good tag match. There were a couple of breakdowns where everyone was fighting in and around the ring, but the main portion of the match saw some good one on one battles. Goto taking on Okada and Shibata facing Ishii both stood out for different reasons. Shibata and Ishii resumed their hard-hitting exchange from Wrestle Kingdom, while Goto seemed to get a little bit better of the Heavyweight champ with some nice moves and transitions.
The tag teams also played a strong role in the match. reDRagon was brutal with their offense, and Roppongi Vice used speed. Baretta stood out as he took on Goto by himself for a while. He actually got a pretty good near fall on him. Overall a very entertaining match.
Goto gets on the mic and calls out Okada. He says he will take the title from him.
NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag Title Match
Young Bucks (IWGP Junior Tag Champs) & Bad Luck Fale w/ Cody Hall vs The Briscoe Brothers & Toru Yano (NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag Champs)
Result: Mark Briscoe pins Matt Jackson after a Froggy Bow to retain the titles
This match started as kind of a comedy match with redneck kung-fu, the antics of the Young Bucks, and the goofiness of Yano, but it gradually became more serious. It has probably my favorite move of the night when Mark Briscoe performed a combination Blockbuster and front flip senton from the apron to the floor on one of the Bucks and Cody Hall. Pretty great stuff.
Overall it was a very good match that really took off in the last few minutes. The final sequences were really well done and anybody could have won at that point. I was really pulling for the Broscoes, so it got pretty intense for a little while. A good main event.
Jay Briscoe gets on the mic and announces that Dem Boys have arrived, but this is only the beginning. Mark Briscoe gives it up for Yano. Yano says that he didn’t understand what the Briscoes just said, but no one does so it’s okay.
This was a good follow-up to Wrestle Kingdom. There was a little bit of a revisit to some of the matches from the previous night, but that just helped serve as a transition into the new developments that took place. Some interesting new rivalries look to be forming and some guys had breakout moments. The matches can’t compare to Wrestle Kingdom, but that wasn’t really the point. They were all solid and served the stories well. I look forward to what comes next in New Japan.
Match of the Night
Kenny Omega & AJ Styles vs YOSHI-HASHI & Shinsuke Nakamura
I think this was easily the best matches. A few of the matches had some really good finishes, but the emergence of Omega helped push this match over the top and made the match that much more exciting to watch.