New Japan pro-Wrestling, biggest wrestling promotion in Japan and the second biggest promotion in the world. Since 1976 NJPW has featured some of the best wrestling you could fine. Whether it be legendary foudner Antonio Inoki to the likes of Great Muta/Keiji Mutoh or Jushing Thunder Liger or Kensuke Sasaki to wrestlers more familiar to American fans like Owen Hart or Eddie Guerrero or Finn Balor and even Hulk Hogan. NJPW is a force in the sport.
Over the last few years, basically since Youtube, thanks to internet NJPW has become more available to fans outside Japan. Now not only hardcore wrestling fans and tape traders could follow. NJPW a few years back offered internet PPVs for fans outside Japan and this year launched NJPWWorld so you can subscribe and follow. Just under 9 bucks American. I made the jump because of the massive G1 Climax tournament and I’m still a member.
Now to the show. First the results.
1. Jushin Thunder Liger, Yohei Komatsu & Sho Tanaka def. Tiger Mask IV, David Finlay Jr. & Jay White
2. Hirooki Goto, Katsuyori Shibata & Mascara Dorada def. Captain New Japan, Juice Robinson & Togi Makabe
3. Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA) def. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Kenny Omega)
4. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga) def. CHAOS (Kazushi Sakuraba, Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI)
5. CHAOS (Gedo, Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tomoaki Honma
6. Super Junior Tag Torunament 2015 Semi Final: Matt Sydal & Ricochet def. The Young Bucks (BULLET CLUB members Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson)
7. Super Junior Tag Torunament 2015 Semi Final: Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero) def. reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly)
Power Struggle is the next big show and this is the third Road To show air on NJPWWorld. A lot of these house shows are simply teases for the major events. This being a major part of the Super Junior Tag Tournament it aired with no commentary but luckily multiple cameras. A drawback to NJPW but it doesn’t bother me. The first Road To… show teased some of the match ups and in other cases gave teams a warm up with the second one being first round which left us with the team of former WWE superstar Matt Sydal and LU’s Prince Puma aka Ricochet, the world infamous Young Bucks, RPG Vice and the current Jr. tag champs reDragon. No natives all foreigners.
Got to be honest, my fave Jr. tag match was actually the exhibition match between Time Splitters and BULLET CLUB. KUSHIDA and Shelly are so good as is the Jr. Heavyweight champion Kenny Omega. I know some rated this a little lower than me but I found this one to be a joy and wish they would’ve been paired up in the first round. Of the semi’s I liked the RPG Vice/reDragon match the best though I don’t think these two teams have the right sort of chemistry. Their last encounter at the past King of Pro-Wrestling show was alright and had a botch ending. This one exceeded it but the middle seemed to drag, luckily the fans were behind RPG Vice including Beretta who is much newer to NJPW. Beating the champs puts them in line for a shot at the belts. For some reason, my expectations for Bucks vs Ricochet/Sydall was too high. It did not deliver for me in spite of being a good match through and through.
The rest of the show was good. The opener teased the upcoming NWA Jr. Heavyweight match between Tiger Mask IV and Jushin Liger. Each flanked with a pair of Young Lions. The Young Lions are wrestlers working through the NJPW system. All four have fire and talent. The ending with Komatsu reversing a supelx attempt into a rolling Boston Crab was a nice visual. The six man that followed was fine. I know the former CJ Parker of NXT, now Juice Robinson, has been divisive thus far but I think he’s fine. Just needs to string his moves together a bit quicker and calm a bit down with the constant jabbering.
The two matches featuring CHAOS members were alright. The 8 man which ran first teased more Karl Anderson/Shinsuke Nakamura as the two are set to headline as Anderson challenges for superstar Shinsukes Intercontinental title at Power Struggle. Anderson was the best thing about the match scoring the win over YOSHI-HASHI. The second multi-man that featuring CHAOS served as futehr appetizer to the main event of Januarys huge WrestleKingdom 10 as longtime company ace and winner of 2015 G1 Climax Hiroshi Tanahashi challenges the new ace and current Heavyweight champ Kazuchika Okada. This will be their 7th one on one and each match has been a big deal especially as Tanahashi defeated Okada at WrestleKingdom 9. Right now its 3 wins to 3 wins with a draw. The match also teased Honma and Ishii who face off at Power Struggle over Ishii’s NEVER Openweight belt. This match was fine for what it was but was surprised by the last stretch with Rysuke Taguchi and champ Okada. Rysuke is not really popular with American fans but popular in Japan (common theme) but I liked this stretch. Even though I hate Rysuke’s butt/hip attack thing.
Overall a pretty good show. Mostly solid. I don’t know how many more Road To shows will air on NJPW but I might review others. I’ll definitely review Power Struggle.