Views from the Hawke's Nest: Free NJPW Matches Part 1
Posted by TJ Hawke on 12.23.2012
Watch Kota Ibushi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi in one of the best matches from 2011. Also, there is other, less awesome, stuff like Orlando Jordan vs. Yuji Nagata.
These are some random matches that New Japan Pro Wrestling has put up on their Youtube page. Yes, I know you can pretty watch every single Japanese match ever on the Youtube for free, but I would at least like to pretend that some of you will only watch the free stuff that the promotions make available. Buy NJPW iPPVs please.
Jushin Liger vs. Ebessan from NJPW 2003
This started out as a non-comedic affair, which surprised me. That didn't last forever. Eventually, Liger cut off Ebessan, and he got the heat for a bit. Ebessan made a comeback, and he even got a nearfall with a Drunk Slam. Ebessan then hit a FU. He went for a moonsault, but Liger avoided it. Liger then got a nearfall with a super hurricanrana. Liger went for a frog splash, but Ebessan got his knees up. Ebessan then got a nearfall with La Magistral Cradle! SHINING WIZARD FROM EBESSAN! Ebessan then hit a corkscrew moonsault: 1...2...NO! Where the fuck did that come from? Liger came back with a palm strike and a powerbomb. He went for a Liger Bomb, but Ebessan reversed it into a hurricanrana: 1...2...NO! Koppou Kick from Liger! LIGER BOMB: 1...2...NO! What??? Liger then hit a brainbuster: 1...2...3
I was expecting a little more comedy here, but almost everything they did was a lot of fun. The crowd lost interest towards the end, as Liger obviously had the match won. Match Rating: **1/2
Orlando Jordan vs. Yuji Nagata from NJPW 2007
They did some test of strength stuff early. Jordan didn't go down after a shoulder block, and he then mocked Nagata by making his pecs bounce. Fantastic. Jordan took Nagata down with a punch to the face, and he then started to work over Nagata. The crowd seemed surprised that this was happening. Nagata came back with some kicks to Jordan's left leg. Nagata then went to town on that leg. Nagata got a leglock, but Jordan was able to roll to the ropes. Jordan hit a spinebuster, which got him a two count. Jordan then hit a Mic Check, which also got him a two count. Jordan went to the top rope and hit a diving elbow, but that also only got him a two count. Jordan went for a urinagi-like move, but Nagata reversed it into a DDT. Nagata then delivered some stiff kicks and forearms. Nagata hit an exploder suplex, and he then locked in the crippler crossface! Jordan tapped almost immediately.
This match was actually just fine considering my expectations, but I think it suffered from the fans not knowing how seriously they should take Jordan. This matchup was posted mostly just because I find the idea of it to be so inherently hysterical. Enjoy it for what it is (an ok NJPW undercard match). Match Rating: **1/2
Davey Richards vs. Kota Ibushi from NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 2010
Davey tries to ground Ibushi early, but Ibushi is able to get out of the holds and hits a dropkick. They end up on the apron and start kicking each other. That ends when Davey slams him on the apron with a wrist lock. Davey then goes after his arm some more. Ibushi came back with a sloppy hurricanrana, and then hit a moonsault to the floor from the middle rope. Back in the ring, Ibushi hit some kicks, a standing shooting star, and a lionsault, but Davey kicked out at two. They traded rollups , which the crowd was really into. Ibushi hit a snap German, but Davey kicked out. They ended up on the top rope, and Ibushi hit a beautiful hurricanrana but Davey kicked out at 2 again. Ibushi then finished him off with a 450 splash. A really good match that is worth seeing for sure, but it was a couple of notches below their matches in Ring of Honor and in Evolve. Match Rating: ***1/2
Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi from NJPW Best of the Super Juniors 2010
The first few minutes established that both men were respectful athletes. Eventually Ibushi got sent to the outside and Devitt hit a beautiful no-hands somersault plancha. Ibushi made a comeback and hit an amazing Arihara moonsault. Ibushi got right back up and hit a springboard dropkick to floor, which almost got him the win by countout. Ibushi followed that up with a lionsault for a nearfall. Ibushi went for his double jump moonsault but Devitt blocked it (it's a signature spot from Ibushi that never gets blocked). Devitt hit a huge super back suplex but Ibushi kicked out. Devitt followed it up with a gutbuster and a pair of double stomps but Ibushi still kicked out. Ibushi came back with a Pele kick and a half-n-half suplex (fans are going batshit at this point). Ibushi hit a huge frankensteiner but Devitt kicked out. Ibushi THEN hit a bridging German and a 450 splash but Devitt STILL kicked out. Ibushi started selling his arm big time after that kickout and was being tended to in the ring; Ibushi forced himself to go on though. He peppered Devitt with kicks but Devitt avoided one kick and hit the Bloody Sunday for the win. Devitt says that he loves wrestling for NJPW, and that he is now going after the IWGP Jr. Title.
After hitting so many big moves, the double arm ddt was a little bit of a flat finish (a problem with most Devitt victories that end with that move), but still though, this was a tremendous athletic contest that I HIGHLY recommend. Match Rating: ****
Kota Ibushi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi from the 2011 NJPW Best of Super Junior Finals
Ibushi is very over with the live crowd. They started out at a far more subdued pace than I expected. Taguchi hit a dropkick, which sent Ibushi to the floor. Taguchi followed that up with a somersault plancha. Ibushi made it back to the ring before the twenty count, but Taguchi was now in control of the match. Ibushi managed to pull off a hurricanrana, which sent Taguchi to the floor. Ibushi then busted out his Asai Moonsault variation. Taguchi ended up back in the ring and ate a springboard dropkick from Ibushi. Ibushi hit a standing shoorting star press for a nearfall. Taguchi came back with a gord buster for a nearfall. Ibushi came back with a standing corkscrew moonsault: 1…2…NO! Taguchi came back with a springboard moonsault. Taguchi went to the top rope, but Ibushi hit his back flip Pele kick. Ibushi then hit a springboard super hurricanrana for a nearfall. Bridging German from Ibushi: 1…2…NO! Ibushi went for a moonsault, but Taguchi rolled out of the way. Taguchi hit him with a lariat, but Ibushi popped right back up. Ibushi caught him with a Lawn Dart and a big lariat: 1…2…NO! Taguchi avoided a lariat, and Ibushi avoided a German. Sit-out powerbomb from Ibushi: 1…2…NO! Bridging Dragon Suplex from Ibushi: 1…2…NO! Ibushi hit a 450 Splash: 1…2…NO!!! Ibushi put Taguchi on the top rope, but Taguchi countered with a SUPER GORD BUSTER! Both men are down. Taguchi avoided a buzzsaw kick and hit a bridging German suplex: 1…2…NO! Bridging Tiger Suplex from Taguchi: 1…2…NO! Enzugiri and Glam Slam from Taguchi: 1…2…NO!!! The crowd is molten right now. Ibushi hit a Pele and a bridging half-nelson suplex: 1…2…NO! They got to their feet and traded strikes. Ibushi hit a sole butt and a buzzsaw kick. Ibushi then hit another sit-out powerbomb: 1...2…NO! Ibushi to the top rope: PHONEIX SPLASH! 1…2…3!!! Ibushi hugged the referee in excitement, which may be the best thing ever.
Simply put, this is an absolutely fantastic match, and it would have had to have been considered a MOTYC for 2011. These two were at the top of their games here, and this match made them seem like a level above every other wrestler in the world. A must see match. Match Rating: ****1/2
PAC vs. Bushi from NJPW’s Best of Super Juniors Tournament 2012
PAC was a representative of Dragon Gate UK in this tournament. This is my first time seeing a Bushi match. PAC sent Bushi to the floor early, and he casually hit Bushi with a Fosbury Flop. Bushi got back to the ring, but PAC stayed in complete control. Bushi countered a charging PAC with a pendulum kick and then a missile dropkick. Bushi sent PAC to the floor with a headscissors, and Bushi then hit a slingshot hurricanrana. Back in the ring, Bushi hit a nasty spike DDT and a sliding kick for a nearfall. PAC came back with a step up enzugiri and a standing shooting star press: 1...2...NO! PAC went to the top rope, but Bushi met him up there and hit a one-man Spanish Fly: 1...2...NO! Bushi went to the top rope and went for a 450, but PAC rolled out of the way. PAC rolled him up for a nearfall. PAC then hit corkscrew shooting star press: 1...2...3
This was another good undercard match from the 2012 BOSJ. This felt like a short match to showcase PAC more than anything else. If you have never seen the "Man that Gravity Forgot" before, you really owe it to yourself to seek out his best stuff in Dragon Gate and PWG. Match Rating: ***
Alex Shelley, Yuji Nagata, KUSHIDA, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, Harry Smith, TAKA Michinoku & Taichi from NJPW 2012
Taichi and KUSHIDA actually did some shenanigans to start the match. Nagata tagged in, so Taichi ran for the hills and tagged out to Suzuki. Not much of note happened until Archer and Smith managed to isolate Kojima. Nagata and Suzuki ended up battling in the crowd near the merch/concession stands. Kojima was worked over by the rudos for a bit. Eventually, Kojima hit Smith with an Ace Crusher, and he then tagged out to Tenzan who ran wild for a bit. Smith managed to take Tenzan down with a running knee, so Tenzan tagged out to Shelley (which makes it the first time he entered the match). Shelley and KUSHIDA ran through some of there double team offense. Suzuki blocked them from hitting TAKA with their finisher. The match broke down. TAKA got a nearfall on Shelley with a running knee strike. The tecnicos then killed TAKA with a series of running strikes in the corner. Shelley had TAKA pinned with a flying splash, but the referee was held up. Taichi then hit Shelley with a chair, which allowed TAKA to pin him: 1...2...3
This was a fun house show tag match. They didn't try to steal the show, and no one went out there with the intention of killing themselves, but they still managed to deliver an entertaining bout. I only wish Shelley got more to do earlier in the match, as I went out of my way to watch this match because of his involvement. Match Rating: **3/4
Apollo 55 (Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs. Brian Kendrick & Jado from NJPW 2012
Spanky looks like he is in great shape. Spanky used some rudo tactics at the start, but Devitt managed to pants him and slap his ass. NJPW! The rudos were eventually able to isolate Taguchi, and they worked him over briefly. That ended when Taguchi tricked Spanky to blindly attack Jado. Apollo 55 did some posing shenanigans to the delight of the crowd. The rudos managed to go back to working over Taguchi after that. Taguchi eventually hit Spanky with a springboard back elbow. Devitt tagged in and ran mild. This was not his most inspired comeback. Taguchi went for the Three Amigos on Jado, but Jado blocked the third vertical suplex and came back with a back suplex. Apollo 55 managed to pants the rudos, and Devitt then crotched Spanky on a guardrail. Taguchi then caught Jado in a pinning combination: 1...2...3!
This was the typically solid/fun house show effort. We've posted a few of these matches, and my reaction is pretty much always the same: if you watch this match, you will be entertained, but the match is nothing that you need to go out of your way to see. Kendrick was pretty amusing during this match. His shtick was getting over, which is a testament to his willingness to be himself instead of conforming to some "expected standard." Match Rating: ***
The 411: I'm sure you all know how to watch the very best of NJPW on the Youtube and other nefarious means, but I hope this article, if nothing else, encourages you to subscribe to NJPW's Youtube channel and check out more of the stuff they've got on there. As for these matches, you owe it to yourself to watch the two BOSJ finals and the Orlando Jordan match. ORLANDO FUCKING JORDAN WAS IN NJPW!