Block A Tomohiro Ishii [4 Points] vs. Satoshi Kojima [4 Points]
They hit each other. A lot. Kojima got the first advantage. Ishii kept fighting back, but Kojima held him at bay multiple times. Kojima hit a nasty spiked DDT on the apron. Ishii eventually was finally able to come back after a superplex. He got a nearfall after a folding powerbomb. Ishii hit a big lariat, but Kojima came back with a brain buster. Ishii caught him with an enzguiri, but Kojima then caught him with a lariat as Ishii charged at him: 1…2…3
This was a fun opener. On paper, this was actually one of the more intriguing matches on this card. That may not bode well for the rest of this show. Ishii needs to get a IWGP Heavyweight Championship match in 2014. He’s that enjoyable. Kojima now has six points. Match Rating: **3/4
Block B Hiroyoshi Tenzan [2 Points] vs. Toru Yano [2 Points]
If this match ends within five minutes, I will do a dance. I really never need to see these two wrestle anyone ever again. Yano attacked Tenzan before the bell. They quickly ended up on the floor. Double countout, please. They got back into the ring. Le sigh. Yano was in control. Tenzan eventually made a comeback. This has been the longest six minutes of my life. Tenzan got the Anaconda Vice. Yano would not tap though so he broke the hold. Yano hit a low blow. He went to use a chair, but Tenzan gave him a spinning heel kick with the chair. He clocked him in the forehead with the chair. The referee was out for all of that. Moonsault: 1…2…3
This was not good, and anyone who tells you differently is a filthy liar. It could have definitely been worse though. Tenzan now has four points. Match Rating: *
Block A Katsuyori Shibata [4 Points] vs. Lance Archer [4 Points]
Almost every Lance Hoyt singles match in NJPW makes me go, “I cannot believe this is happening on Earth in real life.” This matchup is not the exception.
Archer quickly got control of the match. Shibata eventually came back and got a figure four variation. He transitoned to a triangle choke, and Archer made the robers. Archer came back with a chokeslam. Shibata came back with a sleeper and then the Penalty Kick: 1…2…3
Well, that was surprising short, and that’s not a complaint in the slightest. Neither man seemed especially motivated here, but at least the right man won. Shibata now has six points. Match Rating : **
Block B Shelton Benjamin [4 Points] vs. Tetsuya Naito [4 Points]
Neither man has looked that good so far in the tournament. Shelton has arguably looked the worst of anyone in the tournament.
Shelton quickly got control of the match. He did an uninspired heat segment. Naito made a comeback. Shelton cut him off with a superkick. Shelton got a nearfall with a German. Shelton got another nearfall with a diving blockbuster. Naito came back again and hit a very sloppy bridging German for a nearfall. Stardust Press: 1…2…3
I cannot get over how bad this show is right now. I knew Day 4 would likely not get topped, but this show feels like a completely different company. Naito now has six points. Match Rating: *1/4
Block B Minoru Suzuki [2 Points] vs. Karl Anderson [6 Points]
Suzuki’s theme song has temporarily saved the show. It’s going to be my wedding and funeral song. Anderson had control at the start, but Suzuki got a triangle choke in the ropes. Suzuki went after Anderson’s arm after that. Anderson had a few hope spots during the heat, but Suzuki maintained control for the most part. Suzuki got the sleeper, and he transitioned to the Gotch piledriver: 1…2…3
Well, that was very definitive. Anderson had a few teases of a big comeback towards the end, but Suzuki pretty much dominated the majority of this match. I don’t disagree with the result, but I question the wisdom of how they got there. Suzuki now has four points. Match Rating: **1/4
Block B Kota Ibushi [6 Points] vs. Yuji Nagata [4 Points]
What a matchup!
They traded a couple of strikes. Nagata won and got the advantage in the match. Ibushi came back with a hurricanrana and a dropkick that sent him to the floor. The Kota Ibushi Moonsault to the Floor. Nagata fought back and they traded more kicks. Nagata hit a nasty Total Anarchy. Nagata got the armbar with the eyes rolled back. Ibushi came back with the Liger Bomb. Ibushi avoided a German and hit a high kick to the head for a nearfall. Nagata hit a super exploder: 1…2…NO! Nagata followed that up with a roundhouse and a deathdrop driver: 1…2…NO! Nagata hit a bridging deathdrop driver: 1…2…3!
I was afraid this whole show would go by without a single good match. These two didn’t save the show or anything, but this was incredibly enjoyable. I really want both men to get a shot at Okada in the next year in NJPW (Yes, Ibushi and Okada had a great match in DDT). Nagata now has six points. Match Rating: ***1/2
Block B Yujiro Takahashi [6 Points] vs. Shinsuke Nakamura [4 Points]
Yujiro went for a tope early on, but Nakamura caught him with an enzuigiri. Nakamura was in control after that. Yujiro eventually managed to hit that tope. Yujiro worked him over for a while. It was whatever. Nakamura made a comeback, but Yujiro cut him off. He got a nearfall with a lariat. He got another nearfall with a German. Nakamura avoided a moonsault. He then hit a sliding knee and then a Boma Ye: 1…2…3
This was a match. Almost everyone is phoning it in on this show. Yujiro has had an awful tournament. At least Nakamura was coming off one of the best matches in the tournament. Nakamura now has six points. Match Rating: **
Block A Kazuchika Okada [2 Points] vs. Davey Boy Smith [4 Points]
Okada dropkicked him to the floor. Smith came back with a yakuza that sent Okada over the guardrail. Smith was going after the Rainmaker arm. Smith worked over that arm for a while. Okade caught Smith with a flapjack and then made a comeback. Smith cut him off and hit a backdrop driver for a nearfall. Okada came back with the Thigh Air Raid Crash. They traded forerams. Smith hit a bridging Tiger suplex for a nearfall. He got another nearfall with a folding powerbomb. Okada came back with a tombstone and a Rainmaker: 1…2…3
This started competently enough, but the closing sequence ended up being less than inspired. The early arm work went nowhere, and the crowd did not care all that much. I’m growing tired of watching Harry Boy Smith and Lance Hoyt in NJPW. Bring over Michael Elgin, please. Okada now has four points. Match Rating: **1/2
Block A Prince Devitt [6 Points] vs. Hirooki Goto [6 Points]
The winner of this will be the first to 8 points in the tournament. I have a bad feeling about who is going to win. Devitt got the advantage after Bad Luck Fale interfered. Goto eventually made a comeback, as babyfaces are wont to do. Goto went to finish Devitt, but Fale interfered. Goto gave him a head-butt, but Devitt then hit him with a chair and a chair-assisted double stomp for a nearfall. Goto came back with a discus lariat. Goto eventually hit the Shouten: 1…2…3
I have to admit something: the Bullet Club interference is really starting to be grating. This whole show just feels like a giant waste of time, and this match did not do anything to make me feel differently. The result was expected, but I cannot deny that I was holding out hope that NJPW would realize Goto never needs to be pushed that hard. Goto now has eight points. Match Rating: **1/2
Block A Hiroshi Tanahashi [2 Points] vs. Togi Makabe [4 Points]
They ended up on the floor, and Tanahashi surprisingly tried to win via countout. Makabe got back to the ring, but Tanahashi worked him over after that. Makabe was able to make a comeback after a snap powerslam. Makabe took him down with a lariat. Tanahashi got a nearfall with a Florida Key. Makabe avoided the High Fly Flow. Makabe got a nearfall with a bridging German. He got another nearfall with a folding powerbomb. Makabe hit a Spider German, but Tanahashi avoided the diving knee. Tanahashi then hit the Sling Blade, but Makabe blocked the High Fly Flow with his knees! Tanahashi hit a Styles Clash (the commentators even called it as such). Tanahashi then finally hit the High Fly Flow: 1…2…3
Tanahashi rocked out with some gnarly air guitar solos after the match.
This was an acceptable main event, but it was nothing you needed to see. I’m glad Tanahashi won because I really enjoyed his air guitar solos after the match. Best part of the whole show. Tanahashi now has four points. Match Rating: ***
After five days of competition, here are the tournament standings:
The 411: While I’m sure NJPW has had weaker shows this year, this is by the far the weakest NJPW show that I’ve seen since their unbelievable run of shows started. The only match from this show that anyone should ever watch ever was the Ibushi/Nagata. That is one match on a ten match card. That is just the drizzling shits. Huge thumbs down for this show.