From The Shelf- NJPW Wrestlekingdom VIII
Posted by Dylan Diot on 01.25.2014
The Intercontinental Title match main events, but the World Heavyweight Title match steals the show....
NJPW Wrestlekingdom VIII
Hey, one more Wrestlekingdom review wonít hurt anyone, right?
Pre Show: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Tomoaki Honma, Captain New Japan, and Bushi vs. Jushin Liger, Manabu Nakanishi, Super Strong Machine, and Yohei Komatsu
Ligerís team attacks to start and Komatsu dropkicks Honma. Ligerís team all charges at Honma in the corner and Komatsu hits a double under hook suplex for 2. Ligerís team stomps away on Honma and Honma comes back with a clothesline to Komatsu. Dropping head butt by Honma and he tags Bushi. He goes up and hits a missile dropkick to Komatsu. Slam by Bushi and he grabs a Boston Crab. Liger and Nakanishi break it up and Tenzan tags in. Shoulder chops by Tenzan gets 2 and they trade chops. Spinning heel kick by Tenzan gets 2 as Liger saves. Tag to Captain and he hits a back elbow for 2. Slam by Captain and he goes up. Diving head butt misses and Nakanishi tags in. He chops away in the corner and hits a corner clothesline. He charges again but misses and Nakanishi blocks an Irish whip attempt. Flying shoulder block by Captain and Tenzan tags in. He gives Nakanishi some shoulder chops but Nakanishi comes back with a Spear. Lariat by Nakanishi gets 2. Torture Rack by Nakanishi and he releases. Back suplex by Honma to Nakanishi and Komatsu tags in. Running forearm by Komatsu gets 2. Small package by Komatsu gets 2 and he rolls Tenzan up for 2. Clothesline by Tenzan gets 2 as Ligerís team breaks. Everyone comes in to brawl and Captain chops away on Komatsu. Honma goes up and hits the dropping head butt off the top to Komatsu. Tenzan goes up and hits a diving head butt off the top to the back of Komatsu for 2 as Ligerís team breaks again. Half Crab by Tenzan and Komatsu gives. Winners- Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Tomoaki Honma, Captain New Japan, and Bushi **1/4 ( It was decent for a pre-show match. Nothing blew me away and it was weird seeing Nakanishi and Tenzan working most of the match despite being past their primes.)
Yuji Nagata and Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Daniel and Rolles Gracie
Nagata is the only full time pro wrestler in this match so this should be interesting. Rolles and Sakuraba start. Rolles for an inverted half nelson but Sakuraba quickly goes to the ropes to break. Rolles looks for the Triangle Choke but Sakuraba escapes. Rolles locks Sakuraba in the grape vine but Nagata breaks it up. Nagata and Daniel tag in. Daniel takes Nagata down and looks for the Kimura but Nagata rolls on top of Daniel to counter. Nagata attempts a cross arm breaker but Daniel blocks and they battle for control on the mat. Daniel goes to the ropes to break. Kicks to the leg by Nagata but Daniel catches him in the sleeper. Nagata makes the ropes to break and Rolles tags in. Rolles hammers away but Nagata protects himself from the shots. Knees to the gut by Rolles and Daniel tags in. More knees in the gut by Daniel but Nagata takes him down and goes for the arm. Daniel counters into a cross arm breaker but Sakuraba steps on his face to block. Tag to Rolles and Nagata hits a hard kick to the chest. Tag to Sakuraba and he fires away on Rolles. Sakuraba goes for a head scissors but Rolles goes to the ropes to block. Tag to Daniel and he hits some knees to the gut in the corner. Nagata tags in and he and Sakuraba throw some kicks to the chest. Saito suplex by Nagata gets 2. Fujiwara arm bar by Nagata and he converts it into a cross arm breaker. Rolles breaks the hold and Daniel judo chops Nagata and chokes him with his jacket. He refuses to let go and the ref calls for the bell. Winners by DQ- Yuji Nagata and Kazushi Sakuraba * ( I understand what they were going for but this experiment failed miserable. This was a horrible shoot match, as the Gracies did not know how to work so everything they did with Nagata and Sakuraba looked horrible. One of the worst matches Iíve seen in New Japan in awhile. )
Minoru Suzuki and Shelton Benjamin w/Taka Michinoku and Taichi vs. Toru Yano and Great Muta
Muta and Suzuki start. Both men look for control on the mat but neither can gain the advantage. Benjamin tags in and he looks for an arm bar but Muta goes to the floor to block. Back in, Yano tags in and he fires away on Benjamin. Suzuki hits a knee to the back from the apron and grabs a hanging cross arm breaker. All four men brawl on the floor and Suzuki chokes away on Yano. Taichi throws some cheap shots using a chair at Yano and Benjamin slams Yano on the floor. Back in, Benjamin covers Yano for 2. Benjamin hammers Yano on the mat and he hits a butterfly suplex for 2. Tag to Suzuki and he hits a Yakuza kick in the corner. Snap mare into a running kick to the chest by Suzuki for 2. Benjamin tags in and he grabs a hammerlock but Yano goes to the ropes to break. Taichi chokes Yano in the ropes and Suzuki grabs another hanging cross arm breaker from the apron. Running knee strike from the apron by Benjamin gets 2. Yano rakes the eyes of Benjamin but Benjamin comes back with a suplex. Benjamin goes for the Stinger Splash but misses and hits the now exposed corner. Corner knee strike by Muta and he hits a dragon screw leg sweep. He dumps Benjamin to the floor and Muta drives a chair into both Benjamin and Suzuki. Back in, Muta hits hit famous elbow drop and Benjamin comes back with a spinning heel kick. Tag to Suzuki and he sends Yano into the exposed corner. Forearms by Suzuki but Yano takes him down by the pony tail to come back. Clothesline by Benjamin and he hits the Stinger Splash. Spinebuster by Benjamin and Suzuki grabs a cross arm breaker. Muta breaks it up but walks into a superkick from Benjamin. Sleeper by Suzuki and he goes for the Gotch Piledriver but Yano blocks. Shining Wizard by Muta and he hits a dragon screw leg sweep to Benjamin and Taka. Shining Wizard to Benjamin and he sprays mist in the face of Taichi as he was aiming for Suzuki. Sleeper by Suzuki but he eats a chair to the midsection from Yano. Suzuki catches him in the sleeper but Yano goes low and Muta sprays mist in his face. Small package by Yano gets 3!!! Winners- Toru Yano and Great Muta **1/2 ( Obviously the match wasnít going to be a technical classic but it was fun and everyone enjoyed seeing Mutaís spots so it was good for what it was supposed to be. )
King of Destroyer Match- Bad Luck Fale vs. Togi Makabe
You have to win the match by submission or knock out. Makabe attacks Fale at the bell and they slug it out. Makabe knocks Fale to the floor to win that battle and he follows out. Fale sends Makabe into the railings and he slams Makabe on the floor. Fale chokes Makabe with his chain and back in, Fale hits a Samoan Drop. The ref beings counting Makabe down and heís up at 6. Elbow drops to the back by Fale and he steps on the back of Makabe. Sitting chinlock by Fale and he works over the midsection of Makabe in the corner. Fale misses the Avalanche in the corner and Makabe catches him with a lariat. Corner clotheslines by Makabe and he hits some punches in the corner. Clothesline by Makabe and he hits the DVD. Makabe goes up for the King Kong Knee Drop but misses. Big boot by Fale and he grabs the chain. Makabe stops him and he nails Fale with the chain a few times. Clothesline using the chain by Fale and Makabe drives a table into the head of Fale. Makabe puts Fale on the table and he goes up. Fale recovers and shoves Makabe back into the ring. Avalanche in the corner by Fale and he hits a big splash. Samoan Spike by Fale and Makabe gets up at 8. Razorís Edge by Fale and Makabe gets up at 9. Slam by Fale and he goes up. He misses a flying spot off the top and Makabe clotheslines him to the floor. Makabe follows out and Fale works him over. Fale puts Makabe on the table and goes to the apron but Makabe catches him with a power bomb through the table!!! Back in, Makabe hits some clotheslines in the corner and Fale is up at 8. Makabe goes up and hits the King Kong Knee Drop. A second King Kong Knee Drop by Makabe and Fale doesnít get up before the count!!! Winner- Togi Makabe ** ( This match would have worked better as a chaotic brawl with Makabe bumping like crazy for Faleís offensive. Instead, we got a slow paced brawl that showed that went too long and showed that Fale is still green. Heís offensive looks cool, but he has some work to do. )
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hirooki Goto
Both men look for control early and Shibata slaps Goto a few times to send a message. Snapmare followed by a kick to the back from Shibata and he goes to the Figure-4. Goto makes the ropes to break and Shibata hits some forearms in the corner. Spinning heel kick in the corner by Goto but Shibata comes back with a hard kick to the chest. Forearms in the corner again by Shibata but Goto fires back with his own. Basement hesitation dropkick in the corner by Shibata and Goto bails. Shibata rolls him back in and Shibata hits some kicks to the chest. Goto comes back with a clothesline and he hits some kicks to the chest. Corner clothesline by Goto and he goes up. Flying elbow drop by Goto gets 2. They trade forearms and Goto hits some lariats with Shibata refusing to go down. Big boots by Shibata but Goto comes back with a lariat for 2. Saito suplex by Goto gets 2. Abdominal stretch by Shibata but Goto goes to the ropes to break. Release German suplex by Shibata and Goto comes back with a Saito suplex. They trade Saito suplexes and Goto connects with a Northern lariat. Shibata blocks a German suplex attempt and connects with the Pele. Lariat by Goto gets 1 and Shibata hits a kick to the chest for 1. Lariat by Shibata gets 1 and Goto hits a kick to the chest for 1 and both men are down!!!! Sleeper by Shibata and he hits the DVD backbreaker. Running kick to the chest by Shibata gets 2. Ura Shouten facebuster by Goto and he hits a DVD backbreaker. Powerslam backbreaker by Goto gets 2. Shouten Kai by Goto gets 2. Shibata catches Goto with the Shouten and both men are down again. Goto blocks the GTS attempt and he hits a hard head butt. Shibata returns the favor and they trade forearms. Lariat by Goto gets 1 and he fires away at Shibata with lariats. He KILLS Shibata with a lariat and then hits Shouten Kai for 3!!! Winner- Hirooki Goto **** ( This was a hell of a comeback match for Goto. They wrestled as though they hated each other so their hard strikes and vicious exchanges had meaning to them. There were some awesome sequences throughout the match and Goto got a huge win to put him into title contention. )
The 411: First off, I agree with the decision to have the Intercontinental Championship match main event over Okada/Naito. Naito's G1 Climax win came off as a fluke since he backdoored his way into the finals and he didn't get the momentum that the company expected him to gain heading to the match. Plus, Tanahashi and Nakamura are the two most popular guys on the roster, so their match would seem bigger in the eyes of the casual NJPW fan. As for the show itself, the first half of the show was really bad for an NJPW show. The second half was phenomenal, show of the year caliber stuff with four great matches and Okada/Naito is the first MOTY candidate for 2014. For the awesome second half I will recommend the show but the first five matches aren't really worth a watch.