NJPW Wrestle Kingdom IV
January 4th, 2010
Seigigun (Mitsuhide Hirasawa, Super Strong Machine, & Wataru Inoue) vs Jyushin 'Thunder' Liger, Kazuchika Okada, & Koji Kanemoto - 4/10
Kanemoto and Inoue started the match, but then everyone got paired up one by one, Liger vs SS Machine getting the louder pop. After the initial pairings, Okada and Inoue got the tags while the other men came in and out of the match, leading to Inoue locking an armbar on OKada and while the other two were held away Okada tapped out. Young Lion Okada showed some great fire and promise when he got in the match against Inoue. Liger was a beast this match, he looked huge. Match was really short tho, but as good as it can get for 5 minutes.
~ Amistad Combativa ~
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
Averno & Ultimo Guerrero vs Apollo 550 (C) - 7/10
This match was denominated 'Amistad Combativa', which translates to Friendly Fighting. Guerrero and Taguchi start the match, some great chain wrestling and lucha spots. Averno and Devitt were next with Devitt getting the upper hand. Taguchi came in and the Mexicans cut the ring in half on him and worked over him for a while. Devitt came in with the hot tag and ran wild for a bit. Last few minutes we saw some great spots with Devitt vs Guerrero, before all men got in the match and we get a great near fall when Averno hit Taguchi with a Top Rope Angel's Wings. Finish saw Devitt take out Guerrero with a double Footstomp, and then proceed to hit an assisted Codebreaker on Averno for Taguchi to pin. Great match. At one point in the match, Devitt did a Tope con Giro to the outside on Averno, and it seemed like Averno hurt his ankle, yet he continued the match like nothing.
~ Victim and Greed ~
IWGP Tag Team Championsihp 3-WAY Hardcore Rules Match
Team 3D (C) vs. NO LIMIT vs. Bad Intentions - 6.5/10
NO LIMIT, Naito and Yujiro, are finally making their return to NJPW after being forever in CMLL and TNA, they returned back in December, but this is their first match, and this time, they're going for the Heavyweight titles. Team 3D went straight after NO LIMIT, not waiting for introductions, and we ended having Yujiro fight off both Anderson and Bernard, while Naito took on both Ray and Devon. they cleared the ring and we got the big men in there as Bernard and Brother Ray clashed in the ring.
Team 3D finally brought in a ton of weapons and immediately busted Naito open. Again, we got Bernard and Ray in the ring, but this time with chairs, so they got into a sword fight before just striking each other until NO LIMIT came back and failed to hurt the big dudes. Team 3D then got a bunch of tables and put Naito and Anderson through them, Yujiro going through the last one, via Giant Bernard Top Rope Splash to the outside. Devon broke another via GB chokeslam.
Finally, Naito and Anderson made it to the ring alone and we finally got some wrestling going with some good stuff leading to a near fall after Anderson hits a Gun Stun on Naito. Team 3D hit a 3D on Anderson, but Bernard pulls them both out of the ring, leaving Anderson opened to be killed by NO LIMIT for the pin and steal.
They captured the titles, but I feel like they made it clear in this match that strength was more than tag team technique and heart, mostly because NO LIMIT got dominated all match and used as flies in the match, and then at the end, it was the other two team's miscalculation that opened the door for Naito and Yujiro.
~ Blood Stream Blue ~
Yuji Nagata & Akebono vs Masato Tanaka & TAJIRI - 7.5/10
Nagata and Tanaka want at each other, but to build it up, that means that Tajiri had to face Akebono first, so to get out of it, Tajiri cheap shot Nagata, got him riled up, and we started the match with Nagata vs Tanaka after all. Nagata initially had the upper hand, but Tanaka took it from him at the end and tagged in Tajiri. Akebono came in and completely dominated Tajiri, actually looking great, for Akebono standards.
We finally got a good long exchange between Nagata vs Tanaka that was awesome, they went back and forward, grapple moves and a strike off. Tajiri tagged in and once again, Nagata and Akebono started to control, but as Akebono gets ready to take out Tajiri for good, Jado and Gedo distract Nagata outside, leaving an opening for Tajiri to hit the green mist on Akebono and a Lariat from Tanaka and he's out. Nagata comes in, but is overtaken by the rest of the green mist, sliding forearm by Tanaka, and a Buzzsaw Kick, enough for Tajiri to pin him. It started kinda slow, but this was great, I mean, I rather watch Tanaka vs Nagata in a singles, but great nonetheless.
~ The Legend Never Rots ~
Manabu Nakanishi, Masahiro Chono, Riki Choshu, & Terry Funk vs CHAOS (Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii, Takashi Iizuka) & Abdullah The Butcher - 3/10
The Legend Never Rots was the tagline of this match, tho Butcher is here and he looked kinda rotten, he is having trouble even walking out of the ring, but considering the whole build is to Funk vs Butcher, he should only come in until the end and really not do a single thing other than use his fork.
Yano started the match and got his ass kicked for a while between all the old timers. They did the same with Ishii and Iizuka, and finally, as Iizuka and Funk are going at it, Abdullah finally comes in and gets some shots on Funk, looking completely immovil, think Andre's final year, just holding the ropes all the time to keep himself up. There is a miscalculation and Butcher accidentally hits Iizuka, and all the babyfaces take control of the match until the CHAOS guys pulled the ref and Iizuka gets his claw, but since Butcher and Iizuka had that little altercation, Funk takes the claw, throws it to Butcher, and Butcher just claws everyone in his team, leaving Iizuka opened for Nakanishi to submit to the Torture Rack. This was a terrible match only because it was centered around the guy that can't move inside the ring, because all in all, all the old timers Funk, Chishu, and Chono looked great against the younger guys. Ishii was easily the MVP of the match.
NJPW v NOAH Battle Effusions ~ WILDERNESS ~
Mohammed Yone vs. Togi Makabe - 6.5/10
This is the first of the NJPW vs NOAH battles, named Wilderness. Yone attacked Makabe during the latter's entrance, but once they made it to the ring, Makabe started a comeback and this huge hoss fight began. It was a long exchange of lariats, forearms, shoulder blocks, the occasional kicks by Yone, and it wasn't until the end that Makabe started building towards the KKK Drop that he hit the Spider Driver and KKKD for the win. It was a short match, but action packed.
~ Highest Sky ~
IWGP Jr. Heavyweights Championship Match
Tiger Mask (C) vs Naomichi Marufuji - 9/10
Marufuji is coming in as the winner of the Super J Cup from last December, earning this title shot. Match started with botm men measuring each other, going hold-by-hold, but soon into the match, Marufuji started his focus on Tiger's head and neck, which he would maintain throughout the whole match. On the other hand, Tiger Mask initially worked the legs with submissions, while also getting some head work in there, but as the match progressed, his whole focus went to the head as he chased the Tiger Suplex.
At one point, Marufuji was going for an Over the Rope Kick on Tiger, but Tiger caught him mid air and they both fell to the floor where they exchanged some shots before a close call on the 20 count. Huge near fall after top rope Tiger Driver where Marufuji almost fell head first. Then Tiger went for the Tiger Suplex, Marufuji escaped the first, but not the second for another near fall. Tiger locks in a Kimura for yet another near fall, he's getting close to finally finishing off Marufuji, but Marufuji fight back and manages to get Tiger to the top rope and hit a Shiranui from there for a big near fall, and the end, Marufuji just kills Tiger Mask with kicks and the Tiger Flowsion for the win. Awesome match, Tiger really stepped up to the level, and all the near falls at the end were great, because I didn't really expect Marufuji to take the title to NOAH.
NJPW v NOAH Battle Effusions ~ RADIANCE ~
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Go Shiosaki - 9.5/10
This match pitted a much stronger Go Shiosaki against a quite resilient Tanahashi. Really early in the match, as they're measuring each other and going hold-by-hold, Tanahashi was mocking Go, treating him like a young kid, and granted Go was wearing all black trunks, but still disrespecting. Go soon after would gain control of the match and start overpowering Tanahashi, putting some focus on the head and torso, but Tanahashi, being the wizard that he is, catches Go in a split second and turns the match around, focusing on the legs via Dragon Screws and submission locks.
Go powered himself into a comeback, where he started striking and chopping Tanahashi to death, really stiff sounding chops. Tanahashi dodged a knee drop to get himself back to Go's leg, but you can already see Go's hand printed on Tanahashi's chest. They started going back and forward, Go chopping and Tanahashi landing some Slingblades, finally chasing the High Fly Flow, but Shiosaki blocks the first try with his knees. Go kills Tanahashi building to a beautiful moonsault for a near fall. They get into a strikefest that ends with Go hitting a huge Backfist and Lariat for a near fall. Tana manages to get out of a Brainbuster for a Dragon Suplex, a Slingblade and a Falcon Arrow for a near fall, but he immediately follows with two High Fly Flows for the win. Awesome match! Go came soo close to taking the win here, he was a beast!
Post-match - Tanahashi offers a hand shake, Go doesn't take it, but acknowledges Tanahashi.
NJPW v NOAH Battle Effusions ~ BLAST ~
GHC Heavyweight Championship Match
Hirooki Goto vs Takashi Sugiura (C) - 9.5/10
Goto ain't a small man, yet Sugiura looks like a final boss next to him. Early on, after both men are done measuring each other, Sugiura got really stiff with his kicks, waking Goto up a bit, but Sugiura's dominance is just too much, so that every time we see Goto try to come back, he just gets kicked down to the mat again.
At a big turning point in the match, Goto and Sugiura are fighting on the top rope, Goto drops Sugiura with a Front-facing Suplex, but Sugiura just works himself back up there and hits a Frankensteiner on Goto (that Goto botches), but then finally fires up and turns the match around on Sugiura after dropping him with a neckbreaker on the apron. They started going back and forward, with Goto getting more and more near falls on the champ, including a huge one after a Shouten Kai. Sugiura comes back with an Ankle Lock and chases the Olympic Slam, but Goto dodges and locks in an armbar, but Sugiura manages to escape via ropes for another great near fall.
Sugiura once again find a way to lock in the Ankle lock, but Goto gets out and these two go into strikegest ending with Sugiura killed Goto with the Olympic Slam for a huge kickout. Sugiura locks in the Ankle Lock a third time, but stomps Goto's head and drops himself into the mat forcing Goto to verbally tap out. Fuck, this match was also amazing!
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match
Shinsuke Nakamura (C) vs Yoshihiro Takayama - 8.5/10
Story coming in is that this is a rematch from the 2004 January 4th Show match for the NWF World Title, which Nakamura won and immediately unified with the IWGP Championship, retiring the other. In this match, Takayama has claimed, that once he wins the match, he will retire the IWGP Championship on the spot, so Nakamura not only has to defend his own title, but the company's title overall. They haven't fought since that 2004 match.
The clash here has Takayama coming in as an unstoppable strong fighting machine, against Nakamura, who is in his period where he is finding himself as the new leader of CHAOS, just recently breaking away from GBH and winning the championship, so it's "Put Up or Shut Up" for Nakamura. This also has the factor that both men's history in MMA fighting is well known, so I think there's that wish of seeing them shoot at each other.
Match started with Takayama completely dominating Nakamura for a long while, nothing fancy, straight up hammering him down with chops and strikes and kicks and hurting him, but about a third of the match in, Nakamura finally fins an opening and gets some offense in, targeting Takayama's arm towards the armbar, and legs, trying to bring the Mountain down. As Takayama's striking weapon is hurt, he starts to go for submissions and throwing Nakamura around; meanwhile Nakamura is chasing the armbar openly.
There was a spot where Nakamura ran face first into Takayama's knee, it looked like he was knocked out and we got a near fall via TKO, which is not as common. Nakamura came back and started hitting Takayama with knees. They got into a (literally) a fist fight with Takayama hitting some great looking closed fist punches, but Nakamura finds it in himself to hit
several knee strikes and a Bomaye and finally pin Takayama for the win. Great match, great story, and great heat, but it did feel like it could had gone longer.
Post-match - Nakanishi gets in the ring and pushes Nakamura. Officials get in the ring to crown NAkamura with the Jan 4th trophy. Nakamura and Takayama embrace and the latter puts Nakamura over. Nak gets all his prizes and his championship back. Nakamura was interviewed in the ring, but I'm not sure what he said.
A great show from NJPW, it slightly slumped there in the middle for the nostalgia match, but it picked right up and delivered some great matches.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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