By Big Red Machine
From March 06, 2017
MANABU NAKANISHI vs. TOMOYUKI OKA - 3.75/10
I like the idea of opening the anniversary show with a young boy taking on a grizzled old veteran. They hit each other hard a lot. The kid showed that he can take a good beating and still keep coming.
CHAOS (Jado, Gedo, YOSHI-HASHI, & Hirooki Goto) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, TAKA Michinoku, El Desperado & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) - 4.75/10
The Goto vs. Shibata parts had me excited for a potential match between these two. Other than that, this was meh.
JUSHIN "THUNDER" LIGER, TIGER MASK IV, YUJI NAGATA, TOGI MAKABE, & DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Kenny Omega, Yujiro Takahashi, & the Guerrillas of Destiny) - 4.25/10
Nagata had Tama Tonga in the Nagata Lock for quite a while. Then we randomly cut to the crowd as WAY too many promotions do nowadays, and when we came back the hold had somehow been broken. Is it really that hard to just keep the camera on the f*cking match? Omega and Fale did a comedy spot that made Omega look like an idiot. Other than that, the match was fine.
IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Roppongi Vice(c) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi) (w/Miho Abe & El Desperado) - 7/10
A mediocre match that really picked up in the last few minutes. Taichi is one of the best heels in wrestling. When he cheats it is just SOOOOO infuriating. Suzuki-Gun won the belts and tried to attack Beretta after the match but Jado & Gedo came out to make the save and chased Suzuki-Gun off.
RPW BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Katsuyori Shibata(c) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. - 7.75/10
Zack works the arm while Shibata works the head. Zack wins the belt after inference from Suzuki-Gun, who he has apparently joined. In hindsight I completely I understand why they did this- the pieces fit together perfectly (they need the belt off of Shibata but he's about to win the New Japan Cup to challenge Okada so they want to protect him, plus they can now set up a feud between him and Suzuki), but that doesn't change the fact that I still found it disappointing. We just got "new small guy shows up, wins belt, and joins heel stable" with Hiromu Takahashi and LIJ a few months ago, so doing it with Zack joining Suzuki-Gun feels repetitive, and its repetitiveness is one of the most obnoxious flaws in New Japan's booking.
IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano)(c) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (w/Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi) - 6.75/10
Ten-Koji are such excellent babyfaces, and finally seeing Yano's cheating not pay off was very satisfying. Unfortunately, Yano hurt this match by taking some pretty lame-looking bumps for Kojima's stuff, but overall, this was a great tag title change.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI, MICHAEL ELGIN, JUICE ROBINSON, & KUSHIDA - 7/10
IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Hiromu Takahashi(c) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi - 8.75/10
This was AWESOME! Lots of great counters, struggles in submissions, and high-impact moves, and, most amazingly, they managed to take Taguchi's usual butt stuff and make it work in an entirely serious manner.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - KUSHIDA comes out to challenge the winner to a title match at Sakura Genesis.
TIGER MASK W (w/Tiger Mask IV) vs. KAZUCHIKA OKADA (w/Gedo) - 8.5/10
A match full of big moves that built very well.
This was the usual awesome show from New Japan, with the top two matches definitely worth going out of your way to see.