Beer & Coffee Rant for NJPW’s “Road To Destruction 2014: Kōrakuen
Live from Tokyo, Japan – 9/15/14
[ Click HERE to see the show in it’s entirety without spoilers ]
With the final NJPW pay-per-view of the Ustream era coming on the air in
a couple hours, here goes the most recent Kōrakuen show leading up
to it. There’s also another NJPW show that aired after this one
(available HERE), once again with no commentary, just crowd noise and
ring mics. Of course, with no commentary, I had no idea what was going
on, so you may have to fill in the blanks for me.
Also quick note, if you didn’t check out last night’s Atlantis vs.
Ultimo Guerrero mask vs. mask match, don’t sleep on it. Believe the
hype, it was an incredible way to spend a late Friday night. Plus, the
ROH show with Styles vs. O’Reilly, and Bucks vs. Briscoes is the single
best hour of U.S. wrestling you’ll find on TV this year. Again, don’t
sleep on that one; proof that these wacky North Americans can do this
wrestling shit as well as anybody in the world. Ok, moving on now……
Taichi & El Desperado vs. Yohei Komatsu & Maximo
I’m watching Taichi & Desperado performing a song in the ring before
the match, but I have it on mute for the moment; Rakim blaring in the
background. For about 2 or 3 seconds there, Taichi’s lip-synching and
body language matched perfectly with the song. You haven’t lived until
you’ve seen Taichi spitting a Rakim verse while Despy plays the Eric B
role (or in this case guitar) in the background. This 3MB gimmick
they’re doing is a welcomed addition that’s effective in livening up
Taichi’s karaoke act.
Taichi begins on his back (ala Low-Ki or KUSHIDA). Komatsu, reigning WON Rookie of the Year, thinks
about it, lunges in, but decides against it. So Taichi switches to the
old Kurt Angle amateur wrestling position… and right on cue Maximo runs
in, in excitement. Taichi is appalled. As Taichi hides in the ropes,
Maximo gently strokes his back like a creepy uncle. A game of mercy
turns to a bridge, Taichi hops on, but Maximo humps him until he’s off,
and then Taichi gets unceremoniously depantsed without permission. No,
the Japanese don’t mind the homophobic overtones, they don’t even mind
Hitler that much.
Maximo gets his lucha flippy-doo wackiness off, and the crowd pops huge.
Komatsu & Desperado in now, and this match picks up quick in terms
of the fight. Komatsu hits a Frankenyohei. Taichi de-skirts him, a
receipt for earlier, but then decides against the results. It’s up and
down with the blouse in between chops. They choke him out on a double
team, but when they won’t break on 5, they get roughed up by the young
referee in a new spot I don’t remember this guy doing before this week.
Nearfalls for Komatsu near the end, which the crowd eats up cuz that’s
really the strength of these Komatsu matches. Taichi then gets met with a
kiss from Maximo and a bridging rollup from Komatsu for 2.9, and the
crowd is losing their shit. That might be the best near-fall of the
night, when we’re done here. You don’t expect the #1 contenders to lose,
but right there you actually believed it! Suzuki-Gun regains control
however, kicks Maximo out of the ring, and hits Komatsu with the assisted
Gory Special looking thing that’s gonna kill somebody one day, for a
definitive three @ 9:22 *** Komatsu is the dude, the #1 contenders are a
fresh act that feels fun, and Maximo is so good at the gay gimmick that
he just got signed to the Cowboys practice squad.
WINNERS: Taichi & El Desperado
Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Tiger Mask IV & “The Funky Weapon” Ryusuke
The Timesplitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA) & BUSHI
“The Funky Weapon” is out first and the crowd is rocking tonight,
clapping along at will.
Timesplitters come out to the Outatime Orchestra joint as always.
KUSHIDA and the #1 contender start with some wrestling, but when the
Weapon goes for an ankle lock, KUSHIDA knows it’s time to scoot. They run
some ropes ending in Weapon eating a big kick to the face from KUSHIDA.
Don’t Ibushi him, bro. Shelley and Mask tag in. Mask attempts a dive to
the floor, but Shelley evades. Mask may have not known that going in,
but they adlib accordingly. Liger off the top onto Shelley’s taped up
left shoulder, pounding it hard with a chair on the outside as they
brawl through the crowd. Liger in full bad-ass, ain’t-fucking-around
Weapon back in off the top onto the shoulder and locks in a sub, and
then throws KUSHIDA out and tags in TM4 who starts kicking the shit of
Shelley’s wing. Every time he tries to fight back they just keep
pounding him down until finally Liger eats some knees on a top rope
attempt. Hot tag BUSHI. He cleans house and absolutely IMPALES Liger
with topes. GIF that immediately. BUSHI will not be denied! KUSHIDA
comes in and gets caught with that trademark, textbook Liger
Weapon in, to take advantage. KUSHIDA roars back with kicks to the left
arm, and almost gets the Hoverboard lock, but Weapon gets that anklelock
he’s been rocking. Shelley breaks it. Now the action really picks up as
we get 100 moves at a 100 mph and it’s too much to call. The anklelock
battle gets crucial as they reverse reversals of reversals in a spot-on
sequence that ends in a great KUSHIDA bridging roll-up for the three @ 12:16
*** ¼ A little showmanship between champ and contender after the match,
as we’re two matches in and the feel of the hard sell is in full effect.
The KUSHIDA/Weapon thing is clicking way better than it was two weeks
WINNERS: Timesplitters & BUSHI
Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Tama Tonga
Big Ishii chant. He locks up with Tama Tonga. No, he doesn’t. Yujiro
attacks from behind. Boots to Ishii, but he will have none of this
fuckery and fights back with forearms and a big shoulderblock. He grinds
in a headlock but Yujiro bites the thumb like a punk. Fuck that, Ishii
drops him with a suplex and tags in Gedo. Yujiro grinds in a headlock
but Gedo bites the thumb like the master of the scientific style that he
is. Kudos. Big Gedo chant for that one, rightfully so. Yuj sends Gedo
to the outside for Tonga to prey upon him. Yujiro on the floor, sends
Ishii into the post and Tiger Hatori starts the 20 count.
Tonga deadlifts Gedo into a Tong Bottom and puts an elbow to the dome.
Gedo chants again. Tonga in control but misses the most athletic
avalanche in the business. Gedo tags out and Ishii is in, no sells a
dropkick, powerslam and a bunch of strong strikes. Killer lariat, but
Tonga fights through the loopiness to nail a nice dropkick and finally
hits that huge Stinger Splash, not realizing Ishii is numb to that shit.
Tag to Yujiro. He starts slapping Ishii in the face. Who in their right
mind would do that? He actually maintains the advantage until Ishii
headbutts this fucker, and Gedo is in there with fists of fury. Some
CHAOS double teaming gets two. Gedo Clutch but Tonga breaks. Ishii
breaks him in half with a lariat, but Yujiro hits Gedo with Tokyo Pimps
for three @……. BUT NO, he pulls him up off the canvas at 2.99
Seriously, eat shit Yuj. He hits the Miami Shine for the win, which is
Sean O’Haire’s Widowmaker as I get all misty and Bullet Club stands tall
as the victors @ 9:38 *** Gedo put over everybody this month on the way to
the big shows, like a real booker should.
WINNERS: Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi
Minoru Suzuki, TAKA Michinoku & Takashi Iizuka vs. Forever Hooligans
(Alex Kozlov & Rocky Romero) & Toru Yano
I feel like I’ve seen a billion versions of this match this week. My
money is on Kozlov taking the beating. We start with TAKA & Romero
in the middle with a manly exchange of forearms. Springboard cross body
from Romero and a Frankenrocky lead to a Kozlov tag and we get the wacky
ass spots in the corner that the Hooligans are so goddamned good at.
Kozlov makes TAKA rake his own eyes, but gets triangled in the ropes by a
wide awake Suzuki. He kicks the piss out of Kozlov from the apron and
all hell breaks loose outside the ring. It’s Iizuka, run fuckers!
Now for the spot that we will all remember this show for later on: They
BLOW THE 20 COUNT SPOT, and Kozlov gets rolled in at what would be 23 or
24. They literally didn’t make it in the ring nearly in time and Hatori
had to just stop at 19. Crowd dying in laughter and can’t handle the
hilarity! TAKA is ready to kick Hatori’s ass for not declaring them
the victors. Suzuki with the incredulous facials. With Kozlov back in,
TAKA gets the Ushanka kicks of not so subtle irony on Kozlov. Suzuki
tags in and manages to lock in a double sub on the Hooligans but breaks
on 4 and then lets Hatori know how counts work. Two counts via lateral
presses now, and the joke is still running wild as Suzuki is livid.
Such limited Yano/Iizuka-ness and more of a Suzuki/TAKA vs. Hooligans
match, making for a good bout. As I type that, Iizuka in now to choke
Kozlov to the mat. Suzuki tosses Iizuka the cord and now he’s really
choking away. Crowd in unison behind Kozlov to make the tag, he gets an
enzuigiri and it’s finally hot tag Yano. Crowd loves that, and he takes
the corner apart. Beard Yank! Hatori breaks it physically, and Iizuka
loses hair. He’s about to murder Hatori for that, and this match is
absolutely clicking. They trade Irish whips into the exposed turnbuckle.
Yano goes for the RVD but gets choked from behind with the cord. Suzuki
in finally to break up the one-star nature of Yano vs. Iizuka, and he
locks in an armbar on old nemesis Yano but breaks for TAKA to showboat
and attempt an RVD pose of his own in a mocking fashion. Before he can
finish however, Yano blasts him with the Hackenschmidt Memorial Punch To
The Nuts and gets a roll up for three @ 10:11 *** Very fun match that had
the crowd rocking the whole time.
WINNERS: Forever Hooligans & Toru Yano
Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma vs.
Yuji Nagata, Kota Ibushi, Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan
Oh lord, it’s the NWA tag titles. Tenzan & Nakanishi start us off
with chops, leading to Mongolian chops, leading to a spin kick from
Tenzan. The most well timed TenKoji combo I’ve seen in a while has
Nakanishi in trouble but he will not sell your bullshit double suplex
attempt. He plexes TenKoji both at the same time, and we end up with
Ibushi and Honma in the ring facing off. Honma and Naito get off their
clean little double team sequence on Ibushi, but he pops up leaving
Honma falling headfirst and then he moonsaults Naito. That was dope!
Good to have Kota back and healthy between the ears.
Nagata tags, but Kojima in with 17,342 chops on Nagata in the corner and
of course “Ichauzo Bakarayo”. Nagata with a Nagata Lock, Nakanishi with
a back breaker, and the Yuji-taker face of doom. Ibushi and Naito in,
and it’s as good in the ring as it is on paper. Crazy duel has Naito
ahead with the basement dropkick and rolling senton. Is that a Naito
chant? He goes German (again, the Japanese don’t mind), but Ibushi
almost eats a wicked DDT. Only God knows how, but he kips up and
headstands out of it on some serious 1984 Bruce Leroy shit. Huge lariat
puts Naito down.
Crowd Going Banana. We get the old everybody-run-at-Naito-in-the-corner
spot, highlighted by the uber-athletic Ibushi. CNJ thinks he can finish
Naito but eats a flying burrito, one of my favorite spots when it’s
coming from Naito. Everybody brawls out, but we’re left with Naito and
CNJ. Honma outta nowhere to drill him with the Kokeshi and Naito
finishes with the stardust press to home the duke @ 12:40 Honma’s team wins again!
***¼ Everybody looked good here, in particular Ibushi. Tenzan and Kojima
hold their NWA tag titles with incredible pride, as if they mean
something. Nagata & Nakanishi take exception to the bravado and the
build to that tag title match is at the very least ambitious. We’re
talking about the 13th most important match of the upcoming 2-day event,
and they’re giving it a story. I’m totally cool with that. It beats the
meaningless tags they throw out there in the undercard all the time.
WINNERS: Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma
CHAOS vs. BULLET CLUB
Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Karl Anderson,
Doc Gallows & Bad Luck Fale
Shinsuke looking mad inspired tonight. YOSHI out with Okada, despite the
graphics having him coming out with Nak. This makes way more sense with
the tag title match coming up. Bullet Club comes out waving the flag,
while the tag champs come out in camo vests. Sadly we can’t really make
out the shit they’re talking down the aisle. Anderson immediately
disrespects YOSHI before the bell, and YOSHI is in full
fuck-you-bring-it mode, starting off with Anderson. Crowd chants his
name and the Machine Gun attacks before the bell.
CHAOS thrown to the outside as BC puts the boots to YOSHI mid-ring.
HASHIcanrana and that wicked Headhunter neckbreaker give YOSHI the
control, and now Okada and Nakamura in, but Anderson manages to foil all
three. Brawl on the outside and its Breaking Down In The Prefecture Of
Tokyo. “So desu ne” on commentary and I take another drink. Anderson
goes all Rainmakah Pose-u on the outside, and the ref finally implements
a 20 count. Anderson talking shit to the fans at ringside; so great. We
tag out to Nakamura & Fale. Amazing 80’s Hair Metal gyrations in
the corner from Nakamura as he goes all Dial MTV on us. The running knee
in the corner gets two.
Crowd behind Shinsuke but he gets slammed and splashed for a two. Tongan
Drop gets a “So Desu Ne” on commentary, but sadly I’m down to my last
one. We get Anderson mocking Nakamura’s gyrations, complete with gun
gestures, but he misses a senton. Hot tag to Okada, to a huge pop. He
hits some offense and kips up. The YOSHIkada tandem gets all their
double team shit off, but BC gains the advantage eventually, culminating
in Okada catching a superplex from Anderson. They trade moves as Okada
tries the Too Awesome Drop Kick, but Anderson holds out. All three from
BC in there now and they are really breaking off a beating to Okada.
Modified 3D gets a 2.9999, and everybody hits a move on everybody else
as we near our conclusion.
YOSHI lays out Gallows with a lariat, and Okada gets the Flying Elbow
and Rainmakah Pose-u. Shades of the tag title match to come. Okada gets
the Too Awesome Drop Kick on Anderson and Rainmaker on Gallows for the
three @ 11:56 *** ½ We get the 2 requisite stare downs,
YOSHIkada/GallowsAndGun & Nakamura/Fale. The Okada & YOSHI
pairing is on fire right now. It’ll be interesting to see if NJ is
cashing in on it, or if they keep BC the champs until Tokyo Dome for a
rematch with KES.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki
Shiboto (or Gobata, whatever) makes their way to the ring, and I can’t
help but think we’re gonna have a good one right here. Shibata’s music
never fails to signify “go time”. Tanahashi down the aisle now, and
after looking all loveable Von Erich-like a couple nights earlier, he
has this frustrated look of “Really, I have to placate this asshole
again?” This match has multi-feud implications, and so we start with
Goto & Makabe, building to that singles match. They’re gonna try to
steal the show when they get there, but as for tonight, Goto backs
Makabe onto the ropes when Makabe turns him around and grants a clean
Tanahashi & Shibata tag in. Sounds like a lot of Shibata fans,
though I’m sure Tanahashi has his Cena section of hot babes and little
dudes. These guys won’t give each other an inch, and Tana finally hits a
big slap to the face of Shibata. Forearms and a big kick from Shibata,
as I can’t help but think he’s gonna hold onto that receipt for a
minute. Tanahashi, ready to rock, goes to knock him off the apron but
Shibata catches him in a choke. Nice. Goto goes to brawl with Makabe on
the outside. Back in, he nails a kick to the back for a one. Crowd
behind Tanahashi now. Shibata absolutely lays the forearms in real
stiff, drags Tanahashi to the middle of the ring and hits him with his
own dragon screw. Tana rolls out but Shibata brings him back in. Hits
another dragon screw and locks in the figure four. Makabe comes in to
Goto now, single leg crab to that right leg of Tanahashi while Shibata
taunts from the corner but Tanhashi makes the tag. Gunshot kicks to the
chest of Tanahashi. Double team kicks laying Tanahashi out. Red shoes
won’t count it though, due to nefarious means. Finally after this
lengthy ass whooping, Tanahashi hits a dropkick on each and makes the
hot tag. It should be noted: Not a 730 degree barbed wire corkscrew
twisting flippy-doo to peak the crowd before the hot tag, but just drop
kicks because that’s what makes the tag hot; the build. It’s science.
Makabe in and he’s a house of fire. Big lariato gets two. “So Desu Ne”,
but I’m already out of beer. Ushikoroshi from Goto to Makabe, but they
only stay laid out for about 10 seconds before Shibata comes in and gets
cut down with a lariat. Tanahashi back in, and he hits his horizontal
cross body in the corner. 2nd rope rolling senton gets two. Crowd
chants, but they sound divided. Tana hitting Shibata with his own move,
forearms in the corner, goes to top it off with the dropkick but Shibata
won’t have it. He beats Tana to the punch and gets the big running
boot, followed by the forearms and finally the dropkick. All of which is
just incredibly stiff. Shibata sets up the PK, but Tana meets him first
with a Slingblade-o, and to the top but gets drilled with a boot to the
face from Shibata.
Double Ushikoroshi from Goto & Shibata off the top. Tana fights back
eventually with a slingbalde-o but before he can even make it to his
feet, Shibata hits him with a nice German. He however walks into a huge
lariat from Makabe. All four down. Great sequence. Miscommunication
leads to a Shibata-Goto double team going wrong, and Makabe turns Goto
inside out with a clothesline, complete with Jannetty sell from Goto.
Makabe to the top for the King Kong knee drop, but Goto meets him there
first. Shibata in to help, and Goto gets the Ushikoroshi to Makabe and
follows with a Shoten Kai for the win @ 16:59 **** These two singles matches should be guaranteed fire on the 21st.
WINNERS: Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto
Fun show, but nothing special. Dragon Gate had a much better showing at
Kōrakuen earlier in the week, with the Flamita defense and the T-Hawk
& Eita tag match. That said, this was an enjoyable 2 hours of
wrestling, with a really good crowd, and the build to the big shows on
9/21 & 9/23 is at its peak. Once again the card for the very last
NJPW pay-per-view on Ustream.tv/NJPW stacks up like this:
– The Young Bucks & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Forever Hooligans (Kozlov & Romero)
– KUSHIDA (c) vs. The Funky Weapon – for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
– Togi Makabe vs. Hirooki Goto – grudge match
– AJ Styles & Tama Tonga vs. Kota Ibushi & Tetsuya Naito – (Styles vs. Ibushi~!!)
– Gallows & Gun (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI – for the IWGP Tag Team Championship
– Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata – in a rematch of their classic from this year’s G1 Climax
– Bad Luck Fale (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura -for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship