The SmarK Rant for New Japan on AXS – 11.09.17
So we’re back to 08.15.15 for this one, which hopefully means that the Okada-Nakamura B block final is the main event tonight.
Taped from Sumo Hall
Your hosts are JR & Josh Barnett
Hirooki Goto v. Yuji Nagata
Goto was Intercontinental champion at this point, which is kind of weird in that the title has been elevated so much more since then. They trade some stuff on the mat to start and Nagata tries to throw kicks, but Goto lays a beating on him and Yuji bails to the floor. Back in, they slug it out with forearms and Goto just hits him in the injured ribs to put him down again. The announcers are very impressed with that kind of ruthless efficiency. Goto holds an armbar while just leaning on the ribcage with a knee, but Nagata fights back as we take a break. Back with Yuji throwing forearms in the corner and then hitting him with some stiff high kicks to put him down, but Goto just levels him with a lariat and follows with a bulldog for two. Back to Nagata’s ribs, but Yuji catches him with an exploder into the corner to cut him off. Goto blocks a suplex and counters with a backdrop suplex of his own, and a clothesline gets two. The Ushigoroshi gets two. Nagata takes him down out of nowhere and locks in the Fujiwara armbar and that looks pretty painful, but Goto makes the ropes. Nagata throws more hard kicks and blocks a lariat, then follows with a backdrop driver for two. Another try is blocked by Goto and he just kicks him in the ribs again to cut off the comeback, and they throw forearms again until Goto blocks an enzuigiri. Nagata hits him with a heel kick, however, and finishes with another backdrop driver at 13:00. Good, hard-hitting effort from both guys here. ***1/2
Satoshi Kojima v. Karl Anderson
Anderson comes flying at him with a Gun Stun attempt, but Kojima throws him out of the ring to block. They brawl on the floor and Anderson dropkicks him off the apron so that the Bullet Club can get some shots in. Karl snaps the arm on the top rope a few times and goes to work on it. He grabs a chair and stops to do some posing with it, which puts JR on a RANT about football players doing taunts and dances as if to say “Look at me, I did the job I’m paid for!” Touched a nerve there, Jim. We take a break and return with Karl missing a blind charge and Kojima making the comeback with a running forearm, and a flying elbow mostly misses but gets two. They trade chops and Anderson boots him into the corner and follows with a powerbomb for two. To the apron, where Kojima comes back with a DDT on the apron (the hardest part of the ring!) and they slug it out on the floor for another countout tease spot. Holy god was that over-used in 2015 and then mostly into 2016 as well. Back into the ring and Koji wants the Kutter, but Anderson blocks and hits a neckbreaker, followed by a fisherman’s suplex into a neckbreaker for two. Anderson goes up with a sloppy neckbreaker off the top, and that gets two. Another try at the Gun Stun is reversed into a Koji Kutter and off comes the elbow pad, setting up a lariat for two. JR notes that he used the wrong arm to deliver that one so it only got two. Anderson goes back for the Gun Stun, but Kojima clotheslines him in the back of the head and then finishes with a “SLOBBERKNOCKING CLOTHESLINE” at 10:53. JR was mightily impressed with all the leather being laid in this one. ***1/2
Michael Elgin v. Tomohiro Ishii
Now THIS should be a slobberknocker. They immediately throw down and posture up on each other, throwing forearms and kicks while yelling. These are some manly men. Elgin boots him down and hits a very delayed suplex for two, and slingshots in with a splash for two. This just makes Ishii all mad again and they throw more forearms until Ishii goes down and Elgin gets two. Elgin suplexes him into the corner and goes up with a twisting senton for two, which is something you don’t often see powerlifters do. Ishii blocks a piledriver and fires back with a release german suplex, but then Elgin gets all fired up and they block each other until Elgin gets a clothesline and a swinging uranage for two. We take a break and return with them still beating the hell out of each other with forearms, and in fact Elgin gets mad for Ishii not hitting him HARD ENOUGH. Finally Elgin hits him with a discus forearm as if to demonstrate for him, then follows with rolling germans before rolling through out of the corner, into a final one for two. To the apron, where they fight for a suplex and Elgin gives him a death valley driver on the apron (the hardest part of the ring!) and follows with a sick goddamned running powerbomb into the railing. Back in, Barnett suspects the Ishii must have “done something with his mother or girlfriend” to trigger this kind of hatred from Elgin, and then Elgin hits him with a top rope falcon arrow for two. Another powerbomb, into the turnbuckles this time, but Ishii pops up with an Omori driver before collapsing due to concussion or death or what have you. More forearms and Ishii comes back with an enzuigiri while still barely alive, and he hits a superplex, but Elgin no-sells it. So Ishii puts him down with a lariat for one, as Elgin fires up and won’t stay down. Another lariat gets two, but Elgin powerbombs him and follows with an enzuigiri, but now Ishii ain’t going down. Elgin tries another lariat and Ishii ignores it, and hits Elgin with one of his own for two. Brainbuster finishes Elgin at 14:30 and now both guys can go to the hospital for concussion testing. An incredible, hard-hitting war. ****1/2 Honestly, I think JR really undersold this one and if ever there was a match that called for his “slobberknocker” excitement, this was it.
Well, this ended up being a hell of a show this week! Elgin really made a star of himself with his G1 run that year, and this is a great example of how he got himself over with Japan.