NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXIII: Day 1


May 21st, 18:30 from Korakuen Hall, Tokyo

Welcome to the first day of 2016’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament. Today’s show is headlined by KUSHIDA vs. Kyle O’Reilly – a repeat of last year’s final – and also features Sydal vs. Taguchi, BUSHI vs. Gedo and Finlay vs. Romero, as well as an undercard of tag matches with most of New Japan’s top stars involved.

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NJPW Lion’s Gate: Project 2

Screen Shot 2016-05-15 at 22.29.15

May 19th, 19:00 from Shinjuku FACE, Tokyo

As with Project 1, this card is primarily a showcase for the Young Lions of New Japan and youngish wrestlers of NOAH, with a couple of veterans from both companies making an appearance. Naomichi Marufuji vs. Jay White, Yoshinari Ogawa vs. David Finlay, and Go Shiozaki vs. Juice Robinson are among the matches on what looks like being a solid show.

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NJPW Wrestling Dontaku


May 3rd, 17:00 from the Fukuoka Kokusai Centre, Fukuoka

New Japan follows up last month’s excellent Invasion Attack with Wrestling Dontaku. Due to the recent earthquakes in Kyushu, Dontaku’s sister show –  Wrestling Hinokuni – was cancelled and its matches rescheduled. The Junior Tag and NEVER title matches were added to today’s show, which means that all but one of the company’s titles are being defended. The show is headlined by Naito vs. Ishii for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.

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NJPW Road to Wrestling Dontaku


April 27th, 19:00 from Hakata Sutaren, Fukuoka

Wrestling Hinokuno was due to take place on April 29th in Kumamoto. As I’m sure you’ve heard, there were earthquakes in the region a few weeks ago and as a result the show was cancelled. The matches set for that card were rescheduled, so the Junior Tag and NEVER title matches have been added to Wrestling Dontaku on May 3rd, while the CHAOS vs. Los Ingobernables de Japón eight-man tag, Tanahashi vs. Fale, and Omega vs. Elgin for the Intercontinental title were added to today’s show.

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NJPW Invasion Attack 2016


April 10th, 16:00 from the Ryōgoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall), Tokyo

Big show today headlined by Okada vs. Naito for the IWGP Heavyweight title, with all but one of New Japan’s titles also being defended. Will Ospreay makes his debut against KUSHIDA in a much-anticipated bout, CHAOS vs. Los Ingobernables de Japón continues, Shibata battles another of The Old Bastards* (*not actual stable name), and Yoshi Tatsu returns after a broken neck and disastrous attempt at English-language commentary (which today is provided by Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino).

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Njpw dominion 2015

Hey Scott- I noticed that NJPW hasnt been getting much run lately…people are calling okada vs aj 5 stars from today’s show…any thoughts?

I thought that last minute or so that led to the finish was one of the greatest pieces of wrestling I’ve ever seen, but I don’t think the match itself was even the best AJ-Okada match I’ve seen or anything. I’d go a solid ****1/2 on it. Haven’t watched the rest of the show because I ain’t got time for those four hour shows on NJ World. Might check out some of the G1 and I’m pulling for Nakamura hardcore this year.

The SmarK Rant for NJPW on AXS – 05.22.15

The SmarK Rant for New Japan on AXS – 05.22.15
My DVR found two episodes of the show on AXS tonight, so we’ll start with last week’s show and proceed from there. And yeah, I can watch it on NJPW World with the original commentary, but not on my TV and not with Mauro Ranallo.
Taped from YOYOGI NATIONAL GYM, June 2014. This would be the Best of the Super Junior 2014 finals.

Your hosts are Mauro Ranallo & Josh Barnett, who are clearly by leaps and bounds the best wrestling commentary team in the world right now. Like, 5 minutes of them and you’ll wonder how you put up with Michael Cole or the rotating geeks of NXT.
Semi-Final: Taichi v. Kushida
Taichi, apparently a very poor sport as part of those wacky Suzuki-Gun hooligans, attacks Kushida with a chair and runs him into the post, then does the old “breakaway chair over the head” gimmick in the ring. Japanese fans love that shit. Taichai and TAKA beat on Alex Shelley on the floor as well, which has Mauro questioning whether “WWF referee Danny Davis” is the official tonight. The match finally starts for real and Taichi gets two, then he follows with a clothesline in the corner, but Kushida fights back with a pair of kicks from the apron and a SPRINGBOARD CHOP. Taka cuts off a dive like a dick, so Kushida hits both heels with a super dive instead. Back in, Taichi with a high kick into a sitout powerbomb for two and the LEATHER PANTS ARE OFF. Now shit is about to get real. Kushida comes back with an enzuigiri , but a moonsault hits knees and both guys are messed up from that one. Taichi grabs a microphone and throws it into Kushida’s hands, then does the old Eddie Guerrero sell to try for a DQ. No dice from the ref, and Kushida comes back before the ref gets wiped out now. Finally Shelley has had enough and superkicks both heels, allowing Kushida to roll into a kimura and finish at 5:18. Some good stuff, but this was way too much nonsense and interference. **1/2
Semi-Final: Ricochet v. Ryusuke Taguchi
I still don’t get how WWE could seriously pass on Ricochet. Just goes to show that not every decision from HHH’s brain is gold. Ricochet flips into a headscissors, but Taguchi dumps him and flattens him with a somersault dive. Back in and they trade forearms, and then trade dropkicks into the corner before Taguchi gets the Blue Thunder Bomb for two. Taguchi with a pair of rolling suplexes, but Ricochet fights out, so Taguchi hits a front suplex for two. Ricochet with a front rollup for two and he lands on his feet out of a Tiger Suplex, then hits a superman punch and Benydriller kick to finish at 3:40. Well that was brisk. ** They edited about 3:00 out of the match, but damned if I can see where.
Best of Super Junior Finals: Ricochet v. Kushida
Kudos to Kushida for the Marty McFly entrance gear, by the way. Test of strength to start and Ricochet gets to flip around out of that, but Kushida holds him down with an armbar. We take a break and return (with no edit) with Ricochet backflipping into a headscissors as my wife is busy cracking jokes until she actually watches the match and suddenly decides she loves Ricochet and never wants him to get hit in his beautiful, beautiful face. And again, WWE PASSED on this guy. Kushida tosses him (not the face!) and works on the arm back in the ring while the tournament losers all watch at ringside. Barnett has a nice touch, saying that they need to be out there wondering why they’re not in the ring right now and what they have to do to make sure they are next year. Because wins and losses DO matter. Kushida throws kicks at the arm, but Ricochet puts him on the floor with a high kick and follows with the SPACE FLYING TIGER DROP. If I was ever going to start a band, that’s what we’d call ourselves. Back in, Ricochet throws some stiff kicks and gets a low kick for two, into a springboard senton and flying forearm for two. Spinning forearm off the middle rope gets two. Ricochet tries a handspring elbow, but Kushida dropkicks him in the face in mid-move, and then puts him on the floor for a swanton bomb off the top to the floor. Well that was crazy. Kushida dropkicks him on the way in and follows with a moonsault for two as we take a break. Back with Kushida hitting a kick, but Ricochet counters with a GTS variation for two. That was more like a gutbuster followup, which actually looked more impressive than Punk’s usual version. Springboard SSP misses, however, and Kushida rolls him up for two. They slug it out and Kushida kicks the hell out of the arm and follows with a handspring elbow into the Hoverboard Lock (kimura), which has Ricochet frantically making the ropes. Kushida kicks him in the face for two. Dragon Suplex gets two. Kushida misses a corkscrew moonsault (“No water in the pool!” declares Mauro because he’s AWESOME) and they slug it out from their knees, which leads to Ricochet hitting a superman punch into a northern lights suplex for two. To the top and they fight over a suplex until Kushida goes down, but he fights back with a handstand kick. Ricochet catches him with a GTS from the middle rope, however, and gets a 630 (!!!!!!!!) splash for TWO. WHAT THE ACTUAL FUCK. We take another break and return with Ricochet probably wondering what more he has to do to win this thing, but now Kushida gets an enzuigiri as Mauro is just losing his shit and it’s great. Kushida handsprinngs right into an electric chair, but reverses into the Hoverboard Lock from there somehow. Ricochet rolls him into the Benydriller, however, and wins the tournament at 23:16. The commentary made this into an epic. ****1/2
Afterwards, Kushida is pretty bummed, but he’ll get back to the top next year.
Ricochet cuts his victory promo in the ring, and lays out the challenge to Junior champion Kota Ibushi, which will be the featured match on next week’s show. So much beautiful in one ring!
The Pulse
Yeah, you know I’m all over this show now.

NJPW 2014 almanac

Scott- Not sure if you've seen this:
https://payhip.com/b/pLRE It's an almanac for NJPW from 2014…it's pretty through and well written (a bit generous ratings wise). It's also free and a good primer on NJPW today. Check it out… More importantly, how good was that first episode of NJPW on AXS?  Mauro Renallo is a BEAST and that was exactly what people wanted out of a New Japan show on US TV, with someone to explain all the backstories and call it like a sport.