NJPW Dontaku 2014 PPV Review

NJPW Dontaku PPV Review

Date: 5/3/2014

Venue:  Fukuoka Kokusai Center

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title: Matt Jackson
& Nick Jackson (c) vs. Rocky Romero & Alex Koslov:
I feel like the Young Bucks would be money in WWE. They
are incredibly athletic and can do some flat out crazy acrobatic things in the
ring. They just need to learn the psychology behind when, where, and why to do
something. It would make their matches feel more structured rather than at times disjointed. They have all the tools; they
just need to read the manual, kind of like Tyler Black before he came to WWE. Nick hops off the corner, attempting to kick
Romero. Romero ducks out of the way, making Nick accidentally kick partner in the
face. Koslov fights off both Nick and Matt after he receives a hot-tag. He does his trademark dance /kicking spot.  Koslov
lifts picks up Romero and he catches both the Young Buck’s with a
knee. Nick comes back with a shining wizard that gets a two-count. The Bucks
hits their Spiked Tombstone on Romero, but Koslov breaks up the pin. The Spike
Tombstone looks extremely lethal but loses so much significance as just a near-fall
move. A move like that should not only finish a match, but also put someone out
of action. They send Koslov to the corner, setting up the More Bang for Your
Buck. They hit it and it ends this @ 15:09. A little over the top and goofy, but it had solid action and got the crowd into the
show. It would have been better if it had some letup, but it’s worth noting that Romero and Koslov felt at home as rah-rah babyfaces.** 3/4
Special Tag Match: Toru Yano and Takashi Iizuka vs. Minoru Suzuki and Shelton Benjamin:
I’ve heard terrible things about this. Some have actually called it the worst match of the year. This starts off with them all fighting on the floor. Suzuki hits Yank with a chair and then Suzuki and Iizuka exchange in a horribly contrived chair
dueling spot. Shelton hits Iizuka with a superkick as Yano exposes the steel
turnbuckle. Suzuki enters the ring and tries to put Yano into a rare-naked
choke. Iizuka sneaks behind him to choke him with a chain. After more lethargic
brawling, this borefest finally ends when Iizuka and Shelton brawl into the
crowd  and Suzuki pushes down the referee to draw a DQ @ 9:04. They handcuff Suzuki to the ropes, but he breaks out and hits Komatsu repeatedly with a chair until it breaks. It wasn’t the worst match of the year so far, but it was pretty close. Poorly booked and called in the ring. There were too many moments where the wrestlers didn’t know what to do and way too much unenthusiastic brawling. Everything was very discombobulated, and the finish was straight out of WCW or TNA.  DUD
NWA World Heavyweight Title: Satoshi Kojima (c ) Wes Briscoe:

Briscoe is living proof that you can get by on your family’s merits. Wes works over the knee of Kojima. He does not break a five
count after having in a leg lock, which gets some jeers from the crowd. I don’t know why he wasn’t DQ’ed. Anyways, Kojima fights back with chops and that Brisco to close his eyes due to the pain. Kojima hits the Koji cutter but only gets a two count out of it and then hits a lariat to pick up the win @ 9:52. After the match, Stan Hansen presents
the title to Kojima. Please, no more Briscoe. He’s green in every facet of wrestling and shouldn’t be wrestling in front of camera until he dramatically improves. Kojima tried, but he would have been better off working with a broomstick.
Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs. Yuji Nagata &
Manabu Nakanishi:
Both Shiata and Nagata brawl on the floor. Shibata hits a running boot, forcing Nagata to hit
the mat hard. Back in the ring, they go back and forth with slaps and boots to
the face, ending with Shibata hitting a running knee into Nagata’s gut.
Nakanishi goes to the top-rope and hits a drop kick right into Goto’s chest. That would have received a “Holy S---” chant in America. Nakanishi locks in the
torture rack on Gota as Nagata locks in a Fujiwara arm bar on Shibata.
Goto tosses Nakanishi up for the Shouten Kai, but he botches by not catching
him on the way down. Thus, he locks in a sharpshooter, forcing Nakanishi
to tap @ 11:00. Besides the botched ending, this was better than it had any right to be. It was a
rock-solid tag match with action and memorable moments. ***

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Kota Ibushi (c) vs. Ryusuke
Taguchi retired Prince Devitt at Invasion Attack and that earned him a title
shot for the championship. Ibushi hits a moonsault onto Taguchi. He then hits a
Death Valley Driver and follows it up with a moonsault. Ibushi counters a
german suplex by landing on his feet. Ibushi executes a snapping german suxplex
and follows it up with a standing corkscrew. Ibushi misses a 450 splash,
allowing Taguchi to mount a comeback. Ibuishi delivers a powerbomb but only
gets two. He hits Taguchi with a Phoenix, and that ends it @ 14:04, allowing
him to retain the JHT. They came up with some clever spots and did not sacrifice logic or psychology for them. The intensity and urgency to win was what made me emotionally invest into this, though.  *** ¼
Tomohiro Ishii © vs. Tomoaki Honma for the Never Title:

This was the most anticipated match on the card, as its two wrestlers that leave it all on the line and then some when they wrestle. They start with some stiff dueling chops. Back and forth they go. Honma delivers a
sick looking DDT and follows it up with a running superman punch. He delivers a
face buster and then a diving headbutt. Ishii fights back with a delayed
vertical suplex and hits a last ride powerbomb, resulting in a close
near-fall. Homna fights back by hitting a brainbuster and getting a close
near-fall as well.  The crowd was pretty dead before this. Now they are totally into this PPV. They start hitting each other back and forth with forearems
and headbutts. Ishii hits the Sliding D, but it is only good for a two count.
He follows it up with a brainbuster that ends the contest @ 14:44. The fans really wanted to see Honma win here. He is almost in the same situation as Ishii was a few years ago. Both were extremely over, worked hard, and the fans wanted to see them win the Never Title. Anyways, this was an awesome display of strong-style. Super hard-hitting and extremely stiff. Honma also played a great courageous daredevil that did everything to overcome the uber brute strength
of Ishii. But he used his cranium as
a weapon one too many times, and it made his head a vulnerable target. His courageousness ultimately led to his downfall. Some clever psychology and storytelling on display there. **** ¼
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tetsuya Naito & Togi Makabe
& Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga
& Bad Luck Fale:
Eliminations only can happen via pinfall, submission or throwing
someone over the top rope. The Bullet Club gang up on Naito.
Fale hits an Avalanche in the corner, but Liger breaks up the pin. Fale goes for a Samoan Spike, but Naito rolls him up and eliminates
him. Tonga runs in and tosses Naito over the top rope. Liger hits a Thesz Press
on Tonga, good enough to get a pin fall. Anderson hit Liger with a Stun Gun and it eliminates Liger. Gallows and Anderson
eventually get the heat on Makabe. He fights back and clotheslines Anderson
over the top. Gallows tries to toss Tanasashi over the top, but he skins the cat.
He tries to choke slam both, but they block it. Tanashi hits the slingblade,
Makabe deliver the King Kong Dee drop, and Tanasashi finishes it off with the
High Fly Flow, picking up the win @ 15:40. This suffered from being rushed and having rapid-fire eliminations, but it was still enjoyable. The babyfaces were put in a peril situation, as they had to overcome
the odds, and it was booked in a manner where no one was sure if they would
overcome the odds or not. ***
Shinsuke Nakamura & Kazushi Sakuraba vs. Daniel &
Rolles Gracie:
 Nakamura hits Daniel with some knees in the corner. Daniel goes
for a submission maneuver, but it is reversed with a kimura. Nakamura goes for
an armbar, but Daniel manages to tag Rolles in. Sakuraba receives a tag, and he
hits a jumping stomp onto Rolles. Rolles, however, gets the back of Sakuraba,
allowing him to choke him out @ 8:20. It was just a buffer match, but I do not
want to see faux MMA in pro-wrestling. If someone wanted to watch MMA, he or she would watch the real
thing. Not some choreographed imitation of it. I think I speak for everyone when I
say enough with the Gracies. O
Kazuchika Okada vs.
A.J. Styles for the IWGP Title: 
Styles dropkicks Okada to the floor. He
distracts the referee, allowing The Bullet Club to beat up Okada. They toss him back in the ring. Okada manages to hit a somersault
dive on all of The Bullet Club’s members. However,  AJ takes over the match by
sending Okada back to the outside. The Bullet Club put another beatdown Okada, but the referee catches them in the act and kicks them out. Back in, Okada hits a
flapjack and a DDT. That gets a two-count. He follows that up by hitting a top rope elbow and then calls for the Rainmaker. AJ counters it and then locks in calf
slicer. Okada to make it to the ropes, though. Styles hits Pele kick and atomic
slam, but it is only good for a two-count. AJ stays on offense with an inverted
DDT. He goes to the top, but misses a spiral tap. Okada hits the tombstone
pile driver and signals for the Rainmaker again. The Bullet Club
distract him by getting on the apron. That allows the man in a hoodie to
clothesline Okada. It ends up being Yujiro!? That is, without a doubt, a huge swerve. He is one of the top Japanese babyfaces and he joined an American-themed stable. Anyways, he hits the Tokyo Pimps and then Styles hits a brainbuster on Okada. He finishes it with a Styles
Clash at 24:40. AJ Styles is your new IWGP champion. This was a well-structured, dramatic rollercoaster ride that had peaks and valleys, transitioned to higher magnitudes, and had a story that escalated to the crescendo. NJPW prides itself on shenanigans free competition, so a finish like that is a total slap in the face to the fans (in a good way). That’s what the people who criticized it didn’t understand. It’s not an overdone finish in Japan. See how less can be so much more. **** for the match and an additional ¼* for the memorable heel turn. **** ¼
Final Thoughts: It was not as good as their 2012-13 shows,
but it was still a good show. There were two ****+ matches
and a several of ***+ ones too. That is enough for a recommendation. But just be prepared to
fast-forward through the second and Gracie’s match, though.