July 1st, 2012 - All Japan Pro-Wrestling & New Japan Pro Wrestling "WE ARE PRO-WRESTLING LOVE" 40th Anniversary Show @ Tokyo Ryougoku Kokugikan
- Phenomenal opening video package. One can already tell that there are a lot of single-promotion-only fans in the house tonight. What an atmosphere.
1. Captain New Japan, Masanobu Fuchi & KENSO vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Gedo & Jado
- Pretty much what was to be expected. Lots of fun, KENSO shenanigans, Fuchi slams, Jado flops, and a big ol’ Captain finish (Carribean Death grip still has to go).
2. HT:A55F4 vs. Team Junior Masuku
- KAI should have received the last introduction rather than Devitt, being that he actually has a relative title. A match I’ll sum up by dubbing it an entertaining pleasure of a match. The Hiromu chop spot was hilarious, and we even got a 360 ten man jump spot! SUSHI was a good base for the unmasked rotation in the middle, Hiromu was featured, nobody screwed anything up (other than Tiger’s Driver… almost) and neither of KAI or Yamato bothered me like they usually do. Dives well placed with a fun finish. Well done! ***1/2
3. Takao Omori, Manau Soya, Hirooki Goto & Karl Anderson vs. Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, Taichi & TAKA Michinoku
- The machine gun sound prompting Goto’s music sounds great. Those two teaming would be a pretty smart decision. Nothing like a big arena rendition of Kaze Ni Nare
. The Axe Bomber connection didn’t connect with me until Taichi tagged in and called out Omori. Holy fucking Takao piledriver. They could have lost this to messiness in the middle but it all came back together nicely. One of the most easily telegraphed finishes in recent times but that didn't spoil a bout such as this. ***1/2
Soya and Goto shook hands a couple times. Interesting.
4. Masakatsu Funaki, Masayuki Kono & Minoru Tanaka vs. Yuji Nagata, Wataru Inoue & KUSHIDA
- I like KUSHIDA getting involved in this beef. The elders start and bah gawd, what tension! It begins with a sick opening segment featuring an unusually stiff and stern Funaki. Everyone else was just there to kill time between Nagata and Funaki portions. The venomous glare in Funaki’s eyes is just haunting after Nagata Justice Knee’s Kono. Epic Funaki squash finish and a Blue (black?) Justice pose to boot. BRAWL! You’d think those two legitimately wish to murder each other. Intense, man. Not as good as the Dome but the goodness is pure and the mediocre, minimal. So much hate! ***1/2
5. All Asia Tag Team Championship:
Daisuke Sekimoto & Yuji Okabayashi © vs. Akebono & Ryoto Hama
- Ah, I meant to watch their last match before this viewing this show. Oh well. Damn, Sekimoto is popular in Sumo Hall. This started molasses slow but wound up being very good! Akebono brought personality and Hama was Hama. Sekimoto kept this together with the little things, putting on a tryout level ring general performance. Oka was okay, but didn’t shine like he could have. If they handled the beginning better this would be a solid four stars. ***3/4
6. Seiya Sanada & Joe Doering vs. Tetsuya Naito & Tama Tonga
- AllJannouncer couldn’t handle the task of pronouncing Tama Tonga’s name and went all pubescent in a funny moment, haha. The chants for the two youngstars were surprisingly even early on (keyword “early”).
- Sanada is embarrassingly dreadful for the spot he has. He is the proverbial broom that NJ-gun had to work with.
- After sucking the life from this match while looking like a confused puppy, Sanada fucks up his counter to Naito’s jumping elbow, killing the little bit of momentum they managed to procure. Doering doesn’t respond to Naito’s neckbreaker spin cue and Naito has to fucking shoot him into it. Boo that team, seriously. Tonga is pretty much the best “match loser” in the business right now, yet Doering messed up his first bomb somehow and it killed the finish. Weak stuff, former tag champs. Boooooooo. Naito was stellar in this, displaying a more tweener persona that the Shinsuke series seemingly impregnated into his very soul. Tonga was as good as Tonga gets but again, the All Japan team bombed. Naito looked legitimately mad after the match but made the most of it with a thoroughly entertaining arena exit. Moving on.
7. Shinsuke Nakamura & Okada Kazuchika vs. Suwama & Shuji Kondo
- Okada losing the title rightfully puts him in the early entrance spot, thankfully. So then, this match is a battle of former Toryumoners partnering with their respective promotions' top workers (and my personal two promotion favourites). That, I can dig. Suwama knows what’s about to happen and he just can’t contain that smile of his on the way to the ring. Shinsuke knows this is the first time he’s received a real spotlight in ages, and you can just see in his face that he’s about to make the most of it.
- Match summed up: Suwama and Kondo play heels against CHAOS Supreme. If that doesn't sell you, well then... Further: Swagsuke was off the fucking chain, Okada was the most over as a face while hanging in and often above the rest of them, Kondo was fucking Yatsu if we’re comparing this to Choshu Army vs. Jumbo/Tenryu (AKA “*I secretly love everything you do but* BOOOOOOOOOO!”), and Suwama executed everything right about his recent heelish performances as only as a true ace could. Each one of these men are well above average workers that understand how to add that extra bit of wrestlegold to any given match; the best bit here being that each of them brought their all. The result was a match on par with early NOAH/NJ feud levels of awesome. To be fair, there were small bits of messiness due to unfamiliarity but nothing outright sloppy or botched. Suwama vs. Okada was the big pairing in this. Suwama just couldn't let him pose... It’s unfair to rate because I was marking out for the entire match but I'll call it ****+ and must see
- SUNRISE~!!!!! BWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE
-Stan shares some gratitude on behalf of both promotions.
- Nogami closeup. You know what time it is.
8. Takashi Iizuka, Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii vs. MuTenKoji
- Ryougoku Kokukigan gave Mutoh 1990's level entrance chants. Chilling. Iizuka actually attacked fans with his finger bag and at least two of them looked authentic and fought back, which is kind of refreshing. Nogami gets his ass beat! Nagata strong style slap to Nogami! *minutes pass* The match is worth it for the final combo and especially the Nogami-centric aftermath. JUSTICE!
- Hase and Sakaguchi in the house!
9. Triple Crown Chamoionship:
Jun Akiyama © vs. Taiyo Kea
- Hansen introduces the TC match in the preview video, talking about the championship formation and whatnot.
- If you’re good with shit crowds then I reckon you will enjoy this. Way too slow for a match in the death slot, but on its own it would have made a great main event for the live audience. Way too many fall attempts though. All match, after every little move, they would attempt falls. That’s almost the opposite of oudou stylings, c’mon now men. Kea flubbed the ’91 unfortunately. I sound down on this, but I enjoyed it a helluva lot. ***3/4-****ish
10. IWGP Heavyweight Championship:
Hiroshi Tanahashi © vs. Togi Makabe
- Makabe is bandaged at the knee, evidently stemming from the MiSu match. Makabe outpops Tanahashi as expected, so it looks natural when we get the long anticipated return of... Tweenerhashi?! “Tanahashi dai buuingu
!!!” I couldn’t be more thrilled to hear that, especially because of the initial actions that caused such a ruckus. Makabe sells fairly flawlessly here. Tanahashi brings his A game and they reach that epic title match atmosphere organically
by not following any formula. Multiple great exchanges, sequence and counters, plus the transitions were smooth as was key for this. Surprising moment when out of nowhere, Makabe channels his inner Tyler Reks. A great ten or so minute finishing stretch, paced remarkably well. Every moment in the last many minutes felt important and believable as the potential first link in some possible match ending chain. Better than Okada/Goto, for sure. Fantastic match. ****1/4+
- Out comes Mutoh and NJPW/Bushiroad Owner to have a kayfabe conversation about a joint Taiwan doubleshot! Mutoh brings out Daichi and from what I gather he’s doing something at the Tokyo Dome. Cool. That whole segment made one particular woman across from the hard camera bawl uncontrollably. Puroresu Love!
Absolutely obtain this.