New Japan “Fantastica Mania 2014” on 1/15/14

Date:  January 15th, 2014
Location:  Kyoto, Japan
Announced Attendance:  1,000 (Super No Vacancy)

New Japan and CMLL put on five events in early 2014, and oddly enough all five of them made tape.  This one was the last to pop up and is definitely on the house-show level.  Still though, the main stars of New Japan are here interacting with the CMLL wrestlers so it can’t be all bad.   Here is the full card:

- Titan and BUSHIROAD vs. Jado and Gedo
- Stuka Jr., Fuego, and Rey Cometa vs. OKUMURA, Rey Escorpión, and Vangelis
- Jushin Thunder Liger and Maximo  vs. TAKA Michinoku and Taichi
- Tetsuya Naito and Mascara Dorada vs. Volador Jr. and KUSHIDA
- Rush and Mistico II vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Mephisto
- Kazuchika Okada, Ultimo Guerrero, and Niebla Roja  vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, La Sombra, and El Desperado

Hooray this is my last CMLL/New Japan review.  Good times.  Let’s get straight to it!

Titan and BUSHIROAD vs. Jado and Gedo
BUSHIROAD and Gedo start things off.  Kick by Gedo and he clubs BUSHIROAD in the back before kicking him to the mat.  Irish whip by Gedo, BUSHIROAD flips over him and he hits a swinging headscissors.  Kick by BUSHIROAD, Irish whip, reversed, but BUSHIROAD rolls up Gedo for a two count.  Oklahoma Roll by BUSHIROAD but that gets a two as well.  BUSHIROAD dropkicks Gedo out of the ring, he goes off the ropes but does a roll instead of a dive.  Gedo tags in Jado while BUSHIROAD tags in Titan.  Kick by Jado to Titan, Jado chops Titan into the corner but Titan blocks a strike and hits a springboard armdrag.  Hurricanrana by Titan and Titan hits an enzigieri, which Jado sells on a delay.  Gedo throws Titan out of the ring, BUSHIROAD comes in and Gedo rakes him in the eyes.  Stomp by Jado, he picks up BUSHIROAD and kicks BUSHIROAD in the stomach.  Jado and Gedo stomp BUSHIROAD, double Irish whip and they hit a double shoulderblock.  BUSHIROAD falls out of the ring as Titan gets back in it, Titan kicks Jado but Gedo rakes him in the eyes.  Stomp by Gedo and Jado applies a stretch hold to Titan.  Jado picks up Titan and rubs his face across the top rope.  Jado tags in Gedo and Gedo rakes Titan in the eyes.  Gedo picks up Titan and punches him in the face.  BUSHIROAD comes in but Gedo rakes him in the eyes as well. 

BUSHIROAD is chopped into the corner by Jado, Irish whip by Jado and Gedo kicks BUSHIROAD in the stomach.  Stomp by Jado, Jado picks up BUSHIROAD and throws him out of the ring.  Titan gets back into the ring, and Jado hits him from behind.  Double Irish whip to Titan but he kicks back Gedo and hits a dropkick.  Titan goes off the ropes and hits a handspring kick onto Jado.  Cover by Titan but it gets a two count.  Titan picks up Jado, chops by Titan, he goes off the ropes but Jado kicks him in the chest.  Lariat by Jado, cover, but it gets a two count when BUSHIROAD breaks it up.  Gedo kicks BUSHIROAD into the corner, Irish whip, but he kicks back both Jado and Gedo.  Swandive missile dropkick by Titan onto both of his opponents sends them out of the ring, then he and BUSHIROAD hits stereo tope suicidas.  Titan slides Gedo back into the ring, he gets on the apron but Gedo avoids his swandive move.  Superkick by Gedo, cover, but it gets a two count.  Gedo picks up Titan and hits a jawbreaker, but Titan Irish whips Gedo and does a backflip victory roll for a three count!  Your winners:  Titan and BUSHIROAD

Match Thoughts:   This was a really basic match that wasn’t very good.  Gedo and Jado aren’t bad but here they just relied on basic heel tactics, lots of eye rakes and things like that.  Titan can be fun but he was a bit ‘overly’ flippy here.   Not great here, just too entry level between four veterans.  Score:  3.5

Stuka Jr., Fuego, and Rey Cometa  vs. OKUMURA, Rey Escorpión, and Vangelis
Stuka, Cometa, and Fuego all dropkick their opponents to start the match and then sail out of the ring onto their opponents with tope con giros.  Stuka and Escorpión get back into the ring and trade chops to the chest, Stuka goes off the ropes but Escorpión catches him with a lariat.  Escorpión picks up Stuka, Irish whip, reversed, Stuka flips off the ropes and hits a hurricanrana for a two count.  Stuka goes off the ropes and goes for a second one, but Escorpión blocks it and hits a powerbomb for a two count.  Fuego comes in the ring, Irish whip, and Fuego hits a springboard dropkick onto Escorpión.  Fuego hits a moonsault off the second rope, cover, but it gets a two count.  Vangelis comes in the ring, Irish whip to the corner, Fuego reverses it and Fuego hits a lariat.  Fuego charges Vangelis again and hits a second one, but Vangelis kicks him back when he tries a third time.  Fuego avoids Vangelis’s lariat and Fuego hits a hurricanrana, but Vangelis rolls through it for a two count.  Fuego goes off the ropes but Vangelis catches him with a heel kick.  Vangelis picks up Fuego and hits a fallaway slam for a two count.  Cometa comes into the ring and he hits a standing Spanish Fly for a two count.  OKUMURA comes in the ring, Cometa goes off the ropes but OKUMURA hits a backbreaker.  Another backbreaker by OKUMURA and he slams Cometa to the mat.  Cover, but Stuka breaks it up.  Stuka throws OKUMURA into the ropes, and Stuka hits a spinebuster.  Vangelis comes in but Stuka suplexes Vangelis onto OKUMURA.  Stuka goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving body press onto OKUMURA.  Cover, but it gets a two count. 

Escorpión comes in the ring, he picks up Stuka but Stuka chops Escorpión back.  Escorpión charges Stuka, but Stuka drops him out onto the apron.  Escorpión goes up to the top turnbuckle but Stuka hits him, then both he and Fuego go up top with Escorpión.  Vangelis and Cometa come into the ring and powerbombs both of them off the second turnbuckle.  Cometa hits Escorpión with a body press, cover, but it gets a two count.  Vangelis, Escorpión, and OKUMURA go for a triple battering ram but their opponents get out of it.  Fuego dropkicks OKUMURA out of the ring, leaving him with Vangelis.  Fuego goes off the ropes and hits a springboard moonsault for a two count.  Fuego gets onto Vangelis’s shoulders and rolls up Vangelis, but it gets two.  Vangelis chops down Fuego, Fuego goes off the ropes but Vangelis hits a wheelbarrow suplex for a two count when Stuka breaks it up.  Irish whip by Stuka to Vangelis and he hits a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker.  OKUMURA comes into the ring but Stuka knocks him down with a springboard tope.  Irish whip by Stuka to the corner, reversed, Stuka drops OKUMURA onto the apron but Stuka chops him out of the ring.  Escorpión comes in the ring, Stuka slams Escorpión to the mat and goes up to the top turnbuckle, then hits a plancha out of the ring onto Escorpión.  Cometa goes for a senton bomb onto Escorpión, but Escorpión moves out of the way.  Headscissors by Cometa, sending Escorpión out of the ring, and Cometa hits a corkscrew tope con giro down onto Escorpión.  Fuego and Vangelis return to the ring and Fuego hits a swandive body press.  Fuego goes off the ropes and he applies a crucifix hold for a three count.  Your winners:  Stuka Jr., Fuego, and Rey Cometa

Match Thoughts:   This was just a random spot Lucha Libre match.  No structure or anything like that, just the wrestlers running in the ring and taking turns doing moves until someone held up the pen and they went to the ending.  That isn’t to say it was bad or anything, but I do like some substance to my matches and the spots weren’t ‘big’ enough to make up for the lack of meaning.  Score:  5.0

Jushin Thunder Liger and Maximo  vs. TAKA Michinoku and Taichi
Maximo and TAKA start things off.  TAKA acts like he doesn’t want to tie-up with Maximo and tries to tag in Taichi, but Taichi isn’t interested.  TAKA and Maximo tie-up, Maximo grabs TAKA from behind and TAKA gets away from him.  Maximo pinches TAKA’s ass when he isn’t paying attention and TAKA quickly tags in Taichi.  Taichi goes into the ropes but Maximo gives him an “Atta Boy”.  Taichi gets in the ropes again and Maximo does it again, so clearly Taichi doesn’t learn very quickly.  Tie-up, waistlock by Taichi but Maximo hits him low.  Maximo goes off the ropes and hits an armdrag, he goes off the ropes again and hits a hurricanrana.  Taichi falls out of the ring, Maximo goes off the ropes but rolls himself back into the ring.  Maximo tags in Liger, Liger chops TAKA in the chest but TAKA kicks him back.  TAKA goes off the ropes but Liger back bodydrops him out of the ring to the floor.  Liger goes off the ropes but Taichi trips him from the floor and pulls Liger out of the ring.  Taichi takes Liger around the ring and throws him into the commentator’s table while TAKA tortures Maximo on the other side of the ring. 

Taichi battles Liger up into the crowd, and then hits Liger with the ring bell hammer.  Taichi slides Liger back into the ring and TAKA chokes Liger in the ring with his leg.  TAKA picks up Liger and throws him in the corner, and Taichi chokes Liger.  Taichi puts Liger onto the top turnbuckle and tries to take off his mask, but jumps back down after a moment and Liger rolls out of the ring.  Maximo comes in the ring and Taichi rakes him in the eyes.  Taichi grabs Maximo and keeps messing with him, including spanking him, double Irish whip to Maximo and he eats a double big boot.  Maximo rolls out of the ring so Liger comes in, double Irish whip to Liger to the corner and Taichi hits a lariat.  Jumping knee by TAKA and Taichi knees Liger in the groin.  Cover, but the referee doesn’t get the chance to do a count.  Taichi picks up Liger, Irish whip to the corner but Liger ducks Taichi and hits a Shotei onto TAKA.  Backbreaker by Liger to Taichi, he goes out to the apron and hits a cannonball down onto TAKA.  Maximo goes up top and hits a diving crossbody onto Taichi followed by a springboard hip attack.  Taichi falls out of the ring and Maximo sails out onto him with a tope suicida.  Maximo rolls back in as Taichi follows, waistlock by Maximo and he rips off Taichi’s pants.  Maximo goes for a kiss but Taichi re-directs it to the referee.  TAKA pokes Maximo in the eyes, Taichi rolls up Maximo with the Gedo Clutch for the three count.  Your winners:  TAKA Michinoku and Taichi

Match Thoughts:  Not really my cup of tea.  I find it ridiculous when wrestlers act too disgusted or weirded out to wrestle someone… they knew the match when they signed up for it, it wasn’t a surprise, and Maximo is a known entity.  So the action was lacking since that was the focus, and not even the great Jushin Thunder Liger could save this match.  Score:  3.0

Tetsuya Naito and Mascara Dorada vs. Volador Jr. and KUSHIDA
Dorada and KUSHIDA start things off.  They shake hands to start, kick to the leg by Dorada, tie-up, waistlock by KUSHIDA, but Dorada reverses it.  KUSHIDA trips Dorada and goes for the leg, but Dorada pushes him off and both men return to their feet.  Kick by Dorada and he applies a side headlock, reversed by KUSHIDA, Dorada Irish whips out of it and Dorada hits a hurricanrana.  KUSHIDA cartwheels out of it, they trade trips but both men return to their feet.  Dorada tags in Naito so KUSHIDA tags in Volador Jr..  Tie-up, side headlock by Naito, Volador Jr. Irish whips out of it but Naito shoulderblocks him down.  Naito goes off the ropes but Volador Jr. hits an armdrag.  Both men go for dropkicks but they both miss.  Dorada hits a swandive missile dropkick onto Volador Jr. and then hits one to KUSHIDA as well.  KUSHIDA falls out of the ring as Volador Jr. comes back in it, and Volador Jr. kicks Dorada to the mat.  Volador Jr. picks up Dorada, Irish whip, reversed, Volador Jr. flips off the ropes  and hits a spinning headscissors.  Dorada goes off the ropes but Dorada hits a hurricanrana, Volador Jr. falls out of the ring and Dorada goes to do a dive, but slams on the breaks when Volador Jr. moves.  KUSHIDA comes back into the ring to face off with Dorada, and he clubs Dorada in the back.  Volador Jr. picks up Dorada, double Irish whip to Dorada and they hit a double back elbow.  Double Irish whip again, knee by KUSHIDA in the corner and Volador Jr. hits a Backstabber.  Naito comes in the ring and he fights off Volador Jr. and KUSHIDA, but Volador Jr. chops Naito in the chest. 

Double Irish whip to Naito and he is hit with a dropkick combination.  KUSHIDA stomps on Naito as Dorada comes back in, double Irish whip from the corner but Dorada avoids KUSHIDA and then makes KUSHIDA elbow Volador Jr..  Naito goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick onto KUSHIDA, Naito picks up KUSHIDA and throws him out of the ring.  Dorada then goes off the ropes and hits a corkscrew pescado onto both of his opponents.  Naito then goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a corkscrew backflip down onto all of them.  Naito rolls back into the ring as does KUSHIDA and Dorada, double Irish whip to KUSHIDA from the corner, Dorada hits a jumping lariat and Naito hits a dropkick followed by one from the apron as well.  Volador Jr. comes in, double Irish whip to him and they hit a double armdrag followed by a senton by Naito.  Springboard splash by Dorada, cover, but Volador Jr. kicks out.  Dorada applies a crossface but KUSHIDA manages to break it up.  Naito picks up KUSHIDA and Dorada chops him in the chest.  They pick up KUSHIDA and Dorada chops KUSHIDA in the chest.  They pick up KUSHIDA, double Irish whip and KUSHIDA kicks Naito before elbowing Dorada.  KUSHIDA hits a moonsault then Volador Jr. hits a swandive body press onto both Naito and Dorada, but it gets a two count.  Catapult dropkick by KUSHIDA on both men, and his opponents fall out of the ring.  Volador Jr. and KUSHIDA then go off the ropes and hit stereo tope con giros.  Volador Jr. gets back in the ring, Dorada goes for a swandive move but Volador Jr. dropkicks him.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Dorada goes off the ropes but Volador Jr. hits a powerbomb.  Powerbomb into the corner by Volador Jr., cover, but Naito kicks out.  KUSHIDA applies a stretch hold in the ropes onto Naito, while Dorada hits a springboard into a cradle for the three count!  Your winners:  Volador Jr. and KUSHIDA

Match Thoughts:  Better than the other matches on the show, as they got a little more time and did some more… nifty looking moves. I mean the rules were loose at best which is a common theme on this tour, but everyone was on board with it anyway.  All the wrestlers looked strong, Dorada is a treat to watch.  A fun spotfest, but nothing more than a spotfest.  Score:  6.0

Rush and Mistico II vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Mephisto
Rush and Nakamura start things off.  Waistlock by Rush to start, wristlock by Nakamura but Rush gets Nakamura to the mat.  Front facelock by Rush but Nakamura rolls out of it.  Waistlock by Rush into a schoolboy, but it only gets a two count.  Back up, tie-up, Rush pushes Nakamura into the ropes, Nakamura switches positions with him but he gives a clean break.  Chop by Rush, Nakamura knees him to the mat but Rush rolls out of the way of the kneedrop.  Rush takes down Nakamura, Irish whip by Nakamura but Rush shoulderblocks him down and Nakamura rolls out of the ring to the apron.  Rush grabs Nakamura but Nakamura kicks him back and knocks Rush out of the ring.  Mistico comes into the ring to take his place, he goes off the ropes but Nakamura kicks him to the mat.  Nakamura picks up Mistico and knees him in the stomach before elbowing him into the corner.  Irish whip by Nakamura but Mistico avoids his charge and hits a hurricanrana.  Nakamura falls out of the ring, Mistico goes off the ropes but Mephisto hits him from behind.  Mephisto picks up Mistico and punches him in the face.  Mephisto picks up Mistico again, Irish whip, and Mistico hits a hip toss.  Mephisto is back up, Irish whip by Mephisto, reversed, Mephisto goes outside the ring but Mistico goes out to the apron and hits a diving hurricanrana.  Mistico gets back into the ring to pose and Nakamura attacks him from behind.  Nakamura knocks Rush off the apron and he knees Mistico in the stomach.  Knees by Nakamura in the corner, Mephisto comes into the ring and they take turns kicking him until Mistico falls out of the ring.  Rush comes in the ring and kicks Nakamura, but Mephisto comes back to help.  Chop by Nakamura, Irish whip from the corner and Mephisto hits a lariat and he sets up Rush in the corner so that Nakamura can hit a running knee.  Cover by Nakamura but it gets a two count.

Nakamura picks up Rush, Irish whip, and Nakamura hits a lariat. Mephisto sits up Rush and both he and Nakamura kick him in the back.  Snapmare by Nakamura and he hits a kneedrop.  Nakamura tags in Mephisto, Mephisto picks up Rush, Irish whip, and Mephisto knocks Rush out of the ring.  Mistico comes into it but Nakamura attacks Mistico from behind.  Scoop slam by Nakamura to Mistico, Mephisto picks up Mistico, Irish whip, and Mistico hits a double big boot.  Rush comes in the ring and Mephisto chops him in the chest.  Double Irish whip to Rush but Rush ducks the double lariat and kicks Nakamura.  Mistico hits a swandive hurricanrana onto Mephisto, sending him out of the ring, and Mistico sails out onto him with a tope con giro.  Rush and Nakamura trade elbows and chops, headbutt by Rush and he boots Nakamura in the head.  Punches and chops by Rush, Irish whip, and Rush hits a jumping elbow.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Rush kicks Nakamura into the ropes, Irish whip, but Nakamura knees Rush in the stomach and hits an enzigieri.  Nakamura goes for a running knee but Rush moves out of the way and hits a lariat followed by the running dropkick in the corner.  Cover by Rush but it gets a two count.  Rush kicks Nakamura out of the ring, he goes to the ropes but Nakamura moves out of the way of the pescado.  Mistico and Mephisto get in the ring, hurricanrana by Mistico but it gets a two count.  Mephisto charges Mistico but Mistico places him up the top rope.  He then goes out to the apron and hits a swandive hurricanrana.  Cover, but Nakamura breaks it up.  Nakamura stomps Mistico, he picks him up and with Mephisto they hit a double backdrop suplex.  Cover by Mephisto, but it gets a two count.  Mephisto picks up Mistico and goes for the Devil’s Wings but Rush kicks Mephisto from behind.  Jumping kick by Nakamura to Rush, he charges Rush but Rush suplexes him over the top rope to the floor.  Rush then goes off the ropes and files out onto Nakamura with a tope suicida.  Back in the ring, Mistico slides under Mephisto and he nails La Mistica.  Mephisto quickly submits!  Your winners:  Rush and Mistico II

Match Thoughts:  At least this match was a little different, thanks to Nakamura and Rush.  The match still had its fair share of high flying moves (which is about all that Mistico is good for), but they added more hard hitting moves than the last few matches had and also included some decent brawling.  This was a good mix of fast action and hard-hitting action.  Very solid match.  Score:  6.5

Kazuchika Okada, Ultimo Guerrero, and Roja vs. Tanahashi, La Sombra, and El Desperado
Roja and Tanahashi start things off.  Tie-up, side headlock by Roja but Tanahashi reverses it into a front headlock.  Wristlock by Roja but Tanahashi reverses it, snapmare by Tanahashi and he hits an armdrag.  Another armdrag by Tanahashi and Roja backs off.  Tanahashi tags in Sombra and Roja tags in Okada.  Okada goes outside of the ring to think things over but returns after a moment.  Tie-up, Okada pushes Sombra into the ropes and he gives a clean break.  Tie-up, Sombra pushes Okada into the ropes this time but he gives a clean break as well.  Kick to the stomach by Okada, Irish whip, he goes off the ropes but Sombra delivers a dropkick.  Waistlock by Okada but Sombra gets out of it, Okada kicks Sombra into the corner but Sombra moves when Okada charges in and hits a hurricanrana.  Okada falls out of the ring and Sombra slides out after him. El Desperado and Guerrero come into the ring next.  Guerrero chops El Desperado against the ropes, Irish whip by El Desperado but Guerrero shoulderblocks him down.  El Desperado quickly gets back up, Guerrero goes off the ropes and El Desperado hits a rebound armdrag.  Guerrero back bodydrops El Desperado onto the apron, trips him, and then hits a baseball slide to send El Desperado out of the ring.  A brawl starts at ringside while Guerrero throws El Desperado into the ring post.  Tanahashi is slid into the ring and is triple teamed, with Roja hitting a catapult splash while Tanahashi is held against the ropes.  El Desperado comes into the ring and all three men hit running strikes on him in the corner.  Sombra slides in to face off with Guerrero, but he is attacked from behind.  Snapmare by Guerrero and he starts messing with Sombra’s mask.  Guerrero picks up Sombra and puts him onto the top turnbuckle before pulling him back down. 

Irish whip by Guerrero to the corner, Roja hits a lariat but Sombra hits a catapult dropkick onto Guerrero and then makes Roja kick Okada.  Sombra goes off the ropes and hits a hurricanrana onto Roja.  El Desperado comes in the ring and he sails out of it with a tope con giro onto Roja.  In the ring, Guerrero and Okada throw Sombra into the corner but he kicks them both back and hits a diving crossbody off the top turnbuckle.  Tanahashi comes in the ring, and both he and Sombra hit hurricanranas for a two count.  Guerrero and Okada try to throw Tanahashi and Sombra into each other but it is reversed into a double roll-up for a two count.  Tanahashi and Okada leave the ring as Sombra faces off again with Guerrero.  Powerslam by Sombra to Guerrero, Guerrero lands in the corner and Sombra hits a running double knee strike.  Snapmare by Sombra and he messes with Guerrero’s mask until Okada breaks it up.  Tanahashi comes in, Okada boots Tanahashi and goes for a tombstone but Tanahashi blocks it.  Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Okada nails the dropkick.  El Desperado comes in and hits a headscissors onto Okada, Roja comes in and he slams El Desperado into the corner.  Cover, but it gets a two count.  Roja picks up El Desperado but El Desperado chops him back.  Powerbomb by Roja to El Desperado, cover, but it gets a two count.  El Desperado applies an Octopus Hold to Roja but Guerrero quickly breaks it up.  Sombra dropkicks Okada out of the ring, Tanahashi goes up top and hits a body press down onto Guerrero while Sombra hits one onto Okada.  El Desperado and Roja are back in the ring and they trade chops.  El Desperado goes off the ropes but Roja kicks him in the face, cover, but it gets two.  Roja picks up El Desperado and goes for a facebuster but El Desperado gets out of it.  El Desperado picks up Roja and hits an over the shoulder backbreaker, followed by a second one.  Crucifix pin by a El Desperado and it picks up the three count.  Your winners:  Hiroshi Tanahashi, La Sombra, and El Desperado

Match Thoughts:  A step down from the last few matches as they really went back into a formula we have seen too many times on this tour. The 'good guy' team shouldn't be coming into the ring one at a time to get beatdown by all three of their opponents, it is not really logical. The action itself was perfectly acceptable but there was just too much going on and the structure was pretty loose (to put it mildly). It helped a bit that the quality of wrestler was higher (you'll never hear me accuse Okada or Tanahashi of being a slouch) than some of the other matches on the card, but it certainly lacked in parts. Score: 5.5

Final Thoughts

Best Match:   Rush and Mistico II vs. Shinsuke Nakamura and Mephisto.  This match stood out as different from the rest, so that was definitely a plus. It still had the high flying, but Rush and Nakamura also brought some of the more physical action and a little bit of hate as well. Mistico is a bit of a one trick pony but in a short tag match he doesn't get too exposed. Not much different than some other matches they had on this tour but still fun.

MVP:   Rush/Nakamura.  I am going to give it to both of them, as it was their interactions that made the only particularly good match on this card stand out. When they paired up it wasn't about who could do the biggest move or how many times they should springboard off the ropes, but rather finding ways to hurt each other. Which is how I like my pro wres.

Overall:   This was probably the worst event on the tour. Two of the matches were fine but it was just very similar to everything else that we have seen already. There is literally nothing on this card that anyone needs to go out of the way to see as there are better examples of these wrestlers pairing up on some of the other events on this tour. Definitely a skippable event.

Grade:  D

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review completed on 6/7/14