An Enhanced Review by Kevin Wilson
Date: October 13th, 2008
Location: Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
Announced Attendance: 9,000
How is that for turn-around time? This is a big event, if the sell out isn't a clue (there was a big ass screen that blocked seats, which is why its not as high as some shows at Sumo Hall). First, we get NO LIMIT getting a shot at the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. Then we have a big singles match with Giant Bernard and Goto, F4 invades, and we get a Chain Death Match between hated rivals Iizuka and Tenzan. Then to top it off the great and mighty Keiji Mutoh faces Nakamura, the man he took the IWGP Heavyweight Championship from. Oh yea, and there is Nagata against Tanaka, which has been built up for over half a year. This will be fun, I guarantee it. Here is the full card:
- IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Minoru and Prince Devitt vs. NO LIMIT
- Jado, Gedo, and Low Ki vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Koji Kanemoto, and Tiger Mask
- Satoshi Kojima, KAI, and Hiroshi Yamato vs. Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, and Tomohiro Ishii
- Manabu Nakanishi and Yutaka Yoshie vs. Masahiro Chono and Hiroshi Tanahashi
- Giant Bernard vs. Hirooki Goto
- Chain Death Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Takashi Iizuka
- World Heavyweight Championship (Zero-One): Masato Tanaka vs. Yuji Nagata
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Keiji Mutoh vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
No more stalling, lets get it rolling.
(c) Minoru and Prince Devitt vs. NO LIMIT (Yujiro and Tetsuya Naito)
This match is for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Minoru and Naito start things off. Tie-up, armbar by Naito, reversed by Minoru, Naito pushes Minoru into the ropes and both wrestlers give a clean break. Single leg takedown by Naito and he applies a leg lock on the mat, but Minoru gets out of it and does a kip up. Minoru tags in Devitt and Naito tags in Yujiro. Yujiro and Devitt circle each other, Irish whip by Devitt but Yujiro shoulderblocks him down. Devitt goes off the ropes but when he goes for a leap frog Yujiro catches him with a powerslam. Naito runs in and knocks Minoru off the apron, double Irish whip to Devitt and they hit a hiptoss, dropkick, elbow drop, and senton combination. Cover by Yujiro but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Yujiro from the corner and he hits an elbow strike. He gets on all fours so that Naito can catapult off his back, but Devitt catapults off his back instead and dropkicks Naito. Yujiro goes off the ropes but Devitt ducks, sending Yujiro over the top rope to the floor. Devitt goes off the far ropes but Yujiro runs back in the ring and hits a spear onto Devitt. Yujiro picks up Devitt, kick to the stomach, he goes off the ropes but Devitt ducks the lariat and hits a Pele Kick for a two count. Devitt puts Yujiro on his shoulders but Yujiro gets out of it, Devitt goes off the ropes and goes for a crossbody, but Yujiro catches him and slams him to the mat. He tags in Naito, and Naito comes off the top turnbuckle with a senton on the standing Devitt. He goes up to the top turnbuckle again and hits a missile dropkick, cover, but it gets a two count. Naito applies a crab hold to Devitt but releases it after a moment. Naito picks up Devitt and elbows him in the back repeatedly, he goes off the ropes but Devitt connects with a dropkick. Devitt picks up Naito and gives him an airplane spin, but both are dizzy when he puts him down. Yujiro runs in but Devitt moves and he spears Naito on accident. Devitt kicks Yujiro out of the ring and charges Naito, but both men hit lariats on each other. Devitt is up first and tags in Minoru, Minoru goes for a kick but Naito moves out of the way. Dropkick by Minoru, he picks up Naito but Naito pushes him off and hits a series of elbows. Poke to the eyes by Minoru and he throws Naito into the corner. Irish whip by Minoru, reversed, but Minoru kicks him when he charges in. Minoru goes on the top turnbuckle but Naito catches him up there and hits a Frankensteiner.
Double Irish whip to Minoru and they go for a flapjack, but Devitt breaks it up. They throw Devitt into the ropes, but Devitt hits a double dropkick on them, sending Yujiro out of the ring. Naito gets up, Irish whip to Devitt and then Devitt sails out of the ring with a tope con hilo onto Yujiro. Back in the ring, Irish whip by Minoru onto Naito and he delivers a high kick. Minoru goes for the Fisherman Buster but Naito reverses it with a small package for a two count. Japanese Leg Clutch Hold by Naito but Minoru gets out of it and applies the cross armbreaker. Yujiro breaks up the hold, then Devitt comes in and throws Yujiro back out of the ring. In the ring, Minoru picks up Naito and hits a series of kicks, he goes off the ropes but Naito catches him with a slam. He goes up to the top turnbuckle but Minoru rolls out of the way of the Stardust Press. Minoru puts Naito on his shoulders, Devitt goes up to the top turnbuckle but Yujiro grabs him and Naito rolls up Minoru for a two count. Naito dropkicks Minoru in the corner and tags in Yujiro, and Yujiro hits an elbow smash onto Minoru. Yujiro then gets on all fours and Naito catapults off his back with a dropkick. Yujiro picks up Minoru while Naito hits a plancha onto Devitt, Yujiro goes up to the top turnbuckle but Minoru gets his knees up when he goes for a moonsault. Minoru approaches Yujiro but Yujiro rolls him up for a two count. Devitt kicks Yujiro from the corner and gives him a diving double stomp. He puts Naito in a cross face while Minoru goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the FIREBALL Splash onto Yujiro. Cover, but Naito gets away from Devitt and breaks it up. Yujiro goes for a suplex onto Naito but Naito reverses it with a hurricanrana. Irish whip by Minoru onto Naito but Naito hits an elbow smash. German suplex hold by Yujiro onto Minoru but it only gets a two count. Yujiro picks up Minoru and goes off the ropes, hitting a lariat. Cover, but Minoru kicks out at one. Back up they trade elbows, Minoru goes off the ropes but Naito runs back in and they hit a Swinging Flapjack. Cover by Yujiro but Devitt breaks it up. Naito hits a German suplex onto Devitt, he picks up Minoru, slams him in front of the corner and nails the Stardust Press! Yujiro picks up Minoru and delivers the Intercollegiate Slam, cover, and he picks up the three count! Your winners and new champions: NO LIMIT
Match Thoughts: Now this is how you start a card, with a fun 10 minute Jr. Heavyweight sprint. Not a lot of real selling, no wasting time with submissions, just a straight up sprint. Tag rules were lax as they just went at each other, and the fluidness of both of these teams was incredible. NO LIMIT looked great here and the crowd was solidly behind them. In fact, the crowd is really loud to start the event, which is a great sign as a vocal crowd always helps the show as it gives the whole evening a better atmosphere. It won't win match of the year honors but it was a really fun sprint as they went non-stop, and the young team picked up the gold. Score: 7.0
Jado, Gedo, and Low Ki vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Koji Kanemoto, and Tiger Mask
Low Ki and Tiger Mask start things off. Back kick by Tiger Mask and he applies a wristlock, Low Ki gets out of it and shoulderblocks Tiger Mask to the mat. Armdrag by Tiger Mask but Low Ki knocks him down with an elbow. Low Ki goes for Tiger Mask's wrist but Tiger Mask kip ups and gets out of it. Tiger Mask goes off the ropes and he ducks a Low Ki crossbody, sending him out of the ring. Tiger Mask goes off the far ropes but Low Ki slides back in the ring, so Tiger Mask hits him with a crossbody. Tiger Mask rolls out of the ring but when Low Ki goes for a pescado he jumps back in, but Low Ki sees him and lands on the apron. Low Ki then hits a swandive crossbody, but Tiger Mask kicks him against the ropes. Low Ki tags in Jado, but Tiger Mask tags in Liger. Liger goes off the ropes and they collide with no result, he goes off the ropes again but this time he shoulderblocks Jado to the mat. Liger throws Jado out of the ring and hits him with a baseball slide. Tiger Mask slides Jado back in the ring, and Liger tags in Kanemoto. Kanemoto picks up Jado, double Irish whip and both he and Liger kick Jado in the stomach. Kicks to the leg by Kanemoto but Jado rakes his eyes. Club to the back by Jado and he tags in Gedo. Punches by Gedo, Irish whip, reversed, and Kanemoto hits an overhead belly to belly suplex. Kanemoto slaps and knees Gedo down in the corner and gives him the face washes followed by a running kick. Kanemoto picks up Gedo, snapmare, and he applies the ankle lock with a grapevine. Tiger Mask runs in and grabs Jado, but Low Ki breaks it up. Lariat by Jado onto Kanemoto and he tags in Low Ki. Low Ki picks up Kanemoto and they trade uppercuts and kicks, elbow by Kanemoto and he knocks Low Ki into the corner. Low Ki drives him back into his corner and hits a dropkick to the face. He then tags in Gedo, who kicks Kanemoto in the ribs. Jado picks up Kanemoto and rams him into the corner before tagging in Jado. Double Irish whip to Kanemoto and they shoulderblock Kanemoto to the mat. Jado picks up Kanemoto and chops him to his knees. After rubbing his face against the ropes Jado tags in Low Ki, Low Ki picks up Kanemoto and again they trade kicks. Irish whip by Kanemoto but Low Ki ducks the lariat and both men lariat each other. Low Ki picks up Kanemoto but Kanemoto hits an enzigieri and then a double dropkick onto Jado and Gedo. Kanemoto makes the tag to Liger who cleans house with a few shotei shots before he gives Low Ki a backbreaker. Scoop slam by Liger onto Low Ki and he goes up to the top turnbuckle, delivering a diving body press. Cover, but it gets a two count. Liger picks up Low Ki and goes for the Liger Bomb, but he is hit by Gedo and Jado. Tiger Mask and Kanemoto come in to clear the ring, with Tiger Mask hitting a tope suicida onto Gedo. Back in the ring Liger throws Low Ki into the corner but Low Ki kicks him when he charges in. Low Ki goes off the ropes and hits the Tidal Wave, cover, but it gets a two count. Low Ki Irish whips Liger from the corner, reversed, and Liger delivers a shotei. Liger picks up Low Ki and goes for Liger Bomb but Low Ki gets out of it and hits an enzigieri. Liger gets up in the corner, and Low Ki delivers the Tidal Crush. Ki Krusher '99 by Low Ki, cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Jado, Gedo, and Low Ki
Post match: Low Ki hits Tiger Mask with the title belt, but Taguchi runs in and hits him with the Dodon! He then talks on the mic, probably challenging him.
Match Thoughts: Not much of a match as there were too many wrestlers and it was too short for them all to be meaningful, but it did accomplish two things. First, it gave Low Ki a big pinfall over Liger, and second it set up a fight not only against Taguchi but against Kanemoto as well as they had a number of heated exchanged. The match itself wasn't too great, Liger seemed to go down too easily as he really wasn't that hurt. I guess they had a set objective which made sense, but they didn't have the time to really tell it in the best way. Low Ki in New Japan is interesting, it definitely mixes things up a little bit. Score: 5.0
F4 (Satoshi Kojima, KAI, and Hiroshi Yamato) vs. GBH (Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, and Ishii)
GBH attacks F4 to open the match, brawling at ringside. Yano and Makabe get in the ring, double Irish whip to Kojima but Kojima hits them both with a lariat. Kojima punches Ishii to the mat as KAI and Yamato come in the ring, Irish whip and all three men hit a dropkick. Giant Swing by Yamato and KAI pops Ishii with a dropkick while he is in mid-swing. F4 celebrates, which is a bad idea as Makabe and Yano return and attack them from behind. Back out of the ring, Makabe rams KAI into the ringpost while Yano chokes Kojima with a chord. Makabe takes KAI around the arena but finally returns, throwing him into the ringpost again. Makabe and KAI get back in the ring so the match can legitimately start, and Makabe punches him in the corner. KAI fights back but Makabe knocks him back again and throws him into the exposed corner. Makabe tags in Ishii, who rakes KAI in the eyes. Ishii throws KAI into the corner and hits a series of punches and chops. Ishii picks up KAI and puts him into the top turnbuckle, he joins him and hits a delayed superplex. Cover, but he gets off when Kojima runs into the ring. Ishii tags in Yano and Yano chokes KAI in the corner before giving him a hiptoss. Cover, but it gets a two count. Irish whip by Yano again into the exposed corner and he tags in Makabe. Makabe picks up KAI and delivers a vertical suplex, cover, but it gets a two count. Makabe applies a single leg crab hold but KAI gets a hand on the bottom rope. KAI gets up and Makabe goes off the ropes, but KAI ducks the lariat and hits an enzigieri. This gives him time to tag in Kojima, and Kojima knocks back all three members of GBH. Chops by Kojima in the corner to Makabe, Irish whip, and he hits the jumping elbow and diving elbow drop combination. Cover, but it gets a two count. Kojima picks up Makabe but Makabe elbows him back and the two trade blows. Eye rake by Makabe but Kojima ducks the lariat and hits a neckbreaker. Cover, but instead he punches Makabe in the face. Stomp by Kojima and he goes off the ropes, but Yano knees him from the apron. Yano gets in the ring but Kojima avoids their double team and lariats Makabe. Koji Cutter by Kojima onto Yano and he tags in Yamato. Yamato goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a missile dropkick, Irish whip to the corner and he delivers a lariat. Northern Lights Suplex Hold by Yamato, but it gets a two count. Yamato picks up Yano and applies a waistlock, KAI hits a dropkick and Yamato gets Yano over with a German suplex hold. Ishii breaks up the pin attempt, Yamato picks up Yano and elbows him, but Yano yanks him down. GBH all run in, Irish whip to Yamato to the corner and they all hit running strikes. Yano picks up Yamato and with Makabe they hit a backdrop/lariat combination. Cover, but it gets a two count. Yano picks up Yamato but Yano sneaks in an inside cradle for a two count. Kojima returns and lariats Makabe, he goes off the ropes but Ishii hits him from ringside with a chair before Yano delivers a spear. Yamato has recovered by now and he hits an enzigieri onto Yano, he goes off the ropes but Yano avoids the lariat and hits a German suplex. Yano picks up Yamato and drops him with the Oni Koroshi. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winners: GBH
Match Thoughts: A solid midcard faction match, F4 can be a bit cheesy but both Yamato and KAI are really fun to watch. GBH was their normal self, meaning they cheated a lot and occasionally yelled insults at their opponents and the crowd. Like the last match when you have so little time to work with in a six man match there is only so much you can do, but it was well worked and I am sure the feud will have a more high profile match in the future as they are still laying down the groundwork for it. Score: 5.5
Manabu Nakanishi and Yutaka Yoshie vs. Masahiro Chono and Hiroshi Tanahashi
Yoshie and Chono start things off. Tie-up, Yoshie applies a side headlock, but Chono eventually gets out of it with a drop toehold. Chono applies a front facelock but Yoshie picks him up and tosses him to the mat. Yoshie lets Chono get up, tie-up, kicks to the stomach by Chono but Yoshie forces him down to the mat. Chono gets back up, but Yoshie chops him into the corner. Irish whip by Yoshie and he hits a running body press in the corner. Body splash by Yoshie, cover, but it gets a two count. Yoshie picks up Chono but Chono hits a Yakuza Kick followed by a Shining Yakuza Kick. He goes for a third but Tanahashi runs in and hits Yoshie with a flying forearm. Chono gives him a look as Tanahashi asks for the tag, but while they look at each other Yoshie comes up and elbows Chono. Chono tags in Nakanishi, Nakanishi goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a chop. Nakanishi then runs over and knocks Tanahashi off the apron. Nakanishi pick up Chono and begins twisting around his arm, wristlock by Nakanishi and he knocks Chono into the corner. Irish whip by Nakanishi but Chono kicks him when he charges in. Nakanishi and Chono trade kicks, but Chono catches one and hits a dragon screw. Chono then tells Tanahashi off, Chono goes up to the top turnbuckle but Nakanishi recovers and joins him. Tanahashi runs in for the save and he pulls Nakanishi down, chops by Nakanishi onto Tanahashi but Tanahashi hits a dragon screw. Shining Yakuza Kick by Chono and he finally tags in Tanahashi. Nakanishi tags Yoshie, Irish whip by Tanahashi, reversed, but Tanahashi hits Yoshie with a jumping forearm. Tanahashi tries to slam Yoshie but Yoshie is too heavy, elbows by Tanahashi but Yoshie returns fire. Punches to the stomach by Tanahashi, Tanahashi goes off the ropes but Yoshie checks him down to the mat. Yoshie picks up Tanahashi and goes for a slam, but Tanahashi reverses it into a Dragon Sleeper. Nakanishi quickly breaks it up and knocks Chono off the apron, double Irish whip to Tanahashi and they hit a double shoulderblock. Yoshie and Nakanishi go for a double lariat, but Tanahashi ducks and they end up hitting each other. Tanahashi goes to tag in Chono but moves his hand at the last minute, Tanahashi grabs Yoshie and goes for a suplex, but Yoshie is too heavy. Vertical suplex by Yoshie, cover, but it gets a two count. Yoshie tags in Nakanishi, elbows by Nakanishi, Irish whip, and Nakanishi grabs Tanahashi by the throat before hitting a lariat. Cover, but it gets a two count. Nakanishi goes up to the top turnbuckle, but Tanahashi is up and joins him. Superplex by Tanahashi, he goes off the ropes and delivers the Sling Blade. He calls for another one, he goes off the ropes but Nakanishi catches him with a Polish Hammer. Cover, but Chono breaks it up. Yoshie knocks Chono out of the ring, Nakanishi throws Tanahashi into the corner and he hits a lariat. Yoshie follows with a running butt smash, Yoshie goes up to the top turnbuckle while Nakanishi puts Tanahashi onto his shoulders, and Yoshie jumps off, knocking Tanahashi to the mat. Chono comes back in but Yoshie puts him in an Argentine Backbreaker while Nakanishi hits Tanahashi with the Hercules Cutter. Cover by Nakanishi and he gets the three count! Your winners: Manabu Nakanishi and Yutaka Yoshie
Match Thoughts: Nice to see Yoshie in New Japan again. This was an odd little match as it was setting up the future at the expense of the present. After this match Tanahashi left for America for awhile, which is why he got pinned. I am not sure what was the cause of the dissension between Chono and Tanahashi, they are in different factions but their two factions normally get along fairly decently. This match was much slower then the others, but that was to be expected considering the wrestlers. Watching Chono and Tanahashi interact was definitely entertaining but the match itself was pretty slow and not much of note really happened except to set up Big Mountains as a team to beat in the G1 Tag League. Score: 5.0
Giant Bernard vs. Hirooki Goto
Tie-up to start, Giant Bernard pushes Goto into the corner but he punches Goto instead of giving a clean break. Goto gets back up and elbows Giant Bernard, Irish whip by Giant Bernard and he shoulderblocks Goto to the mat. Back up, tie-up, waistlock by Goto but Giant Bernard elbows out of it. Giant Bernard yanks on Goto's arm but Goto hits him with a few elbows. Goto goes off the ropes and hits another elbow, but Giant Bernard won't go down. He goes off the ropes again but he is grabbed by Ken Anderson, Irish whip by Giant Bernard but Goto hits a jawbreaker. Goto lariats Giant Bernard over the top rope to the floor, he then sails out onto Giant Bernard with a pescado. Anderson tries to interrupt, Goto knocks him back, but Giant Bernard hits him from behind. Giant Bernard then picks up Goto and powerbombs him onto the ring apron. Goto returns to the ring at 19, and Giant Bernard elbows him in the back. Giant Bernard picks up Goto and delivers a back elbow. Giant Bernard throws Goto in the corner and hits a series of shoulder tackles, Irish whip by Giant Bernard and Goto collapses in the other corner from the impact. Giant Bernard picks up Goto but Goto shoves him off and hits a series of elbows. Goto goes off the ropes but Giant Bernard catches him with an abdominal stretch. Giant Bernard releases the hold and throws Goto out of the ring, where Anderson throws him into the guard rail and chokes him while Giant Bernard has the referee distracted. The referee finally turns around and starts his count, but Giant Bernard goes outside and throws Goto into the rail. He then slides Goto back into the ring and punches him while his head is hanging over the apron. Guillotine on the second rope by Giant Bernard, cover, but Goto is still partly under the bottom rope. Giant Bernard drags him out and hits a diving body press, cover, but it gets a two count. Giant Bernard applies a body scissors, but Goto eventually makes it to the ropes. Giant Bernard picks up Goto and slams him in front of the corner before hitting a Reverse Splash. He goes for a second one, but Goto rolls out of the way. Goto slowly gets up and avoids a Giant Bernard lariat, then Goto hits a spinning heel kick in the corner. Lariat by Goto, but a second one still doesn't get Giant Bernard down. Goto goes off the ropes, Giant Bernard follows him off the same ropes, but Anderson jumps up onto the apron and grabs Goto. Giant Bernard charges them but Goto moves out of the way. Giant Bernard manages to not hit Anderson but Goto levels him with a lariat. Goto charges Giant Bernard but Giant Bernard hits the Chokebomb. Cover, but it gets a two count. Giant Bernard picks up Goto and goes for the Bernard Driver, but Goto goes down his back. Goto goes for a German suplex, but Anderson grabs Giant Bernard's hand from the apron to help him from going over. The referee kicks his arm off, however, and Goto manages to deliver the German suplex hold for a two count. Goto goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the diving elbow, cover, but again it gets a two count. Goto picks up Giant Bernard and calls for the Shouten, but he can't get Giant Bernard up. Giant Bernard goes for a lariat but Goto ducks it and applies the Cobra Clutch. aaa slides in the ring however and hits Goto with a low blow, Giant Bernard picks up Goto and nails the Bernard Driver. Cover, and he picks up the three count. Your winner: Giant Bernard
Match Thoughts: This match fell flat for a number of reasons. First, because of its placement on the card it couldn't be too exciting as it came before the three matches that the crowd had come to see. Second, since the feud between them had just started the crowd still wasn't sure how to react, as before both were heels (GBH is worse then RISE, but RISE still were heels a good percentage of the time). Finally, the match was slow and plodding, and way too broken up by the constant interference. I am all for interference by the bad guys, but they just went over the top here. I really like both of these wrestlers so I was really disappointed with this match, it is probably the worst singles match I have seen from either one of them this year. Score: 3.5
Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Takashi Iizuka
This is a Chain Death Match, meaning they are tied together at the wrist by a giant chain. Iizuka gathers the chain in his fist while Tenzan tries to pull him closer, but Iizuka attacks Tenzan with a series of punches. Iizuka goes off the ropes but Tenzan hits him with the chain. Iizuka rolls out of the ring as Tenzan pulls on him, and Iizuka gets back in. Stomps by Tenzan and he hits Iizuka in the corner with the chain. Tenzan chokes Iizuka in the corner but the referee gets him off. Tenzan picks up Iizuka and clubs him in the back with the chain before hitting a series of mounted punches. Iizuka is bleeding now of course as Tenzan stomps him again in the head. Tenzan bites at Iizuka's wound and chokes him again with the chain. Iizuka gets to the ropes but Tenzan isn't concerned about breaking the hold and bites Iizuka in the head again. Headbutts by Tenzan and he hits a series of Mongolian Chops. Tenzan delivers a vertical suplex, he goes off the ropes and hits a lariat, but Iizuka stays on his feet. A second lariat sends Iizuka over the top rope however, Tenzan pulls on it to choke him, but GBH pulls on the chain and Tenzan flies out of the ring. F4 and GBH brawl at ringside but GBH gets the better of it as Iizuka punches Tenzan with a chained fist, busting him open. Iizuka rolls Tenzan back into the ring and they trade punches while on their knees. Iizuka rakes the chain across Tenzan's face and removes the padding off a turnbuckle. Iizuka rams Tenzan into the exposed corner and he whips Tenzan in the back with a chain. Iizuka bites Tenzan in the head and connects with a series of mounted punches. Iizuka is still bleeding pretty good as he gives Tenzan a few headbutts. Iizuka picks up Tenzan and nails a piledriver, he drags him back to his feet and goes for a second one but Tenzan back bodydrops out of it. Tenzan goes off the ropes but Iizuka catches him and hits a Stun Gun. Lariat by Iizuka, he wraps the chain over Tenzan's neck and delivers a Blizzard Suplex. Another Blizzard Suplex by Iizuka, he waits for Tenzan to get up and applies the sleeper hold. Tenzan rams Iizuka back into the exposed corner twice and Iizuka lets go, but Iizuka re-applies it. Tenzan rams him back again and this time gets free, and he slams Iizuka to the mat. Anaconda Vice by Tenzan and he hits the Anaconda Buster to keep the hold applied. Iizuka balls the chain in his fist and punches out of it. Lariat by Tenzan in the corner and he delivers a spinning heel kick. Stomp to the back by Tenzan, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving headbutt. Tenzan clubs Iizuka in the back, he picks him up and delivers the TTD. Tenzan drags Iizuka towards the corner and gets up on the top turnbuckle, but Honma gets on the apron and pushes him back to the mat. Tenzan goes up to the top turnbuckle again but this time Iizuka pulls him down by the chain. On their knees they trade punches, Mongolian Chop by Tenzan but Yano gets in the ring. Kojima runs in and lariats Yano and the factions brawl at ringside. Tenzan picks up Iizuka but Makabe comes up from behind and hits him with a chain of his own. Lariat by Makabe with the chain. Iizuka hits Tenzan with the Iron Fist, he then ties Tenzan's wrists with the chain. Iizuka wraps the rest of the chain around Tenzan's neck and chokes him with it. Punches by Iizuka and he hits Iizuka with the chain in the back of the head. Iizuka wraps more chain around Tenzan's neck and pulls back while standing on him, choking Tenzan. The referee checks his arm and it falls three times, and he calls for the bell! Your winner: Takashi Iizuka
Match Thoughts: I have been a fan of New Japan for many years, but if I didn't know this was Iizuka I never would have recognized him. He changed his look and his style and really re-invented himself. A Chain Death Match really limits the wrestlers, moreso then most stipulation matches. Really you can only choke, punch, or whip someone with it, and that isn't a lot to work with. They did as well as they could as it was a fun bloody brawl, but while the crowd was vocal they frequently weren't loud and the match dragged in a few places. I think if I saw too many shows GBH would get on my nerves with their constant interference, but at least it is only on their matches and since they are the main heel group it isn't a problem story-line wise, it just makes matches more disjointed. It was a good brawl, but not a great brawl, as the chain is limiting and it was pretty long for a hateful brawl. Score: 6.5
(c) Masato Tanaka vs. Yuji Nagata
This match is for Zero-One's World Heavyweight Championship. I still can't get over how cut Tanaka looks now compared to his ECW days. Tie-up to start but they break cleanly and trade punches. Elbow exchange, Nagata kicks Tanaka to the mat and goes for another kick but Tanaka ducks out of the way and takes Nagata down. Headscissors by Nagata, Tanaka gets out of it and both men are back on their feet. Tanaka goes for a single leg, blocked by Nagata and he goes for a crossface, Tanaka gets out of it but Nagata grabs the arm. Nagata goes for the cross armbreaker but Tanaka gets out of it and applies a side headlock. Back up, Nagata pushes Tanaka into the ropes, Tanaka switches positions with him but he slaps Nagata in the face before backing off. Nagata gives Tanaka a look and kicks him in the leg before going for the sleeper, Irish whip by Tanaka but the two collide with no result. Slap to the face by Nagata and Tanaka falls to the mat. Nagata picks up Tanaka and they trade blows, which Nagata gets the better of. Overhead belly to belly suplex by Nagata and he knees Tanaka into the corner. Elbow by Nagata, Irish whip, Tanaka goes for the spear but Nagata catches him with a front facelock. Sleeper hold by Nagata and he takes Tanaka to the ground, applying a body scissors. Tanaka rolls to the ropes however and Nagata is forced to break the hold. Nagata waits for Tanaka to get up and kicks him in the back and chest. Tanaka returns a few shots but Nagata kicks him hard in the leg. Tanaka rolls out of the ring but Nagata goes out after him. Nagata picks up Tanaka and knees him in the head, and Tanaka staggers to the other side of the ring. Irish whip by Nagata into the guard rail and he boots Tanaka in the back of the head. Sleeper hold by Nagata but Tanaka rams him back into the ring post. Tanaka grabs a chair as the crowd yells at him and he hits Nagata in the chest with it. Tanaka opens the gate leading to the aisle and takes Nagata out to the floor, nailing a brainbuster! Tanaka returns to the ring and Nagata slowly crawls back, getting back in at 18. Tanaka picks up the deadweight Nagata and puts him in the corner, and he connects with a running elbow smash. Brainbuster by Tanaka and he quickly hits a second one. Cover, but Nagata gets a shoulder up. Taunting kicks to the head by Tanaka, Nagata gets back to his feet and they trade elbows. Tanaka goes off the ropes and hits a running elbow, sending Nagata back down to the mat. Tanaka picks up Nagata and goes for a powerbomb, Nagata gets out of it but Tanaka hits a running elbow strike, he goes for a second one but Nagata catches him with an exploder. Cover, but it gets a two count.
Kicks to the chest by Nagata and Tanaka falls back into the corner. Irish whip by Nagata but Tanaka kicks him when he charges in. He goes for Tornado DDT but Nagata places him on the top rope and he hits Mutoh's dragon screw neck whip! Brainbuster by Nagata, cover, but it gets a two count. Nagata picks up Tanaka and pushes him back in the corner before connecting with a high knee. Nagata picks up Tanaka and puts him up onto the top turnbuckle, he then joins him and goes for an exploder, but Tanaka blocks it. They continue to struggle, but Tanaka flips over Nagata's back and hits a powerbomb. Cover, but it only gets two. Irish whip by Tanaka to the corner and he delivers a lariat, he throws Nagata again, reversed, but Tanaka elbows Nagata and delivers the Diamond Dust. Lariat by Tanaka, cover, but Nagata kicks out. Tanaka picks up Nagata, Irish whip to the corner and he lariats Nagata in the back. Tanaka puts Nagata onto the top turnbuckle, joins him, and he hits an avalanche backdrop suplex. Tanaka then goes up top and connects with the diving body press, cover, but it only gets a two count. Tanaka goes off the ropes but Nagata catches him with a kick. Tanaka elbows him back but Nagata knees Tanaka in the stomach and both men are slow to get up. Nagata gets up first and they trade elbows, knee to the stomach by Nagata and he goes off the ropes, but Nagata catches him with a lariat. Running kick by Nagata and they trade moves until both men are hurt on the mat again. Sliding D by Tanaka, cover, but Nagata barely gets a shoulder up. He goes for another one but Nagata kicks him in the chest as he runs in and hits a backdrop suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Nagata picks up Tanaka and goes for another backdrop suplex, but Tanaka blocks it an connects with a series of elbows. Tanaka goes off the ropes and hits an elbow followed by the Roaring Elbow. Sliding D to the back of the head by Tanaka and he hits another one from the front. Cover, but Nagata gets a shoulder up. Tanaka sets up Nagata and goes off the ropes, but when he goes for the Sliding D Nagata catches his arm and applies the armbar! Tanaka manages to get a foot on the ropes however and Nagata breaks the hold. Nagata picks up Tanaka and they trade elbows, and Nagata hits an enzigieri. Tanaka crawls towards the ropes but Nagata grabs him and hits a backdrop suplex. Tanaka slowly gets up and reaches for the ropes again, but Nagata pulls him in and nails a backdrop suplex hold for the three count! Your winner and new champion: Yuji Nagata
Match Thoughts: A great match that had everything that fans had been waiting for. This was definitely a Tanaka match moreso then a Nagata match, as they skipped the submissions and went straight to strikes and trading bombs. I didn't mention it because it was so fast-paced, but one of the Sliding Ds busted open Nagata just to add extra drama to the match. Their feud had been set up perfectly up to to this point as Nagata had dominated Zero-One and Tanaka had dominated New Japan, but finally the aces were facing off one on one. They were incredibly fluid for two wrestlers that have little experience against each other, and the Sliding D into the armbar has to be one of the spots of the year. The crowd was pumped as they love Nagata, and the match was almost non-stop so they never had a chance to catch their breath. There were very few overkill moves, which sometimes can plague Tanaka matches, as the match ended right when it should have after two backdrop suplexes. Just a fun, hard-hitting, fast paced match that could have been the main event on most shows but still fit nicely on one of New Japan's biggest events of the year outside the Tokyo Dome. Score: 8.5
(c) Keiji Mutoh vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
This match is for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. They circle each other to start but break cleanly when they first approach to tie-up. Waistlock by Nakamura, but Mutoh rolls through it and goes for the arm of Nakamura. Nakamura gets back to his feet and reverses positions with Mutoh and he applies a knee lock. Mutoh rolls out of it however and both wrestlers are back on their feet. Mutoh takes down Nakamura but Nakamura applies a waistlock. Mutoh gets a foot on the ropes and Nakamura gives a clean break as Mutoh rolls out of the ring to re-group. Mutoh returns after a moment, side headlock by Mutoh and he takes Nakamura to the mat while maintaining the hold. Irish whip by Nakamura but Mutoh hits a shoulderblock. Mutoh goes for the Flash Elbow but Nakamura moves out of the way and kicks Mutoh in the arm. Keylock by Nakamura and he lets go to stomp Mutoh in the arm. Knee to the arm by Nakamura and he applies an armbar before knocking Mutoh to the mat and applying a keylock. Kick to the arm by Nakamura but Mutoh catches his leg. Nakamura knees Mutoh before he can hit a dragon screw, but Mutoh catches the next kick too and hits it anyway. Dropkick to the knee by Mutoh and he hits another dragon screw before applying a kneelock. Nakamura gets a hand on the ropes, dropkick to the knee by Mutoh and he hits a third dragon screw leg whip. Figure four by Mutoh but after a minute or so Nakamura makes it to the ropes and Mutoh breaks the hold. Mutoh knees Nakamura into the corner and hits another dragon screw. Mutoh charges Nakamura but Nakamura hits a lariat. Kicks to the chest by Nakamura, Irish whip, and Nakamura delivers a powerslam. Cover, but it gets a two count. Nakamura picks up Mutoh and hits a backdrop suplex, he drags Mutoh back up and hits a German suplex hold for a two count. Nakamura drags Mutoh to his feet and knees him in the stomach, he applies a full nelson, Mutoh muscles out of it but Nakamura takes him to the mat with an armbar. Mutoh gets a foot on the ropes, kicks to the arm by Nakamura but Mutoh dropkicks Nakamura in the knee. Another dropkick to the knee by Mutoh but Nakamura kicks him in the back. Dragon screw leg whip by Mutoh but Nakamura does a cross armbreaker takedown and tries to lock on the hold.
Mutoh keeps his hands locked to block the hold from being applied, Nakamura finally gets it locked in but Mutoh is too close to the ropes and he gets the break. Nakamura picks up Mutoh and yanks on his arm, he goes off the ropes but Mutoh back bodydrops him out to the apron. Nakamura goes to get back in the ring but Mutoh hits him with a Shining Wizard. Nakamura falls back out to the apron, Mutoh grabs him from the inside and delivers the dragon screw neck whip. Nakamura gets up in the corner and Mutoh hits a Shining Wizard followed by a dragon screw and another Shining Wizard. Shining Wizard from behind by Mutoh but Nakamura blocks the next one and goes for the cross armbreaker takedown. Mutoh powerbombs Nakamura to the mat to get out of it and hits the final Shining Wizard, cover, but it gets a two count. Mutoh picks up Nakamura, backbreaker, he goes up to the top turnbuckle and nails the moonsault. Cover, but Nakamura kicks out! Mutoh hurt his leg on the moonsault, he still gets up and goes for a Shining Wizard but Nakamura catches his leg and applies a knee lock. Mutoh struggles but eventually he gets a hand on the bottom rope. Kicks to the leg by Nakamura, Mutoh catches one but Nakamura rolls down to the mat and re-applies a knee lock. Again Mutoh makes it to the ropes, Nakamura picks up Mutoh and hits a dragon screw. Back up, Nakamura goes for another one, Mutoh blocks it but Nakamura picks him up and nails the Landslide. Cover, but Mutoh gets a shoulder up. Mutoh quickly applies the cross armbreaker but after a few seconds Mutoh manages to get his hands linked to lessen the pressure. He finally gets it fully locked in, but Mutoh quickly gets to the ropes and forces a break. Nakamura picks up Mutoh and goes for another Landslide, but Mutoh knees Nakamura in the face. Nakamura staggers away and then charges Mutoh, but Mutoh catches him with the Frankensteiner for the three count! Your winner and still champion: Keiji Mutoh
Match Thoughts: This was a different match from the one they had in April, and while it wasn't quite as entertaining as that one it was still very good match. Mutoh had the same game plan he always has, the same one that has won him many matches and titles over the years: attack the knee to get them down, hit a few Shining Wizards, and win with the moonsault. And for the first 15 minutes it looked like that would work, but then Nakamura kicked out of the moonsault and Mutoh injured his own leg. Now it was no longer a Mutoh match but Nakamura's turn, and he almost had the match won with the knee lock and the cross armbreaker. But just when Mutoh looked like he was out of tricks he went deep into his vault and pulled out the Frankensteiner, a move he hasn't won a match with in many many years. Nakamura hadn't trained for it, had no defense for it, and was too tired from the earlier assault to kick out of it. If the match had ended with the moonsault it still would have been good, but would have offered nothing different then the same formula we saw six months prior. By switching up the ending it gave the match a new twist, which greatly benefited it. It was a little slower then their earlier match and didn't have as much of the "holy shit" factor as the crowd exploded when Mutoh gets the three count, but it was still a fitting main event. Score: 7.5
Mutoh is better then you. And he knows it.
Best Match: Yuji Nagata vs. Masato Tanaka. What can I say? The match was built up for over six months as both wrestlers defeated wrestlers from their opponent's promotion. Then they finally meet and the crowd is electric as they go toe to toe, trading elbows, kicks, suplexes, and everything else. The match didn't have the "big move overkill" like some of Tanaka's matches do, but it was definitely more of a heavyweight sprint then we normally see in New Japan making it a unique hybrid match between two wrestlers with different styles that worked extremely well together. Great match.
MVP: Masato Tanaka. Yes, he lost. But he had an important championship match in front of a large crowd and he delivered. He worked the match his way but also incorporated some New Japan style which helped the overall quality, and he kept the crowd in the match. Him reaching, dreamy eyed, for the ropes at the end was perfect as he looked desperate and lost, but hadn't given up. I hope we get to see more of Tanaka in New Japan, he is one of the top wrestlers in Japan and deserves the recognition.
Overall: Top to bottom the best puroresu event of the year I have seen. Not all the matches were winners and Goto vs. Giant Bernard was a big letdown for me, but the three title matches made up for it. Add in the Chain Death Match and you have four matches that are definitely worth watching. The rest of the midcard ranged from average to solid and the entire show was generally entertaining. The real highlights are the last two matches, as Nagata and Tanaka was great and Mutoh added a twist to his match to make sure it was different then the one they had in April and also showed Nakamura's growth as he needed a flash pin to get the win. Go out of your way to watch this event, as some feuds began, others ended, and the New Japan Legend continued his dominance of his old stomping ground.
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review completed on 10/16/08