Ah yes, the January Tokyo Dome Show. Typically New Japan's biggest show of the year, this one was a little different then most. The new booker, Riki Choshu, opted to use small independent wrestlers on the card instead of bringing in big name wrestlers (except Akebono), which made sense from a cost perspective, but cut the excitement a bit for the show and also left off some of New Japan's premiere wrestlers such as Taguchi and Black Tiger. Since the show, Choshu has gotten a little heat from management, but considering that there were no less then 17 wrestlers on the card that were not on the regular New Japan roster you can understand where some of the disappointment came from. Regardless, the matches were set up fairly well with New Japan invading Zero-One and Zero-One invading New Japan prior to the big show. Here is the full card:
- Naofumi Yamamoto vs. Ryouji Sai
- Jushin Thunder Liger, Jado, and Gedo vs. Masato Tanaka, Kanemura, and BADBOY Hido
- Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tiger Mask IV and Minoru
- Riki Choshu, Kohei Sato, Takashi Uwano, Kamikaze, Yoshihito Sasaki, and Daisuke Sekimoto vs. Fujinami, Takashi Iizuka, Osamu Nishimura, Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto, and Hiroshi Nagao
- Akebono and Yutaka Yoshie vs. Black Strong Machine and Hiro Saito
- Kazunari Murakami vs. Yuji Nagata
- Koji Kanemoto vs. Shinjiro Otani
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata
- Giant Bernard vs. Manabu Nakanishi
- IWGP Tag Team Championship: Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Shiro Koshinaka and Takao Omori
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Brock Lesnar vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
42 wrestlers, damn that is a lot for one card. For the fans of American wrestling, you will recognize (I would think) Liger, Masato Tanaka (ECW fame), Akebono (WrestleMania XXI), Giant Bernard (A-Train in WWE), and of course Brock Lesnar. I was going to put a brief recap explaining why each match was happening, but I have a feeling this review will be long enough as it is, so check out www.puroresufan.com for more information on the show.
Naofumi Yamamoto vs. Ryouji Sai
This is a place that I can give Choshu some credit. Here is an opening match, with two very young wrestlers, but due to the way it was set up there was a lot of excitement for the match and it did not come across as "just" an opening young lion match. They trade forearm shot to start the match, Slap by Sai, but Yamamoto knocks Sai to the mat. Kick to the head by Yamamoto, Sai rolls out of the ring and sits down on the ramp outside. A minor scuffle takes place outside the ring between New Japan and Zero-One MAX, but they break apart before they come to blows. Back in the ring, Sai charges Yamamoto and gets him into the corner. Sai kicks down the referee because he is trying to stop him, but Yamamoto pushes him back and kicks him in the opposite corner. Single leg takedown by Yamamoto and he applies a leg submission hold. They trade slaps while Sai is still in the hold, Yamamoto keeps it maintained for a moment, but eventually Sai rolls out of it and gets to the ropes. Yamamoto is slow to break the hold but eventually does so. Kick to the leg by Yamamoto and they trade strikes. Rolling kick by Sai, Yamamoto falls to the mat, and Sai applies a reverse chokehold. He reverts the hold into a sleeperhold with a body scissors, but releases the hold and goes for a cross armbreaker. Yamamoto quickly makes it to the ropes though and Sai gives a clean break. Kicks by Sai, he goes off the ropes, but Yamamoto blocks the high kick. Irish whip by Yamamoto, but Sai grabs the ropes when Yamamoto goes for a dropkick and Yamamoto catches nothing but air. Sai charges Yamamoto and goes for a front kick, but Yamamoto barely ducks in time. Kicks by Yamamoto, he goes for a backdrop suplex, but Sai reverses it into an ankle lock with a grapevine. He drags Yamamoto back to the middle of the ring and re-applies the hold, but Yamamoto gets a hand on the bottom rope. Kick to the leg by Sai, he goes off the ropes, but Yamamoto catches him with a kick to the gut. Yamamoto goes off the ropes and hits a front kick, cover, but it gets a two count. Yamamoto goes to the top turnbuckle, but Sai is up in time and kicks him squarely in the head. Now it is Sai that goes up top and he hits a double stomp. Cover, but Yamamoto barely kicks out. Sai goes off the ropes, front kick on Yamamoto, cover, but again it only gets two. Sai picks up Yamamoto, nails the Sidmouth, cover, and this time he gets the three count pinfall. Your winner: Ryouji Sai
Match Thoughts: Yamamoto represented New Japan and Sai represented Zero-One MAX in this match. It wasn't a bad opener, although you could tell at times that they lacked experience. The most obvious example was when Yamamoto went to the top turnbuckle, he was clearly waiting for Sai to come and kick him off. He never even made it all the way to the top turnbuckle he was climbing so slow and he had his eyes on Sai the entire time. The strikes looked good, although I might question the logic of having Sai pretty much decimate Yamamoto at the end of the match with a double stomp/front kick/Sidmouth. If there is one thing you can say about puroresu, they don't like BS finishes, it is usually pretty clear by the end who the better wrestler is. Score: 5.0
Jushin "Thunder" Liger, Jado, and Gedo vs. Masato Tanaka, Kintaro Kanemura, and BADBOY Hido
Nice to see my man Kanemura on a New Japan Dome Show. Well, more surreal then anything else. No time for introductions, as they start the brawl as soon as Liger and company enter the ring. All six men exit the ring, but Liger is teamed up by The Apache Army while Kanemura gets a table and sets it up at ringside. Liger is put on the table, Kanemura goes to the top turnbuckle, and hits a diving splash down onto Liger through the table. We get a *clip* (this was taped off of TV, so they were running to the end of their time. This match was shown last, for TV they put the "big" matches on first to help grab ratings and showed the rest of the card in seemingly random order), and it is now Liger in the ring with Tanaka. Irish whip by Liger, and he nails a Shotei in the corner. Liger Bomb by Liger, cover, but Tanaka kicks out at two. Scoop slam by Liger, he goes to the top turnbuckle, but Kanemura runs over and holds him for Tanaka. Tanaka then comes to the corner and nails a superplex from the top. Another *clip*, Jado goes for a powerbomb on Kanemura, Kanemura reverses it and rolls-up Jado, but Jado changes the momentum and gets his own two count cover. This brings in Tanaka, who nails Jado with a roaring elbow. Kanemura gets a piece of the table and clocks Jado in the head with it. Cover, but Jado quickly kicks out. Jado clotheslines Hido and Kanemura, but misses one on Tanaka and Tanaka delivers the Diamond Dust. Kanemura then goes to the top turnbuckle, nails the diving senton, cover, and Kanemura gets the three count. Your winners: Masato Tanaka, Kintaro Kanemura, and BADBOY Hido
After the match ends, they do the Team No Respect dance, which for some reason I thoroughly enjoy.
Match Thoughts: If I could have one wish fulfilled before I die, it would be having the chance to do the Team No Respect dance with Kintaro Kanemura. Obviously this was too clipped to give a rating to, and I am assuming it was heavily clipped because it wasn't very good not to mention not as important as the other matches on the card in the grand scheme of things. That was a pretty good bump by Liger to start the match though, I will give him some credit. I was a little surprised to see The Apache Army pick up the victory here, but Choshu definitely has a vision for New Japan, we just don't know what it is yet. Score: N/A
Tatsuhito Takaiwa and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tiger Mask IV and Minoru
Takaiwa and Minoru start things off. Tie-up, waistlock by Minoru, reverses into an arm wrench by Takaiwa, but Minoru reverses it. Minoru goes for the cross armbreaker on the mat, but Takaiwa gets to his feet and applies a leg submission hold. Minoru reverses it, but Takaiwa gets to the ropes and Minoru eventually breaks the hold. Back in the middle of the ring, they trade chops, kick by Minoru, side headlock, Takaiwa Irish whips out of it and the two collide with neither man budging. Minoru goes off the ropes, they block each other's clotheslines, but Takaiwa nails a powerslam and tags in Ishii. Minoru rakes Ishii in the eyes and chokes him with his boot before tagging in Tiger Mask. Kicks to the chest by Tiger Mask, side headlock, Irish whip by Ishii, but they collide with no result. They engage each other again, Ishii avoids a Tiger Mask dropkick and hits an over-the-shoulder slam. Elbows to the back of the head by Ishii, he picks up Tiger Mask and hits a scoop slam followed by an elbow drop. Cover, but it gets two. Ishii tags in Takaiwa, chops by Takaiwa in the corner, Irish whip, and he elbows Tiger Mask to the mat. Takaiwa applies a single-leg crab hold, but Tiger Mask makes it to the ropes. Stomp to the back by Takaiwa, he picks up Tiger Mask, but Tiger Mask connects with a back kick to the stomach. Snapmare by Tiger Mask and he tags in Minoru. Snapmare by Minoru and he kicks Takaiwa in the back. Minoru applies a reverse chinlock, but releases the hold and tags Tiger Mask back in the match. Kick by Tiger Mask, but Takaiwa picks him up and tags in Ishii. Double Irish whip on Tiger Mask and they hit a double shoulderblock. A stretch hold is applied by Ishii, but Tiger Mask back-kicks out of it. Irish whip by Tiger Mask to the corner and he nails a kick to the head of Ishii. Tiger Mask puts Ishii on the top turnbuckle and goes for a butterfly suplex, but Ishii knocks him off. Ishii goes for a top rope elbow drop, but Tiger Mask rolls out of the way. Tiger Mask goes off the ropes, but Ishii catches him with a powerslam and tags in Takaiwa. Irish whip by Takaiwa, but Tiger Mask avoids the back bodydrop and kicks Takaiwa to the mat. Tiger Mask somewhat connects with a backflip kneedrop (it probably hurt more, actually, since he landed on Takaiwa's side), cover, but it gets a two count. Tiger Mask picks up Takaiwa, scoop slam, he goes to the top turnbuckle, but Ishii runs over to distract him.
This gives Takaiwa time to recover, he joins Tiger Mask up the top turnbuckle, but Tiger Mask punches him off. Tiger Mask dives off the top with a crossbody, but Takaiwa catches him and nails the Death Valley Driver. Takaiwa picks up Tiger Mask, but Minoru connects with a dropkick from the top turnbuckle. Minoru dropkicks Ishii as well, but Takaiwa is back up and he delivers a Death Valley Driver to Minoru. Takaiwa goes back to Tiger Mask, but Tiger Mask surprises him with a crucifix pin for a two count. Kick by Takaiwa, he goes for a powerbomb, but Tiger Mask rolls down his back and gets the two count cover. They then try twice to get Tiger Mask up on Takaiwa's shoulders, they can't manage it, so Takaiwa has to throw Tiger Mask into the corner and use the turnbuckle to finally get Tiger Mask up. Once he accomplishes that, he goes to the waiting Ishii who is perched on the top turnbuckle and Ishii nails a clothesline. Ishii grabs Minoru, Takaiwa covers Tiger Mask, but Minoru still manages to break it up. Minoru is thrown out of the ring, Takaiwa delivers a clothesline, cover, but Tiger Mask kicks out. Takaiwa goes for another one, but Tiger Mask ducks it and "hits" an overhead kick. Tiger Mask tags in Minoru as Takaiwa tags in Ishii. Irish whip by Ishii, reversed, and Minoru delivers a dropkick. Waistlock by Minoru, Ishii elbows out of it and goes off the ropes, but Minoru dropkicks him in the knee. Kicks by Minoru, but Ishii catches one and hits a backdrop suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. Ishii powerbombs Minoru into the corner, Irish whip, Takaiwa hits a clothesline and Ishii follows with a clothesline of his own. Takaiwa hits dual powerbombs on Minoru, picks him back up a third time, transfers Minoru to Ishii, and Ishii nails a brainbuster. Cover, but Tiger Mask breaks it up in time. Ishii picks up Minoru while Takaiwa goes to the top turnbuckle, Ishii goes to give Minoru to Takaiwa, but Tiger Mask shoulderblocks Ishii in the stomach. Takaiwa comes off with a clothesline to Tiger Mask, Ishii holds Minoru for Takaiwa, but Minoru ducks and Takaiwa clotheslines Ishii by accident. High kick by Minoru and he nails a release dragon suplex on Takaiwa. Right kick by Minoru on Ishii and the returning Takaiwa gets one as well. Minoru holds Ishii for Tiger Mask, and Tiger Mask hits a missile dropkick from the top turnbuckle while Minoru hits a release German suplex. Tiger Mask immediately sails out of the ring with a tope suicida on Takaiwa, while in the ring still Minoru delivers a capture back suplex to Ishii. Minoru finishes off Ishii with a right kick, cover, and he gets the three count pinfall for New Japan. Your winners: Tiger Mask IV and Minoru
Match Thoughts: Not near as crisp as you would expect. Takaiwa is from Zero-One MAX, while Ishii has been wrestling in Riki Pro. I think one of the down sides of having an "invasion" theme is that the wrestlers are not nearly as comfortable working against each other, which was evident in this match. Ishii/Takaiwa and Tiger Mask/Minoru looked fine as teams, but when they were against each other things got sloppy. I am not sure who's fault it was, but it taking Takaiwa three tries to get Tiger Mask on his shoulders was really rough, and twice Tiger Mask performed poorly one of his patented moves. Even though Minoru and Tiger Mask are not friends, they actually got along just fine once the bell rang and there were no signs of friction between them. I was expecting a bit more from these guys, and it wasn't a particularly good match as a whole even though Minoru looked very solid as usual. Score: 4.5
Choshu, Sato, Uwano, Kamikaze, Yoshihito Sasaki, & Sekimoto vs. Fujinami, Iizuka, Nishimura, Yano, Goto, & Nagao
This is a not an elimination tag match. At any point in the match there are more then four people in the ring I am just going to type "crazy brawl" until things settle back down. Crazy brawl to start, with Fujinami getting there about 15 steps behind his younger and thus faster teammates. Fujinami's team gets the upperhand as the match officially begins. Fujinami puts Choshu in a modified Scorpion Deathlock, then releases the hold and kicks him in the back. Fujinami tags in Yano, who kicks Choshu into the corner. Irish whip by Yano, but Choshu kicks him when he charges in and nails a lariat. Choshu tags in Sato while Yano tags in Iizuka. They tie-up and go into the ropes before exchanging wild blows. Iizuka gets Sato into the corner and applies a front facelock, but Sato gets to his corner and tags in Uwano. Kicks by Uwano in the corner, snapmare, and he kicks Iizuka in the back. Iizuka quickly gets up, throws Uwano into the corner and tags in Nagao. Chops by Nagao in the corner and he hits a scoop slam. Cover, but it gets a two count. Uwano drives Nagao back in his corner and tags in Sekimoto. Double Irish whip on Nagao and they hit a double shoulderblock. Vertical suplex by Sekimoto and he tags in Choshu. Choshu applies the Scorpion Deathlock, and a crazy brawl ensues. Choshu's team clears the ring, and Nagao squares off with Uwano. Tie-up, Nagao drives Uwano back to his corner and Nagao tags in Goto. Uwano slaps Goto, but Goto takes control and goes for a snapmare. Uwano blocks the snapmare, does one of his own, and tags in Kamikaze. Kamikaze picks up Goto, scoop slam, and Sasaki comes in to hit a scoop slam as well. Another scoop slam by Kamikaze, Sekimoto runs in to hit a scoop slam, Uwano takes his turn, but Goto blocks the vertical suplex attempt and hits own of his own. Goto tags in Iizuka, double Irish whip, and they hit a double clothesline on Uwano. Backdrop suplex by Iizuka, cover, but it gets a two count. Stomp by Iizuka, scoop slam in front of the corner, and he tags in Fujinami who hits a diving knee drop the top turnbuckle. Irish whip by Fujinami on Uwano and he applies a sleeperhold into a stretch hold. Fujinami tags in Nishimura, who hits an uppercut and puts Uwano up in the corner.
Forearms to the knee by Nishimura, and a crazy brawl ensues. Uwano is attacked in the corner by many of the members of Fujinami's team, scoop slam by Yano, and Nishimura and Fujinami hit a diving knee to the leg followed by a figure four leglock by Nishimura while Fujinami's team protects him from Choshu's team. Uwano makes it to the ropes however and Nishimura breaks the hold. Yano is tagged in and Yano hits a hiptoss. Scorpion Deathlock by Yano, but Choshu breaks it up with a lariat and kicks Yano while he lays on the mat. Choshu's team runs in the knock New Japan off the apron, and now it is Yano who is abused in the corner. Clothesline by Uwano, cover, but it gets a two count. Uranage by Uwano, another cover, but it is broken up. Uwano picks up Yano and applies a waistlock, Yano grabs the top rope, so Sekimoto comes in and hits a German suplex on Uwano, thus sending Yano over in a German suplex as well. Slightly dazed by his own teammate, Uwano tags in Sasaki, who comes off the top turnbuckle with a missile dropkick. This allows Yano to tag in Goto, Irish whip by Goto and he hits a dropkick to Sasaki. The two trade slaps and forearms, Goto goes off the ropes and nails a killer release German suplex. Sasaki gets back to his feet quickly and hits his own German suplex followed by a kick to the head. Sasaki tags in Kamikaze, waistlock, reversed by Goto, but Kamikaze hits an overhead enzigieri. Scoop slam by Kamikaze and he delivers a moonsault from the top turnbuckle. Cover, but it is broken up. Goto manages to catch Kamikaze with a spinning heel kick and he tags in Fujinami. Fujinami kicks Kamikaze in the leg, Irish whip, and he applies the sleeperhold into the Dragon Sleeper. It is quickly broken up though, Sekimoto runs in to hit a scoop slam on Fujinami, Sato goes for a kick, but Fujinami catches his leg and delivers a dragon screw leg whip. Fujinami tags in Nagao, chop by Nagao and he hits a standing dropkick. Elbow by Nagao in the corner and he hits a jumping clothesline. Chokeslam by Nagao, cover, but it is broken up. A crazy brawl starts, but the ring soon clears again. Knee to the chest by Sato, but Nagao gets back up and another brawl starts. Choshu hits a lariat on Nagao, but he stays on his feet. Sato grabs Nagao around the waist, Choshu hits another lariat, Sato delivers a German suplex, and he gets the three count pinfall. Your winners: Riki Choshu, Kohei Sato, Takashi Uwano, Kamikaze, Yoshihito Sasaki, and Daisuke Sekimoto
Match Thoughts: The first thing I thought when I watched this match was... "Why?" Why was this match put on a Tokyo Dome card? Why were there five wrestlers that were from independent promotions on the card? And why was there a match with 12 wrestlers in it that was a regular tag? Lots of questions, but I have no answers. I understand that it was Choshu against Fujinami, and both got a group of young wrestlers to fight with them, but I think 12 was a little excessive. 3 vs. 3 or even 4 vs. 4 would have been watchable, but this was just a random mess as you would expect. There was a little bit of psychology with Yano ticking off Choshu by using the Scorpion Deathlock, but that was about it. This would have been a pretty decent match as a double main event at a small New Japan show or a big Riki Pro event, but here it fell flat and seemed rather pointless. It was fun watching a few of the junior pairs in the match and wishing that they had the opportunity to do more, but it was mostly a cluster of random tag-ins and tag-outs until the ending sequence where none of Nagao's five teammates could get in the ring to help him break out of the pin. Score: 3.5
Akebono and Yutaka Yoshie vs. Black Strong Machine and Hiro Saito
Akebono and Black Strong Machine start things off. Black Strong Machine goes off the ropes and goes for a shoulderblock, but Akebono doesn't budge. He tries again, but has the same result. Akebono slaps Black Strong Machine against the ropes, throws him in the corner, and slaps him some more. Saito comes in the ring, but he gets slapped back to the corner. Scoop slam by Akebono on Black Strong Machine, he goes off the ropes, but he is tripped up by Saito on the outside. Senton by Saito, and Black Strong Machine does a senton as well. Cover, but Akebono kicks out at two. They both pick up Akebono, but Akebono clotheslines them both down and tags in Yoshie. Clothesline by Yoshie on Black Strong Machine, he picks him up, scoop slam, and he hits a series of Raiden Drops. Cover, but Saito breaks it up. Saito slaps Yoshie and rakes his eyes, and both men elbow Yoshie in the back of the head. Black Strong Machine picks up Yoshie and tags in Saito. Chops by Saito in the corner and he delivers a DDT. Senton by Saito, cover, but it only gets a two count. Saito applies a reverse chinlock and rakes Yoshie in the eyes. Elbow to the back of the head by Saito and he tags in Black Strong Machine. Shoulderblocks by Black Strong Machine in the corner, snapmare, and he elbows Yoshie in the head before kicking him in the back. Cover, but it gets another two count. Another elbow to the head by Black Strong Machine and he tags Saito back in. Double headbutt by Saito and Black Strong Machine, Saito slaps Yoshie into the ropes, Irish whip, but Yoshie clotheslines Saito to the mat and tags in Akebono. Black Strong Machine slaps Akebono and goes to pick him up, but Akebono pushes him off. Black Strong Machine tries again with no luck, but Saito runs in to help. They try for a double vertical suplex, but it is reversed by Akebono into a double vertical suplex. Akebono stands on Black Strong Machine's chest, then does the same to Saito. Akebono picks up Black Strong Machine, Irish whip, and he nails the 64. Cover, but Saito breaks it up. Akebono tags in Yoshie, Akebono holds Black Strong Machine for Yoshie, but when Yoshie charges, Black Strong Machine moves and Yoshie goes down in a heap after running into Akebono. Yoshie is stomped on by both men, double Irish whip from the corner, Saito hits a running elbow and Black Strong Machine follows with a clothesline. DDT by Black Strong Machine, and Saito hits another senton. Black Strong Machine holds Akebono back, cover by Saito on Yoshie, but it gets a two count. Saito goes for a German suplex, but Yoshie drives him back into the corner. Yoshie Irish whips Saito into the same corner that Black Strong Machine is in and hits a running clothesline. Akebono then hits a splash on both men while they are still in the corner as well. Slam by Yoshie on Saito, but Saito avoids the splash and hits a senton. Cover by Saito, but Akebono breaks it up. Black Strong Machine runs in, and with Saito they hit a double back suplex on Akebono. Black Strong Machine picks up Yoshie, and they give him a double back suplex also. Saito goes up to the second rope and hits a senton, but Akebono catches Black Strong Machine with a swinging slam. Saito covers Yoshie, but it gets a two count. Akebono goes to Saito and nails a chokeslam, Yoshie climbs the top turnbuckle and he delivers the diving body press. Cover, and he gets the three count pinfall! Your winners: Akebono and Yutaka Yoshie
Post match: Akebono dances. No, really.
Match Thoughts: Maybe it is because I have not been thrilled with the first part of the card, but I actually kinda enjoyed his match. Akebono has improved since I first saw him in the summer. Not to say that he is "good," but he seems a lot more comfortable moving around the ring. Saito over-used the senton a bit, but I guess when you are known for only one move you tend to do it a lot (just ask Koshinaka). It was kept pretty short, it was non-offensive, and Yoshie got a bit of the rub by getting the pin. This was also the loudest that the crowd has gotten all night, hopefully they will be more "into" the show from here on out. Score: 5.5
Kazunari Murakami vs. Yuji Nagata
They charge each other to start the match, slaps to the head by Nagata and he punches Murakami in the corner before kicking him down to the mat. Nagata pushes down the referee when he tries to stop him and chokes Murakami with his boot. Nagata picks up Murakami, club to the back, but Murakami fires back with punches and kicks. Double stomp kick by Murakami in the corner and he stands on Nagata's shoulders while pushing down with the help of the ropes. Murakami kicks Nagata while he still is on the mat, helps him up, and throws him to the mat again. Murakami goes off the ropes, but Nagata barely ducks the right kick and hits an exploder. Now it is Murakami that ducks the right kick, he rolls away, and both men face off again in the middle of the ring. Murakami asks for a test of strength, but Nagata grabs his leg. Murakami pushes Nagata to the mat and punches him from a mounted position, but Nagata gets to the ropes and rolls out of the ring. Murakami continues raining in punches on the outside and pushes down the referee and anyone else that tries to help. Stiff kicks by Murakami while Nagata is against the apron and he punches him to the floor. Murakami gets back in the ring first, Nagata gets back on the apron at 15, but Murakami punches him back out. The referee gets Murakami back and starts the count again, and this time Nagata waits until 17 to slide back in the ring. Murakami tackles Nagata back into the corner and kicks him to a sitting position. After hitting a punch and knee combination, Murakami chokes Nagata with his boot. Murakami picks Nagata up out of the corner and hits a judo throw followed by a stiff kick to the chest. Cover, but it gets a two count. A sleeper is applied by Murakami, but Nagata drives him back into the corner. Murakami maintains the hold though, and the referee goes out to the apron to try to get Murakami to break it. He eventually does, and Nagata drops motionless to the mat. Nagata slowly crawls to his feet, he takes a few kicks to the chest from Murakami, but he eventually catches one, drives Murakami back to the corner, and nails a high knee to the face much to the crowd's delight. Nagata snaps at this point. Boot to the head by Nagata and he applies a sitting armbar. Murakami eventually gets to the ropes, but Nagata keeps the hold on until the referee finally gets him off. Nagata picks up Murakami and kicks him in the head and shoulder repeatedly. Another kick knocks Murakami out of the ring, and Nagata goes out after him. Repeated knee shots by Nagata on the outside, the referee comes out, and he gets Nagata to lay off a bit. Nagata slides the busted-open Murakami back into the ring and hits a series of headbutts, knocking Murakami to the mat. More knees to the head by Nagata, the referee checks on him, but Murakami gets back to his feet a bloody mess. Another kick by Nagata and he delivers a brainbuster. Nagata measures Murakami and nearly takes off his head with a right kick. Cover by Nagata, but Murakami gets a foot onto the ropes. Back up, the two trade punches, but Nagata grabs Murakami around the waist and drops him with a backdrop suplex. Nagata picks up Murakami and nails a backdrop suplex hold, and he gets the three count pinfall! Your winner: Yuji Nagata
Post match: Nagata and Murakami continue slapping each other, and Nagata is about to hit an armbreaker, but a brawl starts with members of both factions going at it. During the normal press conference that followed, a reporter asked a question that Murakami did not like, so Murakami tossed aside the table and grabbed the reporter around the neck before tossing him down. No one questions Murakami!
Match Thoughts: Murakami hailed from Big Mouth Loud, a sorta off-shoot of New Japan. When a card is somewhat lackluster, you can always count on Nagata to bring the hate. I have said I like a match that tells a "story," well it doesn't have to be "focus on a body part" or "big guy vs. little guy" to show strong psychology. This was simply Murakami pissing Nagata off and Nagata beating the shit out of him. Nagata gets this crazy look in his eyes and you just know it is on. For his part, Murakami looked downright evil in his match as well and you really got the impression that they did not like each other, something you rarely see in wrestling these days. There were no Irish whips and no moves that needed obvious cooperation from your opponent, just hard hitting stiff action. And I loved every minute of it. Score: 8.0
Koji Kanemoto vs. Shinjiro Otani
Otani comes out with a sword for reasons which I am not sure. They charge each other as soon as the bell rings and trade slaps in the middle of the ring. Kick by Kanemoto, and a dropkick to the knee gets Otani to the mat. Dragon screw leg whip by Kanemoto and he applies a single leg submission hold. Kick to the leg by Kanemoto, he goes off the ropes, but Otani catches him with a heel kick. Release dragon suplex by Otani and he delivers the powerbomb. Stomp by Otani and he knees Kanemoto in the head. Kanemoto gets back up, but Otani slaps him to his knees. Back up, slaps by Otani and he kicks Kanemoto again. Otani chops Kanemoto, Kanemoto chops him back, but Otani puts Kanemoto in the corner and stomps him down to the mat. Kanemoto hits his patented boot scrapes and hits two running boot scrapes to Kanemoto's face. The referee checks on Kanemoto, but Otani knees him back into the corner. Eye rake by Otani and he slaps Kanemoto in the face. Another slap by Otani, Kanemoto slaps him back, and they trade blows. Otani gets Kanemoto into the corner again, Irish whip, but Kanemoto collapses. Stomp by Otani, he picks up Kanemoto and throws him into the corner. Running boot by Otani, but Kanemoto charges out of the corner and hits a heel kick on Otani. Kanemoto picks up Otani, but Otani grabs him and delivers a backdrop suplex. Club to the back by Otani, he goes for the dragon suplex, but Kanemoto rams him back into the corner. Otani goes off the ropes, but Kanemoto catches him with a release overhead suplex. Kanemoto hits the Falcon Arrow, goes to the second rope, but Otani rolls out of the way of the second turnbuckle corkscrew senton. Otani drags Kanemoto to his feet and goes for the suplex again, but Kanemoto rolls out of it and applies an ankle lock with a grapevine. After struggling, Otani makes it to the ropes and Kanemoto breaks the hold. Kanemoto kicks Otani repeatedly in the leg, twice in the head, scoop slam, and he delivers a moonsault from the top turnbuckle. Cover, but Otani barely kicks out. Kanemoto picks up Otani, snapmare, and he kicks him in the back and in the front. Cover, but again it gets two. Otani gets up to one knee, Kanemoto pushes him in the corner and knees him in the head. With Otani slouching in the corner, Kanemoto hits the boot scrapes and a running boot scrape. He goes for a second one, but Otani comes out of the corner and nails a release German suplex. Otani goes to apron and hits a springboard dropkick, followed by the Spiral Bomb. Cover, but Kanemoto manages to kick out. Otani looks surprised, and while he is recovering from the shock, Kanemoto slaps on the ankle lock again. Otani gets a hand on the bottom rope after a minute and Kanemoto releases the hold. Kick to the leg by Kanemoto, he goes off the ropes, but Otani catches him with a jumping kick. Otani goes for the dragon suplex, Kanemoto fights him off, Otani goes off the ropes, but Kanemoto catches him with a tiger suplex hold for a two count. Back up, Otani punches Kanemoto hard in the head, nails the dragon suplex, and gets the three count pinfall. Your winner: Shinjiro Otani
Match Thoughts: A very oddly structured match. Otani hits a powerbomb and a release dragon suplex within the first minute of the match, but then spends the next three minutes or so playing with Kanemoto and trying to get him to fight back. He does, but soon Otani levels him with a few patented moves ending with the Spiral Bomb. But Kanemoto sells it for about 10 seconds before locking on his finisher. Otani gets out of that, walks around like he is fine and wins with the dragon suplex. It is hard to dislike a match with two fun wrestlers that are so crisp with their moves, but the psychology was all over the place and I have trouble getting into matches that are structured in such a random manner. It wasn't that Otani and Kanemoto looked bad, they didn't, but maybe since they were only given 10 minutes they didn't have a very fluid match. The crowd really wanted to cheer the match, and did at the end, but they were quiet during the beginning portion as I don't think they really knew what was coming next and were waiting to see what Kanemoto and Otani were up to. I won't say it was bad, since I really like Kanemoto and Otani, it just wasn't nearly what I was expecting. Score: 6.0
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata
Tanahashi charges Shibata with a kick as soon as the bell rings, but Shibata slaps him back and kicks him repeatedly in the legs and head. Tanahashi falls to the mat, and Shibata continues raining in the kicks until Tanahashi falls out of the ring. Tanahashi gets back in at 8, but is greeted with more kicks from Shibata. Tanahashi finally catches a kick and hits a dragon screw leg whip and then connects with a dropkick. Back up, Shibata tells Tanahashi to forearm him, which he does. They trade forearms, but Shibata floors Tanahashi with a stiff slap to the face. Shibata kicks Tanahashi while he is on the mat, picks him up, and kicks him into the corner. Tanahashi fires up and forearms Shibata back into the corner, they grab each other by the hair, but Shibata tosses Tanahashi into the corner and hits a series of forearms and kicks. Choke by Shibata in the corner and he nails a dropkick to Tanahashi's head. Irish whip by Shibata from the corner, but Tanahashi hits an elbow when he charges. Tanahashi hops up to the second turnbuckle and goes for a springboard crossbody, but Shibata knees him in the stomach. Shibata boots Tanahashi while he is on the apron (where he rolled out to), and Tanahashi goes crashing to the floor. Tanahashi gets back in at around 10 and connects with a jumping forearm smash to Shibata. Tanahashi goes for an elbow drop, but Shibata rolls out of the way and kicks Tanahashi in the back. Cover by Shibata, but it gets a two count. They trade sleeperhold attempts, with Shibata locking it on. Tanahashi gets to the ropes after a moment and Shibata has to break the hold. Knee lift by Shibata, he grabs Tanahashi, and delivers a backdrop suplex. Cover, but it gets a two count. A reverse chinlock is applied by Shibata and he reverts it into a dragon sleeper. Shibata goes off the ropes and goes for the front kick, but Shibata catches his leg and connects with a release German suplex. Tanahashi goes up to the top turnbuckle, waits for Shibata to get up, and hits a missile dropkick. He follows that with a dropkick in the corner and a butterfly suplex. Tanahashi charges Shibata, but Shibata slaps him in the face. They trade stiff slaps, Tanahashi hits an enzigieri, but Shibata absorbs the blow and kicks Tanahashi while he is still on the mat. Tanahashi gets back up and this time the enzigieri gets Shibata to his knees. German suplex hold by Tanahashi, but it gets a two count. Tanahashi picks up Shibata and goes for the dragon suplex, but Shibata gets a hand on the ropes. Tanahashi applies the sleeperhold and then puts Shibata in the dragon sleeper, but Shibata reverses it into a front facelock. Shibata releases the hold and hits a front kick, cover, but it gets a two count. Boot by Shibata, but Tanahashi fires back with the Sling Blade. Both wrestlers are slow to get up, but Tanahashi is to his feet first. Tanahashi goes for the dragon suplex, but Shibata gets to the ropes again. Tanahashi rolls off Shibata, but Shibata nails a right kick. Cover by Shibata, but Tanahashi barely kicks out. Shibata waits for Tanahashi to get up and kicks him repeatedly in the chest and legs, Tanahashi takes the assault, but eventually falls to his knees before collapsing entirely. Kick to the head by Shibata, he waits for Tanahashi to get up, and he then knocks him out with another right kick to the head. Cover, and Shibata gets the three count pinfall. Your winner: Katsuyori Shibata
Match Thoughts: Shibata proved that at this stage in their careers he is still well ahead of Tanahashi in terms of development and ability. This fit in nicely with Tanahashi's losing streak, the problem is that even when he was winning the crowd was not as behind him as you would have thought. Have the New Japan faithful given up on Tanahashi for the time being of becoming the next ace? Only time will tell. This match was not as hateful as Nagata's match, but Shibata really laid in the kicks hard and there was really no doubt that he would win the match. Even if Tanahashi had hit the dragon suplex, since Shibata was almost 100% he would have just kicked out of it anyway. It wasn't a squash, Tanahashi got his shots in, but Shibata dominated. Shibata needs to come back to New Japan more often, he has the look and mentality to be a champion down the road. Score: 6.5
Giant Bernard vs. Manabu Nakanishi
This is Giant Bernard's debut match in New Japan. Tie-up to start the match, but they break with neither man getting in a shot. Tie-up again, Giant Bernard gets Nakanishi into the corner and they struggle for position against the ropes. Giant Bernard ends up with the better position, he goes for a blow, but Nakanishi moves. A side headlock is applied by Nakanishi, Giant Bernard Irish whips out of it, and the two collide with neither budging. Giant Bernard goes off the ropes, but again nothing happens. Now both men go off the rope twice, Nakanishi gets a little wobbly, and when Giant Bernard hits another shoulderblock Nakanishi goes down to the mat. Stomps by Giant Bernard, he picks up Nakanishi and throws him into the corner. Giant Bernard hits a series of headbutts and punches in the corner, he gets a running start, but Nakanishi blocks the charge and chops Giant Bernard in the corner. While Giant Bernard is against the ropes, Nakanishi gets a running start and tries to clothesline him over, but Giant Bernard doesn't make it. So Nakanishi goes off the ropes again, hits another clothesline, and this time Giant Bernard goes over the top rope to the floor. Giant Bernard lands on his feet and pulls Nakanishi out as well, he tries to Irish whip Nakanishi into the ring post, but it is reversed. Chop by Nakanishi on the outside, Giant Bernard fires back, and they trade slaps. Forearm by Nakanishi, and Giant Bernard rolls back into the ring. Stomp by Nakanishi, he clubs Giant Bernard in the back, picks him up, and hits a headbutt. Nakanishi headbutts Giant Bernard again, applies a waistlock, but Giant Bernard gets to the ropes. More headbutts and chops by Nakanishi, he goes for a scoop slam, but Giant Bernard reverses it into a scoop slam of his own. Running body press by Giant Bernard, cover, but it gets a two count. Giant Bernard applies a reverse chinlock, Irish whip from the corner, and he delivers the running splash. Irish whip again from the corner, but this time Nakanishi catches him with a spear. Nakanishi picks up Giant Bernard, chop to the chest, Irish whip from the corner, and he delivers a clothesline. Giant Bernard does not go down, Nakanishi hits a pair of double handed club shots, but Giant Bernard still won't go down. A third one works for Nakanishi, cover, but it gets a two count. Nakanishi picks up Giant Bernard and goes for the Argentine Backbreaker, he gets him up, but Giant Bernard gets out of it. Nakanishi avoids the Baldo Bomb, they trade slaps, Nakanishi goes off the ropes, but Giant Bernard thrusts him in the throat and delivers the Baldo Bomb. Cover, but Nakanishi kicks out at two. Giant Bernard goes for the reverse splash, Nakanishi tries to roll out of the way, but he wasn't fast enough and gets somewhat hit by the move. Both men are slow to get up, Nakanishi grabs Giant Bernard and hits a chop, goes off the ropes, and they both clothesline each other. Waistlock by Nakanishi, Giant Bernard tries to fight it off, but Nakanishi connects with the German suplex hold and gets a two count. Nakanishi goes off the ropes, but Giant Bernard catches him with a scissors kick. Power bomb attempt by Giant Bernard, he can't get him up and almost Gansobombs him, but instead he nicely puts Nakanishi back down and Giant Bernard decides to hit a clothesline instead. Giant Bernard goes to the second rope, nails the reverse splash right to Nakanishi's head, cover, and he gets the three count. Your winner: Giant Bernard
Match Thoughts: This match wasn't as bad as I heard it was, besides from the fact that Giant Bernard is apparently not as strong as New Japan assumed he was. They played this up as the "little" Nakanishi against the "big" Giant Bernard, with the obvious problem being Nakanishi really isn't that much smaller then Giant Bernard. The German suplex by Nakanishi looked great, and I really feel sorry for him for having the role of losing to all the foreigners that come through. Bernard didn't look bad when he wasn't messing up something, but they really didn't click (probably because they had never faced off before). So by no means was it a good match, but it wasn't completely worthless and the crowd was into it at the proper places. Score: 4.0
(c) Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Shiro Koshinaka and Takao Omori
This match is for the IWGP Tag Team Championship. Tenzan and Koshinaka start things off. Tie-up, Tenzan pushes Koshinaka against the ropes and kicks him before backing off. Tie-up again, Irish whip by Tenzan, but they collide with no result. Tenzan goes off the ropes again and grazes Koshinaka with a heel kick, but Koshinaka just looks at him and doesn't go down. Koshinaka goes off the ropes, but Tenzan connects with a Mongolian chop. Clubs to the back by Tenzan, snapmare, and he knees Koshinaka in the head. Headbutt by Tenzan, but Koshinaka hits a snapmare and hip attacks Tenzan twice in the head. Tenzan gets back up, tie-up, Tenzan gets Koshinaka back in the corner and Koshinaka tags in Omori. Omori asks for Chono, so Chono tags in as well. Tie-up, but they break with no result. Kick to the stomach by Chono, but Omori hits a European uppercut. They trade blows, which Omori gets the better of and Chono falls to the mat. Chono gets back up, side headlock by Chono and he takes Omori down to the mat while maintaining the hold. Omori struggles to his feet and punches out of the hold, Irish whip, and he boots Chono in the face. Omori goes off the ropes, but Chono connects with a boot of his own. Omori does not go down, they tie-up, Chono gets Omori into the ropes and tags in Tenzan. Tenzan kicks Omori in the side and connects with a pair of headbutts. Omori fires up and hits a European uppercut before tagging Koshinaka back in. Hip attacks by Koshinaka and he applies a reverse chinlock. Tenzan gets a hand on the ropes, so Koshinaka breaks the hold and butts him. Punch to the head by Koshinaka and he tags in Omori. Club to the back by Omori, tie-up, side headlock by Omori, Tenzan Irish whips out of it, but they collide with neither man going down. Finally Tenzan shoulderblocks Omori to the mat, picks him up, and hits a Mongolian chop. Snapmare by Tenzan and he chops Omori in the throat. Another chop by Tenzan and he forearms Omori, but Omori nails a dropkick and Tenzan falls out of the ring. Omori follows him out and drags Tenzan back up to the apron. He goes for the Axe Guillotine Driver on the apron, but Tenzan hangs on. After blocking a powerbomb attempt by Tenzan, Omori hits a piledriver on the apron and walks up the ramp as Koshinaka holds up Tenzan at the other end of the rampway. Omori then gets a running start from the top of the ramp and nails the Axe Bomber. Omori drags Tenzan back to the ring and slides him in at 15. Koshinaka comes in as well, double Irish whip, and they hit a double shoulderblock. Koshinaka stays in, and he hits a side Russian leg sweep. Cover, but Tenzan easily kicks out. Hip attacks by Koshinaka and he forearms Tenzan in the head. More hip attacks, but Tenzan fights back. Koshinaka gets Tenzan back to his knees with a punch and tags in Omori.
Omori connects with a series of punches and applies a reverse chinlock, but Tenzan bites his finger to get out of it. A full nelson is applied by Omori, but Tenzan elbows out of it and nails a heel kick on Omori. This gives Tenzan time to tag in Chono, and he clubs Omori to the mat before kicking down Koshinaka as well. Back to Omori, Chono hits a scoop slam, goes to the top turnbuckle, and hits a diving shoulderblock. Knee to the stomach by Chono and he delivers an atomic drop. Chono applies a single-leg crab hold into an STF, but Koshinaka breaks it up. Chono goes off the ropes, but Omori catches him and applies a Cobra Twist. He tosses Chono back to the mat and tags in Koshinaka. Headbutts by Koshinaka, he goes off the ropes, but Chono applies the Cobra Twist into a pin for a two count. Chono tags in Tenzan, who kicks Koshinaka into the corner. Chops by Chono, Irish whip, and he delivers a clothesline in the corner. Tenzan goes to the top turnbuckle while Koshinaka is still in the corner and drives Koshinaka's head into the mat with his knee. Cover, but it gets a two count. Tenzan kicks Koshinaka into the corner again, puts him onto the top turnbuckle and hits a superplex. Koshinaka gets back up quickly though, Tenzan goes off the ropes, but he misses the falling headbutt. Omori rushes over to knock Chono off the apron, Koshinaka hits a German suplex on Tenzan, and Omori follows with an Axe Bomber. Koshinaka goes to the top turnbuckle, nails a hip attack, cover, but Tenzan barely kicks out in time. Koshinaka goes off the ropes and hits another hip attack, cover, but again it gets two. Koshinaka tags in Omori, Omori goes off the ropes and hits a boot to the face, but Tenzan does not go down. Omori goes for another one, Tenzan avoids it, but Omori eventually hits a swinging neckbreaker. Koshinaka comes over to powerbomb Chono, while Omori nails the Axe Guillotine Driver on Tenzan. Cover, but Tenzan somehow kicks out. Omori goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits a diving knee. Cover, but again it gets two. Omori goes off the ropes, but Tenzan avoids the Axe Bomber. They both go for spinning heel kicks, and both stay down on the mat. Tenzan is barely up first and he tags in Chono while Omori tags in Koshinaka. Chono boots Koshinaka in the head, double Irish whip, and they hit a double flapjack. Chono goes back to Koshinaka, Irish whip from the corner, Tenzan hits a clothesline and Chono delivers the Yakuza Kick. Cover, but it gets a two count. Tenzan goes up to the top turnbuckle and hits the diving headbutt, then Chono comes in with a Shining Yakuza Kick. Cover, but Omori breaks it up. Tenzan takes care of Omori with Mongolian chops and a TTD while Chono hits a back suplex on Koshinaka. Another kick by Chono on Koshinaka, cover, but Koshinaka easily kicks out. Tenzan goes for a Yakuza Kick, Koshinaka avoids it and rolls him up, but it gets two. Back up, Koshinaka comes charging out of the corner, but Chono nails the Shining Yakuza Kick and he gets the three count pinfall! Your winners and still champions: Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Post match: An angry Omori grabs the trophy and breaks it, which pisses off Tenzan and a brawl breaks out. They eventually get separated, but it appears this rivalry is not over yet.
Match Thoughts: Omori is a regular for Zero-One MAX, and Koshinaka is a popular freelancer. Going into the match I figured Omori and Koshinaka had no chance of winning, but they did a good job at making it seem like they had a chance. It wasn't a blow away match by any stretch of the imagination, but it was definitely solid and Omori showed more then I have seen from him in awhile. Koshinaka is not one of my favorite wrestlers due to his one dimensional offense, but the crowd is into him. I wasn't a big fan of the big transitional move being the no-selling of the superplex, I don't mind no-selling but usually when wrestlers do it, it is not a transition move from one person dominating to the other. The moves were hit fairly well though, and the Axe Guillotine Driver in particular looked good. Overall a pretty good match, I would have liked to have seen Chono and Tenzan defend on the Dome Show against New Japan wrestlers, but at least Omori and Koshinaka showed up and did all they could to put on an entertaining match. Score: 6.5
(c) Brock Lesnar vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
This match is for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Lesnar charges Nakamura to start the match, Nakamura gets him back, but Lesnar pushes him to the ground. Lesnar gets Nakamura in the corner and hits a series of shoulder tackles, Irish whip, but Nakamura gets a foot up when Lesnar charges. Nakamura runs at Lesnar, Lesnar picks him up, but Nakamura slides down his back and kicks Lesnar in the legs. Nakamura goes off the ropes, Lesnar avoids the first attack, but Nakamura hits a shining enzigieri. Lesnar stays on his feet, he catches Nakamura's next kick attempt and clotheslines him to the mat. Club to the back by Lesnar, but Nakamura forearms him in return. Lesnar will have none of that though, picks up Nakamura, and hits a release capture suplex. Vertical suplex attempt by Lesnar, Nakamura lands on his feet and applies a waistlock, but Lesnar elbows out of it. Irish whip by Lesnar, Nakamura goes for the Shining Triangle, but Lesnar catches him and slams him to the mat. Nakamura rolls out of the ring and Lesnar comes out after him with a double ax handle off the apron. Nakamura gains control with a knee strike, but Lesnar clubs him to his knees and rams his back into the apron. He rams Nakamura's back into the apron again and slides him back into the ring. Nakamura is back up and kicks Lesnar when he gets on the apron, knocking Lesnar back to the floor before sailing out after him with a tope suicida. Lesnar is up first anyway and knees Nakamura in the head as he gets up. Nakamura fights back, but Lesnar throws him back into the ring post. Lesnar picks up Nakamura and rams him back-first into the ring post again before throwing him back into the ring. Kick by Lesnar, he hits a scoop slam, goes off the ropes, but Nakamura avoids the elbow drop. Nakamura applies the sleeperhold to Lesnar, but Lesnar struggles to his feet and slams Nakamura back into the corner. Kicks to the chest by Lesnar and he clubs Nakamura in the back. Knee to the head by Lesnar and he hits more shoulder tackles in the corner. Lesnar charges Nakamura, but Nakamura gets his foot up and applies the hanging cross armbreaker over the top rope. He has to break the hold before the five count, and he snaps Lesnar's neck over the top rope before coming off the top turnbuckle with a missile dropkick. Nakamura ducks a clothesline by Lesnar and nails a release German suplex. Nakamura slaps on the cross armbreaker, but Lesnar keeps his hands locked, lifts Nakamura off the mat, and slams him down. Lariat by Lesnar, he waits for Nakamura to get up, delivers the Verdict, and gets the three count pinfall. Your winner and still champion: Brock Lesnar
Match Thoughts: While I don't think that this was the ideal match to have as the main event of the big Tokyo Dome Show, it was a perfectly fine match. Lesnar showed flashes of being his old self again, although I hope he gets more matches on the upcoming tours so that he can an opportunity to interact with the wrestlers before he goes one on one with them for the first time. Nakamura did everything he could here, but the outcome was pretty obvious (especially considering that Nakamura was a replacement opponent). I hope they are not trying to make Lesnar what Vader was in the late 80s, for the crowd is simply not reacting to Lesnar very strongly one way or the other. I liked Lesnar's match with Nagata in 12/05 better, but this match was solid if not unspectacular, which is probably how I would describe this show as a whole. Score: 6.0
The event started out pretty slow, but they ended with a handful of solid matches that made me glad I had taken the time to watch the show. I still do not like the idea of having so many wrestlers from smaller promotions on the Dome Show, I understand why they did it, but I don't agree with it. I also think that Giant Bernard should have been given a chance to get to wrestle Nakanishi before being put on the big stage with him, as you could tell they were off in a few places. The main event was fine, but nothing you need to go out of your way to see and I hope that sometime this year Lesnar becomes more of a regular and gets the chance to really become part of New Japan. Nagata, as he sometimes does, stole the show with his performance and without that match the show would have been a lot less fulfilling as a whole. If you get a chance to watch this, I recommend it, but I wouldn't put down money for the show since I think New Japan has put on much better shows in 2005 and will no doubt put on better shows in 2006.
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