Note: Two matches were cut out on this disc, for an unspecified reason. Those matches are Ryouji Sai v. Naofumi Yamamoto and Yuji Nagata v. Kazunari Murakami. So, in advance, an apology for that.
Masato Tanaka, Kintaro Kanemura & BADBOY Hido v. Jushin Thunder Liger, Jado & Gedo
There's no way of starting a show better than with a BADBOY in it! A narrow table gets set up at ringside and Liger gets rolled on it. Kanemura goes up splashes through it. Man, that looked like it KILLED Liger. Back in Liger powerbombs Tanaka for two. Some evil heel cheating allows them to superplex Liger. Kanemura gets a schoolboy for two. Kanemura gets a senton from the top on Jado ... for the win. Too short to make anything of, but the table spot bought it enough leeway not to be worthless. 1/2*
Winners: Masato Tanaka, Kintaro Kanemura & BADBOY Hido
Tiger Mask & Minoru v. Tatsuhito Takaiwa & Tomohiro Ishii
Mask and Takaiwa do a respectful handshake to start. Minoru works Takaiwa's arm to start but gets taken down. They exchange chops, and Minoru takes the smart path and kicks the gut rather than the expected chop. He jumps up for something but Takaiwa catches him in a slam, in a nice spot. Ishii comes in, as does Tiger Mask, who brutally kicks him down to size. Ishii manages to slam him and keeps him grounded. Takaiwa comes in and keeps up the Mask isolation with a single leg Boston Crab. Ropes break that up, and Mask gets some kicks in before tagging in Minoru who goes to a chinlock. They force a tag to Mask though, stupidly, who delivers some a nice array of kicks for two. He however gets caught off the top and Takaiwa gets a Death Valley Driver. Minoru comes in and tries to make the save, but he gets the same treatment. Mask gets a couple of schoolboys for two, then tries an interesting legscissors hold, but it fails, and he receives a Doomsday Device! Of course Tiger sold that so good it looked sweet. Minoru gets a pair dropkicks on Ishii but receives a back suplex that folds him in half for a close two. Almost two close, as if it was botched, but oh well. Takaiwa gives Minoru a double powerbomb, then slips him off to Ishii who gives him a back suplex in a nice sequence. Missile Dropkick by Tiger sets up a dragon suplex by Minoru, and he finishes with a right kick to the head, much like how Tanahashi finished earlier. Solid but nothing spectacular. **3/4
Winners: Tiger Mask & Minoru
Riki Choshu, Kohei Sato, Takashi Uwano, Kamikaze, Yoshihito Sasaki & Daisuke Sekimoto defeated Tatsumi Fujinami, Takashi Iizuka, Osamu Nishimura, Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto & Hiroshi Nagao via German suplex + lariat combination on Nagao. I'm sorry, but I'm not even going to ATTEMPT to embarrass myself by butchering this match. And obviously, not rating for it either.
Yutaka Yoshie & Akebono v. Black Strong Machine & Hiro Saito
So we've got Akebono in there with BSM, who likes like an S&M experiment gone wrong. Akebono stupidly goes for a splash which of course misses, and BSM goes to work, so he has to tag out. Yoshie sits on BSM for two. Saito goes to a rear chinlock. Ah, a resthold. JUST what we needed in this match. Akebono and BSM are back in, yawn. Akebono gets a sloppy double suplex. Saito gets sandwiched and DDTed by BSM for two. Akebono splashes them both in the corner. Akebono slams BSM for two. Yoshie gets a diving senton on Hiro for the win. This was just a slow, boring sloppy fest of big men, so nothing good came out of it. 1/2*
Winners: Yutaka Yoshie & Akebono
Shinjiro Otani v. Koji Kanemoto
Otani kicks him down in the corner to start, but it gets reversed. Otani gets a nice snap suplex when they get up. Koji tackles him out to the floor, then shoves the ref out of the way. Some stiff karate kicks to the chest follow. Koji tries to win off of that via count-out, but Otani escapes, only to get tossed again. He tries the count-out again, and it works! Just kidding, he makes it back in time. Koji stays in control and gets a stiff chest kick for two. Okay, we are advancing in on something like ten minutes and Koji is still in control. Give it a break already. Otani is able to catch the leg off a kick and run up the turnbuckle with a modified enzigiri. Otani locks in an armbar but Koji gets the ropes. BIG STIFF KARATE KICK gives Koji a taste of his own medicine and sends him to the outside. Koji now has a pretty wicked crimson mask. Suplex and Buzzsaw Kick get two. Things turn into a slugfest, won by Koji who is sporting the punching gloves, but Otani grabs him and gets a Dragon Suplex for the win. Match was too one-sided offense for one guy for too much time in the match for me, but still good. ***
Winner: Shinjiro Otani
Katsuyori Shibata v. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Shibata kicks him down to start and shoves the ref out of the way. Tanahashi escapes the ten count but gets kicked down again back inside. Shibata lets him have some free blows, which of course don't phase him, and he slaps him down. This guy doesn't even look like he has muscle, he's just tall and skinny. Tanahashi tries the ancient Japanese trick of pulling the hair, but it doesn't work and he gets worked over in the corner. Tanahashi tries a crossbody but Shibata gets the boot up to block it. Bicycle kick sends Hiroshi to the floor, but again he escapes the ten count and is able to get a forearm but again is kicked down to size. Shibata goes to a rear chinlock, then gets an ugly back suplex that looked like Hiroshi landed right on his damn neck. That gets two, and it's back to the dragon sleeper. Tanahashi gets out and gets a Missile Dropkick, followed by a dropkick in the corner. Tanahashi is on FIRE! Things soon turn into a slapfest, until Hiroshi gets an enzigiri. German bridge gets two. Now Hiroshi tries the sleeper, but Shibata gets out and gives him a stiff kick for two. Tanahashi goes back in control, must I bring out the "must be because of rocking the mullet" reference? Shibata goes back to the lethal kicks, damn those look stiff. We check to see if Tanahashi is KO'ed, but he isn't, but as he gets up Shibata kicks him square in the head, Buzzsaw Kick style for the win. I would have liked to seen a bit more of that, still a solid match. ***1/2
Winner: Katsuyori Shibata
- Japanese commercials time, where we see a car commercial with some new rock band covering The Beatle's A Hard Day's Night. That was pretty funny. Anime, and then some freaky Japanese stuff. Earth, Wind, & Fire Japan Tour 2006! I'm totally there!
Giant Bernard v. Manabu Nakanishi
For those unaware, Giant Bernard is indeed Prince Back Hair, Albert/A-Train. He overpowers Nakanishi to start but misses a charge and gets chopped. They botch a lariat over the top so they do it again, where outside Bernard eats post. Good Lord these guys move slow. Nakanishi tries a German but can't budge it, so he hammers on his back and goes back to the useless chops until Bernard slams him for two. I wonder if Bernard will pull out the Giang Swing here? So back to the chops we go and Nakanishi is finally able to knock Bernard down for two. Nakanishi gets him up in Torture Rack range, but Bernard slips off and we have a slapfest. Baldo Bomb gets two. They play out Bernard missing a Vader Bomb though he clearly landed it directly, for a Double-KO. Back up and Nakanishi gets a German for two. He gets the Vader Bomb now for the win. That was by far one of the stiffest worked match I have ever seen. If you think you've seen a BAD big man match, you haven't seen anything yet. It actually looks like Albert has gotten WORSE since coming to Japan. -*
Winner: Giant Bernard
Masahiro Chono & Tenzan v. Shiro Koshinaka & Takao Omori - IWGP Tag Team Championship
Tenzan and Koshinaka go back and fourth to start, but Tenzan goes in control and we get two fresh tags. Chono works on a headlock for a while and then we get more tie-ups. Tenzan gets a sneaky tag and comes in with chops and headbutts but they will not phase the great Koshinaka, who goes with a chinlock, but the ropes break that quickly. Omori continues to no-sell some shoulderblocks, but Tenzan uses the karate chops to the shoulders to take him down, and by Omori's expression that must have not been pleasant. A nice running dropkick by Omori sends Tenzan to the outside, and then he tries a backdrop on the apron, Tenzan blocks and tries a piledriver, Omori turns it into a piledriver of his own. That was a totally random spot, but I'm not complaining. Omori runs all the way to the end of the long entrance ramp, and runs back with a lariat. Back inside we have the worked over Tenzan and the fresh Shiro, who gets a Russian leg sweep for two. Omori heads back in and applies a chinlock. Chono gets the tag and goes to work with a scoopslam, inverted atomic drop, and then STF, which is executed quite nicely to what I'm used to. Omori stands and reverses it, but throws him down. Koshinaka comes in, as does Tenzan, who knocks him down with a clothesline and gets some corner splashes. Tenzan gets what looks something like a top rope bulldog, for two. Tenzan gets a superplex, but it does not phase the great Koshinaka, as he gets up with no harm done, and gets a German for two. Koshinaka goes up and gets a top rope clobber for two. That's the third VR in a row I've had to use that, by the way. Omori comes in and gets a running neckbreaker on Tenzan. Meanwhile, Koshinaka gets a jacknife bomb Chono. Reverse piledriver, sweet move, only gets two on Tenzan. Top rope legdrop by Omori, only two. Tenzan and Omori both try spin kick, but end up colliding. Dueling tags, and the champs get a double-team flapjack on Koshinaka, then a Chono big boot for two. Omori sneaks his way back in, meanwhile Chono's suplex can't put Koshinaka away, because nothing phases him. Koshinaka charges right into a Shining Yakuza Kick from Chono for the win, giving he and Tenzan their first title defense. Even with some slowness in there, things were always kept interesting, and there was some pretty good working in there. I enjoyed the hell out of that match. ****
Winners: Masahiro Chono & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Brock Lesnar v. Shinsuke Nakamura - IWGP Heavyweight Championship
This is the first time I've seen Brock with the full goatee and sword tattoo. Oh how things must have changed. Brock jumps him to start and pummels him, but gets met with a boot out of the corner. Nakamura slips out of a slam and gets a stepping enzigiri, but Brock just knocks him down. Brock catches a knee attempt and turns it into a belly to belly. That's no messin around, yo. Brock catches him on his back and turns it into a Samoan Drop, so Shinsuke has to go outside to rest, but Brock attacks him. Nakamura gets a suicide dive which Brock nearly fucks up by not falling. Back inside Nakamura tries a sleeper but Brock gets out and goes with the vicious shoulder clubs in the corner, but he's met with boots. Nakamura locks him in a modified tarantula while holding onto an armbar. Back in Nakamura gets a Missile Dropkick and German, then takes him down with an armbar, then locks in a headscissors. Lesnar gets out and wham there's The Verdict, which is the renamed legal version of the F5, for those unaware. That would serve was Brock's first title defense. Match seemed pretty short and to the point, actually the shortest match on the card I believe, and frankly these two never had much chemistry going in the first place. **1/2
Winner: Brock Lesnar
End of show.
The NeelDown: This was a decent Tokyo Dome show through and through with a handful of good matches that will keep you interested. Just don't let Giant Bernard drag it down for you.
Final show rating: ***1/2
If you have any thoughts or comments on Neeley's review, you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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