NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2016 – Review

Wrestling Dontaku, May 3rd, Fukuoka, Results:

Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi defeated Captain New Japan & Juice Robinson

This one didn’t last long. Robinson talked to Captain like he was a kid, which was funny. This barely even got going until Fale finished Captain with The Grenade.

Will Ospreay, Gedo, YOSHI-HASHI & Kazushi Sakuraba defeated David Finlay, Tiger Mask IV, Ryusuke Taguchi & Jay White

This was an okay match, designed to give Ospreay a win.  White was worked over by CHAOS.  He got the tag to Taguchi, who did all his ass moves until Gedo stopped him. This led to Finlay & Ospreay being tagged in. Finlay got the better of Ospreay until he took out everyone on the floor with a Sasuke Special. Ospreay hit the 720 spin kick followed by the diving cutter to pick up a strong win on Finlay.

IWGP Jr Tag Team Championship

Ricochet & Matt Sydal defeated Rocky Romero & Beretta

And the Jr tag titles are right back to where they came from. This was a really good match. RPG worked over Sydal and did everything to keep him from making a tag.  When Ricochet got in he took to the air, hitting a huge dive over the ring post.  He never got any real momentum going before he was cut off. There was one great near fall when Ricochet hit a 630 on Romero.  He then ran into a Beretta knee and Dudebuster, only for Sydal to jump in and make the save after recovering from a double team attack on the floor.  There was lots of fun back and forth at the end.  The finish was really well done. RPG went for Strong Zero.  Ricochet caught Romero in the air as Sydal hit a reverse rana on Beretta.  Sydal & Ricochet then hit stereo Shooting Star Presses to regain the title and start their second title run.  It seemed like a complete waste of time to put the titles on RPG Vice.  They got nothing out of it and now have two pointless title runs under their belt.  It was a really good match though.

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NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship

Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks defeated Yoshitatsu, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin

And just like that, the titles are back with The Elite.  This was a wild brawl with lots of moves right from the start.  Other than about a minute where The Elite worked over Tatsu, there was hardly a tag.  It was just a revolving door of bodies in and out of the ring.  There were big dives from The Elite.  Elgin press slammed Tanahashi out of the ring.  Elgin caught Nick Jackson in mid air by the tights.  The ref went down when he was sprayed accidentally by Omega.  A ladder then came into play.  One of The Bucks were powerbombed into the ladder.  Tatsu is doing a full on Triple H impression, from his entrance to hitting high knees, Double A Spinebusters and even attempted a Pedigree.  It was terrible. Tatsu added nothing to this match and may as well not have been there.  Elgin was powerbombed through a table by Elgin with some assistance from The Bucks.  Tatsu ate a three way superkick and was finished off with a One Winged Angel from Omega.  This was a lot of fun and certainly not boring.

After the match Tanahashi challenged Omega to an IC title match. Omega said no, but said it would be a yes if he accepted a ladder match.  So that match is set.  Omega said he would welcome Tanahashi to American style.  This will be the first ever ladder match in NJPW.  It should be good and it’s something different for NJPW, but Tanahashi has enough injuries as it is.

IWGP Tag Team Championship

Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa defeated Tomaoki Honma & Togi Makabe

After the last two matches I was almost expecting another title change here, but thankfully it didn’t happen. This was okay.  GOD worked over Honma until Makabe got the tag. Loa wasn’t afraid to go at it with Makabe.  They exchanges lots of hard blows and Loa didn’t back down. Honma & Makabe mounted an attack, even hitting the doomsday Kokeshi, but Loa was able to make the save.  Loa hit both guys with a chain behind the refs back and powerbombed Makabe on the apron. GOD tried to finish off Honma, but he mounted one last comeback, hitting a Kokeshi on Loa.  Tonga countered another Kokeshi into a Gun Stun allowing GOD to hit the double team DDT to retain the titles.  It was an okay match, but another strong win for GOD.

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NEVER Openweight Championship

Yuji Nagata defeated Katsuyori Shibata

We have a new NEVER champion.  This was a huge upset and something that I did not see coming.  In what was sure to be a Shibata clean sweep of the 3rd generation, the leader of the pack, Nagata, tossed everything up in the air with this.  This was a great match. It was a really physical battle. Shibata worked over Nagata with a figure four early on and kicked the crap out of him in the corner. They exchanged suplexes, with Shibata blocking a Nagata exploder and planting him with an STO.  Nagata floored Shibata with a slap after Shibata had been toying with Nagata.  Shibata tried to beat Nagata with his own back drop hold, but it didn’t get the job done.  Nagata blocked a PK and hit a back drop driver for a one count only.  They exchanged really stiff slaps until Nagata caught Shibata in the back drop hold to score the huge upset.  My mouth was wide opened as the ref counted the three and I was sure Shibata would kick out.  This was an amazing moment and a really cool celebration. Commentator Nogami, who is a well known Nagata supporter almost lost his mind.  There were people crying in the aisle as they shook Nagata’s hand on the way to the back.  I hope this opens up the possibility of a Shibata IWGP title chase.  This is a well deserved title run for Nagata, one that could very well end up being his last.

IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship

KUSHIDA defeated Jushin Thunder Liger

This was the match of the show up to this point. This was such a great display of excellent story telling.  One cool thing to note is that Liger’s theme wasn’t muted, so they must have gotten the rights to it.  Straight from the bell KUSHIDA went after an arm. This fired Liger up, who then went after a knee and dropped KUSHIDA with a Brainbuster on the concrete.  KUSHIDA barely made it back into the ring and kicked out of a Liger Bomb. KUSHIDA sold near death when Liger had him in a knee bar.  When the medic went to check on KUSHIDA, Liger kicked him away.  Liger blocked a moonsault and put KUSHIDA in a Hoverboard Lock.  KUSHIDA locked Liger in an armbar of an eternity, which Liger sold like death too.  Liger managed to hit a Shotei and KUSHIDA hit a straight punch.  Liger hit a Brainbuster, and after what happened in the previous match, I wasn’t sure that KUSHIDA would kick out.  He did and then blocked a Shotei before putting Liger in the Hoverboard Lock, bending the fingers until Liger eventually tapped out.  After the match both men showed each other a sign of respect. Liger can still perform at the highest level even at his age.  This made KUSHIDA look like a star.

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EVIL defeated Hirooki Goto

This was a big upset and the biggest win in the career of EVIL.  This started with EVIL jumping Goto in the aisle.  EVIL attacked Goto with chairs and took control of the match.  Goto was never able to get any huge momentum going, but he did hit a lot of big moves.  There was a nice sequence of reversals ending in Goto hitting a neckbreaker and the Ushigoroshi.  EVIL then countered the GTR into a fishermans buster. EVIL also hit the Darkness Falls for another huge near fall.  There was lots of hard hitting blows and clotheslines until EVIL all of a sudden hit the STO to score a massive upset.  This was a huge moment for EVIL. NJPW booking is so great.  This is a win that EVIL needed and he did it cleanly over a guy that is generally well protected in NJPW.  Great stuff and a really good match.

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Kazuchika Okada defeated SANADA

This was so good. SANADA’s Dragon Sleeper had been put over so much that it immediately spelt danger any time he went for it.  SANADA took control of this one when he hit a piledriver on the floor and another in the ring.  Okada got back into it and from there it went back and forth. SANADA hit a big springboard missile dropkick followed by a huge dive over the top rope.  Okada survived the Dragon Sleeper. SANADA also hit a beauty of a Tiger suplex and got a huge near fall with a TKO.  Okada kept going for the Tombstone and every time SANADA would try and counter into a Sleeper again.  He finally got it, but Okada turned it around and managed to hit the Tombstone followed by the Rainmaker to pick up the win and get some revenge against the guy that cost him the title at Invasion Attack. This was a great match and a great singles debut for SANADA, who will be a huge star for NJPW in the future.

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IWGP Heavyweight Championship

Tetsuya Naito defeated Tomohiro Ishii

This was a classic and a match that everyone needs to go out of their way to see immediately.  It was the antihero champion against the ultimate underdog, who was receiving his first ever IWGP title shot. This was a match of two halves.  The first half was a good back and forth match. Ishii targeted the knee of Naito.  Naito had some submissions attempts, locking Ishii in the Koji Clutch with Ishii unable to reach the ropes. Ishii dramatically locked Naito in a knee bar for what felt like ages as Okada & Gedo held back EVIL & BUSHI. The ref was taken out and a brawl broke out with Okada & Gedo taking EVIL & BUSHI to the back. After that things went into high gear.  Every single move from here on was a believable near fall.  The drama was incredible and the atmosphere was insane.  The crowd rallied behind Ishii.  Ishii hit lariats, and went for the Brainbuster, but was unable to hit it.  Ishii blocked Destino time and time again, one time dropping Naito right in the top of his head.  I was sure Naiti had broken his neck. The last few minutes of this were incredible as they tried to one up each other in a battle of who could hit their finish first.  Ishii never got the Brainbuster, but Naito finally hit Destino to retain the title.

After the match Okada stepped up and gestured that he wanted his title back.  Naito then posed for a photo and received the post match trophy until he attacked the ref, tossed the title in the air and put on his Los Ingobernables hat. Naito then spoke and led the crowd in a Los Ingobernables de Japon chant, which the entire place said along with him, even after beating someone like Ishii.

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This was so great.  Naito’s star continues to rise.  Ishii was the perfect guy to have Naito get a clean win over.  NJPW have struck gold with this and have created something really special.

Needless to say, this was a great show, especially from the Shibata/Nagata match on.  The main event has to be seen.  It is available now at NJPWWorld.com.

 

Not a boxer but a pro wrestling fan. If there’s a ring I’ll watch it, so naturally I have a lot of opinions (complaints).

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