New Japan Pro Wrestling
“The New Beginning in Sendai”
February 14, 2015
Sendai Sun Plaza Hall – Sendai, Miyagi, Japan
Part II of the “The New Beginning” series show is now upon us, and while we don’t have a loaded lineup, it still promises to be a pretty good show. The NEVER title is on the line, two big NWA title matches will be present and we got the young lions in actions as well, what’s not to like? The big match of the show is Yuji Nagata challenging for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Shinsuke Nakamura, who has now become synonymous with the belt. Will the old, grizzled veteran pull off the big win or will Nakamura add another notch to his belt?
They announced at the start of the show that Togi Makabe is still out (reports are he’s suffering from the flu) so instead Tomoaki Honma will step in to replace him, the title is being stripped from Makabe, and they will compete for the vacant championship tonight. Not a bad replacement at all!
Yohei Komatsu & Satoshi Kojima vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan: Komatsu showed some fire, including trying to suplex Nakanishi (!) but even when Kojima joined in, it didn’t work. As usual, Komatsu tried his best, but ultimately fell after a spear and a spinning neckbreaker. I know the young lions are supposed to lose all their matches, but this still felt kind of wrong, losing to a guy who can barely move. *3/4
Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly vs. Tiger Mask & Jay White: A lot of the match had White taking damage from both Fish and O’Riley. Tiger Mask comes in and starts on offense. White comes back and hits a big double missile dropkick. He catches Fish in a Boston Crab but shows some fighting spirit as O’Riley tries to break it up. They look strong for a while, but ultimately they hit the Total Elimination on Tiger Mask, leaving White by himself as they hit chasing the dragon and pin him. Good match! This is the match where I’ve come to the conclusion Jay White’s going to do pretty well in New Japan. ***
Mascara Dorada & Alex Shelley & Kushida vs. Young Bucks & Kenny Omega: Omega and Dorada started things off and they looked good together, good indication of things to come as they’re the next Jr. title program. Both TimeSplitters are worked on for a good chunk of the match until Dorada makes a hot tag, allowing all of the faces to mount a comeback, including Dorada hitting a sunset flip into a powerbomb, taking out both Omega and Matt Jackson. Bucks and Omega regain control with a triple kick sequence. Double spike tombstone by the heels is quickly rendered meaningless as Dorada comes back and wipes them out. Omega wipes him out with a knee and goes for something in the electric chair position but Dorada comes back and surprises him with a rollup for the pinfall. Good stuff with some sick high spots, mainly from Dorada. ***1/4
NWA Junior Heavyweight Championship: Jushin Liger (c) vs. Chase Owens. Back and forth early. Liger had the upper hand when Bruce Tharpe (wearing purple today) distracted Liger long enough for Owens to jump him. Liger cuts him off with the palm strike, then hits another. Owens cuts off Lifer and hits a front backstabber then tries the package piledriver but Liger comes back with a small package, then ends up pinning him with a bridge. Pretty solid stuff. **1/2
Liger takes the mic after and decides that his next challenger is Tiger Mask, who was seconding him in this title defense. For some reason I immediately came to this conclusion the moment he arrived with Liger. Tiger Mask accepted. That doesn’t sound particularly exciting in the least bit, honestly. But hey, if people are into it.
NWA World Heavyweight Championship: Rob Conway (c) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Bruce Tharpe is now wearing white. That was a quick wardrobe change. Lots of back and forth, including a barricade shot from Conway. Tenzan no sells a couple of lariats then eats a spinning heel kick as Tenzan starts mounting a comeback. He locks in the anaconda vice, then slams him down but Conway taps only after Tharpe distracts. Conway grabs the belt as the announcer goes “HEY YOU, NO” as Conway does it anyway…for a nearfall. A shoulder block doesn’t do it either. Ego trip isn’t effective either. Tries to go for the springboard but instead Tenzan counters and hits the ego trip. Tharpe distracts again, but he gets headbutted for his troubles, then hits the moonsault on Conway to win the title. This was so much better than I anticipated, and it got really heated and awesome towards the end. ***3/4
Kota Ibushi & Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazushi Sakuraba & Toru Yano. The match started with Sakuraba and Ibushi sparring. I didn’t expect that one. Yano and Naito followed, and of course that started Yano’s shenanigans. He and Naito end up brawling in the crowd, then he tags in Sakuraba who pelts him with kicks. Naito gets a hot tag but Sakuraba immediately takes him down with a kick. Regardless, he comes back and hits a missile dropkick. Sakuraba comes back with a gogoplata then tries for the armbar but Ibushi gets to the ropes. They both tag out as Naito gets the advantage but Sakuraba grabs him, only for Ibushi to counter, but soon he gets wiped out too. Yano manages to smack Naito on the turnbuckle, low blows him, and tries to cover but instead Naito keeps him on the ground and pins him. That’s a clever finish. Wasn’t bad. **3/4
Kazuchika Okada & Yoshi-Hashi vs. Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi. Fale and Okada started things off, followed by Yujiro and YH. Fale takes Yoshi Hashi’s power pole and chokes him out with it. Pretty dull until Fale and Okada start dodging each other’s finishers. Yujiro cuts in, but gets taken out with a dropkick. Rainmaker pose, but Okada gets wiped out by Fale. Yoshi Hashi came out of nowhere with a lariat then wiped him out with a plancha. Yujiro tries a comeback but Okada counters and takes him out with the Rainmaker for the win. Dull first half, with things picking up in the second half best describes this one. **3/4
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto vs. Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows & Tama Tonga. Bullet Club came out wearing KISS face paint. I guess some people still think they’re cool. The start of the match has most of the Bullet Club working over Tanahashi. Following that, it turns into a back and forth affair. Shibata lays out both the tag champs with running dropkicks to the corner. Tanahashi follows with the sling blade then the high fly flow and that’s it. Perfectly fine six man, nothing more, nothing less. ***
NEVER Championship: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma. Crowd is completely running wild on Honmamania here tonight. Back and forth shots. Honma tries for the kokeshi but Ishii keeps moving out of the way. They chopped each other FOREVER until Honma finally takes him down with a kokeshi. That’s not a complaint, by the way, that was awesome. Ishii tries to grab him off the top rope but Honma counters by driving him neck first into the ropes. He tries for the kokeshi, but Ishii gets to the top, only for Honma to grab him but he falls to the floor and wipes him out with some shots.
A huge superplex from the top rope to the floor doesn’t get it. A huge DDT follows that, then takes him to the outside. Honma climbs to the top rope and hits a huge kokeshi from the top rope to the outside! The fans are going CRAZY for this match. A lariat doesn’t get it for Honma. Ishii starts a comeback and hits another big time superplex. Three lariats follow that but he still can’t keep him down. Big time deadlift brainbuster for a nearfall by Honma. Kokeshi headbutt followed by a sitout piledriver for another nearfall that the crowd goes absolutely crazy for. Another kokeshi follows, then he tries for the top rope kokeshi but it misses. Ishii takes him down with a kick but kicks out at one. Double lariat spot takes them both out. Sliding D to the back to the head doesn’t do it. After a series of sick headbutts, Ishii finally manages to pin him with a brainbuster. Just amazing, I can’t even describe the emotion this crowd had for the match, every sick move they unleashed on one another, just everything clicked here and it’s easily the best match of 2015 so far. Watch this now if you haven’t already. *****
IWGP Intercontinental Title – Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Yuji Nagata: They aired a video before this match with Nagata talking about almost wanting to retire after WrestleKingdom 9 since he was only in the battle royal before. His family was shown, and it made you just want to root for the old, grizzled veteran to get another shot at the gold. Story of the match early was that Nakamura was in full control, and every time Nagata responded with a slap or two Nakamura continued to unleash hell. Nagata takes him out with a kick and soon fires off an exploder suplex. The next big move was a huge exploder suplex by Nagata. Nakamura suddenly fires back out of nowhere with the boma ye after avoiding a German then follows with more of his trademark offense. Nagata comes back, however, with the armlock but Nakamura bursts over to the rope as Nagata kicks his bum arm. Nakamura then comes back with a standing boma ye that lays him out for good as he’s pinned rather quickly. Finish felt totally anti-climactic but this was a good match otherwise, just not up to par with most New Japan PPV main events. ***1/2
Nakamura cuts a promo then leaves, so no one’s coming out to challenge.
Overall, a fantastic show with the NEVER title match being something you need to go out of your way to see, as well as the NWA title match. Everything else was pretty great.