TAKA/Taichi Produce Season 2
August 28, 2017
Shinjuku FACE
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

I’m the one person on the VOW staff that likes Taichi, so I thought it was my duty to take one for the team and review this show. Let’s get this out of the way right up front; Taichi is great. He’s got awesome music and an equally awesome entrance. He gets legitimate heat from the audience. His ring gear makes him look like a Fire Emblem villain. He had a very cute valet named Miho. He rips his pants off and throws them into space when he gets excited. Taichi is great and I will not be told otherwise.

RoS (GO Asakawa, Kaji Tomato & Taishi Takizawa) def. Dino Stones (Dinosaur Takuma & Kotaro Yoshino) & Marines Mask

I don’t watch K-DOJO on a regular basis for these guys are pretty much unfamiliar to me, outside of Kaji Tomato who I saw in last year’s Super J Cup. I can’t help but like that guy with his upbeat entrance music and fun dance to go along with it. The match itself was fine, but wasn’t much of a catalyst to make me want to seek out more of the work of these two teams. It was exactly what it needed to be; a fun opener. It was about as good as any other indie undercard tag match you will see this year. Kaji gets by on charisma and the Dino Stones have a good look, but the other three didn’t do anything to stand out. There was nothing outwardly wrong with this opener, it was just very average. Tomato picked up the win for his team by pinning Marines Mask. **

Bambi def. ERINA

These are two more K-DOJO wrestlers that I haven’t seen before and both score points with me for having awesome entrance music. Just like the match before it, this was very basic match. The girls did show quite a bit more fire than the men before them, so I have to give them credit there. ERINA took the fight to Bambi, who looked like a monster compared to her opponent. With a name like Bambi, I assumed she’d be tiny. Bambi tapped out ERINA with a crazy inverted arm bar that looked like it hurt a whole lot. This match was average, but Bambi’s submission finisher is worth seeing. **½

Yuma Aoyagi def. Kyu Mogami

I bet you can guess how good this match was. Just as the two matches before it, this was very average. These are the kind of matches where you enjoy them if you’re there live because it’s a fun experience, but watching at home doesn’t make for a great time. The match was was initially advertised between Mogami and Jun Kasai would probably have been more fun, but Kasai had to sit this one out after badly cutting his hand in a deathmatch. **

Following the match, Kasai came to the ring to apologize for missing his match. He then cut a promo and called it Takashi Izuka, which is a match that I will gladly watch. I have no idea where it will happen, but I’m looking forward to it. Maybe it could be the Izuka/Maybach (a surprisingly amazing match) of 2017. Kasai headed to the back and intermission started. J-pop played as pretty much every light in Shinjuku was turned off. I have no idea how people weren’t falling on their faces as they went to use the bathroom. The lights come back up and then there are girls singing and dancing in the ring. The song is catchy and the crowd is into it, so I can’t knock it. The girls leave and it’s time to watch Suzuki murder his underling.

Minoru Suzuki def. Yoshinobu Kanemaru

Suzuki spent most of this match beating Kanemaru like he owed him money or stretching him like a young boy.

This match worked in two different ways; you either sympathized with Kanemaru for being beat up by his boss or you cheered on Suzuki as he taught a lesson to his most boring subordinate. Personally, I was the latter, but even I began to feel sorry for Kanemaru as he took two incredibly brutal forearm strikes from Suzuki. The sound that those strikes made was sickeningly loud. Kanemaru managed to turn things around with the help of his bottle of booze and a flurry of offense, but he still ended up succumbing to the sleeper hold and a Gotch Style Piledriver. This was easily the best match of the show up to this point and was a very good showing for modern Kanemaru. The match suffered a bit from some early crowd brawling through the pitch dark building, but that’s how these things go in Shinjuku FACE. Very fun single match that is worth your time. ***½

Best Two Out Three Falls Tag Team Match
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi) def. Suzuki-gun (Taichi & TAKA Michinoku)

I can’t really say that this match got off to a hot start because Hiromu spent quite a bit of time being a weirdo, playing kitty with TAKA and Taichi. The first fall came when Taichi used Miho as a distraction to kick BUSHI in the balls and roll him up for a three count. Things finally seem to get serious when the bell sounds for the beginning of the second fall. The action goes by quickly after this with Hiromu showing a ton of fire in his bursts of offense. Despite this being their show, TAKA and Taichi play the heels in the match, doing their best to keep the LIJ team from gaining any momentum. The second fall comes when BUSHI is tagged into the match and gets some revenge, kicking both TAKA and Taichi in the balls before pinning Taichi to tie things up at one apiece.

The third fall was great with pretty much non-stop action. These two teams tried to out-heel their opponents at every turn, taking short cuts wherever they could. While the opening felt like a joke, the closing fall felt like a Junior title match with more than just bragging rights on the line. The BUSHI/Hiromu team was awesome and I hope that we see more of them together, perhaps in the Jr. Tag League later this year. They showed off a killer finishing move to close out the match; a Doomsday MX. Don’t judge this match from the jokey first fall, it gets awesome by the end. ****

Following the match there’s a promo to set up two things. Firstly, Kaji Tomato runs out to challenge BUSHI to a singles match to avenge his loss in the Super J Cup. Secondly, TAKA lays out a challenge for the October K-Dojo show at Korakuen Hall; TAKA and Taichi vs. BUSHI and a heavyweight member of LIJ. Both of those matches sound like a good time to me!

Final Thoughts

TAKA/Taichi Produce Season 2 was a fun, albeit forgettable show. I recommend doing something else while you watch the first half of the show or just skip it entirely. The Suzuki/Kanemaru was probably my favorite Kanemaru match in quite a while and the main event was very good. If you’ve got a spare hour, you won’t regret spending it watching the second half of this show.