New Japan Pro Wrestling
Music City Mayhem
July 30, 2022
Nashville Fairgrounds
Nashville, Tennessee

Watch: Fite.TV

The Magic Writing Girl hasn’t written very much about NJPW current lately. More circumstance than anything. That said she is strangely excited about this show. Yes, a lot of big names won’t be in it due to that sweet sweet G1 Climax Action but there is good stuff bound to happen in this show. The match this girl is most excited about? Come on, you know it, you can feel it, you already understand the answer. Moxley/Desperado caught my attention the moment it was announced and I can’t wait to see how it all goes down. That said I do not dare sleep on the undercard as some of the matchups have a definite chance of bringing home the goods. So without extending this opening too long, why don’t we just dive right into what has the potential to be one heck of a fun show, shall we? WE SHALL!

Fred Yehi, Shota Umino, & Yuya Uemura def. Kevin Knight, Ren Narita, & The DKC

Good opening match. I was really impressed with Kevin Knight and Fred Yehi. Knight is someone I’m becoming more and more familiar with while Yehi I always knew can bring the goods. That being said everyone brought something to this match. Uemura was worked over for the first 5-6 minutes until Yehi was tagged in and brought the intensity. From that moment there was very little let up and everyone was able to get a little something something in. Umino and Narita got a nice stretch against each other that was well received by the live crowd. Another highlight was Uemura not willing to be cast aside and taking it to Narita after he throw him out of the ring. I really liked that part quite a bit. A good solid wrestling match that broke down into intensity near the closing stretch. This was fun and easy to sit through and enjoy. ***1/4

MLW National Openweight Championship
Davey Richards (C) def. Rocky Romero

I wasn’t gelling with this match. Romero is usually quite fun to root for and that’s a big part of any match he participates in, but I felt his usual fire was missing in this match. It’s not that anything was actively bad, just nothing seemed to move toward achieving another gear. It felt like a by-the-book, step-by-step, go-through-the-motions match for both men. Sometimes, you can have that kind of match and still make them work, they did not in this one. I feel like we could’ve definitely gotten better effort out of them. All that said I appreciate the length of the match was a smidgen over ten minutes. If you’re going to go through the motions, no point in going through them overly long, you know? Again not bad, just not memorable or exciting in any way. **3/4

NJPW Strong Openweight Championship
Fred Rosser (C) def. Big Damo

Fred Rosser has been a revelation in these NJPW-type shows. His winning the title from Tom Lawlor was an incredible match and moment and if you haven’t sought it out yet . . .go freaking do it now! As for this particular match, it didn’t do anything for me at first. The layout of the match did not lead to much excitement in the beginning, and Damo did not impress me in the first part of the match where he had control. His best reaction was when he mooned the crowd because they were chanting against him. Things got slightly more exciting with Rosser on offense and it helped pull the match slightly out of the doldrums I thought it had found itself in. I appreciate that Rosser pulls off a “refuse to give up/never stop fighting” attitude well. He finally was able to lift Damo up (something he failed to do several times) and hit a Sidewinder for the victory. Not great, but did JUST enough to get into good territory. Damo didn’t impress me all that match but I can see where others may get more out of him. Rosser is the man. ***

Hiromu Takahashi def. Blake Christian

I was hyped for this match when it was announced. Christian can be inconsistent but is talented while Takahashi is one of the best NJPW has to offer (the world has to offer for that matter). This was the first match I felt was able to fully lock in my focus for the evening. This was the good shit. Blake Christian had his working boots on knowing he was in there with one of the best, and while I felt like Takahashi was holding back at points in the match, he’s still freaking Takahashi. Takahashi holding back is still better than many a wrestler giving their all. This was a major step up from the first few matches of the show and a worthwhile showcase for Christian who not only looked good but looked like he was capable of going toe to toe with Takahashi. There was one pin attempt in particular in the final few minutes of the match where I was briefly convinced Christian was about to pull off a massive upset. Alas, this was not meant to be as Takahashi would eventually put Christian down and get the victory. This is worth a watch. This was very well fought, structured, and had some nice high spots in it. This was the first great match of the evening. ****

United Empire (Aussie Open (Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis) & TJP) def. FTR (Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood) & Alex Zayne

Cash and Dax are one of the best things going in pro wrestling and they showed it once again in this. That’s not to say it was the FTR show though. This was an entertaining affair where everyone put their best feet forward to give us an entertaining match. Alex Zayne looked really good in this match and had some really good spots that the crowd responded to well. Perhaps the highlight spot was launching off TJP’s back to deliver a double top rope hurricanrana to Davis and Fletcher which was really cool and well done. United Empire did well in their control spots and cutting off potential moments. Wheeler and Harwood have turned into excellent babyfaces, with their hot tag moments being highlights in the match which worked out quite well. The United Empire works well as a trios unit, everything they do clicks and is in sync. What this all leads to is a very good match that is a nice compliment to the previous match before it. ***1/2

Alex Shelley vs. Kushida Went To a 20-Minute Draw

Time splitters fight! It feels so right and good seeing KUSHIDA inside a NJPW ring once more. Both men are so good at the art of professional wrestling that with solid wrestling alone they were able to keep me in their grip. I appreciate they didn’t go the buddies wrestling route for too long, and in a matter of moments, they were getting in each other’s face and delivering slaps. Both men needless to say are technically proficient and that was showcased throughout this match as they focused on body parts, in particular the arm. They were smart enough to kick things up a bit when they knew they needed to be kicked up, and I appreciated the consistent pace they were able to keep in the match. I do wish I felt some more urgency at various times as I felt that was missing through the match. It was there in the end, but I wish it was there more often. It was a chess game of a matchup as commentary so aptly pointed out, which while making for good wrestling, doesn’t always make for the most exciting bouts. It was still good though, and in the end, I think of it positively. I wish we had a decisive winner, but once they got passed the fifteen-minute mark you knew it was going the twenty-minute time limit.  ***1/2

No Disqualification Match
Jon Moxley def. El Desperado

I can’t begin to describe how amped I was for this match coming in. Moxley is on a WOTY run and El Desperado is always a delight to me. There were already barbed wire boards in the match to start and that gave me hope this would reach significant levels of violence. I am pleased to report it did. We even got freaking skewers as Desperado jammed skewers into Moxley’s forehead making him (surprise surprise) bleed. We got a nasty-looking guitar shot spot with Moxley jamming Desperado in the head as he dived through the ropes. Both barbed wire boards were broken with each competitor put through one. You knew things were going to get really nasty though when Moxley brought out a board of cut-up soda cans and dropped Desperado back first on it. Holy hell was that brutal. What I appreciate is this match never gets to cartoon/TOO over the top levels of violence, just enough violence to keep you invested, but doesn’t go so over the horizon you begin to feel things have gotten ridiculous and overdone. In the end, this was a great main event. To be honest, it was held back by the reality you never bought Desperado winning, but he did just enough that you didn’t care too much about that in the end. He worked his ass off and belonged in there with Moxley. This was a great way to end the show and a great match on its own. ****1/4

Final Thoughts

Easy breeze of a show with two great matches, and some good ones. Not a show of the year, or a total must-watch, but a worthwhile way to spend an afternoon. No major complaints on that end and I had fun overall. Blake Christian/Takahashi and Moxley/Desperado were easily my top two matches of the night and I would recommend seeking them out solo if you aren’t interested in watching the entire show.