Cewsh Reviews – NJPW Dominion 2011

New Japan Professional Wrestling Proudly Presents…

NJPW Dominion 2011

Welcome, cats and kittens, to the review blog that is is only notably more muscular than any other review blog (except those assholes at Tyrannosaurus Flex again), Cewsh Reviews! We have a special treat for you tonight as we finally and officially kick of Panda Puro Party month with NJPW Dominion 2011. Its been a few months since we’ve checked in with the golden lion of New Japan, and in the time since we left, things have been evolving in a most interesting way. Naito is rising through the ranks rapidly and is being heralded as a future star in a manner very reminiscent of a certain ablicious champion of note. Hirooki Goto has lost his mind and decided to murder Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi has made himself a top name in junior heavyweight wrestling, and perhaps most important, Jeff Hardy isn’t here to fuck everything up. Guess which one makes us the happiest? So let’s jump back into the house that Inoki built (and then demolished and then built again and then demolished again and then…) and see the biggest stars in Japanese wrestling do their fucking thing up right.

So without any further ado, let’s do a motherfucking review!


Cewsh: Weeeeeeeeeee’re baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack.

Yes, we’re back in the domain of New Japan, and if that means one thing more than anything else, it means great production values and fanfuckingtastic opening videos, detailing all of the feuds leading to our slumber party here tonight. Everything gets equal billing (quite a departure from American videos which often only highlight one match in the entire thing), and everyone comes off looking like a bona fide star, even if they totally, totally aren’t (looking at you Yano). Hell, this video gives all of these fuckers their own personal LOGOS, much less making them look good, putting more effort into their midcard in 3 minutes than TNA and WWE have managed since the days of the dinosaurs. Its efficient, its effective, and its got me enamored. FORWARD TO BATTLE.

Segment 2 – Koji Kanemoto vs. Hiromu Takahashi.

Defrost: Takahashi is a black trunk black boot wearing Young Lion. He is exists to get beaten up because he is fresh out of the dojo. Koji Kanemoto kicks very hard when he is grumpy. Koji Kanemoto is a very grumpy man. You can see where this one is going.

Cewsh: It has come to my attention that many of you reading this may not actually spend your nights watching puroresu until you develop functioning Japanese (I am fluent in Japanese announcer clichés). As such, as an aid of sorts, I’ll be comparing the wrestlers in these matches to reasonably comparable people from the United States that you may be more familiar with, so you’ll better be able to understand the dynamics involved here.

Also because its fun.

So let’s begin.

Koji Kanemoto – Hardcore Holly
Hiromu Takahashi – Some Disrespectful Rookie On His First Day.

The two most important things to take away from this match are that Takahashi is desperate to make a name for himself and that Mr. Kanemoto is exactly the wrong fucking guy to try to make your name against. Right off the bat Takahashi grabs Kanemoto’s hair and starts slapping him in the face. I proooobably don’t have to tell you that the grizzled, scruffy looking badass old man Kanemoto doesn’t take this overly well.

“Who’s Scruffy Looking?”

Throwing caution to the wind, though, Takahashi persists, nailing the veteran with some good offense and going all out to make his name, being a completely disrespectful little punk and causing Kanemoto to get grumpier and grumpier. Finally, after letting the kid play for long enough, Kohji just goes ahead and kicks his fucking face off and proceeds to try to rip the kid’s leg out of its socket. You know, as you do. The young man taps out, but has gained respect with the fans through his pluck and ballsiness and took another step towards credibility. Which I’m sure is small comfort to him, since pissing Kanemoto off is like punching a Rottweiler in the balls. It may make your friends think you’re tough, but boy is it not wise in the long run.

How’s That Working Out For You, Kid?

This wasn’t really much of a match necessarily, though it had an important story to tell. But the fans love Kohji “Tiger Mask III” Kanemoto to death and this gets our show rolling with some amusement. Works for me.

69 out of 100.

Defrost: Takahashi isn’t even safe after he taps out and the bell rings. Koji decides he can’t let a head that kickable go unkicked even after the match. Takahashi gets carried out. lols were had by all. That was what it was. Nothing offensive. No need to watch it.

Koji Kanemoto Over Hiromu Takahashi Following A One Legged Boston Crab.

Segment 3 – The Costume Crew (Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask IV, KUSHIDA) vs. FUCK YOU WE ARE BUNNIES (Jado, Gedo, Killer Rabbit).

Jushin Liger – Shawn Michaels
Tiger Mask IV – Kofi Kingston (with a gimmick lasting 4 generations instead of just feeling like its lasted that long)
KUSHIDA – Evan Bourne
Jado and Gedo – The Dudley Boyz
Killer Rabbit – Umm, CP Munk?

Defrost: So what you need to know about Killer Rab… Oh shit Spanky is out and is kicking the shit out of Killer Rabbit with Jado and Gedo. Spanky is now in this match. Yay I get to make snarky TNA comments. Like I wonder what Spanky is thinking now that he works for a company that has a clue of what it’s doing. Or what it is like to work in front of a crowd bigger than 200 people for the first time in forever. Or not having to go to work at a place that has a boat ride that gets attacked by Jaws.

Cewsh: How cool would it be to walk by that on the way to the office, though?

Defrost: This is a really fun match. First of all Abyss is no where to be found. Then you have enough people to hide Tiger Mask IV. Spanky seems really into this. Probably something to do about being surrounded by professionals for once. You got Liger who rules. KUSHIDA being plucky. Spanky so happy to be away from the blackhole he’s stuck in. Gedo calling mother fuckers mother fuckers. Great stuff to be had here.

Proper Villains.

Cewsh: Let me be clear about how this match begins. Killer Rabbit’s music hits, he leads Jado and Gedo towards the ring. Jado and Gedo for some reason (Hint: They’re dicks) attack him and beat him up until Brian Kendrick comes out of nowhere in his gear and ALSO beats him up. Then Kendrick takes his place in the match and nobody questions this at all. So apparently getting booked on big New Japan shows works exactly the same as stealing someone’s Royal Rumble spot. Just beat the fuck out of them and sort the legal stuff out later. I like it. Also, in case you were wondering, any team that doesn’t have Jushin Liger on it is the heel team. This will always be true.

If you have read our previous Japanese wrestling reviews, you might already know that my fondness for Jado, Gedo and KUSHIDA is off the charts. KUSHIDA because he’s the protégé of Tajiri and I watched him develop into what he is today in Tajiri’s SMASH promotion, and Jado and Gedo because they are, for my money, the most heelish heels to ever heel a pair of heels. So you may be shocked to learn that I heartily enjoyed a match where Jado and Gedo pick on KUSHIDA and bully him around, and KUSHIDA tries his best to stay plucky and fight back. Having the likes of Jushin Liger and Brian Kendrick around doesn’t hurt anything either, and even Tiger Mask IV doesn’t drag things down as he’s clearly been much, much better ever since they stopped placing the whole Junior division on his shoulders. Things proceed nicely for awhile until Kendrick nails the Sliced Bread for the win. But he isn’t done and elects to Camel Clutch the fuck out of KUSHIDA leaving the man broken and embarrassed. There’s a feud in that and I’ll be excited to see it through, as one of the most exciting young junior heavyweights in the world seeks revenge against the ex-TNA X Division Champion. Yes please.

Just about every Japanese wrestling card has a match like this in the undercard. It features people the fans love and people the fans hate in there with guys they want to get over and gaijin from America who need something to do. The matches are rarely anything overly special and are more to get the fans slowly into the show and ready for the more serious matches to come. As those matches go, this one was pretty run of the mill, but with the characters involved, that’s a compliment to how these matches usually are rather than an insult to this one.

74 out of 100.

Jado, Gedo and Kendrick Over Liger, Tiger and KUSHIDA Following A Sliced Bread #2 From Kendrick To Kushida.

Segment 4 – CMLL World Welterweight Championship – Ryusuke Taguchi (c) vs. Mascara Dorada.
Mascara Dorada – Sin Cara
Ryusuke Taguchi – Christopher Daniels

Defrost: This match is sorta endearing. Taguchi is coming off an amazing match where he lost in the final of the annual Best of the Super Jr Tournament. Dorada is a top guy in CMLL, and was to be the guy to take Averno’s mask since he was going to WWE before the debacle going on now, but was in Japan for this tour.


Now I’m not a big lucha guy, and I don’t know a ton of modern fans who really are, as puro has become the popular smark thing since lucha’s heyday in the 90s. But as most lucha guys are mainly notable for their one unique cool move, here is Dorada’s for reference.

Now Taguchi is a fantastically fun to watch wrestler. He’s got style, he’s got skill, and he is way, way over with the crowd from his time teaming with Prince Devitt in Apollo 55. He also has the best nickname in wrestling history, the Funky Weapon. Unfortunately, he’s also been overshadowed by his more popular tag team partner, which is really a shame because he’s a special talent unto himself and may have more range as a performer. He shows it here as these two have a solid lucha/puro fusion match with Ryusuke slowing the action down at every opportunity and Dorada busting out crazy moves on his face whenever possible. Most of the time when Japanese promotions bring lucha guys in the fans enjoy them but don’t really get behind them, (see Mistico and La Sombra) but here the crowd is mega hot for this guy and everything he does. At one point he goes for a springboard move to the outside and catapults himself ass first into the ground so hard I was expecting to hear something break. Rather than laugh, like these audiences are known to do, they get behind him as he tries it again. Going batshit for him when he nails it like a conquering hero.

After that these two go back and forth, the crowd going crazy for Dorada and showing some great chemistry between them, until at the end of a crazy string of roll ups, Dorada finally catches his Funkyness to get the win and bring the title home to Mexico where it belongs.


What a fun match. So often the language barrier causes these sorts of matches to wind up being really underwhelming and sloppy, but this one was spot on between these two and seeing Dorada become so embraced by the fan due to his pluck and determination was a special thing for such a fluffy throwaway match. I really enjoyed this, and I’m betting you would too.

80 out of 100.

Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.

Defrost: Dorada can get botcharific. If that is a word. Or how you’d spell it. (Cewsh Note: We spell it S-A-B-U). So Dorada botches a big dive. The crowd totally gets behind him as he tries it again and hits it perfectly. Even if there are issues of execution stuff like that makes it very hard not to feel good about this match.

Mascara Dorada Over Ryusuke Taguchi Following A Roll Up.

Segment 5 – Blue Justice (Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Wataru Inoue) vs. CHAOS (Masato Tanaka, Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii).

Yuji Nagata – Triple H
Hiroyoshi Tenzan – Kevin Nash
Wataru Inoue – Funaki
Masato Tanaka – Masato Tanaka
Takashi Iizuka – Satan
Tomohiro Ishii – David Otunga

Defrost: Every show the last two years has had some combination of these guys wrestling each other. It is always the same too. Iizuka kicks the shit of the play by play guy. Blue Justice comes to save him. They give him a T-shirt since his clothes were ripped up. Iizuka eventually takes out he plastic glove then they go to a finish. I am very tired of this match. I want it to stop.

Cewsh: Agreed.

61 out of 100.

One Of Them Over The Other One Following Time Without End.

Segment 6 – Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi.

Tetsuya Naito – Jeff Hardy
Yujiro Takahashi – Matt Hardy

(Apologies to them.)

Defrost: No Limit explodes. The former IWGP Jr Tag Team Champions and former IWGP Tag Team Champions had hit a fork in the road and dissention started. Yujiro berated Naito after a failed challenge of Bad Intentions. On the next show Yujiro joined in a beatdown of Naito with Masato Tanaka, Jado, and Gedo. This brings us to this match. It was probably for the best since they were supposed to be heels and Naito was playing a babyface the entire time. Another note on Naito. His two worst matches were at the Dome this year against Jeff Hardy, which was 100% Hardy’s fault, and on the first show of the American tour in Rahway. I reviewed that first match and attended the show of the second. I’d think I am the kiss of death, but this match is good. I especially love that the match starts with Naito just attacking Yujiro. I hate feuds where there is supposed to be all this anger and hate and it starts with a collar and elbow. Naito’s diving dropkick off the top of the ramp is all kinds of bad ass. Another great touch is Yujiro ripping off Naito’s T-shirt. For whatever reason Naito wrestles most of his matches in a T-shirt. This match did feel like a beginning not an end. Yujiro winning clean with the Tokyo Pimps guarantees that given Naito is the one they see more in so he is winning this in the end.

Cewsh: Let me start by pointing out that Yujiro is now formally a member of the greatest heel stable of all time. NWO, DX, Four Horsemen, Evolution, it all pales in comparison to Jado, Gedo, and Hard Body of Hardcore himself, Masato Tanaka. I mean really, if you were going to turn heel tomorrow that would be like aligning yourself with Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and a missile that shoots other smaller missiles. You could do worse.

Tokyo Pimps.

Now, when it comes to the actual match itself I’ll be totally honest. I didn’t enjoy it.

When these guys were NO LIMIT and being shoved down throats as the next big things in New Japan I didn’t see much in them, and now that they’re grown ups ready to make it on their own I’m not any more sure about them than I was then. This match doesn’t do anything to push me either way, as after a white hot start that sucked me right in, they proceeded to just kind of do moves at each other for a while. The end of the match, abrupt though it was, was nice, and I’m looking forward to seeing where things go from here for Mr. Naito and Mr. Takahashi. They have more than enough time to make something really special of themselves, and almost nobody in Japanese wrestling is very interesting in their larvae form. But this was a missed opportunity for both men to break out and be something special. And they just…didn’t.

On The Plus Side, Apparently Gedo Is A Big Fan Of Vice’s.

65 out of 100.

Yujiro Takahashi Over Tetsuya Naito Following A Canadian Sitout Powerslam.

Segment 7 – Let’s All Go To The Lobby, And Check Out The Girls In The Kamen Rider Outfits And Play Some Video Games.

Cewsh: I love Japan.

Segment 8 – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship – Prince Devitt (c) vs. Kota Ibushi.

Prince Devitt – Low Ki
Kota Ibushi – AJ Styles

Defrost: These two have been a part of a long back and forth feud for a year. Starting when Devitt defeated Ibushi in the final of the 2010 and left Ibushi with a dislocated shoulder. Devitt would then go on to defeat Naomichi Marufuji for the IWGP Jr Title at Dominion 2010. This match comes exactly 1 day short of a year from when he won the title. Their next meeting was a defense of the IWGP Jr. Tag Titles in Sumo Hall in October. Apollo 55, Prince Devitt and Ryusuke Taguchi, defended the titles against DDT’s Golden Lovers, Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega. In that match Apollo 55 lost the tag titles when Ibushi pinned Devitt. A rematch in DDT saw Ibushi pin Taguchi. A third match during a joint New Japan/CMLL show saw Taguchi pin Omega to regain the titles. Apollo 55 were number one contenders there by virtue of Devitt’s successful singles title defense against Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom in the Tokyo Dome New Japan’s biggest show of the year. A week prior to this match Kota Ibushi had an epic match in the finals of the Best of the Super Jrs. pinning Devitt’s partner Taguchi and getting this match.

Cewsh: Kota Ibushi is the most inventive and incredible high flyer in professional wrestling today.

If You Don’t Believe Me, This Is A Non Sped Up Gif.

Prince Devitt comes out to “The Best Around” by Joe Esposito. So things pretty much even out, but something has to give.

When it comes to Prince Devitt and Kota Ibushi, you’re dealing with one of those rare rivalries that will span an entire career. As Frosty already mentioned, they’ve already fought a million times, and in all likelihood they’ll fight a million more, as both men are on the short list for the best Jr. heavyweight in professional wrestling, and could also lay a claim to being part of the best tag team. More than that, though, these two have a spark of chemistry between them. There’s a reason these matches are not between Ryusuke Taguchi and Kenny Omega, and its because these two have something special. Everytime they wrestle, you can hardly watch without realizing just how far ahead of the rest of the world these two are when it comes to this kind of match. Here you have crazy great moves, great psychology recalling key moments from their previous matches, and you have a crowd incredibly hot for both men to win as two burgeoning stars continue to be born right in front of our eyes. Even a match like this that starts relatively slowly just becomes such a white hot ball of amazing by the time we reach the end, that every single fan in the building is actively gasping in disbelief with every nearfall. That is not an easy thing to replicate. Or it wouldn’t be if they were any two other people. So when Ibushi soars through the air with the Phoenix Splash to win, its not a surprise that the entire crowd is holding its breath only to let it out with wild cheers when he lands.

Prince Devitt, 5 Seconds Before He Was No Longer Champion.

So Kota Ibushi finally breaks through and wins the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship, the most prestigious title for crusierweights that there has ever been or is ever likely to be. Just like Prince Devitt and Naomichi Marufuji before him, to say nothing of Jushin Liger and Tiger Mask, please join me in hailing the new King of the Sky. Kota motherfucking Ibushi.

Boom, Baby.

84 out of 100.

Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval.

Defrost: I like both the 2010 Super Jrs. Final and the Tokyo Dome match over this one. The best parts are the parts I would talk about in DRS2EBRaSAGG. These two have wrestled so many times they know what’s coming .Early on there is a great sequence where Kota stops Devitt’s Tope Con Hilo and then Devitt stops Kota’s awesome top rope moonsault to the floor. Or Kota blocking Devitt dancing twirley kick instead of standing there like most people. And the finish. Devitt goes for Avalanche Bloody Sunday after catching Kota jumping to the top rope which was the finish at the Dome. This time Kota is able to block it and turn it into a super Frankensteiner. A sitout Last Ride Powerbomb and Phoenix Splash later we got a new champ. Devitt fails to make it a year. My issue with this match is that there are dead spots. With these two and the amount of time given there should be no dead spots. Although I will say this match is much better on a rewatch. Maybe watching it so close to the epic Ibushi vs. Taguchi match made expectations for this unduly high. However, last year Devitt and Ibushi had a great final and Devitt vs. Marufuji was my MOTY. So I don’t know.

These Two Aren’t Done, Though. Not By A Long Shot.

Kota Ibushi Over Prince Devitt Following A Phoenix Splash.

Segment 9 – Togi Makabe and Satoshi Kojima vs. Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer.

Togi Makabe – Bam Bam Bigelow
Satoshi Kojima – Kevin Nash
Minoru Suzuki – Ken Shamrock
Lance Archer – Strawberry Shortcake

Defrost: Lance Hoyt blows. Vance Archer sucks. Lance Archer manages to suck and blow.

Here is what brought this match about. Togi Makabe was feuding with Satoshi Kojima and his crew which included TAKA Michinoku and TAICHI. After they had their blow off match Kojima was attacked by TAKA and TAICHI for losing and they were joined by their new leader Minoru Suzuki. Togi Makabe made the save. Then during New Japan’s tour of America Lance Archer formerly Vance Archer formally Lance Hoyt attacked Kojima after his match in the ECW Arena.

One of these things is not like the others. One of these things does not belong. Lance Archer is not only an awful wrestler, but he has a Tramp Stamp. So basically this match is good when Archer is not in there and terrible when he is. That’s all there is to it.

Cewsh: 3 of these people are 3 of the biggest stars in modern day Japanese wrestling.

And the other is this guy.

But What Is Douchetown Doing While Its Mayor Is Here?

I feel like the only way Lance Hoyt can possibly be here is he lied on his resume. “Hmm, I jobbed for awhile in WWE, so I think its safe to say I main evented Wrestlemania 11 times and broke the Undertaker’s streak.” If that isn’t the case then I am frankly baffled that he is rubbing elbows with 3 people who would casually demolish him into unrecognizable lumps if given half a chance.

So naturally they have Lance spend the whole match beating the shit out of Kojima. And if we’re being totally, completely honest, he wasn’t THAT bad. He was boring, void of any sort of psychology, and incredibly awkward at times, but he didn’t mess anything up, he put a fine beating on Kojima and he sold terrifically when Makabe started disintegrating parts of him he didn’t even know existed. Everybody else was their usual self, which is to saw lariat and chop heavy.

Ultimately this match meant little on this show except to have all of the non-Hoyt guys here to help the card draw. It was what it was and it served its purpose well. For a fun distraction before the closing titles matches it’d be hard to ask for much more.

75 out of 100.

Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer Over Satoshi Kojima and Togi Makabe Following A Cradle Piledriver From Suzuki To Kojima.

Segment 11 – IWGP Intercontinental Championship – MVP (c) vs. Toru Yano.

Toru Yano – The Sandman

Defrost: MVP became the first champion defeating Toru Yano in a tournament final in the ECW Arena.

Yano is not a good wrestler, but he is fun enough as a heel that I like him. I’m not MVP’s biggest fan nor do I have anything against. I really don’t give him that much thought. And that is the feeling I get out of this match. It is not the worse match on the show. It is not particularly good. It is just there. That’s all. Just there. Nothing much to add.

Cewsh: MVP is an interesting case.

Originally imprisoned of charges of robbery and hostage taking, he discovered a love for wrestling while watch ECW in the prison rec room. When he got about, he set about making that his career and eventually caught the eye of Chris Benoit while they were both working in HWA with Les Thatcher (Benoit was recovering from injury). Benoit made MVP almost his protégé of sorts, and you can see it in his ring work, from his occasional tributes like the multiple German suplexes, to his aggression in and out of transitions. And now that MVP has left WWE for his dream in New Japan he’s caught on fast there, making a big splash and getting over with the fans. Honestly, I can’t help but root for the guy after all he’s been through and how humble he’s stayed through his success. He’s a testament to the fact that we can change our stars and there aren’t too many people I admire more.

Now, that said, the man needs to stop wrestling Toru Yano. Yano is quirky and fun in his way as a drunken lout who’d rather swing a chair than win a match, but he doesn’t offer much in the realm serious wrestling matches, and that’s what MVP is projecting here. They have themselves a fine match, nothing to write home about but nothing to complain about, and then MVP rolls Yano up for the deuce. Surprisingly (read: not surprisingly) this makes Yano upset and he waffles MVP with a chair. He then grabs some scissors and cuts off all of MVP’s braids, like that’s a reasonable response to being pinned in a match.

“That’ll Be $16.”

This is obviously setting up for more down the road between these two, which is to be regretted, but so long as that path keeps heading up, I think it’ll all be good times.

70 out of 100.

MVP Over Toru Yano Following A Roll Up.

Segment 10 – Double Title Match – IWGP Tag Team Championship and GHC Tag Team Championship – Bad Intentions (c) vs. Yoshihiro Takayama and Takuma Sano (c).

Bad Intentions – T&A (minus Trish)
Takayama and Sano – Ric Flair and Arn Anderson if they teamed these days.

Defrost: This is the New Japan Tag Champs against the Pro Wrestling NOAH Tag Champs

Bad Intentions won the their titles at Dominion 2010 so this match comes 1 day short of a year of their winning the IWGP Tag Titles. Going into this match they had made 7 successful title defenses tying the record held by Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan.

Yeah, this match is no good. Bernard looks pretty pissed about how it went at the end too. Giant Bernard is great. Karl Anderson is as good as whoever he is in there with. Takayama is melting. Sano is older than dirt. So this is all kinds of boring. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

Cewsh: …zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….huh, wha? I was having the strangest dream. I dreamed that A-Train went to Japan and shaved off all of his body hair, and that he’s teaming with a weird little bald dude with a machine gun fetish. And then they were fighting some crazy old men, and one of them had a face like a cement truck backing over a preschool. You know, hard to look at. Some other guy was there too I think, but he was hardly important. They fought and fought and fought and fought and it was very boring but I wanted to be supportive so I kept watching. Eventually, just as I thought I was going to fall asleep and have a dream while dreaming my dream, the match ended and A-Train got lots of shiny belts which he felt obliged to share with the little bald guy, theoretically out of sympathy. Then they were all eaten by a giant fish named Walter who apologized politely, even though I’m fairly sure he wasn’t really sorry.

I need to lay off the expired milk before bed.

69 out of 100.

Bad Intentions Over Takasano Following A Move.

Segment 11- IWGP Heavyweight Championship – Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Hirooki Goto.

Hiroshi Tanahashi – John Cena
Hirooki Goto – Brock Lesnar

Defrost: The story going in is that Hirooki Goto was fed up with not winning the big one. He had failed to win the IWGP Heavyweight Title on four separate occasions. Despite having won a G1 Climax and two New Japan Cups his luck tournaments had waned too. Of his contemporaries Tanahashi is a 5 time IWGP Champion, 2 time IWGP Tag Champ, 2 time U-30 Champion, GHC Tag Champion, and CMLL World Trios Champ. Shinsuke Nakamura is a 3 time IWGP Champion, NWF Champion, U-30 Champion, and IWGP Tag Champion. Togi Makabe has held the IWGP Title and Tag Titles. The only title Goto has ever won is the IWGP Jr. Tag titles before his original trip to Mexico where he bulked up to heavyweight. When he returned he won a great #1 contenders match against Tenzan and then had an amazing match with Hiroshi Tanahashi in Sumo Hall for his first title challenge on 11/11/07. That was the best match in both men’s careers in my opinion. After this year’s New Japan Cup where he fell to Nakamura, Goto let his frustration get the best of him and turned on Tanahashi. Leaving him in a tag match against Kojima and MVP where Tanahashi was overtaken by numbers and forced to tap out to MVP. Since that point Goto went back to Mexico and then came back and kept headbutting Tanahashi and developed a new finisher the Ura Shouten. Which brings us to this match.

Cewsh: Hirooki Goto, long earmarked to become an official member of the new Three Muskateers alongside Shinsuke Nakamura and Hiroshi Tanahashi, has been frustrated time and time again in attempts to win the big one. He’s won G1 Climaxes, he’s beaten everyone there is to beat, but when it comes to grabbing that elusive IWGP Heavyweight Championship, he has gotten within a breath each time, only to have it snatched away. Finally, after a trip in exile to Mexico to prepare himself for the great charge, he returned for his triumphant title shot against the despicable invader Satoshi Kojima. Finally it was Goto’s time. He would oust the outsider, reclaim honor for his promotion and win the title that had been taunting him for years. All of the stars were aligned for him to have his ultimate moment on the biggest stage of the year. And then it was all snatched away from him by his old friend and rival Tanahashi, and Goto had to watch from the sidelines as the 100% Ace of the Universe toppled Kojima and became the Hero of the Golden Lions all by himself.

Since then, things have not been the same.

In the months since, Goto has displayed more aggression than ever before, and a mean streak a mile long. He placed a target squarely on Hiroshi Tanahashi’s back, and developed a new finishing move specially designed to cut short the title reign of his former friend. Hirooki Goto is here to take by force what fate would not grant him willingly. And there’s no length he wont go to to do it.

As this match starts, it becomes clear that these men have different priorities going in. Tanahashi is the best and knows it, so he’s just repelling another challenger and trying to rub salt in the wound of Goto after Goto dicked him over. As such, most of this match is spent by Tanahashi intentionally one upping Goto through complex counters and staying one step ahead.

Goto, on the other hand is here to win the title, and he is eager and willing to rip the pretty boy’s head right off his shoulders with a lariat if necessary. The dynamic created is fascinating, as Tanahashi runs rings around Goto, but whenever Goto catches him he CRUSHES Tanahashi with something. Tanahashi could just stay away but his own anger stops him and makes him play Goto’s game, just like Goto wanted.

After punishing each other over and over and over, Tanahashi ruining Goto’s leg, and Goto dropping him on his goddamn neck too many times to count, both men are fucking exhausted. They start dropping bombs on each other whenever either man can summon the energy for an adrenaline rush, but it can’t last forever, and Goto goes for his new kill move to end things once and for all and finally, FINALLY, earn his due. But shockingly, Tanahashi wriggles out of it, drops him and then hits not one but two High Fly Flows off the top ropes. Nobody gets up from that, and even the mighty Goto with all of his rage can’t change that. 1…2…3. The Ace remains.

After the match Tanahashi stands over Goto, and offers him his fist for a celebratory fist bump of a job well done. Goto stares at him, conflicted, before finally bumping that and turning face again. He didn’t win, and his dream is still unfulfilled, but at least he can rest easy for now, knowing he gave it his all and fell just short. Then Giant Bernard and Karl Anderson come out to congratulate Tanahashi, and Bernard says he wants a shot at the title. Tanahashi says that’s cool, bro, I want at shot at YOUR titles. Anderson demands to know who Tanahashi could even find for a partner. IMMEDIATELY, the fans start losing their minds chanting for Goto, who looks confused and then grateful. Tanahashi goes with the Flow and chooses him, and they fist bump again to seal the alliance. Tanahashi has won more than his title on the balmy June night.

He Also Won This Random Japanese Man.

So, in case you couldn’t tell, this match is fucking rad. The story going in, the way that they told it, the New Japan main event formula, the resolution at the end. This match had it all in spades, and Hiroshi Tanahashi has to be the best wrestling champion any company has had this decade. He’s beloved, he’s respected, and he rarely, if ever, let’s down in a big match. I would be lying if I said that 98% of the reason we review New Japan shows isn’t for him. He is, quite simply, the fucking man.

Now Bring On The Ladies.

92 out of 100

Cewsh’s Download Seal of Approval

Defrost: You know how I called their first title match their best match? This match is better. This is my non Punk vs Cena MOTY so far. There is a big match feel at the start. Great striking and chain wrestling moves into leg work by Tanahashi. Tanahashi worked Goto’s leg in their first match and forced him to tap to a Texas Cloverleaf. Tanahashi being a high flying star tries to skin the cat, but is smashed by Goto instead. Love Goto working Tanahashi’s neck. The rolling backdrop suplexes into the olympic slam. The neck breaker off the top and whatnot. Setting up his new finish and taking away Tanahashi’s bridging suplexes. I especially love the finish. Goto nails Tanahashi with the signature headbutt of the feud. Then hits his new finish. Tanahashi kicks out to everyone’s amazement. Tanahashi does a headbutt of his own and nails a couple of Dragon Suplexes followed by the Slingblade and High Fly Flows for the win. Just brilliantly done. Especially since this was seen by many people as the last time anyone could take Goto seriously if he lost. The match was so great that this is not an issue. When it came time for Tanahashi to name a tag partner the fans were begging for it to be Goto. Great match. Great work. Just great.

Hiroshi Tanahashi Over Hirooki Goto Following The High Fly Flow.


Cewsh’s Conclusion:

Cewsh: We’ve reviewed a few New Japan shows by now, and if you’ve read those reviews, you probably get the impression that this was sort of a ho hum show for them, which it kind of was. But its important to realize that this wasn’t like their Wrestlemania or anything, or even their Summerslam. This was some random show like Money in the Bank for WWE, crammed in the middle of summer, that just happened to have the hottest main event of the year. Add to that the always terrific Ibushi/Devitt rivalry and the pleasant surprise of Mascara Dorada and you’ve got yourself a charming undercard built around a main event that could have fit nicely topping any wrestling show in recent memory.

So yeah. Was pretty good then.

Cewsh’s Final Score: 73.9 out of 100.

Defrost’s Decision:

Defrost: In the end this was a very good show. You had one great match in the main event. Several good ones on the undercard with some bad stuff mixed in like the IC and Tag Title matches. One of the better shows I have seen all year in any promotion. I would recommend this.

Defrost’s Final Score: .75 out of 1.

Well that’ll do it for us this time, boys and girls. We hope you enjoyed this taste of Japan, because after this week’s WWE Night of Champions 2011, we’re headed right back to the Land of the Rising Sun. But we’ll keep the focus on WWE for this week, as Mark henry tries to do the one thing that has eluded him his whole like, and CM Punk tires to do the one thing that every smark has wanted to do since Aught Two. Who will come out on top? Who knows? But until we get together and find out, remember to keep reading and be good to one another.

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