NJPW NEW JAPAN PRO-WRESTLING 2011 DVD
Shin Nihon Puroresu Tapes Videos


NJPW WRESTLING KINGDOM V in TOKYO DOME PPV 1/4/11
-4hr 55min. Q=Perfect/Perfect/Near Perfect. 3 DVDs

IWGP Tag Team Title 3WAY Match: Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. James Storm & Robert Roode vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Strong Man 8:36

ROAD TO FANTASIC MANIA: La Sombra & Mascara Dorada vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Hector Garza 7:42

DEEP SLEEP TO LOSE: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Takashi Iizuka 11:13

Hardcore NJPW-TNA Greatest Showcase: Rob Van Dam vs. Toru Yano 11:28

NO JUSTICE & NO LIFE: Yuji Nagata vs. Minoru Suzuki 16:15. The old guys came on early, but they still treated the match as if it were a heavyweight title main event. They delivered a strong style variation on the Kobashi vs. Sasaki machismo, just standing toe to toe and taking turns firing the best slaps they could, and not really selling them. It was intense and brutal, but it got a bit tedious after a while even though they did a good job of mixing submissions that they played up as having finishing potential and suplexes in between. As with the Nakamura vs. Shiozaki match, I very much enjoyed what they did, but felt there either should have been more to the final minutes or it should have more strictly adhered to the shoot style. ***1/2

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi 16:22. Devitt brings out the all out spectacle side of Ibushi, who barely threw a kick in the match. It was essentially a longer version of their all out high flying 6/8/10 Super Jr. match, still lacking any sort of lead in, but man were their moves impressive. They obviously weren't attempting to do a believable match, but it takes more skill, athleticism, and timing to pull this off than the other 3 high end matches on the card combined. In the end, I'm going to be more impressed by a moonsault to the floor, firebird splash, phoenix splash - by a brainbuster, Frankensteiner, and bloody sunday with both men standing on the top rope - than by a chop, slap, or knee. And keep in mind, there wasn't a great deal of storytelling in any of these matches. Sure, Nakamura/Shiozaki had more, but not to the point of transcending its lack of diversity or even being particularly dramatic. All the good matches got strong crowd response, but it was more reacting to the spots in their particular style than to a sustained reaction to a thorougly engrossing match. ****

NJPW vs. NOAH Battle Combustion I & Kazuchika Okada Return Match: Takashi Sugiura & Yoshihiro Takayama vs. Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada 12:08

TNA World Heavyweight Title Match: Jeff Hardy vs. Tetsuya Naito 11:04

NJPW vs. NOAH Battle Combustion II: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Go Shiozaki 14:17. More toward the very good 8/22/10 NOAH match than the unforgettable 8/15/10 NJPW match that's arguably the high point of both men's careers, although even if also somewhat brief, a pretty clear improvement over 8/22 that was mainly held down by being too short. This was a much more intense match with some ferocious striking that generated some legitimate heat (it helped that NJ actually had fans in the seats), particularly Nakamura's wicked knees. Nakamura quickly instilled his striking style, and was disrespecting Go, who turned it back on him, injuring his knee with strikes and then taking his frustrations out on Nakamura on the floor by posting the knee a few times. Go's knee attack was serious in this meeting. More than simply an excuse for some well targeted chops, Go mixed in a variety of other leg moves this time, even setting up for a cradle suplex put dropping Shinsuke forward onto the knee. Both men's move sets were still too tight, with Nakamura mainly throwing more brutal versions of his typical knees while mixing in some kicks, but they did use some suplexes down the stretch before Nakamura finally turned the tide and rather quickly put Go away with the boma ye to even the series at 1-1-1. I liked this a little more than the Satoshi Kojima vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi main event, but again felt like it was missing a true finishing sequence. ***3/4

The Absolute Exhaust: Togi Makabe vs. Masato Tanaka 12:46. These guys couldn't follow Nakamura vs. Shiozaki. Their stuff just looked so fake after the blistering striking in the previous match. Makabe looked like he was in the WWE, doing a ton of pitiful punches including some of the feeblest mount punches in history. Tanaka wrestled like he was still in FMW, relying upon objects for most of his key spots. Apart from obviously clubbing the post instead of Tanaka with his staff, he was generally fine. He just didn't have much to work with. Makabe was better down the stretch as his bombs and slams are a lot more impressive than his strikes, but it was a short match that I'd already stopped having any hope for by that point. Highlight was Makabe putting Tanaka through a table with a jackknife powerbomb off the apron. *1/2

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Satoshi Kojima vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi 21:57. NJ hasn't had a great track record of Tokyo Dome main events delivering in recent years, but then that's to be expected when you fill them with guys like Lesnar, Muto, Chono, and Takayama who don't have good or inspired matches on the smaller shows either. This one sounded good on paper, and, while not their very best match, at least lived up to the billing. They focused on continually giving the audience something to react to, and they actually got something close to sustained crowd heat in the second half. Tanahashi was super pumped up, vaulting himself over the ropes and generally throwing his body all over. He did a pretty good job of working Kojima's lariat arm, actually making slamming the opponent's arm into the canvas seem impressive. However, Kojima was somewhat unfocused, switching between which of Tanahashi's knees he attacked as if he couldn't remember and then shifting to the neck. They, or at least Kojima, didn't make that serious of an attempt to tell a story beyond the most basic, it was more about providing high impact moves and spectacle, with the injuries mainly adding to the perceived damage. They did make the lariat important and deadly with Tanahashi finally getting hit with one after getting back body dropped onto the apron, and taking an exaggerated Hansen has killed me dead sort of bump onto the apron then floor. Tanahashi kept dodging the lariat inside the ring though, and hit some creative counters, including sling blade out of Kojima's Koji cutter. As usual, they do a good job of making Tanahashi surviving the opponent's finisher dramatic, but the problem is that tends to be the match, with Tanahashi recovering quickly and rolling off his favorite moves until he wins. I felt like this was slightly better than the 8/15/10 G1 CLIMAX final, but neither were in the league with the 2/20/11 match. ***3/4

NJPW Battle Station Near Live NJPW presents CMLL FANTASTICAMANIA 2011 1/22/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-2hr 40min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Taichi vs. Maximo 12:39

2/3 Falls, CMLL World Welterweight Title Match: Mascara Dorada vs. Ryusuke Taguchi 11:20

2/3 Falls, CMLL World Middleweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. La Sombra 16:28

IWGP Tag Title Match: Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. Atlantis & OKUMURA 13:06

Tiger Mask IV & La Mascara vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Dragon Rojo Jr 10:06

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Prince Devitt & Mistico vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Tetsuya Naito & Averno 14:33

NJPW Battle Station Near Live NJPW presents CMLL FANTASTICAMANIA 2011 1/23/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-2hr 50min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Danshoku Dieno & Maximo vs. Jado & Gedo 10:39

Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Atlantis & Dragon Rojo Jr & Taichi 11:08

2/3 Falls, CMLL World Trios Title Lucha Rules Match: La Sombra (c) & Mascara Dorada & La Mascara vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito & OKUMURA (c) 24:47

Mascara Contra Cabellera: Tiger Mask IV vs. Tomohiro Ishii 12:16

2/3 falls: Mistico vs. Averno 16:50

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Match: Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega vs. Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi 16:32. Super spectacular athletic match loaded with wild double team spots. The high level of difficultly athletic sequences were numerous and well timed. Golden Lovers had a couple execution errors, but pulled off some really sweet stuff such as stereo moonsault attacks to the floor and a double 450 splash. I felt like the match was more their style, and they did more to make the match. Devitt was extremely precise and had numerous highlights as well, though Taguchi was featured more than he was. Luckily, Taguchi actually made his presence felt in positive ways. Maybe a one-dimensional match, but certainly a true highlight reel. ****

NJPW Battle Station Near Live The New Beginning 2/15/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-2hr 45min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Hirooki Goto & Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito & Tomohiro Ishii 8:49

Kota Ibushi & KUSHIDA vs. Jado & Gedo 12:24

Manabu Nakanishi vs. Karl Anderson 10:27

Strong Man vs. Giant Bernard 6:06

Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. NOSAWA Rongai & Taichi 7:09

Wataru Inoue vs. Toru Yano 9:37

Yuji Nagata vs. Takashi Iizuka 13:24

Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 8:24

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Prince Devitt vs. Satoshi Kojima & TAKA Michinoku 15:47. They should definitely keep doing these Tanahashi & Devitt matches against their PPV challengers. This one was a clear step up from 12/23/10, a truly inspired PPV build-up that had the two key ingredients, intensity and evenness. They built the match up smartly with each taking turns showing each other up then Kojima getting the first real advantage by picking on Devitt's taped shoulder. Taichi chipped in with some cheapshots on the outside. Though I can't say the outside interference was a distraction, I feel like when you have legitimate stars to sell your PPV on, what's the point of shifting any focus from them to a meaningless undercarder? Devitt eventually hit a dropkick, the landing further damaging his bad shoulder, but giving him enough time to make the hot tag. Tanahashi & Devitt were as good as you'd expect, but the difference here is Kojima & TAKA were both fully motivated and wrestling like it mattered. TAKA was moving quickly, and landing some impressive knees. It was a little surprising that the PPV challengers lost, especially given the PPV results, but the important thing is they were working about as hard as if it were already the PPV. ***1/2

NJPW The New Beginning PPV 2/20/11 Miyagi Sendai Sun Plaza Hall
-3hr 55min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Tama Tonga vs. Hiromu Takahashi 5:20

Jushin Thunder Liger & Ryusuke Taguchi & KUSHIDA vs. Jado & Gedo & Killer Rabbit 8:45

Mascara Contra Mascara: Tiger Mask IV vs. Tomohiro Ishii 8:45

Elimination Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue & King Fale vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka & Yujiro Takahashi 21:41

IWGP Tag Title Match: Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Strong Man 18:28

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Prince Devitt vs. TAKA Michinoku 13:17. Sadly, this wasn't on the level of their work together on 2/15/11. It seemed a continuation with TAKA attacking Devitt's injured shoulder and Devitt reinjuring it trying to come back with a dropkick, but that's about where comparisons end. TAKA wasn't nearly as quick or as stiff, and the spark just wasn't there. He was back to being the guy we've been seeing for the past few years who can have good matches, but has a hard time doing much better as he's banged up and his offense isn't that exciting because of it. Devitt added a few spectacular spots, but the match was too laid back for such a short match, and Devitt mainly selling TAKA's kicks and submissions wasn't the most interesting utilization of the time. **3/4

Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. MVP & Taichi 11:29

Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito 17:36. Goto has been on the cusp of being a major player for the past 3 years, and now that Naito is finally getting away from the tag division, he's also working his way into important singles matches and is the next man in line behind Goto. It was a crucial match for both men, most likely showing who would step forward in 2011. Naito seemed a bit nervous early, but kept things moving, showing his flashy moves from start to finish. He was the spectacular and dynamic one, while Goto was the solid and steady base. Naito was very entertaining, but the match was a bit lacking in the drama department, as he pretty much dominated the whole way then lost once Goto hit a few big moves. ***1/2

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Satoshi Kojima 22:22. More than making up for the disappointing Devitt/TAKA match, this was pretty much everything you could hope for from these two. Kojima was highly motivated, seeming out to prove the previous generation ace is still every bit as good as the current generation's ace. And, in fact, one of the reasons the match was so good is you couldn't really argue one way or the other because the two were at the same high top of their game level. The well structured, high impact match was built around Kojima's lariat, and the damage it's capable of doing. However, unlike many recent Kojima matches, Kojima barely actually hit a lariat. The match told a good story that made secondary moves meaningful, with Tanahashi attacking Kojima's lariat arm, but Kojima injuring Tanahashi's neck with everything but the lariat to set up the eventual decapitation in the interim. Tanahashi's sprawled ridiculously after Kojima's DDT, but Kojima got heel heat stopping the doctor from checking him by going back on the attack, and giving Tanahashi a DDT on the apron and a reverse neckbreaker in case his neck wasn't damaged enough. Tanahashi hit his tope con hilo off the apron and went back to working the arm, using his arm Dragon screws, but Kojima hit an avalanche style Koji cutter. Tanahashi kept avoiding his lariat until finally, after stopping an avalanche style Frankensteiner, Kojima lariated him off the top rope to the floor. Both sold huge, the impact triggering the pain that had built up the entire match, and Tanahashi would have been counted out if Kojima didn't get up and out there just in time. Kojima hit a DDT on the ramp, and, back in the ring, set up his finishing lariat with a series of powerful elbows, but Tanahashi shocking laid Kojima out with a lariat of his own and ran through his favorite holds, the sling blade, Dragon suples, and high fly flow to back up his title victory on 1/4/11. ****1/4

NJPW World Pro-Wrestling Complete #36 NEW JAPAN CUP 2011 taped 3/20/11 Hyogo Beikomu Sogo Taiikukan
-2hr 45min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask IV & KUSHIDA vs. Jado & Gedo & Killer Rabbit 8:38

Manabu Nakanishi & Koji Kanemoto vs. Tomoaki Honma & Tama Tonga 8:22

Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii 12:28

New Japan Cup 2011 Semifinal: Yuji Nagata vs. Toru Yano 7:27

New Japan Cup 2011 Semifinal: Togi Makabe vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 9:55

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Wataru Inoue & King Fale vs. Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito 12:23

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Match: Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. TAKA Michinoku & Taichi 16:27

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Hirooki Goto vs. Satoshi Kojima & MVP 14:44

New Japan Cup 2011 Final: Yuji Nagata vs Shinsuke Nakamura 14:44. Nowhere near the level of their 8/12/07 match. That brutal shoot style match is a great effort and truly feels special whereas this is merely a nice hard hitting match that really feels quite routine. It started slow, but appeared poised to really take off when Nakamura pissed Nagata off by slapping him across the face rather than respecting the rope break. The ensuing exchange where Nagata amped up the intensity and beat Nakamura down in the corner was at the level of their best stuff, but it was a brief moment in time. The problem with this match, apart from being way too short, is Nakamura doesn't want to do anything anymore. Actually, since all he does is knee, kick, and now some weird head bobbling thing to show he's woozy, he gets somewhat tedious even in this amount of time. Sure, they are some nice knees and kicks, and Nagata is the guy who can more than match him, but it always felt routine. They did everything you'd expect, and it all looked really good, but there wasn't much surpring, much to separate from what's become the usual Nakamura match or make it feel organic much less special. There was one spot where Nakamura just jerked his head back as hard as he could to break up Nagata's German suplex. I expected to see blood, and perhaps that's where Nagata's nose got nicked? Nagata had previously sustained a minor bloody lip. ***1/4

NJPW World Pro-Wrestling Complete #37 NEW DIMENSION taped 4/3/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-2hr 45min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Kyosuke Mikami & Hiromu Takahashi vs. Killer Rabbit & Killer Rabbit 8:00

Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask IV & Tomoaki Honma vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii 7:51

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Wataru Inoue & King Fale vs. Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito 11:35

CMLL World Welterweight Title Match: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Madoka 12:17

Manabu Nakanishi & Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Jado & Gedo 16:31

Togi Makabe & KUSHIDA vs. Satoshi Kojima & TAKA Michinoku 12:40

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Yuji Nagata 35:30. The storyline has changed since the feud peaked with the 10/8/07 match. Though I'm a bigger fan of Nagata, no one can argue that Tanahashi being the man since that point and Nagata being the legend who won't go away was the right direction for the company to take. It was a direction that was also beneficial to the match, which I'd say is their second best. Nagata can still be the man on any given day or week, as proved by winning both the New Japan Cup and All Japan Champion Carnival in the month leading up to his latest challenge. Now that Tanahashi reigns supreme, they shifted more toward his style, which was a fresh approach to their series. It wasn't as credible, but it certainly didn't lack intensity and they found believable enough ways to maneuver between the striking, arm work (Nagata)/leg work (Tanahashi), and highspots. Though there was less striking overall, the striking itself was more impressive, and it was arguably their stiffest match. It wound up being an epic match, but they worked it as though they were going short. For me, the biggest flaw to the match is they didn't bother to tell a story despite all the time they had. It wasn't that dissimilar from what's become the NJPW excitement and spectacle junior match. I mean, there weren't a bunch of dives and Tanahashi's knee attack wasn't completely throwaway by any means, but in essence, it was a back and forth match with great work and extremely impressive offense that didn't have tons of meaning. On the other hand, it was considerably more dynamic than most of the pre 10/8/07 matches, so it was an improvement considering they also had nothing to do with psychology. ****

NJPW Battle Station Near Live NEW JAPAN BRAVE 2011 4/19/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-2hr 50min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Kyosuke Mikami & Hiromu Takahashi vs. TAKA Michinoku & Taichi 9:26

Tiger Mask & King Fale vs. Jado & Gedo 7:44

Manabu Nakanishi & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Mascara Dorada & Tama Tonga 9:43

Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson & Tomoaki Honma vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii 9:49

Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi & KUSHIDA vs. Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega & Daisuke Sasaki 14:55. The expected fast-paced, athletic spotfest. Good fun, but not nearly at the level of the A55 vs. Golden Lovers matches as KUSHIDA & Sasaki may have allowed that neat series to continue, but weren't able to stand on their own and actually add anything to the established match. They were an extra body so you had a triple tope con hilo instead of a double, but that was about it. KUSHIDA was somewhat sloppy. He certainly has the athleticism, but he wasn't able to use it to smoothly pull off the sequences with Ibushi. ***

IWGP Tag Next Challenger: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Wataru Inoue vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito 14:53

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yuji Nagata vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Masato Tanaka 16:42. Tanahashi & Nakamura and Nagata & Tanaka were paired almost to the point of exclusively working against their top rival. It was a stiff, heated affair that may not have broke any new ground, but was certainly more than intense enough to gear you up for their next round of singles matches. Nagata vs. Tanaka was definitely the stronger pairing, though both were entertaining, of course. ***

Togi Makabe vs. Satoshi Kojima 17:17

NJPW WRESTLING DONTAKU 2011 PPV 5/3/10 Fukuoka Kokusai Center
-3hr 45min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Hiromu Takahashi & Manabu Nakanishi & Tomoaki Honma vs. Gedo & Jado & Killer Rabbit 4:36

Taichi & TAKA Michinoku vs. KUSHIDA & Tiger Mask 6:43

Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. King Fale & Wataru Inoue & Hiroyoshi Tenzan 7:57

CMLL World Middleweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Mascara Dorada 10:04

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Match: Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Davey Richards & Rocky Romero 17:41

IWGP Tag Title Match: Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. Tetsuya Naito & Yujiro Takahashi 19:49

Hirooki Goto & Tama Tonga vs. Makoto Hashi & Takashi Sugiura 9:43

Yuji Nagata vs. Masato Tanaka 14:53

Togi Makabe vs. Satoshi Kojima 11:51

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 20:17

NJPW Battle Station 6/21/11 INVASION TOUR 2011 ~ATTACK ON THE EAST COAST~ taped 5/13/11-5/15/11
-2hr. Q=Perfect

5/13/11 Rahway, NJ Rahway Recreation Center

IWGP Intercontinental Title Tournament 1st Round: Hideo Saito vs. Yujiro Takahashi 8:28

IWGP Intercontinental Title Tournament 1st Round: Tetsuya Naito vs. Josh Daniels 10:22

IWGP Intercontinental Title Tournament 1st Round: Dan Maff vs. Toru Yano 10:38

IWGP Intercontinental Title Tournament 1st Round: MVP vs. Kazuchika Okada 12:45

5/14/11 Brooklyn, NY Basketball City

IWGP Intercontinental Title Tournament Semifinal: Toru Yano vs. Yujiro Takahashi 7:47

IWGP Intercontinental Title Tournament Semifinal: MVP vs. Tetsuya Naito 10:57

5/15/11 Phildelphia, PA

IWGP Intercontinental Title Tournament Final: MVP vs. Toru Yano 9:27

NJPW Battle Station 6/22/11 INVASION TOUR 2011 ~ATTACK ON THE EAST COAST~ taped 5/13/11-5/15/11
-2hr. Q=Perfect

5/13/11 Rahway, NJ Rahway Recreation Center

Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson & Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Davey Richards & Jado & Gedo 13:00

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe vs. Charlie Haas & Rhino 16:02

5/14/11 Brooklyn, NY Basketball City

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Prince Devitt vs. Low Ki 10:03 of 16:07. It'd be interesting to see what Devitt could do if New Japan didn't encourage him to wrestle pure athletic spectacles. This match actually had some time, but they just skipped to the hot moves. It was entertaining and impressive stuff with Ki looking excellent, once again begging the question, what the hell was New Japan thinking when they signed all these WWE rejects that can't wrestle and mean nothing in Japan but didn't pick up Ki, who certainly can wrestle and has a following in Japan from his various tours with 01, NOAH, and NJPW? The fans were totally into the match, popping for all the big spots and near finishes. Highlights abounded, including a Ki hitting a nasty looking diving footstomp to the back of a hunched over Prince. They should definitely do this in Japan on a PPV, but I kind of said that already... ***1/4 range

5/15/11 Phildelphia, PA

Shinsuke Nakamura & Yujiro Takahashi & Jado & Gedo vs. Charlie Haas & Tiger Mask & Kazuchika Okada & Josh Daniels 12:47

JAPW Light Heavyweight Title Match: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Kenny Omega 8:23 of 10:42. Omega is such a great athlete, but it struck me how much of his movement is totally fruitless. He had some beautiful counters when Liger actually tried a move, but his own offense tended to be a lot of wasted motion followed by a move that could have been done better. Omega's crucifix roll headspringing right to his feet then hitting a standing shooting star press was just phenomenal though. Liger was okay here, but didn't seem to have any real role beyond watching Omega do gymnastics. The match was much too short, and while it was entertaining enough, there was no meat to it. **1/4

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Davey Richards 7:19 of 14:45. A nicely executed match that didn't seem to come anywhere near meeting the promise it had, and wasn't wrestled as the major match it is to a number of fans. Richards is billed as 5'8", 208 pounds and wrestles as a junior in Japan but doesn't appear to be much shorter or lighter than their heavyweight champion. They tried to tell the story of Richards dominating by working Tanahashi's knee, but the editing robbed it of whatever cohesion there might have been. The body looked solid, but when I felt like it was thinking about kicking in, Tanahashi just came back and put Richards away with a couple moves. I hate to say it, but the match would have been ten times better and taken far more seriously in ROH. **1/2 range

Hardcore Match: Togi Makabe vs. Rhino 15:17

NJPW Battle Station Near Live BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII 5/26/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-3hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII B Block: KUSHIDA vs Daisuke Sasaki 6:53

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII A Block: Taichi vs Kenny Omega 8:59

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII B Block: Jushin Thunder Liger bs Mascara Dorada 3:18

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII A Block: Tiger Mask vs TJP 8:06

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue vs Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito 11:59

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII A Block: Koji Kanemoto vs Hayato "Jr" Fujita 10:18. Great short match! They fought like it desperately mattered, like they hated each other and had something to prove. They went at it before the bell, and wasted no time throughout, unleashing an extra fierce arsenal of blistering strikes, even by their standards. Their intensity and aggression allowed this to rise well above the typical brutal short match. Actually, you felt like it had to be short because they were hitting each other so hard it would have been ridiculous for it to have lasted. I mean, they absolutely made you believe they were legitimately holding nothing back on their strikes. Hayato even got a hardway cut outside his left eye. The victory was a huge one for the young Michinoku star as the legendary Kanemoto has been portrayed as his New Japan rival because of their stylistic similarities. Though 5 minutes shorter than last years league match, they really blew that out of the water. ****

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII B Block: The Great Sasuke vs TAKA Michinoku 9:57

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII B Block: Ryusuke Taguchi vs Kota Ibushi 13:21. An impressive one man show from Ibushi. He totally dominated the match with his athleticism, showing most of the moves that make us enjoy him. Taguchi was an adequate foil, but he did no more and no less to make Ibushi look good than any other junior would have, and brought nothing of his own to add to the match. The formula was so obvious in that you knew since Ibushi had 95% of the offense he was going to wind up losing way too easily, it was just a matter of when and how. ***

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII A Block: Prince Devitt vs Davey Richards 13:18. Similar to the previous match, it was all about the outsider showing what he could do. Richards was on top of Dynamite's game, and it was largely a better match than Ibushi/Taguchi because he did a better job of carrying the match than Ibushi did, bringing a more intense and well rounded attack that got you into the match rather than giving you the feeling of watching an exhibition. Richards jumped Devitt before the bell to begin getting heel heat, and controlled the majority of the match. They had some nice strike exchanges, and unlike his partner, Devitt did make some hot comebacks and add to the match. I liked his footstomp off the upper level on the outside followed by a diving footstomp to the back when Richards was crawling around the ring. Most of the highlights were Richards though, including a suicida where Devitt hurt his hip taking the bump onto a stray umbrella and an avalanche style brainbuster rolled into a regular brainbuster that looked like the finish. The match was a bit short and one-sided, but as Richards went over, it did feel like a complete match that went a long way toward establishing Davey Boy as a major threat. ***1/2

NJPW Battle Station Near Live BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII 5/29/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-3hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII B Block: TAKA Michinoku vs. Mascara Dorada 9:45

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII A Block: Jado vs. TJP 12:07

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII B Block: Gedo vs. Daisuke Sasaki 11:10

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII A Block: Koji Kanemoto vs. Taichi 10:37

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yuji Nagata vs. Hirooki Goto & Manabu Nakanishi 15:25

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII B Block: Jushin Thunder Liger vs. KUSHIDA 10:45

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII A Block: Tiger Mask vs. Davey Richards 9:56

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII A Block: Prince Devitt vs. Hayato "Jr" Fujita 8:09. Fujita brought major energy and intensity that Devitt and the fans fed off. They were holding nothing back, and it felt like a major match. If only it were a real length this would have been one of Devitt's best matches for sure. Even as a half match, it was thoroughly impressive. ***1/4

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII B Block: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. The Great Sasuke 15:39

NJPW Battle Station Near Live BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII 6/10/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-3 1/2hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

KUSHIDA & Hiromu Takahashi & Mascara Dorada vs. Kenny Omega & Daisuke Sasaki & TJP 9:12

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Wataru Inoue & King Fale & Kyosuke Mikami vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka & Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi 8:20

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII Semifinal: Kota Ibushi vs. Davey Richards 11:17. Excellent short match. Richards was able to force Ibushi to wrestle the entire match on his terms. As Richards was always in control and dictating, the fans were really excited when he was able to pull a big counter, and believed Kota to be in enough peril that they went nuts when he kicked out of Dynamite Davey Boy's big moves. Richards wouldn't allow Ibushi to fly early, forcing him into intense strike exchanges through countering his attempts at athleticism, for instance stopping a space flying tiger drop with a jumping high kick. Ibushi finally slipped out of a powerbomb on the floor, ducked a lariat and hit a quebrada. They had to rush some big spots because they had so little time, but they still worked them in pretty well, figuring out how to transition from the striking base to the opportunity to do something different. Richards tried to force a huge avalanche style German suplex, but Ibushi landed on his feet. This set up the finish a little later where Richards went for the Benoit avalanche style powerbomb, but Ibushi grasped victory from the clutches of defeat by turned it into a Frankensteiner in midair then hitting his firebird splash for the win. ***1/2

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII Semifinal: Prince Devitt vs. Ryusuke Taguchi 8:29. Unlike the previous semifinal, this was pretty much just a short nothing match. I mean, it never felt like anything substantial or meaningful. They started slowly, and didn't really develop the match. Sure, there were some nice counters, but it wasn't really building to a finish, beyond the fluke that we got since it was so short. Otherwise, the match was what you'd expect with everything dynamic coming from Devitt and Taguchi being athletic enough to facilitate some quality spots, but not to do anything particularly notable of his own. It wasn't bad by any means, but it was kind of a waste of time because ultimately the only real purpose was to pass Taguchi through to the final. **1/4

Jushin Thunder Liger & Koji Kanemoto & Tiger Mask & The Great Sasuke vs. Jado & Gedo & Tomohiro Ishii & Hayato "Jr" Fujita 10:28. I used to look really forward to the yearly big junior tag that had all the participants that didn't make the final, but in those days they did a full match that more than one participant cared about. Hayato singlehandedly made this worthwhile, bringing a level of effort and intensity that was so unfortunately lacking the rest of the time. All of his stuff was really good, particularly with Kanemoto, but Jado was mainly responsible for sleeping through the first half of the match. Once Hayato brought it to life, Liger & Tiger did enough to ensure respectability, but as with the previous match, you felt it was ending because their time was up. **1/4

Togi Makabe & Satoshi Kojima vs. TAKA Michinoku & Taichi 5:04

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Yuji Nagata vs. Hirooki Goto & Tomoaki Honma 14:44

BEST OF THE SUPER Jr. XVIII Final: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Kota Ibushi 20:22. Taguchi brings nothing of his own, so any attempt to justify Taguchi's presence in a big match always comes down to what they aren't rather than what he is. Kanemoto & Liger are in their mid 40's, Hayato is in Michinoku, Richards is a foreigner and Devitt is already champ. Though Taguchi's whole match often seems to be rolling, spinning, ducking or cradling his way out of his opponent's hot moves, at least he can play off a talent. Ibushi has talent to burn, and although it's much easier for a complimentary wrestler such as Taguchi to be in a high end tag than a singles match, this was probably better than it should have been because they were able to get the crowd going wild. Perhaps the only standout aspect of the drama was it was twice as long as all these ridiculously short Super Jr matches, but they really put over the toll of the match and were able to make 20 minutes, essentially a standard final length, seem like a full blown marathon. The fans were as thrilled as they should have been by Kota's breathtaking flying, but they were so into a New Japan wrestler winning it that they went nuts every time Taguchi kicked out, and his previous win once again showed he could pull off an upset out of nowhere with any sort of pinning predicament. Still, the near falls seemed to get better reactions than they deserved, but if there was one thing about this match that was unquestionably great it was the atmosphere. As a wrestling match, Richards vs. Ibushi was far more evolved, even though hampered by half the length, but Taguchi vs. Ibushi was a match where everyone sensed they were doing what they could, and even if it wasn't exactly the greatest Super Jr. final you ever saw, you respected their effort to make it noteworthy. There was a genuine desire here, and Ibushi hugging the ref in jubilation after he won with his phoenix splash just seemed fitting. ***1/2

NJPW World Pro-Wrestling Complete #39 DOMINION (PPV) taped 6/18/11 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan
-3hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Koji Kanemoto vs. Hiromu Takahashi 3:04

Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask & KUSHIDA vs. Jado & Gedo & Brian Kendrick 8:33

CMLL World Middleweight Title Match: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Mascara Dorada 8:26

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue vs. Takashi Iizuka & Masato Tanaka & Tomohiro Ishii 9:12

Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi 11:12

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi 13:49. 100% athletic spectacle. I enjoy their match, but I don't feel like they've added to it. When they teased the big dives early, building anticipation while using simpler, more plausible athletic counters I thought they might be thinking about developing something. However, Devitt is always only in a single mode, so while they seemed to make more of an effort to wrestle as though it were going to be a longer match, it wasn't and since they wouldn't branch out, once they started hitting the big moves there was nowhere for them to go. The moves were awesome, and they were beautifully performed, but I know Ibushi is capable of a lot more than this, and I'd like to think Devitt is as well if New Japan would allow him to be more than a spot merchant delivering exciting short matches. ***1/2

Satoshi Kojima & Togi Makabe vs. Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer 12:39

IWGP Intercontinental Title Match: MVP vs. Toru Yano 10:50

IWGP & GHC Tag Double Tag Title Match: Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson (IWGP champs) vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & Takuma Sano (GHC champs) 12:03

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto 25:28. Though he still fell shy of surpassing an ace and taking home the gold, Goto clearly reached a new level here. We finally saw a big Goto match that was back and forth where he showed he was capable of doing anything you could ask of him, of matching the best and having the character and poise to be in their role soon enough. It was a far more diverse and dynamic match than we are used to seeing from him, and even Tanahashi for that matter. They worked it as though it was one of their new style junior matches where they pack all they can into 10 minutes, but they kept the high pace going throughout, so it was a really tiring and grueling match. The motif of the match were lengthy, rapid fire exchanges, but they'd use these to set up the sequences, which would consist of their favorite moves being thwarted. Both men delved deep into their arsenal, with Goto in particular pulling new and rarely used moves, even an avalanche style sunset flip. The match really felt fresh and the effort from both men could not have been better. After the match, Bernard challenged Tanahashi, so Tanahashi counter challenged saying "You want my belt, I want your belt!" Bernard asked him to name his partner, and Goto had won enough respect from Tanahashi with this performance that Tanahashi decided to put their past differences behind him and name Goto as his teammate. ****

NJPW Battle Station Near Live NEW JAPAN SOUL 2011 7/3/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-2hr 40min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Jushin Thunder Liger & Kyosuke Mikami vs. Jado & Gedo 8:51

Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. KUSHIDA & Hiromu Takahashi 10:02

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue & King Fale vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka & Hideo Saito 12:57

Strongman & Tomoaki Honma vs. Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi 10:27

MVP vs. Tomohiro Ishii 12:10

Togi Makabe & Satoshi Kojima & Tiger Mask vs. Minoru Suzuki & TAKA Michinoku & Taichi 12:11

IWGP Tag Title Match: Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Hirooki Goto 17:12. New Japan has really done these tag matches that set up the heavyweight title matches well in the past few years, and this was no exception. It was all about making the audience believe Bernard would soon be a three crown king. Tanahashi got off to a hot start against him, using his quickness to get his attacks in, but Bernard would toss him around as if he were still a junior when he had the chance. They out Bernards's power and impact over big early without him having to actually dominate, and once Bernard injured Tanahashi's back it became rather one sided. Goto came in and kicked Bernard a few times, only getting the Giant to release his bear hug on Tanahashi by annoying him enough that he made Goto flee back to his corner. They did some pretty good spots and teases relating to the back, such as Bernard pouncing when Tanahashi did his skin the cat and setting up a big powerslam only to have Tanahashi slip out and hit his sling blade. Goto didn't play a big role here because, even though the titles were on the line, the match was about the next match he wasn't involved in. Karl wasn't important either per se, but he has to be more involved because he keeps the quality up for his team and allows Bernard to be more impressive by allowing him to play monster and be spotted. ***

NJPW NEW JAPAN SOUL 2011 PPV 7/18/11 Sapporo Makomanai Sekisui Heim Ice Arena
-4hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Strongman & Tomoaki Honma & Killer Rabbit & Killer Rabbit vs. Masato Tanaka & Yujiro Takahashi & Jado & Gedo 9:38

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Hector Garza 7:55

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Wataru Inoue & King Fale vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii 10:28

Yuji Nagata vs. Hideo Saito 9:56

Togi Makabe & Tiger Mask IV vs. TAKA Michinoku & Taichi 7:18

Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi & KUSHIDA vs. Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega & Daisuke Sasaki 15:29. KUSHIDA & Sasaki watered down the previously excellent Apollo 55 vs. Golden Lovers tag match, adding nothing beyond 2 more warm bodies that could, at best, follow along. I can't put it all on those two though. The early portion was pretty tame, focusing on striking rather than the expected athleticism. The match meandered along with these exchanges for the first 9 minutes, and really anytime Sasaki was in, but suddenly A55 and Golden Lovers they started sprinting with a double team segment, and the match was pretty wild from that point forward. A55 and Golden Lovers really have their choreography down, with Devitt & Ibushi particularly doing some nifty evasions and counters. At it's best, the match was extremely impressive for the double and triple team flying spots, but the goal here was an entertaining undercard diversion rather than a featured match of the year. ***

Hirooki Goto vs. Karl Anderson 10:20

IWGP Intercontinental Title Match: MVP vs. Toru Yano 12:03

Satoshi Kojima vs. Minoru Suzuki 13:39

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Giant Bernard 27:54. I didn't get why you'd have Bernard in a match that was almost longer than the next two longest matches combined when I initially looked at the results, and viewing the match wasn't exactly any more illuminating. It was drawn out, lacking rhythm and flow, and felt contrived and unconvincing. Bernard was good in the leadin tag because Karl was there to do all the dirty work and give him breaks. This match was fine when Bernard was on offense, but he had to sell and counter here, and was inadequate at both even though Tanahashi's offense essentially consisted of him attacking Bernard's right knee and jumping at Bernard with the sling blade, flying forearm, high fly flow, etc. Bernard dominated the match as expected, and they did a good job of getting over the idea that the champ was in peril with Tanahashi's offense doing little more than slow the big man. There was a good spot where Tanahashi turned a powerbomb on the floor into a Frankensteiner, but Bernard came back reinjuring Tanahashi's back by slamming him on the guard rail. The back wasn't nearly as big a story here, but it made moves such as the Bernard bomb that much more deadly. The match built up pretty well, but then Bernard pretty much peaked and Tanahashi finished him off with a couple of moves. Overall, the match has to be better than I'm making it out to be, but Tanahashi has had some wonderful title defenses, and well, this was a real bottom barrel one. **1/2

NJPW G1 CLIMAX XXI ~THE INVINCIBLE FIGHTER~ PPV 8/1/11 Fukuoka Kokusai Center
-3 1/2hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Wataru Inoue vs. La Sombra 8:41

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Giant Bernard vs. Hideo Saito 9:47

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Toru Yano vs. Yoshihiro Takayama 6:29

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan 10:37

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Kota Ibushi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi 16:10. A better wrestling match than the 6/10/11 Super Jr. Final, but the atmosphere wasn't nearly as good. This is the best offensive match I can recall from Taguchi. He was actually even trying to have a junior offense early on, hitting a no touch tope con hile and slingshot rolling senton. Taguchi was pushing the champ, but of course it was Ibushi's offense that made the match. Even though there was less of it than usual, seemingly everything he did was something that most guys don't, or rather can't do. His flying was amazing as ever, but he also came up with a new dangerous move where he scoops his opponent up on his shoulders and runs, slamming them face first into the bottom of the turnbuckle. Overall, a more exciting match than you ever get from Taguchi in singles, but lacking something in the way of drama. ***3/4

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi 10:52

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Lance Archer 8:18

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Satoshi Kojima vs. Minoru Suzuki 12:40

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: MVP vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 12:02

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Yuji Nagata 18:19. Similar to their excellent 4/3/11 match moves wise, but they mixed up the ordering of the moves so it started out as Nagata's blistering kicks and knees against Tanahashi's knee attack. This shifted the match back toward Nagata's credible style, and made it more story oriented. Nagata was super nasty here, with Tanahashi getting a bloody mouth. The second half was more towards Tanahashi's flashy style, with all the big moves coming after he left the knee attack. It wasn't as good as 4/3/11 due to being half the length, but these two work so well together and fought their hearts out the whole time, so as always, you can't go wrong with this matchup. ***3/4

NJPW Battle Station 8/3/11 G1 CLIMAX XXI ~THE INVINCIBLE FIGHTER~ taped 8/2/11 Fukuoka Kokusai Center
-3hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Karl Anderson vs. La Sombra 7:49

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Hideo Saito vs. Lance Archer 6:42

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Wataru Inoue vs. Strongman 7:00

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Giant Bernard vs. Yujiro Takahashi 8:58

Hirooki Goto & Jushin Thunder Liger & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Jado & Gedo & Tomohiro Ishii 9:51

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Yuji Nagata vs. Tetsuya Naito 13:11

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: MVP vs. Minoru Suzuki 12:03

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Toru Yano 10:54

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Satoshi Kojima vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 15:05

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Yoshihiro Takayama 11:57

NJPW Battle Station Near Live G1 CLIMAX XXI ~THE INVINCIBLE FIGHTER~ 8/5/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-3hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Strongman vs. La Sombra 6:48

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Yujiro Takahashi vs. Hideo Saito 9:25

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Wataru Inoue vs. MVP 9:34

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Karl Anderson vs. Minoru Suzuki 10:59

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Giant Bernard vs. Lance Archer 11:23

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Yuji Nagata vs. Toru Yano 11:24

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 13:43

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Tetsuya Naito 14:27

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Satoshi Kojima 16:15

NJPW SXW G1 CLIMAX XXI ~THE INVINCIBLE FIGHTER~ 8/6/11 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukan
-2hr 50min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. La Sombra 9:06

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Karl Anderson vs. Strongman 7:55

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Yuji Nagata vs. Yujiro Takahashi 9:49

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Wataru Inoue vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 12:29

Satoshi Kojima & MVP vs. TAKA Michinoku & Taichi 8:49

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Hideo Saito 5:23

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Minoru Suzuki 14:26

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Tetsuya Naito vs. Toru Yano 14:05

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Giant Bernard vs. Yoshihiro Takayama 9:36

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Lance Archer 11:33

NJPW SXW G1 CLIMAX XXI ~THE INVINCIBLE FIGHTER~ 8/7/11 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukan
-2hr 50min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Hideo Saito vs. Yoshihiro Takayama 3:29

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Toru Yano vs. Yujiro Takahashi 8:30

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Wataru Inoue 9:50

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: La Sombra vs. Minoru Suzuki 9:32

Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma vs. Lance Archer & TAKA Michinoku 9:14

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Strongman vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 6:56

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Karl Anderson 10:56. Short one-sided match with poor psychology following the typical Goto script of him getting beat on the whole match then winning when he finally hits a couple big moves. Karl was mainly responsible for the quality, as Goto was too much in the mode of just going along with whatever he had to throw at him in the first half. The start was rather benign then Karl pulled a vicious running powerbomb into the guard rail out of nowhere, nearly earning the count out. Goto sold his back huge only to have Anderson immediately shift to his neckbreakers??? The second half was much better, albeit goofy, as Goto finally started showing some life and countering to make Anderson work. There were some pretty explosive sequences with a lot of nice counters, but the match had almost no backwork despite one of the most punishing back moves I've ever seen and was just rushing through Anderson's signature jaw jackings so he'd get his moves in before Goto took him out. **1/2

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Yuji Nagata vs. Giant Bernard 10:00

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Satoshi Kojima vs. MVP 11:26

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Togi Makabe 18:46

NJPW SXW G1 CLIMAX XXI ~THE INVINCIBLE FIGHTER~ 8/8/11 Kanagawa Yokohama Bunka Taiikukan
-3hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Wataru Inoue vs. Karl Anderson 9:07

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Satoshi Kojima vs. Strongman 8:15

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Yujiro Takahashi vs. Yoshihiro Takayama 9:25

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Tetsuya Naito vs. Lance Archer 12:38

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. MVP 11:17

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: La Sombra vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 10:49

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hideo Saito 8:01

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Minoru Suzuki 12:38

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Yuji Nagata 13:13. The structuring was so basic there was almost nothing to the match. Nagata was on offense for quite a while then they started switching off quicker. There was little actual interplay before the final few minutes. Nagata did everything pretty near perfectly, while Makabe was more toward adequate, which I suppose is exactly what you'd expect. It was fine for what it was, but for the main event on a G1 show I was hoping for something less ordinary. **1/2

NJPW Battle Station Near Live G1 CLIMAX XXI ~THE INVINCIBLE FIGHTER~ 8/10/11 Tokyo Yoyogi National Stadium 2nd Gym
-3hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Yujiro Takahashi vs. Lance Archer 7:14

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Toru Yano vs. Hideo Saito 6:09

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Satoshi Kojima vs. La Sombra 9:25

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Strongman 7:18

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Wataru Inoue vs. Minoru Suzuki 14:19

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Karl Anderson vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 12:11. Solid short match that was mainly hard hitting. They built a basic stiff contest around some good counters to their favorite moves. Though nothing outstanding, it was always quality, and Karl did enough to make you believe he had a chance of winning. Anderson answered Nakamura's knees with kneedrops, but taking the fight to the floor backfired, as Nakamura whipped him into the guard rail and hit a jumping knee on the rebound. Anderson came back turning a kick into a running Ligerbomb and later turned a boma ye into a spinebuster and hit a too badd for a hot near fall. Karl had another near fall with a gun stun, but Nakamura got his knees up for a second one and finished Karl off. **3/4

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. MVP 10:39

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Tetsuya Naito vs. Yoshihiro Takayama 10:32

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Giant Bernard 13:05

NJPW Battle Station Near Live G1 CLIMAX XXI ~THE INVINCIBLE FIGHTER~ 8/11/11 Tokyo Yoyogi National Stadium 2nd Gym
-3hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Tetsuya Naito vs. Hideo Saito 7:25

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. La Sombra 9:16

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Wataru Inoue 11:09

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Toru Yano vs. Lance Archer 8:51

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: MVP vs. Strongman 8:18

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Karl Anderson vs. Satoshi Kojima 12:55

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Giant Bernard 12:35

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Yujiro Takahashi 12:43

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Yuji Nagata vs. Yoshihiro Takayama 13:51

NJPW Battle Station Near Live G1 CLIMAX XXI ~THE INVINCIBLE FIGHTER~ 8/13/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-3hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: MVP vs. La Sombra 4:59

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Wataru Inoue vs. Satoshi Kojima 9:51

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Karl Anderson 9:39

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Yuji Nagata vs. Lance Archer 8:42

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Strongman vs. Minoru Suzuki 9:31

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Tetsuya Naito vs. Giant Bernard 10:44. Good for a dominant big man against small man we need to win without really winning match. It started off exceptionally slow with Bernard methodically picking apart Naito's back, just waiting for Naito to eventually get up to slam him again. The pace picked up with Naito's comeback, and the match was pretty entertaining from there. The fans were into Naito, particularly popping when he German suplexed the big man and kicked out of the Bernard bomb after his stardust press was avoided. It was really short though with Naito trying to come back with a body attack off the guard rail, but Bernard posting him then trying for a killer Bernard bomb on the floor only to have Naito hit a desperation Frankensteiner and crawl back in the ring just before the 20 count. **1/2

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Yoshihiro Takayama 12:14

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 13:13. Energetic back and forth sprint. It wasn't really their typical stuff, more toward a Choshu style match actually, albeit with stiffer striking and better moves. It was all very well done, but kind of shallow. I felt this would play better at a Dome where the audience would be more into the spectacle than at Korakuen where the audience could appreciate the technique they are capable of, but they have enough talent that it was one of the better G1 matches regardless. ***

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Toru Yano 16:57. Yano has limited athletic and wrestling ability, but he works the way New Japan is set up right now because he's basically the only guy in New Japan doing his brand of heel gimmick. In the early 90's, you had an entire group of cheap, brawling, chair using heels, the Blond Outlaws, and in that setting the fact Norio Honaga had some wrestling ability and Tatsutoshi Goto didn't was all too readily apparent, rendering Goto extra useless, but right now Yano is sort of unique even though he's doing nothing particularly more skilled or modern than Umanosuke Ueda was 35 years ago. Yano tends to be a frontrunner anyway, but as Tanahashi would have clinched A Block with a win, I felt they had Tanahashi sell even that much more to make the fans believe Yano would play spoiler. Yano countered Tanahashi's rolling body attack off the apron with a chair and went to work on Tanahashi's back. When Tanahashi finally made a comeback, I thought he'd take over, but Yano cut him right off. Yano brought a chair in after a ref bump. Tanahashi avoided the chair shot, but Yano used it to shield his chest from Tanahashi's high fly flow then busted Tanahashi open with a chair. It was a pretty comprehensive loss for Tanahashi, not only keeping Yano and several others in the mix going into the final day, but also setting Yano up for his first title challenge later in the year. ***

NJPW G1 CLIMAX XXI ~THE INVINCIBLE FIGHTER~ PPV 8/14/11 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
-3hr 40min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Yuji Nagata vs. Hideo Saito 4:29

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Giant Bernard vs. Toru Yano 7:29

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Lance Archer vs. Yoshihiro Takayama 7:19

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Togi Makabe vs. Yujiro Takahashi 8:37

G1 CLIMAX XXI A Block: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito 5:11

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hirooki Goto vs. Strongman 7:27

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Karl Anderson vs. MVP 8:30

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Satoshi Kojima 14:10

G1 CLIMAX XXI B Block: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Minoru Suzuki 12:13

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Match: Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega 15:01. Amazingly choreographed wild spotfest that had so many great spots involving 3 or 4 men it was hard to keep up with. Everyone knew what this match was going to be, some of the most spectacular stuff in wrestling today, and it certainly delivered. While it may not have broken new ground, these guys ability to work with one another gets better every time out. They aren't making mistakes anymore, and they are just generally timing everything better so the match is smoother and flows better. This one started hot then slowed for a while as Devitt was traped in the ring with a bad shoulder the Golden Lovers sporadically worked. The match took off again with Taguchi's hot tag, and never even considered slowing down for the duration. ****

G1 CLIMAX XXI Final: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Tetsuya Naito 20:19. Having began the first of his three IWGP Heavyweight Title reigns less than 16 months after he debuted, it's hard to believe it took this long for the former super rookie to finally capture the elusive G1 CLIMAX. Though Nakamura ultimately added the final major feather to his cap, the match was really about the arrival of a hot new star in Naito. Naito has finally been pushed in singles this year, but it's with this tournament that he's gained the belief in himself to really perform in the big spot. Naito has always been flashy and exciting, but now he had the confidence to go along with his energy and enthusiasm and give a major performance that the crowd got behind a lot more than I even expected. The match was smartly worked with Nakamura bullying Naito early to make the crowd think it was going to be one-sided, which got them that much more into it when Naito finally gained a foothold in the match. Naito made brief comebacks early but it wasn't until he began attacking Nakamura's knee that the veteran could no longer get away with disrespecting. Naito had a big stretch of knee moves, but Nakamura came back with nothing but knees anyway because, well, that's what 2011 Nakamura does. They did a good job of taking advantage of Naito's moveset though, so it never looked like a generic Nakamura match, and it certainly helped that Naito was getting huge reactions to every near fall. It was a good match in any building, but I actually feel the audience did a better job of making it come off as one of the major matches of the year than the wrestlers did. You knew Shinsuke was going to win, but the match had major aura and always felt like the finish was actually in doubt. ***3/4

NJPW/AJPW/NOAH ALL TOGETHER on Samurai 8/27/11 Tokyo Nippon Budokan
-4hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

ALL TOGETHER Opening Match ~ SUNRISE OF J: Kota Ibushi & Taiji Ishimori & BUSHI & Hiroshi Yamato vs. Tiger Mask IV & Kaz Hayashi & Shuji Kondo & Ricky Marvin 10:05

JUNIOR ONE NIGHT CARNIVAL: Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi & Kotaro Suzuki & Katsuhiko Nakajima & KAI vs. Koji Kanemoto & Minoru & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & KENTA & Genba Hirayanagi 15:07

ONE NIGHT REUNION: Jushin Thunder Liger & Masakatsu Funaki & Takuma Sano vs. Minoru Suzuki & Taichi & Atsushi Aoki 12:47

NO FEAR! GO AHEAD!: Kensuke Sasaki & Jun Akiyama vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & Takao Omori 15:44

BELIEVE THE POWER OF "Prowrestling!": Keiji Muto & Kenta Kobashi vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka 14:58

FIGHTING FOR FUTURE: Tetsuya Naito & Seiya Sanada & Shuhei Taniguchi vs. Mohammed Yone & Manabu Soya & Yujiro Takahashi 11:10

OVER THE BORDER: Akitoshi Saito & Togi Makabe vs. Taiyo Kea & Hirooki Goto 9:55

Destroyer Cup Battle Royal: Hideo Saito & Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo & Takaaki Watanabe & Hiromu Takahashi & KUSHIDA & Tomoaki Honma & Super Strong Machine & Jun Nishikawa & Satoshi Kajiwara & Kento Miyahara & Lee Che Gyong & Takumi Soya & So Shun & Yasufumi Nakanoueno & MAZADA & Masanobu Fuchi & Rene Dupree & Joe Doering & Zack Sabre Jr & Masao Inoue & Yoshinari Ogawa & Akira Taue & Kentaro Shiga & BLACK BUSHI & King Fale 11:54

MIDSUMMER ENCOUNTER IN BUDOKAN: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Yuji Nagata & Osamu Nishimura & Wataru Inoue vs. Akebono & Ryota Hama & Takeshi Morishima & Yutaka Yoshie 11:20

ALL TOGETHER NOW!: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Suwama & Go Shiozaki vs. Takashi Sugiura & KENSO & Shinsuke Nakamura 22:50

NJPW G1 CLIMAX SPECIAL 2011 PPV 9/19/11 Kobe World Kinen Hall
-4hr 20min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Tomoaki Honma & Kyosuke Mikami vs. TAKA Michinoku & Taichi 8:30

Kantaro Hoshino Memorial Match: Koji Kanemoto vs. Makai #28 5:25

Hirooki Goto & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tama Tonga & Killer Rabbit vs. Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo 12:42

Yuji Nagata vs. Hideo Saito 9:24

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Decision Match: Prince Devitt vs. KUSHIDA 13:30

MVP & Tiger Mask IV & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Masato Tanaka & Davey Richards & Rocky Romero 10:02

Wataru Inoue vs. Minoru Suzuki 13:02

Tetsuya Naito vs. Yujiro Takahashi 12:37

Togi Makabe vs. Lance Archer 11:22

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 26:07

NJPW DESTRUCTION '11 PPV 10/10/11 Tokyo Ryogoku Kokugikan
-4hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

KUSHIDA & Tiger Mask & Schwartz & Weiss & Killer Rabbit vs. Takashi Iizuka & Hideo Saito & Jado & Gedo & Tomohiro Ishii 7:53

Tomoaki Honma vs. Yujiro Takahashi 8:22

Wataru Inoue vs. Lance Archer 7:39

Hirooki Goto & Tama Tonga vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Ultimo Guerrero 11:03

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Match: Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Davey Richards & Rocky Romero 13:29

Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Satoshi Kojima 10:08

Yuji Nagata vs. Toru Yano 12:08

IWGP Intercontinental Title Match: MVP vs. Masato Tanaka 12:30

Togi Makabe vs. Minoru Suzuki 13:15

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito 29:19

NJPW POWER STRUGGLE PPV 11/12/11 Osaka Furitsu Taiikukaikan
-4hr 15min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Tama Tonga & Killer Rabbit vs. Gedo & Jado 4:32

Wataru Inoue & Tomoaki Honma vs. Takashi Iizuka & Hideo Saito 3:42

Yuji Nagata vs. Tomohiro Ishii 9:53

Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & Taichi 8:39

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Match: Davey Richards & Rocky Romero vs. Tiger Mask IV & KUSHIDA 12:43

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Prince Devitt vs. TAKA Michinoku 12:13

MVP & Tetsuya Naito vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Yujiro Takahashi 12:18

Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Satoshi Kojima 15:49

IWGP Intercontinental Title Match: Masato Tanaka vs. Hirooki Goto 9:51

IWGP Tag Title Match: Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson vs. Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer 17:15

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Toru Yano 22:01

NJPW NEW JAPAN ALIVE 2011 PPV 12/4/11 Nagoya Aichi-ken Taiikukaikan
-4hr 10min. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Karl Anderson & Killer Rabbit vs. Jado & Gedo 4:47

Satoshi Kojima & Tiger Mask IV & Ryusuke Taguchi & Tama Tonga vs. Toru Yano & Yujiro Takahashi & Tomohiro Ishii & Rocke Romero 9:33

Hirooki Goto & KUSHIDA vs. Takashi Sugiura & Atsushi Aoki 11:13

Togi Makabe & Wataru Inoue vs. Yoshihiro Takayama & Lance Archer 10:28

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tomoaki Honma vs. Takashi Iizuka & Hideo Saito 10:25

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Prince Devitt vs. Davey Richards 12:16

IWGP Intercontinental Title Match: Masato Tanaka vs. MVP 10:09

Giant Bernard vs. Minoru Suzuki 11:53

Tetsuya Naito vs. Shinsuke Nakamura 13:15

IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Yuji Nagata 30:16

NJPW Battle Station Near Live 12/23/11 Road to KINGDOM 1st. taped 12/23/11 Tokyo Korakuen Hall
-3hr. Q=Perfect. 2 DVDs

Kyosuke Mikami vs. Hiromu Takahashi 6:20

Hirooki Goto & Ryusuke Taguchi & Hideo Saito vs. Takashi Iizuka & Yujiro Takahashi & Gedo 10:41

Yuji Nagata & Wataru Inoue & King Fale vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii 10:25

Satoshi Kojima vs. Karl Anderson 9:23

Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Giant Bernard 9:28

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe & Tiger Mask & KUSHIDA vs. Minoru Suzuki & Yoshihiro Takayama & TAKA Michinoku & Taichi 15:50

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Prince Devitt vs. Rocky Romero 18:35

IWGP Intercontinental Title Match: Masato Tanaka vs. Tomoaki Honma 22:40

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