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By Mike Johnson on 2015-01-04 06:00:00

For what it was, it was entertaining. This obviously was going to mean more to fans in Japan who know the history and the personalities but the announcers did a great job of making this seem important and it was never boring. I didn’t expect the brawling on the ramp.

NEVER Openweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe

They immediately hitting each other with big bombs of shots and clotheslines. Ishii and Makabe began hitting each other with shoulderblocks. Makabe nailed a scoop slam but Makabe powered right up and drilled him. They began chopping and punching each other back and forth. Jim Ross did a good job of explaining Makabe’s Bruiser Brody-esque character and how he’s been working hurt for five months, refusing surgery.

Ishii drilled him with several headbutts and began kicking him in the head. Makabe absorbed them and demanded more. They slugged it out back and forth. Makabe nailed a running clothesline in the corner and drilled the champion with a series of punches to the head.

They began slapping each other. Makabe nailed a Northern Lights suplex. No mention of Hiroshi Hase, Ross and Striker? Boo! They slugged it out and it wasn’t pretty but it was stiff. Ishii nailed a delayed vertical suplex off the ropes, which was damn impressive given their size.

Ishii nailed a powerbomb for a two count. Makabe blocked several strikes and nailed a clothesline. Makabe nailed a nice powerbomb for another two count. Makabe hit a German suplex with a bridge for a two count. Makabe placed Ishii on the top and attempted a German superplex. Ishii fired back but Makabe nailed him with some stiff shots. He nailed a Samoan Drop off the top for a two count.

Makabe nailed several hard clotheslines. Ishii went for an enziguiri but was wiped out mid-stream. Makabe killed him with a clothesline but Ishii kicked up at one. You could hear the crowd screaming for Ishii to rise up and fight. He was nailed with a German suplex but he fired up and nailed a big lariat for a two count.

They began battling back and forth with stiff shots. Makabe began nailing chops to the shoulder but Ishii drilled him with a headbutt to the chest. Ishii nailed a downstairs clothesline for a two count. Makabe reversed a suplex attempt but Ishii landed on his feet. Makabe drilled him for a two count. Great physical bout.

Ishii nailed a series of lariats but was caught with a Dragon suplex for a near fall. I am loving this match! They drilled each other with sledge-hammers (the move, not the weapon) but Ishii kept battling back. Makabe killed him with another lariat for another two count.

Makabe went to the top rope and drilled the flying knee, finally scoring the pin.

Your winner and new champion, NEVER Openweight champion Togi Makabe

Just a brutal, physical match. Nothing like this today in the United States. Just awesome stuff.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Kenny Omega

The Bucks are with Omega. Ross painted the picture that Omega reminded him of Brian Pillman and lied to the fans when he came to NJPW by joining the Bullet Club. Omega showed Taguchi a lot of disrespect early. Taguchi controlled him and countered a rana attempt with an ankle lock.

Taguchi clotheslined Omega over the top to the floor. The Bucks got on the apron, trying to distract him. That allowed Omega to use the “cold spray” as Matt Striker called it, in Taguchi’s eyes as the referee was distracted. Omega took over, controlling Taguchi with chops and nailed a beautiful running elbow in the corner for a two count.

Omega continued to work over Taguchi and attempted to go for a suplex. Taguchi tried to fight him off but Omega powered him over. Omega’s charisma tonight is awesome and Ross perfectly played it up, questioning why he wouldn’t just try to get the job done. Taguchi kicked off Omega during a charge in the corner but his leg was grabbed by one of the Bucks as he rebounded off the ropes. Omega charged but was backdropped over the top to the floor onto the Bucks. Taguchi then hit a great flip dive to the outside.

Taguchi tossed Omega back into the ring and nailed a good missile dropkick from the top for a two count. Omega went for a running powerbomb but Taguchi turned it into a rana in mid-stream, sending Omnega headfirst into the buckles. Taguchi went to the top but Omega met him on the ropes. Taguchi battled him off but Omega returned. He was knocked into the ring again. Taguchi came off the top with a missile dropkick but Omega dropkicked him at the same time. That was awesome.

Omega nailed a spinning sitdown powerbomb for a two count but the champion kicked out. Omega went for an Electric Chair but Taguchi slipped out. Omega used a forward roll for a two count. Taguchi nailed a flying knee for a two count and locked Omega into an ankle lock. The Bucks got on the apron but were knocked off. Taguchi drilled Omega for another two count.

They went back and forth with some good stuff until Omega nailed the Omega Driver and score the pin!

Your winner and new IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion, Kenny Omega!

Good match. Not an all time classic by any means but a good, physical Cruiser style bout and as a showcase for Omega, it was a great way to introduce him to a new audience. Taguchi looked good and The Bucks were great as the annoying outside distractions. Good stuff.


IWGP Tag Team Championship: Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows (Bullet Club) vs. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata (Meiyu Tag)

Amber O’Neal is there as the “Bullet Babe” and Tama Tonga also came to the ring.

Goto and Anderson started off, going back and forth with some good back and forth wrestling before facing off. The champions controlled early, tagging in and out. Anderson nailed a leg lariat for a two count, covering Goto over and over. Jim Ross compared Anderson to Arn Anderson in how he approached being in the ring.

Gallows tagged in and ripped at Goto’s face. Goto finally made a comeback and took doen Gallows after a series of clotheslines. Shibata tagged in and had some momentum that brought the crowd to life but he was quickly cut off. Gallows drilled him with a big clothesline and you could hear the breath come out of the fans

Shibata fought his way back and locked Anderson in a great abdominal stretch but Gallows attacked him. All four battled in the corners. Shibata nailed Air Sabu off Goto’s back into a dropkick on Anderson. The challengers nailed a double back suplex on Gallows but Gallows kicked out at two,

Anderson took out Goto with a big knee. He and Gallows wiped out Shibata with a flying boot. Gallows and Anderson used a great series of double teams on Shibata but Goto broke it up. The champions controlled and scored several two counts.

The challengers made a comeback and worked over Anderson but Gallowed wiped them out and used a Chokenstein for a two count on Shibata. Gallows went to the top but Goto attacked him in the corner. The challengers worked over Gallows, who kicked away Goto as he charged. Goto came back with a clothesline and Shibata locked on a sleeper. Anderson was knocked off the apron. Goto lifted Gallows and dropped him into a kick. Shibata hit the PK and scored the pin.

Your winners and new IWGP Tag Team champions, Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata!

Good tag bout. They told the story that the former High School friends won the belts. Everyone looked really good here. Nice physical match.

Coverage continues on Page 5!

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