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LIGER VS. DESPERADO, NEXT IWGP CHALLENGER SET, CODY HALL DEBUTS AND MORE: 1/5 NJPW 'NEW YEAR'S DASH' IN TOKYO, JAPAN REPORT

By Matthew Macklin on 2015-01-05 17:30:29

NJPW New Years Dash - Korakuen Hall, January 5th

Taichi & TAKA Michinoku (Suzuki-Gun) defeated Sho Tanaka & Tiger Mask IV.  Taichi pinned Tanaka after Black Mephisto.  This was a fun opener. Tanaka (along with Komatsu) is ready for his foreign excursion at this point. Cody Hall was ringside on ring boy duties for the first time.

IWGP Junior Tag Team champions Bobby Fish & Kyle O'Reilly (ReDRagon) defeated Alex Koslov & Rocky Romero (Forever Hooligans).  ReDRagon pick up the win after Chasing The Dragon on Koslov. This match was more about establishing ReDRagon as champions than anything else. They also pulled out a few comedy spots, something not normally seen from ReDRagon in the U.S, which got over well with the crowd.  O'Reilly as always just looks so smooth in the ring.

Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr & Shelton Benjamin (Suzuki-Gun) defeated Captain New Japan, Manabu Nakanishi, Tomoaki Honma, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima.  This started out as the usual Suzuki-Gun brawl with Honma having the sympathy stacked on him until he got the hot tag. There were some nice exchanges between Suzuki and Honma which would be a hell of a singles match. Archer pinned Captain after a Hart Attack and Killer Bomb from KES. Nice to see them get the win after being a bit lost in the NJPW tag division over the last few months.

NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion Jushin Thunder Liger defeated El Desperado.  Liger retained after a top rope Brainbuster.  This has been a great undercard feud with a nice build up that has gotten overlooked due to all the Wrestle Kingdom madness. Desperado at one point cut the hair from Liger's mask and cut up his costume. Desperado and his Suzuki-Gun team mates TAKA & Taichi spent the early part of the match working over Liger's arm until Tiger Mask made the save. For anyone that was a fan of Liger in his prime this is the match for you. Liger showed why he can still be as good as anyone in the last few minutes here pulling out the palm strike, running Liger bomb and there were some great near falls as both kicked out of the others finisher. After the match Liger challenged his veteran buddy Tiger Mask to a match for the title.

KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley (Time Splitters) & Ryusuke Taguchi defeated The Young Bucks & IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion Kenny Omega (Bullet Club).  KUSHIDA pinned Nick with a German Suplex while he had Matt in a roll up. This was junior heavyweight craziness at its best. Omega and The Bucks were fantastic together as a team and I thought I was watching a PWG DVD for a minute. The Bucks obnoxiousness included them doing "Suck it's" along with the refs count and Matt shouting "I'm Kurt Angle" as he put an ankle lock on Taguchi. Alex Shelley's speciality is getting his ass kicked building to the hot tag and he is fantastic at it. After the match the Bucks took out KUSHIDA with the spike tombstone piledriver and superkicked Taguchi. Omega will be great as junior champion if the last two days are any indication.

Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga (Bullet Club) defeated Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano (CHAOS).  Fale pinned Okada after the Bad Luck Fall. This is the perfect example of the brilliance of NJPW's booking. Okada (who rarely ever loses) takes two losses in two nights and cried as he left the Tokyo Dome. Okada is a defeated, injured man and when he finally regains the title he will have all the sympathy in the world and be the biggest babyface in the company. Of course Fale also got a huge, stature enhancing clean win over one of the biggest stars in the company.

Yuji Nagata, Kota Ibushi & Togi Makabe defeated YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii &  IWGP Intercontinental champion Shinsuke Nakamura.  Nagata pinned YOSHI after a back drop driver hold. After the match Nagata challenged Nakamura for the Intercontinental title, so it looks like that match will take place at The New Beginning. Makabe & Ishii went right back to where they left off last night, and Nakamura and Ibushi had some exchanges, but this match was all about setting up Nagata as the next challenger. I am very happy to see it, as like Mike Johnson and Paul Crockett said on the PWInsider Elite WrestleKingdom Post Game show, Nagata can still be as good as anyone and is more than worthy of a title challenge.

AJ Styles, Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson & Yujiro Takahashi (Bullet Club) defeated IWGP Heavyweight champion Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tetsuya Naito & IWGP Tag Team champions Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto.  Before the match Gallows and Anderson introduced Cody Hall, who was dressed in his Fathers gear as the "Bullet Club Young Boy". Hall started in the NJPW Dojo this weekend. Anderson said Hall has to earn his place in Bullet Club. I didn't like this for a few reasons. Hall more than likely only has a spot on the NJPW Dojo because of his last name. He is only being associated with the Bullet Club because his father used to "Too Sweet" and he has jumped the cue as it usually takes years for a NJPW young boy to have any sort of relevant spot. Bullet Club run the risk of adding too many unwanted and pointless members. They can't afford to ruin it in the eyes of the westerns fans as Bullet Club are one of NJPW's main attractions for fans in this part of the world. But we'll see where it goes.  Styles pinned Tanahashi after a Magic Killer and Styles Clash. This was another fun match and was a great showcase for Bullet Club. Tanahashi, just like Okada, sold his injuries from last night, again putting over the main event from WK as something that took its toll on both men. After the match, Styles challenged Tanahashi for the IWGP heavyweight toto and Anderson cut a promo putting over Bullet Club.

This was a really fun show that I would highly recommend to anyone that is on a high from WK. It gives you an idea of what NJPW is regularly like, and has set up two exciting matches for The New Beginning in February. It is on demand now at NJPWWorld.com.

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