Notes In Observance – NJPW English 1/5/17: New Year’s Dash 2017

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez 


“Notes In Observance” features random thoughts and analysis on recent television shows. Quick results can be found at the bottom of the post. 






(Aired 1/5/17)

New Year’s Dash 2017 

– The Six-Man Tag between Kyle O’Reilly/Ricochet/David Finlay and Jushin “Thunder” Liger/Tiger Mask/Henare set New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s version of “Raw After Mania” off to a hot start. The commentary team of Kevin Kelly/Steve Corino superbly painted storyline pictures to mix with the action. Here, they relied upon the fact that O’Reilly/Ricochet/Finlay were all losers at Wrestle Kingdom 11 (which included six Title changes, mind you) and looked to bounce back. Given the caliber of talent involved, it was expected that the action would be quick. Ricochet and Liger had a cool exchange, even if Ricochet slipped up in the corner. Commentary hyped up Henare and put him over as a young lion that had the privilege to train with two legends like Liger/TM. In many ways, that’d build someone’s career and it was smart of them to point that out. Liger’s tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on O’Reilly looked downright cruel. Another fun spot was where Henare had the Boston Crab locked in on Finlay and didn’t let go, even when subjected to Ricochet’s fierce kicks. The highlight of everything was the triple submission spot, as it wasn’t long before Finlay secured the pin for his team. All in all, it set out what it meant to – let O’Reilly/Ricochet/Finlay get back on track and Henare’s in-ring abilities were a focus. The post-match sportsmanship was nice, even with the added detail that cameras followed Finlay as he went to embrace his mom up in the crowd. Awwww. 

– The Hangman Page/Yujiro Takahashi-Billy Gunn/Yoshitatsu match was just straight-up stiff action. It was Bullet Club against the Bullet Club Hunters, more or less. It helped that Gunn/Yoshitatsu went against BC’s more angrier members. With no regard for thought, Gunn exclaimed, “Fuck you!” at Takahashi, which was just like, damn. Commentary spoke up Gunn’s age and questioned his veteran prowess, while also pointing out how great of a team Page/Takahashi were in spite of their personality differences. Yoshitatsu resorted back to his best method and used his kicks, though he ate a DDT onto the floor by Takahashi. Kind of meh action, but BC emerged victorious as Page’s Rite Of Passage on Yoshitatsu ended things. The biggest development here was the post-match staredown between Gunn and a young lion who donned a red baseball shirt. It was brought up what Gunn’s future in NJPW could be. 

– The Six-Man Tag between ROH World Champion Adam Cole/ROH World Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Roppongi Vice/Yoshi Hashi was faction warfare in the form of BC’s Superkliq against Chaos. It was also a light WK11 rematch of RPG against the Bucks, as the Bucks lost their belts the night before. It also helped that Hashi rode a wave of momentum all his own. The fans didn’t let up and chanted for Cole/YB, as the “heels” danced along. Commentary discussed the rumor that Cole wanted to renegotiate his contract now that he was a Champion again. Nick Jackson leaped off the top rope in dramatic fashion onto everyone below for the bout’s first notable spot. Funny comedy spot where YB ran the ropes while Cole applied a Chin Lock on their opponent and teased a double kick, only to stop and do their signature kisses on Cole’s cheek. Bareta landed a Tombstone Piledriver on Matt Jackson after Rocky Romero stopped Cole/Nick’s attempts to hit More Bang For Your Buck. Cole effortlessly executed the Destroyer on Bareta, but it was Hashi whom was legal. In a great finish, Cole hoisted Hashi up for the Last Shot, but Hashi used Cole’s momentum against him and caught him in a rollup for the three-count. With the win, Chaos’ momentum continued. That was until the post-match Superkliq attack of course, meant to send a message that they weren’t to be messed with. The big development that Hashi pinned Cole could be used in Ring Of Honor as a possible storyline setup for a future Cole defense. We’d be perfectly fine with that. Cole ultimately had the last laugh here as he shouted that Hash wasn’t in his league. 

– The 10-Man Tag between Cheeseburger/Hiro Saito/Hiroyoshi Tenzan/Scott Norton/Satoshi Kojima and Kenny Omega/Bad Luck Fale/Bone Soldier/Tama Tonga/Tanga Loa was yup, you guessed it – more warfare. This time, Team 2000 battled BC. The crowd had interest already since Omega was involved, as he came out of his loss to IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada the night before. Omega/Norton started, as the crowd actually chanted for Norton. Omega attempted to have Norton join BC because of his ties to nWo Japan, but it was unsuccessful when Norton shook on it and squeezed Omega’s hand. All-around chaos with the highlight spot being where Cheeseburger was tossed by Norton outside onto BC, only for them to catch him and throw him back into Norton’s arms. The action broke out fast, as it felt more about fun. CB even broke out fast chops against Fale, which didn’t fare well for him. With that, Kojima pinned Bone Soldier with a running lariat. Largely inconsequential, maybe a match for the sake of having a match.

– The “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin/Kushida-IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito/IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion “Time Bomb” Hiromu Takahashi match was all about Elgin’s eagerness to get back at Naito for the orbital bone injury that sidelined him. As always, Naito’s entrance had all eyes on him, as he bumped fists with a kid in Los Ingobernables de Japon attire, intimidated the Japanese announcers and gestured towards the orbital bone at Elgin. Hot damn, who’s better than Naito at these things? After all, it was Naito’s own kick that provided that injury. Naito was over big as the match began with chants towards his likeness. Elgin tossed his own partner to take out LIJ, as Kushida sold a near-injury. Naito kicked Elgin’s eye in the same way he injured him previously and deliberately slapped him. Once Kushida was tagged in, he let loose with plenty of solid kicks and lighting-fast mat work. Big pop for Elgin’s hot tag offense against Naito in the corner. He hit Naito with a German Suplex in the corner and then landed a Death Valley Driver into the corner on Takahashi, which drove him into Naito too. In a wow spot, Elgin hit a Super Falcon Arrow on Naito, only to be broken up by Takahashi. Damn, that could’ve been it. Naito’s tricks reigned supreme as he incapacitated the Referee and hit low blows on both opponents. Just before he could take advantage, CMLL’s Dragon Lee crashed the party and turned the tide in the way of Elgin/Kushida as he hit a plancha onto LIJ. Elgin had Naito set up in the corner for a Burning Hammer and executed it for the pinfall. The post-match attack angle by Lee on Takahashi was a smart way to advance their feud, which gave us a gem in ROH, so when not keep things going? The visual of Elgin holding Naito’s Title and Lee holding Takahashi’s was good. Even better was Kushida’s staredown with Lee, which probably means a match between them might go down too on the way to get to Takahashi. 

– The 10-Man Tag between Yuji Nagata/Togi Makabe/Juice Robinson/Tomoaki Honma/Katsuyori Shibata and Toru Yano/Okada/Will Ospreay/Tomohiro Ishii/NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto was probably the night’s most action-packed bout. Okada justifiably got a huge pop and sold his injuries from the night before. Yano’s stealing antics got a rise out of the crowd as well. Chaos had the advantage as they wiped the other team off the apron, as Ospreay pursued Shibata and threw Okada into the barricade hard. The action even spilled out into the crowd. Ishii/Honma had a great exchange that resulted in a likely broken nose for Ishii as he bled. Robinson went after Okada and hit a cannonball in the corner, even almost pinned the Champ. Goto tagged in and did his thing against Robinson. Shibata’s kicks were on full display as he broke up a pin attempt by Goto. Goto/Robinson laid each other out with a simultaneous clothesline. That led to an array of fast-paced action as it was any team’s game now. In the end, Robinson pinned Goto with his finisher and Chaos suffered a huge loss and Robinson had a pin over Goto to boot. It was a crazy effort that personified the “anything can happen” feel. Little did we know the biggest part of the show was about to go down. Suzuki-gun rushed the ring thereafter and laid out Chaos to a huge shocked reaction. Minoru Suzuki hit the Gotch-Style Piledriver on Okada and laid down a challenge. What made this work the most was that Okada already sold the WK11 injuries and looked especially vulnerable here, which opened the door for Suzuki-gun’s attack. With them into the warfare battle, it’s easy to say they gained the most this night.

– The NEVER Openweight Six-Man Championship main event between Hiroshi Tanahashi/Ryusuke Taguchi/Manabu Nakanishi and Champions Evil/Bushi/Sanada was the night’s only Title match, but didn’t disappoint. Early on, it was all LIJ as Evil targeted Tanahashi’s knee with a chair on the barricade. That allowed Bushi to choke Taguchi with his shirt in the ring. Eventually, Tanahashi was tagged in after Taguchi hit a traditional/reverse DDT combo on the opponents. The crowd chanted, “Go Ace” in unison as Tanahashi fought through the pain, a story that only tells itself. Nakanishi had the crowd invested with his sequence on Sanada. Before Tanahashi could get tagged back in, Evil yanked him off the apron. The babyfaces battled back to get the upper hand, as Nakanishi hit the Hercules Cutter to get the pinfall on Bushi. A fun match with the worthy result. One has to think it also helps Tanahashi’s new “Ace” gimmick get over. Interesting how the night panned out to not be so great for LIJ, BC or Chaos, which made Suzuki-gun’s presence stand out all the more. The next English commentary show was hyped for Feb. 5 at “New Beginning.” 






Quick Results

  • Six-Man Tag – Kyle O’Reilly/Ricochet/David Finlay def. Henare/Tiger Mask/Jushin “Thunder” Liger via pinfall 
  • Hangman Page/Yujiro Takahashi def. Billy Gunn/Yoshitatsu via pinfall 
  • Six-Man Tag – Roppongi Vice/Yoshi Hashi def. Adam Cole/The Young Bucks via pinfall 
  • 10-Man Tag – Cheeseburger/Hiro Saito/Hiroyoshi Tenzan/Satoshi Kojima/Scott Norton def. Kenny Omega/Bad Luck Fale/Tama Tonga/Tanga Loa/Bone Soldier via pinfall 
  • “Unbreakable” Michael Elgin/Kushida def. Tetsuya Naito/”Time Bomb” Hiromu Takahashi via pinfall 
  • 10-Man Tag – Juice Robinson/Togi Makabe/Tomoaki Honma/Katsuyori Shibata/Yuji Nagata def. Hirooki Goto/Kazuchika Okada/Tomohiro Ishii/Toru Yano/Will Ospreay via pinfall 
  • NEVER Openweight Six-Man Championship – Hiroshi Tanahashi/Ryusuke Taguchi/Manabu Nakanishi def. Evil/Bushi/Sanada (Champions) via pinfall to become new Champions 

About Nicholas Jason Lopez

Just a 29-year-old Brooklynite. Nothing more, nothing less. Currently a freelance journalist with two websites - Pro Wrestling Opinion and The Music Bugle - he has also been published on sites such as The Bensonhurst Bean, Sheepshead Bites, Review Fix, College University of New York Athletic Conference, Dying Scene, Brooklyn News Service, All Media NY, and Yahoo Voices. He has also interned for The Home Reporter/Brooklyn Spectator based out of Brooklyn, NY.

Posted on April 25, 2017, in NJPW English and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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