NJPW New Year Dash!!
January 5 2019
We’re in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall. Hosts are Kevin Kelly and Chris Charlton.
Suzuki-gun (Killer Elite Squad & Takashi Iizuka) vs. Roppongi 3K (Rocky Romero, SHO & YOH)
Heavyweights vs. Juniors so the small guys struggle to get going. Rocky has most of his offence completely ignored. The Forever Clotheslines are met with mild indifference from Lance Archer. Davey Boy Smith Jr is fucking terrible here. Just god awful, doesn’t give a fuck. Horrible bumps, bad timing, lazy work. Could I have been wrong all along? Could Lance Archer be the good one in KES? The match is long, meandering and only fun when Lance is murdering juniors. YOH then rolls up Iizuka for the win! Haha, classic. I hope New Japan do more stuff with juniors being able to beat shit heavyweights like Iizuka.
Final Rating: **1/4
Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomoaki Honma & Toa Henare
Chase and Yujiro are basically on their own now. Neither Bullet Club unit wants them. The suggestion is that all of the Elite guys aren’t here because of All Elite Wrestling. That would, in turn, suggest that Chase is staying here. Henare looks all fired up at his disappointment at not making the Dome yesterday.
Chase is a bit of a dick here and deliberately hits a Kokeshi, with the above results. Chase also wrestles circles around Henare, which is quite beautiful. I’m sure he’d get more love on the whole if he had a wrestlers physique. Lose the gut, my guy. Package Piledriver puts Henare away and Chase looked good here.
Final Rating: **1/2
Beretta & Chuckie T vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay
Juice was supposed to have a career defining win over Cody last night but the match was the worst on a loaded card. Great to see New Japan official Chris Roberts in charge of the action here.
The Best Friends do some excellent work here but character and action-wise. Beretta going to hug his mom and Chuck getting mad about it all works. Juice vs. Beretta would be a nice little US title match and the feeling from the structure of this match is that they’re building to it. Then Chuck loses his shit and attacks Finlay with a chair for the DQ.
Final Rating: **1/2
Yuji Nagata, Jeff Cobb & KUSHIDA vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto & Will Ospreay
Ospreay is still technically a junior and gets introduced first but he’s the only champion in the match and the NEVER Openweight title is contested by heavys too. The show feels more important the second this one kicks off. Ospreay, as a champion, feels like a big deal and he’s surrounded by strong talent. CHAOS work a little heel here and it makes me all fired up for Ishii getting into it with Nagata for no reason, other than he’s in the way. KUSHIDA is a strange case here as he’s likely to be leaving, as he’s really got nothing left to do in New Japan, but it’s not been confirmed anywhere. So everyone is watching how he’s treated but he’s mostly wrestling heavyweights so his underdog status is natural.
The Ishii-Nagata stuff in this is GOLD. Nagata takes real exception to Ishii coming after him and beats the ever loving fuck out of him.
Cobb and Goto go at it too and that’s great as well. Cobb catching Ospreay in mid Oscutter and just throwing him across the ring is beautiful. Jeffrey Cobb is a goddamn star waiting to explode somewhere. Put him with ANYONE and rejuvenate that tag division. He’s a fucking great hot tag. Ospreay cranks it up against KUSHIDA, bringing the familiarity stuff from their feud and beats him with the Stormbreaker. Oh, this was fucking great. Wonderful throwaway match but so much intensity. Love it!
Final Rating: ****
NEVER Openweight Six Man Championship
Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Taiji Ishimori (c) vs. Togi Makabe, Toru Yano & Ryusuke Taguchi
This is weird because it’s the only title match on the show, so it should be super over but it follows the stand-out match so it’s not. Tama’s new deal is pretending to be a ‘good guy’. Like with all Tama ‘deals’ I don’t care. Has there ever been a wrestler with so much natural athletic ability that runs down so many dead end character alleys? I guess he’s at least getting applauded a bit here. Taguchi doing his thing with Ishimori makes me hope they’re running that as a title match on one of the New Beginning shows. Ishimori does an incredible job of ‘showing ass’ and getting beaten up by the Gooch to sell a potential match up. Togi has the belts won but Ishimori pulls the ref out and we get Jado shenanigans. Why is he trying to dress like a gangster? He’s an old man. Anyway, Chase and Yujiro do a run in and the Bullet Club OG’s retain. So that whole ‘Chase & Yujiro are neutral’ thing is bullshit. They’re invited back in with hugs and such. So this is the new Bullet Club.
Final Rating: **
Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI)
This escalates quickly. I get a bit bored with them brawling all over the place and make myself a sandwich. It’s tuna and mayo on lightly toasted bread and it’s delicious. The match is fine, I guess, after they actually get in the ring. Especially with Suzuki & Sabre doing a counter wrestling clinic with EVIL & SANADA. Tag match incoming? If I can mentally overcome how dodgy all the brawling is at the start then this gets super good. A beaten up Naito falling over his own feet is great. Everyone plays their part and it’s such a fast paced match. And then Taichi hits Naito with the belt and pins him. Oh no, not another Taichi push. He’s shit lads!
Final Rating: ***1/2
Jay White, Bad Luck Fale & Gedo vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI
This is the main event and YOSHI-HASHI’s return match. He’s been out since September. His 2018 wasn’t very memorable. He was clearly injured during G1 and all I remember about the rest of it was him faceplanting and dying running to the ring.
Meanwhile Tanahashi has cemented his legacy as the greatest wrestler of all time. I wonder if he still wants to create a stable with YOSHI-HASHI in it? The match is YOSHI-HASHI being utterly useless and devoid of anything resembling useful in wrestling and getting beaten up for it. Then you’ve got Okada popping Tanahashi by stealing the dragon screw on Fale. The thumbs up is a nice touch.
— LARIATOOOO!! (@MrLARIATO) January 5, 2019
They’re clearly lining Jay White up as Tanahashi’s first challenger and he gets in his face here. There’s a strong feeling he’s not finished with Okada either. Even YOSHI-HASHI wants a piece of the action! Bladerunner puts YOSHI-HASHI away and we’re done.
Final Rating: ***
Jay White lays down an official challenge to Tanahashi.
Then the Bullet Club guys beat Tana and Okada down.
Dash is generally used as a reset after Wrestle Kingdom and they did a lot of work on building new rivalries and feuds for New Beginning here. The lack of big surprise was, in of itself, a surprise. There was no major talking point here, unless you’re looking at the two Bullet Club guys re-joining Bullet Club when they were still walking around here in Bullet Club merch. The Ospreay tag was great though and a recommended match from this show.