New Japan on AXS TV Episode 1
January 16, 2015
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Josh Barnett
Recap by: Jason Namako of Wrestleview.com

Hello everyone and welcome to the debut recap of New Japan’s new 13-episode TV series on AXS TV. The series will be consisting of 13 episodes from New Japan’s “World Pro Wrestling” show that is shown in Japan and will feature select matches from New Japan iPPVs from 2013-2014 in chronlogicial order, with English commentary added in by Ranallo and Barnett and English subtitles for all promos by the New Japan roster. The debut episode will feature the main event IWGP Title match from Wrestlekingdom 7 on January 4, 2013 between champion Hiroshi Tanahashi and challenger Kazuchika Okada in the third match of their trilogy. Let’s get to it, shall we?

Hiroshi Tanahashi welcomes us to the show.

“My name is Hiroshi Tanahashi, said to be a one-of-a-kind talent. January 4, 2013 Tokyo Dome Championship Part 3. World Pro Wrestling returns. Its showtime!”

We see an intro for the show.

We go to Tanahashi in the TV-ASAHI studio in Japan, talking about the build-up to the Wrestlekingdom 7 match with Okada.

“Looking back at 2012, Kazuchika was called the ‘Rainmaker Shock” by February. I regained my reputation in June, but once again in G-1, Okada won the tournament. (We see video of Okada defeating Karl Anderson to win the 2012 G-1 Climax.) I sure was the champion, but people always talked about him and it made me bitter. 4 months after the G-1, he held onto the title. (We see clip from Power Struggle 2012 where Okada retained his G-1 rights over Hirooki Goto). And I’d hear people talking about how good he is. But again, its only natural that the audience roots for Kazuchika. In a title match, the challenger gets all the rooting. But its not that simple. The group CHAOS being the heel, they get cheered by the fans for their babyfaces. You could say the same about Shinsuke. Shinsuke and Kazuchika are both good-looking guys. I’m just a guy with short arms and legs, representing the traditional Japanese figure, I have something to show for. The idea to offer the right to fight at the Tokyo Dome Championship came up for discussion a few years back. It boosts G-1’s prestige and gathers attention to the Championship, it was a way that seemed to work. I mean, I personally plan to win G-1 this year (2013). And when I do, I sure will ask for the right to challenge, I will say ‘Schedule a match!’ to myself that is, I don’t have an assistant. Maybe the captain might say, ‘Schedule a match!’ Its a dream come true, I’d get so much support from the fans. The more I pump up the crowd, the more I get back from them. The cheering at the Tokyo Dome echoes in the venue, but because of that distance, the voices come in double and triple. Its a special feeling you can only experience in a dome.”

We go to the match.

From New Japan’s Wrestlekingdom 7 on January 4, 2013 for the IWGP Title: “The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada w/Gedo vs. “The Ace of the Universe” Hiroshi Tanahashi (c)

Money comes down from the ceiling for Okada’s entrance. Commentary brings up Okada’s unsuccessful stint in TNA back in 2011. Barnett brings up his past matches at the Tokyo Dome for New Japan. Tanahashi comes out with the popular Japanese music act, Breakers.

Commercial

Back from commercial, we get the pre-match intros for this match. Bell sounds as the crowd does dueling chants for both men.

Okada backs Tanahashi into the ropes, feigns hitting Tanahashi, then shoves him and does the Rainmaker pose. Tanahashi now backs Okada into the ropes, breaks clean, then mocks Okada’s Rainmaker pose. Okada with a side headlock, followed by a shoulder tackle. Okada re-applies the side headlock, Tanahashi counters out into a top wristlock, then into his own side headlock, followed by a shoulder tackle of his own. Ranallo talks about the many legendary performers who have won the IWGP Title in the past, although he keeps saying its the “IWP” Title. Okada works over Tanahashi’s arm, Tanahashi counters out with a drop toe hold into a leglock. Okada counters out into a hammerlock and drops backward to put more pressure on the hold. Tanahashi with a back elbow, but Okada maintains the hold. Tanahashi counters out with a drop toe hold and goes for a side headlock, but Okada again maintains the hammerlock and continues to drop backward to the mat to put on more pressure. Tanahashi finally counters out into the side headlock, followed by a side headlock takeover. Okada backs Tanahashi into the corner, then hits a series of shoulders to the ribs. Okada runs into a back elbow by Tanahashi, then Tanahashi hits a turn-around crossbody off the middle rope as we go to commercial.

Commercial

Back from commercial as Okada catches a charging Tanahashi and places him on the top rope, but Tanahashi kicks him away. Tanahashi heads up top, but Okada crotches him on the ropes. Okada grabs Tanahashi and hits him with a Draping DDT, sending Tanahashi to the outside.

Okada goes outside after Tanahashi as the ref begins his 20 count. Okada places Tanahashi’s head inside the steel barricade bars and pulls back on Tanahashi’s head, followed by a kick to the barricade to do more damage to Tanahashi’s neck. Okada rolls back in as the ref continues his count. Tanahashi rolls back in at the count of 14. Running sliding basement dropkick by Okada gets 2. Okada then locks in a very unique submission hold where he steps over Tanahashi from a standing position, like he is going for a STO takedown, then grinds his arm against the side of Tanahashi’s head and neck while trapping Tanahashi’s other arm. Commentary mentions Okada learned this move while training in Mexico. Okada breaks the hold, then stomps away at Tanahashi in the corner and taunts the crowd. Tanahashi fires back with a series of forearms, but Okada with one of his forearm. Tanahashi fires back with a slap, but Okada sidesteps a charge, sending Tanahashi over the ropes, but Tanahashi skins the cat back in. Okada misses a clothesline, but catches Tanahashi coming in with a one-man flapjack for 2. Okada locks in D.I.D. (Deep in Debt) as commentary mentions how New Japan allows Okada to do whatever he wants outside the ring, but doesn’t want him to get married as it would hurt his female audience. Tanahashi gets to the ropes to force a break. Okada with a slam, but Tanahashi avoids a back senton. Okada with a stomp to Tanahashi in the corner, then catches him charging in with a boot, but Tanahashi comes back with a flying forearm.

Tanahashi with a series of forearms to Okada in the corner, followed by an uppercut. Okada charges in, but Tanahashi catches him with a dropkick to the knees. Chop block by Tanahashi, Okada quickly favors his leg. Strike exchange, then they each grab each other by the hair and yell at one another to bring it. Tanahashi with a series of gut shots, followed by another uppercut. Okada comes back with a series of uppercuts, but Tanahashi catches a big boot and hits a Dragon Screw, sending Okada to the outside. Tanahashi heads up top, HIGH FLY FLOW CROSSBODY WIPES OUT OKADA ON THE OUTSIDE!! Referee begins his 20 count as both men are down on the outside. They get back in at the count of 17 as we go to commercial.

Commercial

Back from commercial as Tanahashi goes for a Cloverleaf on Okada, but Okada blocks it and gets to the ropes to force a break. Tanahashi stomps away at the injured leg of Okada, but Okada fights off another Dragon Screw with a forearm. Okada catches a Tanahashi kick and hits him with his own Dragon Screw. Okada with a gut kick, then spikes Tanahashi with a DDT. Okada locks back in D.I.D, then hits more elbows to Tanahashi’s head before re-applying the hold, but Tanahashi gets to the ropes. Okada with a slam, then heads up top, getting the blood back flowing in his injured leg before heading up top. Okada goes for the Top Rope Elbow Drop, but Tanahashi gets his knees up, with Okada’s injured leg landing right on those knees. Tanahashi mocks Okada’s Rainmaker pose again and heads up top, but Okada stops him with an uppercut. Okada heads up with Tanahashi and goes for a Super Samoan Drop, but Tanahashi fights off with elbows, then knocks Okada off with a forearm, but Okada responds with the Too Awesome Dropkick, sending Tanahashi crashing down to the outside! Okada goes outside with Tanahashi as they head up the Tokyo Dome rampway. Okada goes for the Tombstone on the rampway, but Tanahashi blocks it. Okada knocks Tanahashi down, then goes up the ramp to get a big charge in. Okada charges, but Tanahashi catches him with the Slingblade on the rampway! Referee begins his 20 count as Tanahashi gets back in. Tanahashi rolls back outside to break the ref’s count and brings Okada back in.

Tanahashi with a running crossbody to Okada in the corner. Okada catches Tanahashi off the ropes and goes for Heavy Rain, but Tanahashi counters it with another Slingblade! Tanahashi hits the Twelve-Six (Fisherman’s Driver), then heads up top for the High Fly Flow, but Okada gets his knees up! Both get to their feet, then Tanahashi charges at Okada in the corner, but Okada catches him and hits an Air Raid Crash across his knee for a close 2 as we go to commercial.

Commercial

Back from commercial as Okada this time hits Tanahashi with Heavy Rain (Hanging Attitude Adjustment) for a close 2. Okada with another slam, then heads up top and this time hits the Top Rope Elbow Drop. Okada with the Rainmaker pose, signaling for the end. Okada goes for the Rainmaker, but Tanahashi avoids it and hits a Strait-Jacket German for a close 2. Tanahashi holds on, then hits Okada with the Dragon for another close 2. Tanahashi is getting frustrated, having words with the ref. Tanahashi off the ropes, hits Okada with another Slingblade! Tanahashi heads up top, HIGH FLY FLOW!!! 1-2……..OKADA KICKS OUT!!!! TANAHASHI CAN’T BELIEVE IT!!!

Tanahashi with multiple inverted grounded Dragon Screws to both of Okada’s legs. Tanahashi this time locks Okada in the Cloverleaf, then pulls Okada to the middle of the ring and puts more pressure on the hold. Tanahashi sits down on the hold, putting Okada’s neck in an awkward angle, but somehow, Okada is able to reach the ropes to force a break. Tanahashi goes for another Slingblade, but Okada catches him with another Too Awesome Dropkick, both men down! Dueling chants again by the crowd for both men. Both men have to pick each other up to get to their feet, then Okada quickly goes for the Rainmaker, but Tanahashi avoids it. Okada goes for another Too Awesome Dropkick, but Tanahashi holds onto the ropes to avoid it! Okada avoids another Slingblade attempt, TOO AWESOME DROPKICK TO THE BACK OF TANAHASHI’s HEAD!! Okada lifts up Tanahashi, TOMBSTONE!!! OKADA FIRES UP!! Okada goes again for the Rainmaker, BUT TANAHASHI COUNTERS IT WITH ANOTHER SLINGBLADE!! They get to their feet as we go to commercial.

Commercial

Back from commercial as Okada with another uppercut, then goes for another Tombstone, but Tanahashi blocks it. Both grab each other by the waist and jockey for position, both attempting a Tombstone. Okada with more elbows to the back of Tanahashi’s head, but Tanahashi comes back with a dropkick to Okada’s injured leg. Tanahashi lifts up Okada and HITS HIM WITH HIS OWN TOMBSTONE!! Tanahashi heads up top, HIGH FLY FLOW CROSSBODY!!

Tanahashi fires up, heads back up top, ANOTHER HIGH FLY FLOW!!! 1-2-3!! WHAT A MATCH!!!

Winner and STILL IWGP Champion: “The Ace of the Universe” Hiroshi Tanahashi by pinfall (High Fly Flow)

Tanahashi celebrates his title retention afterwards as we go to Okada’s post-match press conference.

“Something is going to happen today, today, definitely, isn’t that exciting? Don’t worry, New Japan Pro Wrestling, there’s more thunderstorm underway.”

We go back to the ring where Tanahashi has the mic after the match.

“For the opportunity to defend my title and to so many fans here in Tokyo Dome, thank you very much. An era, an era isn’t something you change, its something you push forward. So, for just a bit more, please stick with me in this era of Emperor Tanahashi, thank you for watching. As my last words, everyone here in the Tokyo Dome, I LOVE YOU!!!”

Tanahashi celebrates his title retention on the top of the rampway, with pyro shooting off.

We go to Tanahashi’s post-match press conference.

“I couldn’t have imagined it a year ago that I’d get this match-up in Tokyo Dome, Japan, and there was a bigger crowd than any year in the past. Today is a special day in so many ways. Like Kazuchika said, he used the word ‘era’, he said he’d change the era, but wresting isn’t something you can do alone, its something that you push forward, you can’t change an era by yourself. For example, today, a match between Kazuchika & I pushed the era forward, today’s match was that great.”

We go back to the TV-ASAHI studios with Tanahashi looking back on the Wrestlekingdom 7 match with Okada.

“I was in a very difficult situation. It sure was hard, but, in such a great occasion, I couldn’t let him beat me. In the end, it was all about pride. Yeah, he has charisma, there were lots of thunder, that’s for sure, I could only watch with envy. The match gathered a lot of attention in the early stages, I think many of the people watched wrestling for the first time and I think I was able to perform properly for such people. What I mean is, its about life, its about how I lived my life. When I was little, my handwriting was terrible. I scribbled, and so nobody could read it. That was when my mother said to me, ‘You have bad handwriting, but just do it properly. As long as you write it properly, the message will get across’. That’s what came to my mind. I don’t have the kind of athleticism that Kazuchika has, so I have to perform each techinque precisely and take hits in ways that I’ll get the least damage. Doing things properly is the only way a wrestler of my size and athleticism can move up. So no matter how strong or athletic the opponent is, I don’t want to give up, giving up is the worst. Its about how you challenge with what you have and you have to execute in a proper manner.”

Tanahashi closes the show by saying, “As my last words, everyone, I LOVE YOU!!!”

Next week, Episode 2, from the 2013 New Japan Cup Finals, Kazuchika Okada vs. Hirooki Goto. Remember, as always, PURORESU ICHIBAN!!!