New Japan on AXS TV Episode 11
March 27, 2015
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Josh Barnett
Recap by: Jason Namako of Wrestleview.com

Hiroshi Tanahashi welcomes us to the show.

Tanahashi: “My name is Hiroshi Tanahashi, said to be a one-of-a-kind talent. We’ll bring you the match held on April 6, 2014 at Ryogoku Kokugikan. World Pro Wrestling returns, stay tuned.

This week, we will see 2 matches from the “Invasion Attack” iPPV from April 6, 2014 at Sumo Hall in Tokyo, Japan.

NEVER Title: “The Stone Pitbull” Tomohiro Ishii (c) vs. “The Stardust Genius” Tetsuya Naito

We join this match in progress. Delayed superplex by Ishii gets a close 2. Series of forearms by Ishii, but Naito tells him to bring it with each shot. Naito fires back with forearms, then they slug it out until Naito with a big one that Ishii takes hard. Ishii avoids a flying forearm, then counters a Urnangi by spiking Naito with a DDT! LARIAT-O!!! 1-2…NAITO KICKS OUT!!! Last Ride by Ishii, Naito kicks out AGAIN!! Ishii calls for the Brainbuster, but Naito counters out with a knee strike. Ishii slips out of a Brainbuster attempt, release German, but Naito POPS RIGHT UP, URNANGI TO ISHII!!! BOTH MEN DOWN!! Another strike exchange with both men being barely able to stand. Ishii gains advantage with rapid-fire forearms, but Naito comes back with the flying forearm. High-Angle German, Ishii kicks out! Naito hits Gloria, heads up top. Naito goes for the Stardust Press, Ishii moves out of the way! Naito comes back with an enziguri, ISHII KICKS OUT AT ONE!!! Naito tries to pick up Ishii, but Ishii is dead weight. Naito gets Ishii up, but Ishii with a headbutt! Running headbutt by Naito, ENZIGURI BY ISHII!! NAITO KICKS OUT AT ONE!!! Slap exchange, Ishii gains advantage, but Naito with a big slap! More slaps, but Ishii TURNS NAITO INSIDE OUT WITH ANOTHER LARIAT!!! 1-2….NAITO KICKS OUT AGAIN!! Naito counters the Brainbuster, Ishii blocks a Dragon, Koppo Kick by Naito, Sliding Clothesline by Ishii, Naito kicks out YET AGAIN!!

BRAINBUSTER!!! 1-2-3!

Winner and STILL NEVER Champion: “The Stone Pitbull” Tomohiro Ishii by pinfall (Brainbuster)

We go to post-match press conference comments from Ishii.

Ishii: “This was exactly what Naito wished for. He was saying he didn’t have time for Ishii. Now you don’t have to, good for you. This isn’t close to getting to IWGP of course, this belt has only existed for about a year or so. Its not even close to a belt that has a history of a few decades, but I’m ready to fight. I’m ready to fight for the IWGP Intercontinental. Right now, its not about what belt, but whose belt it is, that’s the important thing.”

Commercial

Back from commercial, we go to the TV Studios as Hiroshi Tanahashi talks about the build to his rematch with Shinsuke Nakamura for the IWGP Intercontinental Title.

Tanahashi: “There is a lot of entertainment factors to the Intercontinental. I think its great how Nakamura breaks the preconceived idea. He was making the event evolve and the question was, what will I do? Was I going to become more involved in it, too, or was I going to leave Japan and go join another group?”

We see video highlighting Nakamura winning the 2014 New Japan Cup over Bad Luck Fale from March 23, 2014 in Hyogo and Nakamura’s challenge to whatever title he wanted to go after, the IWGP Title, or the Intercontinental Title.

Nakamura: “I won, damnit! I have the right to choose, huh? Either IWGP or IWGP Intercontinental. My answer is this, I love you!”

Back to Tanahashi.

Tanahashi: “Even though he could choose IWGP, Nakamura chose the Intercontinental, which was very much like him. And when he chose me as his opponent, I was like ‘again?’ But at the same time, if I could get a revenge on him, I felt that Intercontinental would be all about me, Tanahashi. Wrestlers have time to think about these matches. Everytime we wrestle, we also compete how much we’ve thought about it. Its about who has come up with more hypotheses. Like, what would I do, if he uses this techinque? Those things are limitless for us.”

Main Event for the IWGP Intercontinental Title: “The King of Strong Style” Shinsuke Nakamura vs. “The Ace of the Universe” Hiroshi Tanahashi (c)

Feeling-out process early. Chain wrestling, stalemate. More chain wrestling, Tanahashi grabs Nakamura by the hair, then hits a shoulder tackle and does some air-guitar, crowd boos this. Nakamura with a shoulder tackle, side headlock takeover. Tanahashi with a shot to Nakamura’s leg in the ropes, then has words with the ref. Nakamura avoids a dropkick to the knee, Tanahashi avoids a stomp, but Nakamura with a front kick. Series of knees to the ribs by Nakamura in the corner. Nakamura runs into a back elbow, but hits another front kick as Tanahashi goes to the middle turnbuckle. More knees to the ribs and forearms by Nakamura in the corner. Tanahashi slides under Nakamura in the corner, goes outside, drives the back of Nakamura’s leg into the ringpost. Nakamura sends Tanahashi into the barricade, but Tanahashi avoids a running knee, causing Nakamura’s leg to crash hard into the barricade. Tanahashi with more shots to the leg, then traps it up in the barricade and pulls at it. More shots to the leg, then Tanahashi drives the gate door into the injured leg of Nakamura repeatedly! Back in, Tanahashi taunts the crowd as we go to commercial.

Commercial

Back from commercial as Tanahashi with more stomps to the injured leg of Nakamura. Tanahashi wrings out the injured leg, then drives a series of elbows to it. Kneebreaker by Tanahashi, then drives the leg across his own knee. Nakamura fights back, Superman Forearm, but Tanahashi catches a kick and hits a dropkick to the injured leg. Tanahashi traps the leg in the ropes, then mocks Nakamura with the Vibration Boot. Nakamura grabs Tanahashi by the chin, but Tanahashi with a series of slaps. Strike exchange, Tanahashi goes back to the injured leg. Tanahashi runs into a boot, then a knee to the ribs and an enziguri by Nakamura. Nakamura tries to get the blood flowing back in his injured leg. One-legged dropkick by Nakamura, followed by a series of chest kicks and another enziguri. Series of knees by Nakamura in the corner, followed by the Vibration Boot. Nakamura drapes Tanahashi across the turnbuckles, series of running knees to the ribs for 2. Tanahashi blocks the reverse powerslam with elbows. Tanahashi with an uppercut, Nakamura with another knees to the ribs. Tanahashi avoids a head kick, catches a back heel kick, hits a Dragon Screw to the injured leg. Grounded Dragon Screw to the injured leg by Tanahashi. Tanahashi goes for the Cloverleaf, but Nakamura quickly gets to the ropes. More stomps to the injured leg by Tanahashi as the crowd continues to boo his actions. Dragon Screw while Nakamura’s leg was trapped in the ropes. Tanahashi goes to the middle rope, HIGH FLY FLOW TO THE INJURED LEG!!! Nakamura rolls outside in pain. Tanahashi heads up top, HIGH FLY FLOW CROSSBODY WIPES OUT NAKAMURA!!

Tanahashi rolls back in as the referee begins his 20 count. Nakamura just gets back in at the count of 18. Tanahashi greets him with more stomps to the injured leg. Tanahashi goes for the Slingblade, but Nakamura avoids it and hits a Backstabber. Nakamura this time hits the Reverse Powerslam, but Tanahashi quickly gets back up and hits a chopblock to the injured leg of Nakamura. Tanahashi off the ropes and feigns going for the Slingblade, instead goading Nakamura in and hitting a Straitjacket German for a close 2. Nakamura blocks a Dragon, Tanahashi with a big slap. Nakamura with a straight right hand, BOMA-YE!!! 1-2…..TANAHASHI KICKS OUT!!! Nakamura calls for another Boma-Ye and goes for it, but Tanahashi counters it with a dropkick to the injured leg! Tanahashi with a running dropkick to the injured leg of Nakamura in the corner. Tanahashi heads up top, ANOTHER HIGH-FLY FLOW TO THE INJURED LEG OF NAKAMURA!!!

Commercial

Back from commercial as Tanahashi this time locks Nakamura in the High-Angle Cloverleaf. Nakamura crawls to reach the ropes, but Tanahashi pulls Nakamura back to the center and puts more torque on the hold. Nakamura crawls again and drives Tanahashi into the ropes to break the hold. Tanahashi goes to the apron and hits another Dragon Screw to the injured leg of Nakamura while in the ropes. Tanahashi heads up top, HIGH FLY FLOW CROSSBODY!! Tanahashi heads back up top for the High Fly Flow, but Nakamura gets his knees up!!

Another strike exchange, Nakamura gains advantage, but Tanahashi goes back to the injured leg with more kicks to it. Nakamura blocks a Dragon Screw, but Tanahashi hits the Slingblade! Tanahashi this time hits the Dragon, but Nakamura kicks out! Tanahashi goes again for the Cloverleaf, but Nakamura blocks it and tries to lock Tanahashi in a cross armbreaker, but Tanahashi closes his hands to block it. Nakamura breaks the grip and locks the cross armbreaker in fully. Tanahashi tries to fight out of it and finally rolls over, getting his feet on the ropes to force a break. BOMA-YE TO THE BACK OF TANAHASHI ‘s HEAD!! Nakamura goes to the middle rope, one-legged dropkick! Nakamura goes back to the middle rope, 2ND ROPE BOMA-YE!!! Nakamura goes for another Boma-Ye, but Tanahashi covers up to block it. ANOTHER BOMA-YE!!! 1-2….TANAHASHI KICKS OUT AGAIN!!!

ANOTHER BOMA-YE!!! 1-2-3! NEW CHAMPION!!

Winner and NEW IWGP Intercontinental Champion: “The King of Strong Style” Shinsuke Nakamura by pinfall (Boma-Ye)

Nakamura celebrates his title win, then we go backstage as Tanahashi is being helped to the lockerroom.

Tanahashi: “I am still in the process of development!”

We go back to the ring as Nakamura still celebrates his title win, then the Gracie Brothers, Daniel & Rolles, get into the ring.

Daniel Gracie: “Nakamura-san, remember long ago, I beat you up. Now, I wanna beat you up again. And I want that belt.”

Nakamura goes to speak when all of a sudden, Kazushi Sakaruba, the Gracie Hunter, comes in and grabs the mic.

Sakaruba: “I owe them, so count me in.”

Sakaruba hands Nakamura the mic.

Nakamura: “It really is CHAOS. Gracie wants to wrestle me. Sakaruba wants to tag up with me. What should I do? I’ll wrestle you and I’ll tag up with you, so why don’t you leave now. (Gracies and Sakaruba leave.) A view can change in a mere second. Hiroshi Tanahashi, today’s match, it was super exciting. I don’t think I can hold it in anymore. YEAOH!! YEAOH!!! YEAOH!!!!!!”

We go to post-match press conference comments from Nakamura.

Nakamura: “Gracie and Sakaruba, are you sure you want to do this? Its chaotic. This is CHAOS.”

Reporter: “As Daniel Gracie mentioned, you have a bitter memory of losing against him in an MMA match on New Year’s Eve in 2002.”

Nakamura: “Let’s see, how many years ago was that? 12 years ago? I think it was my second match after debuting. It was also my first professional MMA match. It was also the match that led to my success. And I mean, this is a pro wrestling ring. You know what, Daniel Gracie, I can’t care less if you have a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu, I have a black belt in pro wrestling. Today was super exciting.”

We go back to the TV Studios with Tanahashi with thoughts on the match with Nakamura.

Tanahashi: “I enjoyed fighting Shinsuke Nakamura. Its like putting together a jigsaw puzzle. I simply thought that the white belt looked green, so I’d like to try again for it if I have another chance. When I actually wore the belt, I realized how hard it must be, to ‘color’ the belt from zero. Nakamura used to have a very defiant attitude towards me, but recently, he has started to praise me, so I think the way we wrestle will continue to change as well. Considering the age, our match should become even more proficent. You can’t wrestle alone without an opponent, you start moving up throughout matches. I called him my rival without his permission and he might not have liked it. But now that I think about it, I’m thankful that Nakamura is in this all when I am.”

——————–

THOUGHTS: As I mentioned last week, this I thought was the best match in the series between Nakamura and Tanahashi last year. From having a central focus in the story of the match with Tanahashi working over Nakamura’s leg to prevent the Boma-Ye, to Tanahashi portraying the pseudo-heel in the match and getting the crowd more behind Nakamura, to Nakamura doing a great job selling the leg and making his comebacks, even with the kicks and Boma-Ye’s more believable for a guy who had damage done to his leg beforehand in the match, everything came together for these two in this match and they put on a show for the Sumo Hall crowd on this night back in April 2014. Great stuff, highly recommend watching this, as well as the rest of the Nakamura-Tanahashi series from last year. Can’t go wrong when watching two of the best wrestlers in the world do battle on a big-time stage.

Jason Namako recaps the weekly New Japan on AXS TV show, as well as all major New Japan iPPVs for Wrestleview.com

Twitter: @Jason_Namako
E-Mail: jason@wrestleview.com