New Japan on AXS TV Episode 10
March 20, 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. This is January 4, 2014 at Tokyo Dome. World Pro Wrestling returns.”
This week, we will see the Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Shinsuke Nakamura match from Wrestlekingdom 8 on January 4, 2014 at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan for the Intercontinental Title that main evented the show, winning a fan voting over the IWGP Title match that was shown last week between champion Kazuchika Okada and 2013 G-1 Climax winner Tetsuya Naito.
We go to Tanahashi in the TV Studios talking about the build to his match with Nakamura.
Tanahashi: “I lost against Okada in October and I had no clue when I’d get to the Tokyo Dome. (We see video of Okada defeating Tanahashi at King of Pro Wrestling in October 2013 at Sumo Hall to retain the IWGP Title where since Tanahashi lost, he could no longer challenge for the IWGP Title while Okada was champion.) I was in a situation where I didn’t know where I was headed to. That was when Nakamura called me out. I saw the path that I should take. I was like, ‘Oh, its this way.'”
(We see video of Nakamura challenging Tanahashi at the Power Struggle show in November 2013 at Osaka.
Nakamura: “I pick Tanahashi! The audience has gone wild!”)
Tanahashi: “Tanahashi versus Nakamura matches, has a name value that speaks for itself. There was a time in the year when we had to face each other. I think that in people’s minds, many people feel Tanahashi versus Nakamura is a special match-up. It became the main event by the fans’ voting, I’m really proud of that. There’s always a battle between different ideologies. My style straightforwardly opposes Strong Style, while Nakamura is also known as the King of Strong Style, there was always a rivalry about it. That was what people paid attention to, but this time, Nakamura made it in. The moment he yelled out ‘YEAOH’, he broke out from the spell of Strong Style. Our rivalry between ideologies disappeared, in fact, I think he came to my side which is more easily understood by the common people. Before I knew it, he broke the spell of Strong Style.”
Main Event from Wrestlekingdom 8 for the IWGP Intercontinental Title: “The Ace of the Universe” Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. “The King of Strong Style” Shinsuke Nakamura (c)
Guitarist Marty Friedman from Megadeth does Tanahashi’s entrance music as he makes his way to the ring. Stan Hansen is in the ring as he is there to present the Intercontinental Title to the winner of the match. Nakamura then comes out with a bunch of pole dancers for his entrance, wearing a variation of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” jacket. Pre-match intros take place, then we go to commercial.
Back from commercial, bell sounds and we are off to the races on this match. Chain wrestling early, then Nakamura rubs his face in Tanahashi’s chest. Nakamura takes down Tanahashi, but Tanahashi avoids a leaping knee drop. Nakamura avoids a Tanahashi basement dropkick, Tanahashi catches a Nakamura chest kick, Nakamura shoos him off, stalemate. Nakamura with a series off knees to the ribs, but then Tanahashi with a kneebreaker. Series of dropkicks to the knee by Tanahashi, followed by a series of kicks to the knee. Nakamura runs into a back elbow, but counters a Tanahashi 2nd Rope Crossbody with a gutbuster. Nakamura this time hits the leaping knee drop for 2. Another knee to the ribs by Nakamura, then he sends Tanahashi outside. Nakamura drops Tanahashi ribs-first across the barricade. Back in, Nakamura drives his knee into the ribs of Tanahashi and gets 2. Nakamura kicks at Tanahashi in a disrespectful manner, then shoves him. Tanahashi fights back with forearms, but Nakamura with another knee to the ribs. Nakamura runs into double boots, but comes back with a chest kick. Nakamura stomps away at Tanahashi in the corner, then does the Vibration Boot, but Tanahashi grabs his leg. Nakamura shoos him off, but Tanahashi catches another chest kick and hits the Dragon Screw as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial as Tanahashi with a gut shot, followed by a flying forearm. Tanahashi with a slam, then goes to the middle rope and hits a 2nd Rope Senton Bomb for 2. Commentary brings up the history between Tanahashi & Nakamura, highlighting the series of matches they have had over the course of careers and also bringing up that they were once IWGP Tag Team Champions. Tanahashi with more kicks to the knee, then catches a charging Nakamura with another dropkick to the knee. Tanahashi with a chopblock, then goes for a Cloverleaf, but Nakamura quickly grabs the ropes. Nakamura with another knee to the ribs, but misses 2 head kicks and Tanahashi with more kicks to the knee. Nakamura comes back with a big boot, then hits a back heel kick. Tanahashi goes back to the leg, but Nakamura catches him with another knee to the ribs. Standing front facelock applied by Nakamura, then he brings Tanahashi down and hits a series of Pride-style knees to the head. Standing gourdbuster gets Nakamura 2. Another Pride-style knee by Nakamura, this time to the ribs of Tanahashi. Another chest kick by Nakamura, followed by more stomps in the corner and another Vibration Boot. Tanahashi avoids a corner charge, but then Nakamura avoids a crossbody by Tanahashi in the corner, sending Tanahashi crashing into the ropes. Tanahashi is draped across the top rope, allowing Nakamura to hit two running knees to the ribs. Nakamura goes for the trifecta, but Tanahashi goes to the apron to avoid him. Tanahashi goes for a Dragon Screw in the ropes, but Nakamura counters with an enziguri. Nakamura goes outside and sends Tanahashi ribs-first into the barricade, followed by a running high knee to the back of Tanahashi’s head. Nakamura drapes Tanahashi across the apron and hits another running knee to the ribs, then flips him over and leaps off the apron for a knee drop, but Tanahashi moves out of the way, causing Nakamura to crash down on the outside. Tanahashi heads up top, HIGH FLY FLOW CROSSBODY WIPES OUT NAKAMURA ON THE OUTSIDE!! Referee begins his 20 count as both men start to stir. Tanahashi brings Nakamura back in at the count of 16 as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial as Tanahashi grabs Nakamura’s leg from the apron and this time hits the Dragon Screw in the ropes. Commentary talks about how the ropes are steel cables, which does more damage to Nakamura’s leg after the Dragon Screw by Tanahashi. Nakamura grabs Tanahashi in a Triangle Choke, but Tanahashi counters out into the Cloverleaf. Nakamura tries to reach the ropes, but Tanahashi pulls him back and puts more torque on the hold. Nakamura then is finally able to reach the ropes to force a break. Nakamura blocks a Dragon, then a Straitjacket German with a reverse headbutt, but Tanahashi grabs him again and this time hits the Straitjacket German for a close 2. Tanahashi with a slam, then heads up top, but Nakamura knocks him off the turnbuckles with an enziguri, sending Tanahashi onto the apron. Tanahashi skins the cat back in, but Nakamura greets him with a backstabber. Strike exchange, then they slug it out with forearms until Tanahashi goes back to the knee, then hits a forearm, a gut shot and an uppercut. Nakamura then responds with the Superman Forearm. Tanahashi responds with a series of hard open-hand slaps, then Nakamura answers with more knees to the ribs, followed by a front kick. Nakamura stomps away some more at Tanahashi in the head until the referee has to pull him back. Tanahashi gets back up and hits another hard slap, then Nakamura with a palm strike, but Tanahashi catches a kick and hits another Dragon Screw. Tanahashi goes to his knees, but Nakamura gets back up, BOMA-YE TO THE BACK OF TANAHASHI’s HEAD, BOTH MEN DOWN!!! They get back to their feet as Nakamura lifts Tanahashi up and hits a Fireman’s Carry Neckbreaker across the knee, followed by a reverse powerslam. Nakamura calls for the Boma-Ye and goes for it, but Tanahashi avoids it. Nakamura goes for another Fireman’s Carry Neckbreaker, but Tanahashi counters it with the Slingblade! Tanahashi heads up top, but Nakamura stops him. Nakamura goes up top with Tanahashi and goes for a Super Fireman’s Carry Neckbreaker, but Tanahashi fights out with elbows. Tanahashi goes for a Sunset Bomb, but Nakamura blocks it, then counters it into a Codebreaker! Nakamura misses a right hand and Tanahashi hits the Dragon for a close 2. Tanahashi heads back up top, HIGH FLY FLOW!!!! 1-2…………NAKAMURA KICKS OUT!!!
Back from commercial as Tanahashi calls for the Slingblade and goes for it, but Nakamura catches him with a one-legged dropkick. Nakamura goes to the middle rope, 2ND ROPE BOMA-YE!!! ANOTHER BOMA-YE!!!! 1-2…………….TANAHASHI KICKS OUT!!!! Nakamura calls for another Boma-Ye and goes for it, but Tanahashi catches him with another dropkick to the knee. Nakamura with a big forearm, but Tanahashi responds with one of his own. Nakamura goes for the Boma-Ye again, but Tanahashi avoids it and hits a Grounded Dragon Screw to Nakamura’s injured leg. Tanahashi locks Nakamura back in the Cloverleaf, then pulls him back to the center as Nakamura tries to reach the ropes. Tanahashi puts more torque on the hold, then when Nakamura tries to fight out, Tanahashi lifts him up from the Cloverleaf position and hits a Styles Clash! Tanahashi heads back up top, HIGH FLY FLOW CROSSBODY TO NAKAMURA!!!
Tanahashi heads back up top, ANOTHER HIGH FLY FLOW!!! 1-2-3! NEW CHAMPION!!!
Winner and NEW IWGP Intercontinental Champion: “The Ace of the Universe” Hiroshi Tanahashi by pinfall (High Fly Flow)
Both men are still down afterwards as they are tended to by ring attendants with ice packs. Tanahashi gets to his feet first as Stan Hansen presents Tanahashi with the IWGP Intercontinental Title belt. Tanahashi celebrates his title win as Nakamura is helped to the back.
We go to post-match press conference comments from Nakamura.
Nakamura: “Hiroshi Tanahashi, he was a super exciting opponent. The Intercontinental Championship, which I held onto and evolved, it changed history. It set out an incredibly bright light today. I tried to shine the light, but I was actually blind-sighted by it. Everyone is hoping for new things, they’re looking for something that’s beyond ordinary, right? I mean, even today, a pre-conceived idea was shattered, history has changed. Today is the day, a new era starts.”
We go back to the ring with Tanahashi.
Tanahashi: “To the fans who have come all the way up to the third floor, I’m glad I kept believing in my way of wrestling, thank you. I’ll continue to energize the wrestling industry so you guys follow me, thank you very much. Tokyo Dome! Let’s get this going, until the end!”
Tanahashi then does his air-guitar routine in the ring.
Tanahashi goes up the ramp and does more air-guitaring with Marty Friedman, then yells out.
Tanahashi: “My last words for today, everyone in Tokyo Dome, I love you!”
We go to post-match press conference comments from Tanahashi.
Tanahashi: “I’m glad that I kept believing. I never lost faith in my wrestling. Shinsuke Nakamura is an opponent I admire. In a way, this Intercontinental Championship was a starting point. It started from zero and came all the way to be held at Tokyo Dome. I thank Shinsuke Nakamura for that. Naito, Okada, Goto, who recently came back and Makabe, there are many wrestlers. But the real star…..the real star is me. New Japan Pro Wrestling will revolve around me in 2014.”
We go back to the TV Studios with Tanahashi as he looks back on the match with Nakamura.
Tanahashi: “It felt somewhat nostalgic fighting with Nakamura. I realized once again how interesting he is to wrestle. What stuck in my mind the most was after the match, I said ‘I’m glad I kept believing in my wrestling.’ Nakamura said the same exact thing. His face was all wrinkled up while saying, ‘I’m glad I kept believing.’ Its not like I followed his footsteps, but we had both kept believing in wrestling……I was touched by that. For my last words, I took the mic and I was ready to say, ‘I love you.’ But the volume was just enough for the fans to hear and not enough for me to hear my voice echo, I thought the mic was off. So, I thought that I’d just have to shout it out loud. When I put the mic down, the whole crowd, which was noisy, turned silent. The crowd was ready to listen. I did everything I could to make myself heard and apparently, everyone heard, I was glad. The repetition of ‘I love you’ by the 30,000 fans was great. I was overwhelmed by all the ‘I love you’s.’
THOUGHTS: I remember not liking this match that much in my first viewing of it last year when it aired, but I gotta admit that the entire presentation of this on the second go-around greatly enhanced this match to me and made it a much better viewing affair. Obviously, Tanahashi and Nakamura would go to have way better matches over the course of 2014, notably their encounters in February’s New Beginning show and as part of the 2014 G-1 Climax, but the enhanced presentation for the AXS TV show made this a more enjoyable viewing experience for myself than when I watched it live last year. Big ups to AXS and the commentary on the job they did on presenting this match. It goes to show how well a job they have done in getting across to the viewer of the weekly New Japan show what the New Japan viewing experience is like for the hardcore viewers of the product, to new fans that are watching these matches for the very first time in large parts due to the addition of English commentary and the sensational job that Mauro Ranallo & Josh Barnett have done in adding to the presentation of the match. The fact that I liked this more on the second viewing moreso than the first viewing with Japanese commentary, which I believe is the quintessential New Japan viewing experience, just really highlights the great work that AXS has done with the show. I sincerely hope that New Japan & AXS continue their relationship after the 13 episode run ends, because this show, to me, has done a whole helluva lot of positive things for New Japan’s continued expansion into the United States and keeping the New Japan-AXS partnership alive and kicking will continue to allow the New Japan expansion to push forward.
Jason Namako recaps the weekly New Japan on AXS TV show, as well as all major New Japan iPPVs for Wrestleview.com