New Japan on AXS TV Episode 12
April 3, 2015
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Josh Barnett
Recap by: Jason Namako of Wrestleview.com
Kazuchika Okada welcomes us to the show.
Okada: “My name is Kazuchika Okada. Today’s match was held on May 3, 2014 at Fukuoka Kokusai Center. World Pro Wrestling returns.”
This week, we will see 3 matches, 2 in clipped form, from the “Dontaku 2014” iPPV in Fukuoka, Japan.
IWGP Jr. Tag Team Titles: The Forever Hooligans (Alex Koslov & Rocky Romero) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (c’s)
Barnett on commentary makes constant quips on the Bucks during the match. Wheelbarrow armdrag by Koslov, Nick misses a clothesline and Koslov with an arm whip, followed by a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Romero & Matt in. Matt with a shoulder tackle and a crotch chop. Romero lands on his feet off a Monkey flip, does a Spidey move in the ropes and avoids Matt’s charge, sending Matt outside. Leaping knee off the apron by Romero wipes out Matt.
We go forward in the match as the Hooligans with a double team, but argue as Romero constantly goes off the ropes. They shove each other, then hit Nick with a double hiptoss. They continue to argue and feign fighting, but instead hug it out. Matt slides outside, then forces Romero to give chase right into a kick by Nick on the apron.
We go forward more in the match as Romero with another Spidey move in the ropes, but the Bucks give him a Superkick Party, sending Romero outside! Koslov in, sends Nick’s boot into Matt, then sends Nick outside. Doomsday Device by the Hooligans on Matt, but Nick breaks up the pin. Nick backdrops Koslov outside, crotch chops Romero, then wipes out Koslov with an Asai Moonsault! Romero with a back heel kick to Matt, then goes for a Tombstone, but Matt reverses it. Indytaker by the Bucks, but Koslov breaks up the pin. Koslov with shots to the Bucks, then springboards in, but the Bucks catch him in mid-air with a Superkick Party!
MORE BANG FOR YOUR BUCK!!! 1-2-3!
Winners and STILL IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champions: The Young Bucks by pinfall (More Bang for your Buck)
Back from commercial, we go to our second clipped match on this show.
IWGP Jr. Title: “The Funky Weapon” Ryusuke Taguchi vs. “The Golden Star” Kota Ibushi (c)
Chain wrestling early, stalemate. More chain wrestling, exchange of side headlock takeovers and headscissors, Taguchi avoids a dropkick, stomps away at Ibushi. Ibushi goes up & over, hits a chest kick. Taguchi with a big chop, Ibushi with a dropkick that sends Taguchi outside. Ibushi with a head of steam, but Taguchi stops him on the apron. Triangle Dropkick sends Ibushi outside. Taguchi with a head of steam, wipes out Ibushi with a flip dive!
We go forward in the match as Ibushi slips out of a suplex, but Taguchi blocks a German with elbows. Ibushi catches Taguchi with a rana that sends Taguchi outside. Ibushi with a head of steam, TRIANGLE ORIHARA MOONSAULT WIPES OUT TAGUCHI!!
We go forward more in the match as Taguchi avoids a 450 by Ibushi, then both hit each other with clotheslines at the same time, but neither go down. Taguchi with a big clothesline that knocks down Ibushi. Ibushi counters the Dodon by going for a roll-up, but Taguchi sits out on the roll-up and gets a close 2. Taguchi this time hits the Dodon, but Ibushi kicks out! Taguchi tries to pick up Ibushi, but Ibushi is dead weight. Taguchi goes for a Spinning Dodon, but Ibushi blocks it with elbows. Taguchi goes for a Kudo Driver, but Ibushi slips out and hits a big head kick. Taguchi misses a clothesline, wind-up Lariat by Ibushi turns Taguchi inside out! Ibushi hits a Sit-Out Powerbomb for a close 2.
Ibushi heads up top, PHOENIX SPLASH!!! 1-2-3!
Winner and STILL IWGP Jr. Champion: “The Golden Star” Kota Ibushi by pinfall (Phoenix Splash)
Back from commercial, we go to the TV Studios with Okada with thoughts on the build-up to his match with AJ Styles.
We see video of Styles’ debut in New Japan the month prior at Invasion Attack in April 2014, laying out Okada and revealing himself as the new leader of the Bullet Club with Prince Devitt’s departure from New Japan.
Okada: “AJ came out of nowhere and he abruptly performed the Styles Clash on me. I felt like the IWGP belt is becoming targeted all over the world, by wrestlers from all over the world. I thought he used to be a great wrestler, but to be honest, he wasn’t that great in the US. I think he was in decline. I’ve taken the Styles Clash from Tanahashi before, but AJ was on a different level. There’s a probably a difference in the way he uses his weight, it was totally different. I was caught off guard when the title match was set. When I was in the States, I thought AJ Styles was done. I was confident about what I had acheived after coming back to Japan, so I was unaware of him.”
Main Event for the IWGP Title: “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles w/The Bullet Club vs. “The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada (c) w/Gedo
Commentary mentions Styles’ previous appearances in New Japan back when he was a part of TNA. Crowd chants for Okada as the bell sounds. Styles taunts Okada with the Bullet Club hand signal. Chain wrestling early, Styles gets to the ropes and rolls outside to re-group. Back in, Okada backs Styles into the ropes, feigns a shot, but pats Styles on the chest and does the Rainmaker Pose. Okada gets Styles in a side headlock, then holds on when Styles to Irish Whip out of it. Styles tries again, but Okada continues to hold on to the side headlock, taking Styles down. Styles gets out with a fish hook, but Okada backs him up with a shoulder tackle. Styles with a chop, but Okada with a BIG back body drop! Okada stomps away at Styles in the corner, followed by elbows to the back of the head. Styles with a shot to the throat of Okada, then avoids a corner charge. Okada avoids a corner charge, places Styles up top for the Too Awesome Dropkick, but Styles kicks him off. Styles then SNAP SUPLEXES OKADA INTO THE TURNBUCKLES!!
Back from commercial as Styles gives the “Too Sweet” hand signal to his Bullet Club comrades. Backbreaker gets 2. Chinlock applied by Styles, with his knee driven between the shoulderblades of Okada. Okada fights out, but Styles comes back with the Phenomenal Dropkick that sends Okada outside. Styles distracts referee Red Shoes as the Bullet Club attacks Okada on the outside. Back in, Styles gets no count on a pin attempt and has words with referee Red Shoes. Slam and a running leaping knee drop by Styles, crowd wills on Okada. Suplex by Styles, then he taunts the crowd. Leaping Corner Clothesline by Styles gets another 2. Crowd chants for Okada. Okada fights back with forearms, but Styles with a knee to the ribs, then sends Okada outside. Styles again distracts referee Red Shoes, allowing the Bullet Club to attack Okada some more. Red Shoes, however, spots this and ejects the Bullet Club from ringside. Okada with a head of steam, FLIP DIVE WIPES OUT THE BULLET CLUB!!! Okada sends Styles into the barricade, then fires up as he sends him back in. Neckbreaker by Okada gets 1. Back senton by Okada gets another 1. Styles blocks another neckbreaker and rakes the eyes of Okada. Styles catches a boot by Okada in the corner and kicks out his leg, then stomps away at it.
Elbow drop to the leg by Styles, then locks in a leglock. Crowd wills on Okada. Okada tries to reach the ropes, but Styles pulls him back to the center and hits more stomps to the leg, followed by a wrapped knee drop. Elbow drop to the back of Okada’s leg by Styles. Elbow to the back of the head by Styles, followed by a back kick for a close 2. Bridging Indian Deathlock applied by Styles while raking the eyes again of Okada. Styles breaks, then lifts up Okada and hits a kneebreaker. Chinlock applied, crowd wills on Okada again. Okada fights out, then hits a big uppercut. Running sliding dropkick, followed by a one-man flapjack by Okada. Crowd chants for Okada again. Running back elbow by Okada, then spikes Styles with a DDT for a close 2. Okada runs into a boot by Styles in the corner, then an eye poke by Styles from the apron. Springboard forearm by Styles, but Okada blocks a suplex. Styles then lifts up Okada in a suplex, but turns it on the way down into a neckbreaker for 2. Styles heads up top, but Okada crotches him, then knocks Styles off the turnbuckles with the Too Awesome Dropkick! Okada kips up, then goes outside after Styles. Okada sends Styles into the barricade, then hits a running boot that sends Styles over the barricade. Okada grabs Styles, DRAPING DDT ON THE OUTSIDE!! Referee Red Shoes begins his 20 count, Okada gets Styles back in at the count of 13 as we go to commercial.
Back from commercial as Okada with a slam and heads up top. Top Rope Elbow Drop, then Okada does the Rainmaker Pose, calling for the Rainmaker. Okada goes for the Rainmaker, but Styles counters it by taking Okada down and locking him in the Calf Killer! Okada thinks about tapping multiple times as the crowd wills him on, but then is somehow able to reach the ropes, forcing Styles to break the hold. Styles calls his shot and goes off the ropes, but Okada catches him with the Too Awesome Dropkick! Okada cannot capitalize, however, as he instantly clutches his injured leg. Okada tries to get the blood flowing back in his leg as he gets back up. Strike exchange, Okada yells at Styles to bring it. Styles with more forearms, then hits the KENTA Series, but Okada avoids the Discus Clothesline. Okada goes for the Rainmaker again, but Styles avoids it and hits the Pele! Standing Belly-to-Back Facebuster by Styles gets a close 2. Styles goes for the Styles Clash, but Okada counters it with the Emerald Frosion across the knee, both men down!
Styles charges in, but Okada grabs him and goes for the Tombstone. Styles slips out, then lifts Okada up, but Okada slips out. Okada runs into a back elbow, then Styles springs off the middle rope and hits Phenomenon, but Okada kicks out! Styles sets up Okada and heads up top. Styles goes for the Spiral Tap, but Okada moves out of the way! TOO AWESOME DROPKICK TO THE BACK OF STYLES’ HEAD!! Okada lifts up, TOMBSTONE!! Okada fires up, then grabs Styles to go for the Rainmaker, but the Bullet Club runs back out! Okada knocks the Bucks off the apron as Karl Anderson distracts referee Red Shoes. All of a sudden, an unknown man with a hood comes in and clotheslines Okada. The man removes the hood and its YUJIRO TAKAHASHI, removing the hood to reveal a Bullet Club T-Shirt as he as turned his back on his CHAOS stablemate! Yujiro grabs Okada, TOKYO PIMPS LAYS HIM OUT!! Styles grabs Okada, BLOODY SUNDAY!!!! Styles calls for the kill on Okada and lifts him up.
STYLES CLASH!!! 1-2-3! NEW CHAMPION!!!
Winner and NEW IWGP Champion: “The Phenomenal” AJ Styles by pinfall (Styles Clash)
The Bullet Club comes out in full force afterward, celebrating Styles’ title win, along with their newest member, Yujiro Takahashi.
Backstage, we go to comments from Gedo.
Gedo: “Who is that, huh? Isn’t that Yujiro, you traitor! You betrayed us, you fool! Do you think this will be settled just like that? Do you think a loss like this would be the end? This was all a set-up, but just you wait, we’re getting it back. In one try, we’ll get it back. You better accept a rematch. You better accept the rematch whenever, wherever it is. Just one try, one try and we’re getting it back.”
We go back to the ring with the Bullet Club’s celebration of Styles’ title win and Karl Anderson has the mic.
Anderson: “Hey, hey, hey. Happy Birthday to the Bullet Club, Happy Birthday to the Bullet Club! Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to present to you your brand-new IWGP Heavyweight Champion, ‘The Phenomenal’ AJ Styles! And allow me to introduce to you the newest member of the Bullet Club, my friend, Yujiro Takahashi!”
Yujiro has the mic.
Yujiro: “You’re going down, CHAOS. Today will be the end of you guys. From today onwards, I will join the Bullet Club. This is for real. Oh and AJ, you did it. You are the best one! Here you go.”
Styles has the mic.
Styles: “We want everyone here to know that we will have every one of your titles, so get used to it, because the Bullet Club, its REALLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!”
Confetti falls from the ceiling as the Bullet Club & Styles continue to celebrate his title win.
We go back to the TV Studios with Okada as he looks back on the match with Styles.
Okada: “I don’t want to blame it on the fact that there wasn’t a preliminary match, but I’d like to face AJ Styles again. Surely, I don’t want to stay a loser. He was the AJ that I looked up to back in the day. The crowd reacted quietly at first, but soon after, the crowd was overwhelmed by AJ’s presence. I was the champion for a year and it sure feels weird losing the title. I entered each match wearing a belt for a year, like it was a part of my costume. All of a sudden, it was gone and I felt restless.”
THOUGHTS: Main event was good, but much like the Tanahashi/Nakamura series, Styles & Okada would go on to have much better series throughout the rest of 2014. Why this show is important and why I’d recommend checking out is this is the tipping point, or starting point for lack of a better term, of where the mega-popularity of the Bullet Club got started worldwide. Yes, they were a popular stable before the IWGP Title win of Styles, but Styles’ title win put the rocket on the back of the Bullet Club and thrust them into worldwide super-stardom from May of 2014 all the way to present day. For someone who wants to go back and see where the Bullet Club got put on the worldwide map, this show is about as good of a place as any to start.
Jason Namako recaps the weekly New Japan on AXS TV show, as well as all major New Japan iPPVs for Wrestleview.com