Saturday, January 3, 2015

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 9

Well, it's been an exciting couple of days for the show. Comcast decided to not air it until 7 PM Sunday night in the DC market, so I decided to get it on Flipps after downloading the app and helping folks on Twitter and the F4W board with it. I wrote a nice little guide on Hardcore Gamer for it, and then submitted it on the Observer site since it really belongs there too. ON THE DAY OF THE SHOW, it comes out that you can't actually watch the show live via an Xbox, LG TV, or Chromecast - which sucks and is something that I feel bad about. I recommended that folks buy it on the app because you get it in HD for the same price as cable, get it live, and get a 30 day on demand replay.

Now that last part makes me feel like my $35 won't be completely wasted, and I do want to support the product since I love what Jeff and company are doing, but it does leave me with a bad taste in my mouth regarding Flipps. One upside to all this is that I do get to make great use of my NJPW World subscription, although images aren't going to be as plentiful - while it might seem easier to not have to use the capture card, it's a simple process of hitting a key to get a screen while with this, I have to do printscreen, crop the image, and save it. It's not impossible, but not as convenient - and I can't record anything either so I can't go back and get that absolutely perfect shot.

NJPW Rumble time - Tiger Mask starts with two mini-Tiger Masks walking with him. It freezes for a bit, but a refresh brings Nagata out. They mat wrestle. THEN TAICHI COMES OUT AND SINGS! TAKA and Desperado are with him, and buffering is killing the flow of things for me. The heels corner Nagata and buffering makes me miss Liger, a dubbed theme for him, and everything with him. It comes back with Sho Tanaka running out. He attacks Taichi and stomps away on Desperado in the corner. Hiro Saito's out and exchanges shots in the corner with Liger. Komatsu's out. Captain New Japan has a new camo outfit. Show freezes, comes back and he's gone. Tanaka's attacking Tama Tonga in the corner. WACKY PRIDE MUSIC for Nakanishi! Ride of the Valkyries brings out Fujiwara! FUJIWARA HEADBUTTING PARTY! A really slow, and then fast-paced song BRINGS OUT THE GREAT KABUKI!

KABUKI MISTS TAKA AND HE EATS A FUJIWARA ARMBAR!! Saito's gone after a gang pin. Nagata and Fujiwara form an OLD MAN TEAM and fight the young fuckers in this in the corner. Nakanishi beats a young guy with a torture rack. Tonga cradles out of it to take him out. Tonga DDT takes out a young guy. TONGA GETS FLIPPED OUT OVER THE TOP! Nagata's in a great war here with Yoshi-Hashi. Big knees, armbar! BACKDROP HOLD wins it for Nagata. Nagata's faces at the end were amazing even for him. He lets some fans touch the trophy, and it's nowhere near filled up just yet - but it's got a great advance.

The graphics for the show are fantastic in the intro video. IWGP Jr Heavyweight tag title 4 way is up. Young Bucks have a surprisingly subdued intro here, but great wacky outfits. Forever Hooligans have an amazing theme song. Shelley is in the second-biggest wrestling show of the year while Sabin is wrestling in bodunk indies despite being a former world champion. Amazing how things work out sometimes. OH SNAP, IT'S WORKING ON XBOX ONE! Buffering is worse here than it was on NJPW World, but the video quality is outstanding. Romero's running wild and Striker's putting him over as a former Black Tiger (part of the franchise in fact.) A Jackson counters a double suplex with some knees. Things are just skipping around randomly now - it's paused and then just goes to whatever is ahead. Very jarring. Kyle says Shelley is dead, so he responds with a superkick! Everyone does dives, I think. Out of Time neckbreaker moonsault hits and...of course it buffers for a 2. Double kick from the Splitters to a Jackson. More buffering. Hearing Jim Ross talk about the superkick party is something else.

Flipps is really screwing up the juniors tag. MELTZER DRIVER hits. Flipps just shits the bed here and gives me a frozen image and no audio. Amazing. Back to NJPW World so I can actually watch the show I spent $35 on. RedDragon wins with something that I missed due to writing about the issues on Twitter. Jarrett has a new theme that isn't My World on NJPW World. Karen looks amazing. Love Karen being a bully to Honma. Trademark spots from the faces, but Honma misses the falling headbutt. El Kabong misses and hits Takahashi leading to a Honma headbutt and a big win.

Suzuki-gun tag is up. Team NOAH gets wacky generic replacement music. Marafuji's out in a wacky shiny red and gold getup - looks great. Love Izuka bonking Yano with the padding and Shelton's new gear is great. TMDK is looking great running wild on DBS Jr. and Archer. DBS with a shaved head looks way better too - gives him a bit of a badass look. Amazing bump off an Archer chokeslam from Nicholls. TMDK hits an awesome double press slam side effect and Marafuji wins - fun match and the NOAH team looked great.


SUZUKI'S OUT IN WHITE GEAR AND DYED BLONDE HAIR! Amazing! Nice realistic-looking matwork to begin. Deathlock from Saku into a kneebar counter leads to a rope break. APRON SLAP BATTLE LEADS TO AN OVER THE ROPE TRIANGLE! RAMP BATTLE. SNAP MARE. SLAPS! Long Kimura on the ramp from Saku! Reasonably certain Saku just called him a pussy. MASSIVE slap exchange mid-ring. Saku brings it when Suzuki demands it! SUZUKI JUST WON'T QUIT. HE GETS THE CHOKE, THE THROW, AND THE RNC AND THE WIN! Amazing! Suzuki was like Austin at WM 13 here. They're icing Suzuki's arm, he's embracing Saku and this was just great. Easy match of the year candidate here just because of how it felt.


NEVER Title match. Powerslam is no-sold, so we get Goto and a STIFF chop that Ishii meets with a STIFFER CHOP! CHOPS! PUNCHES! SLAPS, PUNCHES! Northern Lights suplex. OH MY GOD A MOVE! Gets 2. Makabe beats him up in the corner and Ishii grunts as if to say HIT ME MORE, AND HIT ME HARDER! FOREARMS FROM ISHII! What I wouldn't give for a 2012 Brock against either Ishii or Mikabe right now. Ishii powerbomb gets 2. Mirror image forearms lead to a Mikabi lariat! Mikabi powerbomb gets 2. German suplex from Mikabe gets 2. Nasty bump from Ishii on the bad shoulder gets replayed. Super spinning Samoan drop gets 2.9 for Mikabe! LARIAT FROM ISHII, BUT HIS JUMPING KICK IS BLOCKED ON THE BAD KNEE! LARIAT GETS 1 FOR GOTO, BUT Ishii's down - so the move isn't killed. Ishii gets one for 2.9! MIRROR IMAGE RUNNING LARIATS! MIKABE CHOPS, ISHII HEADBUTT! Ishii lariat hits for 2. JUMPING ISHII KICK HITS! DRAGON SUPLEX FROM MIKABE GETS 2.9! HEADBUTTS, POLISH HAMMERS! He's going to be as wrapped up as Mikabe was a few years ago in...a week or two at this rate. Lariat and flying knee win the gold for Goto. OH MY GOD that ruled. Not quite as good as Saku-Suzuki, but Ishii killed himself.


Taguchi-Omega is up for the Jr. title. Omega looks so great as a smug prick. Great tron, great look. THIS STARTS WITH A MOCKING SLOW-MO SLAP! Amazing flip and armdrag exchange sets up a butt butt from Taguchi. Omega fights back with hairspray. Hand-licking chop to the chest from Omega. Guerrero-style face rake with the boot from Kenny. Omega hits a big suplex. KENNY REVS THE IMAGINARY CHAINSAW AND RAKES HIS FOREARM ON HIS FACE! Amazing! Taguchi ducks a big spin kick, but the Bucks trip him. Taguchi has the worst gear on the show so far. Flip dive to the heels! "Three amigos" from the Japanese announcers amused me for some reason. Good execution from Taguchi on them too. Fameasser from Omega gets 2. Kenny kicks away on the ground, but his buckle bomb is met with a rana and a nasty corner bump. RIP Kenny's face. They had the best mid-air dropkick counter spot since Pillman, who always did that flawlessly. Taguchi goes for a Tiger suplex-setup face jam, it's countered, but he kicks him and gets it for 2! Heel miscue leads to a Buck eating a knee and Taguchi getting 2. SNAP GERMAN FROM HELL sets up the Omega driver for the win!

Tag title match is up with the faces out first followed by Doc and Anderson. Karl and Goto are so fast right now - wow. Great matching color scheme gear for the champs with red, black, and white and Doc having matching paint. Miscue leads to the faces bonking on the apron and the heels taking over. Anderson gets 2 off a kick, but re-covers twice in different ways - great little touch there. Mirror lariats between Doc and Goto lead to a rebound lariat from Goto! Corner forearm beatdown from Shibata! Super-tight ab stretch from Shibata to Karl here. TNA had DOC a year or so ago - amazing to think in hindsight since he was subordinate to DEVON DUDLEY. Big boot from Doc sets up the Strong kick from Karl that hits perfectly. Flapjack>strong kick combo hits. Reverse 3D hits for 2. GUN STUN COUNTERED INTO A DEATH VALLEY BACKBREAKER AND PENALTY KICK! Doc's in but eats double team stuff AND A DOUBLE TEAM GTS AND PENALTY KICK! NEW CHAMPS! Love the champs putting the belts on one another BECAUSE THEY ARE ALLIES!

AJ's got a nice hybrid of his face and heel gear here. White and blue, but with Bullet Club trim. AJ jumps Naito and goes for the Clash right as the graphic for their match hits, and it's countered and he goes for it again only to be sent to the apron. Great floor exchange leads to AJ eating a shot on the barricade and falling to his knees kneeling. He comes back in and kicks ass on the knee. He gets a wonky shin breaker and then a Hennig-style kneebreaker on the mat. Inverted figure 4 from AJ. This is easily the fastest-paced match on the show so far and I'm loving it. AJ's DDT hits. FOREARM EXCHANGE! Flying forearm takes AJ down. Middle rope neckbreaker hits for Naito. Suplex into the neckbreaker doesn't go smoothly since Naito falls too soon, but it gets 2. German leads to a facebuster attempt, but it's countered into a victory roll for 2! Crucifix hits for 2 for Naito. KENTA combo leads to a Naito enzuiguri and a jumping elbow. He goes up top for his his stardust press, but AJ knocks him down.


CALF SLICER! HE'S FIGHTING IT! HE'S LOSING THE BATTLE! AND HE GETS THE ROPES! Naito gets the uranage!Dragon suplex gets 2! Wacky facebuster countered INTO THE BLOODY SUNDAY! Clash time, but he's backdropped to the floor. 19 count for that. Naito puts him up, rana time, BUT NO. SUPER STYLES CLASH GETS THE WIN! Amazing dubstep video for Nakamura. God, it's such a shame that Tanahashi and Nakamura are as old as they are - if they were in their early '30s now, New Japan would be set for a decade.


A none more blue entrance for Ibushi here.This feels like his coming out party as a semi-top guy. KING NAKAMURA COMES OUT! They start off tentatively leading to Nakamura luring him in for a gut shot, axe kick, but the KNEE MISSES AND HE EATS A DROPKICK! Nakamura gets the corner beatdown and puts him on top for the knee and hits. RUNNING DRAPING KNEE OVER THE APRON! Tons of slaps from Nakamura. Going back to Flipps and JR's loving this. LUNG BLOWER hits for 2. Snap rana hits for Ibushi to set up an apron dropkick. TRIANGLE MOONSAULT FROM IBUSHI! Springboard dropkick from Ibushi mid-ring! CHEST KICKS! Standing SSP gets 2. Nakamura goes for a suplex, but Ibushi counters with a knee and then eats a single leg flying kick! PRIDE KNEES! Running knee is dodged leading to a top rope setup. TRIANGLE RANA FROM IBUSHI! Standing corkscrew hits for 2.9! Sitout last ride hits for 2.9! PHOENIX SPLASH MISSES AND NAKAMURA GETS THE KNEE!

OVER THE ROPE HEAD KICKS from Nakamura! Ibushi wants a war and he gets it! Nakamura shoves the ref in and hits a hard punch, leading to Ibushi going for one and eating a rolling armbar. IBUSHI STOMPS HIS WAY OUT OF IT! COCKY KICKS FROM IBUSHI! Reverse exploder hits for Ibushi! NAKAMURA POSE AND THE RUNNING KNEE FROM IBUSHI, BUT IT ONLY GETS 2! Push kick from Nakamura sends him into the corner. SLAPS! KNEES! PUNCHES! ELBOWS! OUTSIDE-IN GERMAN FROM IBUSHI!

LOVE THIS SO MUCH! Mounted elbows to the back of the head and Ross, like WWE should, says THEY'RE ILLEGAL IN UFC, BUT LEGAL HERE. Nakamura hits the knee one more time and wins! Well, I'd have had Ibushi win, but they did enough title changes and can do this one later in the year. Nakamura embraces Ibushi after this - amazing match.


TANAHASHI-OKADA IS UP! This hype video puts over both guys really well. Okada's highlight on Impact was being beaten up and used as a prop in a Joe-Pope feud. Amazing. Jim Ross is talking about how much he admires Okada and how he was impressed with talking to him yesterday and how he's only 27 and he's got hats older than that. Tanahashi's got revamped gear that looks fantastic. They start off with basic matwork and Ross puts over Tanahashi as the man who will be known historically as the man who took NJPW took to new heights, while Okada will take it even higher. Ross also puts over Okada's dropkick as the best ever. Somehow, hashtags haven't come up once when you're putting over your matches. Ross talks about Okada having a Rainaker fund where he donates 30,000 yen to cancer due to his family having it.

Forearm exchanges. Okada gets one on top and sends Tanahashi down hard. They fight on the floor with an over the barricade kick and then a draping DDT off it. TOMBSTONE ON THE RAMP TEASED! Jaw jacker counter leads to Tanahashi AIR GUITARING UP THE RAMP AND THEN BEING DEATH VALLEY DRIVERED ON IT! OH MY GOD! Snapmare leads to a running sliding boot from Okada. Corner elbows set up the diving one, but Tanaashi avoids it and a senton. FLYING FOREARM FROM TANAHASHI! Somersault senton gets 2 for Tanahashi. Inverted crucifix submission from Okada is locked on. Cocky kicks and slaps to Tanahashi. FOREARM TIME! FOREARMS! UPPERCUTS! This has been amazing, and we're still in the early going.

Slingblade gets 2. Top rope dropkick teased, but Tanashi kicks him away. Forearm up top sets up the High Fly Flow, but Okada moves! Schwein neckbreaker gets 2 for Okada! FLYING ELBOW HITS FOR OKADA! Rainmaker countered into a victory roll for 2! Dragon screw hits Okada. Tanahashi kicks the knee in the corner and then counters an Okada attack with a dropkick to the knee. Ross is really putting over the knee here. STANDING HIGH FLY FLOW OFF THE TOP PAST THE BARRICADE! SLINGBLADE HITS! OKADA GOES FOR A TOMBSTONE, IT'S COUNTERED! HIGH FLY FLOW TO THE BACK! ONE TO THE CHEST! 1,2...2.9!

Tanahashi goes for the cloverleaf, but Okada kicks free. OKADA FIGHTS WITH AN UPPERCUT! Another Slingblade hits! RAINMAKER FROM TANAHASHI, NO FROM OKADA. 2.9! DOUBLE DOWN AND THE COUNT IS ON! Kneeling forearms! Tanashi counters the tombstone into a victory roll. Dropkick to the knee and slaps! Okada is hanging onto Tanahashi to survive. Wow. Straightjacket suplex gets 2 for Tanahashi! High bridging German gets 2 for Okada. RAINMAKER COUNTERED INTO A BRIDGING DRAGON FOR 2! DROPKICK HITS! REVERSE DRAGON SCREW FROM TANAHASHI! ROPE DRAGON SCREW! HIGH FLY BODYPRESS WITH THE KNEE TRAPPED! HIGH FLY FLOW HITS! TWO MID -AIR TURN HIGH FLOWS WIN! Tanahashi stands over his rival and their rivalry is even - so the rubber match is still to come.


Tanahashi puts Okada over, who is crying and crawling in the aisle. Okada lost the match, but he became a career character babyface because he FOUGHT. He did his best and on this night, it wasn't enough and he knew it. This only took half an hour longer than a Raw episode. Think about that. Tanahashi lept up for his air guitar bit and collapsed before waving to the fans. Tanahashi's air guitar rules! Ross reads the copyright warning - GFW has the exclusive US rights to this, which is a feather in their cap.

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