Welcome to the best 30 minutes of wrestling on television today: World Pro Wrestling! Inspired by Scott's review of NJPW shows from North America, I thought I would try my hand at the same style of just giving a basic overview of the show without calling every fucking move. A digest of a digest, if yah wheel.
As I don't subscribe to NJPW World, this 30 minute digest show is my only exposure to the product, so everything I see is fresh to me.
World Pro Wrestling - May 31st, 2015
Announcers: Terakawa Shunpei and Kazuchika Okada
The show airs at 3:15am in Japan, meaning that this show airs one day after Scott receives the report on it. Mind. BLOWN!
We start with the same intro music that I heard from my Nth generation VHS dubs of this show from the 80's, although the intro graphics are much flashier.
This is a show that wastes absolutely none of our fucking time, jumping right into Kazuchika Okada on commentary as Jushin Liger makes his entrance. Yohei Komatsu is another guy that doesn't believe in wasting any of our fucking time, jumping Liger before the bell with two dropkicks to send him out of the ring, and I guess we're going to start right here:
Jushin Thunder Liger vs Yohei Komatsu
This is a one fall 30 minute match in the A block of the ongoing Best of the Super Jr. XXII tournament. Less than 30 seconds into the match, Liger hits a brainbuster on the unpadded aisle floor, because NJPW. Less than 30 seconds later, Liger hits a superplex into the ring, which Komatsu no-sells, because AJPW. No? OK, I got nothing. A helpful graphic tells us that Liger is the 1994 and 2001 winner of this tournament...it's insane that this guy has been around for nearly 30 years, given the style of wrestling he used to do. At least he's aged better than Muta. Liger hits another brainbuster in the ring for the clean pin in about 2 minutes aired of an 8:36 match. There's no way I can judge the whole match based on that...it looked more like watching a video game than an actual wrestling match, but I was entertained nonetheless. Call it *1/2 for what I saw.
They immediately jump to a package on the history of the Best of the Super Jr. tournament, including CHRIS BENOIT hitting a second rope tombstone piledriver, following by a review of all of this year's participants:
A Block: Jushin "Thunder" Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi, Yohei Komatsu, Beretta, Gedo, Barbaro Cavernario, Chase Owens, Kyle O'Reilly
B Block: Tiger Mask, KUSHIDA, Alex Shelley, Mascara Doarda, David Finlay, Rocky Romero, Bobby Fish, Nick Jackson
A shame they couldn't get Ricochet on board for another year.
They finish with a montage of former champions, thankfully leaving Wild Pegasus out of the list, and then leave us about 18 microseconds to digest all of that begore jumping to the next match:
KUSHIDA vs Masukara Dorada
This B Block match is joined in progress. I expected more out of Okada on commentary...despite being a heel, he is surprisingly bland. At least last week we got to hear Jushin Liger talking about what it felt like to have his face mashed into Maria's breasts. Lots more flying around in this match, mostly by Dorada, but KUSHIDA shows he can hang with a nice top rope tope to the floor. But I don't think anybody could take KUSHIDA seriously with that hair style...he would gain a lot by wearing a mask. For all the flying around, the match ends when KUSHIDA catches a Hover Board Lock for the submission. Again, a nineish minute match of which only about two minutes aired, but again, I am entertained. ** for what I saw.
And immediately into another B Block Match:
Alex Shelley vs David Finlay
Finlay is, to my knowledge, pro wrestling's only fourth generation wrestler. Finlay is rocking the Scott Keith haircut, so he must be the heel. While WWE runs away from history, NJPW embraces it, showing us footage of a 1994 BOSJ match between Finlay's father and Jushin Liger, which Finlay Sr. actually wins. He looks decent enough, but still about an 0.7 on the Cody Hall Greenometer (happy 24th birthday Cody!) As expected, it's pretty much a squash for Shelley, who wins with his Automatic Midnight finisher, which is the first time I've seen an Irish guy LOSE via that move. So little of the 5:32 of this match was shown that it doesn't even seem worth rating.
After the match, we are shown a clip of a botched Shelley superkick that lead to chip fracture and ligament damage in his foot, knocking him out of the tournament for the second straight year. I think Finlay was to blame there, so I'll bump his Cody Hall Greenometer up to 1.2, or maybe just rename it in his honor and set that as the new 1.0.
Tiger Mask vs Nick Jackson
Speaking of Cody Hall, he wastes no time (does anybody?) in getting involved in this match, pulling Tiger Mask out of the ring. This is a much different kind of match than the others, with a ton of outside interference. The Bullet Club's cheating really stands out, because nobody else actually does that in NJPW. Jackson kicks out of Tiger Driver, which I thought would be the finish, but doesn't have enough to kick out of the Tiger Suplex. Another eight minute match of which less than two aired. Probably my favorite of the digest matches thusfar. **
Ryusuke Taguchi vs Gedo
Finally back to the A Block here. Both men's entrances are featured, leading me to believe that we shouldn't expect much of the match itself. Boy, was I wrong about that! Gedo goes all Randy Orton on us with a Hanging
DDT to the floor. Then Taguchi goes all Goldust on us with a Butt Bump to the floor. You know NJPW is better than WWE because they not only use their moves, they use them on the floor. Another shoutout to Chris Benoit
with the Gedo Crossface, followed by a Kurt Angle shoutout with an Ankle Lock. Even the refs no-sell bumps in NJPW! Gedo kicks out of something that should have finished him off, and fellow CHAOS member Okada is going nuts along with the rest of the crowd! While the ref is distracted, Gedo lands a shot to the nuts and hooks on the Gedo Clutch for the win! It's GOOD to be KING (unless you're King Barrett). The longest match of the night, both total and aired time, time well spent for the entertainment value provided. ***
After the match, Okada gives Gedo his seat and is about to interview the manager of CHAOS, as we head to our FIRST COMMERCIAL BREAK!
We come back with Ryusuke backstage, clutching his groin and lamenting the state of his dick.
Back to ringside, Okada tries to ask Gedo his feelings, but Gedo instead confronts Okada about his telling a newspaper reporter that "there was no way that [Gedo] could win" As the crowd roars with laughter, Okada clarifies, saying that what he said was "there's no way that Gedo could win the championship" After calling Okada "cold", Gedo claims that he's "found his groove", and announces that he will fight Kenny Omega for the IWGP Jr. title at the July 5th Osaka show, and vows to become a champion on the same night as Okada. Well, if you're gonna book your own angles, best to do it in style! And because he's the booker, he also steals Okada's catchphrase, to the roar of the crowd. This guy has Triple H
beat in every way, and he didn't even have to marry the daughter of the booker to do it!
And right before our next commercial break, we introduce another A block match:
Barbaro Cavernario vs Chase Owens
Barbaro sports the Daniel Bryan fuzzy boots...and hits a superfly splash from the top rope to the floor, because everything goes to the floor in NJPW.
Cut back to Owens attempting a powerbomb, because we don't need no stinking transitions, and as the credits roll, Barbaro hooks in a modified Romero Clutch for the submission win. Less than a minute of this seven minute match is shown, but like everything else, it is a highlight reel of awesomeness.
At the very last three seconds of the show, Okada delivers his only memorable line of the night on the jungle man Barbaro: "How did he get into this country? Does he have a passport"?
This show is the ultimate Cliffs Notes of wrestling. Literally every dull moment is squeezed out, leaving an intense 25 minutes with not a second of dullness to be found. Probably a lot of good stuff taken out as well, but if you're a busy man with no more than 25 minutes a week to spare on wrestling, then this is the show for you.