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NJPW House Show 5/5/14

The Beer & Coffee Rant for NJPW’s Alive (House Show Tour) Day 1
Live from Okayama Orange Hall in Okayama, Japan –5/5/14

Crazy concept here, and by crazy I mean something that makes complete sense and should have been done long ago. Maybe TNA already does this, but if you think I follow TNA you're reading the wrong blog. This is a 20 minute video package of an NJPW house show from earlier this week, courtesy of the NJPW YouTube page. First half covers the undercard, second half gives us a pretty good look at what seems to be an awesome main event.

We begin with STAN HANSEN~! I know some people still can't follow the product because of the language barrier, but this product gets more American by the day. The World Champ, the World Tag Champs, and the World Jr. Tag Champs are all cocky white heels representing Bullet Club at the moment. Point being, we start the show with an English in-ring promo. "Thank you, thank you. Now, let's get ready to start New Japan Pro Wrestling matches. Let's start!" Everybody putting their horns in the air with Hansen was pretty awesome.

Kushida taking on the fiery youngster Sho Tanaka is the kind of athletic, well-received singles match that would make these PPV undercards easier to watch than the 8-man tags with the old guys that they trot out month after month. The next two matches were standard fare, but Kojima chopping the piss out of Captain New Japan didn't bother me in the least. After a Yuji Nagata segment announcing the location of their September PPV, we get a Suzuki Gun 6-man match. This actually looked more lively than their typical TV matches with Suzuki doing a clever little bit with the referee for laughs. That old lady in the front row when Jado did the Flair Flop.. Not only did she love it, she clearly paid to see it. Yano-isms lead to a pin via roll up. The Yano/Suzuki feud in a nutshell, basically.

Then we got Naito & Desperado vs. Gedo & Yoshi-Hashi. Naito looked like one of the 10 best wrestlers walking the Earth, what's new though? And finally, that Main Event. Representing the squad of Chaos, we have Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura & Tomohiro Ishii. You could make a strong case all three belong on the short list of Best in the World; definitely one of the factors contributing to the rise of New Japan. Taking them on is the team of Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma (who is fresh off of one of the best matches of the year against Ishii two nights earlier). It goes without saying but Nakamura's charisma just jumps off the screen like no other, even on the house show circuit. We actually get almost half of the full match here. It looked tremendous. We get a Nakamura promo to send the folks home happy. He even teases the "YeaOh" before delivering.

We're not done however, as we get back stage promos from Okada, and then Nakamura, who has words for Daniel Gracie.

This was a pretty good introduction for those trying to figure out why the Japanese-born majority of this roster has captured the attention of so many from North America. It also served as an entertaining recap for fans of the product interested in an otherwise non-televised show.
The great thing about these, if they continue to air them, is that the cost of one camera/cameraman can't be much, and if the crowd sucks or the show doesn't click that day then you don't have to post it. All in all, a very cool video and a solid idea that I'd enjoy seeing more of.