The New Japan Anniversary show has been the home of some great exhibition matches in the last few years. This year is no different as two of the worlds best wrestlers clash as CHAOS members Kauzuchika Okada and Will Ospreay face off. We also have a fun looking Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match and Minoru Suzuki defends the IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Togi Makabe. Let’s jump right into the action.
Ten-Man Tag Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask, KUSHIDA & Rysuske Taguchi vs Yuji Nagata, Ren Narita, Tomoyuki Oka, Shota Umino & Tetsuhiro Yagi
Typical multi-man dads opener. The dads work over the young lions. Each one gets their own moment to shine until Nagata gets the tag to save the young lions. We get some great Junior exchanges between KUSHIDA and Umino. The Lions clear the ring and work over KUSHIDA in the corner. Eventually, we get Kushida hitting the hoverboard lock and transitions into an Arm Bar for the win. It needs to be said that these matches are never bad and the young lions always impress
Winners: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask, KUSHIDA & Rysuske Taguchi Rating: 5 out of 10
Six-Man Tag Match: Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. Toa Henare, Juice Robinson & David Finlay
We get Ishii and Henare brawling to start off. Ishii tags in Yano and we get his usual tropes as he works over Finlay. CHAOS clear the ring and we get some crowd brawling. CHAOS work over Finlay for the main heat segment. He makes the hot tag to Robinson who fires up. He hits his signature offense before hitting all three opponents with jabs. Goto in trouble as Henare works him over, Finlay and Robinson take out Ishii, Yano and themselves with a dive to the outside. Goto then hits the Ushigoroshi on Henare for the win. Good stuff with some fun brawling from Henare especially.
Winners: CHAOS Rating: 4 out of 10
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match: Roppongi 3K (Sho & Yoh) (c) W/Rocky Romero vs. Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado
The Los Ingobernables De Japon boys continue to have the coolest entrance in wrestling. We start off with a heated exchange of chops from Takahashi and Yoh. With six bodies in motion, the near constant action was hard to keep up with. Roppongi 3K double team Takahashi then BUSHI. Suzuki Gun trip them up and take the action to the floor for brawling. LIJ work over Sho until Kanemaru tags himself in. Suzuki Gun work over Sho until Bushi breaks it up then Takahashi tags himself in and lays in chops and clocks him with a basement dropkick, again Suzuki Gun break up the flow and Kanemaru tags himself in. He locks on a Boston Crab, Sho makes the ropes, ending the onslaught for the time being. Sho finally manages to make the hot tag to Yoh who cleans house. Again we have bodies moving with guys getting surprise tags and double team galore. What follows can only be described as divezz as Takahashi creams Despy with his sick sunset powerbomb to the outside, and Yoh hits a plancha. Sho’s attempt at a dive is cut off by Bushi. 3K take control of Bushi and set up for their finish. Takahashi8 makes the save and distracts the ref allowing Bushi to hit Sho with the mist. Shenanigans again as Kanemaru whiskey mists Bushi and Desperado rolls up Sho for the 3. As you would expect from these 6 it was great fun and leaves some interesting storylines for the tag division to tell.
Winners: Suzuki Gun Rating: 6 out of 10
Match 4: SANADA vs Yoshi-Hashi
With the injury to EVIL this was changed to a singles match. Clean, crisp grappling starts. Hashi hits a rana and lands a plancha to get the early momentum. They brawl into the crowd where SANADA locks in the skull’s end. This allows SANADA to slow the pace. Hashi fights back with some signature offense and some chops. Hashi hangs SANADA in the ropes and dropkicks for 2. SANADA cuts off a neakbreaker attempt and hits a Plancha. They go back in and SANADA heads up top but gets caught in a Butterfly Lock. SANADA counters a German and hits a suplex, TKO connects for 2. Hashi reverses an attempt by SANADA to use the Skull End before locking it in on SANADA. SANADA counters into…..you guessed it a Skull End. Both men trade, Hashi prevents SANADA from firing up and eats an uppercut for his troubles. Hahsi hits a string of big moves for some 2 counts before locking in the butterfly lock. SANADA tries to fight it off a few times before finally making it to the ropes. Hashi attempts to hit Karma but gets locked into a Skull End, as he’s fading SANADA lets go and hits him with a Moonsault for the win. A tad long but good work
WInner: SANADA Rating: 6 out of 10
Match 5: Tetsuya Naito vs. Taichi
Magnificent heel work from Taichi. He attacks Naito before the match and powerbombs him on the stage. This lead to a great near finish on the count out. Mainly Taichi in the early goings. Naito fights back and is in control for awhile but Taichi takes over again. The pants come off from Taichi so he means business. The two trade big moves for some nearfalls. The two counter each other in the later stages as neither man can get an advantage. Taichi hits a low blow and a Gedo clutch and gets a 2, Naito counters a superkick attempt with a rolling kick. Taka Michinoku distracts the ref and Taichi grabs his mic stand. Swings and misses Naito steals it and knocks the ref into TAKA. Before hitting a low blow on Taichi breaking the mic stand over his head and hitting the Destino for the win. Great heel work from Taichi in his Heavyweight debut but Naito proved why he is Ingobernable and proved he still has the edge needed to win.
Winner: Tetsuya Naito Rating: 6 out of 10
Match 6: IWGP IC Championship- (C) Minoru Suzuki vs Togi Makabe
This, as you would expect, was a fight. While outside Suzuki uses a chair on Makabe’s knee. Suzuki works over the knee as we take the action back into the ring, Makabe fires up but Suzuki cuts him off with a kick. Suzuki lays in strikes and Makabe hits back, which only pleases Suzuki. Makabe gains control and hits a Death Valley Driver, lariat and manages to hit the Spider German off the top. He risks it all by going for his signature King Kong Knee Drop and misses leaving his knee in agony. Suzuki much like in the Tanahashi match is relentless in his assault of the knee. He has a kneebar locked in and Makabe tries to fight, he eventually makes it to the ropes. From their knees they trade slaps then Makabe hits a german, Suzuki counters an attempt at a dragon suplex but gets caught with a lariat for 2. Suzuki locks in the sleeper and tries to transition into a Gotch Piledriver. Makabe fights him off but Suzuki locks in the sleeper again and Makabe succumbs to the Gotch Piledriver.
Winner: Minoru Suzuki Rating: 7 out of 10
Main Event: Kazuchika Okada vs Will Ospreay
The match starts off very British with fantastic technical grappling from both men. They trade some pinfalls and Ospreay almost catches Okada who then uses the power advantage to work over Ospreay. They pick up the pace leading to a finisher tease and we finally get a chance to breathe. They grapple into the ropes and Okada breaks in a slightly cheeky way earning a slap from Osprea. Ospreay uses that moment to hit a rana and fakes out on a dive allowing Okada to hit him with a savage missile dropkick. Okada works over Ospreay outside and tries to count him out. Okada works him over until Ospreay fires back up. He hits the back handspring kick, a jawbreaker, and some more kicks before hitting a hesitation dropkick. Ospreay hit his running Shooting Star Press for 2 and got cut off with a flapjack. Okada dropkicks him to the outside off the top, he attempts the running crossbody but Ospreay recovered and hit him with a flying forearm mid-jump. Back inside Ospreay hits some kick combos but gets cut off by a dropkick. Okada hits the elbow drop, Ospreay countered a rainmaker but got put down by strikes. Okada hit the egotistical kicks to the back of the head which pissed Ospreay off. They trade strikes and get some counters. Ospreay CATCHES OKADA WITH A SPANISH FLY. They trade big shots for 2. Ospreay went for the OsCutter but got caught by a tombstone it all seemed over here but Ospreay reversed the Rainmaker and hits a sit out powerbomb for a 2.99999 that had the crowd (and me) on their feet. This was the last stand as Ospreay would go for another OsCutter but was hit with the spinning tombstone and put down by a Rainmaker. This will be in my match of the year nomination come the end of the year this was fantastic.
Winner: Kazuchika Okada Rating: 10 out of 10