Friday, October 2, 2015

NJPW on AXS Review - 2014 World Tag League Finals - October 2nd, 2015

1) Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, YOSHI HASHI, & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe, & La Sombra
Star studded tag action is kicking off the show. Okada & Tana start off first in a stalemate before Ibushi is tagged in and NAKAMURA ENTERS. OH MY. It's become epic to see these guys in the ring together despite this being prior to their five star classic at WK9. Ibushi goes for a number of strikes, but misses them all thanks to Nakamura's quickness. They slow down and start working the arms with hammerlocks and such. Nakamura gets Ibushi in the ropes and delivers a knee or two to get the advantage. Ibushi gets out of the way of the running knee and the rest of his team knocks Okada, Ishii, & YOSHI HASHI off the apron. Sombra gets tagged in and delivers a nice flurry. The action skips ahead a bit after this and Makabe & Ishii are squaring off. You know what this entails - ELBOWZZZ AND LARIATOS.

We return from commercial to Tanahashi and Okada making tags. It's a preview of WK9 once again and Okada whips Tanahashi with a dragon screw. He hits the ropes and is caught with a flapjack from the champion. Okada recovers and hits Tana with a reverse neckbreaker. It's now time - TOMBSTONE PILEDRI--- NOPE. Tanahashi gets out and damn, they trade all their stuff. Okada misses the rainmaker, but gets the dropkick only for Tanahashi to respond almost immediately with the slingblade. Okada makes the tag out to YOSHI HASHI and what even, he takes down Tanahashi somehow! His team mates help him with some tandem offense and YOSHI nearly gets a pin on the champion. Both men are to their feet, they trade slaps, Tanahashi hits the ropes, and UPPERCUT from YOSHI HASHI followed by a powerbomb and a bridging pin. Another kick out from the IWGP Champ. La Sombra springboards and drop kicks YOSHI HASHI who Tanahashi had in a full nelson positon. Things break down from here and everyone hits their stuff. It ends with moonsaults to the outside from both Ibushi & Sombra. Somehow, Tanahashi & YOSHI HASHI are still the legal men and it isn't long at all before Tanahashi hits the slingblade followed by the high fly flow for the victory at 17:10. Good teaser for all the WK9 matches. Tanahashi & Okada staredown post-match as Ishii & Makabe engage in a brawl that is soon broken up.

2) Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto - 2014 World Tag League Finals

AJ Styles, Kenny Omega, Bad Luck Fale, & Takahashi are all at ringside with Guns & Gallows who are representing the Bullet Club. Goto & Shibata seem focused on winning this thing after hearing the interview from Goto before the match. The BC boys are clearly determined as Anderson boasts "two years in a row" into the camera. Can they repeat what they did in 2013 and sweep the World Tag League? Anderson & Goto, former partners, start things off with some fairly intense matwork. Shibata gets tagged in and Anderson resorts to an eye rake to gain the advantage prior to delivering multiple elbows to the jaw of the shooter. Gallows gets in for the first time and tosses Shibata in the corner where he lays in a number of fast & furious strikes. Shibata responds with several leg kicks which he follows up by locking in a figure four on Gallows. The ropes end up being Gallows' best friend and he's able to recover and floor both Shibata & Goto. Goto ends up on the floor where the Bullet Club members deliver boots to him and Anderson powerbombs him on the ring apron. This sees the start of Gallows & Anderson trying to get a countout victory on Shibata & Goto.

Goto gets back in just before the count of 20, only to be dominated by Gallows as soon as he does. The tag champs continue controlling for the next few minutes as Goto is unable to mount any offense. They're clearly building to the Shibata hot tag and I absolutely can't wait to see him clean house. Anderson gets a near fall off a leg lariat as Goto keeps trying to retreat from this isolation period he's become subject to. Goto is able to land a suplex on Anderson to create separation and SHIBATA IS IN! He lays in the albows to Anderson in the corner and RUNNING DROPKICK TO MACHINE GUN! The pace slows again after this as Gallows breaks up the octopus hold and the isolation of Shibata begins. It only lasts a minute or two and Shibata nails a huge drop kick which allows him to make the tag to Goto. Shibata & Goto lands some sick double team moves including mirroring kicks in the corner. Goto and Gallows are left to face off, Gallows gets the upperhand and tags Anderson in who starts taunting the babyfaces. Shibata takes this opportunity to lock Anderson in a choke from the apron. Goto goes to hit Anderson, he moves, and GOTO NAILS SHIBATA! Anderson nails a senton and the gun stun on Goto for another nearfall. This match is kind of dragging for me at this point. Anderson & Gallows hit a neckbreaker combo for a two count that is broken up by Shibata. They throw Shibata to the outside and Anderson hits another fireman's carry assisted gun stun, but Goto kicks out. Goto starts fighting back and he & Anderson have a great exchange of counters that leads to a neckbreaker on the knee from Goto to Anderson. Shibata holds Anderson as Goto delivers a lariat and as soon as he nails it, he locks in the sleeper. Anderson fades, Goto lays him down and hits the ropes, KICK TO THE CHEST! Goto takes control after this and hits his finisher for the victory. I didn't dig this match much at all. It felt like it never got out of second gear aside from a few moments here or there. 20 minutes that dragged. They would go on to have a much better match at WK9 in January. None the less, Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto are the 2014 World Tag League Champions.

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