Friday, January 8, 2021

NJPW: New Year’s Dash 2021 Review - January 6th, 2021

NJPW: New Years Dash 
January 6th, 2021
Tokyo City Hall 

Time to see what’s next for New Japan in 2021! 

1) Yuji Nagata vs. Gabriel Kidd
Young lion Gabe Kidd with a big opener here against Nagata. They work holds and throw strikes for most of it. Kidd uses the crab, but Nagata gets a rope break. Nagata then locks Kidd in a cross face for the submission victory. Decent little match.

Match rating - **1/4 

2) Minoru Suzuki & DOUKI vs. Yuya Uemura & Tiger Mask 

Uemura is acting brave and wants Suzuki. Thankfully, Suzuki doesn’t oblige. Also before we get into the match, this entrance was hilarious before the Suzuki-gun duo. DOUKI smashed the railing with his pipe like a madman. Anyways. Suzuki ends up getting his hands on Uemura a minute or two in and it’s as brutal of a beating as you’d expect. Great fire from Uemura though. This really ends up being the story of this whole match and it’s pretty great, to be honest. Simple and effective. Everyone killed their role. Good stuff. Suzuki hits Uemura with the gotch style piledriver for the pinfall. 

Match rating - ***

3) The Empire (Will Ospreay, Jeff Cobb, & Great O Khan) vs. Hiryoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, & Yota Tsuji 

The Empire trio all lost their singles matches at Wrestle Kingdom so they show up extremely vicious here. They dominate most of this match and they hold up Tsuji for an Oscutter off the second rope which ends it. They attack Tenzan post-match and he has to be carried off on a stretcher following an aggressive promo from Ospreay about how pissed he is and how 2021 is gonna be their year.

Match rating - **1/2

4) Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Taiji Ishimori, & El Phantasmo) (w/ Jado) vs. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr, Taichi, El Desperado, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) 

Oh man I loved this. So much heat between these two groups. Sabre & Taichi are pissed because they lost the belts and their glove two nights ago from the Tongans. So lots of staring and shoving and a hot big brawl start. Awesome heel work from BC from bell to bell. Isolating and humiliating Desperado. It ends up being Phantasmo getting the pinfall for BC on Kanemaru with a thrust kick. Post-match assault on he & Despy to set up a junior title feud between the two teams as the BC boys leave with their belts. LOOOTS of heat here and it ruled. 

Match rating - ***

5) Bullet Club (Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, & Yujiro Takahashi) (w/ Dick Togo & Gedo) vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, & Toru Yano)

The big story here is this being Jay White's rumored last match before he.. quits wrestling? That's the story at least. This is a decent match with the big focus being on the aforementioned angle. Ishii & White get the closing segment and Ishii pins White following a brainbuster which is kinda nuts. White is rushed out post-match and we're left wondering.. was that really it? Shit feels weird. Okada and CHAOS stare on after their victory.

Match rating - **3/4

6) Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Rocky Romero, SHO, & Master Wato vs. LIJ (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, Shingo Takagi, BUSHI, & SANADA)

God, seeing Ibushi come out as the last entrant for his team with both of those titles... almost brought tears to my eyes all over again. And he's so happy AHHHH. This was textbook stuff. It sets up Shingo/Tana and SHO/Hiromu and furthers the Ibushi/SANADA stuff from the end of WK. No big finish or angle. Simple match and now we know where we are headed storyline wise for the first part of the year and man, SHINGO/TANA???? I cannot wait for that! Anyway, LIJ wins.

Match rating - **1/2

So, yeah, this was the most uneventful New Year Dash in quite some time which will make this disappointing for some and I will admit, it made it less special for me and there's a chance I won't be as eager to tune in next year, but it's a little early to make that call. It's just weird nothing BIG happened, because in the past few years it became must-see viewing however it didn't feel that way this year. Despite that, not a bad show by any means and I'm pretty excited for the direction everything is going. 

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