Last Updated on Saturday, 20 July 2013 11:02
Written by IQWrestler
Saturday, July 20th, 2013
Tiger Mask, Manabu Nakanishi, Tomoaki Honma & KUSHIDA vs Yujiro Takahashi, YOSHI-HASHI, Jado & Gedo
Overall, this was a pretty standard opening 8 man tag but as far as they go, it was a good one. Some fun moments to get the crowd warmed up, hit all the right spots and ran just long enough.
A total throw away match but none the less, a fun few minutes.
IWGP Jr. Tag Championship
Alex Koslov & Rocky Romero (c) vs Taichi & TAKA Michinoku
This match was a blast, and really set the tone for the show. Taichi & TAKA were in mega heel mode, so it sort of forced Alex & Rocky to play face but the crowd quickly got behind them so the somewhat sudden shift worked really well. Ultimately, what made this such a good match, is what makes all Taichi & TAKA matches good; seeing them be douche bag heels just never gets old and the constantly come up with new antics.
A really well worked match and the best Jr Tag Title match in some time.
Minoru Suzuki vs Tomohiro Ishii
Oh boy, this can only be described as a war! Suzuki is well known for making the guys he wrestles look like a million bucks and he made Ishii look like a main event guy. This pretty much broke down in to a striking match, after some early arm work from Suzuki that didn’t really lead to anything. But the exchanges were pure fire with neither man wanting to go down. A real blast to watch.
IWGP Tag Championship
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (c) vs Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka
The umpteenth meeting between these two teams and this might have been been their best match yet. The first half was just a wild brawl out in the crowd but it got the fans way into it and they really helped elevate the match. Also the few Kobashi tribute moments Kojima sprinkled in were really cool. Another great match right at the start of the show.
NEVER Openweight Championship
Masato Tanaka (c) vs Tetsuya Naito
This match was a really pleasant surprise in my opinion. Tanaka is one of my all time favorites but his run as NEVER champ has been really lackluster and I fully expected Naito to take the belt. I was wrong and I can no longer say Tanaka’s run is lackluster, because this was a wonderful little match. Overall it displayed the strengths of both guys, High flying spots and hardcore moments, and did a great job of it. It looks like this could be a lasting feud, so if these two refine their formula a little bit, we could see some really outstanding matches.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship
La Sombra (c) vs Shinsuke Nakamura
Right here is where the show shifted from really good to really great! La Sombra not only won me over, but I think he won a lot of other people over as well. This match was basically perfect, a number of incredible high flying moves by both wrestlers (including a corkscrew pluncha by Shinsuke and a moonsult off the scaffolding by Sombra), Mat wrestling, striking, everything you could look for in a truly great match.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Jushin Thunder Liger & Captain New Japan vs Bad Luck Fale, Karl Anderson, Tama Tonga & Terrible
Actually my least favorite match on the card. Not because it was bad, it wasn’t, but because it could’ve been so much more. Bullet Club didn’t really get a chance to do much, a big mistake considering they are trying to be pushed as top heels and have two top faces across from them. It was just a paint-by-numbers 8 man tag.
Katsuyori Shibata vs Hirooki Goto
How does match of the year sound? because that’s all I could think after this. The only thing standing in the way is the two other matches the guys have had this year. In terms of a match done purely Strong Style, it does not get any better than this match! The amount of violence in this match, makes some MMA fights look like tea parties. Shibata and Goto beat the snot out of each other, dropped each other on their heads repeatedly, left it all in the ring and I don’t think they are through.
Kazushi Sakuraba vs Yuji Nagata
Another really good match, featuring the ever beloved Mr. Kazushi Sakuraba returning from a nasty elbow injury. Like all of Saku’s matches, this one was pure Shoot Style but it just seemed to be a little off. I’m not sure if it was timing issues or if Saku was a tad rusty but it just lacked that bit of fluidity and fire that made his match with Nakamura so incredible. Regardless it was a good match and it’s so much fun to see Sakuraba do his thing without being beaten to a pulp/
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Prince Devitt
I think fans everywhere were expecting this to be fantastic and it delivered on every bit of hype. Shibata vs Goto was perfect Japanese style and fans of that style will love it to bits but any fan of pro wrestling, even just casual fans or people who don’t watch much wrestling, will love this match. It had just the right amount of everything and was fast paced from start to finish, cutting out the normal slow build style most HW title matches have and it worked perfectly for this match. Unlike the 8 man tag, Bullet Club got over huge in this match and Devitt looked ever bit the credible HW gaijin heel.
I fully expect a rematch during the G1 Climax, then probably another at Wrestle Kingdom and I can’t wait!
Overall Show Rating: ****