Before I get into today’s review if you have somehow stumbled across this, @RobbieRadford and I work hard to get these out each day, so please give us a retweet and be sure to follow @kayfabetoday. Today’s show was live from the Kagoshima Arena which featured a much-anticipated matchup between the Stone Pitbull Tomohiro Ishii and Hiroshi Tanahashi.
Bad Luck Fale (4) def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (4) [**3/4]
Hirooki Goto (4) def. Tama Tonga (4) [***]
Naomichi Marufuji (4) def. SANADA (4) [***1/2]
Hiroshi Tanahashi (4) def. Tomohiro Ishii (4) [****1/4]
Kazuchika Okada (8) def. Togi Makabe (8) [***3/4]
Bad Luck Fale (4) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan (4)
After an exciting start to the tournament, Tenzan has fallen into a deep slump. They tie up in the center of the ring; the fighting quickly spills to the floor. Fale whipped Tenzan into the barricade, keeping the streak alive for the barricade spot. Back in the ring, Tenzan made the comeback, hitting Fale with some headbutts. Tenzan continued to mount offense which resulted in two near falls. Fale recovered, went for the Bad Luck Fall; Tenzan reversed it into a back body drop. Tenzan went up to the top looking to hit the Moonsault missed; Fale continued to beat down Tenzan hitting a spear, followed up with the grenade for the pinfall victory. Fale winning sucked the air out of the entire building; I was just as disappointed. Coming into the tournament, I expected Tenzan to look a lot stronger; my hope is he makes a run towards the end.
Tama Tonga (4) vs. Hirooki Goto (4)
Goto laid into Tonga with a fury of offense early on in the contest. Tonga made the comeback hitting a dropkick that sent Goto from the apron to the floor. Tonga whipped Goto into the barricade, then proceeded to f5 him on top of the barricade. The action returned to the ring; Goto fed off the crowd reaction making a comeback hitting Tonga with a hard kick followed by a belly to back suplex. Tonga rolled to the outside Goto met him with a plancha, then tossed the Samoan back in the ring. Goto hit the Ushiguroshi but was unable to go for the pin. Kneeled on the mat, the competitors traded forearm shots. Goto gained the upper hand went for what looked to be a brainbuster; Tonga reversed it into a rolling cutter, he followed up with a DDT, for a two count. Tonga went for the gun stun three times on the third attempt, Goto blocked it into the Gtr then followed up with a pin for the victory. Another sub-par match not much else to say about this one.
SANADA (4) vs. Marifuji (4)
After two disappointing matches to start, I was ready for this one, as it featured two of Block A’s best. Both competitors showed their agility, each able to reverse out of the opponents submission attempt. Marifuji offered a handshake to SANADA, SANADA returned the kind gesture with a kick to the groin, then tossed Marifuji to the outside. Back in the ring, SANADA continued to be the aggressor; Fuji was able to make the comeback hit a dropkick, which sent SANADA to the floor. Marifuji did not let up, continued to apply the pressure greeting SANADA with a plancha ringside. Back in the ring, the two traded shots, Marifuji hammered the chest of SANADA with chops. Fuji hit the ropes, SANADA jumped over, getting the upper hand, hitting a dropkick, then a springboard dropkick. SANADA went for the skull end; Fuji reversed went for the sliced bread. However, SANADA caught him, reversed it into a cutter then locked in the skull end. Fuji made the comeback hitting a series of kicks and a knee to the face for a near fall. Finished SANADA off with the sliced bread, giving him the pinfall victory.
Tomohiro Ishii (4) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (4)
Ishii dared Tanahashi to knock him down, the ace answered with a dropkick sending the stone pit bull to the mat. Ishii quickly got up, hit Tanahashi with a few knife edge chops, the offense continued to go back and forth as Tanahashi hit a cross-body block from the top rope. Ishii grabbed the knee of Tanahashi, hit a dragon screw leg whip, followed by a vertical suplex. These two did not disappoint, as they put it all on the line in this one. Ishii was acting quite out of character almost taunting Tana grabbed his ponytail, sliding his foot across the face, and slapping the new Japan ace. The two went to the top turnbuckle, battling back and forth, Ishii hit a huge super plex. They traded elbows in the center for a good two minutes, as a viewer, I couldn’t help but admire how great these two are. Tanahashi hit a suplex dropping Ishii right on his head for a two count. Tana did not let up, hit a sling blade but failed to connect with the high fly flow. Ishii tried to capitalize hit the sliding lariat for the closest near fall I’ve ever seen, at this point, the crowd was going crazy. Tanahashi made the comeback hit another sling blade, finally connecting with the high fly flow which would be the final blow as Tana got the pinfall.
Kazuchika Okada (8) vs. Togi Makabe (8)
Okada gave Makabe a clean break, quickly got back on him, hitting him with elbows to the back of the head, then a dropkick which sent Makabe to the floor. On the outside Okada continued to mount the offense, hitting an elevated DDT, which gave us the signature new Japan count out tease. I would love to see Okada as a heel; he has the look of someone who’s super arrogant. Makabe eventually made the comeback hitting a power slam into a corner lariat. After back and forth offense, they trade forearms. Okada slams Makabe to the mat, hits the elbow drop. Makabe refused to give in asking Okada for more shots to the face yelling “come on.” I’m pretty sure that’s the extent of Makabe’s English. Makabe recovered brought Okada to the top hit a suplex, only to miss the King Kong knee drop. Okada hit a dropkick, followed up with the tombstone piledriver, hit the rainmaker for the pinfall victory.
Show Grade – C+
Finals Thoughts: Another ok show from the A block, as far as must watch matches go I would suggest the Tanahashi vs. Ishii. Block A has a few days off as they will be back on Saturday live from the Osaka Prefecture Gymnasium.