NJPW “ANNIVERSARY SHOW”, 3/3/13
Tokyo Korakuen Hall
2,015 Fans – Super No Vacancy Full House
1. Anniversary Opening Match: Hiromu Takahashi & Takaaki Watanabe beat Sho Tanaka & Yohei Komatsu (8:43) when Takahashi used a crab hold on Komatsu.
2. Hirooki Goto, Karl Anderson, Tama Tonga & Ryusuke Taguchi beat Yuji Nagata, Wataru Inoue, Super Strong Machine & Captain New Japan (9:23) when Anderson used the Gun Stun on Captain.
3. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title: KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley (c) beat Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask (11:22) when Shelley used the Shelley clutch on Tiger (2nd defense).
4. Togi Makabe, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Manabu Nakanishi beat Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka, Yujiro Takahashi & YOSHI-HASHI (12:27) when YOSHI-HASHI was DQ’d.
5. Elimination Match: Minoru Suzuki, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Kengo Mashimo Kaientai Dojo & TAKA Michinoku Kaientai Dojo beat Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Jado & Gedo (19:50) when Suzuki threw Okada over the top rope.
6. IWGP Intercontinental Title: Shinsuke Nakamura (c) beat Lance Archer (15:01) with the Boma Ye (6th defense).
7. Anniversary Special Singles Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Prince Devitt (17:23) with the High Fly Flow.
* New Japan ran it’s 41st anniversary show before a packed house at Korakuen Hall today with a good show headlined by a Champion vs. Champion match. IWGP Heavyweight Champion, Hiroshi Tanahashi, faced IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion, Prince Devitt, in an exciting match between the undisputed leaders of New Japan’s two weight divisions. Tanahashi’s title wasn’t on the line and in the end it didn’t matter for him as he defeated Devitt with the High Fly Flow after 17 1/2 minutes. An irate Devitt left without a handshake after the match having failed in his big opportunity to beat New Japan’s leader.
* Shinsuke Nakamura made a successful V6 defense of the IWGP Intercontinental Title against one half of the IWGP Tag Team Champions, Lance Archer. Nakamura pinned Archer following his Boma Ye to make it three defenses already this year for Shinsuke against three wrestlers of completely different styles (Sakuraba, La Sombra, Archer) as he continues to give New Japan’s secondary title its own unique identity.
* CHAOS vs. Suzuki Gun also continued with an Elimination Match in which Suzuki himself ended it by throwing opposite team leader Okada over the top rope. New Japan allows over the top rope eliminations in these matches which often means the bigger names don’t get pinned or submitted.
* “TIME SPLITTERS” KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley made a successful V2 defense of the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title and what a big win it was as they defeated the masked junior legend team of Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask. After Shelley finished off Tiger, the masked duo asked for a rematch but backstage Taguchi also asked for a title match on behalf of Apollo 55 (he and Devitt).
A few of catch-up notes as I’ve been busy in recent weeks:
* Koji Kanemoto has confirmed that he is no longer a New Japan wrestler, a move that seemed long overdue as he’s had nothing to do with New Japan for a while now but continued to sign annual contracts perhaps out of old loyalty to the company he started and spent all of his career at before venturing out into other promotions (mostly All Japan). I’ve never really found out what has happened that made Kanemoto have problems with New Japan as seems to have been the case.
* Young lion Hiromu Takahashi is heading to the UK on a long-term learning excursion after this year’s Best of the Super Jr., as he looks to build a style and identity for himself like so many before him.
* MVP, Shelton Benjamin, and Low Ki have all left New Japan after stints with the company. MVP joined with much hype but was never really able to ascend to main event level and peaked by becoming the founding IWGP Intercontinental Champion. Low Ki was a key member of the junior division in the three way feud between he, Devitt, and Ibushi and I’m disappointed to see him go especially as the junior division isn’t exactly packed with big names.
* Having been bought out by Speed Partners, All Japan is now looking to lift itself again and the new owner of the company Nobuo Shiraishi has decided to provoke industry leader New Japan to get attention. Shiraishi said only Nagata and Nakamura are good wrestlers in New Japan which has upset a number of New Japan wrestlers who have lashed out at him on Twitter. Shiraishi seems to like MMA and may order All Japan wrestlers to fight in it, to which Bushiroad’s Kidani replied that he is 10 years out of date with his thoughts and that things have changed. Shiraishi also “threatened” to buy New Japan and Kidani was insulted by the blatant disrespect, saying this means war between New Japan and All Japan.