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Recap

Strong Style: Gold on the line!

Dec 04 // Soul Tsukino
We start off hour one with Yoshi Tatsu welcoming us to the first show. IWGP Tag Tea titles: Global Bash Heel (Makabe/Honma) vs. The Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga/Tanga Loa) If you remember last time GBH had just defended the titles against Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson as they were headed for WWE. Tama Tonga made the challenge that he would find a partner and they would be the newest member of The Bullet Club. That partner was his brother Tanga Loa, who had wrestled in WWE as Camacho and TNA as Micah. Both are the sons of the legendary Haku who is just about the scariest dude you could meet after hearing the stories about that guy. We see the entrance of The Guerrillas but skip right over the champs' entrance. We start with Togi Makabe and Roa in the ring. They lock up and Roa muscles Togi down. Togi nods and gets up and they lock up again. He starts muscling Roa down and Tama runs in with a shot to the back. Honma then comes in and we got a fight! They pair off in the corners and they try the whip into each other but Honma reverses so Togi can run him over with a clothesline. Roa then gets clotheslined out of the ring for his trouble. GBH pose for a bit then leave the ring to bring the fight to the floor. Honma eats metal barricade. We see a shot of the broadcast table at ringside where Masa Chono and Kazuo Yamazaki are sitting. JR takes a quick shot against people on Twitter for some reason. Roa and Togi roll into the ring  Roa slams Togi down hard and hits him with a leg drop before going for the cover and only gets two. JR actually pronounces Togi's name right for once as Roa tags in his brother who drops a big elbow and also tries for a cover to only get two. He drops another elbow and tries a cover again but no luck. He turns and tags Roa back into the match now. Roa hits a headbutt and a stomp before whipping Togi into the corner. They take turns tagging in and out while stomping Togi into the ground. Tama tries a cover but the ref refuses to count it for some reason and Tama curses at him. Kinda deserved that Red Shoes. Roa tags in and hits a stomp before going for the cover and doesn't get it. He tags Tama back in and they hit a double headbutt on Togi before going for the pin again. These guys are breaking the record for near falls in a match it seems. Makabe tries to crawl to the corner. He gets mid ring, sees his partner isn't there and stops. He then challenges Tama to hit him and when he does, he just smiles. Tama hits him again. Togi smiles. Tama then hits a series of forearm shots and a headbutt and Togi just shakes his head like a nothing happened. Togi then starts hitting Tama with clubs to the top of the head. Tama runs the ropes but Togi misses the clothesline, just to DRILL Tama with the second attempt. Togi then rolls over and makes the tag. Honma comes in and takes out Tama with a hit and knocks Roa off the apron. He gets a slam on Tama.  Tama goes to the corner where Honma whips him across the ring and delivers a forearm shot followed up by the bulldog. Honma goes for the falling headbutt and of course misses. Tama goes to the ropes but Honma pops up and starts running the ropes. They start going in weird angles and even Honma is confused about where they are going. They get straightened out as Tama goes for a charge and Honma leapfrogs him and then catches Tama with a big clothesline on the rebound. As he celebrates, Tama spears the crap out of Honma! Roa tags in and drives an elbow to Honma's head. He does more stomping and delivers another legdrop before trying for another pin and not getting it. After we come back from the break  Roa goes for a suplex but Honma tries to counter it. Roa plants his feet and gets Honma up, but he slides out of it. Roa kicks him in the gut and whips him into the corner. He tries the charge but Honma moves. Roa stumbles out of the corner into a hiptoss and Honma hits the headbutt!  Togi tags in and he and Roa have a clothesline duel that puts Togi down to a knee, but he gets up and hits a clothesline of his own. He splats Roa in the corner and then gives him ten strikes to the head from the second buckle before hitting a northern lights suplex. josh and JR talk about Hiroshi Hase inventing the move while in Stampede Wrestling in the 80's with JR butchering HIS name. Togi gets a waistlock on Roa but Roa counters out and goes to the ropes but Togi hits a clothesline. Tama sneaks into the ring and tries to hit a Stunner but Togi holds firm, grabs on, and gives Tama a German suplex. He goes to give Roa one but Roa hangs on. Togi spins him around and shoot him right into a Honma forearm from the apron and then gets the German suplex with a bridge and gets two. Makabe goes up for the King Kong kneedrop but misses it!  Both guys get the tag and Honma is a house of fire. Tama whips him in and again confuses Honma by bouncing off different rapes before getting the dropkick. Tama hits a flapjack and goes for the cover but gets two. He goes or a double underhook suplex but lets it go as Togi comes in the ring and bowls over Tama with a clothesline. Togi grabs Honma and SLAPS him across the face to wake him up. GBH hits the double clothesline on Tama and Togi picks him up with a sort of twisting Samoan drop before Honma hits the headbutt again. He tries for a pin but Tama kicks out. Tama is whipped into the buckle and hits with clotheslines from both before they go for the doomsday device, but Roa yanks Honma's leg and he crotches himself on the turnbuckle. Tama gets off from Togi's shoulders and hits a neckbreaker. Tama grabs Honma and whips him into the corner where both guys hit flying splashes on him before Tama hits a great looking spine buster. Cover only gets two as Togi interrupts the count. The brothers try to double team him but Togi hits a double clothesline on both. Honma and Tama back in the ring now as they trade some blows back and forth before Honma hits a back elbow in the corner. Tama hits a suplex where Honma takes it a little high on the neck but he rolls over and pops right back up. Honma hits missile headbutt and then hits another one from the middle buckle. He presses his luck and heads up top, but of course, blows it.  Tama picks him up and hits a few forearms and a headbutt. Tama launches back with his own headbutt to put Tama down. Honma picks Tama up for a powerslam but Roa grabs Tama's feet and pushes off, turning it into a Tama neckbreaker. Tama goes for the pin but Togi runs in and breaks it up. Roa comes in now too and goes for a double clothesline but Makabe breaks it, only for Togi to get caught in a fireman's carry into a neckbreaker. Honma is next as Tama picks him up for a powerbomb and have Roa grab the head into a reverse DDT. The pin only gets two, though. They pick him up for what appears to be the magic killer but just drop Honma straight down. Tama makes the cover and gets the pinfall. We have new Tag Champions! We get some studio words from Yoshi Tatsu. He talks about how this came along at the right time since he had regained his confidence that he could wrestle again. He wanted to be able to enjoy his return to the ring, but his first opponents were the Bullet club that he kept his eyes on. He admits he thought about quitting before the show. He was nervous about many things and knew the Club wouldn't care about his neck. He had a lot of help to get back in the ring and what would he tell people if it happened again?  NEVER Openweight 6 man Titles: Yoshi Tatsu, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin vs. The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt and Nick Jackson) Omega is the Intercontinental champion and he and the Bucks won these titles from the Briscoes and Toru Yano back in February. These three call themselves the Elite as they were toying with the idea of replacing the Bullet Club name (it didn't stick). On the other team, Yoshi Tatsu is making his in-ring return about being out well over a year after Tatsu didn't know how to take a Styles clash properly and had his neck broken. Since A.J. Styles isn't around anymore, he just wants to fight the Bullet Club instead. Yoshi comes out first and kind of gets a lukewarm reaction from the crowd. Tanahashi and Elgin come out and get a much better response. Since it's Michael Elgin, JR pimps his podcast and talks a lot about Steve Williams. The Jackasses... err.. Jacksons then make their entrance with Kenny Omega and Cody Hall in tow. On his way to the ring Omega mugs for the camera and goes on about how some fans took part in a "waste of time and money last week" referring to Wrestlemania 32 and then says something about The New Day in some goofy twitter feud that never went anywhere. We come back from the break as the ref is checking all six guys over and The Club says the heck with it and starts the fight. Tanahashi gets tossed from the ring and then Elgin. Omega immediately goes for the Styles clash on Yoshi but Elgin and Tanahashi make the save. Elgin military presses one of the Jacksons and tosses him out on top of Cody outside the ring. Tanahashi and Yoshi suplex the other Jackson and Omega and then Elgin grabs both of them and suplexes them by himself. Total hoss. The good guys then give the DX "suck it" to the club and they decide they are done and start walking to the back. All three of the other team go out and chase them on the floor and we got another fight! They fight towards an entrance way and somehow Nick Jackson goes up above the doorway and Jumps off with a swan dive. He literally comes down right on top of Cody's head and you can see him immediate turn to Cody and ask if he's okay. Everyone starts fighting back towards the ring except Cody who is sprawled out on the floor motionless. That's not good.  Omega is still at the doorway somehow gets a flatbed cart and a trashcan. He puts Elgin on it and puts the can over his head. He then pushes the cart right into a superkick by one of the Bucks. The club gets back in the ring as again Omega tries for a styles clash on Yoshi, but Tanahashi breaks it up. Tanahashi takes out all three guys with legwhips and misdirection before omega stops that quick with a jumping knee to the face. Yoshi gets sent back to the floor with a kick from one of the Jacksons, It is about here that JR makes a steroid joke that leads to him plugging his BBQ sauce and then tries to say Los Ingobernables and REALLY mush-mouthes that all in the span of about ten seconds. Anyway,  All three Club members go sailing over the rope in a swan dive. Tanahashi is shoved in the ring and Omega tries for the pin. It gets only 2. He delivers a backbreaker and then the Bucks deliver a neck/backbreaker combo. Matt comes in and tries for a pin but doesn't get it. We then go back and see Cody being put on a stretcher in a neck brace. Wouldn't surprise me if he didn't get a stinger from having one of the Jackson's come down full force right on the top of Cody's head. Back from the break, The Club have Tanahashi trapped in their corner and rake his back.  Kenny tags in and puts Tanahashi back in the corner and rakes the back again. JR then goes off about Bill Watts not allowing that in Mid-South Wrestling. Jim, WHO CARES?!? Matt locks in a headlock but Tanahashi fights out of it. He takes down the two Club guys off the apron but Matt hits a kick. He whips Tanahashi into the corner but runs right into an elbow. Tanahashi goes for the tag but his partners are yanked off the apron but the Club and he can't get it. Matt has Tanahashi back in the ring but Hiroshi nails him with a jawbreaker and rakes his nails down Matt's back before tagging in Yoshi. Yoshi goes up top but doesn't do anything as he leaps over Matt Jackson. He proceeds to take out all three guys with strikes before he launches into several kicks on Matt. He chops him down and hits a middle kick before getting a two count. He gets whipped in the buckle but rolls right onto the apron to deliver a springboard dropkick to Matt, but again, only gets a two count. Both guys get up and Matt holds Tatsu after a missed sidekick. Nick comes in with the superkick but nails his own brother by mistake. Elgin comes in now and scoops up both guys and flings them across the ring. Yoshi hooks on some kind of spinning leglock on Matt but Omega rolls in with Cold spray and sprays Yoshi's eyes and then gets Elgin and Tanahashi with it too. Omega goofs around in the ring for a while before he actually gets tagged in the ring. Nick Jackson nails Yoshi with a shoulderblock on the apron and then moonsaults out onto Elgin before giving him a twisting DDT. Yoshi gets sent into the corner where all three Club members hit him with a triple kick. They hold Tatsu on the ropes for a senton attack but Kenny only gets a two count. Tanahashi comes in but gets sent right back out as Omega goes for the Styles clash again, but this time Elgin and Tanahashi come in and spray the cold spray in Omega's face! The Bucks get up as well. Yoshi tries a roll up on Omega but he kicks out. Kenny tries for a jumping knee but misses. He walks right into a slingshot elbow from Elgin who comes in and tears into both Jacksons. He suplexes Matt and tries it again but Matt holds onto Nick. Elgin doesn't care as he grabs both Jacksons and suplexes them down. They set up Nick in the corner and all three guys give him splashes in the corner. Elgin and Tanahashi set up a splat attack but Nick gets his knees up. Matt comes in and they double superkick Elgin down. They go to put the Meltzer driver on Yoshi, but Elgin catches Nick Jackson and powerbombs him down onto Omega outside the ring. Yoshi delivers a high knee to Matt Jackson to send him down and Elgin grabs Nick from the apron and delivers the corner Falcon Arrow but Omega breaks up the pin attempt. Tanahashi and Yoshi pick nick up and feed him to Elgin who powerbombs him from the middle rope and pins him. We have new Champions! We come back from break as the new champions receive their belts. Elgin and Tanahashi lift Yoshi on their shoulders and keep trying to put him over as the crowd does actually cheers for him. Elgin goes over and stares down omega in the ring as Omega bows up as Elgin wants the IC title now. As they leave the ring Bad Luck Fale comes out of the crowd and attacks Tanahashi! He hits the grenade before Elgin and Yoshi run back into the ring. Backstage, Yoshi tries to have Tanahashi and Elgin join his Bullet club hunters group, and they both shrug him off! They leave and Capt, New Japan shows up saying HE wants to be a Bullet Club hunter, and Yoshi brushes HIM off. In the studio now Yoshi talks about not wanting to brag about being a champion, he just wanted to be back in the ring. He clarifies that Capt. New Japan has nothing to do with the Bullet Club Hunters and that no one in the locker room wants anything to do with him (ouch!) even if the fans wanted him in there. We kick off the second hour of action with Kushida giving us a greeting.   NEVER Openweight title: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan The backstory here is that Tenzan and his older wrestling buddies Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata, and Marofuji Nakanishi made some comments about Shibata not being a good champion. Like any good wrestling company, you say stuff like that you settle it in the ring. Tenzan comes out first to a big reaction from the crowd. He has certainly earned it with all he's done. You see Nagata, Kojima, and Nakanishi in his corner. Shibata comes out with the belt in hand. They go nose to nose right off. We skip ahead just slightly as the bell rings and they go for a knuckle lock and Shibata takes him right to the ropes but Tenzan reverses the hold. Shibata comes out with some elbows and Tenzan gets a shoulder block. He misses the headbutt, but Shibata goes for a kick and misses. Shibata gets Tenzan into an anklelock.  He goes right into the figure four leg lock  Tenzan struggles but pulls him to the ropes and breaks the hold. Shibata lands the elbow in the corner and starts in with the kicks and stomps. The ref tries to break it up and Shibata tosses the ref halfway across the ring! Ref lets it go and Shibata lands two of his hanging dropkicks. Shibata pulls Tenzan out of the corner but Tenzan launches a headbutt and sends Shibata down. Tenzan gets the mount and lands a bunch of headbutts and Mongolian chops! Shibata gets back up but more chops sends Shibata back down. He lands some punches in the corner but Shibata pops up and yells at him. Tenzan lands another bad headbutt and sends him back down. Tenzan keeps up the offense with a clothesline and adds some kicks in for good measure. He lands a suplex but the cover attempt gets two. Tenzan locks in the anaconda vice lock. Shibata fights hard to get out and gets up to his feet, but Tenzan smartly uses a trip and turns it into an STO. We return from another break as Shibata is slow to get up. Tenzan lays in more headbutts and chops. One chop too many as Shibata catches the arm and turns it into an armlock. Tenzan scrambles and barely makes it to the ropes. Shibata begins to lay in some kicks now. He goes for a big kick but Tenzan lands a kick of his own. He tries for a cover but only gets two, but takes the position to lock in the cobra clutch! He gets Shibata up to his feet and then turns it into and drop on Shibata. He lets go and goes for the cover, getting a two. Tenzan then goes for the ropes to try a moonsault, but Shibata catches him on the buckle and hits a powerbomb! Shibata tries to grab Tenzan but Tenzan BLASTS him with a uppercut headbutt. Shibata's is loopy now on the canvas. Tenzan slides in and gets his side anaconda vice hold. Shibata struggles with it but is able to get a foot on the ropes. Tenzan goes for a suplex but Shibata counters and brings him over. He kind of messes up and nearly drops Tenzan on his head. He gets a two count on the pin attempt. Shibata locks in the rear choke and Tenzan struggles to get to the rope and gets the break but Shibata lands a kick right to Tenzan's head. Shibata locks in another choke and Tenzan is toast. Shibata gets him down on the canvas and hits the PK to get the pin and retain the title. The old guys come in to help Tenzan as Shibata stands over them. He surprises the crowd by bowing to them in respect, only to clobber Nagata! Yuji gets back as the young boys have to hold him back! He's pissed now! Backstage Tenzan says he will be back. Shibata says he looks down at immature old men who don't realize their inability. It's not their time anymore. He held the belt but was treated like the challenger and that motivated him. In the studio with Kushida now. We see the video of Okada announcing Ospreay being the newest member of CHAOS. He mentions Okada making the challenge and wonders if he had the right to do that. Ospreay is special, but he has no Japan experience. He was excited about the match. When asked about Will fighting for the title in his debut, Kushida says that having to defeat a bunch of contenders for a title shot is boring so he wants to put the belt up. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title: Kushida vs. Will Ospreay The build up was already explain but here is a little something about Ospreay. The Englishman was getting a lot of word of mouth out of the British/Scottish wrestling scene and got a big jump when he won the "Best of the Super Juniors" tournament. The rumor was he was sought after by the WWE for their Cruiserweight Classic tournament this past summer but he turned it down saying he had a lot he wanted to accomplish first before going to WWE. He was replaced by Zach Sabre jr. who did the very same thing and turned the WWE down. Commence to drooling folks. Ospreay comes out in bright pink tights and carrying the Union Jack.  Kushida comes out next wearing the belt and his usual Time Splitter gear. They mention the title goes back to 1986 and mention Will could be the first British wrestler to win the title. We come back from break and we are ready to go! Bell rings and both guys stare each other down. Waistlock by Kushida, Will reverses into an armlock, but Kushida reverses into a wristlock. Will bounces his way out of that into a wristlock and a Breakin 2: Electric Bugaloo reference from Josh. Kushida gets the trip and gets into a headlock. Will shoots him off and they counter and cartwheel each other over before Kushida lands the head scissors and have a staredown to the crowd's approval. Kushida tries for a back guard, but Will doesn't go for it. He lands in some strikes but Kushida lands the inverted atomic drop and a dropkick to the knee! Will goes for the cover but only gets two. He lays in some chops and a European uppercut. He tries to whip Kushida, but Kushida hangs on and gets a chop for his trouble. Kushida snaps the arm sending Will outside. Kushida jumps up and does a top rope dive bomb to Ospreay at ringside. Will gets back in and Kushida works on the arm with a finger lock and a stomp. He locks in an armlock but Will tries to counter out but Kushida ain't going for it. Will tries a headscissors but Kushida gets right back into the armlock. He ties up Will's arms in a knot while stretching the arm at the same time. Will counters with a jawbreaker but Kushida strikes the arm. Kushida takes the arm and wrenches it down. He tries to go for Will's arm again but Ospreay counters with a jumping kick to the head! Out of the break, Will is in pain but gets up. Kushida immediately snaps the arm again and then lands a strong kick to the arm. Kushida goes for his reverse springboard elbow but Will ducks and lands a hit of his own. Will lands a springboard dropkick and sends Kushida outside. Will dives over the rope in a cannonball and lands on his feet. They both get in the ring and Will hits a reverse lungblower. He hits the corkscrew splash but only gets two. With Kushida down Will gets a gleam in his eye and picks Kushida up. He winds up the arm and goes for the rainmaker clothesline! Kushida counters it into a wristlock! Ospreay scrambles for the ropes and as Kushida breaks the lock he lands in some kicks to the arm. Will counters with a high knee strike and gets a reverse splash off the ropes, but only gets a two count. Will goes out for the buckle again but Kushida gets the reverse heel kick. Kushida goes up and comes down with Kushida landing the armbar!  Will gets to the ropes and Kushida breaks, but he then drills Will with a dropkick. They start exchanging elbows and palm strikes back and forth. Kushida lands some short kicks but that just pisses Will off. Kushida hits the baseball punch that has Will down in a split on the mat. Will somehow counters into a pin attempt but doesn't get it. We come back from break as Will goes for the ropes again but Kushida jumps up and catches him. Will slides out and ties Kushida in the buckles and strikes him in the butt. Will goes up and lands the splash but Kushida hooks up for a pin attempt. Kushida lands a kick to the arm. Kushida goes for the hoverboard lock but Will just launches him. Kushida  locks in the triangle lock but Will lifts him up on his shoulders. He goes for a slam but Kushida gets the hoverboard lock and Will taps. Kushida retains! DAMN! That was a good one! As Kushida celebrates, Jushin Liger comes into the ring. Liger congratulates him. Liger says he is in his "last phase" but is curious to see if he can do it one more time and lays down the challenge. Kushida says he will not accept any objections and Liger is the new challenger. Backstage Kushida says that wrestling isn't all jumping and flying. He is amazed by Ospreay, especially for only 22 years old. In the studio, Kushida was surprised by Will's strength and he has a stable core strength. He says that for now it' about how many supporters Ospreay can get so that the two of them can main event in the Tokyo dome. He wants it to happen as his dream. He thinks it should be a fan vote and that they would win a fan poll. A good pair of shows. No bad matches per say. You see a noticeable difference in skill level between Tanga Roa and his brother. Despite all the work he has done with WWE and TNA, Roa just doesn't seem to have a whole lot to offer beyond kicks and basic power guy stuff. Hopefully, time in HJPW will improve on that. And I gotta admit, I'm not sold on Yoshi Tatsu either. He just screams mid carder to me. maybe all his worthless effort in WWE has ruined me, but he just doesn't seem like a star to me. The second hour was a lot of fun with both matches. The NEVER match was fun as it had something different that many of Shibata's matches do not have. And the Juniors match was great! Ospreay is every bit as good as his hype would say and will love to see more from him in japan in the future. Next week we get two more episodes as we will see Naito and Okada for the World title and Elgin and Omega fighting for the IC belt. See you then!    
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Will Ospreay arrives!
Hey, Gang! Welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we are taking a look at Invasion Attack from April 10, 2016. We have two episodes tonight as the action is coming from the famed Sumo Hall in Tokyo. Let's get to the action!

Annotated Tokusatsu: Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger episodes 4-10

Dec 03 // Salvador G Rodiles
With these set of episodes being the ones that get us better acquainted with the main gang, Zyuohger hit the right notes in making the zyuman characters a fun group to follow. Aside from the show continuing with its fish-out-of-water elements, there was something wonderful about seeing how the crew acts. From Sela’s desire to have Leo spar with her seriously to Tusk’s strict nature in making sure everyone follows their roles, the series did a fine job in using their traits to the fullest during the segments that follow each character. One of the neat surprises from these set of episodes was the truth behind Yamato’s being able to become a Zyuohger. This was due to the slightly tragic nature of how he’s able to utilize this power. Hell, it was this price that showed us the resolve that Larry and the eagle zyuman had when they chose to aid our main zoologist. All in all, this moment shows that Zyuohger can toss in some serious moments when it wants to take a break from its campy comedic segments between Yamato and his comrades. In regards to the new robot power-ups, Zyuoh Wild is a nice addition to the show’s roster, as he resembles an animal version of the Diesel-Oh from ToQger. Of course, its finisher being a series of rocket punches is a great way to give it a nice super robot feel. If Shinkenger’s early robots were able to do some cool things with the origami theme, then Zyuohger does the same with its cube motif. Sure, the look still doesn’t translate well into a toy, but that’s more of Bandai’s toy division’s fault than the folks behind the machines’ designs and suits. With these set of episodes introducing us to the gang and their new abilities, this worked well in making the show’s first big event hit the audience in the right spots. Sure, this is a thing with many Sentai titles, but it’s one of the signs that you’re in for a nice time when your investment pays off with these segments. In fact, the Dethgalien’s leader joining in the game is one of those things that made this arc intense. Compare to the previous hunting games, Genis’ debut as a player shows how one can spice up the weekly formula in these types of shows. The objective before the main fight made you wonder if the team could accomplish this task before any lives are lost, and the odds worked well in testing the gang’s trust in each other. This was thanks to the doubt between the time while they were rushing to complete the main villain's scavenger hunt of doom. Since it made way for a major two-part segment, this increases the possibility of Zyuohger being a wonderful anniversary series. If there was one odd thing about these set of episodes, it’s the segment that featured Kamen Rider Ghost since it felt a bit off. Sure, the franchise started crossing over with Kamen Rider to promote the previous Super Hero Wars films, but those were presented as a 40ish-minute segment that took up the Super Hero Time block. While its purpose was to get people hyped up for Kamen Rider No. 1, the whole thing is almost similar to the Samurai Sentai Shinkenger and Kamen Rider Decade crossover; thus likely making this sequence canon. Since it didn’t distract too much from Zyuohger’s moments that were dedicated to Tusk’s true views on Amu, Takeru’s cameo appearance didn’t cause the show’s quality to vanish. As Zyuohger reaches its first major point, the series continues to be an interesting attraction so far. The main team is being put to the test and things are setting up for an unexpected reunion for the crew that could change the way how the series will flow. One thing for sure, the show is looking to be one that’s worth catching up to. 
Dobutsu Sentai Zyuohger photo
Never take a sacrifice for granted
I may be really late to the party with my thoughts on Zyuohger, but I felt that I should do my best to catch up with the series before it comes to a close next year. Seeing that I dug the idea of a zoologist fighting alongsid...

Strong Style: Fight for the cup!

Nov 20 // Soul Tsukino
We start off with a greeting from Naito! New Japan Cup semifinals: Toru Yano v/s Tetsuya Naito Naito defeated Yoshi Hashi and Tomohiro Ishii while Yano defeated Yujiro Takahashi and Satoshi Kojima to get to this point. An odd match with the Trickster in Yano and Mr. Tranquilo Naito. Naito comes out first in his white suit and fuzzy mask. He is taking his time on this one as always. Yano jogs right to the ring and starts whacking away with a chair!  He cracks Naito a few times as the bell rings. He gets in a couple of clubbing shots and whips Naito into the ropes but Naito hangs on. He tries for a clothesline but Yano slips around and gets the roll up for two. Naito is wide -eyed and surprised now! He pops up looking to attack but Yano slips between the ropes and the ref stops Naito. Naito pushes the ref out of the way and does a roll to just lay down in front of Yano and glare at him. Yano says the heck with it and walks across the ring and pulls off the turnbuckle pad in full view of Naito and the ref. He turns around and kicks a standing Naito but Naito rakes his eyes and hits an atomic drop. He spits on Yano for good measure. Naito tries to run in for something and Yano catches him in an atomic drop. Naito comes charging in and lands right into the exposed second buckle. Yano tries for a quick pin but doesn't get it. Naito is all out of sorts as Naito tries his hair pull pin but doesn't get it. Naito goes for the waistlock but Yano reverses it and pushes Naito into the ref. Yano then goes low and delivers the low blow and tries to roll Naito up, but hee's got a hold of the ref so when Naito goes over, the ref goes flying over as well. Yano yelled at the ref to get up but Naito comes over. Yano tries another low kick but Naito catches the foot and kicks low himself before getting the roll up and the pin. The match was two minutes long, but with these two that is not unexpected. New Japan Cup semifinals: Hirooki Goto vs. Michael Elgin Elgin beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Bad Luck Fale while Goto defeated Yuji Nagata and Tama Tonga to get to this match. Also worth mentioning is that Goto has won the NJ Cup three times, but has never been able to cash it in for a belt. Yeah, this should be a much better match. Goto is in white but no paint this time. Bell rings and they circle around with the crowd going nuts for Elgin. Japan loves a hoss evidently. They lock up and Big Mike just shoves him down. Goto gets up and tries for a waistlock but Elgin reverses. Goto elbows out but stupidly tries a shoulderblock and Mike just stands there like a breeze hit him. Goto tries another one and Elgin bounces off the ropes and runs over Goto with a block of his own. Elgin gets in some clubs and drives Goto back into the corner. Mike tries the whip but Goto reverses it. Mike stumbles out and Goto meets him with some of his hard kicks. Elgin catches one of the kicks and Does an ENZIGURI! Goto goes outside the ring but Mike follows him onto the apron. he then comes off with a rolling cannonball onto Goto on the floor! We move ahead slightly as both men are on the apron slugging it out now. Elgin hits the bicycle kick to put Goto down. Mike gets back in the ring and goes up to the middle rope. and grabs onto Goto for a suplex and lifts him up from the apron. He brings him down in a falcon arrow in the ring but only gets a two count. Elgin gets Goto up and delivers the bucklebomb. He goes for a second one but Goto slips out. Elgin goes for his spinning back fist but Goto just headbutts him down. CRACK!  Goto goes for a sleeper but Elgin just shoves him off. Mike calls for a clothesline but Goto hooks it and turns it around into a roll up and the pin! Words from Naito He wasn't worried who faced him in the finals. He has never won against Goto and was excited to see a changed Goto in this match. New Japan Cup Finals: Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito A rematch from WrestleKingdom and a grudge match. The winner here gets to choose which singles title he wants a shot at. No time limit. Neither guy had a very long semi match as you just saw. Naito comes out first with Bushi and is in his regular sweatshirt and hat entering the ring. Goto comes out without his jacket and looks ready to go even though he had the tougher match. Goto stares down Naito entering the ring but backs off for the introductions. We also get a look at the actual trophy and DAMN! Bell rings and the crowd seems to be for Goto. They circle slowly as Naito seems disinterested. They go to lock up and Naito pulls back so Goto just start throwing strikes and gets some armdrags on Naito. He lays in some kicks before a chinlock. Naito gets a foot on the ropes but Goto lays in some boots. Naito starts to fight back but Goto lays in some kicks. Naito shoots Goto in the ropes and Bushi trips him. Naito then hits a low dropkick to send Goto to the floor.  Naito whips him into the barrier and Bushi comes over and starts in on Goto, whipping him into the barrier as well. Bushi chucks Goto into the ring. Naito lays in a good strike before tying Goto up in the tree of woe. Naito lays in some kicks and Bushi comes around and starts choking Goto as well. Meanwhile, Naito has shoved the ref down for little reason. Goto falls to the mat. Naito picks him up to whip him into the corner but meets a kick for the charge.  Goto runs out but Naito catches him with an atomic drop and then a neckbreaker. Naito poses a bit before pulling Goto up and slinging him into the ropes. Naito hits an elbow and then a low dropkick. Naito gets a cover but Goto kicks out. Naito lock in a chinlock, Goto gets out with a few elbows and goes for the ropes but Naito meets him with a kick. Naito goes for the ropes but Goto follows him in and folds him in half with a big clothesline! Goto whacks away with the forearm. Naito comes back with a few of his own and sends Goto into the corner. Naito misses the charge but goes to the ropes but Goto runs him over AGAIN with a clothesline. Goto gets him in the corner and gets a spin kick on Naito and then a Saito suplex. Goto goes for a German suplex but Naito escapes. Goto charges the buckle but misses and Naito gets him over the rope hanging low dropkick. He leaps to the top and lands a missile dropkick. Naito lands the German suplex but Goto kicks out. Naito sets Goto on the buckle but Goto escapes and hits a strike on Naito. He jumps up and goes for the superplex but Naito blocks. Goto keeps fighting but Naito still hanging on. Goto goes to the top rope and finally gets the superplex. Both guys splat on the canvas in a heap. We return from break with both guys down. Goto hits a corner clothesline and he goes right up to the top and lands a big elbow. He tries for the pin but Naito kicks out. He picks Naito up but Naito squirms out. Goto meets him with some forearms, though. He shoots Naito into the ropes and Naito tries a flying forearm but Goto steps out of the way. He then grabs Naito's hair and snaps him back down right on the knee! Damn, that's how you hurt someone permanently. Goto then hits the ushigoroshi! He's not going for the pin though as he sets up for the shotenkai, but Naito lands a knee and gets out. Naito delivers a tornado DDT and now both guys are down. They struggle up and exchange some forearm shots before Naito hits an enziguri and a flying forearm. He drags Goto over and puts him n the top rope for a super hurrancanarana but the pin only gets two. He picks Goto up and Naito tries for gloria (reverse wristlock lift into a suplex) but Goto blocks it. Naito hits a rolling Liger kick and hits gloria but the pin again gets two. Naito tries destino but Goto blocks it and gets a ushigoroshi!  They struggle up and Goto puts Naito in the top rope and gets him up for the super ushigoroshi and hits it! The cover is REALLY close to three. Naito scrambles to get up and lands a few forearms. Goto tries a kick but Naito catches his leg. He drops it and just elbows Goto in the face. Goto responds with a string headbutt and a kick to the guts. He gets Naito up and drills him with a shotenkai but can't get the pin! Goto sets up for a suplex but EVIL shows up. Goto gets him and delivers an ushigoroshi. Bushi goes down. Goto gets Naito with a corner clothesline and sets up for another ushigoroshi but Naito counters into a DDT!  Both guys get to their knees and trade forearms. Goto seems to get the better of it. They are up to their feet and more forearms. Naito lands a palm strike right to Goto's head and then another one. Goto lands a headbutt but Naito hits a dragon suplex. Naito hits Destino and gets the pin! Wow, what a match! Bushi and EVIL beat down Goto and lick him out of the ring. They go out and keep beating on him and takes a few shots at the young boys. Naito struggles to get up as he is presented the trophy.  He calls for a fist bump from the presenter. Who climbs out of the ring and then comes back in to give him the fist bump. That...was odd. Back from break with Naito in the ring. He says he challenges Okada but he will decide WHEN that match happens. Bushi and EVIL toss Goto back in the ring as Naito runs him down saying that only the costume has changed and nothing else. Maybe he should wear a mask Naito asks. They then start laying into him but Okada, Gedo, and Ishii run in to break it up. Okada extends a hand to Goto and Goto shakes it! Okada asks if Naito will challenge him in Ryogoku, and not be scared. He will finish Naito off at Invasion Attack. Naito gets up on the apron and they have a staredown, but Okada backs off and leaves. Naito grabs the mic and says if Okada wants to fight at Ryogoku that bad, he will. he tells Okada not to rush and tranquilo. In the back, Goto says this has to stop before he gets up and leaves. Okada says Goto is a CHAOS member and Naito should be scared. Naito says he is not to subordinate to Okada. He buries the concept of the tournament, saying he shouldn't have to fight right off the bat after winning, but says since the champ challenged him he will do it Studio words now as Naito says Goto was struggling and was quite easy for him in this fight. Again he buries the idea that the tournament cup winner has to fight at Ryogoku. He says Goto is a good wrestler and he respected him, but in this match, Goto disappointed him. The first two matches were a complete wash, no doubt about it. However, the final match was really good so in a tournament format, it can be excused. With Goto, they are going somewhere with this "change" storyline with him but I have no idea where. Great show tonight! We are off next week but after that, we got another double shot of wrestling including the first match on this show featuring the amazing Will Ospreay! See you then!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
New Japan Cup time!
Hello! Welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV.  With WrestleKingdom in the rearview mirror, it's now time to determine the next top contender with the New Japan Cup tournament...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 5-7

Nov 16 // Soul Tsukino
Episode 5 This seems like a tale of two kitties. The big thing about this episode is that despite the complete BLOODBATH that occurred in the last episode. It's completely ignored. Wakamatsu getting his skull crushed and then ran into the ring post? He's perfectly fine! Tiger Mask bleeding worse than the infamous Muta scale match with Hiroshi Hase (look it up on YouTube if you aren't squeamish)? Nope, he's all good. I know Japan is known for wrestlers not selling big moves but C'mon! Anyway, the big story point here is that Tiger Mask has joined New Japan Pro Wrestling officially. Before his first match, he runs into Fukuawara Mask. An odd trickster type character who bares a striking resemblance to real life wrestler Ebbasan from about ten years ago. We see Fukuwara mask wrestle Wakamatsu in a match and totally trick Wakamatsu in getting carted out. Tiger Mask ends up fighting Tomoaki Honma.. and of course, pins him after Honma misses the Kokeshi headbutt. Well, give the producers points for accuracy there! At a different arena, the GWM is having a show. Tiger the Dark crushes some guy and it turns out things are not united with the GWM wrestlers. Seems the vets don't like how a newcomer like Tiger the Dark is dominating his opponents, especially the main guy Bosman. It is now apparent that Tiger The Dark (Takuma), Kevin Andersen, and Mike are an island unto themselves in the GWM. This leads to both Tigers being in different battles royal (the proper way to plural battle royal according to Gordon Solie). Tiger the Dark draws number one in a royal rumble style where a new man enters the ring every few minutes (facing 18 nobodies and Bosman) and Tiger Mask is in a regular battle royal where we see Okada, Wakamatsu, Honma, Ishii, Fukuwara Mask, Makabe, and Nagata as an in-ring competitor. They are fighting it out for...rice. Seriously, the biggest wrestling names in Japan are fighting over rice. This episode is short on story. Other than having Tiger Mask join NJPW, there isn't a lot of exposition here. It is a much lighter episode than the last one, but they pretty much ignore everything that happened in that episode too. No healing, no revenge, no nothing. Really detracts from the flow of the series.  Hopefully, this branches into something bigger. Episode 6 Straight up, this episode makes little sense and is so not important to the story it seems to be spoofing itself. So now that he has joined NJPW Tiger Mask's next opponent is Gorilla Jeet Singh. A scimitar wielding psychopath that barely speaks any decipherable language and grunts a groans a lot. Of course, this is a spoof of Tiger Jeet Singh, a wrestler originally from the Punjab (later living in Canada) who was recruit by Antonio Inoki to play a foreign bad guy against him in the '70s, despite not having a whole lot of actual wrestling skill. He would run to the ring carrying a fencing saber and attack fans in the crowd. He wrestled (brawled would be more accurate) for over 30 years, most of it in Japan. Anyway in the lead up to the fight, NJPW is going to have "the next generation of Idol singers" sing a song before the fight. These two little brats are Nama Ham and Yaki Udon, you know their names because they say it constantly and speak in the third person. They hate wrestling and even send out a message on their website about how they were tricked into doing the show. They arrive in the ring for the show and the women wrestling fans damn near boo them out of the building and throw trash at them in the ring. What does any of this have to do with the plot of the series? Red Shoes, got any ideas? Yup. That sums up my feelings on this one. Tiger Mask fights the guy, and the only good thing out of this episode is Gorilla signs voice acting. It is hilarious. One the other hand, the idol singers look and sound awful. I still can't figure out if they just act that way to get attention, they are trying to "play heel", or if they really are as big of brats as they sound. They also both sound, and are animated to look like they are 30 years old. Short and sweet, you can skip this episode completely and you won't lose a thing. Episode 7 This episode was titled "Naoto and Naoto" and promised to be something more about the original Tiger Mask anime. Did it live up to its promise? This episode thankfully has way more purpose than the last episode did. It does have a lot going on with more than one storyline at work in this episode. There is a lot of mention of the past, but it isn't the sole story being told here. Tiger Mask and Haruna are in Okinawa for a New Japan wrestling show. The Main Event is Tiger Mask and Yuji Nagata facing Okada and his CHAOS buddy Yoshi Hashi. But before any of that, we see the reporter  Hikari digging around in some archive and then asking a distracted Haruna for an interview with Tiger Mask. The interview is very brief. Hikari tells the story of the original Tiger Mask to him and asks if he is from the Tiger's Den, if he is related to Tiger Mask, and why use the name. He answers he is not from the Den, not related to Naoto Date, and he answers that she should be able to find out why he took the Tiger Mask name on his own. This episode also gave us some background on the bad guy side of things as well. In a follow-up from two episodes ago, Tiger the Dark gets his shot at the GWM US title, thanks to winning the battle royal. He is facing off against Bosman (in the "Kow Bell" arena in Texas) and beats him for the belt. His rookie buddies Kevin and Mike congratulate him backstage \and soon the other wrestlers do too. Bosman is demoted to indy shows and Miss X is called to Mr. X's office. He then explains the story of the original Tiger Mask from their side of things. Original Tiger Mask beat the then top executive of the company Tiger The Great, and nearly sank the organization, leading to the original Mr. X to die is despair. He doesn't say how he became Mr. X or how Miss X got to where she is, but between this and the earlier scene, it does get us up to speed a bit on what has happened since the original show. The other ongoing plot here follows an old street vendor and his granddaughter. The old guy is banged up after a drunken argument over wrestlers being stronger than karate guys. This leads to him seeing an ad about the new Tiger Mask wrestling and he thinks it's the original. His granddaughter follows him to the show, and it's her first wrestling event. She's enthralled but the old guy is skeptical of anyone using the Tiger Mask name. He watches the main event and starts having flashbacks when he sees Tiger Mask use the back suplex just like the original did. Like I said earlier, this episode had a clear purpose of linking the shows together, and it worked. However, it didn't take the clear path to do it, and that's good in this case. An episode like this in most other shows would literally be two characters talking with a mountain of flashbacks and not much else going on, but this show not only breaks things up with stuff going on like Tiger the Dark winning the title and The tag match, but we even got to see the events of the original from both perspectives of the story. And look who also shows up? Speaking of the flashbacks, I give credit because they did these scenes perfectly. The flashback scenes were animated to look as close to anime in the early '70s as possible. The animators here did an amazing job with the retro style in these scenes and I believe having that distinction really made the flashback scenes work. Big Kudos for doing that. So this was easily a much better and more productive to the story episodes than the last one. It had a purpose and fulfilled that, and didn't take the easiest road to do it either. Hopefully, this means we are back on track after going off the rails a bit. Overall These eps were a mixed back. Episode 5 was alright, but a let down after the bloodfest of the previous episode. Episode 6 is a totally skippable wash, but Episode 7 gets it right. Fight On Tiger Mask! [Catch Tiger Mask W on Crunchyroll.]
Tiger Mask W photo
The good, the bad, and the kitty
Heya Japanator readers! Welcome to our look at the Tiger Mask W anime with episodes 5-7. When we last saw our hero, Naoto, under the mask of Tiger Mask, he got the crap beaten out of him but was able to defeat Red Death Mask in the end. Meanwhile, Tiger the Dark is being overlooked. Ley's see what happens next!


Strong Style: Double the action from Niigata!

Nov 15 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted in the first hour by Bushi. Someone new to open up our action. IWGP Tag titles: Global Bash Heel (Togi Makabe/Tomoaki Honma) vs. Bullet Club (Karl Anderson/Luke Gallows) A rematch from WrestleKingdom 10. No big secret here that Anderson and Gallows are on their way out for the WWE at this point, even if they stuck around longer than Styles and Nakamura who had already left. Josh Barnett starts us off as JR doesn't say anything for a few minutes. Club comes out with Tama Tonga and Fale. GBH come out and Honma's got a smile. We immediately jump ahead in the match as all four are in the ring. GBH sends the club out and poses before Makabe goes outside to fight with Gallows while Honma and Anderson stay in the ring to fight. The camera stays on the fight on the outside WAY too long and misses Honma and Anderson trading clotheslines. Honma finally puts Anderson down with a running clothesline. He scoops Anderson up into a slam and then misses a falling headbutt. As this is going on Gallows and Makabe as still fighting outside. Honma rolls out of the ring and Anderson follows him. Togi has his head placed on the barrier and Gallows kicks the metal to jar Togi while Anderson brings Honma all the way up the entrance ramp. Anderson and Honma trade blows until Gallows runs up and clobbers Honma down. They set him up and give him a decapitator on the ramp and THEN the ref starts to count. Anderson holds Honma's arm off the side of the ramp and Gallows just drops on it. Ouch. Honma scrambles and barely gets back in the ring where Anderson is waiting for him. Anderson starts in with a wristlock and then a hammerlock on the arm. He quickly tags on Gallows who then attacks the wrong arm! He hits some good headbutts but he looks kinda stupid now, so he tags Anderson back in who wraps Honma's correct arm around the top rope and works it over with an arm wrench and then a few kicks on it for good measure. Anderson just throws him down to the mat and tries three times in a row to get the pin but Honma keeps kicking out. He tags in Gallows now who lands some kicks (in the correct arm) before tossing Honma outside where Anderson wraps Honma's arm around the barrier and wrenches back on it. Meanwhile, Togi just gets back up on the apron just for Gallows to nail him down. Anderson goes back outside and kicks Honma and then Gallows slams a chair right on the sore arm. Against Honma scrambles back in the ring, but again he does it really awkwardly like "I'm hurt! Now I'm perfectly fine! Now I'm hurt again" looks kind of hokey doing that. The Club work over Honma some more and they send him to the corner where Gallows goes for a charge but Honma moves. He is almost to the corner when Anderson comes in and kicks Togi off the apron. The ref chases him out as Gallows is pounding on Honma. Gallows goes for a big suplex but Honma blocks it and just muscles the bigger Gallows over for a suplex. Makabe finally gets the tag!  He comes in and clubs both guys down. Gallows tries an attack but Makabe just flattens him with a clothesline. He throws Anderson into the barrier and clotheslines him before running across the ring and clotheslining Gallows. Togi climbs the ropes and beats on Gallows. Togi runs him over with a BIG clothesline and goes for the pin but Anderson breaks it up. Honma comes in and throws Anderson out and both he and Togi do a double clothesline on Gallows, putting the big guy to his knees. Honma goes to the ropes but Anderson trips him and pulls Honma outside while Gallows lands a big bicycle kick to put Togi on the mat. We return from the break with Togi and Gallows making the tag so Honma and Anderson are in the ring now. They exchange some fists before Honma gets the upper hand and gets Karl into the corner when Honma catches him and sends him down with a bulldog. Honma's feeling it now and the crowd is right with him. He nails the falling headbutt and then gets in a middle rope blockbuster! He tries for a pin but doesn't get it. Karl gets up and both starts throwing forearms away back and forth. Again Karl misses a corner charge and Honma sends him down with a clothesline. Togi comes in and takes Gallows down in the corner. GBH try for the doomsday headbutt but Gallows comes in and hits Honma in the top turnbuckle to stop that. Anderson punches out off from Togi's shoulders and sends Makabe right out of the ring. Both Club guys send Honma into the corner where Anderson hits a jumping kick and Gallows hits a clothesline and body press. Honma stumbles out of the corner right into a reverse neckbreaker by Anderson. He tries for a pin but Makabe runs in to break it up., Gallows grabs hold of Togi and sends him out and then goes after him. In the ring Anderson hits a version of his gun stun move He tries for a pin but Honma kicks out. They exchange strikes before Honma just hits the headbutt on Anderson and flattens him. He tries with Gallows but Gallows counters with a kick to Honma's head. He then gets the sit-down powerbomb and yells at Anderson to get him since Karl is the legal guy. Karl uses a bloody Sunday DDT. The Club goes for the magic killer but Togi comes to interrupt it, but Gallows NAILS him in the throat with an uppercut. The club goes for a double clothesline but Honma headbutts the grip to break it and Togi runs down Anderson. Makabe then grabs HONMA and starts chopping him in the corner. He's waking up his buddy. Makabe signals for the big finish as GBH get Anderson up and hit the doomsday headbutt. Togi clothesline's Gallows outside and Honma slams Anderson in the ring. Makabe goes up and hits the king Kong knee drop and then Honma hits the kokeshi headbutt and scores the win! After posing a bit, Tama Tonga grabs the mic and makes the challenge for the title belts. He says his partner will be the new bullet club member and that they will destroy them and become the champions. Togi replies (in English), "Anytime, Anywhere, no problem" . The champs leave and The Club have a huddle and group hug in the ring before Gallows and Anderson bow to the crowd. Oddly JR doesn't mention that this is their last match in Japan as until this point. Backstage Anderson puts over New Japan and even Makabe and Honma before saying that Tama Tonga and the new member of the club will win the belts. He says the club started with these guys and Prince Devitt (Finn Baylor) and that the Bullet Club will go down as the best group in history because they were real and friends. Watch out Okada, watch out Makabe and Honma. Anderson and Gallows may be leaving, but they aren't gone. Studio words from Bushi now. He was just coming off an injury and got a chance to talk to Naito, saying he couldn't keep going like he was (as a curtain jerker). However, he is still his own person and not just a follower of Naito. He doesn't mind what Kushida wants to do with the Juniors division, but the idea that Kushida is what makes the belt shine is a misunderstanding IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title: Kushida vs. Bushi This match was set up the day after WrestleKingdom when Bushi attacked Kushida at a show and blinded him with mist in the eyes, saying he was the next of the juniors in line for the belt. As Bushi comes to the ring JR and Josh talk about the set up for this match and that Bushi said he was sick of the Juniors in New Japan being a foreigners playground. They also point out that Los Ingobernables is based off Naito and others excursion to Mexico. We return from the commercial as the bell rings. Instead of a lock up, Kushida slides down to the mat for a guard position which is a strange position to start a match. Doesn't go anywhere as he gets right back up again. Bushi goes in and Kushida goes for a single leg takedown but the masked man catches him and goes into a waist lock but slides into and armlock. Kushida slides into a reverse and then into a headlock. He flows into a single leg takedown and into a front face lock. Bushi keeps trying to counter but Kushida counters that and keeps the headlock going. Kushida keeps a float on Bushi but the masked man gets out. Kushida whiffs a big spinning kick that the audience appreciates and he reminds Bushi he just nearly knocked his block off. Bushi is able to grab and headlock and they run the ropes avoiding each other's attempts at a move before they both throw a dropkick at the same time and back off for the stare down, much to the applause of the audience. Bushi's no slouch at the mat game either it seems. Bushi complains since Kushida won't shake his hand. Bushi shakes the ref's hand for some reason and when Kushida goes to shake the hand Bushi just gouges right at his eyes. Bushi clubs Kushida but Kushida recovers to get a reverse atomic drop on Bushi and put him down on the mat face first before a cartwheel and then dropkicks Bushi right on the side of the head! Naito and EVIL show up at ringside as Kushida whips Bushi into the buckle but Bushi counters the charge with a kick using the middle ropes for leverage.  Bushi lands a dropkick from the top rope and then does a spinnerooni (the hell?!?) before spitting on Kushida. Bushi grabs Kushida from the apron and pulls him part way through the ropes and then dives down snapping Kushida on the ropes and falling to the floor. With the ref distracted Naito and EVIL go to work. Naito clobbers one of the young boys when EVIL horse collars Kushida with a chair and then smacks it with another chair! Kushida just gets in the ring at 18 and is immediately caught by Bushi who snap mares him over. Bushi locks in a stocks position and gets him up before dropping him down in a DDT. Pin only gets two.  Bushi locks in an STF hold and then starts fish hooking Kushida. Bushi releases the hold and gets up with Kushida trying a feeble chop  He lands some stronger shots to the stomach but Bushi shoots Kushida off and quickly strips off his t-shirt and starts strangling Kushida with it! Bushi releases the shirt and as the ref is warming him, EVIL comes over and slugs Kushida who is near the ropes. Bushi goes to the apron to claw at Kushida's face, but Kushida catches his arm and cranks it on the ropes. Kushida leaps into the ring and puts the masked man down with a clothesline. he starts throwing his karate style kicks to Bushi's arm and Bushi tries to counter by whipping Kushida in the ropes, but instead Kushida hits the rebound elbow. Bushi goes outside but Kushida comes over the top rope and nearly misses Bushi completely. Kushida gets back in the ring as Naito jumps on the apron, and doesn't do anything. Bushi tries to get in the ring, but Kushida nails his running dropkick. He goes up and tries for a moonsault but misses, trying to land on his feet but stumbles backward. Bushi runs up and tries for a code breaker, only for Kushida to grab the wrist and lock in a wristlock! He transitions into a cross armbreaker! Naito gets up on the apron and the ref starts screaming at him. Kushida gets up and tries for a heel kick on Naito but gets both he and the ref. EVIL tries to jump in the ring but Kushida takes him down with one shot and he goes out. Kushida kicks Bushi on the ropes and rolls right to the apron. Kushida jumps in for a slingshot clothesline but Bushi sprays the green mist!  Kushida rolls out of the ring and Bushi hits him with a suicida! Bushi attacks a young boy outside before rolling Kushida in the ring. He lay him on the top rope and hits him with a flying dropkick right to the base of the neck. We come back from commercial as Bushi heads up to the top rope. Kushida counters by running into the corner as Bushi leaps off and rolls through it. Bushi tries a kick but Kushida catches the leg, only for Bushi to kick him in the head with the other foot. Kushida is stunned but counters another Bushi kick and winds up with the baseball punch and crack, right in the jaw. He mounts on Bushi and starts palm striking him right in the face before hooking onto the mask and tries to rip the damn thing off! Bushi doesn't take to kindly and starts yelling before he starts smacking Kushida in the head with palm strikes. This breaks down into a fight before Kushida smacks Bushi with a strike, and Bushi just SLAPS Kushida in the face. Kushida doesn't like that either so he starts through heavy kicks right into Bushi's arm. Kushida takes the arm and wrenches it over his shoulder. He tries it again but Bushi reaches up and hooks Kushida into a backslide attempt. Then get all turned around before Bushi lands a low blow kick. Bushi then tries to put the REF in a backslide and uses that to spray red mist in Kushida's face. Bushi hits the code breaker and goes for the p\in but Kushida kicks out! Bushi scales the top rope and goes for a dive but Kushida catches HIM in the code breaker! Bushi is hurt now as e goes to the corner, Kushida is up and nails a dropkick to the sore arm. He goes for another attack but EVIL grabs the leg from outside the ring. Ryusuke Taguchi comes running over and clobbers him. In the ring, Kushida goes for the Hoverboard lock but can't get it in all the way. Naito gets on the apron and Kushida kicks off him to get Bushi down in the submission. The young boys and Taguchi at ringside block Naito and EVIL from getting in ad Kushida rolls Bushi over in the lock and gets the submission! Backstage Bushi says that he will make Kushida feel the humiliation he feels right now. If Kushida wants to elevate the juniors, go it on your own time. Back in the ring, Kushida says he couldn't see because of the mist, but he could hear the fans cheering. He will make the juniors the best ever. In the studio, Bushi says that the location really elevated the match. It wasn't so much the fans were booing him but will cheer him when he actually wins the title. He wants the junior singles belt and wins the Junior tag title, but he would have to find a partner for that. He says it's Naito's show since they all have individual abilities. He says it's different from teaming with EVIL than it is with Naito. He will keep on fighting! Hour Two! We are greeted by Kenny Omega, who goes pew pew pew. No kidding here folks. We get Studio words from Omega as he talks about throwing A.J. Styles out of the Bullet Club. He said you can't have a leader catering to the fans and that someone needed to take the reigns, there was no one else, it had to be him. He is there to make The Bullet Club the number one heel group in wrestling. He goes on to talk about wanting to face Nakamura, but that Shinsuke was scared and didn't want to lose. He says Tanahashi is no ace, and that on a worldwide scale he means nothing. He wants to take NJPW and lead it to new heights, to make it worldwide. IWGP Intercontinental Title: "The Cleaner" Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi As already hinted this was supposed to be Omega facing Shinsuke Nakamura. Nakamura either didn't want to drop the belt or wasn't allowed to so the belt was vacated and Tanahashi was put into this match. This is also Omega's singles debut in the heavyweight division after being the top heel Junior for so long. Omega comes out with Takahashi and Cody Hall in his sweet long black tights. Since we got this for the full hour, we get full introductions for both guys. Tanahashi comes out alone and as Josh says, probably with the useless Captain new Japan outside for support. His shoulder is taped up heavily as well. We come back from break as the bell rings. Both guys circle around and immediately Cody Hall sticks his arms in but doesn't do much. They lock up and trade back waist locks back and forth until they get into the ropes. Clean break from both men as Omega seems proud of it for some reason. Tanahashi locks in a headlock and Kenny tries to get out but can't. Kenny keeps trying, but Tanahashi switches to the other arm on the lock before switching into a waistlock  and then back into the headlock. Omega shoots him off but Tanahashi just runs over him with a shoulderblock. Yujiro Takahashi gets on the apron and grabs Tan, but Omega actually tells them to stop. Josh and JR aren't buying it. "Smart Marks are going to hate you for doing that. I can do this on my own."- Kenny Omega. Cody says something about "No, that's the jabroni way" before he and Takahashi leave. Omega hops in the ring and we get going. They trade wristlocks back and forth until they get into the corner. Tanahashi whips omega in but gets met with a kick when he charges. He comes in again and Omega moves but Tanahashi counters with a strike. Tanahashi goes on the middle rope but Kenny gets underneath him and immediately goes for the one winged angel! Tanahashi scurries out of that real quick and when Kenny goes for a strike Tanahashi kicks him and ducks another Kenny attack before whipping him into the corner. Kenny rebounds right into a back body drop. Omega scrambles over to the corner and Tanahashi is right on top of him with some kicks. he then does Good Vibrations (!?!) on Omega making the crowd cheer. He sets Omega on the top turnbuckle and goes for Nakamura's knee strike but Omega moves and he hits the buckle. Tanahashi tries to strike Omega, but Kenny catches it and drops the arm over the top rope. He comes back in and starts hammering on Tanahashi's arm now, but Tanahashi counters back with some liver punches and a forearm strike to the face. He runs the ropes but Omega tosses him over the top. Tanahashi tries to skin the cat but Omega is waiting for him and catches him into a shoulder breaker on the bad arm. We come back from break with Tanahashi on the floor and Omega goes after him. He starts stomping away on Tanahashi and throws him into the steel barricade. He yanks Tanahashi's arm through the bars and pulls for all his worth. He chokes Tanahashi out with a television wire as well. He whips Tanahashi into the barrier again but when Omega goes charging in, Tanahashi raises the feet and kicks Kenny in the face. However,  Kenny turns around and slugs Tanahashi and then throws him into the barrier again. He gets the ringside area to clean out as he tries a suplex over the barrier but can't get it. He wrings the arm over the barrier and tries it again, slamming Tanahashi down right in a section of metal chairs. He picks Tanahashi up, but also finds a Naito mask and puts it on. He hops on the barrier and does a perfect moonsault onto the standing Tanahashi. Nice! Kenny rolls into the ring as the ref begins to count. Tanahashi struggles and drags himself in at 19. Omega immediately goes for the tape on the shoulder and rips it off. He then gets in an armbar but then switches into a key lock on the good arm. He reaches down and grabs Tan's bad arm and pulls back on it. Ouch! He gets even worse as he bends the arm WAY back and actually leans back it with full body weight. MEGAOUCH! He lets go and then starts pounding on the bad shoulder with elbows before putting the arm in an armlock. Tanahashi counters out with some punches and gets to his feet but when he tries to run the ropes, Omega gets a sleeperhold on!  Tanahashi struggles and Omega turns it into a crossface chicken wing. He hops on Tanahashi's back for more leverage. Tanahashi falls back and squashes Omega down. They both struggle to get up. Omega charges the corner but Tanahashi moves. He strikes Omega a few times but Omega whips him into the ropes. Tanahashi comes off with a flying forearm  He sets Omega up for the middle rope senton, but Kenny pops right up. He scoops up Tanahashi for a shoulder breaker but Tanahashi wiggles out of that. Tanahashi goes for a kick but Kenny catches it and goes for a kick of his own that Tanahashi catches and gets Kenny in a dragon screw leg whip! Back from the break, as Tanahashi goes for the cloverleaf but Omega gets to the rope quickly. Omega gets up and gets a shot in. Tanahashi goes for the slingblade clothesline but Kenny dodges it and gets in a full nelson. he tries for a suplex but Tanahashi won't budge. Tanahashi then gets in a LOUD chop to Kenny's chest. Kenny rebounds off the ropes over Tan's head into the facebuster that he turns into an armbar. He cranks on it with all his might but Tanahashi is able to get to the ropes and break the hold, but Kenny keeps hold of the arm as they get up. He pulls on the arm as hard as he can. Kenny picks up Tanahashi in a foreman's carry and goes for the Finlay rolls but when he kips up, he wobbles the knee badly. He makes it up the corner on one leg and gets the moonsault but can't get the pin. Kenny tries for a gutwrench but can't get it and falls backward with Tanahashi falling right on the bad knee. He gets up and tries to walk it off but tries to get Tanahashi up in a Doctor-bomb but just can't get it. Kenny charges Tanahashi on the ropes but Tanahashi just lifts him up and dumps him over the ropes to the floor. Tanahashi sees this goes right to the corner and up to the top in one motion. He comes off with the body splash on the floor be regrets it as he is grabbing his arm. Tanahashi is the first in the ring and eventually omega hops to the apron. Tanahashi grabs the leg and lays in a nasty looking dragon screw leg whip. Tanahashi goes for the cloverleaf again but Kenny kicks off and gingerly gets to his feet. Kenny tries a kick with the good leg but Tanahashi catches it and turns it into a leg whip just as Kenny was trying and enziguri. Tanahashi snaps the leg a few times before locking in the cloverleaf. Kenny nearly gets to the ropes but Tanahashi pulls it back and then really leans back on it. Cody Hall then runs to the ring and drags the ref outside. Suddenly the Young Bucks come out from under the ring and double superkick Tanahashi right in the head. They then spike him with the indy taker and duck out of the ring. The ref returns and Omega hits the Styles clash but can only get two out of it. He tries to get a jumping knee but Tanahashi dodges it and locks in a full nelson into a dragon suplex! Back from the break, and both guys are hurting. They get up to their feet and Omega starts smashing Tanahashi with forearms strikes but then Tanahashi counters back with strikes of his own. Kenny strikes back and Tanahashi gets spun around where Kenny hops up and gets the reverse hurrancanrana that drives Tanahashi right on his head! He goes for the one winged angel but Tanahashi reverses it into his own reverse hurrancanrana! Tanahashi hits a straight jacket suplex. He can't get the pin! Tanahashi tries to go up but then Nick Jackson gets on the apron. Cody tosses Omega a trashcan. he throws it at Tan, but Tanahashi ducks and it clobbers the ref in the back, sending him down. The Jacksons come in and start kicking away. The Jackson's place Tanahashi's arm on the trashcan as Omega goes up top, but Michael Elgin comes running out and kills both Bucks dead and makes Omega crotch himself on the buckle.  Tanahashi gets up and slams Omega right on the trashcan as outside Elgin picks up both Jackson's and walks away with them.  In the ring, Omega tries for a brainbuster but Tanahashi turns it into a spinning neckbreaker before he hits the slingblade clothesline but can only get two. Tanahashi goes up top and hits the high fly flow. He goes up for the second one but it misses Omega. Omega then pulls out a variant of the bomma ye and then nails another running knee of Tan, but he pulls back to much on the cover and Tanahashi rolls through it. Omega hits the third running knee and then scoops Tanahashi up in one winged angel to score the win and the title! We come back as the new champ speaks to us. He goes on about Valentine's Day and mangles some Japanese in the process. He runs down the audience, but then thanks them for coming to the show in perfect Japanese! Backstage Tanahashi is in rough shape. He apologizes to Nakamura for losing and that is it. Kenny, the Bucks, and Cody celebrate backstage  Kenny says that Tanahashi is good, beating the crap out of him with an injured shoulder. But he is 97 kilos now and when he hits 100 kilos he will be unstoppable. In the studio, Kenny says having the crowd cheering for Tanahashi is annoying considering he is busting his ass to make the match look good. His goal is to win the G1 climax tournament and then win the belt at the Tokyo Dome next year! What a show! Even though it was only three matches, all of them were good over the two hours. Even Jim ross was tolerable this week and did a decent job! A lot of fun and a real new beginning for the company!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Double the action!
Hi, gang! Welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. I'm fresh off spending the weekend at my home Convention, AniMaine with coverage of that coming soon so keep an eye out for that. ...

Annotated Anime: Keijo!!!!!!!! episodes 2-5

Nov 08 // Nick Valdez
Before I begin, I'd like to discuss a bit of the discourse I've seen surrounding that first episode. While some (rightfully) declared Keijo was an offensive work, others (also rightfully) defended its parodical content. Neither perspective is incorrect since the women (18 and over, as poignantly noted) do have agency, as they have yet to make a decision for someone other than themselves, but the fan service nature of its production rejects that agency. But as I've noticed throughout the last four episodes, the balance between the two perspectives is thrown out of whack when the girls aren't competing.  For example, episode two and three are a training episodes. As Nozomi and her friends practice to take an elite class entry exam, they train in various techniques. Like most sports anime, Keijo adheres to the training episode narrative (girls struggle before eventually succeeding when they exploit a new technique). But try as it might to take this part of the story seriously, the episode's fan service point of view negates a lot of its attempted narrative work. You see when the girls are competing, there's a sense of seriousness in the work regardless of how ridiculous its imagery gets. The girls may fight each other with their butts and boobs, but they're treated like tools or fists. There's a respect for these girls in the animation when they compete. Shots are composed at wide angles, and they usually don't linger in compromising positions. Yet, in the training episodes, there are several shots dedicated to zooming in on these same body parts with less respect. These "butt figure eights" or Nozomi's constriction suit are shown in lower POVs, emphasizing the girls' assets, instead of reflecting hard work (as you would see in sports anime). Then its a matter of breaking down Keijo's parodical take on sports anime. When does the fan service perspective outweigh the exaggerated comedy? As mentioned, the girls' Keijo battles are definite highlights. Leading to things like "Titty Hypnosis," "Shoryucans," "W-Acceleration," "Vacuum Butt Cannon," and "Cerberus," the flame dog automatic butt attack that literally bites into the other girls. With these moments, we're laughing with the series. And so far, the ratio has been on the more positive end. While the second episode (and one match in episode 4), made the imagery more titilating, the rest of the episodes have yet to do that so far. But the visuals wouldn't be as big of a deal as I'm making them if the rest of the show had anything to work with.  Since Keijo's  personality is entirely derived from its imagery, its characterization falls flat. The girls themselves are, forgive me, two dimensional. The only development each girl received so far is a new technique. and only two of those reveals are relevant to the girl's personality type (i.e. the shy girl talks when her skill is revealed to be dope, the klutz has a butt cushion which helps her accidentally steal victory). The worst part about all of this is I'm forgetting all of their names. That's the trouble with exploitation media in general. You can argue stuff like story and characterization away by simply stating "it's meant to be a joke!" But sexual exploitation is always icky when not subverted by the rest of the production. You need something to say its alright to enjoy its explicit fan service. Whether its humor or some kind of satire, it just needs to be something of importance to elevate its schlock. Otherwise, it won't last long.  The difference between Keijo!!!!!!!! and intentionally exploitative productions (such as Grindhouse or Black Dynamite) is there is still not enough done to elevate its exaggeration. It's slowly making its way toward more fun, but right now it's hollow fan service. I'll even go as far to say that if it were not my job, I most likely would not continue on with this series.  But since I've already invested the time, I will keep hoping something more concrete eventually hits the series. While I still believe Keijo!!!!!!!! indeed succeeds as a fan service delivery system, it has lost that unique sense of fun and confusion I felt after watching the premiere.  [Keijo!!!!!!!! is now streaming on Crunchyroll and Funimation Now]
Annotated Keijo photo
Get it right, get it right, get it tight
The series premiere of Keijo!!!!!!!! was probably the most confusing anime I've seen this season, and most likely the year. Introducing a world in which busty girls attack each other with their butts for money, I expected the...

Strong Style: New Beginings

Nov 05 // Soul Tsukino
We are welcomed by Okada! NEVER Openweight title: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomohiro Ishii A WK10 rematch! Not much else to say about these guys I haven't mentioned before. This should be a fight! Ishii enters first. Right out of the gate Jim Ross screws up and calls it the NEVER Overweight title. He then proceeds to forget Ishii's nickname of "The Stone pitbull". It's gonna be a long night if that keeps up. Shibata enters carrying the belt in his hand. Josh Barnett points out something interesting here as Shibata believes a champion has to earn the right to wear the belt to the ring by defending it once. The man has principles. They glare at each other and then go nose to nose. Bell rings and they go right into a lock up. Shibata goes for a punch but Ishii reverses. Shibata lands a shot and keeps asking Ishii to hit him as he keeps smacking him with forearm shots. They go right into exchanging forearms back and forth. Figured as much. They KEEP going back and forth for like 2 minutes before Ishii stumbles back stunned. Shibata snaps him over and lands a kick. We move ahead a bit as Shibata is landing running boots to Ishii's head. He asks for more and gets it! Ishii stumbles back but throws a clothesline. Shibata no sells it. Shibata lands some more kicks but Ishii hits a clothesline to send Shibata down. Ishii put him on the top turnbuckle and lands the avalanche brainbuster! Cover gets two. Ishii hits a powerbomb but only gets two. Shibata locks in a triangle lock on Ishii out of the pin attempt! Ishii gets his foot on the ropes to break the hold. They get back up and more forearms by Shibata. He picks the big guy up and hits the DVD but Ishii pops right up. He hits a suplex but Shibata is up and lands a kick to put Ishii back down. Only gets a 2 count. Shibata locks in a rear choke. but Ishii powers out and reaches the ropes again.  Shibata lands a kick to send them both down. they struggle back up and MORE forearms now. Shibata goes down first. Ishii runs him over with the clothesline and hits a suplex, but Shibata gets up. Ishii hits two headbutts and a low clothesline, but only gets two. Ishii goes for the brainbuster but Shibata wiggles out and locks in the armbreaker! He turns it into a triangle and then turns it back into the arm breaker. Ishii gets to the ropes but the damage is done. Shibata gets up and lands some kicks but Ishii gets up. and throws an elbow right to the throat! Shibata lands the back fist!  Shibata tries for the PK but Ishii catches him! Ishii hits a headbutt that stuns Shibata. Ishii with a dropkick! Ishii counters out of a choke attempt. Shibata throws the headbutt but Ishii with the hard smacks. Shibata gets the sleeper. Ishii is down. PK! Shibata gets the win and retains the belt! What a match!  We go to commercial and holy crap a commercial for New Japan World! Cool! In the studio with Okada. He doesn't know the story going on with Goto, but he does remember Goto calling him out in the middle of the ring. Okada teases him by saying he was going to make it title vs. title but that Goto had lost his belt. IWGP Title: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hirooki Goto Goto got a big win over Naito at WK10 while Okada defended the belt a shook the monkey off his back by beating Tanahashi. However, on our last show in a big tag team match, Goto was booed severely when facing up against Okada. Let's see if that plays into the match at all. I'll point out that I saw the original entrance from New Japan and they did a quick montage of ALL the previous IWGP champions before this match. Wish that had been shown here. Goto comes out and he looks incredible. He is wearing all white, including tabi boots. He has on a red oni mask and is painted in white with lots of kanji written on him in black. The subject of former WWFer Jinsei Shinzaki and JR mentions the WWE network.  Jim, YOU DON'T WORK THERE ANYMORE! Barnett says the writing on Goto's face is "fierce warrior". Full introductions for this one. JR mentions Goto has challenged for the belt 8 times and never won it. Bell rings and they do... nothing. They both finally leave the corners and go for a Greco-roman lock up, but back away. Lock up and waist lock by Goto. Okada gets a wristlock but Goto reverses into a full nelson and snaps him over in a chinlock. Okada gets out of it, but Goto goes right into a headlock. Goto up still with the headlock, but takes him down again. for a one count. They go into the ropes and Goto gets a kick in and starts striking Okada down and Okada rolls out of the ring. Goto slides out, but Okada slides in and when Goto enters the ring Okada hits him with a dropkick. Goto comes back in as Okada takes over with strikes and slam before hitting a senton. The cover goes nowhere. Okada grabs a heavenly lock in but Goto gets a rope break. Snapmare but Goto pops up and lands a clothesline. He RAMS Okada's head in the buckle and tosses him outside. Goto runs Okada around the barriers before tossing him inside. All this time JR is going on a rant about how TNA had Okada for months and used him as a Kato like character. "If I were to build a company, I'd do it around Okada." "That's kinda what New Japan is doing." - Josh's reply. Goto leads in with some kicks as Okada gets up but Goto strikes him and tosses him into the corner. He works over the champ with kicks and strikes. Forearms right into the face now. Ref breaks it up as Okada gets up and tosses Goto into the ropes but misses the kick and is clotheslined. Goto gets a reverse chinlock and tags Okada on the head with a chop. Okada gets up and strikes Goto but Goto just hits him back. he goes for a cover and gets two. Meanwhile, JR is bitching about wrestlers playing video games in the locker rooms instead of watching the matches. Josh counters that if the wrestlers are playing video games, they aren't interfering in the matches. Back from the break as Goto gets a suplex, but only two on the count. Okada gets the turnbuckle again and a series of elbows in the face. Okada reverses but hits the buckle again, however, when Goto goes to the ropes, Okada gets in a flapjack. Okada hits some forearms and then a kick to send Goto down. Whip in the buckle and Okada gets the side hit into a DDT and a kip up. He goes for the pin but only two. He slams Goto down and climbs up but Goto pops up, Okada dives over him and Goto clotheslines him in the back of the head. He lands some brutal side kicks and then a spinning kick into the corner. He lands a suplex on Okada and goes for a pin but again, doesn't get it. Okada tries to throw a clothesline but Goto turns it into a spinning neckbreaker. Okada gets into the corner and Goto tries to run in but he hits Goto with a kick. Goto tries the corner again and is lifted to the apron but Okada blocks an attack to send them both down. They get up and start exchanging forearms back and forth. Okada tries a headbutt but Okada hits the clothesline but Okada counters with heavy rain! Cover gets two. Okada hits two low dropkicks but doesn't get the pin. Okada climbs up and hits the missile dropkick. Pin gets a 2 count. Okada hits the slam and climbs up and hits the flying elbow! rainmaker pose! He goes for the rainmaker but Goto spins around and locks in an armlock! Goto tries to wrench back but Okada rolls it over for a pin attempt. Okada breaks and hits the ushigoroshi. He then goes back to the arm breaker. He is stretching the champ now! Okada gets to the ropes and the hold is broken. Back from break with Goto up. He lands a kick to the back a few times. More kicks. Goto picks him up and hits a reverse ushigoroshi. Goto goes for the suplex but Okada snakes out to escape, but Goto comes right over and strikes him. He lifts Okada on the buckle and gets a few forearms. Goto picks him up on his shoulders and hits the avalanche ushigoroshi! Count only gets two. Goto picks him up in the suplex but Okada reverses it into a small package. Goto rolls through it and picks him up and hits the shotenkai! Goto goes for the pin but Okada gets his hand on the rope. They get up and Okada hits the rainmaker! Both men down now. They pick themselves up and throw some forearms on their knees. Okada up first and throws some uppercuts. Okada lands a kick and a shot to the face before going into the waistlock. Okada goes for a kick, Goto counters, but Okada counters into the suplex. They struggle for it but Okada hits the dropkick. Okada tries for the Rainmaker, but Goto hits the headbutt. Okada tries it again and gets a headbutt again. Goto tries for a suplex but Okada grabs onto the arm and hits the rainmaker. He then hits it again! He hits it a third and Goto's out. Okada pins him to put it away. We come back from break and the champ has something to say. With all the happenings in NJPW, don't worry. I'm here. Mr. Goto, your revolution ends here. But if you want to keep changing things, join CHAOS. He has no third point. Someone who left said pro wrestling is the greatest, but it's New Japan that is the greatest. Backstage Okada says Goto didn't really change other than his costume. he wasn't so much inviting Goto to CHAOS but extending him a hand to help him change as he wants to. Studio words saying the same thing about Goto. He said Nakamura left to find the best wrestling in the world, but he doesn't agree and thinks New Japan is the best in what they do. The action was amazing. Both matches were fun, even if they were a little slower paced than say stuff from someone Kenny Omega or Nakamura. You could see the intensity in Goto as he looked to kill Okada to get the belt. Jim Ross's commentary through was grating. His rants about wrestlers playing video games, Ishii not wearing socks, Constant WWE mentions, bashing TNA about something that happened 10 years ago, harping that this was Goto's eighth shot at the title he's never won, and mentions of Bill Watts over and over are wearing thin. He is on autopilot and desperately needs new material and less bitching about these dang kids today. He's becoming more like Abe Simpson than anything. Anyway, just giving you all a heads up as next week's article will be a bit delayed as I will be covering the AniMaine Convention again this year with a full report. The big match next time though is Tanahashi and Omega for the vacant Intercontinental title so you will not want to miss that!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Okada defends the belt!
Hi Gang! Welcome to another Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro wrestling on AXS TV. This week it is a New Begining! We are traveling to Osaka fresh off the heels of WrestleKingdom 10 with some big matches from February 11, 2016! Let's get to the matches!

Strong Style: Moving on

Oct 29 // Soul Tsukino
Since this is a special show. No greetings from anyone.  The Bullet Club (A.J. Styles/ Kenny Omega) vs. CHAOS (Shinsuke Nakamura/ YOSHI-HASHI) An all-star tag match. This takes place the night after WrestleKingdom where Nakamura beat Styles, Omega lost the Jr. Heavyweight Title to Kushida and Yoshi was part of the pre-show rumble. Okay, 3 out of 4 ain't bad. We are at the Sumo Hall as all four men are already in the ring. Styles and Nakamura start off Lock up and they reverse waist locks before Nakamura gets the advantage and Styles gets the sit out. Lock up and they go into the ropes and Nakamura goes for the belly rub. Styles drills Nakamura in the back of the head for that and goes right into a wristlock. Nakamura counters with a cartwheel and gets in a wristlock of his own before sliding into a headlock, but Styles whips him into the ropes and a leapfrog but Nakamura hangs onto the ropes. Styles tries for something and misses while Nakamura goes for a knee strike and miss. Styles challenges Shinsuke to come on. Nakamura charges but Styles gets the deep arm drag but Nakamura counters with a leg scissors, but Styles slips out of that and we have a standoff. We jump ahead (probably editing out the Yoshi-Hashi stuff) to a point where Nakamura is landing some kicks to the gut of Styles. Nakamura lands an enziguri to send Styles into the corner. Nakamura gets in the good vibrations and goes for a knee strike but Styles moves. Styles charges in but Nakamura lands a knee to the gut anyway and sets up AJ on the top rope, cartwheels backward and lands the knee strike to the stomach. Nakamura goes for the pin but doesn't get it. He picks up Styles who jumps up and launches into a strike and kick combo but Nakamura ducks the last strike and fires off a combo of his own. Styles goes down and crawls over to the corner for as tag. Kenny comes in and lands a few punches on Nakamura. Shinsuke lands one back but Omega turns around and hits him. Kenny goes to the ropes but Nakamura lands a knee to the gut and then hits an enziguri kick. Shinsuke goes for a side suplex but Omega blocks it and hammers in a few elbows. He spins around and gets Nakamura in a facelock but Yoshi runs in and lands a blockbuster on Omega and holds him so that Nakamura lands the low knee. Pin attempt only gets two as Styles breaks it up. Yoshi tosses Styles from the ring and gets out. Nakamura tries for the booma ye but Kenny catches him and put him down with a Finlay roll, but when he goes up for a moonsault, Nakamura brings the knees up. Nakamura goes for the booma ye again but Kenny lands a clothesline to send Shinsuke in a flip. Kenny dead lifts him from a prone position on the mat and picks him up into a powerbomb position before hitting a doctor bomb on him. He nearly gets the pin but Yoshi comes in and breaks it up. Omega goes for the one winged angel but Nakamura slips out. He holds Omega as Yoshi comes in but Omega ducks and Yoshi clotheslines Nakamura!  Styles comes in and hits the bloody Sunday DDT on Yoshi to take him out. Omega hits a running knee to Nakamura's head and then a second one! Omega tries to pick him up but Nakamura springs to life. Nakamura lands the reverse power slam but when he goes for another move Styles comes flying in with a springboard clothesline. He turns around to attack Nakamura and lands the Pele kick on him before Omega leaps up and hits the reverse hurrancanrana and drives him down. He lifts Nakamura up and hits the one winged angel for the pinfall! Styles and Omega congratulate each other as Nakamura is helped out from ringside. We come back from break with both guys still in the ring. As styles climbs the turnbuckle to congrat the fans, Omega comes up and gives Styles the one winged angel! Omega lays in the boots as the Bucks, Cody, Gallows and Anderson come in to split things up. as Doc, Karl and Cody Hall lift Styles up, the Bucks and Omega land the triple superkick! Anderson and Gallows seemed confused at first, but they join in as the entire group kicks the crap out of Styles. We have a new leader of the Bullet Club. Omega grabs the mic and asks if anyone was surprised. Styles, you have been fired! He renounces being a junior and says he is challenging Nakamura for the IC title! They begin to leave but jump back in the ring and attack the young boys before going after Styles again. Omega then hits the styles clash on AJ. The Club leaves and Styles climbs up to his feet as the crowd cheering for him. He bows to the fans for his final exit. Backstage Styles says he respects NJPW and all it offered him. He will never forget what happened in the ring. But as the saying goes about the best-laid plans. Things did go as New Japan quite wanted. See Styles had been competing for them withgout a contract for a while before this, so they knew he would leave. Having Kenny Omega was the plan. But the original idea was to have Omega defeat Nakamura and win the IC title from him to put him over. But Nakamura put in his notice too, and both he and NJPW thouyght he would hang around for the next big show to drop the belt and put Omega over. Be it either NJPW, The WWE, or Nakamura himself, that was nixed and Nakamura was going to leave for the U.S. earlier than they wanted. Nakamura vacated the belt and it was announced that he would face someone else, but didn't say who. That brings us to January 30th, again at the Sumo hall, and Nakamura's final appeaerence. Hiroshi Tanahashi/Meiyu vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii) Now THIS is an all-star match! The crowd is all for Shinsuke with a chant and red banners everywhere now. Everyone is in the ring as Nakamura makes his entrance.  His partners even hold the ropes open for him. The match starts with Okada and Goto. The crowd starts a big Okada chant surprisingly. Jim Ross surprises me a bit by bringing up the "New 3 Musketeers" that were Nakamura, Tanahashi, and Shibata when they came out of training, and mentions the original 3 musketeers of Great Muta, Masa Chono, and Shinya Hashimoto (Rest in Peace big man). Anyway, Goto and Okada lock up and go right into the ropes where Goto gives the champ a shot and then another. Okada backs them both to the middle of the ring and lands a few forearm shots before running the ropes only to get hit with a shoulderblock by Goto.  Goto lands a low kick and Okada rolls outside. Goto doesn't do that crap and goes outside and throws Okada right back in, but Okada is sneaky as he leaps up and runs across the ring to come back and land a speeding dropkick to send Goto down. Goto looks pissed, but just calmly walks around before slowly entering the ring. Okada turns around and tags Ishii. Shibata (who is wearing a huge bandage around his leg) begs to come in and Goto obliges.  Shibata comes in and they circle a bit before Shibata goes for a waistlock that has them both on the ropes. Clean break. They tie up in a greco-roman style lock up and back into the ropes again. Ishii decides to not go for the clean break instead chopping Shibata right in the chest. Shibata literally brushes that off and begs for more. Ishii lands a few more shots before aiming these suckers right to the throat! Shibata just asks for more. Finally Shibata lands a forearm shot to Ishii's chest and HE asks for more. After three forearm shots he starts firing off forearms and we got a duel. Back and forth for what seems like forever before Ishii goes to the ropes. Shibata goes for a kick but Ishii sidesteps in and lands another forearm. Ishii goes back to the ropes and Shibata lands the boot this time but Ishii just yells at him. He goes for a third time and finally Shibata drops him. Ishii seems to be holding his wrist, but Shibata goes for the legs and locks in his version of the Figure four leg lock. Ishii just yells at him more before Shibata torques the ankle. Ishii reveres the hold, but it's turned right back. Shibata lets go of the hold and Tanahashi tags in. Ishii goes over and tags Nakamura. The crowd is right into this match up as they start cheering. The two old rivals lock up aggressively and right into the ropes. Nakamura gets the belly rub thing in one last time and backs off, challenging Tanahashi. Hiroshi goes for it and Nakamura lands a knee to the stomach. Shinsuke goes for a kick and a knee but misses them both as Tanahashi gets up and dares Nakamura to come get some. He goes for it and Tanahashi lands a sweet armdrag. He locks in a textbook armlock on Nakamura before he tags in Shibata. They both whip Nakamura in and land a double shoulderblock. They give each other a look before they go for an MMA style lock up. They back into the ropes and for the love of chud SHIBATA does the belly face rub to Nakamura! Shinsuke has this look of "you got to be kidding me" before he goes for a strike that Shibata block and Shibata lands a slap to the face. they back off a bit and start over with Shibata trying for a waistlock but Nakamura rolls through it. Shibata then tries for a chinlock but they keep out maneuvering each other. This finally ends up with Nakamura getting a chinlock but Shibata flips him over to the mat and then lands the kick to the back. As he is trying to get up, Shibata keeps land kicks to Nakamura. Shinsuke counters with a block and tries to throw a kick but it misses, only for him to hit the rebound with a spin kick to Shibata's head. Okada and Ishii suddenly come in and send the opposing corner to the floor. As the fight is going on Nakamura sends Shibata down in the corner and lands good vibrations followed up by a jumping knee into a 2 count. Ishii tags in and both he and Okada come in. They both whip Shibata into the ropes and he runs right into THREE BOOTS. Shibata goes down but Nakamura and Okada PICK UP ISHII. The drop him onto Shibata with a sit-down splash and he gets a 2 count. He lands some weak kicks to Shibata to fire him up and then some chops. Shibata just gets mad and stand up as he fires off some forearm shots. He puts down Ishii but then runs over and lands a low dropkick to Nakamura to send him to the floor. Ishii runs up and lands a low kick to Shibata. We come back from the break with Okada legal now as he slams Shibata near the ropes and goes to the apron. He lands the slingshot press. He tries the cover and only gets two before tagging Nakamura back in. Nakamura lands a kick and then gets in a front choke. He brings it back to his corner where Okada tag back in and lands a shot to the back. He tries to whip Shibata in the corner but when he goes running in, he is met with a kick. Okada hits the ropes but he is met with a strike to the face. Shibata rolls over and tags Goto. Goto gets booed big time. Man, the crowd just does not like him. Wonder why (no, I am clueless why they hate him all of a sudden)?  He takes out the two guys in the corner and then lands some stuff kicks to Okada before whipping him to the buckle and lands a twisting kick and streams right into a back suplex. He goes for a pin and nearly gets it, but Okada kicks out. He then gets right on Okada by beating his brains in with elbow strikes. He charges the corner but Okada moves. and lands a DDT into a nip up. He hits a rolling uppercut and goes for the pin but doesn't get it. He slams Okada down and goes up top, but Goto gets up and meets him. Okada jumps over him and when Goto turns around Okada hits him with a forearm. He whips Goto in and lands the flapjack before tagging in Nakamura. Shinsuke lands a bunch of deep kicks to Goto who catches one, just t get the enziguri kick to the side of the head. Nakamura hits the ropes but Goto leaps up and hits the ropes too and runs over Nakamura with a clothesline. He tags in Tanahashi who just strolls into the ring. Nakamura gets up and they have  a stare down before Tanahashi SLAPS Nakamura. Shinsuke answers with a forearm and now they are dueling with forearm shots to the jaw. Tanahashi springs off the ropes and hits Nakamura with a flying forearm to the chest. He slams Shinsuke down and hits the senton off the middle rope but can't put him away. Nakamura tries the full nelson but Hiroshi breaks it, then breaks the waistlock before Nakamura tries for a kick but Tanahashi catches that and hits the dragon screw leg whip. He sends Nakamura into the corner but Nakamura dodges the charge setting Tanahashi perfectly on the top rope and a knee strike. He gets caught by Nakamura who lands the reverse suplex  Nakamura shimmies a bit and signals for the booma ye but as he goes for it Shibata comes in and lands a dropkick. Goto comes in and hits the ushigoroshi and Tanahashi goes up for the high fly flow. Shinsuke brings the knees up and down goes Hiroshi. Nakamura goes to whip Tanahashi but Hiroshi reverses it into the slingblade.  Ishii and Shibata tag in now and Ishii runs right over Shibata and starts laying in forearm shots. Shibata answers back with a head to head glare before he starts throwing forearm shots. He unveils a new move as he whips Ishii into the corner and is right behind him with a flying kick. He does it again before throwing more forearm strikes. He hits his sweet hanging dropkick before dragging Ishii up and hitting a half hatch suplex and goes for the cover for two. Shibata looks for a suplex but turns in into a front facelock. Ishii says the hell with that and turns it into a brainbuster suplex. Ishii whips Shibata into the corner and squashes him before gong for the cover but not getting it. Ishii goes for a piledriver but Goto comes in and lands the clothesline. He then runs over and nails Okada. Shibata picks him up and Goto goes for the clothesline but Ishii ducks and Goto clothesline Shibata. Okada comes running in to boot Goto in the face.  All three of CHAOS come in and Nakamura lands a step kick and Okada hits a senton and then Ishii hits the elbow, but can't get the pin. Nakamura and Okada go outside but Goto comes back in. Shibata holds him and they get the move off but Okada comes back in the ring and boots Goto. He tries to boot Tanahashi but Hiroshi catches his leg and gets the leg whip. Nakamura comes in and lands a flying knee but Shibata comes in and lands a big dropkick on Nakamura!  Everyone except Shibata and Ishii rolls to the floor. Ishii comes running across the ring and flattens Shibata with a clothesline. He picks Shibata up, but Shibata lands a spinning back fist! Shibata scurries over and locks in a triangle but Nakamura comes in and kicks Shibata right in the ear. Tanahashi comes in and they start fighting outside the ring. Shibata locks in the reverse choke and Ishii struggles to the ropes. Shibata BLASTS him with a kick to put him down but he goes to the ropes where Okada meets him with his awesome dropkick. Nakamura then hits the booma ye. He tries and pick Ishii up and slaps him around to wake him up. Ishii feels better and lands the brainbuster on Shibata to score the pinfall!  We come back from commercial with Kenny Omega now at ringside. He says that it's Nakamura's last match, but we shouldn't be sad. It's his graduation to go take on the world! He wants Nakamura to admit that he is a chicken and is scared to fight him. Tanahashi appears, grabs a mic and tells Omega that HE will be facing Omega for the IC title and that he is the ACE. Omega backs down from that. Tanahashi leaves as the ref brings Okada and Gedo in and raises the hands of the winners of the match. Nakamura takes the mic. He bows to the fans and asks if he should say something He is grateful to all those he fought and the fans who supported him. He will show the world what he has. He will not say goodbye, just Thank You. Yeahoh! He tries to leave but the other CHAOS guys come out (even Jado!) and he hugs all of them. Okada's even in tears. They give a big pose for the cameras and the crowd is chanting for him. He declares that Pro Wrestling is the greatest. As they leave Okada carries him out on his shoulders. The announcers say this is a celebration for Nakamura, not a mourning of him leaving. Backstage he says it's been a long time and some of the guys are like family. He says he is sure Okada will protect this place. Someone ask about fans waiting for him to come back to wrestling in NJPW and he kinda just doges the question as we end things this week. Well, the first match was nothing to speak of. They hacked a lot out just to skip to the ending. The second match though was great! A fitting way to end a run for Nakamura than that. Skip the first ten minutes and the show is wonderful!  See you all next time!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
2 stars say goodbye
Hello and welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV.  This week we deal with the immediate fallout of WrestleKingdom 10. Okada is still the IWGP Champion, GBH are the new tag cha...

Annotated Anime: Tiger Mask W episodes 2-4

Oct 23 // Soul Tsukino
In the first episode of Tiger Mask W, we were introduced to Naoto and Takuma, the last remains of the Jipang wrestling gym that was put out of business thanks to the Global Wrestling Monopoly. They both have their own way of getting revenge not only for the gym disbanding but also putting Takuma's father in the hospital. Takuma becomes Tiger Dark and joins the GWM while Naoto becomes the heroic Tiger Mask and takes on the GWM's best. Now that the introduction episode is out of the way, we move on to see where the story goes from here. Episode 2: The second episode picks up where the debut left off and the immediate fallout of the debut of the mysterious Tiger Mask. The story starts out with Miss X and the GWM demanding an apology and issuing a challenge at a press conference. Haruna goes to answer the challenge and we find out Tiger's next opponent is a veteran wrestler named Black Python. When the two sides start to squabble, we see the real star of this episode, New Japan Pro Wrestling. You can't really be surprised, with them coproducing this series and all, but this episode focused more on their part in this series even more than Tiger Mask himself. They were just kind of there in the first show, being the biggest company in Japan since the GWM had left. This episode they play a part of a third wheel, with real life wrestler Yuji Nagata appearing for the first time, but in a role of a booker/office guy instead of a wrestler. He wants part of the spotlight of Tiger Mask and the GWM too, so he gets Miss X and Haruna to agree to have a big show at their arena during the big tournament. Things get more interesting when he weasels both of them to have a "prelude" tag team match first (a typical move NJPW does in real life). Black Python's partner is Tiger Dark, while Haruna can't come up with a partner, Yuji "provides" them with Wakamatsu, the young boy wrestler who has been hanging around Okada in the first episode. Yuji and Okada later talk to the boy and tell him to look really good in the match so that NJPW gets the attention. If this story sounds like NJPW trying to shoehorn themselves into the story the hardest they can, you would be right. But, I guess you gotta get wrestlers from somewhere to side with Tiger Mask after all. It can be a little distracting, but with it only being the second episode, hopefully, it won't be quite so noticeable in the future. Speaking of distractions, the show didn't take long to get to the fan service with a Miss X shower scene. It wasn't very long, but it didn't exactly do anything either. She's in a shower and answers the phone. That's it. I guess I shouldn't be surprised, I mean, LOOK at her and tell me that fan service isn't the goal here. The actual match isn't bad. Being co-produced by NJPW gives it the benefit of having (mostly) realistic looking wrestling, even if most of the bad guys look like rejects from the old HUSTLE "Fighting opera" promotion from a decade ago (look them up and see the guys they had wrestling for them). Black Python especially looked worse for wear with a white beard and one eye. Seriously, they designed him with a mask with one of the eyes just stitched up. A few minor gripes though didn't detract me too much from the episode, though. Being the second episode it set up a lot more possible things, but it still told a story. This felt like Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, It was telling you there were bigger things coming, but still able to put something together for you. It will be interesting to see where this show takes us next. Episode 3: Time for a Flashback! Yup. 3 episodes in and we are having a flashback episode. So I'm guessing the big singles match with Black Python isn't going to happen now, especially since he got pinned by NJPW's young boy Wakamatsu. So instead the GWM is bringing in the Red Death Mask. But that is almost an afterthought. In fact, so is NJPW in this episode as they are barely mentioned either after being the focus of the last episode so much. Instead, this episode serves as a flashback, expanding more on what happened in the beginning of the first episode. Things are touched off with Takuma and Kevin Andersen having a bit of time off in waiting for Red Death Mask. Kevin and Takuma end up going to the hospital where Daisuke is recovering. Instead of talking to his father, Takuma hesitates. The rest of the show is flashbacks to how the JinPang gym was disbanded after the GWM challenged them on the JinPang 10th anniversary show and crushed them. With Daisuke in the hospital, we are introduced to Mr. X, the villain of the first Tiger Mask show. Yellow Mask recruits Takuma to join the Lion's Den as the only way to get strong enough to avenge his father. Meanwhile, Azuma is recruited by Kentaro to train at the Original Tiger Mask's training ground. This episode is a complete 180 from the last one. This is entirely back-story expanding upon the events in the first episode. Between Mr. X showing up and finding out Kentaro was the original Yellow Devil, we get a lot more references to the original show, even finding out what happened to the Tiger Mask of the first show. Interestingly we get a few odd name drops. There is a giant tackling dummy in Tiger Mask's old gym named "Roussimoff", the family name to Andre The Giant, and one of the GWM lackeys in the flashback is named, Billy The Kidman, a reference to former WCW and WWE wrestler Billy Kidman. Which is about as bizarre a reference as you can get from a Japanese show. While I think this episode is good and provides more backstory, it seems to kill off the momentum from the last episode dead. No mention of NJPW, or Black Python, or much of anything. Much like real life wrestling, sometimes the story just takes a dead stop for a week. However, I liked this episode a lot more than last week's by far as the flashbacks flowed well with the story that counts, not trying to shoehorn NJPW down our throats. Episode 4: It's now time for the big match between Tiger Mask and Black Python err.. Red Death Mask. Since evidently, no one has seen this new Red Death Mask before. NJPW has set up a preview match for him against Wakamatsu. Wakamatsu seems confident going into the match as he talks to Tiger Mask and Haruna, even saying he wants to meet up with Haruna afterward. This is where I was really surprised. The level of violence shown in this episode was not what I was expecting. Let's just say that Wakamatsu's match with the GWM newcomer doesn't go well for him as I'm pretty sure Wakamatsu suffers a fractured skull. The idea is that Red Death Mask leaves his opponents with a mask of red death, so whomever he faces gets covered with blood. This show does an amazing job at showing just how bad Wakamatsu is doing when you here the crunch of his skull more than once and then the sound of him meeting the ring post is even worse. We get a little bit of a flashback of when Naoto first arrived at the Takaoka garage. Haruna comes home, just after being accepted into high school. They had a promise that when she graduated from high school she would work for him at the garage. He then breaks it to her that they are closing the garage. She, of course, is upset and takes it out on Naoto. I'm really not entirely sure what this particular flashback was supposed to accomplish really. If it was to show the relationship with Haruna and Naoto, it doesn't do a very good job. About the only thing it does show is that despite her appearance Haruna is of legal age, making the earlier scene with Wakamatsu a lot less creepy. We also see more of the wrestling reporter Hikari. She briefly appeared at the end of the last episode, but this is a more proper introduction as she tries to interview Tiger Dark and the other two GWM guys, Kevin Anderson and Mike. She doesn't get much from then and they walk away. However, we do see Tiger Dark and Kevin later. Dark bitches at Miss X that his match is second on the show and Tiger Mask's match is the semi-main event. She basically tells him "Tough Titty!" and he and Kevin go out and wrestle in front of a sparse barely interested audience. Welcome to wrestling kid! Anyway, it's time for the match and yeah, it's even more brutal that the match we saw earlier. There is a really funny spot as Yuji Nagata is at ringside commentating and then tries to go into the ring, only for Red Death Mask to throw him back to the commentator's table. I'm not going to give too much away, but as I've said before, the actual wrestling in this show is amazing and the holds and counter holds are not only well done, but very clever as well. Outside of the flashback scene, this episode is very good, even if it cranks up the violence and gore up several notches. If you are not a fan of animated blood than this wouldn't be for you. But I like that Red Death Mask is actually built up as a dangerous threat and not just plopped into the plot like Odin or Black Python. I also like the subplot here of Tiger Dark being a curtain jerker and getting mad about it. If wrestling has taught me anything when guys get into that frame of mind anything can happen so this may turn into a much bigger part of the plot. However, I wonder if the show peaked TOO early with having Red Death Mask getting his match in episode four. This guy comes just short of collapsing a guy's skull and the first real threat to Tiger Mask. What is the show gong to do between now before we get to the inevitable matches with Yellow Devil and Tiger Dark? I'd hate to see this show become "Monster of the week" like the original Sailor Moon, so that makes me wonder what else this show has in store. Overall, these episodes show this anime is going to be an interesting one. You had three very different episodes here, each putting their contribution to the story. While some of these plots seemed oddly placed, we will see how they fit into things as the show goes on. I can't wait!  
Tiger Mask W photo
Continuing the story
After a smashing premier, what does this new generation of Tiger Mask have to keep the momentum going? Turns out quite a bit!

Strong Style: Main Event time!

Oct 22 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Okada! IWGP Title: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi A rematch from last year's show where Tanahashi left Okada fleeing the ring in tears. Okada is out to not only keep his belt but also avenge such a devastating loss. Tanahashi worked his way up to become a contender again by winning the G1 classic and earning the briefcase. These guys have met before, but this match brings with it a lot more intensity than ever before. Okada in the studio talks about his not so great history in the dome. He was booed out of the building his first year, was voted out f the main event in favor of the IC Title match one year, and had last year's nightmare loss. His determination to end this streak added some emotion to this year's match. Tanahashi comes out first and JR mentions he hasn't lost in the dome since 2008. When he is called NJPW's Cena they aren't kidding. Tanahashi poses for a bit in the ring. JR mentions that while Okada is the champion, he is an underdog and doesn't get the same respect and that he needs to beat Tanahashi to get it. Okada makes his way out with Gedo following behind. Red Shoes holds the belt high. We come back with the bell ringing and we are underway.  They both just take in the crowd noise before we circle in and go for a knuckle lock before backing off. They lock up and bull each other into the ropes with Okada getting the advantage. Okada gives a clean break, but screw it Tanahashi takes a swing and they trade some punches before backing off. Okada lands a strike that sends Tanahashi down but we get back to where we started. Okada lands a knee to send Tanahashi down but he responds with a strike to the mouth of Okada. They back off but just walk up and stare each other down. Tanahashi swoops Okada in but rainmaker counters with a kick to the head. Okada puts on a cravat into a snapmare. He tries to get a chinlock but Tanahashi gets the hammerlock and Tanahashi ends up getting a waistlock into a headscissor. Okada slips out and gets a headlock on Tanahashi. Tanahashi brings things back up and steps on Okada's knee to escape and goes into a headlock. Okada tries a whip but doesn't get it. Okada gets a wristlock and switches it over so he gets a headlock. Tanahashi lifts him up and dropped on Hiroshi's legs. Tanahashi chopblocks him on the other knee. Okada is already hurt as Tanahashi goes to work on one of the knees with elbow drops. Tanahashi gets down and torques onto the ankle before Okada gets to the ropes. Tanahashi lays on some kicks on the right leg and stomps on the hamstring. Okada pushes Tanahashi off and goes after him in the corner and they get lost for a second before Okada gets pushed off and Tanahashi goes up to the middle rope and lands a body press but doesn't go for the pin. Tanahashi scoots out to the apron but Okada launches a dropkick to send Tanahashi to the floor. We come back from the break as Okada takes a break in the ring before slowly going out and whipping Tanahashi into the barrier. He follows it up with a kick to send Tanahashi over the barrier. He then gets a running start and flies over the barrier and takes out Tanahashi in the crowd. Tanahashi crawls to the ring, but Okada helps him back in. He slams him close to the ropes and lands a senton over the ropes. He goes for the cover but Tanahashi kicks out. Okada then locks in a chin lock and grinds on it. Tanahashi struggles back up and uses a few elbows and uppercut to break. They go into the corner where Okada tries for a dropkick and misses. Tanahashi then goes to the second rope and misses the senton. Okada whips Tanahashi into the other corner and lands a running elbow and a diving uppercut to get a two count. Okada then crosses the arm for a heavenly lock!  Okada lets go and locks in a weird looking chinlock, like his hands, are positioned all wrong. Tanahashi counters with some low punches and Okada breaks the hold. Tanahashi tries a low dropkick to the knee but Okada dodges. Tanahashi lands a flapjack and then a strike before he lands the low dropkick on the knee! They get up and Okada lands some punches but when he goes for a high kick, Tanahashi catches him and gives him a dragon screw leg whip.  Okada rolls onto the apron and Tanahashi climbs for an attack but Okada springs up and punches him. He tries to pick Tanahashi up on his shoulders but drops him. They both end up on the apron. Okada goes for a kick and Tanahashi moves so Okada gets his leg caught in the buckle where Tanahashi gets the screw legwhip again. Okada tries to get in the ring but Tanahashi hits the leg whip again! Okada is still stuck on the apron and Tanahashi hits the slingblade on the apron to send Okada to the floor with a flop. He tries to get up but Tanahashi goes up and lands the high fly flow outside the ring. Tanahashi rolls into the ring with Okada barely moving. He rolls into the ring at 16. Tanahashi with a slam and goes to the second rope and gets a splash on the knees! He grabs Okada's legs and struggles to get the cloverleaf  but Okada is blocking it before getting to the ropes. Tanahashi lays in some kicks. He locks the leg in the ropes and throws a dropkick right into the inside of the knee. Okada gets up and Tanahashi tries for an Alabama slam but Okada reveres it, the reverse and reverse again ending with Okada getting a Tanahashi drop across the knee. They get up and just start trading forearms back and forth. Tanahashi gets and uppercut and goes to bounce off the ropes but Okada lands a dropkick. He gets Tanahashi down and lands four low dropkicks right in the row. He goes for the pin but doesn't get it.  He climbs up the rope and lands a sweet dropkick. He tries for the pin but doesn't get it. Okada with a slam. He goes for the ropes again and lands the Randy Savage elbow! He gives the rainmaker pose as we go to commercial. He picks up Tanahashi and shoots him into the ropes but Okada catches him into a tombstone but Tanahashi rolls it into a pin attempt for two. Tanahashi then grabs Okada's other leg and hits the leg whip! Tanahashi goes into the rope but Okada tosses up a dropkick but Tanahashi catches him and locks in the cloverleaf! Okada's in deep trouble! He keeps going for the rope but can't quite get it. He struggles and gets his hand on the rope to break. Both men are exhausted. He goes into the ropes but Okada shoulders him in a weird spot. Okada tres to pick him up but can't get it. Tanahashi hits the sling blade! Tanahashi climbs up for the high fly flow but he misses! Okada drags him up and scoops him into a tombstone but can't get it. Tanahashi locks in a suplex and gets him over. He goes for a second but Okada turns it into a tombstone! Okada gets the rainmaker and goes for the cover, it's only two! Even Gedo is surprised. We pan out to this awesome crowd as Okada launches up to the top rope and lands the high fly flow! Hw tires to get a pin but no Tanahashi picks Okada up and locks in the arm and lands a rainmaker clothesline of his own! Count only gets two! Okada up first. He takes Tanahashi's head but Tanahashi kicks him right in the leg. He does it again! Tanahashi kicks the leg again! Okada gets him up for the tombstone but Tanahashi counters out the back and lands the slingblade and gets a dragon suplex but Okada gets out of the pin. Tanahashi climbs up and lands the high fly flow. He goes up again and hits another one but Okada kicks out of the pin! Both slow to get up and Tanahashi goes outside and climbs the ropes again. He goes for a flying splash but Okada throws a dropkick. He lands right in the gut! Okada drags him up and tries for a suplex but can't get it. He fights it with elbows and gets out, but lands a HARD slap to the face. Tanahashi goes for something but Okada lands the dropkick to the jaw! He tries for the rainmaker but misses, he gets a waistlock and nails Tanahashi in the jaw. He picks up Tanahashi and nails the rainmaker, twice, three times! Tanahashi is out. Okada goes for the pin and he gets it! Okada has finally won! He's killed the demon of the Tokyo dome! The ref and Gedo peel Okada off the mat. He is spent. In the back, Tanahashi is passed out at the table. He says he doesn't know if his dream has been fulfilled or if it has passed on. He then gets up and walks away with Captain New Japan following him. Back in the ring, Okada addresses the crowd. He has three points to make. He says Tanahashi is strong and they should do it again. He will raise NJPW to a new level. His third point is nothing and says that people should keep their eyes on him in 2016. He poses on each ring post in front of the crowd. He goes all the way up the ramp before saying that he will make it rain money in 2016. Backstage he promises to keep working hard for the fans approval. In the studio, he says he is simply glad he win. The crowd loves it when they fight and it was great to finally win over Tanahashi in that atmosphere. He wants to create a better atmosphere in wrestling. This match lived up to everything it was said to be. It was just as incredible watching it on the original show as it was here. While I wish they showed to other two matches, the coverage of WrestleKingdom has been amazing. Lots of fun! Next week we say goodbye to Nakamura with his last match in NJPW! See ya then!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Battle for the belt!
Ladies and Gentlemen. It is now time for our Maaaaaaain Event of the evening!  Welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. Tonight is our last look WrestleKingdom 10 with the main even...

Strong Style: A whole lot of that flippy sh*t

Oct 16 // Soul Tsukino
Introductions by: "Mr. Personality" Katsuyori Shibata IWGP Jr. Tag Team titles: ReDRagon vs. Ricochet/Matt Sydel vs. Roppongi Vice vs. The Young Bucks I was dreading having to cover this one, not because it is a bad match, but because these matches move WAY faster than Jim Ross can cover so he becomes a mess. LKind of timely to cover a Matt Sydel match considering his recent arrest in Japan for pot possession and possible ban from the country. ReDRagon are the champs here. This was the first match on the card and we actually get the intro of the show from the ring announcer. Bucks are out first with Cody Hall. Vice comes out next and Josh mentions once again that Rocky Romero was his student. Sydal and Ricochet out next, pretty much taking the spot where the Time Splitters would have been in these machos, but Shelley started with Ring of Honor and we saw Kushida winning the singles title earlier. O'Reily and Fish are out next. Cody immediately clotheslines Sydal and Ricochet out of the ring, then flatten Vice and send Dragon out too while the Bucks pose. Cody climbs out and tosses Bobby Fish in with Matt, who demands the bell ring and immediately goes for a cover. Fish kicks out and Jackson gets mad and starts pounding on him and tries for another pin but doesn't get it. He picks Fish up and brings him to their corner and tags his brother. It is apparent from the get-go that JR doesn't know which Buck is which and I think they are both annoying. They send Fish over with a double hip toss and then a double cartwheel into a double dropkick. Matt rings the arm and tags, Nick comes in and tags and Matt goes to the top and delivers a double stomp right to Bobby Fish's arm. Right on the elbow joint. The whip Fish in and look to score a double superkick but Fish holds onto the rope. Matt goes forward and Fish kicks him away and then Matt goes after him and gets flipped onto the apron where Kyle O'Reily kicks him to the floor. Fish gets Nick in a takeover before tagging in O'Reily. Dragon teams up on Jackson with a series of knees in the ropes before getting a double arm twist on him. They go for a double kick but Jackson hangs on the ropes and then gives the most god awful hi pitched "Suck it!" scream before tagging in Sydal. Dragon doesn't care and attack both guys in the corner before Sydal flies over the rope and catches Fish was a hurancanrana. Sydal gets a takeover on Fish to send him out while Kyle waits for him and then trades some nice kicks back and forth before Kyle scores with a big one  that ties him in the ropes. Rocky Romero tags in and immediately takes hold of Kyle in the ropes before Beretta comes flying off the top with a double boot. They turn around and tell the Jacksons to Suck it before Matt stumbles into the ring and falls flat on his face and rolls out again. Beretta and Sydal are still legal as Beretta goes for a suplex and Sydal knees him in the head to get out. Sydal goes for a jumping knee but misses, only to get hit with a second one. Beretta comes back with a NICE enziguri kick that lands squarely on the side of the head. Beretta sends Sydal in the corner and it looks like he tags someone, meanwhile one of the Bucks tag Sydal but Berretta comes flying in and nails The Jackson and sends him to the floor. Beretta hits Sydal with a suplex sending him out. Beretta gets the crazy eye before he does a running dive over the top onto both Bucks, Cody, and Sydal at ringside. We skip ahead (like this match needs it) with Ricochet tagging in on nick Jackson. He comes over the top and launches into the other corner to smack Nick with a side again. Matt comes in screeching but Sydal takes him down in a drop toehold and ricochet comes down with an elbow strike. They do simultaneous standing moonsaults on Jackson, but his brother comes in the rings and nails both guys in their backs with knees and tosses them to the floor. Matt looks to go for a dive but Fish and O'Reily come in the ring and nail him with a double kick. They try two splashes in the corner but Nick tosses them both over the top rope. Fish catapults himself over the buckle to take out Cody at ringside while O'Reily lock in an armbreaker over the ropes, leaving Nick screaming. Matt comes flying over them to take out Sydal, Ricochet, and Fish and then turns around to nail O'Reily with a superkick to save his brother. Rocky Romero comes flying outside to take everyone down and Sydal gets in a top rope moonsault. Ricochet goes for a running dive and Cody Hall trips him from outside (or tries to, he botches it) before just climbing into the ring while the ref is taking a leak or something. He grabs Ricochet in his Dad's old razor's Edge but just tosses ricochet outside onto the pile of people. He comes outside and tosses Ricochet into Matt Jackson. He sets up for a Buckle bomb with Nick kicking Ricochet in the head at the same time. Matt sets ricochet hanging off the middle rope and Nick comes down with a swan dive. The pin only gets two. We come back from commercial as the Bucks set up Ricochet for more bang for your buck but Sydal runs in and gets a hurrancanrana on Nick to send him off the buckle and Ricochet gets in two suplexes on Matt. The bucks get up in opposite corners and Sydal and ricochet go back and forth with clotheslines on them before Ricochet launches over the top rope to take out Cody at ringside.  Sydal gets a weird pump handle bomb on one of the Jacksons and Ricochet launches himself into a 540 splash, but the cover only gets two. They set the Bucks up for the double moonsault off the top they won the Jr. Tag tournament with but the dragons interrupt that and Fish spears Sydal right into the corner. Kyle dome in with a kick, followed by Fish, followed by Kyle, followed by Fish. They take Sydal and give him a backbreaker with Kyle give him a knee from the top rope. One of the Bucks comes in again but get met with a kick from Kyle that leads to three suplexes and into a butterfly bomb. O'Reily sets up the reverse powerbomb that leads down to Fish who pushes the Buck off into a reverse electric chair! Fish goes for the pin but Cody yanks him out and tosses Fish into the barrier. He comes charging in but Fish moves and Cody crashes into the barricade, followed by Kyle coming off the apron with a flying knee strike. RedRagon goes for chasing the dragon on one of the Bucks, but the other comes in. Soon all eight guys are in the ring and do a massive eight-person suplex in the ring. Rocky is the freshest of the bunch and takes out both Sydal and ricochet and then Fish out with a hurrancanrana. He smacks a stunned O'Reily and goes CRAZY clothesline everyone in the buckles before he takes out the other three teams with clotheslines as well. Beretta comes in and the double up on Sydal, hanging him from the rope and hitting a flying legdrop into a running dropkick when he hits the ground. Sydal gets up and Sydal hits a jumping knee on Romero, but Romero gives one right back to him. Romero then hits a suicide dive on ReDragon at ringside. Beretta gets Sydal up for their super drop finisher but as Romero comes flying into the ring, Ricochet scrambles in and catches him. Sydal hits a Canadian Destroyer while Ricochet launches Romero up in the air and then delivers a sick kick. They set up for the double moonsault but one of the Jacksons' tags. They hit the move but the Jacksons come in and toss both guys out as Nick tries for a cover on Romero. They set him up and hit the More Bang for your Buck combination and score the win and get the belts! We come back from break as Shibata is in the studio. He explains how it feels like everything leads right to the Dome show. He talks about just getting into the main event in the show previous to this, and felt he had to do better. He didn't really care if it was for the belt since it was a match of two guys who would never quit. NEVER Openweight Title: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Katsuyori Shibata Now THIS is something I was looking forward to! Both these guys have a straight forward smashmouth style and are the types to damn near kill each other before they let the other guy win. In the lead up to this match these two guys beat the crap out of each other in tag matches and such, but now it is one on one and for the title. JR sounds like he's about to orgasm. Seriously, I like these matches too Hossman, bit calm down. Shibata comes to the ring first in his straight-forward way. Sirens go off and here comes Ishii. We've got a lot of time left, so we are getting full intros here. JR and Josh talk about each guys' influence. You have names like Tenryu, Ohtani, Masa Funaki, and Inoki being named between the two. As Soon as Ishii gets in the ring they have a stare down but back off and into their corners. After another commercial (I'm noticing a lot of these this week) we come back to both guys itching to go. The bell rings and we go immediately into slaps to the face! Smack smack smack. They run to the ropes and Ishii gets the shoulder block. Ishii runs the ropes and just barely misses getting a kick by Shibata, he rebounds and hits another shoulder block. He goes for the low clothesline but Shibata slides out of the way. Shibata goes for a kick but Ishii ducks out of the way. Damn energetic way to start this match! They stand off for a bit before Shibata just casually walks over and points to his neck and dares Ishii to hit him! The Stone Pitbull obliges and here we go as they trade forearms to the side of the neck back and forth. They go for so long we get a shot of the Japanese broadcast team with Jushin Liger and Masa Chono at ringside. The guys in the ring stop for a moment from the clubbing before Ishii gets in some shots before he goes to the ropes but is met with a Shibata knee to the gut. Shibata lays in some kicks to the fallen Ishii before giving him some paltry kicks to the head. Ishii slaps the mat and jumps right back up before blasting Shibata with a forearm and a takeover. Ishii kicks Shibata right in the back and Shibata just sits there like a summer breeze hit him. Ishii gets mad and then sits right down on the canvas and challenges Shibata to HIM in the back. Shibata agrees and then sits down for his medicine. We have a duel of kicks to the back! Shibata wins the battle as Ishii is slow to get up from the last one. He kneels up and Shibata cops him a few times in the chest and now we have a chop duel. Ishii drills in a chop to send Shibata back but he kips right up and lands a forearm right to Ishii's throat. That puts the big guy down. Shibata grabs Ishii's head to pick him up, but Ishii comes back with the Saito suplex! Ishii gets up and starts I with some weak kicks on Shibata's head and face, sending him into the corner. Ishii picks him up and drives in a headbutt and lays in a chop, then a forearm, then a chop, then a forearm. Shibata crumples into the corner. Ishii grabs his arm and sends Shibata into the opposite corner before driving in a clothesline, but that just makes Shibata mad! He throws Ishii into the corner and beats him down with a series of forearms to the face. He runs out to set up his drop kick but Ishii comes running out too. Shibata counters with a single legkick to the head! He locks in a rear choke on Ishii and perfectly turns it into an Inoki style octopus hold. Ishii gets to the ropes but Shibata keeps wailing on him. Shibata with some face wash kicks Shibata picks him up and straight hits him in the shoulder before chopping him a number of times. Ishii pops right up and dares him to hit him harder! Ishii sends Shibata in the corner and starts in with his own facewashes. Ishii dares him to hit harder before Shibata gets up and clobbers Ishii into the corner, Shibata lands the sweet hanging dropkick and Ishii gets right up and nails Shibata to the mat. After another break, both guys are down. Shibata picks him up and gets a suplex, but only gets two on the pin, but he floats into an arm breaker into a triangle on the arm. Ishii gets to the ropes but Shibata starts with kicks to Ishii's arm. They get up and trade Ishii hitting a clothesline and Shibata landing a kick to the jaw, back and forth before Shibata lands a kick and Ishii lands a clothesline, into a suplex duel and back to the kicks and clotheslines. They both just collapse Damn! They will themselves stand and start chopping each other in the throat. Ishii lands a powerbomb and goes for a pin but Shibata kicks out. Ishii picks Shibata and sets him on the tope rope for the super brainbuster, but Shibata locks in a double wristlock to block. Ishii falls to the apron and Shibata gets an armlock, but Ishii lands a headbutt. Ishii lands a big clothesline and then hits a low clothesline but can't get the pin. Ishii tries a suplex, but Shibata counters and lands one of his own. Ishii picked up and Shibata lands some forearms and tries for a front choke. He tries for a suplex but doesn't get it. He tries for the lower kick but Shibata catches him and lands a clothesline. Back from break Shibata lands a dvd but doesn't get a pin. Shibata locks in another rear choke. Ishii tries to reverse but doesn't get it. Ishii gasps for air but gets to his feet and into the ropes but Shibata lands a kick. Shibata goes for the PK but Ishii catches it and delivers a headbutt to Shibata's chin! Ishii hits a clothesline to the back of Shibata's head, then goes for the front but Shibata just gets mad. Headbutt by Ishii. Ishii lands more clotheslines before going for a pin, but Shibata kicks out!  Shibata lands a running kick and another kick before he lands the PK and gets the pin! We have a new champion! Both guys are in a lot of pain. Ishii has to be rolled out of the ring and Shibata has to take a while to get up. Backstage Shibata says he isn't sure who won. He didn't care if the belt was on the line or not, he's not going to change his approach. however, Ishii must have had that boost in motivation since it was his belt. It was a battle of wills. In the studio, Shibata doesn't feel any different because he won his first singles belt. He always keeps a high standard. he feels Ishii got more attention than he did, though. He says that in New Japan, if you hold a belt you can change things, and now that he has a belt, he is going to change things. The action was good this week. Those huge multi-man Jr. matches aren't my favorite thing, but they are all right, but the NEVER match was amazing. The problem was that this show was stalling for a lot of time. Both matches together only accounters for 32 minutes of the show. You know when they are stretching when you get full entrances and a lot of commercials. They even previewed a Bob Dylan special next week during one of those breaks. A good pick for WK 10 matches this week. Next time: THE MAIN EVENT!!
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More from WrestleKingdom 10
Greetings one again to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. We are looking at the big show, WrestleKingdom 10, from the Tokyo Dome on January 4, 2016. We have seen some incredible action so far and this week looks to be just as amazing. Let's get to the action!

Strong Style: Gold and Grudge match

Oct 09 // Soul Tsukino
We get a big grunting welcome from The Unchained Gorilla himself, Togi Makabe! NEVER Openweight 6-man titles: Toru Yano/Briscoe Brothers vs. The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale,Yujiro Takahashi,Tama Tonga) Well, this is a strange one. Yano is, of course, a member of CHAOS but here he is teamed with ROH's Briscoes, Jay and Chicken.. err Mark. On the other side, we have the Bullet Club B-Team. This match was actually announced well before hand, but like a week or two out of this show all of a sudden, they made it a title match for the newly created title. Did New Japan really need a 6-man tag title? Nope, but we got one anyway. The Club walk out with matching white camo pants. Yano comes out with a DVD and a chair, and out come dem boys! Yano tosses water at the club and they attack! Everyone outside the ring bashing on each other. Fale grabs one of the belts and nails Yano with it. Mark Briscoe and Tama Tonga get into the ring but Jay comes in and Briscoes hit a whip into a clothesline and chuck Tonga out of the ring. Yujiro comes in. He SLAPS Jay Briscoe and pays for it as Mark flies in with a double kick to send him down to the mat. Jay runs across the ring and clothesline Yujiro and they both go to the floor. Jay sets Yujiro on the floor and Mark runs the apron to deliver the jumping elbow to the floor on Yujiro. We skip ahead with Tama kicking a down Yano in the ring. Tama then dropkicks both Briscoes off the apron, drawing them in and the ref's attention while Tama and the Club work over Yano in the corner. Fale tags in and slams Yano down before he casually sits on Yano for a two count. He goes over and knocks both Briscoes off the apron. All three club members get in the ring and start kicking away as Yano as he crawls to the corner and gets up. The Briscoes get in the ring for the distraction and Yano unties the turnbuckle pad, Fale comes flying in and boink! Tama and Yujiro try a double team on Yano but he pushes Yujiro into Tama and they both go down. Yano starts posing and Fale tries for a clothesline but Yano ducks it. The other two come in and try a double team, but Yano pulls their hair and sends them down to the canvas. Fale then runs him over with a shoulder block and when Yano tries to get up in the corner, Fale just squashes him. Fale tries for the big splash but misses! Mark gets the tag and he  dropkicks Tama off the apron before going after Yujiro. He chops Yujiro a bunch of times in the corner. Mark goes to whip Yujiro but it is reversed. Yujiro flips Mark over but Mark cartwheels and lands in his feet. He cracks out the Redneck Kung Fu with a crane kick, but Yujiro catches it and tries to upend Mark who cartwheels right through it into a shoulder throw! Mark goes for the pin but Yujiro kicks out. Mark sticks a finger in Yujiro's face and goes "Imma gunna kill you boy!" but when he goes to the ropes Yujiro counters with a kick to the mush. Yujiro sets Mark up for the low dropkick but Mark dodges it and punches him in the gut. He gets Yujiro up in a fireman's carry. Yujiro slips out of it and gets a waistlock but Mark counters with several back elbows. He spins around and tries for a suplex, but Yujiro catches him and gets a fisherman's buster. Both guys go for the tag and Tama comes in first and sails across the ring to knock Jay off the apron. He starts kicking Mark. He whips Mark to the opposite corner but misses the charge when Mark jumps over the top rope and lands a blockbuster to Fale on the outside of the ring! Tama turns around right into a Jay kick to the face and Jay scoops him up and hits the death valley driver. Jay goes for the pin and only gets two. Jay gets a rolling neckbreaker on Tama and nearly gets a pin. Jay stalks a bit before landing a few more kicks to Tonga Jay goes for the Jay driller but Tama counters out. He lands a low kick but pin attempt is only two. Tama picks Jay up and hits an Alabama slam. He goes for another pin and Mark comes in, drawing in Fale for a bit. Tama gets a double under hook but Jay back him into the corner. Tama gets placed on the top rope. Jay goes up and tries to slam him off, but Tama counters. Jay slides off the top rope but gets underneath Tonga and has him on his shoulders. Tonga desperately holds onto the ropes but Yano chucks a chair at Tama's hand! Tama lets go and Mark comes off the top rope with the Doomsday device. Jay makes the cover and gets the win and the brand new belts!   Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito This is a big grudge match. As we've seen in week's past, Goto has had a few run-ins with Los Igobernables. He was attacked by the debuting EVIL and also had a scuffle with Bushi as well. All the members of the goobers come out in suits, with Naito wearing an oni mask and a white suit making him look like the vengeful spirit of Tony Manero. Goto comes out and he has a death GLARE at Naito as he comes down the ramp. He gets in the ring and goes right after Naito, but as the ref is pushing Naito back, Bushi and EVIL attack Goto! The ref chases them off as Naito lays in some stomps on Goto. Goto ain't having any of that and lands some shots back before getting in a lung blower of a kick. Naito bails to the outside of the ring and Goto follows him. EVIL strikes Goto first and Bushi gets in some shots too as the ref is with Naito. EVIL puts a chair around Goto's neck and smacks it with another chair. The ref comes around and starts in with Bushi and EVIL as Naito sets up a table at ringside and drives Goto through it with a neck breaker! We skip ahead a little bit as they are both back in the ring. Goto down in the corner and Naito kicking him. Naito sets Goto on the top and tries for a superplex, but Goto fights out of it. Goto hits a shot to Naito's stomach. He then flips him over in a SUPER Sunset flip. Goto goes for the cover, but Naito somehow kicks out of it! Back from break with Naito down. Goto drags him up and goes for a fireman's carry, Naito gets out of it and lands an enziguri and then a rolling Liger kick! Goto whips him in but Naito hits the flying forearm. He sets Goto on the top buckle and lands a big hurracanrana, but a pin attempt gets two. They both struggle up and Naito is having knee problems. He goes for a pump handle slam but Goto strikes his way out of that. They then just start wailing on each other with forearms. Naito charges in but gets caught into a fireman's carry. Ushigoroshi!  Goto goes for a suplex but Naito lands a knee to the head. Goto is unphased as he hits a big chop and goes for another deadly kick. Naito catches it and throws Goto's leg off that spins around and takes the ref out! Naito goes for the low blow kick but Goto catches the foot and clotheslines Naito into a flip. In a real scary moment Naito lands directly on his head and glad he's not dead from it. Goto goes to suplex Naito but EVIL jumps in and starts hammering on Goto. He grabs Goto and Bushi comes in but sprays the green mist into EVIL's face. Goto grabs Bushi and hits the ushigoroshi on Bushi. The ref gets up and starts shooing Bushi out of the ring as Naito lands the low blow kick and gets a roll up on Goto. Goto kicks out! Naito gets up and tries to land destino, but Goto counters with a straight headbutt. He gets Naito up and hits the shotankai and scores the pinfall! Backstage Goto is happy, not about beating Naito but have won in a match at WrestleKingdom. He vows to become the new face of New Japan in 2016. Backstage Goto is glad to have won a match at WrestleKingdom He vows to become the face of NJPW in 2016. In the studio with Makabe. He says Honma is a top level wrestler, he just hasn't won a belt yet. He is going to help him win a belt, but he isn't going to just hand him one, they are going to have to fight for it. Both foreigners are bigger than them, but the idea of facing them fires him up! IWGP Tag titles: Bullet Club (Anderson/Gallows) vs/ Global Bash Heel (Makabe/Honma) This is going to be fun! The story here is Honma. Building up to this New Japan had been building up Honma with a win in the G1 over Ishii, and then having him and Makabe win the World Tag League to receive this shot. Makabe and Honma are underdogs against the team that had been dominant over the last two years before this, so let's see how this plays out. GBH come out with their World Tag League trophies. Immediately JR screws up Togi Makabe's name AGAIN. Josh Barnett subtly tries to correct him, but JR doesn't get the hint. "Honma, whose voice sounds like he gargled with Drano. Don't try that at home kids."- JR. Gallows and Anderson come out in matching white robes and with Amber Gallows as well. Better her than any of the others. As they get in the ring Makabe yells at them to hurry up. Everyone gets their gear off and we are going to start with Karl Anderson and Honma. Back from the break the bell rings. Anderson gets an early advantage and starts in with strikes to the back. Honma answers right back with some hits of his own, but Karl rakes his eyes. He tries whipping him into the ropes but Honma reverses and lands an elbow to Karl's chin. Honma scoops him up and slams him twice before he rebounds off the ropes and goes for the headbutt. He misses it to no one's surprise. Gallows tags in and throws a bunch of punches. He chucks Honma in the corner and throws more punches before tagging right back out. Really Luke? That was it? Karl comes in and stomps right on Honma's head and then his back. He slams Honma down and smacks his own head to mock him. He rebounds the ropes and yells "GOMENESAI!" for some reason before missing a senton. Honma gets over and tags in Makabe clubs Anderson down and then knocks Gallows off the apron. He slams into Anderson with an axe bomber in the corner before climbing up to punch Karl in the head a bunch of times. He goes for the northern lights suplex but Anderson counters out. Gallows comes in but is met with a jawbreaker from Honma and then GBH hits him with a double clothesline, front and back. All four men roll outside with Gallows and Makabe fighting and Karl and Honma fighting. Makabe goes into the barrier and so does Honma. Gallows grabs Togi's chain he carries with him and clotheslines Makabe with it! Karl is in the ring as Makabe rolls in and starts stomping away. Makabe gets to his knees and Anderson punches him right in the jaw! The ref gives some static but Anderson just drives his elbow right into Makabe's face. He mounts Makabe and keeps punching to the face before tagging out to Gallows who then starts punching Togi in the face. Gallows smacks Honma off the apron and clubs Makabe before turning around and tagging Anderson. Karl comes in ad holds Makabe for Gallows punch in the face, Gallows then holds Makabe so Karl can hit the kick, again aiming for Togi's jaw. Anderson tries three times to pin Makabe but Togi keeps kicking out. He tries to pick up Togi, but Makabe isn't moving. The ref goes to check on him but Anderson just kicks the ref out of the way. Karl gets Makabe up for a lame airplane spin but Makabe wiggles out. Makabe runs him over with a clothesline and gets the tag. Honma comes in as Gallows comes in. Honma slams Anderson and goes for Gallows but can't get him up. He smacks Gallows and THEN gets him up for the slam! Honma sees Karl still down and hits a falling headbutt on him. Anderson gets up in the corner and Honma tries a charge but runs right into Karl's boot. Anderson screams at Honma and Honma scream back before Karl hit's him. He dares Honma to hit him but when Honma hits the ropes, Karl trips him up. Both come in and Honma is sent into the corner where Karl gets a kick and Anderson hits the splash. As Honma stumbles out Gallows picks him up and Anderson hits a reverse neckbreaker. Gallows scoops him up and Anderson hits the running kick into a flapjack. Anderson tries for a cover but Makabe comes in to end that. Togi gets tossed out and Anderson scoops Honma up and gets a swivel gun stun, but Honma kicks out of the pin! After the commercial break, The Club goes for the Magic Killer but Togi runs in the break that up. Gallows gives him a shot to the throat but Togi tosses him from the ring. Anderson tries to whip Honma in, but Honma hits the missile headbutt! He slams Karl down and goes up for the big headbutt but Gallows punches him. Anderson climbs up and tries for a super gun stun, but in a real scary botch, Honma loses his balance and goes down to the apron while Anderson is able to leap into the ring on his feet. Anderson turns around and clobbers Honma a few times before dragging him in the ring. He sets Honma up and gets a sweet running powerbomb, but can't get the pin! Anderson gets frustrated and goes for a gun stun again, but Honma counters. He tries for a clothesline but Anderson counters into another gun stun attempt. Honma counters THAT but Anderson drills in an uppercut. Karl tries for something but Honma flattens Anderson with a shirt headbutt. Both guys tag in and Makabe hits three running clotheslines in a row before Gallows gives him a boot to the face and then hits his old 12 steps slam! He can't get the pin as now Anderson enters the ring. They try a double clothesline but Makabe runs right through it and clotheslines them both down. Karl rolls outside as Gallows and Makabe slam into each other with three clotheslines before Gallows tries for one and Makabe just runs him over. He goes to his corner and DRAGS Honma in before standing him up and slapping him a few times to wake him up. He launches Honma into Anderson and he hits with the missile headbutt! Honma goes up as Makabe puts Anderson on his shoulders as they hit the doomsday headbutt! Anderson is out! Makabe scoops up Gallows and slams him as Honma goes up and hits the big headbutt. Makabe goes up and lands the king Kong knee drop and scores the win! We have new champions! Backstage Makabe says it's just the beginning One must show the fans a dramatic fight. Honma is happy to win the belt at the Tokyo dome. He thanks his partner and says he wouldn't be here without him. Makabe mentions his jaw is really sore, and Honma jokingly says that if Makabe's jaw breaks, HE will be his jaw. Studio words as Makabe says that the opponents had great skills. It was closure for them, but he says he will beat Honma up if he gets lazy or becomes a show-off. If you have too many desires, the fans will leave you, he says. What a great show! All three matches delivered in their own way and came together to make a fun show this week. One of these days JR will get Makabe's name right but at this point, he probably doesn't care. The tag match actually is a really good ending for a couple of stories. At 39, Honma finally won the big one, and it proved as closure in a way for Anderson and Gallows who, like Nakamura and Styles, made their intentions know to go to the WWE during this show. If you follow the WWE, you know how they have done since. Next time, we get Ishii and Shibata beating the slobber out of each other! Hope to see you then!
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Part 2 of WrestleKingdom!
Welcome, my friends to the show that never ends, Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week, we are in week two of our coverage of WrestleKingdom 10, the big event held on Jan. 4, 2016...

Annotated Anime: Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School - Despair Arc episodes 9-10

Oct 07 // Salvador G Rodiles
From day one, I always had a feeling that Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc was going to do something big with the real Chiaki (a.k.a. one of Danganronpa 2's best girls). The second game always made us assume that she was just nothing but an AI that was made to guide Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair’s cast through the Neo World Program that came with the system from the get-go; thus making it obvious that the actual Ultimate Gamer was going to have a huge role in the story. While I came into the series with this thought, it didn’t prevent me from feeling the sadness that came from her fate. Just like her AI counterpart, the real Chiaki was the symbol of hope for her classmates since she did her best to keep everyone together. Perhaps the sad part about this outcome was that the very person who encouraged her to undertake this role ended up being the tool in turning everyone into Junko’s followers. All in all, the whole thing did justice to the Danganronpa game’s tendency to use its major moments to hit the audience really hard. While the whole point of this show was to see how the Danganronpa 2 gang fell into despair, we never really knew about the event that drove them down this path. It was this one little hole that gave the series’ team the ammunition to fill it with the elements that would drive the audience into a state of sadness. The brilliant part about it too was how most of these aspects were able to link back to Danganronpa 3 – Future Arc as a means to set up the truth behind the killing game in the Future Foundation’s headquarters. The unfortunate thing about this moment was that no one was able to save Chiaki while she was a victim of the first punishment segment. In fact, the whole thing gave off a feeling that threw you into a state of denial that some sort of miracle could happen that could save her from her misfortune; however, this is Danganronpa that we’re talking about, so we knew that there was no way that this would end well. Surprisingly, the staff’s decision to use the 8-bit version of “Homicide” from Danganronpa 2, which went well with the depressing scene; thus changing the way how we view this song. Honestly, the team deserves some mad props for doing this since the tune was originally used in the part of the game where we prepare for the title's last ordeal. Because of Chiaki’s scene, this song will continue to make me think of the despair that happened during her final moments. The thing that made this all work was that the show's team took every ounce of hope that the gang had and threw it in a blender. It was a fine example of how you can give the viewers something to grab on to and then crush it before their very eyes. This was also done with Yukizome’s transition to becoming one of Junko’s followers, a twist that also complemented the game series’ surprising aspects. While Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope’s Peak High School – Despair Arc left us in a state of sadness, Lerche continues to show us that they’re capable of delivering a sequel to the Danganronpa games that’ll please fans of the series. Even if they don’t manage to top the sad feeling that came from Junko’s recent accomplishments, they have shown us that they could handle this brand well when the proper conditions are set in stone. Since it was a nice ride to go from feeling joy to facing misery each week, it’s safe for me to say that it was one of the great moments of the Summer 2016 Anime Season. [Let Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc brainwash you on FUNimation]
Danganronpa 3 photo
Goodbye Hope
There’s something wonderful about having a segment that one saw from a mile away surprise them greatly. In fact, this is one of the joyous feelings that the Danganronpa series offers to its audience. We may have known t...

Strong Style: Power struggle in WrestleKingom!

Oct 01 // Soul Tsukino
We get no introduction this wee and get right to the action! The Tokyo Dome is set up with a massive entrance stage that really makes this card feel like a big deal. Really awesome setup.     IWGP Intercontinental Title: "The King of Strong Style" Shinsuke Nakamura vs. "The Phenomenal One"A.J. Styles Oddly we are opening with this match, which was the second to last match on the show. The background here is that Nakamura retained the title after defeating Karl Anderson. A.J. got in the ring and gave Nakamura some static and made the challenge for himself. However, Styles was fighting a back injury during the month of December and it was dicey if he would even make this match. He's here but how much is that going to take out of him. Despite being the "leader" of The Bullet Club, Styles comes out by himself wearing one of those skull biker face coverings. Nakamura comes out and is actually a little understated as he is just wearing a red vest instead of his Michael Jackson or Freddie Mercury type entrance gear. JR mentions that word was both guys were leaving NJPW for the WWE. Jeez, wonder where he got that idea from? After a break, the bell rings and we get it on! They circle around before locking up with Styles getting the advantage with a headlock. Nakamura shoots him off but Styles get the headlock again. Styles spins around and goes for the clash early, Nakamura counters out and throws a few empty knees. They lock up again and go into the ropes and Nakamura does the belly rub thing and poses a bit. Styles does the finger gunshot motion, but Nakamura grabs the air bullet and eats it. Nice.  Nakamura hits the ropes and gets drilled with a dropkick to the face. Styles drives some elbows into the head. Nakamura counters with some forearm strikes. Styles goes for a slam but Nakamura reverses it into a sleeper. Styles tries to get out of it but Nakamura grabs him and drives him down with a backbreaker! Styles rolls to the outside in pain and Nakamura follows him out. Nakamura drives Styles into the barrier back first. Nakamura rolls him into the ring Nakamura starts in with some kicks to the back but Styles catches one, only to get an enziguri right to the head that knocks him down and into the corner. Nakamura teases the good vibrations but drags Styles out instead and locks in a front facelock. Nakamura lifts him up and hits him with a driving facebuster that will ruin his good looks! Nakamura tries to charge in with a knee, but Styles dodges, but Nakamura hits him with a knee to the gut. He lifts Styles up on the top rope face up and drives the knee right to the back. Styles flops down in pain and Nakamura goes for a few covers but only gets one on each of them. Styles gets up and Nakamura lays in some more elbows to the back. He puts Styles on the top rope again looking for another knee attack but Styles slips onto the apron as Nakamura crashes n the corner. Styles launches himself from the apron driving the forearm right to Shinsuke's face. We get a replay of that as we come back with both guys trading forearms back and forth before Styles hits a facebuster and nearly gets a pinfall. Styles picks Nakamura up but Nakamura fires off a forearm shot. They start exchanging blows again before Styles goes into super hyper combo mode. Nakamura answers back with a knee to the gut but Styles fires off a Pele kick. Nakamura rebounds off the ropes and hits the booma ye! He goes for the pin but gets two. Back from break Nakamura lifts Styles up in a fireman's carry but A.J. rolls it into a crucifix that gets a two and a half count! Nakamura scrambles forward and Styles nails him in the face with a knee. Styles scrambles up and hi9ts a 540 splash that gets a two and a wow from the audience. Styles locks in a half hatch. Nakamura breaks it and gets a back palm strike, but when Styles goes for it again Nakamura leaps up with Styles' arm and locks in an armlock! Styles is fighting it. Nakamura turns it into a triangle but Styles picks him up and hits him with a modified styles clash! Pin attempt gets two! Styles hits the bloody Sunday DDT. Styles doesn't go for the pin instead landing a few kicks. Styles brings Nakamura to the corner. Oh boy! Styles climbs up and brings Nakamura with him. He's looking for a super Styles clash. Nakamura lands a kick to the head and counter. Nakamura picks him up in a fireman's carry on the ropes and hits the avalanche landside!  Nakamura goes for the pin and doesn't get it. Nakamura gets to the corner and lands the booma ya to Styles's head. He hits a second one! Nakamura covers and gets the 3! After the bell rings Nakamura holds out his fist and Styles reciprocates. A bit of a swan song for both of course, as they put in their notices on this show, but considering one is WWE Champion and one is NXT Champion, things turned out pretty well for both. In the back, Nakamura talks about how awesome the timing was for this match and that his goal is to take down the world. God goal to have! We get some words from Kushida. He talks about the importance of the Tokyo Dome matches from when he was a kid. Omega is more powerful and he is close to the perfect wrestler He wants the Jr. title to be the top belt and doesn't like Omega or anyone else cheating or interfering in the Jr.s matches anymore. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Kenny "The Cleaner" Omega vs. Kushida Omega has been on a tear since joining the Bullet Club and dominating the Jr.s division. These two have had matches and run-ins before. Let's see what they can do this time around. I've been waiting 9 months for this entrance. As Kushida comes out in his Marty McFly best, an awesome video package plays of the dashboard of the famous Delorean. In the ring rolls in the only time you'll see Doc Brown in a wrestling ring. Taguchi you wonderful bastard. Best entrance EVAH! The Funky Weapon looks like he's had a few too many vending machine coffees as he is into the role way too much. After that Kenny comes out looking good in his sweet Cleaner duster jacket, and oh yeah, he brought the Bucks with him. Damn. After the break  The Bucks and Omega superkick Taguchi to the floor and then starting on Kushida. The Bucks bail and the bell rings. Omega hits a sliding dropkick and some elbows to beat him down in the corner. Omega lands a few chops and tries to whip into the corner but misses. Omega tries to hit an axhandle but Kushida ducks and hits a low dropkick to the leg. As Omega is down Kushida hits a cartwheel right into a dropkick to Kenny's face, sending him to the floor. One of the Bucks jump up and distract the ref as Kushida goes for Omega, but Kenny pops up with some spray imminent right in Kushida's face! Omega then struts a bit spraying the stuff under his arms and then down the front of his tights, which he quickly realizes is a bad idea. Kushida doesn't care as he gives Omega a dropkick through the ropes. He dives to the apron and goes for a running something, but Nick Jackson throws a trash can right at him. Omega takes the advantages and hits a moonsault off the steel barrier with a trashcan right onto Kushida. Omega gets in the ring and Matt Jackson throws Kushida in. Kenny picks him up and drives him down into a backbreaker. Kushida rolls outside the ring as Omega poses for a before he gets a running start into a SWEET swam dive over the ropes. He tosses Kushida back into the ring and follows him in. He gets a running facebuster, that he overshoots a bit, and gets a 2 count. Omega chokes him out with his wrist tape. He hits a forearm but Kushida tries to fight back. Omega goes for a suplex bit they both sit out on it. Omega gets the lift but Kushida hits a knee to the head. He hits a Pele kick and a few more kicks and a chop from the apron into a springboard back elbow. Kushida goes for another dive but spins it around and locks in the hoverboard lock! Omega escapes but as they get up Kushida lands some strikes to Omega's arm. Kushida goes into the ropes and Kenny tries to counter it but gets a double heel; strike for that attempt. Omega goes outside and Kushida goes up and lands a swan dive of his own off the top rope. As Kenny comes in he gets hit with a dropkick. Kushida hits a moonsault and as Kenny kicks out of the pin, Kushida hooks in the arm lock. Kenny goes for the suplex again but Kushida hits the sore arm to counter. Back from another break. Both guys struggle to get up. Omega picks Kushida up on the top turnbuckle but Kushida locks in the wrist lock and drops off the buckle! Kenny's in pain now! Kick to the injured arm. Omega tries for a suplex but Kushida counters out. Omega hits a superkick. Omega goes for a strike but Kushida straight hits him in the face with the baseball punch. Kushida goes up for a moonsault but misses. He recovers quickly and lands a few strikes. Kushida goes for a springboard elbow but Omega catches him in the electric chair position but Omega hits a German suplex instead. Kushida turns around and locks in the hoverboard lock but the Bucks interfere. Taguchi finally gets off his ass and smacks both Bucks with a Trashcan at ringside. Kenny gets out of the hold and gets Kushida up in the electric chair again and goes for the one winged angel, but can't get it. Kushida slips out and hits a back elbow. He tries for a second one but Omega connects with a jumping knee to the face that damn near knocks him out. Omega somehow picks Kushida up and gets him up and into a sit-out powerbomb, but only gets the two count. Kushida gets up and Omega hits him with a jumping knee! He hits another one against the ropes! He's going in for the kill as he picks Kushida up for the one winged angel but Kushida rolls through! He gets the pinfall! We have a new champion! Kushida celebrates with the belt and his buddy as the Club scurry away in defeat. Backstage Kushida says that there will be no more cheating and outside interference in the juniors matches anymore. No one will sit out the Super Juniors tournament either. In the studio, he talks about the Tokyo Dome being too big. He owes Taguchi after his help during the match and that this is the stating line to eventual fight with people like Tanahashi or Okada. He says he will never lose to Omega ever again. What a show! A good way to kick things off, even if it is way out of the order of the card. There wasn't much, if anything, cut from these matches and the call was at least better than Matt Striker and Yoshi Tatsu. Starting off things with a bang and we have a lot more to go, Next Time we will see if Tomoaki Honma can finally put some gold around his waist as he and the Unchained Gorilla go after the Bullet Club. See you then!  
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
The big one under the Dome!
Hello, readers and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. The time has come as this week we are taking our first look at WrestleKingdom 10 from the Tokyo Dome! We are in front of 29.00...

Annotated Puppetry: Thunderbolt Fantasy episodes 7-12

Sep 29 // Salvador G Rodiles
It’s these real moments that complete the Butcher’s latest concoction as the main cast’s journey isn’t as straight forward as it seemed to be. The gang’s different backgrounds start to contribute to the show’s conflict and Gui Niao’s true colors start to blossom. While the change in the story didn’t result in any ridiculously shocking tragic moments, the constant air of doubt that entered the atmosphere acts as an alternate form entertainment that still stays true to the guy’s style. The unfortunate outcome from this change was dealing with the fact that we had to part ways with the show’s story about a band of characters that would usually not see each other eye to eye team up to go on a quest to stop a powerful person from releasing a powerful sword from its seal. In a way, it’s almost like Thunderbolt Fantasy was teaching us that all good things must come to an end. There was only so much that we could indulge from Huan tolerating most of the party while they reach Hai’s lair since the cast’s destination was meant to set up for the main turning point in the series. Even though the show started off like it could’ve become a series about a group that became closer during the adventure, the staff was likely aiming for a scenario where things don’t always go as planned. Huan ended up doing more of the work in the journey than Niao intended to and the wandering swordsman’s patience almost jeopardized the entire mission. Just like in real life, there’s always a chance that a well-thought out plan won’t go well. One has to learn to adapt and find a way to move forward while making modifications along the way. Sure, it almost made most of the gang’s roles in the trials a bit useless, but the treat was that it gave the Butcher the ammo that he needed to get the ball rolling. It’s this element that opened up the strings of betrayal that went on during the scenes in Hai’s lair. Characters that seemed like they could be heroes ended up showing a new side to them and Niao’s true identity starts to take things up a notch. All in all, this direction works better in piecing together a finale that’ll exceed many folk’s expectations. Hell, Urobuchi’s usual style of killing off a character before things got real was changed up as it ended up being someone who seemed like they could’ve been around until the main battle against the true final adversary. Of course, the show’s extravagant puppetry continues to be the star, with one of the highlights being the large golem. Compare to most of the fights, it was one of the few moments where we saw the puppeteers use the puppets to fight a large creature. Sure, it may have been a quick segment, but the fact that it seemed like Huan was scaling a stone monstrosity shows that the team's skills in moving the marionettes across the large stone creature were very effective. As a fan of practical effects, it’s still a treat to stare at the detail of the sets and creatures that Pili added to the scene. Since the show is nearing its finale, there’s no stopping this team from blowing everyone away. Speaking of breathtaking action scenes, Pili’s use of effects when they showed off Huan’s true skills resulted in various scenes where my jaw dropped from the way how he can manipulate his qi in battle. In a way, they made him seem like an even more ridiculous version of Twilight Suzuka from Outlaw Star, as we see another badass slaughtering people with a wooden weapon. While his backstory might continue to remain a mystery when the show ends, the idea that we don’t know much about Huan background is what makes him intriguing. Nonetheless, it’s his tendency to go with his instinct that made him a fun lead to follow since he does his best to adjust to situations that he’s been put through against his will— even if they make him upset or to follow someone who he sees as a shady individual. As Thunderbolt Fantasy went from being an adventure story to a tale of betrayal, the show has been quite the ride so far. Considering that the truth behind the Tian Xin Jian’s purpose has been revealed, the series might be setting up for the gang to fight a colossal being, which works well in the staff’s favor to end this show with a bang. No matter what happens, the end result might be a tale that teaches folks about accepting reality and using its harsh truth to grow into a stronger person. Someone is likely going to make one last major sacrifice, but that’ll just mean that the person involved has found his/her resolve. Of course, the high-speed lightning action will only make these moments even better.  [Experience Thunderbolt Fantasy’s changes on Crunchyroll]
Thunderbolt Fantasy photo
A Game of Marionettes
It was only a matter of time until Urobuchi would slice Thunderbolt Fantasy with his special knives. While it took a while for his blade to pierce through the show’s main story, the effect is still worthy of his us...

Strong Style: Last Stop on the road to WrestleKingdom (I swear!)

Sep 25 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Tanahashi, looking somewhat normal. CMLL Welterweight Title: Mascara Dorada vs. Bushi Dorada may look familiar as Gran Metalik in the recent WWE Cruiserweight Classic. Bushi debuted on this show a few weeks ago as the newest member of Los Ingobernables with Naito and EVIL. The story here is that Dorada was recruited to join Los Ingobernables, but refused, so Bushi attacked him. A little background on Bushi. He started with All Japan Pro Wrestling in the mid-2000s (before they lost half their roster when Great Muta split with the company). He went on his excursion to Mexico for a few years before coming back to AJPW. He ended up being sent to New Japan on loan for a year but ended up getting injured with a bad neck injury from a diving headbutt. In his debut back he was supposed to be the curtain jerker, but canceled the match and came back with Naito and EVIL instead. Bushi enters the arena by himself. Instead of the black suit, he is just wearing his gear and a T-shirt. He takes off his mask to reveal an all black mask instead. Mascara Dorada enters the ring and suddenly Naito appears in Bushi's corner. Hirooki Goto comes out and now he's in Dorada's corner. A real good spot here as since this is for a Mexican championship, it's a tradition that they get a picture of the ref holding the belt with the two wrestlers and their corner men together. As they pose Naito reaches his hand behind Dorada's head. He turns around and Goto goes after Naito. Bushi takes advantage and starts whaling on Dorada as the ref is getting Goto out of the ring. Bushi beats down Dorada and chokes him with his boot in the corner. Bushi gets him up and sends him into the corner. Bushi tries to whip him into the opposite corner but Dorada reverses. Bushi goes in but when Dorada tries a splash, Bushi lifts him over the ropes and down to the floor. Bushi then springs over the ropes and catches Dorada with a hurracanrana on the floor! We skip ahead as both guys are back in the ring and Dorada is throwing punches. Bushi rakes Dorada's eyes and backs him up into the ropes. Dorada springs off and tries a back elbow but Bushi dodges. Bushi goes for the dropkick and misses as Dorada goes to the second ropes and lands an armdrag to send Bushi from the ring. He goes up to the top turnbuckle and walks the top rope before hitting a splash! We get a weird Lucha Underground mention from Jim Ross as he explains how having two masked men is unusual for Japan. Bushi is rolled back in the ring as Dorada springboards in with a body press into a two count. Dorada sends Bushi into the ropes and plants him right on his black-lipsticked face. We come back from the commercial as Dorada goes in for a charge but Bushi kicks him right in the face. Bushi scales up the ropes and hits a hurracanrana to send Dorada to the outside where Bushi gets a running start and hits the diving headbutt! Bushi gets back in the ring and when Dorada gets through the ropes, Bushi nails him with a high dropkick. For some reason Bushi just kind of walks around for a bit in an awkward point in the match. Bushi tries to whip Dorada in but Dorada reverses. Bushi goes up into the powerbomb position but Bushi goes over the top into a sunset flip for a two count. He goes to the middle rope and tries for an axehandle but Dorada gives him a dropkick in mid-air. Bushi gets to the corner but Dorada hits a running clothesline to send Bushi back to the mat where Dorada hits a VERY weak looking dropkick. He goes up top and walks to the middle of the top rope before hitting a splash. The count gets two. Dorada goes to get Bushi, but Bushi throws a kick that Dorada catches. Bushi spins around and tries for an enziguri but Dorada ducks, only to get kicked from a second try. Dorada goes to the corner but when Bushi charges Dorada kicks him with both feet. Bushi charges again and Dorada gets the sunset flip, but Bushi reverses it and grabs onto Naito's hands! Goto runs over and nails Naito. We have a fight! Both guys are chased to the back while Dorada rolls to the apron. Bushi comes in and gets kicks right in the head, Dorada goes up and hits a HIGH moonsault, but only gets two. He picks Bushi up and sets him on the top rope. Just then EVIL shows up on the apron and distracts the ref as Bushi sprays the green mist in Dorada's eyes! Bushi hits the low blow and scores the reverse roll up to get the three count! Bushi is the new champion! Backstage Bushi talks about being out of action for exactly one year. He saw a lot of confusing things, but everything he worked for has lead to winning this belt. We come back from commercial to get some studio words from Tanahashi. He lists off all the guys he fought during 2015. It's exhausting but he never gets tired and wants to end the year right. Hiroshi Tanahashi/Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kazuchika Okada/Tomohiro Ishii One last little teaser before Wrestlekingdom. Since both feuds here are pretty deep, this should be a total mess of a match. Let's see how this goes. Shibata enters first in his no-nonsense style. In a break from tradition, Ishii enters next. Okay. Tanahashi is the next out and Okada comes out with Gedo behind him. Tanahashi and Okada have a brief face off, but nothing comes of that. We come back from commercial with Okada starting with Tanahashi. Big Okada chant. We lock up, trade waist locks before Tanahashi goes for a full nelson. Tanahashi goes for the arm but Okada takes the leg and they grapple back and forth before breaking in the ropes. Knuckle lock into a wristlock by Tanahashi. They go into the rope and clean break. Knuckle lock again into a wristlock by Okada. They back into the ropes and Okada feigns going for the clean break, but screw that and he hits Hiroshi. Okada turns around and tags in Ishii and Hiroshi goes over and tags Shibata. The immediately collide in the center of the ring. Shibata with a headlock is shot off and the pitbull runs him over with a shoulderblock. Ishii gives a few kicks and forearms but Shibata gets right back up. Shibata gives him a kick to send Ishii down. Shibata lands some teasing kicks. Ishii jumps right up and trades a few forearms into the corner, Shibata lands chops and some strikes. Ishii takes it and gives it back by shoving Shibata into the corner and doing the same thing. They exchange chops in the throat! Geez! "Shibata's gonna sound like Honma."- JR. Okada tags in and hits a low dropkick. Swinging neckbreaker on Shibata. Count gets one. Ishii tags back in hits a snapmare and a kick to the back. Headbutt sends Shibata backward but he comes right back with chops and they go at it again before Ishii lands a headbutt into the temple. Okada tags back in and gets the whip and splash into the corner. Okada hits a senton, a bit of a shot to Tanahashi I'm sure. Shibata lands a chop and gets up. They start exchanging blows before Okada is knocked down! We come back from break with both guys down. Okada gets a strike in but Shibata gets the knee to the gut. Tanahashi comes in and fires off elbows to the face. He slams Okada down and hits the middle rope senton. Count only gets two. He tries to whip Okada, but Okada reverses only to get a dropkick in the knee. Tanahashi gets the cloverleaf but Okada gets to the ropes. Ref breaks the hold and Okada gets to his feet. Tanahashi goes for a running attack but Okada lands the flapjack. He then turns around and tags Ishii back in. Ishii starts in with the chops in the corner. Tanahashi tries headbutts on Ishii which is insane! Ishii floors Tanahashi and then starts chopping him on the corner. Tanahashi reverses with some European forearms but that doesn't work. Ishii locks in a sleeperhold but Tanahashi pushes him back into the corner. Tanahashi reverses and locks in a dragon sleeper but Ishii gets out of it. Shibata tags in and nails Okada off the apron before he starts in on Ishii with forearms before hitting his hanging dropkick. He gets the half hatch suplex into a cover then goes right into an armlock into a triangle lock. Ishii tries lifting him up but Shibata extends the lock on the arm even more. He gets Ishii down to the canvas but Ishii is still fighting Tanahashi holds Okada from interference. Ishii finally gets to the ropes but Shibata lays in some kicks. Shibata tries a hold but Okada comes in and breaks it up. Ishii gets up and tags Shibata right in the face and flattens him. Both guys tag and here we go. Okada lands a boot the Tanahashi's face. Tanahashi pops up and starts in with a forearm. Okada reverses a flapjack and they roll right into an Okada neckbreaker. Okada scales the ropes and gets the elbow. He signals for the rainmaker but Tanahashi counters out, Okada goes for a dropkick but Tanahashi counters into a grounded leg whip and into a cloverleaf. Shibata and Ishii come into with an octopus. Both holds are broken up. Tanahashi goes for the slingblade, but Okada counters into the rainmaker, but Tanahashi counters into BACK a slingblade. Tanahashi goes up but Ishii stops him and hits the middle rope suplex. Shibata comes in and lands a big dropkick on Ishii. We come back from break with everyone down. Tanahashi and Okada struggle to stand but can't get there. They start exchanging forearms and heave themselves to a standing position. Okada tries for the tombstone but Tanahashi counters out and hits a punch to Okada's face. Okada tags Ishii and Shibata also gets the tag. They immediately start trading clothesline then exchange back suplexes, Seriously, dueling back suplexes. They get up to their feet and start trading forearms. Shibata lands a dropkick and a kick to the chest and a cover, but nope. He gets a chinlock but Okada breaks it up. Tanahashi comes in and out goes Okada. Ishii ends up in the corner but he nails Tanahashi and tags Shibata with a clothesline. He doesn't get the pin. Ishii goes for the brainbuster but Shibata counters and locks in the choke. Ishii is going down, but powers back up. Okada comes in a dropkick Shibata in the back of the head. Shibata kicks Okada outside the ring. he goes for the PK on Ishii but he counters. Shibata lands a dropkick and Tanahashi comes off the top with the flow and then Shibata lands the PK kick and Tanahashi gets the pin! Shibata grabs the mic and thanks the crowd for their support. He hands the mic to Tanahashi. Tanahashi tells Okada that it's too early to leave. Okada turns around and comes back in the ring. Tanahashi tells  him that he doesn't care about his crying or the money, but he wants to take NJPW to the next level and he will be the champion. Okada fakes going out of the ring but turns right around. He says, "NJPW is already at the next level and he won't embarrass himself." Tanahashi says that they will settle it on January 4. It then starts snowing in the arena as Tanahashi poses a bit. In the studio, Tanahashi asks which rivalry was more exciting in this match. He says, "He who wears the belt needs to share his vision with the crowd, no matter what it is." As these two fought each other in the months leading up to this, he felt things reset. No heel or babyface anymore. And with that, we finish this week. Welp, this show did blow me away. Granted, the tag match was good, but the opening match was a dud. It seemed like it was going at half speed and it seemed like the crowd was dead for the whole thing. Next time we FINALLY get to the coverage of Wrestlekingdom 10 card! As a preview of what to expect, here is the preview for the show I did back in January. See you next time from the Tokyo Dome!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
One last show before the big one!
Hello and welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we look at a couple of matches from the last show before the Big WrestleKingdom 10 show with "Road To Tokyo Dome." This show takes place on December 19, 2015, at Korakuen Hall and was the last one for the year for New Japan. Let's get to the action!

Strong Style: Seriously, this is the finals

Sep 16 // Soul Tsukino
The show starts with a greeting from Honma! Croaking like a frog the whole time. Seriously, this guy is like dragging a bass drum over a gravel road. Hiroshi Tanahashi,Michael Elgin, Hirooki Goto, Katsuyori Shibata vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii, Kazucha Sakuraba) Yeah, this match is going to be a mess. The story here is, of course, Tanahashi and Okada are going to meet in the main event of WrestleKingdom and they needed to face off just one more time. Everyone else is there to cause havoc. Tanahashi's team is already in the ring as CHAOS marches out with Gedo following them all. Okada and Tanahashi face off immediately in the ring. They pause, take off their gear, and go right back to staring each other down. The bell rings and surprisingly they start the match! Lock-up to start and back into the ropes but Okada gives a clean break with a light tap on the chest. Hiroshi doesn't care for that and forearms Okada twice in the face. Okada recovers enough to send Tanahashi into the ropes and boot him in the face. He immediately goes for the tombstone but Hiroshi blocks it. Okada Goes for the tombstone again and Tanahashi blocks it. Tanahashi goes for a dragon suplex but Okada blocks that. He gets Tanahashi over in an armdrag and locks in a leg scissors. Tanahashi gets out but Okada gets in a wristlock. They get up and Ishii tags in. The Stone Pitbull then ignore Tanahashi and says he wants Shibata. Fair enough. Shibata comes in and they ram shoulder to shoulder before Ishii starts in with some nasty forearms. Shibata responds in kind. They dare each other for a hit and just start going back and forth with forearms for what seems like forever before Ishii falters. Shibata bounces off the ropes and hits a big boot, Ishii responds with a forearm off the ropes. Another boot and more forearms. They finally ram into each other and Shibata falls back and tags Goto. Goto tries for a forearm strike but Ishii ducks it and goes over and nails Shibata off the apron then decks Goto too before he goes and tags Yoshi. Yoshi comes in but so does Shibata. Funny moment as Yoshi thinks Shibata is going to hit him and blocks, but Shibata runs right by him and hits Ishii off the apron instead while Yoshi just looks around for a few seconds. Ishii and Shibata are fighting on the floor now as Yoshi goes for a suplex, but Goto slips out. He goes for a clothesline but Yoshi blocks it. Yoshi goes for the ropes but gets caught by Goto who scoops him up and hits an ushigoroshi, which JR calls an airplane spin and slam. Goto then crawls over and tags Elgin. Oh shit. Yoshi, for the love of all that your ancestors have done, tag out. Big Mike immediately goes up and hits a BIG flying shoulderblock. Hashi stumbles to his feet and Mike hits him with a bunch of forearms before landing a big running forearm to the jaw. He slams Yoshi down and goes to the apron and hits the slingshot bodypress. Yoshi rolls to the corner where Elgin calls for the clothesline. Yoshi dodges out of the way but Mike tries to kick him. Yoshi catches the foot but gets drilled with the enziguri from some mighty beefy legs! He grabs Yoshi from behind and nails a German suplex. He keeps hold and hits another one. As he is trying for a third Okada comes in to stop it but Mike just suplexes him. Ishii gets a suplex and then Sakuraba gets one. And you get a suplex, and you get a suplex! The crowd is loving this. He presses Yoshi above his head and brings him down in a powerslam. The count only gets two. We come back from the commercial as Elgin tries to get Yoshi in a powerbomb, but Yoshi slips over the top into a sunset flip. Mike says no to that and picks Yoshi up into another powerbomb, but Yoshi turns it into a codebreaker. Yoshi scrambles over to tag Okada. The Rainmaker runs over and nails Tanahashi and Shibata off the apron. He and Yoshi grab Mike and run him into the turnbuckles, but when Okada comes in for the splash Elgin gives him a boot. Yoshi comes flying in but mike dodges him. Mike picks him up for the suplex when Okada kicks him in the gut and Mike keeps the suplex. Okada comes over and pulls Yoshi down but Mike just hits him. Mike scoops up Okada and then Yoshi and slams them both. Elgin rolls over and tags Tanahashi. Hiroshi is angry as he comes in and unloads on Okada with forearms before Okada has had enough and he starts firing off forearms. They duel back and forth before Tanahashi starts firing off European uppercuts. Okada fires Tanahashi in and tries for a boot but Hiroshi catches him and snaps off a dragon screw leg whip. Okada goes to the corner and Tanahashi comes flying in, but Okada catches him and scoops him in an emerald fusion position and drops him right on his knee. CHAOS comes in now as here we go! As everyone else is fighting outside Okada slams Tanahashi down and climbs up. He lands the Randy Savage elbow and does the Rainmaker pose! Tanahashi STANDS UP! He's right in Okada's face! Okada tries for a punch but Tanahashi grabs him and tries for the rainmaker clothesline. Okada ducks and tries the rainmaker himself. Tanahashi then SLAPS Okada! Ooooooh. Hiroshi goes bouncing off the ropes right into an Okada dropkick., but Tanahashi pops right back up and nails the slingblade! Ishii and Shibata tag in and Ishii runs right into a boot. He goes to the corner where Shibata just lays into him with elbows and forearm strikes before landing his sweet hanging dropkick. Ishii rolls out of the corner as Shibata goes to the ropes and right into a Sakuraba choke! Yoshi comes in and knocks Goto off the apron before he whips Shibata in the corner and nails him with a clothesline. Mind you Yoshi nor Sakuraba are legal. Sakuraba lands a kick and Ishii gets a Saito suplex and goes for the cover. Goto scoots in to break that up. Ishii goes for the piledriver and Goto nails him with a clothesline. Shibata sets Ishii up but Goto accidently nails Shibata with a clothesline! Everyone comes in and nails each other before Elgin presses Tanahashi up and down onto Okada and Yoshi. Ishii sneaks in and nails Elgin with a back suplex. We are back down to Ishii and Shibata as Shibata lands the boot. Ishii lands a big clothesline and goes for a pin but only gets two. Both guys scramble up and Shibata locks in a rear choke. Got runs in and tries something but Ishii kicks him. He tries to fend off both Meiyu but Shibata gets him locked up and he and Goto take Ishii down. Ishii and Shibata stumble up and hit each other before conking heads and messing them both up. Shibata locks in the choke but Ishii flips him over to counter and Shibata kicks Ishii down. He goes for the kick but Ishii grabs his foot. He tries for a clothesline but Shibata ducks under and locks in the choke again! He gets Ishii down, and nails him with a PK and gets the pin! Holy crap! Shibata grabs the NEVER belt and just drapes it over a fallen Ishii. Backstage Ishii is pissed! We come back to the studio with Honma. He ended up getting a technique award right before this and even he doesn't think it is technique as much as he just loves wrestling. This match is happening in his home area. It is a divine message and he has to be the one to decide it, not Makabe. 2015 World Tag League Finals: Global Bash Heel (Togi Makabe/Tomoaki Honma) vs. Los Igobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito/EVIL) Winner gets to fight Gallows and Anderson for the tag team titles at WK. Probably not the cream of the crop in tag team wrestling, but what the hell right? The Goobers enter as JR butchers Togi's name for the umpteenth time. The announcers say that GBH won their tag matches with all King Kong knee drops from Makabe, so that explains it. JR then mistakes King Kong Bundy with Bruiser (King Kong) Brody. *sigh*. A weird close-up of Jay White, the young boy as he opens the ropes for Naito. GBH comes out with Honma leading the way. These two will never be mistaken for the Beuty Pair that's for sure.  We actually get the full introductions here, so we are stretching for time a bit. Honma gets a big reaction from the fans. We come from the commercial and the bell rings. Togi and Naito start out Togi wants to go, but Naito, of course, doesn't. He turns around and tags EVIL. As they go to lock up Naito hits Makabe from behind and EVIL hits Honma. They try to double team on Togi, but he runs right over the both of them. Honma tags in and lays in the kicks on EVIL. Whip into the corner with an elbow and then a clothesline. He tries for the headbutt and misses. Naito comes in and chucks Honma right out. EVIL goes right after Makabe outside with some chairs and Honma gets whipped into the barrier. Naito grabs the table from the broadcasters. That can't be good. He puts Honma on the apron but Honma hits the boot. Honma goes for the slam but Bushi jumps on the apron and kicks Honma. Naito gets a reverse headlock and right down on the table!  The ref checking in on Honma, including checking his pulse! Naito rolls him into the ring as Naito stomps on the fallen Honma as the crowd starts in a chant. Naito tags in EVIL and he goes right for Makabe again, knocking him off the apron. He hits a spinning side slam on Honma. EVIL tags in Naito as he chokes Honma a bit and hits an elbow before getting a baseball slide dropkick. EVIL rakes at Honma eyes as Naito hits Makabe off the apron. EVIL starts biting Honma on the shoulder! He gets an arm lock and then a surfboard on Honma  and then he hits a senton, but gets a two count. RVIL gives the death sign and goes for a suplex but Honma counters and then gets him up and muscles him over! Honma finally tags Makabe in and he runs right over EVIL. Naito comes in and is clotheslined to the apron.  He runs to the other corner and flattens EVIL with 10 punches and a northern lights suplex for a two count. Makabe goes for the clothesline, but EVIL gets a neckbreaker. It doesn't last as Makabe again runs over EVIL and then hits a release German suplex. Makabe rolls over and gets the tag. Honma comes over and gets rid of EVIL and starts in on Naito before hitting the headbutt. He tries for a blockbuster but doesn't get any rotation and actually comes down on his head, but he pops right back up. Naito gets up and counters into a neckbreaker and then a missile dropkick. He gets Honma in the corner and gets in his three-part dropkick. He tries for a German but Honma stops it. Makabe comes in and Honma hits a missile headbutt right to EVIL. GBH hits a double clothesline on Naito. Honma goes up but EVIL trips him up. Makabe goes for Naito but Bushi gives him the green mist, so he is down. EVIL hits the STO on Honma and Naito gets the neckbreaker for two. Back from break Naito grabs Honma and tries for a weird suplex, but Naito lands an enziguri. He puts on a gogoplata on Honma and Honma fights it because he will not quit. Honma tries for the ropes but he is barely moving. Honma finally gets to the ropes and Naito releases. EVIL tags in and kinda stares for a bit before he tries to pick up Honma. Naito comes in and decks Honma. Both guys work over Honma with an atomic drop into a big clothesline for two. EVIL gets a fisherman's buster but Honma kicks out at two. Crowd is insane for Honma and hit a double press for a cover Makabe runs in and breaks it up. They double whips Makabe in but he runs over them with clotheslines. All four guys are down now. EVIL and Honma struggle up and hit clotheslines on each other. Again and again, before Honma hits a forearm. He goes for something but EVIL runs with him and nails him. Honma counters with a shoulder breaker. He goes for the pin but Naito HITS the REF!. Makabe hits Naito and lifts him on his shoulders and Honma hits a doomsday headbutt! Bushi comes in and gets hammered. Honma hits the headbutt on EVIL and the ref counts. Only two! Makabe goes up and lands the King Kong kneedrop. Honma goes up and hits the big headbutt from the ropes and he goes for the cover. 3 counts! Honma got the win! GBH is going for the tag titles! Makabe grabs the mic and says that haven't been able to win this tournament before but now they did because of Honma. Honma's in tears as the crowd cheers for him. This is a big moment. He asks "Who'd have thought I'd score the win?" He has a really strong heart He apologizes for not knowing what to say since he hit his head so much. He says he's happy and the crowd applauds. He knows following Makabe was not wrong. They will have the belts. He gets the crowd into a big cheer of "let's be happy!" This is actually a really touching moment and I'm tearing up a bit. In the studio, Honma says that Naito was all new to him. He found EVIL to be unexpectedly good. He got what he aimed for and he is really grateful to Mr. Makabe for that. What a show! Both matches were not cut (I'm surprised) and really good match. The moment of Honma getting his big win was touching, especially if you've followed his road of loserdom. The commentary was okay, JR just spends too much time acting like a WWE commentator and it just does not work with NJPW action. He STILL can't get Togi's name right and even openly gets mad when fans have corrected him. Really starting to drag down the show, but if you ignore him, this show was amazing. With WrestleKingdom 10 around the corner, see you all next time!  
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Not who you'd expect
Greetings to another week of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we are at the finals of the 2015 World Tag league tournament on December 9th, 2015, and the Sendai Sunplaza. The last stop before we get to WrestleKingdom 10.

Strong Style: Tag Team Time!

Sep 10 // Soul Tsukino
We open with Tanahashi, who has his hair down in this and doesn't look like a little girl did his hair. Los Ingobernales (Naito/EVIL) vs. The Bullet Club (Gallows/Anderson) Now THIS is an interesting match! Both teams are well versed in breaking the rules and no giving a damn about the ref. Will Naito just screw around while EVIL does all the work? I'm sure the Club doesn't care. Evil comes out in his reaper gear and then Naito comes out in his Skeletor in a suit look. He doesn't screw around and goes right to the ring, but pulls his mask off and reveals to be Bushi, a masked wrestler who is making his return after a year off from a neck injury. Los Ingobernables has a new member! Naito makes his entrance then as all three stand in the ring, The Bullet Club come out by themselves, which is a surprise. Anderson and Gallows are the champions, but the titles are not on the line, though a victory by Los Ingobernables would go a long way. We come back from a commercial and thankfully they skip over Naito slowly taking off his gear. He just gets his pants off when he and Evil attack the Club! All four guys in the ring and it's a fight. The ref rings the bell, because why not? It is chaos as The Club hit a double shoulderblock on Evil before picking him up in a double Flapjack and then Gallows puts Evil on his shoulder and sets him up for a kick to the head by Anderson. uhh, Naito? Wanna help your compadre any? Evil rolls to the floor but he isn't safe there as both Club Members go outside. Gallows grabs Evil and sends hit right into the barricade before grabbing a chair and whacking him with it. Gallows whips him into the other side of the barrier and then grabs another chair and whacks him with that too. We see that Naito and Anderson and now up in the stands battling it out in the crowd and things are really out of hand. Anderson goes for a powerbomb in the crowd on Naito, but Naito wiggles out. Karl hits him with a stiff chop to the chest and they both go from one side of the arena to the other before Karl grabs him and literally throws him out a side door to the arena. With Naito gone Karl walks back down to help Gallows. They both ram Evil's head into the steel barrier before they roll him in the ring. So now Gallows and Evil are legal. We see Naito enter back into the crowd but guess what, he's in no hurry to get back to the ring. No wonder Evil is always in a bad mood!  Gallows clubs Evil in the face before he tags in Anderson. Meanwhile, in the crowd, Naito is sitting on someone's lap catching his breath. In the ring, Evil tries to stand up but Karl lands a clothesline, a kick to the gut, and then an uppercut. Karl gets ready for another clothesline but Evil counters into a neckbreaker. Evil snaps up and punches Gallows off the apron. He turns around and for some reason tosses Anderson out before following him to the floor. Even Josh questions this idea. Evil beats on Karl a little bit as Naito finally comes to the ring. Evil grabs a chair and puts it around Karl's neck and then drives him right into the ringpost! We skip ahead as Evil and Karl are back in the ring/ Evil has a double armlock, but then sinks in and bites Karl right on the shoulder! The ref breaks it up as Karl Collapses in pain, but Evil drops the senton on him. he looks to be covering him but the ref realizes at the two count that Evil is actually choking the hell out of Anderson and tries to break it up. Evil gives the Ref a glare for his trouble. Back from the break, Evil tries to grab Karl but Anderson elbows evil in the gut. He lands another strike but Evil just knees him in the stomach to end that. He makes the cut throat sign on Karl before rebounding off the ropes, but he gets caught in the Anderson spinebuster! Gallows is tagged in and he flattens everyone with clotheslines before landing a big boot on Evil. He sends Evil into the buckle and squashes him with a big splash before running him over with a clothesline. He runs the ropes and hits a big splash for a 3 count. He picks Evil up and tells him to do something I will not repeat here before running to the ropes. Evil, however, follows him and lands a deep need to Gallows' gut. Evil tags in Naito who strolls into the ring for a bit before landing his combination corner dropkick on Gallows before running over and clobbering Anderson off the apron. Evil comes back in the ring and they whip Gallows into the corner and Evil follows up with a running clothesline. Gallows falls to the mat where Naito hits a low dropkick to Anderson's face. Count only gets two and Naito goes off on the ref. Evil grabs Gallows from behind and Naito smacks him a few times before running for the ropes. Anderson trips him from the outside. Gallows turns around and flattens Evil to the mat. Now with the advantage, the Club send Naito into the corner hard and Anderson hits a flying kick to Naito's face! Tranquilo that asshole! Gallows hits the Baldo bomb on Naito but Evil jumps in and breaks up the count. Anderson throws Evil back out and The Club hits the double reverse neck breaker, but only gets two. They go for the magic killer, but Evil breaks it up and nails Anderson with the STO. Evil then grabs the ref as Gallows goes for another powerbomb. Naito slips out and nails a kick to Gallows head. He stumbles over where Bushi jumps up and spits green mist in his eyes! Gallows can't see. He walks right into destino and Naito and Evil get the pin! Big upset! Backstage Evil is all "Everything is EVIL!" so Naito steps in. He reminds people he has been out for a month and a half with his earlobe injury along with the debut of Bushi to the team. Bushi says that he likes this version of New Japan Pro Wrestling, the world of tranquillo. A word from Tanahashi now in the studio. He talks about Michael Elgin being young, but that he loves to train. As you can expect from Michael Elgin, he has a damn good bench press lift. They've becoming training partners whenever they are together and decided to team up. Originally Tanahashi thought teams should be the same, like The Young bucks, who even have matching gear, but in teaming with Elgin, Tanahashi found they had a chemistry together despite being so different. Block A: Hiroshi Tanahashi/Michael Elgin vs. Kazuchika Okada/YOSHI-HASHI Naturally, this would be on the first night of the tournament to make sure the crowd gets another taste of the WK10 main event. Yoshi and Okada are representing CHAOS while the Elgin/Tanahashi team is a strange one. Elgin and Tanahashi come out together surprisingly. CHAOS comes out together with Gedo in their corner. We get the full entrances of both teams so we are stretching for time a bit. Looking for all four guys, you kinda have a feeling of who is going to do the job on this one. As Okada enters the ring Tanahashi makes sure to hold up the briefcase. Okada gives it a kick and we are instantly nose to nose! After a commercial, we start. Yoshi is starting against Mike. Oh boy. Yoshi immediately gets flung across the ring. Yoshi says a hair pull but no way. Yoshi starts hammering on Mike's neck but it does nothing. Criss cross has Mike catching Yoshi and drilling him down. He shoots Yoshi in with ad gets a high press slam and a clothesline in the corner. He picks Yoshi up for a suplex, doing squats with Yoshi in the air. Okada sneaks in and kicks Mike in the stomach but it does nothing. He does it again and nothing. Mike finally brings Yoshi down. He tags Tanahashi who just whips Yoshi into the corner and calls for Yoshi to tag. Okada comes in and Tanahashi starts firing kicks and punches immediately. Okada tries for a wiastlock but nope, Tanahashi just hits him more. Tanahashi backs off and Okada gets a dragon screw leg whip. Tanahashi rolls outside. Okada follows him and whips him into the barrier. They fight into the crowd and Okada drops Hiroshi in the crowd and then goes back for more. The count gets to 15 before Okada rolls him in. Okada lands a baseball slide dropkick before he finally tires of beating on Hiroshi and tags Yoshi in. Hiroshi hits Yoshi but then runs over and knocks Okada off the apron. Yoshi hits Tanahashi as Okada gets back up and holds out the boot and Yoshi rams Hiroshi's face into it. Okada tags right back in as he drops Hiroshi with a slam and then poses with his foot on his near future challenger. Okada picks Hiroshi up and tries to whip him into the ropes and go for the body drop, but Okada kicks him. Okada comes charging in and gets body dropped anyway. Smartly he rolls over and gets the tag. Yoshi comes in as Hiroshi tres to clothesline him but Yoshi ducks and gets a chop into Tanahashi's chest.Yoshi misses a strike and Hiroshi tags in big Mike! Mike slingshots himself over the rope right onto the prone Yoshi. Thank couldn't have felt good. He hits a sideslam on Yoshi but only gets two. He calls for a buckle bomb but Yoshi slips out and counters with a codebreaker, Yoshi rolls over and tags Okada who comes in, but Elgin meets him with some nasty looking elbows. Mike hts the ropes but Okada scoops him up into a flapjack. Okada picks Mike up for an Alabama slam, but Mike goes over the shoulders into a sunset flip, only to try for the scorpion deathlock, but Okada counters out with a few kicks. Mike gets in the corner but Okada goes for him, he catches the foot but Elgin hauls off with a big enziguri that staggers Okada. Elgin flattens him with a big forearm before making the tag to Tanahashi. Tanahashi hits the low dropkick to the knee and goes in and hooks in a cloverleaf but Yoshi comes in a breaks it up. Tanahashi tosses Yoshi out and charges back at Okada who throws a big boot. He whips Tanahashi into the corner and hits him with a charging back splash before drilling Hiroshi with a big DDT. Okada goes for a pin but Elgin breaks it up. Okada goes for the gut-wrench but drops that to punch Elgin, only to turn around and gets hit in the gut by Tanahashi  Tanahashi then turns around and hits the slingblade. Back from commercial with both guys down in the ring. Both roll over and tag their partner as Yoshi tries to whip Elgin in but Mike won't move. Mike whips Yoshi into the ropes and he ducks a clothesline before taking down the big guy with a blockbuster. Mike gets up and Yoshi sends him into the corner where he hits a big chop. He picks Mike up and drapes him on the ropes before hitting a running dropkick right to Mike's back. Okada comes in and they both hit Mike in the corner with elbows before Okada sets up Mike for a Yoshi top rope blockbuster. Count only gets two. Yoshi calls Okada back in the ring and they try the double whip into the corner. Mike kicks Okada in the face and then ducks out of a Yoshi charge. he scoops up Yoshi and then scoops up Okada at the same time! He throws both of them down. Yoshi is down on the apron and Elgin climbs the middle rope and pulls Yoshi up from the apron. He turns the suplex into a falcon arrow! Mike tries for a cover but Okada saves it. Tanahashi drags Okada to the floor as in the ring Elgin picks up Yoshi and tries for a buckle bomb but Yoshi reverses it into a sunset flip for a two count. Elgin goes for a dive into the corner but Yoshi moves out of the way. He tries a suplex on big Mike (good luck with that) but Mike reverses it to pick him up for a powerslam, But Yoshi reverses that into an inverted DDT! He goes up top for a swan dive but completely misses. "Elgin, with that beard, his face looks like it should be on a can of beef stew"- JR. Both guys stagger to their feet and Yoshi is really stupid in trying to trade elbows with Michael Elgin! Somehow he ends up getting the advatage and actually drops mike with a big clothesline but Tanahashi breaks up the count. Okada gets in the ring but Hiroshi hits a dragon screw leg whip and sends him right back out. Yoshi comes after Tanahashi. He tries for a suplex but it in reversed into a neckbreaker. Elhin takes his buddy and picks him up before dropping him on Okada outside the ring! The end is near as Elgin hits an awesome spping backfist on Yoshi before hitting the bucklebomb into a baldobomb and scoring the win! Okada comes back and has a staredown with Tanahashi but decides not to throw, especially with Elgin standing right there. Tanahashi grabs the mic and that tonight isn't bout him but his partner. The crowd chants Elgin. He thanks the crowd and Elgin even says I love you guys in Japanese. In the back Tanahashi thanks Mike. In the studio, Tanahashi says Mike really belongs in Jpan and that it "will be fun to have Mike swing me around". Ooookay. This show was entertaining! The matches were really good and very different. Even if the second match was really predictable it was still a good show. Next week is the finals of the tournament, so stay tuned!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
World Tag League 2015 action!
Hello again Gang! We had a week off last week but here we are once again with Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. Things are getting heated now as this is the last stop before the Big WrestleK...

Annotated Anime: Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School - Despair Arc episodes 3-8

Sep 07 // Salvador G Rodiles
If there’s one thing that I wasn’t expecting, it was the show taking us down a trip through memory lane as it revisits one of the key aspects of Danganronpa 2’s second trial. In the game, I assumed this was an incident that happened before Fuyuhiko, Mahiru, Hiyoko, Ibuki and Mikan attended Hope’s Peak High School since none of the other cast members were in incident’s setting. Nonetheless, the beauty about this segment was witnessing the major elements that lead to the unfortunate fate of the Ultimate Little Sister. All in all, the strength of this scene was how well the outcome hit everyone. The happy school times were diminishing and the show's real tone was creeping in on us. Even though we’re aware that things were going to take a turn for the worse, Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc’s current strengths lie in how it pieces everything together, along with continuing its trend of placing the main cast in a couple priceless silly moments. Perhaps one of the most priceless moments that occurred recently was how they exaggerate Nagito’s luck. Not only did this guy get a couple people expelled to the point where it resulted in a deadly conflict during Danganronpa 3 – Future Arc, the guy somehow ends up in the most convenient spot during situations where many folks wouldn’t survive. Sure, he pulled off some ridiculous maneuvers in Danganronpa 2, but the timing behind how Lerche animated the scenes brings out a wonderful side of his talent. Other than that, the other thing was getting the chance to learn more about the Ultimate Imposter. Out of all the characters in the cast, he was the only one who we didn’t get to know more about. His connection to Ryota Mitarai the Ultimate Animator shows us his caring side that he exhibited when he wanted to protect everyone during the first chapter of Danganronpa 2. The relationship between the two characters is an example of one of the possible hopes that’ll likely be crushed down the road. One person wants an identity to maintain their great talent and the other wants to create an anime that’ll change the world; thus setting up the foundation for the mastermind to crush their dreams. While Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc was doing its best to maintain its humor when things were starting to get real, the staff’s efforts are finally paying off as the two major Ultimate Despairs make their debut at Hope’s Peak. The wonderful thing about this outcome was that the elements for them to create absolute despair were made before they even attended the school. Hajime already lost his emotions to the Ultimate Hope/Kamakura Project and the school’s trustees have already covered up a tragic event. Even though Junko had a couple things planned, her trump card was exploiting the situations that already unfolded before she came into the scene. It's thanks to this setup that the show's transition to its real tone has been a fun ride so far. Throughout the show’s recent batch of episodes, I was thinking that the best point for Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc to end the series would be after the event that made way for the Danganronpa Zero light novel since the team was likely aiming to tell a story that fans of the franchise haven’t heard yet. Instead, we witnessed the major events that gave birth to the first major incident that put Hope Peak’s High School’s reputation on the line. The fact that we got to see Junko’s manipulation and analytical skills at work well in getting us excited for when she brings the whole world down. Since she paid attention to Ryota’s animation, I have a feeling that she’ll utilize the art of subliminal message to convert everyone towards the path of despair. Honestly, the ridiculousness behind her schemes is what makes this whole series entertaining. At the same time, it reminds us why every game segment that involves her leaves the audience entertained. The catch is that we have to experience the unfortunate feeling from witnessing the seeds that’ll lead to our favorite Danganronpa 2 characters succumb to despair. If Mikan’s situation is anything to go by, Junko might use the same method she learned from Ryota to win everyone over to the despair side. While this was an inevitable situation, it doesn’t change that the fact that it’s going to be sad seeing most of these characters to become an entirely different person. Nonetheless, the staff still found some ways to turn this sad moment into something worthwhile, such as Nagito getting out-lucked by the Ultimate Hope. Honestly, it’s impressive that the team can still throw in some humor when the situation at Hope’s Peak Academy is taking a turn for the worst. Since there are still a few loose ends around, Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc still has some secrets that we have yet to see. With this segment and Future Arc passing their halfway point, there’s a ton of open content that’ll be worthwhile when we learn about the other major mastermind. So far, the show continues to be a great addition to the franchise with its story containing the right elements to please those who kept up with every Danganronpa installment. As the program’s despair levels begin to rise, I’m certain that things will only continue to get even better later on. Of course, I’m waiting to see what the show will do with Chiaki, since it’ll likely be something that’ll hit us very hard. [You can give on hope with Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy – Despair Arc at FUNimation.]
Danganronpa 3 photo
What is hope?
For a second I was expecting Danganronpa 3 – Despair Arc to mostly focus on its comedic elements until the saga was halfway done. Lo and behold, things have started leaning towards the grimmer side of things as the seri...

Strong Style: Still (Power) Struggling

Aug 27 // Soul Tsukino
We start the show off with Ishii sitting in his chair silently. Real talkative guy. IWGP Intercontinental Title: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. "Machine Gun" Karl Anderson Back at the Destruction of Kobe event, Nakamura won the title back from Hirooki Goto. After he was given the belt Anderson came to the ring saying he beat both those guys in the G1, so he wants a title match. And there we go. Karl comes out with Cody Hall and the other heavyweight Bullet Club members. I'm already surprised as I would think this match would be on last. The bell rings and we start with a lock up going right into the ropes where Nakamura does his face rub thing. Anderson actually walks to the middle of the ring with Nakamura still hanging there before Karl take him by the chin and pulls his face up in the "my eyes are right here" kind of vein. Nakamura hits an elbow and Anderson hits a knee in response. Shinsuke and Karl trade quick hold and counter hold with some knees to the guts before Shinsuke goes into the ropes and Anderson fires off some arm drags. Nakamura counters and gets in a leg lock before floating over into a front facelock. Interesting to not here JR and Josh discuss the difference between a front facelock, that is used mostly for control, as apposed to a chancery lock that puts pressure on your opponent. It's stuff like this that give more believability and credibility to a wrestling show. Nakamura lands a few knee strikes before picking Anderson up into a cravat and snaps him over. He goes for a kneedrop but Karl rolls out of the way. He snaps off the rope and lands a straight kick to Nakamura's face! Nakamura rolls to the apron in pain, but Anderson just walks around for a bit. He finally goes after Shinsuke but Nakamura gives him a quick kick to shrug him off. The other club guys get on the apron and distract the ref as Gallows runs over and starts whaling on Shinsuke. Nakamura goes down to the apron and barely makes it to the apron at 18. Anderson comes in and lands a gun stun right on the ropes. Shinsuke goes down again and Anderson follows up with a dropkick to send him back down to the floor. Anderson ain't done yet as he goes outside and powerbombs Shinsuke right on the apron. We come back from break as Anderson has the advantage in the corner. He whips Nakamura in and kicks him in the face. Karl then scores a running powerbomb but only gets a 2 count. Karl tries another whip but Nakamura reverses. Karl tries a kick but Shinsuke gets a sleeper on Karl and brings him to the mat. They get up just as Nakamura gets a reverse powerslam. Nakamura tries running off the ropes but Karl catches him in a spinebuster. Karl goofs off for a bit and both guys stand up and trade heavy shots back and forth before trading forearms Nakamura catches his arm and lands an elbow and a reverse kick before a running knee. Count gets 2. Nakamura goes for the booma ye but Karl dodges it and then lands a gun stun! Nakamura is out on the corner and Karl picks him up and drags him up the buckle. Anderson gets him up in a fireman's carry before slamming him to the mat. Anderson goes for a pin but Nakamura kicks out. Anderson tries for a clothesline but Nakamura hits his arm and scoops him up before hitting a falcon arrow. Back from another break  as both guys struggle to get back up. Karl gets to the apron and flips over the top rope and nails Nakamura with a clothesline. He scoops him up for the rikishi driver but again doesn't get a pin. Karl goes in for another gun stun but Nakamura catches him in an armbar. He locks it in but Karl rolls him up. He breaks the hold to avoid the pin but as they get up Nakamura nails the boome ya! Karl lands a counter uppercut but Nakamura scores with the booma ye again and scores the pin! As Nakamura is laying on the mat, A.J. Styles walks over and gets in his face. Nakamura isn't backing down. Challenge accepted. Styles grabs the belt from the ref and hands it to Nakamura telling him he is going to take the belt from him.Nakamura says on the mic he was waiting for this. He says that is exciting for them to meet for the first time at the Tokyo Dome. Talk about an understatement. Backstage CHAOS gives Nakamura kempai over beer. This match was special for him since he and Anderson both trained at the LA dojo for New Japan. He says he's seen a lot of Styles up close whenever he went overseas. Styles has something he lacks, but he will get it at the Tokyo Dome (what is it?... IT!) NEVER Openweight title: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tomoaki Honma This match was spurred on a few weeks ago when Ishii won the belt from Makabe. Honma came into the ring and challenged him, based off Honma beating Ishii during the G1 and Honma and Makabe being buddies. Ishii said he'd give him one shot and would destroy him in the process. Let's see how that goes. Honma comes out first as Barnett talks about vampire chickens (a Honma nickname) and what one would look like since he owns chickens. Ishii comes out looking like he's gonna kill a dude. Ishii's knee is wrapped up but that's nothing new. JR already breaks out the "Bowling shoe ugly" analogy. We return from break with the bell ringing. Strong lock up to start. Honma with a headlock gets shot in the ropes and stalemate into a shoulder block. They start just whaling on each other before Ishii goes down. Honma immediately goes for the falling headbutt and he misses. Ishii chops him up a few times to make him regret it. Ishii backs him in the corner and alternates chops and strikes. Ishii bad mouths Honma and Honma strikes back with a weak hit but lands a stronger chop. Ishii drops him for that before locking in a half crab but Honma gets to the ropes. Kick to the back on Honma, but he pops up and lands more chops on the pitbull. Ishii chops him back. Honma shakes it off and hits the double sledgehammer, but goes for and misses the headbutt again. Live by the sword, die by the sword. Ishii goes for the brainbuster but Honma counters and lifts Ishii up for a suplex! He lands a strike and then a bulldog out of the corner before finally landing the headbutt. Honma climbs up and lands a blockbuster! Honma goes for a crab of his own but Ishii kicks him right in the face to counter out. Ishii lands some strikes but Honma is firing back! Ishii ends that with an elbow right to the neck. Ishii gets Honma on the ropes and then picks him up for a big suplex. Cover only gets two. Ishii goes for a clothesline but Honma doesn't budge. Ishii lands a counter strike and goes for the ropes but Honma follows him with a strike and then a DDT! Ishii goes to the apron and Honma goes for a clothesline but Ishii blocks it. Honma then counters with a straight headbutt that sends Ishii down. Honma scrambles up the ropes and lands a super diving headbutt to Ishii on the floor! Honma struggles up and tosses him back in, which JR gives him some flack for since he'd win the title on a count out. He goes to pick Ishii up but Ishii strikes him for it. Honma SMACKS him down and Ishii barely gets up just in time for Honma to run him over with a clothesline for two. Ishii lands a back suplex but he pops right up and lands two battering ram headbutts but cover gets only two. Honma picks Ishii up and lands the brainbuster! He goes for a clothesline but Ishii counters and lands his own headbutt! We come back from break with both guys down. They get to their knees and smack each other with headbutts. They then duel headbutts! Both guys and knocked loopy. Ishii runs to the corner to meet a Honma boot. He counters with a strike to Honma's chest and he goes down. Ishii lands a powerbomb on Honma and then lands a sliding clothesline but only gets two. They struggle over a suplex but Honma lets him go and lands a ram headbutt again. He lands the headbutt to the shoulder and goes up for the big one. He lands it but Ishii kicks out! Honma goes for a tombstone but Ishii counters but Honma slides out and lands the big headbutt. He goes up and lands the big headbutt again. He can't make the cover.  Both guys get up and Honma lands a clothesline and another one but Ishii lands a spinning heel kick and then a big clothesline but can't get the pinQ! Ishii tries for the brainbuster and then a clothesline but Honma counters into a backslide but Ishii gets out. Ishii whips Honma in and goes for the headbutt but Ishii counters with a nasty clothesline. He then hits another one but can't finish it. Ishii then hits the brainbuster and he finally gets the pin! Ishii gets his belt as Honma is not moving. Ishii gives hm a look as he leaves the ring The crowd gives a big round of applause as Honma is helped from the ring. Backstage Honma says he tried hard and did well. He says he wants to fight him again. Ishii says that Honma will never win since he has no confidence. Studio words and Ishii says it was the natural outcome, He laments that even though he won the belt, he feels he never seems to be going forward. Interesting. This was a good one. All four guys put on a great show but Honma especially deserves credit. He came out and really looked good here, not like the bumbling goof, but like a legit contender and it made for a great match. Fun show all around. We are getting closer now to Wrestlekingdom. So what else can happen between now and then? We will have to see!
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More from Osaka
Hello and welcome back to another action packed week of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we go back to Osaka for Power Struggle 2015. We are a little over a month away from WretleKingdom at this point as this card takes place on November 7, 2015. We have two big title matches tonight so let's get to the action.

Strong Style: The Power Struggle is real

Aug 20 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Tetsuya Naito. Guess EVIL isn't much for words. Super Jr. Tag Tournament Finals: Roppongi Vice vs. Matt Sydel/Riccochet This is the final of an eight-team tournament. Presumably, the winners get a Jr. tag team title shout in Tokyo. The Vice got here by beating Kenny Omega and Chase Owens and the team of RedDRagon while Sydel/Ricochet defeated The Time Splitters and the Young Bucks. Looks like they are trying to add some variety to the Jr. Tag division. I commend them for that since it was getting stale. The Vice come out first and Josh talks about helping to train Rocky Romero in MMA way back when. The opposing team then come out and Ricochet does a nice one anded vault over the top rope. We immediately cut ahead in the match with Ricochet and Rocky diving into the ring. It is really obvious they cut out some action but JR and Josh act like the match just started. Who are you trying to fool? Anyway, Ricochet and Beretta trade whips into the corner. Rocky comes charging in with a spear that Ricochet leap frogs over and the Vice collide. Ricochet takes advantage by delivering a zigzag on Romero to send him down again. Rocky gets up and Ricochet goes for a waistlock but Rocky counters around, only to be hit with a northern lights suplex. Ricochet hangs on and hits a second! Pin attempt only gets two. Ricochet gets Romero up in a fireman's carry but Romero leaps out. He hits a strike and goes for the ropes but Ricochet catches him in a drop toehold as Sydal comes in with a leg drop. Both guys hit tandem moonsaults on Romero, but the pin only gets two. Ricochet drags him to the corner and goes up. He tries for a 450 splash but Rocky moves. Ricochet lands on his feet though and rolls through it. Rocky gets up and hits the ropes and Barretta comes in the ring and they hit Ricochet with a double jumping knee. Rocky goes up in the corner as Barretta hangs Ricochet out to dry on the top rope. Rocky comes off and nails the flying legdrop on the back of the head, sending Ricochet down where he is hit with the running knee from Baretta for a two count. Baretta tags in legally where he whips Ricochet into the corner and runs in with a flying elbow. Ricochet staggers in the ring with Barretta about to hit something off the ropes but Sydal pushes his partner out of the way and lands his patented double knees right on Barretta's head. Romero comes in and kicks Sydal right out of the ring. He turns around to hit a clothesline in the corner on Ricochet but gets a kick to the head for the effort. Ricochet rolls out of the corner and jumps up, landing a DDT on Romero and now everyone is down. Sydal tags in and he tries to get Baretta in a pump handle slam, but Trent squats down on it. Sydal hits him a few more times and tries the move again, but Trent blocks it again. Romero comes in and clobbers Sydal with a clothesline and then winds up for his freight train clotheslines in the corner. He hits Sydal with it three times before Sydal catches him and lifts him up to the corner where Ricochet hits him with a kick from the apron. Sydal climbs up and goes for the super huricanranna but Romero slips out. Sydal lands right in his ass on the top turnbuckle and bounces backwards to the mat. Talk about busting your ass! Romero bounces off the ropes and goes flying through the ropes to take out Ricochet with a suicide dive while it's still Sydal and Baretta are the legal men in the ring. Barretta hits a running knee that folds Sydal in half but only gets a two count. The Vice set up for the double team dudebomb or whatever they call it with Trent cradling Sydal in the ring, but when Romero tries to come off the ropes with a slingshot, Ricochet leaps in and spears him out of the air! Sydal turns Barretta around in a Canadian destroyer piledriver but he only gets the two count! Baretta staggers in the corner as the other teams goes for it. Sydal is launched into the corner first but Baretta sends him over the top to the apron. Sydal's leg gives out and he tumbles to the floor but Ricochet scores with the hit. He then runs towards the other corner and hits an amazing shoot star press to Romero outside the ring! Inside Sydal goes up and goes for a shooting star press of his own, but he meets Baretta's knees at the bottom. Baretta goes for the cover but only gets two. He picks up Sydal who goes for a kick but Trent ducks, he goes for another one with the same result. Baretta sets him up and hits the dudebomb but the pin is broken up by Ricochet. Ricochet and Romero trade punches back and forth. It turns into forearms and kicks. Romero hits a jumping knee and ricochet hits a superman punch. Ricochet gets Romero in a fireman's carry but Baretta pulls him off. Ricochet smacks Barretta with a kick to the face and then Sydal comes up and tries to get a reverse flying headscissors but it doesn't go quite right and ends up in a weird reverse victory roll instead. Romero comes back in and ricochet hits him with the benedryller in the corner. Both guys go up and hit simultaneous shooting star presses and get the pinfall! Sydal and ricochet have won the tournament! Hiroshi Tanahashi/Katsuyori Shibata vs. Kazuchika Okada/Kazushi Sakuraba Power Struggle is like the WWE's February pay-per-view. Everyone is gearing up for Wrestlemania and want to build up the main event, so we get a match like this to preview things with out having either main eventer look weak. It's a strange match as Tanahashi and Shibata had that rivalry not too far back but seem to get along now. Sakuraba usually teams with Yano, but I don't think he is a member of CHAOS, while the champ Okada is the leader. After both teams come out we cut right to Sakuraba and Shibata starting out with both men going immediately for armbars and counters before getting back up to their feet. Sakuraba grabs a headlock and Shibata reverses. Sakuraba counters into a leg scissors and clamps down. Shibata turns it around but Sakuraba turns it into a googoplata! Shibata is nearly out! He drags Sakuraba over and gets a foot on the rope. They get back up and Sakuraba hits a kick and sends Shibata to the corner were Okada gets a tag. Okada cuts the ring in half and keeps Shibata away from his corner. Okada gets him down in the corner and kicks him a few times before picking him up and hitting a few forearms. Shibata seems to have woken up and lands a few strikes. He goes to the ropes but Sakuraba catches him and locks in a choke. Okada comes up and boots Shibata right in the face. He rolls outside and Sakuraba follows him out. In the ring, Okada runs right up and knocks Tanahashi to the floor before going out after him.  Both Tanahashi and Shibata eat guardrail. Shibata makes it into the ring where Okada tags Sakuraba back in the match. The Gracie Killer starts landing some kicks on Shibata but he muscles up and strikes back. Sakuraba tags back out and then both guys drop elbows on Shibata. Okada whips him into the buckle and goes for the dropkick but Shibata kicks the champ right in the face. Shibata finally tags out and Tanahashi gets in with the champ. He hits a flying forearm on Okada and slams him in the ring. He tries for the second rope senton but the pool's empty. JR calls it a "seldom used move" by Tanahashi but he uses it in EVERY match, making me wonder if JR gives a damn. Okada picks him up and lands a few slaps before taking over with a clothesline and a whip in the corner into a DDT. Okada gets in an elbow and goes for the pin but Tanahashi kicks out. We come back from break as Okada trying for the tombstone but Tanahashi counters out and lands a leg whip. Tanahashi  goes off the ropes and Okada gets in that sweet dropkick. He then hits Shibata with one as well. Okada goes up and lands a long distance flying elbow! He picks Tanahashi up and goes for the rainmaker but Hiroshi counters into a waistlock before nailing the slingblade! Somehow Okada is able to get over to his corner for the tag. Sakuraba tags in and lands some kicks in but Tanahashi  counters and sends Sakuraba down. Shibata tags in and starts hammering Sakuraba down, but Sakuraba comes back and lands some kicks before going for the front choke! Shibata lands a strike to get out and then hits a cool kick on the seated Sakuraba. Shibata tries for the PK but misses. Sakuraba gets the rear choke while Tanahashi is being held outside the ring. Shibata lands a Saito suplex but Okada breaks up the pin. Tanahashi comes in and sends Okada out. Shibata hits his hang time kick on Sakuraba in the corner. He slams him down as Tanahashi hits the high fly flow. Shibata hits the GTS and scores the pin. We don't seem to be quite done here. Shibata leaves the ring in his usual "job's done" kind of way and Sakuraba is carried out. Okada and Gedo start to leave as well but Tanahashi grabs the mic and tells Okada to get back in the ring because he is going to teach the champ something. Okada obliges him and comes back in the ring. Hiroshi says that he will be the new champion and that IRGP is just around the corner. not quite sure what he means there. Okada grabs the mic right from Hiroshi's hands but before he can say anything Tanahashi just clobbers him! We have a fight! The young boys come in to break it up but it's not working. Tanahashi clobbers Okada with the case as they just keep going at it. Talk about out of character. They finally get separated as Gedo pulls Okada back. We cut to the back where Okada and Geo are talking and here comes Tanahashi! The fight's not over yet! Gedo is yelling for Tanahashi to hold it and stay right there as we got to commercial. We come back to Naito in the studio, ?he says that getting a partner would make spreading the word of Los Ingobernables twice as fast. He looked at all the wrestlers and found EVIL was going to be his partner. We cut to a clip from the last show where Goto says that EVIL was "a mediocre wrester who came back from the U.S. without having done anything." Naito disagrees. He also says that he took this show off due to an "earlobe injury" with a big smile on his face. Hirooki Goto vs. EVIL More of that weird match order thing again as this match was the third match into this show, while the tag match we just watched was the semi-main event. Odd. A bit of background on EVIL. He was a young boy who entered New Japan in 2011 and was used for opening matches for a few years while he trained, using his real name Tamaaki Watanabe. He had a brief cup of coffee in Ring of Honor here in the states, largely being in the roll of "that New Japan guy that everyone beats". As we saw last time he made his re-debut in the company, now as Naito's goon, EVIL. During that same he got into it with Goto during and after the match, so here we go with that. After all that fighting, this seems like a letdown. EVIL comes out dressed like the grim reaper, complete with scythe. Have I ever mentioned that EVIL is a really ugly dude? I mean look at that picture? Bug-eyed ugly mother fu- you get the picture. Goto comes out with his awesome warriorness. EVIL attacks as soon as he gets in the ring! EVIL gets some shots in before he forearms Goto right in the face. He hits Goto again but when he goes to the ropes Goto kicks him right in the chest. EVIL slide under the ring and when Goto goes to look for him he smacks Goto again. Hey, at least it's not that "tranquilo" horse crap Naito does. He runs right into Goto with a chair. He then puts the chair around Goto's neck and slams him into the post. EVIL gets into the ring as the count is on. Goto rolls in at 17. EVIL gets the front facelock but Goto rolls through it only to get a hit with a neckbreaker. EVIL chokes Goto on the mat. Goto gets up and is met by a chop to the chest by EVIL and another one. Stone faced EVIL sends Goto down and then locks in an arm wrench. He then sinks in and bites Goto right in the side of the neck! After a break, we come back to see EVIL pressing a foot on the back of Goto's neck. He gets a brief chinlock and runs the ropes but both guys smack together from clotheslines. EVIL tries a clothesline but Goto blocks. Goto goes to work with some kicks and a back suplex, but only gets two. Goto kicks EVIL right in the arm and tries for a suplex but EVIL counters into a fisherman's buster suplex. EVIL goes to grab Goto but Goto tries to lock in an armbar. EVIL gets out with a kick to the head. Goto gets up but EVIL hits a clothesline, Goto counters back with three of his own. EVIL hits a clothesline off the ropes but Goto counters back. EVIL goes for the STO but Goto counters. They reverse each other until Goto hits the reverse ushi-goroshi. He locks in a leglock submission but Naito strolls down to the ring and just flat out attacks Goto. He hits his destino move right in front of the ref before Tiger Hitori FINALLY calls for the DQ. Well, he's getting older. Reflexes aren't what they used to be. Shibata comes running out and the goobers flee, wanting no part of that guy. I smell a future tag team match. In the back, Naito talks about how awesome EVIL is and how perfect the match was. He rambles on for a bit before actually saying EVIL has to speak his thoughts. "This is Evil. Everything is Evil." Welp, that sums up the character rather well! In the studio, Naito talks about if Goto was happy after the match. He says the match was merely to unveil EVILl and no point in putting in 100 percent. Naito interfered to stop EVIL from beating a big name in his debut match. He did Goto a favor and he should be happy. Odd match order aside, this was a good show. The first match was fun without being a car wreck like the four-team jr tag matches usually are. The second match did its job, even if it was a little shirt. And the main event was different. I wouldn;t say this blew anyone away but it was alright. Next week we get Honma and Ishii beating the crap out of each other! See you then!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
It's time for Power Struggle!
Hey gang! It's time once again for Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we move into the month of November as we visit Osaka once again for Power Struggle. This show takes place on November 7, 2015 and it's narrowing in on the big WrestleKingdom show in January. Let's dive in!

Strong Style: Olympi- who?!?

Aug 06 // Soul Tsukino
For our first show, we are greeted by Ishii who walks in front of the camera, sits down, and says absolutely nothing. Tomoaki Honma vs. YOSHI-HASHI No real reason to have this match other than to put these guys n the card. Honma is the loveable loser who finally broke his double-digit match losing streak in the G1 by unexpectedly scoring a win over Tomohiro Ishii. Hashi is the low guy on the CHAOS totem poll that originally came in as Okada's infrequent tag partner. He usually is left in the background behind most of the other CHAOS guys, so he's been a bit frustrated. Hashi comes out first with his trademark giant walking cane. Josh talks about how Hashi tried to enter the NJPW dojo three times before they accepted him. Honma comes out as determined as usual. The crowd is in his corner as no one really cares about Hashi, JR and Josh make mention that he gets looked over a lot and he is getting more frustrated. The bell rings, and Hashi goes right into some elbows across Honma's back as he is taped up across his lower back. Hashi grabs a side headlock. Hashi tries to whip Honma in but Honma counters to send Hashi down. Honma goes for the falling headbutt but of course, misses. They go outside where Honma gets his back slammed into the barrier. Hashi grabs his walking cane and takes a shot at Honma with it near the barrier. Hashi drags him on the apron and suplexes him in the ring. He goes for a second but drapes Honma on the top rope. He hits a dropkick to the dangling Honma for a two count. Hashi then hooks the leg and goes for a single leg crab to put more pressure on the back. Honma gets to the ropes and Hashi pulls the tape off. Hashi drives him into the corner with elbows but Honma comes back with some chops and another failed falling headbutt. We come back from break as Yoshi picks him up and tries for a suplex but Honma counters and drops to the mat. Hashi picks him up and tries again but Honma nails the suplex instead. He finally hits the falling headbutt and when Yoshi gets up, Honma hits a DDT. Yoshi is stunned as Honma goes up and hits a blockbuster but can only get a two count. Honma goes for a gutwrench but a shot to the back ends that. Yoshi nails a suplex into a neckbreaker but only gets two. Yoshi goes for a piledriver but Honma counters into the corner. Yoshi charges in but gets an elbow or his troubles. Honma hits the diving headbutt and then another one but gets a two count. Slam and he goes for the big headbutt from the top rope and he misses. Both guys struggle to their feet. They collide with clotheslines but Honma gets the edge on that. He goes for a headbutt and Yoshi gets a clothesline. Yoshi hits a powerbomb into a roll up but Honma kicks out. Yoshi goes up for his move but misses. Honma staggers into the corner and hits a diving headbutt to Yoshi's back. He hits another butt but it only gets two. Honma goes for the tombstone but Yoshi counters into a near fall. Honma gets up and hits a diving headbutt right to Yoshi's chin. Yoshi is down and Honma scrambles up to the top. He hits the big kokeshi headbutt and scores the pinfall! Backstage Honma says that Yoshi was settling in with CHAOS but every day is a tryout for him and he fights his best every night. Yoshi will never beat him ever. Yoshi says he will do whatever it takes to make it up to the fans for this loss. Bullet Club (Anderson/Gallows/Fale) vs. CHAOS (Sakuraba/Yano/Nakamura) What a collection of guys we have here huh? The real focus here is between Karl Anderson and Shinsuke Nakamura stemming from our last show where Anderson laid the challenge for the IC belt of Nakamura. Otherwise, YOSHI-HASHI would be in the match instead and we wouldn't be watching it. The Club comes out first with Gallows wearing a gas mask. The opponents all come out together oddly enough, which is like the world's weird cosplay waiting line with Sakuraba wearing an oni mask, Nakamura dressed in his usual gear, and Yano carrying water and the latest DVD. Nakamura and Karl have a stare down based off our last show and end up starting the match. Lock up quickly has Nakamura getting the upper hand with a whip and kicks. Anderson gets Nakamura down with some arm drags. Lock up into the Club corner where Gallows tags in and hits a headbutt on Nakamura but Nakamura stomps on his foot and tags in Sakuraba. Sakuraba ducks a punch and lays in with some MMA kicks. Gallows catches the leg and flattens Sakuraba with a  big punch. The other club guys come in and with have a brawl! It ends quickly as Gallows drives Sakuraba into the corner and tags in Fale. He just stands on Sakuraba's back and flips off the ref for the warning. Anderson rakes the eyes from the floor. Fale literally sits on Sakuraba and then tags out to Anderson. Anderson comes in all cocky but when he tried to grab Sakuraba. He is locked into an armlock that Gallows has to save him from. Anderson tries a cannonball but Sakuraba moves and tags in Nakamura. He reveres the whip and hits a one leg dropkick and then good vibration. Anderson counters with an elbow to the knee but Nakamura counters and puts Karl to the corner and gets the knee lift. Nakamura gets the reverse powerslam and goes for the booma ye but Gallows comes in to end that and we've got mayhem. Guns and Gallows double team on Shinsuke, but Nakamura kicks Gallows and Anderson in the knees. He then hits a jumping knee to put Anderson down again as he tags in Yano. Fale tags in and squashes Yano immediately. He throws him into the corner and squashes him again. He goes for the bad luck fall but Sakuraba comes in a breaks that up. With extra guys in the ring the ref gets distracted. Tama Tonga climbs in the ring for the attempted double team but Yano nails them both low. He scoops up Fale and scores the pin for his team. Backstage Karl says no one gives a shit what Yano did and only care for Nakamura losing his title to Anderson. Nakamura says he will enjoy it and then mocks Karl's machine gun. In the studio now with Ishii, let's hope he's more talkative this time. He wants revenge for Togi beating him for the belt. Despite never beating Togi, it is not like he can't he says. NEVER Openweight Title: Togi Makabe vs. Tomohiro Ishii Bar the doors and bolt down everything because these guys are gonna fight! There is a lot of history here with Ishii being a former member of Togi's group Global Bash Heel. They have been facing off in recent months with Ishii never getting his decisive win over Makabe and damn well determined to beat the unchained gorilla's face in! This will be fun! Ishii comes out first. No crap, no frills. His left knee is wrapped, but this guy is always hurt. Togi comes in just as determined. Stare down right off. Bell rings with a stiff lock up and the bulls face off. Togi backs to the ropes and a break. Ishii gets the headbutt and a shoulder block. Headbutts to the face but Togi comes off with a shoulder and tosses Ishii outside. Tomo hits the barrier and Togi tries the other side but Tomo counters. The clobber each other some more before deciding to get back in the ring. They meet with some dark clotheslines before Togi gets an edge and Tomo goes down. Togi lays in some kicks and sends Tomo to the buckle before laying in some elbows in the corner. Togi yells at Ishii and Tomo stands right up. Tomo smacks Togi with a clothesline that flattens him. Tomo kicks him a few times in the head to see if he is still alive. Togi gets back up and Tomo smacks him around before getting a suplex. He slaps Togi on the canvas and Togi asks for more! Tomo throws some elbows and Togi takes it like a man! Tomo goes for a strike and Togi scoops him up for a powerslam. After the commercial now with Togi picking Tomo up. Tomo hits back but Togi hits a shoulder block. Tomo goes in the corner and Togi follows in with 10 punches and a laugh in the corner, followed but Northern lights suplex. Tomo gets up and counters back with a chop. Togi lays in the hits to the head and Tomo gets back in it with a chop to the throat. He hits another one. Ishii scores the Saito suplex.  Whip reversed as Togi goes into the corner and Tomo hits him in the head. He positions Togi up on the buckle and goes for a superplex. He hits it! Togi kicks out barely at two. At this point, I should note Jim Ross keeps screwing up Togi's name by calling him "Toji". Remember this later on when he whines about "being corrected by guys who live in their mom's basement." Tomo goes for a clothesline but Togi ducks, counters and hits another northern lights suplex. They meet in the ring with a double clothesline. Togi gets a head shot and then a clothesline but Tomo doesn't go down. It takes two clotheslines to the neck to knock him down! Togi picks him up and then hits the king kong powerbomb but only gets two again. Togi tries to pick him up but Tomo is hurt. Tomo uses the ropes to get back up. Togi tries a suplex and a shot to Togi's back but a clothesline flattens him with another clothesline to the neck. Togi sets him up for the spider suplex. Tomo holds on for dear life and he counters with some elbows. Tomo gets out and turns around on the buckle and Tomo starts wailing away before Togi gets his shots in. Both stand up on the buckle and they exchange shots but Tomo hits a headbutt that sends Togi down to the mat. Tomo dives off with a knee to Togi's head! Wow! Makabe still gets up and they meet with some clotheslines. Togi goes for a suplex and then hits an enziguri. Tomo scores a surprise roll up but only gets two. Togi rolls over Tomo with a big clothesline! After the commercial now with both guys down. Akira Maeda is in the crowd! Both guys back up and just start punching each other in the head before Tomo gets one in the face and falls over. He gets back up only to get a chop to the neck. Togi lands a German suplex, but only gets two. Togi lifts Tomo up and drives his face into the buckle and then levels him with an axhandle. Cover gets two.  He picks Tomo up for the spider suplex in the corner again and he hits it! Togi goes for the knee drop and Tomo strikes him with a headbutt! Tomo hits a running clothesline but only gets two! Tomo goes for the brainbuster. Togi tries to counter but Tomo catches him with a dragon suplex and then a sliding clothesline. Ishii tries to cover but Togi kicks out! Tomohiro is not deterred as he grabs Togi and hits the brainbuster! He covers and gets the win! We have a new champion and Ishii has finally defeated Makabe. As both guys are in pain and Makabe is carried from the ring, Honma comes out and jumps in the ring. Ishii asks what his problem is and Honma challenges him for the belt. Ishii says he gets one shot but yeah, let's do it. Honma says he beat Ishii in the G1 so he should get a shot. Ishii says he can finally look ahead and isn't stuck fighting Makabe anymore and got what he wanted. He says with Honma, he is going to beat him up for his one shot and that it's payback time for losing in the G1. In the Studio, Ishii says he wasn't going anywhere as he continually fought Makabe. Now that he has finally beaten him, he can move on. Some would say the match was a true NEVER fight, but he doesn't think so since the match would have been the same, the belt just happened to be there. This was a fun way to start off the night. there probably was some clipping, especially in the six man match, but it wasn't very noticeable. All three matches were fun and had a variety to it to give a little something different to everyone watching. They also did well in putting this together to explain the storylines in the matches and the interviews. Good episode and we aren't even close to done yet! On to Episode 2 as we are greeted by Hiroshi Tanahashi.   IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Kenny Omega v/s Matt Sydal This one could either be really good or complete crap depending on Kenny's mood. The backstory here is that after Omega won in his last defence, he noticed Sydel who was at ringside and hadn't even debuted for New Japan yet. Kenny made the challenge since he's beaten everyone and here we are. Sydal enters first as he still does the same hand gestures and poses he's been doing for years. Here comes the Cleaner! Omega comes out with Cody Hall and even grabs a trashcan and plays it as a drum as he sings to his own theme song. We skip ahead just a bit as the bell rings. They glare at each other before we go into the lock up. Both go in the ropes as Kenny screws with Matt a bit teasing a smack but just gives a clean break. Back in the ring for another lock up and Kenny gets the advantage and a headlock. Sydal shoots him off but Omega holds on into the takeover. Sydal goes for a side headlock but Kenny holds on, Matt tries to counter out but Kenny holds on. Sydal lets go and goes for the armdrag but Omega blocks it and lay in the shots. He grabs Sydal and tries to throw him in but Sydal counters and gets a headscissors takeover into the corner. Matt gets the hit and goes for the cover but Omega kicks out. Matt gets a toe hold and goes for the Muta lock! Omega won't give up and just barely gets to the ropes. Matt lands a kick to the knee and sends Kenny over with another kick. He locks in a knee wrench and slams down on it. He does it again and again! Kenny lands a kick but is slow to get up and gets a kick to the knee. Omega hits Matt with a karate kick right to the chest. Kenny lands some chops  and an elbow to the head before standing on him on the apron. Cody gets in a choke from the outside. Kenny gets a drink and spits on Matt. He pulls off some tape from his wrist and throws the ball at him before landing a backbreaker for the two count. He tosses another tape ball at him and hits a strike to the back. Kenny hits an elbow to Matt's back. He goes for another but Matt spins around in a kick, but Sydal gets kicks and another backbreaker to stop that offense. After the break, Kenny has a glare n his eye and whips him hard into the buckle. Kenny tries it again but Sydal counters and hits a hard kick into the legs. He hits the double knees to the face. Matt misses a jumping kick but gets the back kick and a cover but only gets two. He NEARLY gets a pin off another strike. Sydal comes charging into the buckle but gets hit with Kenny's boot, but Sydal counters and nearly gets another pin from it. Matt goes up the buckles but Kenny jumps up and stops him. They fight up and Omega gets kicks off the ropes, but pops right back up, only for Sydal to get the headscissors and the kick. Kenny rolls outside into Cody's arms, but Matt goes up top and launches off in a dive to take both of them out at ringside. Sydal shoots him back in the ring. he goes for the double knees but Kenny catches and holds him (!) before tossing him into the buckle.  He grabs on and gets a gutwrench into a powerbomb for a 2 count. Wow! Omega gets in a front facelock and tries for the suplex that Sydal counters into a headscissors and nearly a pin! Sydal lands a kick and another but Kenny keeps trying to get back up. Kenny gets a kick now and then a jumping knee. He goes for a second but Sydal counters into a backwards headscissors. Omega is spiked right on his head! Sydal goes up for his air Sydal splash but crashes right into Omega's knees. Kenny gets the full nelson suplex and the running knee, Sydal tries to counter but Kenny gets the one winged angel to score the pin and retain! Good match! In the studio now as Tanahashi talks about Naito always being a looming presence. He wasn't aware of Naito's change and it threw him off in their last match. Tanahashi says Naito knows how to put on a show and he's brought a lot of attention to this match. For the IWGP Title Shot: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs/ Tetsuya Naito This match is, like last week, for the WrestleKingdom title shot that Tanahashi earned from winning the G1 Climax tournament. After retaining the briefcase against Fale, Tanahashi called out Naito, since everyone in the company wants to kick Naito's ass now. Naito was like "*shrug* whatever" and we have a match. Also interesting to note from last week was that Naito said he found a partner and he would debut him here. DUN DUN DUNNNNNN! Naito comes out in his black suit and mask as he strolls to the ring. Another man comes out in the black suit in the mask so Naito has found his partner! The nice thing about Naito's entrance is it easy kills five to ten minutes so I don't have to type anything while JR and Josh talk about whatever. Both masked men stand in the ring to a chorus of boos before Tanahashi's music hits and instant cheers. The ref asks Naito to take the mask off and he finally does as we go to break. We come back and we skip over Naito taking the rest of his gear off. The bell rings with nothing happening. We nearly get a lock up but Naito walks away from it. He does it again as the crowd boos. Naito just kicks Tanahashi and lays into him with some shots and drives him into the buckle. Naito leaves the ring to screw around but Tanahashi gets a baseball slide to send Naito into the barrier. Tanahashi comes out and Naito nails him. Tanahashi sends him into the barrier now. Naito kicks him in the head and tosses him back into the ring where he hooks in a front facelock from the floor and drops him with a hanging DDT. Ouch. He grabs a chair from ringside and sets it up in the corner of the metal barriers. He plops Hiroshi in it and lands a running dropkick. He grabs the chair, bring it into the ring and has some tranquilo time as Tanahashi crawls back in the ring at 19. Naito lays in the kicks before scooping Tanahashi up and hooking him in the tree of woe. He holds the boot to the chin before hitting Hiroshi with a sliding dropkick. Naito locks in a headscissors and cranks on it!  Tanahashi gets into the ropes but Naito turns and kicks the cameraman for some reason . Naito scores a low dropkick and poses like Tanahashi for a bit. Naito spits on Tanahashi and then gets a cover. Tanahashi is bleeding from the mouth and Naito gets in a chinlock. Naito tags the ref who goes outside. No DQ for that by the way. Tanahashi tries to fight back but Naito throws some punches and kicks before spitting on Tanahashi again! Tanahashi gets an uppercut and nails a flying forearm and is holding the back of his head. He gets a hard elbow in followed by a senton and a pin attempt but Naito kicks out. Tanahashi gets in a liver punch and tries to whip Naito in. Naito counters with a flip but gets a dropkick to the knee by Hiroshi. Tanahashi locks in the cloverleaf but Naito gets to the rope and Tanahashi doesn't want to break! Naito to the apron and Tanahashi scores the dragon screw leg whip on the damaged right knee. Naito rolls out but Tanahashi comes off the top with a body splash. However, Tanahashi grabs his arm awkwardly so he is hurt! Naito is rolled in and Tanahashi runs right around the other masked guy and tries for the high fly flow. Naito brings his leg up and counters! Back from the break. Both guys are getting back up Naito runs into Tanahashi in the corner and hits a kick, a trip, and then an over the rope dropkick. He scoops Tanahashi up and lands a frakensteiner. Naito kicks Tanahashi in the head a few times. He hits an elbow to the neck but Tanahashi is getting up. Tanahashi lands an elbow but Naito feels nothing. Naito spits again as they start firing elbows back and forth. Tanahashi lands a uppercut but Naito comes back with a face rake. Naito tries for the dragon suplex but is countered with Tanahashi landing a swinging neckbreaker. They go into the ropes and Naito hits a slingblade but Tanahashi kicks out of the pin! Naito goes for an arm crank but Tanahashi gets sent into the ref who goes down useless putz. The masked guy rolls into the ring and takes off the mask to reveal Watanabe! He takes off his coat and they start in on Tanahashi now. Capt. New Japan comes in but he gets beat up because he is a loser. Watanabe lands a suplex on Tanahashi and Shibata and Goto come out and clear the ring of Naito and Watanabe. The guys help Red Shoes out at ringside. Naito rolls back in Tanahashi tries for a kick but Naito catches it and goes for the low blow. He nearly scores the pin when Red Shoes comes in but only gets two. Naito shoves the ref again but Naito tries for Destino. Hiroshi counters with the sling blade. He goes up and nails the high fly flow and scores the three count! Goto jumps in and starts whaling on Watanabe but Watanabe lands the STO on Goto to lay him out. Goto is helped from the ring as Tanahashi stands tall! Backstage Goto is pissed! He vows to teach Watanabe a lesson. Naito says he doesn't care about the match and just wanted to show his partner off His new partner speaks Spanish (I wonder about that) and his name is EVIL! Tanahashi is confused as to Naito's way He says NJPW has too many stars and they only need one, him. Wow, even Cena wasn't that self-centered. In the studio, Tanahashi talks about Naito being different but it was a great match despite the interruption. He says Goto and Shibata were uneasy on interrupting, but they were glad Tanahashi won. Both of these matches were really good! This was one of Kenny's good nights it seems as Cody didn't interfere a whole lot. The main event of this hour was a great battle between these two with a story developing with EVIL showing up. How can we top that? With the main event of course! Here comes hour three as we are greeted with The Rainmaker Okada. Studio words from the champ as he says he couldn't wait to defend the title. He wasn't overlooking Styles ahead of the Tokyo Dome show, but that he got distracted in a tag match during the final show of the G1 and got beat. His eyes are solely on Styles right now, IWGP Title: Kazuchika Okada v/s A.J. Styles The leader of CHAOS taking on the leader of The Bullet Club. These guys have met plenty of times with Styles beating Okada for the title in his very first NJPW match in 2014 and Okada beating Styles for the belt three months prior to this. With WrestleKingdom so close, this very well could decide who gets to defend the title at NJPW's biggest event. Styles comes out first and he isn't alone. Gallows, Anderson, and Tama Tongs are right behind him. Okada comes out with Gedo in his corner. JR mentions the winner of this is the champ for WrestleKingdom 10 so there ya go with that. We are getting full entrances for both as we got plenty of time here. We get the full introductions as some people cheer for Styles but it's mostly "boos" for the Club. Okada gets introduced to the cheers of the crowd. We return from the break as the bell rings and here we go.  Immediate Okada chant. They circle around but don't lock up right off. am A.J. Styles chant starts up and Styles starts bitching to the crown like: "I know who I am. Let me do what I'm best at and shut the hell up!" Styles locks up and Okada immediately reverses and gets in an armlock. He gets the hammerlock in but Styles reverse into an armlock and backs into the ropes. They break as Styles bitches some more. Styles gets a headlock and the go down to the canvas into a pin attempt. They scramble and Styles gets a rollup for another near fall before they both nip up into a staredown.  Lock up again as Styles is back in the ropes Okada goes for a chop but fakes Styles out for a clean break. Okada then turns around and smacks him anyway. Okada gets an Irish whip into a reverse splash and a neckbreaker. He gets distracted by the Club and Styles takes advantage and rakes Okada on the ropes. Okada gets the slingshot suplex over the ropes as Gallows gets on the apron. Okada is pulled out of the ring and beaten up by Tama Tonga. Ref distracted again as Gallows drops Okada on the apron with a powerbomb. Okada rolls in and Styles goes for a pin but he kicks out. Styles sets him up in the corner and he hits a high splash in the corner before putting a foot on Okada and posing. Okada counters with some elbows and gets shot in the ropes where Styles nails him with his awesome dropkick. We come back from another break as Styles picks Okada up and gets in a snap suplex. Okada gets tossed out again. Styles comes out but Okada sends him into the barrier. Styles gets up and sends Okada into the barrier before rolling back in the ring as the count starts. Okada gets in quick and hits a snapmare into a chinlock. As another aside not only does JR bring up Vader so he can bitch about internet fans, but he starts going into memories of NWA wrestling at 6:05 on Saturday nights. Okada gets back up and lays in some elbows before uncorking an uppercut. Styles goes into the corner and Okada nearly gets the boots, but Okada catches and sends Styles to the other buckle where he connects with another uppercut. Okada lands a running forearm and then a DDT on Styles. Styles gets back to the corner where Okada misses a charge. Styles tries to climb the buckle but Okada nails HIS sweet dropkick sending Styles crashing to the floor. Okada goes out but gets sent to the ring apron. Styles tries to whip Okada into the barrier but he reverses, Styles leaps over the barrier but goes for a slingshot clothesline and gets nailed but Okada and crashes in a heap. Okada tosses him into the ring and goes for the pin but Styles grabs the ropes. Styles counters a corner charge by leaping to the apron. He runs Okada's head into the buckle and lands the slingshot forearm. Styles lands a pumphandle gutbuster and goes for the pin but Okada kicks out. Styles sets him up for his next move but Okada counters. Styles goes into the ropes but gets met with a flapjack on the mat for his trouble. Out of another break with Styles catching Okada into a buckle suplex. Styles rolls to the apron. He goes up top and leaps over a charging Okada. He tries it again and catches Styles and brought him down into a reverse drop neckbreaker. Okada goes for the Tombstone but Styles escapes into a wristlock. Styles picks Okada up and dumps him on his face for a 2 count.  Styles goes for a piledriver but Okada counters and they counter again. Okada tries to counter but Styles dumps him on his head awkwardly. Ouch. He tries a pin but Okada kicks out. Styles goes outside and tries for the springboard but he misses and splats on the mat. Okada crawls over and climbs up the ropes and hits a missile dropkick that drills Styles right in the face. They crawl up and Okada nails some elbows to the face, Styles counters in kind. They just trade shots back and forth. Elbows back and forth right to the face. Styles gets a snapmare and a kick to the back. Okada gets up but Styles lands an enziguri. Okada then surprises Styles with a dropkick, then hooks onto Styles landing a German suplex but holds on into the rainmaker! Okada nearly gets the pin but Anderson pulls the ref outside. Okada gets mad and goes outside where he sends both Gallows and Anderson right into the post and puts them down. He comes back in but then does a dive to take out all three guys on the outside for good. Okada comes back in and starts up the turnbuckle. He grabs Okada and scores with a superplex that makes Okada bounce off the mat like a rubber ball! Styles goes for the pin but Okada kicks out! We come back from another commercial and both guys are down. Styles slowly picks Okada up and goes for the styles clash but drops Okada. He tries it again but Okada counters out so A.J. rolls him into the calf killer. Okada tries and rolls through with it but as he stands up, Styles wraps him in another one! He is in major pain as he struggles and finally gets to the rope for a break. Styles goes for the leg again and tries the calf killer again but Okada rolls through and hits the tombstone! Okada is badly hurt and can't make the cover. Okada hits a weak forearm and Styles hits one back as they can barely move. They struggle back up. Okada goes for the rainmaker but gets into a backslide. Okada gets out and hits a legscissors, but Styles hits the Pele kick to counter. Styles goes for the styles clash into an exploder position into a tombstone position. Styles gets out on the apron and sends Okada into the buckle again. Styles goes up but get an uppercut right to the head. Okada goes up and goes for a fireman's carry. Styles tries for the super stash on him but they crumple. Okada falls back and Styles gets down only to get clotheslined twice! Okada hits the rainmaker and scores the win! Okada is going to WrestleKingdom! Styles has to be carried back down the hallway with Anderson and Gallows telling him he is still the best in the world. We come back from commercial with Gedo and Okada in the ring. Okada says that Styles increased the shine on the belt and they should have a rematch. As he talks about WrestleKingdom Tanahashi slides in the ring. Okada turns right around and says that you are next Mr. Tanahashi. Hiroshi says this brings back memories. he says the Ace should be the champion. The pose face to face for a bit before Tanahashi leaves. Gedo talks saying that Hiroshi won't win against the rainmaker. Backstage Tanahashi says he wants to bring the rivalry to an end. Okada says he has good memories of every arena except the Tokyo Dome. He wants to make a good memory. He brushes off Tanahashi and said he will give it his all. In the studio, Okada says that Styles is a great and creative wrestler. He says he is a foreign version of Tanahashi He is someone wrestlers around the world pay attention to. If asked if he was dismayed he would have to face Tanahashi again, Okada said it has to be Tanahashi to get his revenge. That was a hell of a main event! These guys really brought out their A-game and had an incredible match! Aside from Jim Ross having something up his craw, it was a great way to end this night of wrestling. I had a lot of fun all the way through! Tune in next time for more wrestling action!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
No point system here!
Hello again, and welcome to another edition of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we are jammed packed with THREE big hours of wrestling. All three of tonight's episodes are coverage of the King of Pro Wrestling show from October 12, 2015. We are at the famous Sumo Hall in Tokyo for this big night of action So let's get underway!

Strong Style: Aw crap, it's Bad Luck Fale

Jul 30 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Hiroshi Tanahashi. It's kinda weird here as he has his hair tied up, but at this angle, it looks like one of those little girl side tails like Bayley wears. IWGP Jr. Tag Titles: ReDragon vs. The Time Splitters These two teams have faced off a bunch of times in 4-way matches, but I don't think they've faced each other in a regular tag match (at least on this show). Dragon is representing ROH here. It's not so much of a feud, but there is history here as Kyle O'Reily and Kushida faced off in the finals of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament final. Time Splitters come out first. Alex Shelley is just coming off a foot injury here. They are starting to get nearer the end of the team as they aren't wearing the same gear and Shelley would start popping up in ROH pretty soon. O Reilly and Fish come out as the champs. The crowd is behind the Splitters, and some scramble early on with Kushida going for a low dive. They grapple around on the mat with some headlocks and wrist locks. They each get up and trade a kick but both miss. Kushida gets the headlock before shooting him into the ropes and going into a wristlock and then a tag to Shelly who comes off the top with a strike. on Kyle's arm. Fish runs in but Shelley just boots him in the gut before hitting him with a double body drop. Back to Kyle and Shelley as Shelley gets in some chops. Kyle sends him into the ropes where Fish clobbers him from the apron. Alex turns around and clobbers him. Fish stands up and sweeps out Shelley's leg from the floor and Kyle delivers a kick and pushes Alex to the floor where Fish sends him into the barrier. Sheeley is sent into the ring and Kyle holds him down and tags in Fish. Fish comes in and lands a shot to the gut. He gets a kick and then leaps to the apron and jumps back in with a senton. He lands another kick before tagging Kyle back into the ring. Kyle goes for the arm with a wristlock and an arm ringer. Alex counters with some punches but Kyle won't let go. Alex is finally able to break the hold with more punches. He goes to the ropes and gets the sunset flip but Kyle does some air punches to regain his balance and quickly gets the arm breaker in. Shelley immediately maneuvers into the ropes. Kyle tags in Fish and Fish lands a bunch of punches into the corner. He turns around to flip off Kushida and doesn't see Shelley nailing Kyle in the corner. When he turns around Alex nails him. Fish knees him in the gut but Shelley grabs hold and slams Fish face first in the turnbuckle. Shelley slowly crawls for the tag but Kyle runs in and catches him in an anklelock. Shelley gets up and nails Kyle with the enziguri and scoots on Kyle to get the tag. Kushida goes bananas and even scores a hand board elbow ala the Great Muta. He hits Kyle with a kick on the ropes and twirls out onto the apron. He scores kicks on both guys and then grabs each guy by the arm and snaps them off the top rope. He comes back in and Fish goes for a sunset flip but Kushida does his own air punches to regain balance and goes right for the hoverboard lock. Kyle comes in now and goes for the front chokehold. As these guys are holding on, Alex comes in the ring and pulls Kyle off and locks him into a move close to an octopus. As this is going on Kyle is using his free arm to smack Kushida across the face! Shelly changes his hold to an armbar-like move but Kyle rolls through and picks Shelley up and drives him down with a suplex. Kyle tries to go after Kushida, but Kushida lands some strikes  and kicks before dropping Kyle with his fastball punch. Kushida then turns his attention to Fish with a wristlock. Fish shoots him to the ropes where Kushida goes for the swinging headscissors. Kyle stops that but before he can do anything Kushida gets in the hoverboard lock. Kyle struggles but is able to strike Kushida and get out of the hold. We return from the break with both guys tagging out. Shelley and Kyle come in but Fish kinda lingers in the ring. Alex takes both of them out and sends Fish out of the ring. He goes for a dragon kick to O'Reily but Kyle catches him and gets a suplex in. Fish comes back in the ring and try for Chasing the dragon but Kushida pulls Fish out and Shelley counters Kyle's suplex. Both Splitters come in and  start teeing off on O'Reily now with elbow strikes. Shelley hits a sliced bread #2 off the ropes but doesn't score the pin. Shelley picks him up in an exploder suplex that is combined with Kushida kicking Kyle in the head. When Shelley goes for the pin Fish sneaks in and pushes Kushida out to break up the pinfall. The Splitters go to work on Fish hitting kicks and punches before hitting the Mutalock and a dropkick combo to send Fish to the outside. Kushida tries a dive on him but Fish moves out of the way. Kushida lands on his feet but Fish steamrolls him right into the barrier. O'Reily and Shelley are in the ring trading moves and doges to those moves before Kyle just runs him over with a clothesline. Kyle locks in an armlock and Fish hits the headbutt from the top but Shelley won't give up. Kushida scores with a moonsault to break the hold. Shelley rolls Kyle up but the pin is broken up. Fish comes in and lands a buckle bomb on Shelly. Kushida gets sent out of the ring and ReDragon double team the crap out of Shelley with suplexes and a version of the decapitator. The pin is only two seconds. They go for Chasing the dragon but Kushida rolls in to break that up. Kyle starts kicking the crap out of Kushida and he goes to the floor. Everyone just kinda collapses and rolls out to the same side of the floor as Dragon sets up Shelley for chasing the dragon on the floor. Kushida gets on the apron and breaks up the attempt with a running dive to Fish's face. Kyle then bulldozes Kushida into the barrier. Everyone lays on the floor before a count of 14 when O'Reily and Shelley roll into the ring. Shelley gets in some offence but Fish and Kushida come into the ring. Shelley goes out and dragon starts in on Kushida with three rolling double arm suplexes leading to the wheelbarrow suplex. Unfortunately, Kushida is not the legal guy. Shelley comes in but he is spent. Dragon double up on him hitting a DDT on him before hitting Chasing the dragon and scoring the win! After the match, the Splitters put the belts around Kyle and Bobby's waists as a sign of respect. Roppongi Vice come out and attack EVERYONE. "It turns out you don't need to be a member of the Bullet Club to be a douchebag in New Japan Pro Wrestling."- Josh Barnett. Vice then cuts a promo saying they will be the next champs. We get some words from Tanahashi in the studio. He says the title shot should not be that easy. He doesn't want to sit there for months while the champ has to defend the title. So he wanted to step up and defend the title as much if not more than the champ. He says Fale is always composed and it is like he has no weaknesses. I wouldn't go that far considering how many matches we've seen him lose. For the WrestleKingdom Title shot: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale: It has been a while so I'll explain this. Tanahashi won the G1 Climax tournament, seen here a few weeks ago. The winner of the tournament receives a shot against the IWGP champion at WrestleKingdom at the Tokyo Dome in January. Before then though Tanahashi has to defend the title shot he won in every singles match he wrestles. He loses, the title shot goes to the guy who beat him. Why anyone would think Fale deserves to main event New Japan's biggest show or even receive a title match is beyond me. Fale makes his entrance first. With his shades and hat, he looks less like an "underboss" and more like a guy who plays standing base at a jazz club. Of course, Tama Tonga is with him. Hiroshi comes out carrying the title briefcase. Wonder where New Japan got the idea  of using a briefcase for a title shot from? JR and Josh compare Tanahashi to John Cena. The show seems to be killing time by not editing the entrance at all and making JR and Josh kinda have to ramble a bit. Hiroshi hands the briefcase to the ref, who actually opens it and shows off the contract inside before putting it back and handing the case to the outside ring announcer. After a brief commercial, we come back as the bell rings. The crowd is behind Tanahashi of course. They lock up and Fale muscles him in the corner. Tanahashi reveres and Fale just pushes him off. Tanahashi gets in a headlock but Fale pulls the hair and Tanahashi breaks. JR butchers Tonga's name BTW. Tanahashi tries a knuckle lock  but Fale switches into a toe lock and then into a headlock. Again, both guys are back up and circle around. Tanahashi tries for a slam but doesn't get it. Fale tries to slam Tanahashi but Tanahashi gets a headscissor to get out and goes outside. Tanahashi scores some hits and gets Fale down to a knee but not for long. Tanahashi tries the bodyslam again but doesn't get it. Tanahashi gets sent to the apron where he gets some elbows, but Fale runs over him like a truck sending Tanahashi to the floor. Tama Tonga starts in with the kicks that leave Tanahashi laying on the apron. Fale comes over and gets the big splash on the apron! Fale comes out and sends him into the barrier twice. He starts getting mad at the ref for starting a count for some reason. Tanahashi gets in at 19 but Fale stands right on top of. Fale just stands there for a bit before he bends down only to get hit in the gut a few times. Fale counters with a bodyslam. He stands on Hiroshi's chest and then picks him up and sends him to the corner. Fale misses a charge and Tanahashi tries to slam him and Fale falls on him for a near fall. Fale gets up and starts in with a nerve hold on the neck. At least it's better than just standing there like he usually does. He then gets a sort of chinlock but by pulling the hair. He goes back to the nerve hold for a bit before he slams Tanahashi down again and goes for the splash but Tanahashi rolls out of the way. They stagger up and Tanahashi hits two flying forearms to get Fale down. He gets a senton on the big guy and goes for the slingblade but Fale shoots him over the rope. He skins the cat but gets attacked by Tonga, only to kick Tonga off. He rolls up and sends Fale over the top rope. Tanahashi then gets back in and goes for the top rope body splash on the big guy on the floor! Back from the break as Tanahashi rolls back into the ring. Fale lumbers up onto the apron. He steps in and Tanahashi gets a dragon screw leg whip. He then goes for the cloverleaf but Fale just muscles out of that. Fale gets the running splash in the corner and then hits the big splash but Tanahashi kicks out. Fale gets the chokehold but Tanahashi gets an uppercut and then goes for a sunset flip. Fale just drops on him but Tanahashi kicks out of the pin. Fale gets up and goes for the bad luck fall but Tanahashi squirms out and hits a massive punch to the face. Tanahashi gets some elbows in to stagger the big guy. Fale counters with the Vader strike. Tanahashi goes to the ropes, but Fale catches him with a Samoan drop. Tanahashi goes for the ropes again but Fale spears him in the worst spear I've seen. Fale picks him up and goes for the razor's edge, but Fale trips over himself and falls over. Not kidding. Tanahashi hits the slingblade but for only two. Tanahashi goes for the high fly flow, but Fale catches him and hits the grenade, but Tanahashi kicks out of the pin. Fale climbs up to the top but Tanahashi jumps up and hits a superplex! Tanahashi finally slams Fale down and gets the high fly flow to score the pinfall. Tanahashi speaks to the crowd challenging Naito  Naito takes his time strolling  out. he sits on the ramp as Tanahashi says Naito doesn't have a choice. fight him. Naito actually gets up and walks to the ring. He then turns right around and walks back up to the entrance. Hiroshi says he will defend the shot until he actually gets to the Tokyo dome. We get some words from Naito. He says the company is centered around Tanahashi. He accepts but doesn't trust NJPW to actually give him the shot when he wins. He wants a popularity poll after he wins to see who is the star. He then announces that he is going to unveil a Spanish speaking tag partner soon. Tanahashi says he wasn't expecting this attitude from Naito. In the studio, he talks about how he is kinda small for a heavyweight. He says big strong guys like Fale are essential in Japan. I tend to disagree. He then says he wanted to get on Naito's nerves. He says Naito is over 30 and hasn't been the champ yet so the pressure is on. Well, the first match was good anyway. Both teams really brought a great match to this show and it as exciting! The "main event" was a typical Fale match of him lumbering around aimlessly getting in a basic move and having someone beat him. Having a big monster like him doesn't work if everyone has already beaten him, some more than once. Like I said, he only get's matches like this to put over guys like Tanahashi or Nakamura and no one really expected him to win, Ao it was a decent show for the tag match only. Next week is THREE brand new shows. It's going to be a long night for me! See you then!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Epic Fale!
Hello again and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we got back to Kobe World Hall and our second look at the Destruction of Kobe event from September 27, 2015. Since...

Strong Style: More Destruction!

Jul 23 // Soul Tsukino
We start off the show with some words from Mr. Tranquilo himself, Tetsuya Naito IWGP Intercontinental Title: Hirooki Goto vs. Shinsuke Nakamura Right off the bat the Japanese producers of the show really screw around. This was actually THE main event of this show, it's event announced as such by the ring announcer. They put this match on first in what appears to be two weeks of coverage. Wonder if New Japan is bitter about Nakamura leaving?Anyway, this match is the fourth that these two have had. Goto has won the last two, where he won the belt and then successfully defended it. Bell rings and they stare each other down. Knuckle lock to start as they muscle each other back and forth. Nakamura gets the armlock but it is reversed. Nakamura rolls through it but Goto holds on. Nakamura tries to counter again but Goto brings him down. Nakamura gets the head scissors, Goto slips out, and they are back up.. Goto with a side headlock and they go into the ropes. Nakamura tries his face/belly rub thing and Goto nails him for it. I like Nakamura but always love it when someone nails him for that. They exchange some strikes before Goto runs over Nakamura with a shoulder block. Nakamura gets up but Goto runs over him with a clothesline to send him out of the ring. We are back after a commercial as Goto goes after the fallen Shinsuke on the floor. Goto lands a kick before picking Nakamura up and draping him on the barrier. He locks in a strangle hold on Nakamura around the barrier briefly before snapping Shinsuke's head back. He picks Nakamura up and tries to whip him into the barrier but Shinsuke reverses it. Nakamura sends him into the barrier again and then goes to try for a third time but Goto shoves him into the barrier.  Goto sends him into the barrier again and gets in the ring. Nakamura stumbles up to the apron and Goto reaches out to grab him and gets a knee to the head. Shinsuke jumps to the apron and nails a knee to Goto's head and then gets the drop guillotine kneedrop on the apron. We skip ahead as both guys are in the ring with Goto down in the corner. Nakamura tries for the running knee but Goto rolls out of the way. Goto charges in but he is met with an elbow. Nakamura scoops up Goto and lays him on the top turnbuckle. He gets a running knee to Goto's gut and catches Goto off the ropes to land a lung blower. Shinsuke lands a reverse powerslam and then goes for the booma ye, but Goto slides out of the way. Nakamura tries to throw a clothesline, but Goto blocks it before going into an armbreaker. Goto really cranks on the arm now and Shinsuke makes it to the ropes with his long legs. Goto up lands a kick right to the bad arm. He gets a wristlock on and snaps the arm down. He gets an Olympic slam on Nakamura but the count is only two. Goto lands a kick to the chest and then kicks him again in the arm! Goto goes for another but Nakamura kicks the back of the knee and lands a knee strike to the back of the head. We skip ahead again. Nakamura lands some kicks before a kick to the back of the head and a booma ye but doesn't get the pin. Nakamura sets him up on the top turnbuckle.  Nakamura tries to get Goto on his shoulders but Goto is fighting it. They start exchanging strikes back and forth before Goto hits a headbutt. Goto then goes over the top and hits a sunset flip slam from the buckle, but doesn't get the pin. Back from commercial with both guys are down and not moving. They pull each other up. Goto goes for the charge and Nakamura goes to the middle rope. He jumps right into Goto's arms and a ushigoroshi. Count only gets two. Goto picks Nakamura up on the ropes and goes up. He gets the avalanche ushigoroshi but Nakamura kicks out! He goes for a brainbuster but Nakamura counters with a knee. Goto drills a headbutt. Nakamura replies with strikes to the face. Goto nails another headbutt. He goes for a clothesline but Nakamura rolls with it and turns it into an armbreaker. Goto slips out and gets an armbreaker but Nakamura is holding on his grip to keep the hold from working. Goto replies with some leg strikes into the face. Nakamura tries to get out and rolls out and nails him with a shin strike to the face! Nakamura goes for the booma ye but Goto catches it. He tries to catch Nakamura but Shinsuke gives him a kick and then hits the booma ye for the pinfall. We have a new champion! Nakamura is presented with the belt as Goto is carried from the ring. Everyone looks to the entrance way as Karl Anderson and Luke Gallows come out. Anderson gets in the ring and tells Nakamura he beat both Nakamura and Goto in the G1 and he wants the IC belt. Nakamura takes the mic and accepts. Backstage Nakamura says the next dice has been cast, but he will be wearing the belt in the end. We come back with some studio words from Naito.  He is wanting to make up for losing to Shibata and Shibata saying he wanted to beat up the brat. We get footage of a six-man tag match not shown on this show of them antagonizing each other at the last show. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tetsuya Naito Since Naito's gone all tranquilo on everyone, I'm surprised he doesn't have a beef with the rest of the roster. You've heard the saying "he who hesitates is lost"? In this match, it just might be "He who hesitates in tranquilo gets choked the hell out". Naito comes out first taking his time. They cut the crap out of the last match, but we get this is full.  JR and Josh go on and on here. Shibata finally comes out in his usual way of no frill and no shits given to whether the other guy lives of dies. We come back from commercial. It has been more than 10 minutes since the last match ended, yup. Time management is a bit of an issue here. Shibata demands he get in the ring and fight and Naito takes time. As Naito is dicking around, Shibata runs right up and kicks him off the apron into the floor. He goes out to choke a bitch but Naito pops up and nails him with a kick to Shibata's head. Naito hits a club to the back of the head and tosses him into the barrier. Naito gets in the ring and lands a sliding dropkick to send Shibata down. He leaves the ring and unhooks the metal gate before tossing Shibata into ringside. Naito lands more hits before tossing Shibata in the ring and lands more kicks to the back. He gets Shibata in the corner and lands a bunch of punches and kicks. He tosses the ref aside and lands a running dropkick. He picks Shibata up and lands a neckbreaker. Shibata goes all murder, death, kill mode and pops right up. He tosses Naito into the corner striking him a few times. Naito gets up and drives Shibata in the corner and follows him in, landing on the apron. Shibata grabs Naito and puts a stranglehold on him in the ropes. He brings him inside in the corner where he facewashes Naito a few times before Naito rolls outside. Shibata follows him out and chucks him into the barrier. He then does this all the way around the ring before landing a kick right to Naito's face. He tosses Naito back in the ring and strikes with an elbow before tieing him up in an abdominal stretch. Shibata lets him out and then kicks him. Naito crawls to the corner where Shibata hits that awesome hanging dropkick. We come back from break with Shibata getting a suplex and a two count. Naito spits on Shibata and gets a bunch of forearm strikes to the head for that. Naito lands an enziguri and a suplex before Shibata runs him over with a clothesline. They fight up, striking each other with forearms. They start going to town on each other before Shibata gets an uppercut. He goes for the enziguri but misses, but he gets Naito in a submission lock anyway. He goes for the rear choke, but Naito gets to the ropes. Shibata kicks Naito right in the throat and then some short kicks as Naito is down. He locks Naito into the rear choke again but Naito grabs the ref and shoves him down in the corner. He throws his leg back and hits the low blow, breaking the hold. Naito sees the ref is still down and gets in another low blow before hitting Destino and scoring the pinfall. After the bell, Shibata rolls to the floor in pain. Naito starts attacking a young boy and chases away the ref before he leaves. He walks up the ramp and then starts attacking the camera guy before Shibata comes flying up the aisle. They chase each other backstage. Backstage Naito asks who the winner was.  He says he learned a tiny bit from Shibata as Shibata brought the fight, but he still won. Someone asks him about Tanahashi wanting to fight him with the title shot on the line. Naito says if he wants to fight, come challenge him. In the studio, Naito says that everyone should thank him for giving Shibata the chance to have a good match. Yeah, a bad editing job on the part of the Japanese producers. The main event is put on first and is cut nearly in half. That match actually went on for 36 minutes, but here they showed on 20. What was shown was good, though. The other match was also a good one and it's fun to watch Naito get his ass kicked now. Join us next week as Tanahashi puts his title shot on the line against... *sigh* Bad Luck Fale...damn. Please join us anyway.
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
This time it's Kobe's turn
Hello again and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we look at the top matches from the Destruction of Kobe show, taking place on September 27, 2015. This takes place four days after the matches we saw last week, and while last week's show was... meh, this week is sure to deliver with two big matches from the show. Let's get to the action!

Strong Style: never say NEVER!

Jul 16 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Togi Makabe wearing a stylish hat and a chain... like an actual dog chain. IWGP Tag titles: Bullet Club vs. TenKoji This match stems from an 8 man elimination match we didn't get to see. I believe Kojima eliminated Karl Anderson. Guess that equates to a title shot. Bell rings with Tenzan and Gallows. Stalemate on the lock up. Doc pushes him into the corner and Doc throws some body shots before hitting an uppercut. Tenzan isnt impressed and he comes out with a charge and they smack like two bulls. They go again for the shoulder and it's a stalemate. Gallows finally wins the battle with a shouldblock but as Doc picks him up, Tenzan nails a headbut to the gut and then lays in with some of his famous Mongolian chops. He gets Doc back in the coner and lays into him with more chops and a headbutt before getting him over in a suplex. Both guys get up and Tenzan goes for a charge but Gallows gets a boot to the face. Gallows then go for a charge but Tenzan nails him with a rolling kick. Tenzan goes for an awkward cover but transitions right into an anaconda vice and sinks it in. Karl Anderson has to jump in and save his partner. Tenzan gets up and headbutts Anderson right in the gut sending him out of the ring. He heads to the top rope but. Karl jumps up and grabs his leg letting Gallows kick him in the face. Tenzan falls to the mat with a splat. Gallows reaches over and gets the tag so Anderson is in legally now. he starts mocking him by hitting him with Mongolian chops. He bonces off the ropes only to get hit with a mountain bomb. Kojima gets tagged in as Karl gets up. Kojima gets him in the corner and goes for his rapid fire chops as Karl screams in pain. He whips Anderson into the opposite corner and nails him with a clothesline. He jmps up top and lands an elbow to Anderson, but it only gets 2. He tries for a leg lariat but misses. Karl and Koji go for a clothesline duel and Karl gets the better. Doc comes in and they go for the magic killer but Tenzan comes in and we have a fight! Gallows and Tenzan fight out of the ring while Anderson goes for the gun stun. Kojima counters it and goes for his Kojicutter but Anderson counters. Tenzan comes back in and they land the TenKoji cutter but Doc comes back in to break up.  He  is set up for the TenKoji cutter but nails Kojima with a booth and then hits his old 12 steps finisher on Tenzan. He goes after Kojima but a solid clothesline drops Gallows to the mat. Kojima gets a brainbuster on Karl but Karl kicks out the pin. Kojima lines him up for a big clothesline, but Anderson kicks the arm to coubnter. Kojima spins around and nails him with the other arm! He ges for another clothesline but Anderson catches him and gets the gun stun. Tenzan comes in and he gets dropped as well. Gallows enters and they ht the magic killer on kojima to get the three count and retain the belts. Backstage they brag about beating Tenkoji. Doc Gallows mentions that the only things they like are fighting and screwing. Even Anderson looks at him funny after that. Dude, you have a wife! IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: Kushida vs. "The Cleaner" Kenny Omega There is history here. Kushida and Omega have traded the title back and forth, with many of those matches being covered on this show. It also is a sign that the Jr.s division in New Japan is a little thin. Besides these two you had Tageuchi who isn't taken very seriously, Vets like Tiger Mask and Liger, Jr.'s Tag wrestlers like the Bucks, Roppongi Vice, and RedDRagon, or guys brought in from ROH. Omega comes out first and you automatically know something is up because the Bullet Club is with him. Meanwhile a bunch of the Jr heavyweights come out to support Kushida. Matt Sydel is sitting at the commentary table because he gets the next shot evidently. Bell rings and Omega goes for a handshake. and surprisingly it's a clean one! Kushida gets a waistlock that goes into an armbar. They go down for a headlock that turns into a riding session on The Cleaner. Back into the headlock They go the ropes and break clean. Lock up again into a headlock. Shoot off to the ropes where Kushida gets some good leapfrogs before catching Omega in armdrags into an armbar. They get up and Omega grabs the hair and pulls Kushida back into the ropes, only to break and offer another headshake. Kushida goes for it again and Omega spits on him! He gets fired up and starts wailing away on Omega with punches. Bad idea Kenny on that one. Kushida fire of a back hand spring elbow that sends Omega outside the ring. Kushida goes for a dive but Kenny moves and Kushida flips onto the apron. He goes for a diving headscissors but Omega catches him. Kushida tries to escape but oega gets him into a fireman's carry and dropps him in a roll before spiring up onto the barrier where Doc Gallows hands him a trash can and he does the backflip onto Ksuhida with the trashcan. Right in front of the referee. Gallows somehow gets a hold of Alex Shelley and Kushida both but Omega comes over the rope in a cannonball. The Time Splitters both move and Gallows takes the shot. As Omega crawls into the ring, Kushida hits his running dropkick. Kushida hits the moonsault and goes right into the hoverboard lock. Omega squirms and screams but won't quit. Kushida switches to the armbar but Kenny keeps his hands locked together. Kushida really tries to crank back, but Kenny rolls right through it and back up to a standing position where he nails a doctor bomb for a two count. Gallows and Alex Shelly get involved and Kushida gets an armlock but goes for a rebound and Omega lands a hard knee to the face. He goes for one winged angel but Kushida squirms out. Kushida tries for the hoverboard lock but Karl Anderson jumps in and nails the gun stun. Omega hits the one winged angel and wins back the title! Omega grabs the mic and says he is going to clean Sydel up. Backstage Kushida says that Omega should be ashamed of himself. Togi in the studio now. He views this as a bit of a revenge match, since when they met in the G1, he was feeling beat up. He thinks Kota is soft on the outside but is very stoic in his matches. He didn't have respect for Ibushi coming from DDT, but only after did he fight him did he have any respect for him. NEVER Openweight Title: Togi Makabe vs. Kota Ibushi This match stems from the G1 tournament when Ibushi scored a win over Makabe in a match best described as a "clash of styles". Togi was carrying an injury at that time (big surprise) let's see if he has healed any and can put on a better effort. Kota comes out first. Togi comes out looking like he is going to kill a bitch. We get a shot of Kota's face, and he looks about to piss himself. "Togi Makabe looks like someone set his face on fire and tried to put it out with a rake."- JR. We come back from break as the bell rings. Kota starts throwing punches! Togi shuts that down. He starts throwing elbows but Kota comes back with a dropkick and karate kicks. Togi catches one but Kota just jumps on him and throwing punches. They go outside where Togi tosses him into the barrier a few times before Togi gets back in the ring.  Kota rolls back in and Togi starts right in bashing him on the head. He drags Kota into the corner and slugs Ibushi more and more in the body and on the head. Kota tries to come back with some weak chops but Togi drops him again. Togi gets a snapmare into a chinlock but Kota gets to the ropes after a struggle. Togi gets a suplex but a pinfall only gets two. Togi gets in a half boston crab, a move I've not seen him use to often. Ibushi gets the break by again getting to the ropes. Kota isn't getting up as Togi poses a bit. Straight shot to the face, and another one. He tries to whip Kota in the ropes but Kota holds the rope. Kota throws a sweet kick and knocks Togi down. Makabe struggles back up and they start trading elbows. Togi tries for a charge but runs into a kick in the gut. Kota goes for the pin but doesn't get it. Kota tries for something but Togi gets a sweet powerslam. He picks Ibushi up and gets his powerbomb. Makabe doesn't go for the pin though as he picks Kota up! He lands a clothesline in the corner. He goes up the ropes to pound on Kota, but Kota slides out and hits the bicycle kick. Kota goes up and nails Togi a few times before hitting a frankensteiner from the top turnbuckle. Both guys struggle up. Togi goes for a waistlock but doesn't get anywhere. Togi throws a clothesline but Kota ducks it. They nail each other with clotheslines and flatten each other to the mat. We are back from the break. Togi is outside the ring and Kota goes after him. Kota goes to the barrier again and then AGAIN. Maybe outside the ring is not a good place for you Kota. Togi goes outside the barrier and grabs a TABLE. Those damn Japanese tables! He tries a powerbomb but Ibushi flips out of it and nails a kick to the head. Kota leaps up and gets a hurencanrana and sends Togi down. Kota sets up the table and puts Togi on it He heads up top and hits a DOUBLE STOMP on Togi's gut! Table doesn't break. Both guys and crawling back in the ring and Togi gets in at 18. Kota hits some palm strikes and then a stiff kick to the neck. Kota hits a powerbomb but only gets 2. Kota keeps going for the turnbuckle but Togi grabs the legs. Kota goes to the top buckle but Togi hits him. Togi goes for the spider suplex but Ibushi blocks it. Togi bashes Kota's head on the buckle a few times and goes for it, but Kota slips right over. He grabs Togi in a waistlock and gets a suplex, but pin only gets two. Kota climbs up and goes for a phoenix splash but misses! Togi tries for a pin but only gets two. Kota gets up and throws some elbows but Togi tells him to bring it. Togi gets up from a few hits but Kota hits the clothesline. They have a stand off now as they trade clotheslines before just throwing rapid fists at each other. They trade chops to the chest before Togi runs him over with a lariat. Togi goes for the pin but only gets two. Togi throws him into the corner and hits a clothesline to the back of the head. He sets him up for the spider suplex Kota blocks it a few times before Togi hits the full nelseon suplex right on Kota's head before hitting the king kong kneedrop and scoring the win to retain his title. As he celebrates Tomohiro Ishii comes it to the ring and have a staredown. Ishii leaves the ring and Togi gets the mic. He accepts the challenge. Backstage Ishii says he has never won against Togi and he wants to change that. Togi says that Ishii has excellent skills but he will win. Studio words have Togi saying that Kota is a talented wrestler and despite the weight difference, He used the full nelson suplex because after all that happened, he had to. The NEVER title guys don't doge and that is why it is so popular. I'll be honest, not one of the best shows. The Tag Title match was decent for what it was. I can't fault it. The Jr. match was good until you saw the Bullet club running interference and the ref just magically disapear. Omega can do better than this. The Main event was the exact same train wreck of styles that the first match was, but instead Togi more or less steamrolled over Ibushi. Togi works better with guys like Ishii, Tenzan, and Shibata. If you want an awesome exampls of what Kota can do, look up his match this passed week again Sean Maluta from the Cruiserweight Classic. But here, this show is a pass. See you next week!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Two belts on the line
Hello again! After a break last week, welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV.  With the G1 Climax Tournament finished and Tanahashi standing tall with the trophy and the Title...

Japanator's Summer 2016 Anime Preview Guide!

Jul 04 // Josh Tolentino
[embed]35116:5717:0[/embed] Berserk Studio: Gemba, Millepensee (Teekyuu, Wake Up, Girls!) Broadcast Date:  July 1, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) An easy candidate for the most effin' metal anime of all time, Berserk has been adapted quite often. The new twist for this latest, TV series-sized attempt is that this will be the first time an animated adaptation has gone beyond the "Golden Age" arc. In all honesty, I couldn't tell you what all that actually means, as I've never seen or read Berserk. Does admitting that mean I have to hand in my otaku membership card? That dude sure does have a big sword, though. The series is airing now, and...well, there'll be more to say about it in our impressions.   [embed]35116:5718:0[/embed] Mob Psycho 100 Studio: BONES (My Hero Academia, Bungo Stray Dogs) Broadcast Date: July 12, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) "From the guy that writes One Punch Man" is probably one of the more effective marketing lines you could ask for these days, but in truth, Mob Psycho 100 seems to be a rather different beast than the saga of Saitama. Shigeo Kageyama (nicknamed "Mob" after the Japanese term for movie extras) is a completely unremarkable high school student, bar the fact that he's got prodigious psychic superpowers. Having superpowers can be a real hassle, though, so he keeps his emotions suppressed to force them into check.  Unfortunately, life usually happens in opposition to well-meaning plans, and things quickly threaten to produce emotional reaction in Mob, leading to the "100" in the title. For when his pent-up feelings reach the breaking point, bad stuff's going to happen. Between the sound of things and the deliberately laid-back aesthetic, Mob Psycho 100 seems to be aiming more a more psychological take on superpowers and action show tropes rather than the "sardonic-but-badass" angle One Punch Man typically explores. I'll be giving Mob Psycho 100 a look once it airs.   [embed]35116:5719:0[/embed] Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak Academy (Side: Future and Side: Despair) Studio: Lerche (School Live!, Monster Musume) Broadcast Date: July 11, 2016 (Future) and July 14, 2016 (Despair) Rejoice, players of Danganronpa, your questions will be answered! Danganronpa 3 arrives not in the form of a game (though an actual new Danganronpa title is in development), but as two simultaneously-broadcast anime series. The first, Side: Future, effectively acts as coda of sorts for Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, recounting the adventures of star Makoto Naegi and his fellow Hope's Peak survivors as they form the Future Foundation, and framed as a trial for Makoto himself in the wake of the events of Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair.  Side: Despair, on the other hand, promises the secret history of the cast members of Danganronpa 2, and what happened to them before they were thrown into the game. The reason this matters functions as a major spoiler, and both shows seem to presume a familiarity with the games. Both I and fellow Japanator editor Salvador G-Rodiles are big fans of the games. I'll be checking out Future once it hits, and Sal will look at Despair. If you want to catch up, both games are available on PS Vita and on Steam.   [embed]35116:5721:0[/embed] Orange Studio: Telecom Animation Film (Moyashimon, Phantasy Star Online 2) Broadcast Date: July 4, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) Time loop anime seem to be the new "superpowered highschoolers" anime in terms of trendiness right now, and Orange is exactly one of those. Like the leads of Steins;Gate, Re:Zero, and Erased, Naho Takamiya is given the chance to change her future, thanks to a letter written by herself, ten years from now, and sent to herself in the present. And it seems like many of future-Naho's regrets are tied to transfer student and love interest Kakeru Naruse. It's cool to see the sci-fi twists usually used on mystery and suspense fantasies applied to the more romantic stylings of shojou manga, and Orange seems to have a strong reputation in that crowd. I'm hoping to see a bit more of the show's high-concept sci-fi twist manifest itself among the feels and personal relationships. [embed]35116:5723:0[/embed] 91 Days Studio: Shuka (Durarara!! x2) Broadcast Date: July 9, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) Who would've thought that a studio whose staffers helped make shows like Durarara!! and Baccano! would go on to make a new show about the weird underground in a bustling, thriving city? I'm being facetious, but there's definitely merit in sticking with what you know. Following the latest seasons of Durarara!! x2, Shuka take on a setting that's new...-ish: Prohibition-era America. In the fictional city of Lorel, a young orphan named Avilo joins up with the local mafia outfit. The twist is that Avilo lost his family years prior in an attack by the same crime ring, so the newly made man is in it for revenge.  With the screenwriter of Joker Game, last season's bit of period fiction, and plenty of experience making multifaceted plots and juggling an ensemble cast, 91 Days looks like it might be a gritty winner.   [embed]35116:5724:0[/embed] ReLife Studio: TMS Entertainment (Actually, I Am..., Zetman) Broadcast Date: July 1, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) Ever wish you could go back in time and get a redo for your childhood mistakes? Perhaps relive your high school life knowing what you know now as a weathered adult? Lots of anime shows sure seem to think that's what we're after, but not all are as bald-faced about it as ReLife, where Arata Kaizaki, a beaten-down twenty-something stuck in a career and lifestyle rut gets the opportunity to take a magic pill that ages him down to a fresh-faced seventeen-year-old, to repeat a year of high school and refresh his life. It's a tempting premise mainly for the fact that Arata seems like a relatable sort of lead (at least in the mind of this beaten-down thirty-something), and some of the other twists appear to plant the seed for drama to come. I'm just hoping they don't mine the slightly creepy "adult man hanging out with underage kids" angle too hard.   [embed]35116:5727:0[/embed] Taboo Tattoo Studio: J.C. Staff (Selector Infected Wixoss, Flying Witch) Broadcast Date: July 5, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) Stop me if you've heard this one before, but Taboo Tattoo is about Japanese high school students who have special powers and a penchant for getting into fights with each other.  I am, of course, being hideously reductive, but suffice it to say that it's definitely one of those types of shows (the tattoo motif is particularly reminiscent of last season's Big Order), and while it seems unlikely to change peoples' minds, judgment will have to wait until we see more of it in action. For what it's worth, I'm digging the seeming emphasis on martial arts as opposed to "my power is a gnarly weapon". This might make for some cool action sequences.  There's also the backdrop, which casts the Tattoo powers themselves as developments in an ongoing arms race between America and the fictional nation of Selinistan. This might make for a good world-building opportunity to background the rest of the action, so there's hope for this one, at least.   [embed]35116:5729:0[/embed] Alderamin On The Sky  Studio: Madhouse (One Punch Man, My Love STORY!!) Broadcast Date: July 9, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) "Alderamin" sounds like the name of a sleeping pill, which makes sense, because the premise sounds like it could be something of a snoozer. Two nations, Katjvarna and Kioka, whose names sound like the noises you make when you're on Alderamin, are at war, and Ikuta, a lackadaisical and passive young recruit who joined the army with no interest in becoming an officer, has become Katjvarna's greatest military commander after a mere few years. The show purports to tell the story of how he got there. That sounds like it could be interesting, and given Madhouse's pedigree, there may be some potential in the visuals and war setting, but otherwise it sounds less like a historical chronicle than another hagiography in the manner of Mahouka. At the very least, I'm hoping this turns out less like that and more like Lord Marksman and Vanadis, a show that was at least enjoyable for its cast, if not for its tedious core principles.    [embed]35116:5730:0[/embed] Qualidea Code Studio: A-1 Pictures (Brotherhood: Final Fantasy XV, Asterisk War) Broadcast Date: July 9, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) What happens when you lock the authors of light novel sensations Henneko, Date A Live, and My Teen RomCom SNAFU to hash out a multimedia anime project? This thing, apparently, which frankly reads like it could've come from any single one of them. Get this: High-school age kids have superpowers and are now using them to defend the Earth from an unknown threat. Actually, the threat is aliens, which are literally called "UNKNOWN".  Great.    [embed]35116:5728:0[/embed] Sweetness and Lightning Studio: TMS Entertainment (Yowapeda, Bakuon!!) Broadcast Date: July 4, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) If you've been jonesing for another does of anime parenting to gush over, this season's successor to the likes of Bunny Drop, Barakamon, and the Yotsuba&! anime you'll never ever get looks to be Sweetness and Lightning.  That said, the show does seem to distinguish itself in that the father-daughter relationship here is a literal father-daughter one. No weird non-blood connections to pander to incest fetishists with (Lookin' at you, ending of Bunny Drop!).  It even starts off on a tearjerker, with the father, Kouhei, being recently widowed and struggling to raise his adorable kid Tsumugi without any domestic skills. Enter one of his students, Kotori, who's from a broken home and is looking for companionship, to teach her teacher in the art of domesticity. Sounds heartwarming enough to me, though given the dynamics at work there's some risk of Sweetness and Lightning dodging the incest trap and instead falling into the pothole of winter-spring romance.    [embed]35116:5731:0[/embed] Rewrite Studio: 8bit (The Fruit of Grisaia, Infinite Stratos) Broadcast Date: July 2, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) If you had the power to "rewrite" yourself, i.e. change your own story to suit your needs or whims (think "Editing your character sheet in D&D to give yourself all the best stats"), what would you do? The answer, if Rewrite has its way, is "have adventures and romance with saucer-eyed waifs and amnesiacs".  Indeed, 8bit and the team behind The Fruit of Grisaia are tackling the biggest Key visual novel adaptation since Little Busters!. I've never been a big fan of Key or Jun Maeda, but Rewrite sounds like it might be a different sort of beast, seeing as it was written not by Maeda but by Romeo Tanaka, writer of the superb Humanity Has Declined. I'm not sure if that will be enough to hook me into watching it, but it should be a bit different from the usual Key fodder.   [embed]35116:5732:0[/embed] The Morose Mononokean Studio: Pierrot (Naruto, Level E) Broadcast Date: July 3, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) You know what's big in Japan right now? Yokai. The diverse creatures of Japanese folklore have gone mainstream with the likes of Yo-kai Watch and other vehicles, and it's well deserved. I'm of the opinion that having culturally rooted monsters makes for more interesting design and interpretation that trying to come up with new designs from scratch (see how weird Pokemon have been looking lately). But this isn't a Yo-kai Watch preview though, it's one for The Morose Mononokean, which aims to take a daily-life angle on the godly and supernatural shenanigans covered by the likes of Hozuki no Reitetsu and Noragami. The titular Mononokean is a tea room that serves as the headquarters for an exorcist and the high schooler he takes under his wing. As it's based on a webcomic, I doubt we're looking at the next Monthly Girls' Nozaki-kun or something similarly good, but it'll have done its job if it manages to entertain and educate about Japan's supernatural bestiary.   [embed]35116:5733:0[/embed] Amanchu! Studio: J.C. Staff (Shana, A Certain Magical Index) Broadcast Date: July 8, 2016 (Streaming via Crunchyroll) Few anime are better known for being utterly chill than Aria. Set in space-Venice, the show followed the peaceful, if uneventful lives of a troupe of cute girl gondoliers. Now the same team and author are bringing things a little closer to home, by setting Amanchu! in the Tokyo of the present day, as a bunch of cute schoolgirls get really into diving underwater. It's basically ABZU, but with more cute girls and anime.   [embed]35116:5734:0[/embed] NEW GAME! Studio: Doga Kobo  (Plastic Memories, Himouto! Umaru-chan!) Broadcast Date: July 4, 2016 As someone who occasionally writes for Destructoid, I generally know more about game development than I do about anime production. Sadly, I can't say that the previews for NEW GAME! which sounds on paper like Shirobako-but-for-video-games seem all that accurate. But there's still hope, as Shirobako was far cuter and more positive than real-life anime production. Then again, NEW GAME! is aggressive about being cute in a way that I worry might undermine its potential to "tell it like it is". After all, Shirobako was cute and positive, but it also hinged on the kinds of personal relationships and procedural detail that made it so fascinating to watch. Is the crew that gave us Plastic Memories up to that? If they are, we could be sitting on this year's anime of the year. If not...well, it might at least be cute. Sequels, Shorts, and Other Notable Releases: My unfair bias against sports anime and male idol shows continues as I entirely forgot shows like B-Project and Tsukiuta exist. DAYS promises to bring an exotic sport called "Football" to the anime stage, while Battery debuts a sport that must surely be some fictional thing: Baseball. Cheer Danshi! follows around a group of male cheerleaders, which might be unusual had my own high school and university not had their own all-male cheer squads (Blue Eagles the king!). Also, Ouendan exists, so I'm good on that front. On the sequel front, the hilarious but ignored Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE! gets a sequel, and signifies it by calling the second season Cute High Earth Defense Club LOVE LOVE!. The Seven Deadly Sins is also getting a new season, but may end up ignored if the streaming services lock it down until it's done like last time. After disappointing countless fans looking for the latest from the Code Geass guy, Active Raid shambles into a second offering of frustrating bureaucracy and nonsensical characterization. Barakamon, one of the more adult shows of its season, turns the clock back with a prequel, called Handa-kun. I honestly don't see the point of it, since the whole appeal of Barakamon was in its adult focus, but hey, it's anime after 2008, so high school must somehow be involved, or something. Either that or a raging war between two fictional countries and/or alien invaders. Food Wars, the one Shonen Jump titan you just can't dodge these days, is getting a sequel, and Nick Valdez will be leading the coverage of that. Love Live! hits the reboot button by introducing a gaggle of samefaced girls for Love Live! Sunshine!. Show By Rock! continues in its mission of making catgirls the default for idolatry. Regalia: The Three Sacred Stars is this season's original mecha production, and the fact that I'm giving it the afterthought space speaks to how aggressively generic it is. After duds like Argevollen and others, I'm wondering just what it would take to make non-franchise mecha shows as compelling as they used to be. At least Macross Delta is still running, which would give me the chance to write it up for once. While shows like Taboo Tattoo and Qualidea Code seem constructed to marvel at about how awesome things would be if we had superpowers, Saiki Kusuo no Psi-Nan puts it down for the "mo' powers, mo' problems". Philosophy. The titular character's prodigious abilities are making his daily life miserable, and the director of Cromartie High School is on hand to show everyone just how miserable things can get. I'm definitely down for that. Interestingly, only one overt "boobs anime" made the cut this summer: Masou Gakuen HxH, which doesn't beat around the bush. Its hero literally powers up the fighting girls by getting in close with their chesticles. I imagine a few Hunter x Hunter fans are feeling a bit insulted that this puerile hilarity has taken their beloved acronym while their joy goes on hiatus again. The one sequel I'm angling to watch this season, though, is The Heroic Legend of Arslan: Duststorm Dance. After finally catching up with the show, I already regret not having seen it from the beginning. The animation may have been blah and the quality uneven, but it's as worthy a successor to Legend of the Galactic Heroes as I've found in the last few years. And now this part of the show promises to go to some places of actual consequence. That should do it for our Summer preview. What are you angling to see this season?
Summer 2016 Anime Preview photo
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A happy Monday to you, and a happy July 4th to all our American readers! What better way is there to celebrate American independence than by staying home and watching a buttload of Japanese cartoons? Welcome to Japanator's Su...

Strong Style: Wrapping up with the G1's Climax

Jul 02 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted in the first hour by the time splitter himself, Kushida IWGP Jr. heavyweight Tag Titles: The Young Bucks vs. ReDRagon These teams have faced off millions of times and usually make for fast paced action. The Bucks are part of the Bullet Club and defending champions while RedDragon is representing Ring of Honor. O'Riely and Fish come out first. Interesting fact I learned, Bobby Fish is actually 10 years older than Kyle O'Riely. Seriously doesn't look it, but Fish is around 40. The Champs, the Bucks come out with Cody Hall, whose soul existence seem to be as a lacky and being Scott Hall's son. Bell rings with Fish and Nick Jackson in the ring. Criss-cross as Fish goes for an ankle lock and Jackson nearly gets a superkick in. Jackson spits right in Fish's face and then bails and tags his brother. Kyle gets the tag in now. They criss-cross and Kyle ends up in the armlock that Jackson tries to turn into a pin. They get up again and Kyle locks in the guillotine choke early. Jackson throws him off and goes for a superkick, but Kyle catches the foot and goes down with it, locking in a scorpion deathlock!  Nick crawls over to the ropes and Kyle looks to the ref like "I got this." Fish drags him over to the corner where he drives in a headbutt into Matt's side before tagging in Fish.  Fish sinks in a knee and a slam before hitting a springboard senton on Matt.  Fish tags kyle back in and he lands some strikes before Matt whips him into the ropes and Kyle gets a shot from Nick on the apron. This brings in both Jacksons and they send Kyle into the ropes but he blocks both charges before he gets sent into the corner and sends both Jacksons to the apron. Fish comes in and also goes over the top but he takes out on of the Jacksons on the floor. Matt avoids a kick on the apron only to have an armlock put on him from Kyle in the ropes. The ref breaks that up only to get a kick from the outside that sends Matt right down on his face. ReDRagon comes into the ring and do the Bucks goofy pose. Nick tries to come in the ring but trips the middle rope and flops on his face. Dragon both start laying in the kicks on Matt as they double kick him before going for a cover but getting only a one-count. Fish takes over and lands a few elbow strikes to the face and a kick to the ribs. He goes for the ropes but Nick grabs his legs and pulls him outside the ring. Nick catches him in a standing head scissor and Nick comes across the ring onto the apron where he lands a punt to the face on Fish. Nick jumps back up to the apron and Kyle kicks him off. He gets on the apron in a running strike to the Bucks, but is meat with a double Superkick and laid out. They scoop him up on the across and hit him with a hanging press on the floor. Matt jumps in and pulls the ref over while Cody scoops up Kyle and then RUNS AWAY WITH HIM! Even JR is baffled by that one! We come back from the commercial with the Bucks stomping on Fish in the ring. Cody Hall comes back down the aisle alone. Fish tries to fight back. He dodges two superkicks as he trips Matt and locks Nick in an ankle lock but gets kicked in the head for his troubles. Bucks get a neckbreaker on Fish over Matt's knee, but a count only gets two. Fish fights back with elbows and a running strike. He goes for a tag, but no Kyle. Matt hits a knee strike on him and goes for the pin but doesn't get it. Fish keeps fighting back by sending the Bucks to opposite corners and Matt comes running across and ends up knees in his brother's face. Kyle comes flying down to the ring from the other side of the building. He immediately tags in and a goes to town on Matt with knees and strikes before being stopped by a thumb to the eye. Kyle doesn't care as he locks in an armbar and then an ankle lock on one of the Bucks. ReDRagon double team on Matt but a pinfall only gets two. Matt lands a slingshot facebuster on Fish in the ring and bails out with a moonsault on Kyle outside the ring. They double team on Fish in the ring but still can't get the pin. Back from the break, Matt tries for a roll but Kyle gets a choke hold. Matt hits a dragon suplex but hangs on to the choke. Outside the ring as Nick tries to throw powder but Fish kicks it in his face. Dragon double teams on Matt in the ring but can't get the pin. Fish and Nick exchange some hard elbows and strikes. Kyle gets in and gets and armlock but Nick is blocking it until Fish dives on him to complete the move. Fish and Matt have an exchange in the ring and the ref gets shoved out of the ring and immediately Matt gets a low blow. Nick tosses the belt in the ring and Matt smacks Fish in the head with it, but even with that, he can't get the pin. The Bucks land the Meltzer driver slingshot tombstone but Fish still kicks out. He gets up and gets to the ropes where Cody jumps up and grabs him, but the Jacksons throw double superkicks only to hit Cody and knock him to the floor. Fish rolls out of the ring and the Bucks set him up for the Indytaker on the floor but Kyle breaks that up. Fish gets an avalanche falcon arrow but Matt breaks that up. The ReDRagon get chasing the dragon to score the pinfall and win the titles! Backstage the Dragon tell everyone they are the best and that they conquer. They held the belts before and never got the proper rematch for them, so when they finally did they won the belts back. After the commercial, we have some studio words from Kushida. He wanted to steal the show on the final day of the G1. Ricochet hadn't been in New Japan for a while and wanted to see what he had gained since then. Kushida talks about his grappling ability being the strength in this match. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title: Kushida vs. Ricochet These two had a really good match the year before in the finals of the Best of the Super Jr.s tournament where Ricochet got the victory. He came back to the U.S. to do more indy work and also film more matches and Prince Puma for Lucha Underground. He is back and goes for the belt here. We oddly skip Ricochet's entrance but show Kushida's in full. Back from the break as the bell rings. Slow start with a stare down. Kushida goes low but it goes nowhere. Proper lock up as they roll around on the ropes. Josh comments Ricochet is bigger since he last was in NJ, JR says he might be on the sauce... JR's BBQ sauce. They run the ropes and cartwheel around before Kushida gets a rana to the outside the ring. Ricochet runs the ropes but Kushida gets to the apron so Ricochet does several backflips. Kushida says enough of this and launches in with a slingshot dropkick taking Ricochet down in the cloner. Kushida goes over and lands a kick right to Ricochet's arm. Kushida begins to work on the wrist as he locks in a wristlock and strikes the sore arm now.  Ricochet keeps hanging onto the ropes as Kushida keeps going on the attack. He tries to land some punches but Kushida stops that with a wristlock. Finally, Ricochet suckers Kushida in and gets a spinning powerbomb. Kushida rolls out of the ring but Ricochet launches himself over the buckle onto Kushida, but he landed just as much into the metal barrier as he did the champion. Back into the ring Ricochet starts in with the chops and elbows on the champ into the corner before snapping him out and landing a low kick right to Kushida's face. He lands a flying moonsault for two before talking some smack. They exchange some side kicks with Kushida landing a kick to Ricochet's arm. Ricochet gets sent out of the ring with Kushida's rolling kick. Kushida hits a cannonball from the top rope. Ricochet struggles back in the ring and Kushida does his running dropkick. He sends Ricochet down and goes for a moonsault but misses. Ricochet is able to land the zig zag and a standing moonsault but only gets two. Ricochet tries for a suplex but Kushida lands some elbows to stop that. Kushida gets sent into the ropes and flips over to get a hoverboard lock. Ricochet tries to counter but Kushida gets it back on. Ricochet tries to suplex out but Kushida rolls with it and lands a kick right to the arm. Ricochet tries a cross body but ends up locking into an armlock. Ricochet rolls into the move and picks the champ up before dumping him onto the mat. Back from break with both guys down. The get to their knees and smack each other in the face. They get up and trade elbows Kushida gets a kick to the arm to stop that. Ricochet tries for something but Kushida gets in another kick to the arm to send them both down. Kushida tries for a move but Ricochet catches him and gets a northern lights suplex but hangs on and hits it again and hangs on and hits the third! Two count only. Ricochet tries a slingshot 450 but Kushida moves. Ricochet rolls right through it though. Kushida hits his baseball punch and a dragon suplex. He scrambles up for a top rope moonsault but it only gets two. The champ lands a running kick to the arm and he immediately tries for the hoverboard lock but Ricochet fights out of it. He throws a kick but Kushida blocks it and lands a kick to his head.. Ricochet hits a shooting star press but again, only two. Ricochet hits the round kick to the head but Kushida gets to the ropes. Ricochet pulls Kushida into the corner and goes up to the top again. He tries for a summersault press and misses spectacularly. Like, he bounces off the mat. Kushida goes right in and gets the hoverboard lock. Ricochet tries for the ropes but Kushida rolls him into the middle of the ring and gets the submission. As Kushida celebrates, Kushida bows to his opponent and Ricochet reminds him that they are one and one in their matches. Backstage Kushida is glad about the results and that the match tonight closes the gap between the heavies and juniors divisions in NJPW. In the studio with Kushida, he talks about fighting a lot on international guys in such a short period of time. He says that Ricochet had a lot more irregular moves and was high flying more in this match. He is now looking ahead to the Best of the Super Juniors tournament in 2016. The tournament is hard physically and mentally but he will do it. This was a fast one. I couldn't keep up with what was going on! Despite ReDRgaon and the Bucks meeting many times before, they do try to bring something  new, Having Cody kidnap Kyle and take him out of the match was an interesting idea I've not seen too many times. Ricochet and Kushida had a good one and I think it was every bit as good as Kushida wanted it to be. A great first hour! We are greeted in hour 2 by Tanahashi! Tanahashi says that while they both appeared in a lot of G1 finals over the years, they never fought each other there. Nakamura's words after the match with Okada stuck with Tanahashi and that he was looking forward to this match. G1 Climax Finals: Block A winner Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Block B winner Shinsuke Nakamura Winner gets the trophy, the briefcase, and a title shot at WrestleKingdom in January. These two are old rivals going back seven or eight years and many title wins between them. We get Nakamura's entrance first and he is in all red this time around. Tanahashi comes out in his usual garb. Both guys are banged up as Nakamura has his elbow problems and neck injuries and Tanahashi has his neck issues. The crowd goes wild for both guys. Coats come off and we go to break. We are back with the ringing of the bell some posturing and circling at first. tentative knuckle lock goes nowhere. Real lock up now and Tanahashi goes for the waistlock. Nakamura goes for the arm but Tanahashi reverses it and goes for the bad elbow. Lock up again as Tanahashi goes into a ringer on the bad arm. Nakamura cartwheels out of it and they reverse on each other a few times before Tanahashi backs off. Tanahashi goes right for the arm again and then locks in a headlock. He hangs on even after several attempts to escape.  Tanahashi takes Shinsuke's bad arm and locks in a brief leg lock but they instead get back to their feet. Tanahashi locks in a cravat but Nakamura cartwheels out of it and lands some knees to the gut. They go for a scramble lock up but Nakamura slides under and starts to work on the leg. They grapple on the mat before they both get up and stare at each other. Nakamura lands some kicks as Tanahashi is trying to lock up. He grabs Nakamura's leg and chopblocks him right in the knee and starts working on it with some elbows. We come back from break as Tanahashi stomps down on Nakamura's arm and landing some elbows to the arm. Nakamura then gives him a shot in return and they trade elbows. Tanahashi lands a kick to the knee cap and then goes for a cloverleaf but Nakamura gets to the rope.  Tanahashi gets Nakamura in the corner and tries for the good vibrations but stops for some reason. Weird. He set Nakamura up for something but a kick sends Tanahashi down and outside the ring. He gets Tanahashi on the apron and gives him the running knee and a kick in the back of the head. Tanahashi flops on the floor and Nakamura gets back in the ring. Tanahashi crawls in but gets met immediately with some stomps before Nakamura locks in the chinlock. He drops a knee and goes for the goofy pin and doesn't get it.  Nakamura lands a kick and Tanahashi just looks at him. Tanahashi gets to his feet and they go at it! Tanahashi gets leveled with a punch to the gut. Nakamura tosses Tanahashi in the ropes and he gets a flying forearm and lands an elbow before a moonsault and a 2 count. Tanahashi gets a slam in and hits his middle rope senton. They are back up as Nakamura reverses a whip attempt right into a spin kick that sends Tanahashi into the corner. Nakamura gets in good vibrations but Tanahashi grabs the foot and lands a dragon screw leg whip. Nakamura roles outside but met with a flying splash from Tanahashi off the top rope and to the outside. We are back from the commercial with both guys outside. Barnett references Voltron and JR tells us to mark that down. Bonus points for that one. Nakamura back in the ring first and lands a high kick that sends Tanahashi to the floor again. Tanahashi comes in at 18 and Nakamura lays in some elbows before it becomes a slugfest. They go into the corner where Tanahashi misses a bodypress. Nakamura gets the reverse powerslam and Tanahashi landed right on his face. Nakamura goes for the booma ye but Tanahashi lands a dropkick right into the knee. Tanahashi stomps on the knee a few times before Nakamura tries for a kick. Tanahashi catches him and rolls with a screw leg whip. Tanahashi locks in the cloverleaf! Nakamura looks nearly ready to quit but holds on. Nakamura finally gets to the rope to break the hold. Tanahashi scoops him up for the falcon arrow and then goes for the high fly flow but misses. Nakamura lands the booma ye to the back of Tanahashi's head, but he uses his bad knee. Nakamura stumbles up to the middle corner and a booma ye! He signals for another one. He goes for it but Tanahashi gets a waistlock and a roll up. He gets a sliding booma ye to Hiroshi's head but only gets two. Nakamura tries to scoop up Tanahashi, but he counters out and gets a twisting neckbreaker. Yan hits the slingblade and goes up to the top and gets the crossbody and goes up again for the high fly flow but Nakamura kicks out! Tanahashi picks up a limp Nakamura, but Nakamura counters with some slaps to the face and hits a landside but can't make the cover! Back from break both guys are down. Nakamura is the first one up and lands some elbows in on Tanahashi but collapses. They perk up and start exchanging blows back and forth before going into an uppercut duel.  Nakamura gets his him down and lands a bunch of side knees and goes for the choke but can't get it. Nakamura misses a kick but Tanahashi catches it. Nakamura into the ropes nearly gets a flying armbar in but Tanahashi  counters it by hooking his arms. Nakamura gets a triangle choke but Tanahashi gets to his feet and then rips his boot into Nakamura's eyes. Nakamura counters with a standing booma ye then gets a VERY close two count. Nakamura drags Tanahashi up by the neck and gets him up on the top rope. "This is not good"-JR. He scoops Nakamura up but Nakamura recovers enough to counter out with some forearms. Tanahashi starts smacking Nakamura with slaps. He lands a cross body and lands a dragon suplex. He gets Nakamura down and climbs up. Tanahashi lands the high fly flow and than hits another one to get the 3 count ! Tanahashi won the tournament! Nakamura's fans are visibly upset and damn that was a good one! Nakamura gets up and shakes hands after that fight. Nakamura raises the winner's arm and limps out of the ring with his head held high. Back from break with backstage words from Nakamura. Saying he gave everything he had. In the ring Tanahashi is announced as the winner and he thanks the crowd They chant for him. He thanks them for being wrestling fans, supporting the company, and then for everything. Even though the G1 ends, wrestling goes on! I love you! Tanahashi waves a G1 flag around so hard he snaps the pole in two! He just kind of stands there stunned as to what to do. Backstage he says right now he is not sweating the small stuff. At least his heart didn't break and it is a "one of a kind" accident. He says in his career he didn't want to be just someone's rival. Kinda think you proved that a long time ago Tanahashi! Studio words as he says Nakamura was really fired up. He risked everything and gave it his all. He changed the most of the two from this battle. He said the ending meant a lot now since Nakamura was leaving. It was amazing. He is fine with Nakamura leaving because he is perusing his dream. It's all good. He wishes him the best of luck. We end on some words from JR and that's it for the G1 Climax 25! Even though these guys have met before, must like the first match tonight, they were able to do something new. They both expertly played off the legit injuries both men had going into this match and it told a great story. Hell of a way to finish things off for the G1 Climax. It might have been a little predicable during the round robin matches, but the tournament prodivded some good matches and fun action. See you all next time!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Who's going to win G1 Climax 25?
Hello and welcome back to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we finish off the G1 25 tournament with two doses of action from the finals, Both hours of action take place from the famed Sumo Hall from August 16, 2015. Let's get to the action!

Strong Style: Block B there (or B square)!

Jun 25 // Soul Tsukino
We start off our first hour going right to the action! Yuji Nagata vs. Hirooki Goto Yuji hasn't had a great showing either, only beating Honma and Kojima. Goto's run has been much better, with losses from Nakamura and Anderson. Unfortunately, that means that he too is eliminated as in the best case, he would tie against one or both of the guys who beat him. Yuji enters the ring  as Josh talks about how Yuji got him into pro wrestling. Goto comes out once again like the wrestling samurai. Bell rings and the crowd is solidly behind Yuji here. They trade waistlocks to starts into a side headlock down to the mat. Knuckle lock They grapple some more before going into a facelock by Yuji that is countered by Goto into a hammerlock. They pop right back up and go into grappling into the corner where Yuji slaps Goto in the face! Show me what you got Junior! Screw that they start in with the forearms and kicks. Goto blocks a Yuji kick and drives an elbow into the knee. Yuji grabs his ribs from the previous injury and rolls outside where Goto follows him and starts in with some kicks. Goto tosses him into the barrier before bringing him in the ring. Goto gets some more shots in before Yuji lands some elbows to Goto's mouth. Goto just tags him in the ribs to send him down. Goto goes for the cover but doesn't get it. He locks in an armlock and then delivers another shot to the ribs. Yuji tries to get up, but a kick to the ribs ends that. Yuji tries to get back up but more kicks stop that. Goto sends Yuji into the corner and Yuji comes out with a kick! He is trying to fight back but Goto isn't taking it. Back from the commercial. Yuji is landing some forearms now and a running kick into the corner. After two HARD kicks, Goto goes down.  Yuji tries for a suplex but Goto slips out. Yuji dodges an attack but Goto runs him over with a clothesline. He lands a rolling kick into the corner and a bulldog. Attempt only gets two. Yuji tries for the armbar but a shot to the ribs ends that. Goto whips him into the corner but Yuji catches him and suplexes him into the buckle. Yuji then hits a running knee to Goto's face, but Goto hits a suplex and sends Yuji down. Goto runs over Yuji again with a clothesline and then the Ushigoroshi but YUJI KICKS OUT! Goto tries for a suplex but Yuji elbows out, but Goto flattens him again. Goto goes for a suplex but Yuji gets the armbar on! Goto tries for the ropes but Yuji pulls him back in the ring. Goto slowly crawls over and gets a foot on the rope. Yuji gets up and just starts kicking Goto's sore arm. He goes for a waistlock but Goto elbows out. Goto goes for the clothesline but Yuji catches him into the Saito suplex. He goes for another one but Goto knees him in the face and then kicks the ribs again. They trade elbows back and forth. Yuji tries the enziguri but Goto blocks. Goto goes for the clothesline but Yuji blocks. Another Saito suplex and gets the pin! the 47-year old just beat the IC Champion! Satoshi Kojima vs. Karl Anderson Kojima's had a bad run in this tournament with only wins over Honma and Elgin under his belt. Although Anderson is at 12 points, he is mathematically eliminated since at best he would tie with Okada, a man who beat him in an earlier match. Karl comes out first and he has Tama Tonga and Luke Gallows with him. Kojima comes out alone. Bell rings and Karl gets a flying dropkick right off the bat. Anderson goes for the gun stun but Kojima gets out. The action goes outside as Kojima gets in a bunch of rapid shots and tosses Karl back in the ring. He gets a variation of the gun stun on the ropes to Kojima. Kojima sent to the outside. Ref distracted as the outside Club guys start in on Kojima. Kojima rolls in the ring but Anderson slides to the apron and snaps his arm on the top rope. He steps on Kojima's arm in the ring and locks in an armlock as JR mentions Karl was trained by Les Thatcher. Anderson snaps the arm on the top rope and then for some reason tosses a chair in the ring. He pulls Kojima up and delivers some forearm shots and Kojima crumples down to the mat again. Out of the break, Karl locks in a facelock into a suplex, but Kojima slides out. Karl sends him into the corner but Karl misses the charge. Satoshi then goes into his rapid-fire chops with the bad arm. He whips him to the other corner.  Satoshi nails an axe bomber and goes for the pin but doesn't get it. Back on their feet, they exchange chops and forearms. Kojima goes for the discus clothesline but Karl lands an uppercut and a boot to the head. He gets in a running powerbomb but only gets 2! They go to the apron where Karl lands some forearms but gets met with a strike to the head and then a DDT to the apron.  They fight on the outside and then scramble in the ring at 18.  Kojima goes for his cutter but Karl blocks it lands a reverse gun stun. He lands a neckbreaker but doesn't get the count. Karl lands another reverse gun stun but again Kojima kicks out of the pin. He tries for another one but Kojima blocks it with a clothesline and lands his Koji Cutter. Karl stumbles up and Kojima lands a clothesline but doesn't get the pin either. Kojima goes for the clothesline but Karl blocks it. Karl goes for the gun stun but Kojima blocks it and then lands another clothesline and gets the pin! Karl is now officially out of the tournament. We get some words from Ishii. He says Elgin fights with heart and any of his moves can be finishers. He is not like other non-Japanese wrestlers. Tomohiro Ishii vs. Michael Elgin This would the textbook definition of a slobber knocker. Elgin's run in the tournament is a little underwhelming as he beat Nagata, Honma, and Takahashi, and got a forfeit win over Nakamura. Ishii on the other hand, beat Kojima, Nagata, Anderson, and Takahashi... and lost to Honma. Both guys are out so this is just to see who is the toughest. Elgin comes out first as the crowd gives him good applause for a foreign guy. Ishii comes out ready to go. Bell rings and they run right into each other and start trading forearm strikes right away. Shoulderblock goes nowhere and they smack into each other. Elgin is the first to go down but a pin doesn't go anywhere. Elgin lands a boot to Ishii's face. He picks the pitbull and MUSCLES him up for a suplex and holds him there with one hand before dropping him. Pinfall doesn't get it. STRAIGHT punch to Ishii's face. Slam near the ropes and Elgin goes out for a springboard splash! "Like a flying refrigerator." - JR. Ishii fights back and Elgin begs him for a fight. Elgin flattens him with a strike but doesn't get the pinfall. Whip into the buckle and then a charge misses with Elgin then landing a buckle bomb and then a top rope senton. Splat. Pinfall gets 2. Elgin goes for the piledriver but Ishii blocks it. He body drops Elgin over and then gets a belly to back suplex. Ishii lands some chops in the corner and then gets a powerslam, only gets 1. Ishii gets Elgin up and hits a big suplex. Ishii hits a massive running clothesline. The both go for another but smack into each other. Ishii blocks a clothesline but Elgin flattens him and lands a strike of his own into a pin attempt. Back from commercial with Elgin on his feet. Throws an elbow to the head and gets Ishii backed into the rope. He swats Ishii in the head and Ishii stands right up. They trade elbows back and forth and Elgin screams "HIT ME!". They trade hits back and forth. Elgin lands a discus forearm and gets Ishii down. He lifts him from a prone position and suplexes him. That dude is a freak of nature. He holds on but Ishii gets the elbow shot in, but Elgin gets in another suplex. Ishii rolls to the apron and Elgin follows him. Elgin goes for a powerbomb but Ishii blocks it. Elgin lands the dvd on the apron! He grabs Ishii on the outside and gives him the buckle bomb to the steel barrier! Elgin picks him up and drags the dead weight into the ring. He climbs to the second rope and pulls Ishii from the outside apron into a falcon arrow! Ishii kicks out of the pin! Elgin hits a buckle bomb but Ishii lands on his feet. He scoops Elgin onto his shoulders and drops him straight down on his head! Both guys get up and exchange elbows right to the face. Ishii lands the enziguri and then picks Elgin up and puts him on the top turnbuckle and lands the avalanche brainbuster but Elgin is right back up! Ishii lands a clothesline and then lands the low clothesline but only gets two! Ishii goes for the suplex but Elgin scoops him into a powerbomb. He tries for another but Ishii elbows out. Ishii lands a headbutt and then a clothesline but Elgin kicks out. Ishii lands the brainbuster and he scores the win! That was a damn fine match! In the locker room, Ishii actually talks about not living up to expectations?!? Elgin gives Ishii credit for being a bad ass but says they will fight again. In the studio, Ishii says he can't remember large parts of the match. After his loss to Nakamura, the tournament went south and that this year's tournament was a disappointment. Despite the fact that these matches didn't mean anything in the tournament, this show was a lot of fun. The action was good in all three matches and the main event was just as good as I had hoped.  I think Elgin makes an even better opponent for Ishii than say Togi Makabe does. While Togi is a straight up brawler, Elgin can actually wrestle and I think that brings out a better match than just a brawling fight. Good show! And here we go with show 2 as we are welcomed by The Champ, Kazuchika Okada! Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomoaki Honma We already went over Honma's one win in this tournament, finally breaking his losing streak in G1 tournaments at 17 losses. Takahashi didn't do much better with wins over the two old farts, Nagata and Kojima. Needless to say, neither guy is a threat for the tournament. Yujiro comes out with Mao Chan, whomever that is. Here comes Honma! They completely ignore Honma's win over Ishii in talking about his run in the G1. The crowd is chanting for Honma as the bell rings and they are exchanging chops. Honma wins that duel but misses the headbutt. Yujiro tries for a suplex but Honma reverses it and gets the suplex instead. Honma lands some chops and whips Yujiro into the corner and then delivers a bulldog and the headbutt on the canvas. Cover only gets 2. Honma charges in and gets dropped on the ring rope. Yujiro scoops him up  on the top rope and scores the belly to belly suplex. Honma kicks out of the pin. Back from the break as Yujiro goes for another suplex, but Honma tries a counter only to get a clothesline. They finally mention Honma has won a match as he is taken over in a body drop. Honma lands a forearm shot and tries for a clothesline but Yujiro picks him up for the Miami shine but Honma squirms out. He hits the headbutt and then a brainbuster but can't get the pin. He tries for the top-rope kokeshi headbutt and misses, of course. Honma is up first but Yujiro rakes the eyes. He whips Honma in but Honma tries for the torpedo headbutt and misses. Yujiro lands the fisherman's buster but doesn't get the pin. He hits a clothesline but Honma gets up. He tries for a powerslam but Yujiro pushes him nearly into the ref and hits the low blow before scoring the Miami shine and the pin. We come back with some studio words from Okada. He was in great shape heading into this match. He has no qualms about fighting his CHAOS teammate but wondered what Nakamura would do after his elbow injury. Winner goes to the finals: Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Kazuchika Okada Block B boils down to this match. Okada's only loss came to Goto. Nakamura entered this tournament with an injured elbow and lost against Anderson and had to forfeit against Elgin. Even though if Nakamura wins he would tie Okada, he would go on since he would have actually beaten him. Okada is also the IWGP champion, but the belt is not on the line. Nakamura  comes out first in black leather for this one. Okada makes his entrance with Gedo. These two have met before in G1's past and are split 1 and 1. We come back from the break and the bell rings. They stay in the corner and look each other over before we get into it. Knuckle lock goes nowhere. A Greco-Roman lock as Nakamura shoots for the single leg but Okada ends up getting the open guard on Nakamura. They both are back up and circle around. Okada with a wasitlock into a Nakamura armbar. Okada reverses it and Nakamura flips and cartwheels out of it. He gets a side headlock and they get up and into the ropes. Okada feigns going for a chop but just gives some pats on the chest for a clean break. Nakamura runs out and they miss kicking each other and Okada nearly gets the rainmaker but misses that. Nakamura throws a kick and we are back to the takedown as Nakamura ties up with an ankle lock into a headlock. Nakamura  gets a waistlock and then transitions into a near sleeper choke. They go outside as Nakamura sends Okada into the barrier but Okada reverses and sends Nakamura into the barrier and Okada lands a dropkick to Nakamura's head sending him over the barrier. Okada then lands the hanging DDT as we are cooking now. Nakamura rolls in and Okada is right on top of him. He hits a neckbreaker and gets a 2 count. He ties Nakamura up with a heavenly lock. Nakamura gets to the ropes with his foot. We come back from the break. Okada sends Nakamura into the corner and Rainmaker lands a number of elbows before kicking Nakamura down and giving him the good vibrations! The crowd boos that. Nakamura fights out with some elbows but Okada gets the shot in before landing a springboard senton. Okada lands a sliding dropkick right into Nakamura's head. Nakamura rolls to the apron and smacks Okada with a kick and sends him out. He drapes Okada on the barrier and hits a running knee. Okada rolls in and Nakamura lands some kicks before he goes for good vibrations. He rolls Okada out and lands several nasty knees to the ribs and head before a shotgun kick to the face. Nakamura only gets two. They get up into a double facelock and Nakamura goes for something but Okada lands a flapjack. He lands a few elbows and then a DDT. Okada hits a slam and then heads up but Nakamura is up. Okada jumps over Nakamura and then he gets hit. Nakamura lifts him laying on the turnbuckle and lands a knee lift. He lands a head kick but Okada lands the reverse neckbreaker. He picks him up and suplexes Nakamura down. Count only gets 2. Okada goes for the tombstone but Nakamura rolls through and lands a lung blower and a scoop slam. Nakamura tries for the booma ye but misses, only to hop on the middle buckle and lands it! The count is two. He goes for another but Okada trips him into a pin attempt only gets two. Nakamura tries to go up but Okada lands his sweet dropkick to send Nakamura to the floor. We come back from the break with Nakamura on the outside. Okada goes after him and tombstone's him on the floor! Okada rolls in first but rolls right back out and brings Nakamura into the ring. He might pay for that one. Slam to the mat as Okada goes up and lands the Randy Savage elbow. Rainmaker pose but Nakamura counters with a kick. Okada counters but Nakamura hits a knee right to Okada's jaw knocking him flat! Both guys are slow to get up. Nakamura hits a forearm first, Okada counters and we go back and forth. Nakamura goes rapid fire and sends Okada down. Okada goes for the uppercuts but Nakamura lands a knee to the gut and a kick to the back of the head. He hits the running knee strike but the pin only gets two. Nakamura picks Okada up and gives him a dvd. Pin only gets two and Nakamura lines up for the booma ye, but Okada hits the dropkick! Okada goes for the Rainmaker, but Nakamura counters right into a backside but he nails Okada. Okada tries for the rainmaker again but Nakamura gets a wristlock. Okada counters into the tombstone but Nakamura counters into an armlock and into a triangle choke! Okada gets on his feet but sinks back down and Okada submits to the armbar! Shinsuke Nakamura wins! Nakamura  stands up and actually bowed to Okada before Okada rolls out of the ring. The crowd cheers as he is announced as the block B winner. He grabs the mic and says that he has one more match to win. YEAH-OH! Backstage Okada says it is frustrating he lost by a tap out. He wants Nakamura to win and they will wrestle again. Nakamura says bring it on. he gave it his all. In the studio, Okada says it was a memorable match and one of the greatest of all time, even if he lost. He was grateful to take part n the tournament. We get our first mention of Nakamura  leaving as Okada says he will miss him. It won't be the same without him, but he wishes him the best (spoilers: He is doing great).   Both shows this week were fun. While the Honma/Takahashi match was...there, the main event was very good, even with the slow start. A fun two hours that got me ready for the final next week! Next week, another double dose as we look at the Finale of the G1 25!
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Who is going to the finals?
Welcome everyone to Strong Style, Japanator's coverage of New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we have two shows as we decide who goes into the finals of the G1 25 tournament to face Hiroshi Tanahashi next week. Both ...

Annotated Anime: Space Patrol Luluco episode 12

Jun 24 // Salvador G Rodiles
It’s thanks to this format that Luluco has been a huge roll for a good while. While this episode wasn’t the one where the gang confronted the Blackholian’s leader, the whole thing played off nicely with the concept of how one values their feelings for their first crush. Since M.A.O.’s performance hit the right notes in delivering a powerful yet cute moment during Luluco’s big scene, it shows how everything was pieced together just for this big event. Hell, the team’s idea to give the whole thing a final battle treatment while our heroine sticks to her resolve gave it a dynamic that’s on the same level as the penultimate confrontation in most of Gainax and TRIGGER’s titles. Honestly, the big thing that made this whole thing magical was how everyone decided to set aside their differences to make sure that Luluco wins Nova over, as the whole thing breaks out into an all-out battle against the Blackholians. This whole build-up worked well in conveying the idea of someone who has the support of their close ones while they build up their confidence to confess to the person that they love. Considering that Luluco’s goal was powerful enough to get her parents to help her out, TRIGGER was able to bring us a neat take on the saying “Love conquers all!” Even when Imaishi and the TRIGGER veterans were putting Luluco and the gang through random situations each season, the one thing that always remained consistent was the heroine’s feelings for Nova. To an extent, this tone probably represents the obstacles that one has to deal with, as the insane situations could be a representation of the factors that attempt to ruin one's focus on their main goal. For a show that was presented as a short that was filled with many off-the-wall segments, Space Patrol Luluco managed to present its audience with a memorable love story of the season. This was thanks to TRIGGER’s subtle moments between Luluco and Nova, which served as a great pay off for people when it reached its climax. At the same time, their use of timing and anticipation in these scenes allowed for them to capture the hearts of people during these brief segments. In the end, it’s amazing to see that the show will end on us with a season that’s only one episode. Then again, TRIGGER might pull a fast one with this last segment, so it’ll be interesting to see how the chapter’s title will come into play. One thing for sure, this anime might take the prize as the best five-season series of the year. [Confess to Space Patrol Luluco at Crunchyroll]
Space Patrol Luluco photo
Double Love Xtreme!
For a second, I thought that Luluco’s fourth season was going to be the end the series. Not that I’m against there being a new season, as there are still many things that the show has yet to resolved. If anything,...

Strong Style: Kicking some (block) A!

Jun 18 // Soul Tsukino
We are greeted by Hiroyoshi Tenzan who has a little fun with his intro. Katsuyori Shibata vs. Doc Gallows Shibata did all right in this tournament, getting 4 wins (beating Makabe, Naito, Ibushi, and Fale). Gallows, not so much as he only beat Yano and Naito. Not like Gallows was going to win this thing anyway. Gallows enters the arena by himself, which is always a good sign in a Bullet Club match. Shibata comes out in his usual no-frills style of marching to the ring like no one is around him. Bell rings and Shibata drops right to his back in a guard. Gallows goes for him a bit but backs off. Unintentional tribute to the Inoki vs. Ali fight right there. Shibata gets up and grabs Doc's leg and goes right for the figure four! Doc reverses it and Shibata brings it right around. Doc reverses again and they go into the ropes. Shibata lays in with the kicks and goes right into the face washes in the corner. Doc grabs the foot, stands up and tosses Shibata aside like nothing. Doc throws him from the ring and tosses him into the barrier. The count is on as Doc gets back in the ring. Shibata gets to the apron and then gets kicked right in the face! Doc grabs him and chokeslams right onto the apron with all his body weight! Shibata rolls in at 18. Gallows face washes him for some payback Shibata pops up and glares at Doc as they start exchanging strikes. Shibata gets a half hatch suplex and then a chin lock but Doc backs into the corner for the break. Shibata gets the hold right back on. Doc kicks him in the gut and Doc gets a gutwrench suplex. Gallows goes for the suplex but Shibata gets the chinlock. Shibata releases and gets a kick to Docs knee. He doesn't get the pin. Doc gets up and grabs Shibata and lands a powerbomb. 2 count only. Doc goes for something and Shibata gets a surprise triangle choke! Shibata releases and lands a quick kick for a 2 count. Shibata goes for something and Doc clobbers him for it with a kick. Shibata charges again and gets a kick. Shibata charges for the third time and gets kicked! Gallows latches on and gets a double handed Chokeslam for the pinfall! Wow, surprised with that one. Togi Makabe vs. Kota Ibushi Talk about a clash of styles!  Makabe comes in having beaten Naito, Tenzan, Gallows, and Yano but he also comes into this match with a heavily bandaged right thigh. Ibushi comes into this one having beat Styles, Tenzan, and Gallows. We skip the intros for this one. Staredown right at the bell. Jim Ross makes the mistake of keep calling Togi and Toji. Figure that one out. Togi with some hits to the head right to start. Kota counters with FAST kicks. That dude is like lightening. Togi just clubs him and then throws him into the buckle and runs him over with a shoulderblock. Kota starts in with kicks to Togi's thigh. Kota gets a leglock in on the bad wheel and Togi pulls himself to the ropes to break. He stomps on Toki's leg as it looks like Togi's just getting mad now. He gets up and dares Kota to keep kicking. Kota tries a running move and Togi just clotheslines him into oblivion. Right hands by Togi into a northern lights suplex into a pin attempt. He tries a German suplex but Kota counters. Togi tosses Kota into the corner and begins punching him from the middle buckle. Kota slips out and does a Pele kick that knocks Makabe to the apron. Ibushi doesn't let up as he hits the ropes and nails a sweet dropkick sending Togi to the floor. He then runs up and does the Golden triangle moonsault! Back from break, We get a replay of the moonsault. Ibushi tosses Togi back in the ring and lays in with some karate kicks. Togi once again gets up and dares him again. Togi gets some hits in but Kota counters with a kick and a standing moonsault for a 2 count. Kota tries for a German but no go. Togi reverses it but can't get it either. They exchange some swings but Togi finally lands with a clothesline. Togi lands a powerbomb but Kota kicks out. Kota is whipped into the corner and clotheslines. Togi sets up for the spider suplex but Kota has a death grip on the turnbuckle. Togi gets clubbed in the back and Togi gets the suplex but Kota lands on his feet and dives right in on the hurt leg. With his hurt thigh, he is in agony hanging there before Ibushi lets him flop to the canvas. Kota lands a kick and goes up for the phoenix splash and gets it! This match was alright, but not great. I don't know if it was from Makabe's injury or just being too diverse in style but this could have been better. In the studio with Tenzan now. He felt uneasy about entering the G1 this year, but Naito had said he was old and his career was over so he felt more determined to enter. He wants to crush Naito. He thinks Naito has wasted chances with his new attitude. He thinks Naito is still a good wrestler, though, and actually doesn't like facing him. Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan Naito has had a good run in the tournament. He defeated Tanahashi, Styles, Ibushi, Yano, and Fale. That is nothing to sneeze at. Tenzan only managed to get wins over Shibata and Gallows, disappointing for a former winner, even if he is up there in years at 44. Naito comes out first and takes his time coming out in his Skeletor business attire. It should be noted that JR is actually explaining the concept of the G1 DURING THE SECOND TO LAST DAY!  Naito is really taking his time and actually makes for a nice break for me. Tenzan comes out and JR notes that Tenzan has a nasty cut over his right eye thanks to a headbutt from Yano. Tenzan is the reigning NWA Champion here but the belt is not up for grabs. Another point here is made as Naito was once Tenzan's "young boy" or apprentice back in the day so this is personal. Both men are in the ring and we are ready to go but Naito just stands there not moving an inch. Tenzan is getting miffed. You do not want to get Tenzan miffed. We actually go the break and when we come back and the bell rings and Naito is still in his suit. He takes off his jacket and waves it like a matador cape. Tenzan has had enough and just starts clobbering Naito. Naito tries to bail out of the ring but Tenzan follows him out and tosses him into the ring post. Told you. You don't want to get Tenzan miffed. Naito rolls into the ring but rolls right out the other side. Tenzan goes right after him but gets caught with an eye rake and a kick to the gut. Naito then sends him right into the barrier. Naito finally gets in the ring and gets his gear off. Tenzan is pissed. Naito drives Tenzan back out of the ring and runs the ropes only to lay down in the ring. He gets Tenzan in and attacks the big guy's knee. He gets a headlock into a leg scissors and smacks Tenzan in the head! Tenzan gets to the ropes  Naito breaks the hold and then spits on Tenzan. Naito stands on Tenzan's head and poses a bit. He chokes Tenzan on the ropes and when the ref gives him static, Naito threatens the ref. JR and Josh get into a weird conversation about not being able to pronounce "Los Ingobernables" that ends with JR saying Josh was cool. I wonder if these two taped this one at the end of a long day. Naito with a cravat and Tenzan starts punching away and Naito just asks for more. He then uses Tenzan's own Mongolian chops that he is known for against him. Tenzan whips Naito but holds on and drives a headbutt to Naito that flattens him. DAMN.  Tenzan lays in the Mongolian chops and a series of headbutts. Naito SMILES and asks for more! Kicks by Tenzan now and Naito just kinda stares. Tenzan lands another headbutt and a clothesline. Naito reverses and drops Tenzan spits on him then hits a flying dropkick. Tenzan goes to the corner but Naito is right on him as he lands a kick, another kick, and then a dropkick from the apron that leave Tenzan a heap in the corner. He gets a lame pin and then Naito chases red shoes right out of the ring for not counting three. Red Shoes stands outside looking mad now. Naito goes for a German suplex but Naito gets out of it. Naito hits the ropes but Tenzan catches him and brings him over in a slam. RED SHOES KICKS NAITO! He signals for Tenzan to keep beating him up! Red Shoes finally grew a pair. We come back from break as Tenzan hits more of the Mongolian chops and then a spinning kick right to Naito's mush! He locks in an anaconda vice and cranks on it hard! Naito somehow gets up to his feet and escapes. He gets an enziguri and tries for a German suplex. Naito with the atomic drop and then into the code de blanca submission.  Tenzan grabs Naito's hair and delivers a couple of headbutts to the face. Great counter! They both get up and exchange hits and Naito kicks him in the leg before he spits on Tenzan again! Naito goes for the dragon suplex but Tenzan gets out. He misses one clothesline before hitting from the right side into a 2 count. Tenzan with the cobra clutch. Naito struggles and Tenzan falls into the ropes, breaking the hold. Tenzan gets up and delivers a couple of headbutts and then locks in the clutch again but this time, it's the cobra max! Naito struggles hard but passes out! Tenzan schools his boy by spitting on Naito a few times before kicking him right out of the ring. Backstage Tenzan says Naito has no right to insult him anymore. He calls Naito a fool Naito responds saying Tenzan did a good job. In the studio, Tenzan said he was determined not to lose to Naito. He says it was physically tough to do all the tournament matches. He was determined to make it through the whole tournament, even if he didn't win. Not a bad show. The first match was quick but there just wasn't a lot to work with. The second match tired, but it just didn't click with those two. The Main event was really good, especially with the story and the heat magnet that Naito has become. Really entertaining! Let's jump into show 2! We are greeted by Tanahashi, saying this is the 200th episode of "Pro Wrestling Returns" the source of this show. Bad Luck Fale vs. Toru Yano Oh holy merciful gods, please make this one short. Anyone surprised this match wasn't advertised? Anyway. Fale somehow comes into this match with victories over Tanahashi ,Tenzan, Makabe, Ibushi and Doc Gallows. That's kinda scary. Yano, on the other hand, has wins over Tenzan (low blow), Ibushi (hair pull in less than 1 minute), and Shibata (leg lock into a flash pin). We have to watch this match while Yoshi-Hashi sits out on the sidelines? Fale comes out with Tama Tonga. Yano comes out with his entrance video being a commercial for the CHAOS soundtrack CD. He immediately sprays Fale with water and as Fale climbs through the ropes, Yano kicks them to make for a low blow to Fale. The big guy recovers and grabs hold of Yano and just starts wailing on him. Fale picks him up in a big slam and Yano rolls out of the ring. Fale follows him out and clubs him in the back. He takes the DVD Yano was shilling and smacks him with it before Tonga takes it and destroys the damn thing. Fale strolls back into the ring and Yano barely gets back in at 19. Fale picks him up and kicks him to the gut before whipping him from one corner to the other. Yano actually gets hold of the turnbuckle pad and pulls it off. Fale goes for a splash but lands right into the bare buckle. Of course, he just shakes it off. He clubs on Yano some more and tosses him from the ring where Tonga starts in on him. Fale comes out and whips him into the barricade. He then goes for the bad luck fall, but Yano slides out and punches both Club members in the gut. He low blows both guys and ducks back into the ring as the ref gets to 20 and Fale is counted out! Fale gets PISSED but Yano runs for his life! Well, it was there and it was short! In the studio with Tanahashi as he talks about being real beat up coming into this match. His neck is messed up so he can't bridge very well. The winner goes to the finals as he s determined not to lose. To Determine the A Block winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. A.J. Styles Both guys are top of the bracket obviously. Styles only losses were to Naito and Ibushi while Tanahashi's losses came to Naito and Fale (SHAME). There must be a winner and whoever does goes into the finals. Styles enters first and by himself thankfully. Jim Ross talks about this being a 28-day series, which is wrong, it was only 19 days. Tanahashi enters with the crowd behind him and air guitars! We come back from the break as the bell rings. Circling around before the lock up and they both are pushing around. They hit the ropes and circle around into the corner. Styles backs off clean but with a taunt. Lockup into a side headlock Styles reverses with a headlock into his own. He gets him down and works more on the headlock. Hiroshi powers out but right back down to the headlock. he powers back up into a test of strength now and Hiroshi gets the headlock. They run the ropes and leap frog a few times before both catching the ropes. They start jawing again. Styles charges and gets taken down with an armdrag into an armbar with Hiroshi's knee on Style's face. They whip each other into the ropes with Hiroshi getting a backdrop on Styles. He whips AJ hard into the buckle. Hiroshi charges right into an elbow but Hiroshi goes out of the ring. He trips AJ from the outside and pulls him to the post where he wraps both knees around the steel to for good measure. Hiroshi climbs in and starts kicking the thighs. Back from commercial as Hiroshi stands on Style's injured knee and then drops an elbow on it. He just lays into Styles with kicks to the knee. Styles gets up and chops Hiroshi. Styles throw Hiroshi into the ropes and Hiroshi tries to skin the cat but Styles chucks him to the floor.  He drops Hiroshi on the metal barrier. Hiroshi climbs in and Styles is right on top of him. He puts Hiroshi in the corner and hits his running forearm. Slam on Hiroshi and lands a leaping knee on the face. Hiroshi gets up and lands some punches. Hiroshi goes to the ropes but Styles nails a high dropkick on him. Hiroshi gets up on the ropes and Styles goes for a running charge. Hiroshi gets a leg up and Styles catches it and drives it down to the mat. Styles immediately starts working on Hiroshi's knee now on the ropes. Hiroshi is in pain as he stands up in the corner but he catches Styles with some hits. Styles backs up and goes for a charge but Hiroshi dives and Styles crashes in the corner. Hiroshi lands an elbow on Styles on the mat. To the corner now as Tanahashi drops Styles with a hit. He tries the flip senton but Styles rolls out of the way. He rolls to the apron and goes for his slingshot forearm but Hiroshi pushes him right off the rope. He climbs the buckle and hits a flying crossbody on Styles outside the ring! Back from the break as both guys are in pain. Hiroshi is up first and climbs into the ring. Styles struggles but rolls in at 19. Hiroshi catches him on the apron but Styles gives a snap on the top rope for that. Styles gets his springboard death drop. Styles rolls out to the apron again and goes for the forearm but Hiroshi catches him. Styles gets out and goes for a clothesline but Hiroshi catches him again and hooks him for an arm trap German suplex. Tanahashi goes for the pin but Styles just makes it out before the 3. Styles hits a jawbreaker. He tries for a kick but Hiroshi hits the dragon screw leg whip. Styles tries to get up in the corner and Hiroshi comes flying in with a splash and takes out Styles and the ref! Styles gets in a low blow and then goes for the Styles clash and Hiroshi hits him low! Payback. It hurts! "It's good AJ has three sons, because the rest of the story is he will have no more"- Jim Ross. The ref gets back up as both men exchange forearms. Styles with some kicks to the knees. Both go down to their knees and start hitting each other. They will themselves up and just keep going. Styles goes rapid fire but Hiroshi slaps him in the face to stop that cold. Styles goes to the corner and Hiroshi goes for him but Styles grabs hold and gets the calf killer! Hiroshi is screaming now but won't give up! Hiroshi scrambles and gets to the ropes but he is hurt! Styles keeps trying to get Hiroshi from the ropes and Styles throws the ref around. Hiroshi gets a kick in and then a neckbreaker. Hiroshi goes for a clothesline but Styles counters into a facebuster and nearly gets the pin with it. Styles goes out to the apron again and hits the springboard forearm. He can't get the pin, though.  Styles struggles to get Hiroshi in the clash but Hiroshi blocks it and counters with a knee. He gets the slingblade in and goes for the styles clash?! Dude, that's cold. Styles counters into an ankle lock to break that up. Hiroshi counters that and drives Styles into the buckle. Hiroshi goes for the clash again and hits it! Cover only gets two! Hiroshi goes for the high fly flow but lands on the knees. Styles rolls out to the apron and to the top where he gets the high fly flow of his own! Near fall and hits the Bloody Sunday DDT. Styles picks him up and Hiroshi hits Styles in the knee. Both guys are down now but struggle back up. Hiroshi hits some strikes and AJ goes for the Pele but Hiroshi catches it and whips him down. Hiroshi goes up and hits the high fly flow. He then hits another one before he gets the pin! Hiroshi is going to the finals! Tanahashi gets announced as the winner of the block and the crowd goes wild.  They get to their knees and go for the handshake but Hiroshi flips him off. Well then! We come back with Hiroshi in the ring soaking up the crowd chants. He says he has one more match to win. He wants to win the G1 with the fans and gives them a hearty I love you! We go to the studio where Tanahashi says that this match is his new best match ever. He says that they both had similar visions for the match. He thinks 2015 was an astonishing year for NJPW and that he thinks Styles is a great wrestler. He wants to do it again sometime. A good episode to finish the bracketing stuff off. The matches that needed to be quick were and the spotlight was put on the right matches in both these eps. Jim Ross seemed a little off in both these episodes and I wonder if these were the last eps he had to dub that day. Anyway, decent shows. Next week we finish off Block B with two big episodes! See you then!  
New Japan Pro Wrestling photo
Wrapping up the A Block
Hello again and welcome of Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. We have another double shot of action tonight from the G1 Climax 25 tournament as we wrap up Block A action tonight. We have skip...


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