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Strong Style: Gold on the line!

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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!

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!

 

 


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Soul Tsukino
Soul TsukinoContributor   gamer profile

Soul Tsukino lives in the state of Maine. When not enveloping himself in a new fiction story he also comments on happenings in the animation and Otaku fan scene. A creative writer since he was yo... more + disclosures


 



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