Jordan’s NJPW Sakura Genesis 2017 Review
NJPW Sakura Genesis 2017 Review
Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Chase Owens, and Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Tiger Mask W, Tiger Mask IV, Yuji Nagata, and Togi Makabe
We start this one with Tonga and Tiger Mask W. Great opening sequence here where W got the best of Tonga after finally connecting with a standing corkscrew moonsault and the tag is made to Takahashi as Nagata comes in on the other side. The two men trade strikes with Nagata getting the best of him and delivering some stiff kicks. He goes for the Exploder but it’s countered and Nagata went for the Enzuigiri but that was scouted by Takahashi so Nagata kicks him in the legs instead. Jawbreaker from Taka and a Superkick from Owens who was not legal and now the BC is brawling with the faces on the outside. Taka uses his cane as a weapon against Nagata while the referee has his back turned. Owens in now and a double team move and now it looks like Bullet Club will take full control with frequent tags while they have him cornered. Thankfully the rematch of possibly the worst match in the NJ Cup this year between Nagata and Loa didn’t last long as Nagata hit his signature Exploder Suplex and he tags in Makabe who comes in and does what he normally does, shoulder blocks, punches, and lariats. Makabe is getting the best of Loa until he’s interrupted by Tonga but he puts him in the corner and starts delivering corner lariats to both GOD’s. Loa eats another lariat for a near fall. Can we PLEASE get Loa out of here. Loa hits a powerslam and tags in Tonga who gets hit with a lariat almost immediately and now Tiger Mask is in and the faces have control as they hit a train of moves followed by the Tiger Driver from TM for a count of 2. Chase Owens runs in to help his partner but Tonga is cut off by W and now it’s getting wild. W with a moonsault to the outside and Tiger Mask with a Tiger Suplex but in comes Loa who gets cut off by Makabe. Tiger Mask looked to finish off Tonga but Chase Owens again being ever the difference maker in this match cuts him off, distracting Tiger Mask, who eats the Gun Stun from Tonga and the Bullet Club score the win.
My Thoughts: This was a very solid opening contest. I didn’t get to see enough Tiger Mask W/Ibushi which sucked but overall the Bullet Club looked really good as a whole and got a strong win. Very fun closing stretch. Tonga had a very good showing and Owens looked GREAT by being the real difference maker in this one as when things were going south for the Club, Owens cut off the momentum of their opponents. Good way to get this show going.
Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, and TAKA Michinoku) vs. CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Beretta, and Rocky Romero)
Rocky’s back in action tonight alongside his RPG Vice partner Trent Beretta and CHAOS partner YOSHI-HASHI. Of course Suzuki-Gun attacks before the bell, literally nothing new. Suzuki takes out HASHI as RPG Vice have control in the ring. We’re officially starting with Trent and Desperado. Trent with an elbow and Desperado rolls out. Desperado is caught by Trent who hits a Northern Lights Suplex into a pin but a kick out from Desperado. Tag to Rocky who is already starting the Forever Clotheslines. Even TAKA eats one when he runs in. Rocky is cut off by Suzuki who kicks him in the back and is locked in an arm bar. Suzuki-Gun is assaulting CHAOS brutally on the outside and Suzuki chokes out HASHI with the chair. Back in the ring, Desperado has seized control over Rocky and now Suzuki-Gun has complete control. Suzuki chops the fuck out of Rocky multiple times and I know I never wanna take one of those. Tag to HASHI now after a kick and HASHI takes out Desperado and TAKA and hits a neckbreaker on Suzuki. They trade strikes now and Suzuki looks angry as he drops HASHI with a vicious forearm. HASHI continues to try and fight through and actually hits a chop that had an effect on Suzuki but Suzuki locks in the rear naked choke and TAKA tags in as they take down Trent and Rocky on the apron. Suzuki-Gun triple teams HASHI now. and TAKA knees him in the head but Rocky interrupts the pin. Suzuki runs in and goes for the Gotch-Style Piledriver but he’s cut off by Trent who nails a Gobstopper Knee, Trent is taken out by TAKA with a niiiiice Superkick, TAKA taken out by a clothesline from HASHI and he hits the Karma for the win.
My Thoughts: This was a short and to the point match but it was engaging the whole way through. Every man got some chance to shine in the about 7 minutes this went. Too bad this couldn’t have had more time because I think this could’ve been a lot better considering the talent involved.
Taichi and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (C) vs. Jado and Gedo for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
I can already tell you that this will not be your normal exciting Jr. Heavyweight Tag Title match. In fact, it’ll be exactly the opposite. I’m hoping they’ll prove me wrong and put something worth watching on but I sincerely doubt that. They start with a heatless stare down and the Suzuki-Gun members are immediately locked in crossfaces by Gedo and Jado and they begin to brawl on the outside. Gedo is calling Taichi a bitch while he chokes him out on the outside. We get a replay of a cool spot that the camera missed where Kanemaru had Gedo hung across the guardrail and jumped off of it with a leg drop. Taichi back in the ring now and Kanemaru throws in a weakened Gedo. Taichi and Kanemaru now take control over Gedo in their corner. The referee is now distracted by El Desperado (imagine that) and Taichi uses his bell hammer that he uses in literally every fucking match he’s in. Jado in now and he goes back and forth with Kanemaru until he gets the advantage with a back suplex for a near fall. Jado attempts his rope hung DDT but Taichi interjects himself and Kanemaru hits an inverted DDT followed by Taichi kicking him in the shoulder. Gedo breaks up the pin but he’s attacked by his opponents. They’re setting up for their tag finish. Taichi hits the Powerbomb and Kanemaru goes for the DDT off the ropes but Gedo counters with a low blow and Jado takes out Taichi with a clothesline. Jado is signaling for the end as he locks in a crossface on Kanemaru. Gedo is holding off Taichi with a crossface of his own. Kanemaru looks out of it so Jado rolls him over into a pin but Desperado pulls the referee out right before 3 and runs in and begins attacking Gedo and Jado. Out comes RPG Vice to even the odds as they take out Desperado. Jado back up and the referee is back in and Jado connects with a kick to the chest and the rope hung DDT for a very close near fall. Jado goes back to the crossface and Kanemaru is tapping out but the referee doesn’t see because Taichi’s chick gets in the ring and Taichi uses his mic stand to stop Jado. Taichi connects with a vicious superkick and Kanemaru heads to the top rope and hits a moonsault for another near fall. Jado gets kicked in the face by Taichi and Kanemaru hits his top rope DDT for the win.
My Thoughts: This was not brutally bad but it had waaaay too much interference and shenanigans for my liking. You had weapon use, Desperado distractions and interference, the girl coming in, RPG Vice getting involved, and the referee getting attacked. Too much stuff but these guys have to rely on that to put on something mildly entertaining. So not a horrible match but not a good one either. I dislike Taichi more and more every time I see him.
Bullet Club (Kenny Omega and Bad Luck Fale) vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano)
We start with Fale and Yano so this won’t get off to a good start. Yano hits Fale and is scared so he begins his usual schtick. Yano starts pulling Kenny’s hair on the outside and then Fale grabs Yano’s and now we have a brawl on the outside. After being thrown in the barricade, Yano beats the count and makes it back in the ring but right into an assault from Fale and him and Omega take control. Ishii even comes in at one point to try and help Yano but Fale easily disposes of him. Omega and Yano then have a fun little sequence that gave a throwback to their G1 match last year that I actually had fun watching. The referee ends up breaking up Yano and Omega from their hair pulling by pulling their hair and now Yano and Omega both have turnbuckle pads. Fale takes a shot from Yano that doesn’t phase him and then Kenny inadvertently hits Fale with his turnbuckle pad. Kenny runs right into an atomic drop and in comes Ishii who is on fire. Ishii gets sent into the exposed turnbuckle but he withstands the pain and sends Kenny down. Kenny hits a snap hurricanrana after some back and forth and then attempts a powerbomb but gets back dropped. Kenny rolls through and goes for his second rope moonsault which connects for a count of 2. Fale runs in to take out Yano and they go for a crucifix bomb into a neck breaker it seems but Ishii fights back and Yano grabs Fale’s legs which allows Ishii to take him out and hit a German Suplex on Omega. More back and forth and Kenny hits a snap dragon suplex. Kenny hits the V-Trigger and goes for One Winged Angel but in comes yano with a low blow and Ishii hits a lariat for a SUPER close count of 2. Fale runs in and takes out Ishii and Omega connects with a vicious shining wizard but Ishii manages to kick out. Kenny hits V-Trigger again and then finally hits the One Winged Angel for the 3.
My Thoughts: This was pretty good but far from must-see. It was nice to see Kenny get the win and even though I would’ve rather had Yano take the fall, it made sense for Omega to pin Ishii and get a measure of revenge after being eliminated by him in the first round of the NJ Cup. Nothing offensive here, pretty solid stuff.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi, Ricochet, and Juice Robinson vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA, and BUSHI)
Well, time for another Tanahashi and his buddies taking on LIJ in a tag match. I wish this was’t on this show considering this is literally a fucking Road To match, not a big event match. There’s major heat between Naito and Juice as they’ve had a bit of a feud lately. We’re starting things off with EVIL and Tanahashi. EVIL goes after the eyes of Tana but Tana goes after EVIL’s eyes as well. Taguchi in now and EVIL tags BUSHI. I expect ass attack Taguchi tonight since he’s not in a big singles match. Taguchi is getting in the head of BUSHI with some wacky shit and now Tana and Friends are going to work on BUSHI. Taguchi gets up in the corner and his partners throw BUSHI into his ass. They try the same with SANADA but he dropkicks Taguchi in his ass. There’s lots of brawling on the outside now as Taguchi is tied to the ropes via BUSHI. SANADA runs at a prone Taguchi and dropkicks him and in comes Naito who kicks Taguchi in the corner and Juice breaks up Naito’s pin attempt. EVIL in now to help Naito take out Juice and then Naito tags SANADA. Taguchi smacks SANADA and goes for an ass attack but is cut off multiple times. SANADA finally gets hit by Taguchi’s ass and in comes Ricochet who is doing lots of cool, fun shit including a huge DDT on SANADA and a suicidie dive and moonsault that cleared the ropes to the outside and finally a springboard move to SANADA and the tag to Tana. Ricochet just brought this match into second gear. BUSHI and SANADA try to double team Tana but they are unsuccessful as Tana takes them both out with a double dragon screw. EVIL takes out Tana on the apron and EVIL tags in and begins going at it with Tana. Great sequence by those two that ends when EVIL hits a huge lariat and both men are down. Tana tags in Juice and EVIL tags Naito. BUSHI comes in and is taken out by juice and Juice hits a nice backbreaker/russian leg sweep combo on Naito followed by a senton for 2. Juice goes for Pulp Friction but SANADA is in to stop it. SANADA kick Juice in the face and Naito does the same and his partners take out Juice’s partners. Enzuigiri by Naito followed by a reverse DDT for another 2 count. Naito attempts Destino but in comes Tana with the Slingblade but EVIL runs in to clothesline Tana out. Ricochet runs in and kicks EVIL in the head and BUSHI takes out Ricochet with a lungblower. Taguchi hits BUSHI with his ass and tries to on SANADA but SANADA side steps him and gets nailed with a spinebuster by Juice. Naito attempts his Tornado DDT but Juice shoves him off. Naito pops him up, went for the low blow, Juice had him well scouted though and caught the leg and punched him right in the jaw followed by a lariat and finally a BRUTAL Pulp Friction for the shocking win.
My Thoughts: This was a fun match that went nonstop and was pretty hard for me to keep up with while typing the recap. Great effort from all 8 men. I wish we would’ve had more involvement from Ricochet because he didn’t do much but what he did do was awesome. Even though I’m pretty sick of these matches, they’re always good so I can’t complain too much. The best match on an otherwise rather mediocre show so far. Hopefully that will change.
Since I have heavy interest in every match in the second half of the show I won’t be recapping the action, I’ll just watch the match and give my thoughts afterwards.
TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima) (C) vs. War Machine (Hanson and Ray Rowe) for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
My Thoughts: This lived up to the hype for me and I was really excited for this one. It was two awesome teams slugging it out and TenCozy proving yet again that they can still hang with the younger guys. I even thought they had this in the bag at times, especially after Kojima connected with the Koji Cutter. Not only that but the crowd was SUPER into this as all 4 men are very, very over and the action they were putting on deserved a superb reaction. War Machine are thriving in Japan and I wouldn’t blame them if they ditched ROH and worked mainly in Japan like Michael Elgin.
Hirooki Goto (C) vs. Zack Sabre Jr. for the NEVER Openweight Championship
My Thoughts: I really liked this match. I enjoyed the relaxing pace this match began at. I enjoyed every time it looked like Goto would begin to come back, Sabre would lock in another unique hold. I really could’ve gone without the Desperado and Suzuki interference but at least Goto was able to thwart it and retain rather than having another screwy finish. I get they’re trying to build Goto/Suzuki but they could’ve had a brawl post-match without the interference. There’s just too much interference and screwy shit in Suzuki-Gun members matches for my liking. Nonetheless, Goto gets a strong win, Sabre looked really fucking great, and the match was fantastic.
Hiromu Takahashi (C) vs. KUSHIDA for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
My Thoughts: This was… something. So KUSHIDA attacks before the bell including a dive off the top rope to the outside where his leg hit the guardrail and it looked nasty but he seemed alright. Then when the action finally began in the ring, Takahashi hit his signature Sunset Flip Powerbomb to the outside and KUSHIDA’s head bounced off the fucking ground in a really brutal spot. It looked like he was legit knocked out, I don’t know if he actually was or not. Takahashi then brought him back in, quickly dominated him and put him away. I didn’t see this coming and I’m not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, it makes Takahashi look great, on the other it makes KUSHIDA look weak. I don’t know what really happened here, if someone wants to fill me in please do so. I don’t know if they ended the match because KUSHIDA got KO’ed or if this was the plan.
Rating: No Rating
Kazuchika Okada (C) vs. Katsuyori Shibata for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
My Thoughts: If you know me, you’d know how long I’ve been wanting to see this match. Yes, we got it in G1 a few years ago but 1) I wasn’t watching New Japan at the time and 2) I wanted to see this for the title in a main event. Damn, that was soooo fucking good. They told a phenomenal story that saw Shibata really get the best of Okada the whole way through but Okada somehow managed to barely get the win and got in a lot of great offense of his own. It even saw Okada play sort of the heel at points, doing some cocky moves and taunts. You look at the early goings, Shibata had total control even when the champ tried to fight back. It was a game of Shibata outsmarting Okada. I really enjoyed the feeling out process early on, it was extremely entertaining. Then once it got going with the big brawl we’d been waiting for it was super exciting. They didn’t do anything too outlandish, it was a battle of strikes and Okada trying to prove to both himself and Shibata that he’s capable of going toe to toe with anyone and winning. Like Kevin and Don said after the match, Shibata wrestled a perfect match because he never truly made any mistakes but Okada stuck right through it and was able to finally hit the Rainmaker to retain. It was crazy to see how much the crowd was more in favor of Shibata than Okada but Okada was able to pull them back in with being kind of the underdog within the story of this match. Great, great main event that leaves me with barely any complaints. I was honestly okay with them not going out and doing things they wouldn’t normally do in a match just because it was a main event because it still felt like a main event through and through and they tore the house down. Amazing match with a REALLY good story that deserves the 5 star rating from anyone who watched it. I hope Shibata will be alright because I’m hearing so many bad things and I will be pretty torn up if he has to retire because I love Shibata so much. Fale attacking Okada post-match made me groan and I have 0 excitement for that impending title match.
Overall this show was very good. Not necessarily one of my favorite NJPW events but I LOVED the main event and really enjoyed the War Machine/TenCozy and Goto/Sabre matches as well as a few of the tag matches near the end of the first half. It’s always a fun time watching a New Japan event so I really don’t have much to complain about other than a very weak night for the Jr. Heavyweights.
Overall Rating: 8/10
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