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NJPW on AXS TV results (9-25): Shinsuke Nakamura vs. Katsyuori Shibata

Tonight’s matches are from November 8, 2014 in the Bodymaker Colosseum from the Power Struggle PPV.

The first match to air was the NEVER championship match with champion Tomohiro Ishii taking on Hirooki Goto. This was an excellent match live as they just beat the crap out of each other for about 17 minutes and the crowd were into this ass kicking the entire time. Some people don’t like the brutality, and I can see why; during commentary Ranallo specifically mentioned the Frye/Takayama comparisons in this bout, and neither match is for the weak of heart. But it was an amazing bout to witness live. This was clipped due to time constraints, but the highlights were great. Watch this on New Japan World…if you dare.

Fun fact: the NEVER title is actually an acronym for “New Blood”, “Evolution”, “Valiantly”, “Eternal”, and “Radical”. Okay! It’s also a openweight title that Makabe thinks Ishii is a joke and will punch him out. Ishii says that he’ll show him the true style of pro wrestling. Apparently a year later they’re still feuding over this title. The more things change, the more they stay the same…

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Next up we have a tag team match pitting the two WrestleKingdom 9 participants in a tag match as Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kota Ibushi take on Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi-Hashi. This was a good, solid tag team match, but nothing that would stand out in the grand scheme of things. This was pretty much a build towards WrestleKingdom since they’re the two headliners. Ibushi pinned Yoshi-Hashi after a phoenix splash. Tanahashi and Okada had a staredown after the match.

Nakamura is interviewed about his match against Katsuyori Shibata, who headlines tonight’s card. He felt like he had to get him back after Shibata beat him during the G1. He forgot what it was like to fight him. His goal was to try and fight against his strengths, as his Tokyo Dome aspirations would crumble without coming up with some plan to retain his title.

The match aired. I gave this ***¾ when reviewing it for Voices of Wrestling last year. Really, really good match, but not to that level of being a stupendous match or a match of the year. They had a good back and forth match. There were stiff shots, but not like you’d see in a normal Shibata match, and it was nothing like the NEVER title match where they just destroyed one another forever. They went seventeen minutes here and had a good main event by New Japan standards. I’m kind of surprised they didn’t protect Shibata’s GTS more. That looks like a move that has to finish an opponent, especially with someone known as being stiff like Shibata. Nakamura kicked out of that, blocked a penalty kick attempt, and fired off two boma yes for the win.

Kota Ibushi immediately runs in once Nakamura starts cutting a victory promo and gives him a snap German suplex. I never thought that was a suplex that could be snapped. He gets a mic and says he wants to be the one to boil his excitement. Nakamura gets up, and after asking the crowd what they think, Nakamura says of course and says yeaoh.

Backstage, he says the Shibata rivalry is over- it started in Osaka, and ended there as well. Nakamura says Shibata might be looking for change, but he isn’t interested in change. He says Ibushi is crazy, and it’ll be a crazy match.

Looking back, Nakamura says he had no plans entering the G1. But for his matches in November, he had to adapt, or something similar to adapting. When it comes to Ibushi running in and giving him a snap German, he just credits it as something crazy Kota Ibushi did to get his energy up, which it did.

Fun episode this week. I wish the opener was shown in full as that was the highlight of Power Struggle last year. But these shows have a format, and the IC title match was the main event, so it all makes sense.

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