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CALDWELL'S NEW JAPAN "INVASION ATTACK" iPPV REPORT 4/7: Complete "virtual-time" coverage of new IWGP World champion, U.S. stars in title matches, more

Apr 7, 2013 - 6:00:01 AM
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New Japan "Invasion Attack" Internet PPV results
April 7, 2013
Tokyo, Japan
Report by James Caldwell, PWTorch assistant editor


The PPV started at 2:00 a.m. CST, so off we go. The PPV is available for $25 at UStream.TV/NJPW. ...

Top News: Former TNA wrestler Kazuchika Okada captured the IWGP World Hvt. Title from Tanahashi in the PPV main event.

The PPV started with ominous music signaling an "invasion" coming to New Japan. The company then broke down the PPV line-up, documenting what's led to each match on the card. Solid opening video package.

Live in the arena, it was time for the opening match featuring former TNA wrestler Alex Shelley. During ring intros for Prince Devitt and Taguchi, the audio cut out for copyright reasons. Shelley and Kushida were then introduced without audio interruption.

1 -- TIME SPLITTERS (IWGP Jr. tag champions ALEX SHELLEY & KUSHIDA) vs. APOLLO 55 (PRINCE DEVITT & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI) -- IWGP Jr. Tag Title match

The action started before the opening bell with high-flying on the outside. Shelley and Kushida then controlled the action back in the ring. Great back-and-forth with both teams getting in plenty of offense, Shelley looking completely in his element, and Devitt looking like a rock-star. After some great counter/reversal sequences involving KUSHIDA and Taguchi, KUSHIDA rolled up Taguchi for a quick three count to win and retain the belts.

After the match, Devitt and Taguchi had enough of each other. This brought Shelley and KUSHIDA into the discussion. Everyone got Devitt to calm down, but then Devitt clotheslined Taguchi from behind, turning on his tag partner. Devitt's heavy then hit the ring to take out Taguchi before Devitt climbed to the top rope and delivered a double foot-stomp to Taguchi that the crowd reacted to as if Taguchi were on the verge of death. Devitt then unmasked Captain New Japan and stuffed the mask in his trunks. After the match, Devitt said Apollo 55 is over. He then introduced his bouncer, who carried Devitt away on his shoulders.

WINNERS: Time Splitters at 10:44 to retain the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Titles. This was excellent tag action followed by Devitt really delivering as a heel. Why Devitt has not been scooped up by WWE or TNA remains one of the greatest mysteries in wrestling.

Backstage, Okada was interviewed about his IWGP Hvt. Title match against Tanahashi in the main event.

2 -- TENZAN & NAKANISHI & SUPER STRONG MACHINE & AKEBONO vs. BOB SAPP & YOSHI-HASHI & TAKASHI IIZUKA & TOMOHIRO ISHII -- eight-man tag match

Before the match, shenanigans involving crazy-man Takashi Iizuka and one of the NJPW announcers carried over from the Tokyo Dome Show in January. The faces then made the save to start the match. Veteran Super Strong Machine wrestled the bulk of the match for the faces before the match broke down. This was right in Iizuka's wheelhouse, as he caused more havoc ringside.

Back in the ring, Strong Machine tagged in Akebono. Bob Sapp also entered the ring, and Sapp and Akebono attempted to brawl. Both men struggle to move, so it was quite a sight. The action broke down again, which led to a finish of the faces destroying Yoshi-Hashi with their finishers before Nakanishi scored the pin.

WINNERS: Team Tenzan at 9:58. Wild brawl that had no chance of following the rules, but was entertaining.

3 -- CMLL tag champions EL TERRIBLE & TAMA TONGA vs. LA MASCARA & VALIENTE -- CMLL Tag Title match

The two teams posed for a photo before the match, then Tonga pie-faced the masked challengers to taunt them before the match. Lucha Libre broke out early in the match, wowing and engaging the crowd. Terrible then dropped Valiente with a sit-out powerbomb for the pin and the win. Afterward, the tag champs rubbed their victory in the faces of the challengers, adding insult to injury.

WINNERS: Tonga & Terrible at 8:55 to retain the CMLL Tag Titles. Solid undercard match in the right spot on the card.

4 -- MASATO TANAKA & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI vs. TOGI MAKABE & TOMOAKI HONMA

Tanaka and Honma engaged in a rapid-fire chopfest early on, then continued the fight on the outside. Tanaka, the former ECW champion, took control and exchanged tags with Yujiro wearing down Honma. Makabe eventually took a hot tag and cleaned house on the heels before Honma re-entered. Honma then climbed to the top rope and delivered a double-foot stomp to Tanaka for a two count.

Honma and Tanaka took center-stage again with a great exchange, then Yujiro cane-shot Honma from the outside. It still wasn't good enough for the win, which popped the crowd on the nearfall. Tanaka then destroyed Honma with a running lariat for the pin and the win. Give that man an icebag. After the match, Makabe had to be restrained from attacking Takahashi.

WINNERS: Tanaka & Takahashi at 10:43. Hot, hot crowd for the match, specifically Honma. Great middle-of-the-show tag action.

Backstage, IWGP Hvt. champion Tanahashi was interviewed about his title defense tonight. Rock-star presence for Tanahashi, talked confidently about facing Okada again tonight.

5 -- TORU YANO vs. MINORU SUZUKI

The grudge match started as a ringside brawl to set the tone for the expected physicality of this match. Yano then taped Suzuki's arm to the guardrail, which required Suzuki to be un-taped just before he was counted out. Suzuki then took control of the match, working on Yano's leg. Suzuki overcame Yano's comeback, then nailed a cradle piledriver for the pin and the win. Afterward, Suzuki tried to inflict more punishment to Yano before putting him to sleep with a sleeperhold.

WINNER: Suzuki at 10:13. Fine singles brawl continuing to build to the triple-main event.

Next was a mid-ring ceremony supporting amateur wrestling at the Olympics that served as the unofficial intermission. So much respect shown to entering the sacred ring. Refreshing to see.

Next was a video package with goofy Nakanishi clips promoting a "Nakanishi Land" product. This was followed by plugs for DVD shows from the 2000s. Never hurts to fire up some Kawada matches. Next was an Antonio Inoki calculator product. Next, Tanahashi riding a bike before meeting up with Okada in the middle of a dirt road to battle with trading cards. Suddenly, there was Stan Hansen playing a school principal for the next playing cards spot. Unreal stuff at 3:45 in the morning.

Back in the arena, the announcers talked for ten minutes about the remaining four matches, offering their thoughts on what will go down.

6 -- YUJI NAGATA & HIROOKI GOTO vs. KAZUSHI SAKURABA & KATSUYORI SHIBATA

The crowd was itching for this match to start after a long intermission and wanting to see these two teams lock up. Sakuraba and Nagata battled early on, with Sakuraba trying to use his MMA techniques on Nagata, who just smirked at him. Nagata then tagged in Goto, who the crowd was hot for. Goto landed some offense on Shibata, but Shibata grounded him. Nagata tried to get involved, but Shibata kicked him to the outside.

The action picked up with both teams battling rapid-fire style. Nagata then countered an armbar from Sakuraba into a release German Suplex, which popped the crowd. So, Nagata countered with an armbar of his own, but Shibata kicked him in the head. Chaos, then Nagata delivered a rolling suplex to Sakuraba. Nagata wanted to follow up, but the ref checked on Sakuraba, who appeared to completely dislocate his right elbow. That's not how the elbow is supposed to bend. The ref checked on Sakuraba, then called for the bell, ending the match.

Post-match, as Sakuraba was attended to by ringside doctors, Shibata tried to get fresh with Nagata and Goto. He slapped them, but they stood their ground, so Shibata left the ring. Sakuraba then reached his feet and used his one good arm to shake Nagata's hand.

WINNERS: Nagata & Goto at 11:33 via ref stoppage. Not a pleasant way to end the match, which was just starting to build to a strong conclusion.

This was followed by a video package presenting the NWA, NWA president Bruce Tharpe, and NWA World Hvt. champion Rob Conway as evil villains "invading" New Japan. "Stop The Invader!" read the text on the screen.

7 -- NWA World Hvt. champion "IRON MAN" ROB CONWAY (w/Bruce Tharp) vs. SATOSHI KOJIMA (w/Tenzan) -- NWA World Title match

Conway did a lot of posing and wrestled a WWE Heel style to draw boos from the crowd early on. The announcers referenced Conway's WWE background, as well. Kojima had enough of this and "stopped the invader" with a Russian Legsweep that put Conway on the mat. Conway came back with a corner attack before taunting Kojima to go ahead and give up the match. Kojima refused, then two men traded chops center-ring. Kojima won the exchange with a series of elbows that put Conway on the mat, but then ran into a spear from Conway.

Conway called for the end, then delivered a side suplex followed by a spinning facebuster for a two count. Kojima regained control moments later, then tossed his elbow pad into the crowd and called for the end. But, Conway occupied the ref so that Conway's ringside helper could blast Kojima from behind. This brought over Tenzan to have a word with Conway's helper. Back in the ring, Conway lariated Kojima, but Kojima kicked out at one.

Kojima had a pin moments later, but Conway's helper yanked the ref out of the ring. This brought over Tenzan, who attacked the helper until the helper knocked down Tenzan. Kojima then clotheslined the helper to the ground. Back in the ring, Conway hit a slingshot suplex as Kojima hung on the top rope and it was good for the win. Post-match, Tharpe played promoter/manager quickly entering the ring to hand the NWA Title belt to Conway, who cockily celebrated his victory as if he accomplished something.

WINNER: Conway at 14:25 to retain the NWA World Title. Obviously, they needed a lot of outside interference for Kojima to save face and continue getting heat on the "invading" NWA champion, but this felt too much like a WWE TV match.

8 -- IWGP IC champion SHINSUKE NAKAMURA vs. IWGP tag champion DAVEY BOY SMITH, JR. (w/IWGP tag champion Lance Archer and TAKA) -- IWGP Intercontinental Title match

Before the match, New Japan aired a video package on the former D.H. Smith's father, the late "British Bulldog" Davey Boy Smith, wrestling in Japan decades ago. Once the bell sounded, Smith and Nakamura felt each other out exchanging offense while Smith heeled on the crowd. Chaos followed when Smith delivered an impressive belly-to-belly suplex clear to the outside, which led to Hoyt/Archer getting involved on the floor.

Back in the ring, Smith executed a Northern Lights Suplex for a nearfall, which drew polite applause from the crowd despite Smith playing the heel. Smith took too long to follow up, allowing Nakamura to make a comeback, then give Smith good vibrations in the corner. Nakamura followed with a kick to the head, but Smith caught him with a powerslam off the ropes. The two men then traded bombs center-ring before Smith delivered a knee beneath the chin for a nearfall. But, Nakamura came back with the Backstabber.

Nakamura tried to follow with a corner knee, but Smith avoided, then powerlifted Nakamura into the air and flowed into a jackhammer suplex for a close two count. Smith sold shock over the nearfall, then slapped on a Sharpshooter center-ring. Nakamura made it to the bottom rope, though, for a break. After a reset, the two men came to their feet and traded bombs. Smith landed a hard lariat, but Nakamura kicked out before three. Smith then wanted a powerbomb and he connected center-ring, but Nakamura kicked out again. Smith flipped out as TAKA hopped on the ring apron to protest the count.

Smith, now getting desperate, followed with a Tiger Driver, but Nakamura kicked out again. Smith wanted another powerbomb, but he took too long showboating, which allowed Nakamura to escape and high-knee Smith in the face. Nakamura delivered a flying knee to the face, then got the crowd in a frenzy. Nakamura followed with an explosive knee to the face and it was good for the pin and the win.

WINNER: Nakamura at 18:06. Excellent semi-main event, PPV-quality match. Nakamura is awesome and Smith looked very good in the heel challenger role. (***3/4)

Time for the main event of Tanahashi vs. Okada for the IWGP World Title. First was a lengthy video package explaining their feud, then formal ring introductions in the ring.

9 -- IWGP World Hvt. champion TANAHASHI vs. "RAINMAKER" KAZUCHIKA OKADA -- IWGP World Hvt. Title match

The two men felt each other out early on. Nice and clean. Okada then pretended to go for a clean break in the corner, but he did his Rainmaker pose in Tanahashi's face, which drew a kick to the gut from the Champ. Tanahashi then did the Rainmaker pose, which drew some boos. Okada seems to have his own fanbase, of note. Tanahashi then settled into an extended-length beating on Okada. Tanahashi applied a submission, Okada reached the rope, and Tanahashi kept the hold on a few extra seconds, which drew some boos. Okada then DDT'ed Tanahashi onto the ring apron to drop the Champ to the floor.

Back in the ring, Okada began working over Tanahashi. He took his time working on the Champ, pausing to look into the camera and pose before casually re-approaching Tanahashi to inflict more punishment. Very casual approach from Okada, who owns the too-cool-for-school persona. Okada then knocked Tanahashi to the floor, where he placed Tanahashi's head inside the barricade rungs to inflict more punishment. But, Tanahashi shook off the attack and climbed to the top rope to deliver a high-flying cross-body press on the floor.

Back in the ring, Tanahashi delivered a corner splash into a flying forearm. Tanahashi followed with an arm-wringer to continue working on Okada's injured elbow. The Champ nailed six or seven straight strikes to the elbow, then ran the ropes, but Okada dropped him with a pancake suplex to get a breather. Okada then climbed to the top rope and wanted an elbow drop, which he connected with, but he injured his elbow again. After a one-arm Rainmaker pose, Okada went for a Tombstone, but Tanahashi escaped and slapped around the challenger before running into a flying dropkick. Okada then tried to apply a submission, but he couldn't lock it in because of his elbow.

Champ and Challenger reset at 20:00 before Tanahashi flew at Okada with a dropkick. Tanahashi followed with a German Suplex bridge for a two count. Tanahashi then climbed to the top rope, but Okada sprung to his feet and kicked Tanahashi off the top to the floor. The ringside photographers and attendants scrambled around as Tanahashi recovered on the outside, then Okada scooped up Tanahashi and whipped him into the guardrail before big-booting him into the front row.

Back in the ring, Okada quickly delivered a suplex out of the fireman's carry position, but Tanahashi kicked out in-time. The crowd got nervous, then Tanahashi pounded Okada's injured elbow before dropkicking it. Tanahashi fired up, but ran into a major lariat from Okada. Okada couldn't make an immediate cover, though, allowing Tanahashi to kick out before three.

Okada got That Look in his eyes and casually lifted Tanahashi to his feet before trying a Tombstone, but Tanahashi rolled through into a pin attempt. Okada escaped, then applied a combination Camel Clutch/STF. The ref frantically checked Tanahashi for life and teased calling for the bell, which only made the crowd more nervous. Tanahashi then showed crazy upper-body strength dragging himself across the ring to get a rope-break. Great sequence.

At 27:30, Okada back-elbowed Tanahashi a few times in the corner, but missed with a running elbow smash. Tanahashi then double-sledged the injured elbow. He followed with an arm-whip across the bottom rope. Tanahashi then climbed to the top rope and delivered the High-Fly Flow cross-body splash. Tanahashi wanted to end it with a Tiger Suplex with a bridge pin, but Okada escaped the pin by an inch. Tanahashi then hit a High-Fly, wanted another one, but Okada got his knees up to block, popping the crowd huge.

Okada followed with a dropkick, then wanted a Tombstone, but Tanahashi blocked. Tanahashi blocked another attempt as the crowd freaked out. More counters/reversals, then Okada finally hit the Tombstone Piledriver. Okada freaked out, then nailed his Rainmaker lariat finisher. Okada covered, Tanahashi was out cold, and Okada scored the three count for the win. New IWGP World champion as the crowd roared. It seemed to be a "yes, we saw a title change!" roar more than the crowd popping for Okada becoming new champ, although there was some pro-Okada sentiment in the crowd.

WINNER: Okada at 31:35 to capture the IWGP World Title. Excellent, excellent match. An instant classic PPV main event playing off their lengthy feud. (****1/2)

Post-match, Tanahashi was helped out of the ring selling the effects of the match. Okada was then presented with an official proclamation and trophy to signal his IWGP World Title victory. Okada sold respect for the moment, temporarily dropping his cocky heel persona. After the presentation, Okada got more of a face reaction standing tall in the ring as new IWGP World champion.

Suddenly, Minoru Suzuki walked out holding a bill and made it clear that he wants an IWGP Title shot. Suzuki then ripped up the bill as Okada stood his ground, still recovering from the title match. Suzuki then got in Okada's face to signal the next IWGP Title match. "Okada! Okada" chant from the crowd, then Okada did his Rainmaker pose in Suzuki's face, which Suzuki answered by slapping Okada in the face. Suzuki then took off, leaving Okada to contemplate things to close the PPV. As Suzuki left, Okada took the mic and cut a promo on him to close the PPV. Confetti then shot off to celebrate Okada's title victory and end the night.

The PPV feed continued with Okada's post-victory press conference backstage before the announcers wrapped up the show from ringside.

OVERALL: Strong PPV. Solid undercard and two terrific final matches to close the PPV, plus an historic title change in the main event. Worth watching if you want a change-of-pace from mainstream U.S. wrestling. The replay will be available through April 15 here at UStream.TV/NJPW.


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