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NJPW 01/04/2009 January 4th 2009 (2 Discs)

Date Added: Wednesday 20 May, 2009

by James Thomas

Spoiler free review: The show starts off the way most shows should with a quick overview of all the matches on the card. This gives you the feeling that you're about to see something truly special, which you are.

1.Wrestle Kingdom Grand Opening VIENTO DORADO: Mistico, Ryusuke Taguchi & Prince Devitt vs. Averno, Jado & Gedo
An excellent opening bout that really gets you pumped for the rest of the show. True, this match is mainly to showcase mistico, but who cares, its still fun to watch. Mistico does however get a little repetitive but you cannot argue that his highflying skills are downright incredible. He even does a satelite headscissor and lands gingerly on his feet. Just nutty. Devitt also pulls out some good moves, nobody else is really much to brag about though. Still a very fun match. ***

2. Jushin Liger 20th Anniversary Match: Jushin Liger & Takuma Sano vs. Wataru Inoue & Koji Kanemoto
A good, stiff bout. Nothing really wrong with it, just seemed a little short for being a milestone in Lygers career. Good performance by all contenders however. ***

3. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title ~Tread on!!~: Yujiro & Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin
This match was off the chain! Two of the best tag teams in the world in my opinion. Incredible moves and fast paced action. My only problem with this one is that Shelly needs to stop posing and trying to work the crowd with his lousy facial expressions. Japan appreciates good wrestling, which Shelly provides, so he should stick with that and not try to appeal to sports entertainment fans like he's being forced to in the US. But it doesn't take that much away from the match as the action is just flawless and the teamwork from both pairs is just beautiful. ****1/2

4. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title ~Ballistic interception~: Low Ki (c) vs. Tiger Mask
A nice brutal encounter but I felt like they were rushing this one. Low ki does an amazing "John Woo kick" on the outside which sends Tiger into the guard rail dangerously hard. Tiger does some innovative moves too but I will not ruin them for you. Good match, but still, they needed to pace themselves. ***

5. Fighting Holdings Competition: Riki Choshu, Masahiro Chono, Kurt Angle & Kevin Nash vs. Giant Bernard, Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii & Karl Anderson
The only guy I like in this match is Choshu, which is funny because he is the only one on his team that doesnt come out like we're back in the fricken wolfpack NWO days. He actually comes out by himself while the other guys parade around like jackasses, and the only one in the match that doesnt try to do sports entertainment style wrestling. Without him this match would get one star. *1/2

6. World Heavyweight Title ~Crusade for Justice~: Yuji Nagata (c) vs. Masato Tanaka
Now we come to what I feel was the best match on the card, and was one of the reasons I bought this DVD as Im a big Nagata fan and an even HUGER Tanaka fan. And this one had everything you would expect from these two. Hard shots, fastpaced action, huge slams, and by the end they are both bleeding buckets. Some say it was too short, but I say it was perfect just the way it was. Shoulda been the main event. *****

7. New Japan vs. NOAH Battle Tendencies ~the invasion~: Manabu Nakanishi vs. Jun Akiyama
Some people don't like Nakanishi but I think he's pretty damn good for what he's suppose to be, a hard hitting powerhouse and he delivers in this match. I do feel like Akiyama didn't showcase much of his skills in this match, he did a fine job but it just seemed like he did a lot of exploders and not much else. Still a good quick match that I enjoyed. ***1/2

8. IWGP Tag Team Title - Hardcore Rules: Togi Makabe & Toru Yano (c) vs. "Team 3D" Brother Ray & Brother Devon
This is easily the worst most pathetic match on the card. The dudleys haven't had a good match since early 2000s and this one is just pathetic. I think my friends and I put on better hardcore matches in my fricken backyard. They botch a shitload of attempts in this match, Hell even Dvon tries to do a flying headbutt, misses, bounces off the ring, and lands in a splash on his oppenent. Watch this one for laughs if nothing else. *

9. New Japan vs. NOAH Battle Tendencies ~the encounter~: Mitsuharu Misawa & Takashi Sugiura vs. Shinsuke Nakamura & Hirooki Goto
A great tag team bout brings us back from that disaster of a match before it. This one showcases the team of Goto and Nakamura whom I feel are two guys that will carry this company for years to come if they keep improving the way they are. The only sad part about this is is that Misawa is finally starting to show his age which I almost thought would never happen. He doesn't suck in this one at all, but he definetly doesn't seem like the same top notch player as he use to, especially with all of the young talent in the ring. Made him feel kinda outta place I think. Sugiura kind of carries his team through this one, making an impressive showing for the NOAH promotion. Overall it is a fastpaced exciting match with a great finish. ****

10. IWGP Heavyweight Title: Keiji Muto (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Before I said Tanaka vs.Nagata should have been the main event, and I still feel that way, but this match was right up there, and definetly had a main event feel to it. I wasnt really that into it at first, and I feel wrestling ruins its credibility of not being "homoerotic" like some people see it(not that theres anything wrong with that) when the guys are mounting each other in the beginning. This quickly stops after a minute or so but it still seems kind of lame if anything else. But what happens from here on out is a very good match. Lots of crazy dragon screws from Muto all over the place, shining wizards and flying dropkicks. He does mess up one springboard move, which makes you realize the old man needs to give up the highflying portion of his game maybe, and thats kinda sad to me, being a Muto fan. Tanahashi is really starting to come into his own with his crazy spinning lariat, frogsplash elbows (i forget what its called at the moment) and his crazy resilience to Muto's onslaught. If you arent cheering by the end of this match, then you just werent watching, or you got too sidetracked by the lame start. Dont let it fool you, this is a great main event, just not the best match on the card. ****

OVERALL: This match should be bought by any Puro fan as there is something for almost everyone here. (except for hardcore fans, the 3D attempt will make you sad) But the show is stacked, and although there are a few bad apples, there's enough stellar performances to make up for it. I'm going to give it 5 stars just because of how stacked a show it is, it's not perfect, but it's the closest thing to perfect I've seen since probably the Super J Cup 94. STOP READING AND BUY THIS DVD! *****

Rating: 5 of 5 Stars! [5 of 5 Stars!]

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