NJPW: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada (January 4, 2015)

I want to try to review all the Wrestle Kingdom main events while they’re free on New Japan World.

Stuff gets going when Okada forearms Tanahashi on a break. They fight, and Okada knocks Tanahashi off the second rope to the floor. He Yakuza kicks him over the guardrail and then hits a draping DDT on the floor. He takes him up the ramp, and Tanahashi gets free and goes for something, but Okada catches him with Heavy Rain (the modified DVD I mentioned in their last match), then just sits there like he’s chillin’. Eventually, he takes him back into the ring.

After taking some more punishment, Tanahashi starts fighting back, but Okada doesn’t let that last long and starts stretching him. Then Okada goes full heel and taunts Tanahashi, daring him to hit him, which he does. A forearm battle leads to them constantly one-upping each other. Tanahashi wins by attacking the leg? No, Okada wins with a shotgun dropkick. No, Tanahashi wins with a fireman’s carry counter into a Sling Blade! It continues as anytime one of them looks to have a strong advantage, the other turns the tables. Tanahashi gets an opening to start working Okada’s leg.

They end up outside again, and after Okada takes a bump over the guardrail to set up Tanahashi’s longest High Fly Flow to the floor yet. Back in the ring, a sequence ends in a Sling Blade, and Tanahashi comes off with another High Fly Flow crossbody, but Okada rolls through and tries a tombstone. Tanahashi reverses it into his own tombstone and hits two High Fly Flows, but Okada kicks out. Uh-oh, that’s usually the end of everything. Okada won’t let him get a cloverleaf, so Tanahashi decided to steal Okada’s Rainmaker. Okada ducks and hits his own, but Tanahashi kicks out, becoming the first person to ever kick out after Okada’s Rainmaker (I think).

When they cut to the crowd, there’s this kid applauding with a huge smile on his face. That touched my heart.

They stagger to their feet and forearm each other. Tanahashi slaps Okada several times. Okada hangs off of him, not going down, but unable to get all the way up. They counter things. Okada kicks out of a cross-armed German suplex and a dragon suplex. He hits the beautiful dropkick. Tanahashi Dragon Screws his leg over the rope and hits three High Fly Flows to finally put him away.

Winner – Hiroshi Tanahashi

Rating – Great

This was about Okada trying and still failing to usurp Tanahashi as the “Ace” of New Japan. I remember a few people were mad that he didn’t go all the way this time, but there was a long game planned by the New Japan bookers, as we’ll see in the next year…


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