NJPW: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi (January 4, 2016)

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

Who cares what they do at the beginning? Tanahashi works the leg, that’s the important part. Then Okada dropkicks him off the apron to the floor. He throws him over the guardrail and does a running crossbody over it onto him. Okada keeps the pressure on in the ring for a while. Tanahashi comes back with some leg attacks and sends Okada to the floor. Looks like we’ll have the obligatory High Fly Flow to the floor, but no, Okada meets him and tries to Samoan drop him. Tanahashi ends up pulling out a Dragon Screw through the…metal things that hold the turnbuckles to the ring posts. (What are those called? How can I not know this?) Then there’s a Sling Blade on the apron and the High Fly Flow to the floor.

Okada is slow to beat the count, but he barely does. He wouldn’t have lost the title by countout, but this is about more than the title. Tanahashi does a second-rope High Fly Flow to Okada’s legs.  The legwork comes into play when Okada does the Kryptonite Krunch over his knee and hurts himself. Okada still fires away with front dropkicks from all positions, but can’t finish Tanahashi. The big elbow drop leads to a Rainmaker attempt, but Tanahashi dodges, catches a dropkick, and puts on a cloverleaf. Okada makes it to the ropes.

Okada avoids a High Fly Flow. Tanahashi kicks out of the Rainmaker. Okada does the High Fly Flow, but Tanahashi kicks out. Tanahashi hits a Rainmaker (of course), and they’re both down. Tanahashi kicks at Okada’s leg. He counters a Rainmaker into a Sling Blade and dragon suplex, but no good. Okada kicks out of a pair of High Fly Flows, and when Tanahashi goes for another, Okada dropkicks him in the air.

Tanahashi blocks a suplex, slaps Okada, and gets hit with the beautiful dropkick. Tanahashi slaps Okada to block the Rainmaker, but Okada won’t let go of his arm (a great metaphor for the whole story of their rivalry, which the camera makes sure to get a close up on). Okada lariats him twice while holding the arm (so I guess two mini-Rainmakers)  and picks him up to hit the full Rainmaker and finally get the pinfall victory over Tanahashi at the Dome.

Winner – Kazuchika Okada

Rating – Great

And there you have it. There were a couple little hiccups (blink and you might miss them), but it’s hard to say that this match is better or worse than either of the other two. It’s like saying that The Two Towers is better than Return of the King when they’re ultimately just two parts of the same book (Lord of the Rings was originally meant to be one huge book, you know). It’s a great story, and honestly, after watching this trilogy, it’s going to be hard to go back to watching WWE stuff for me. At least I don’t have to review that.

I did it! I watched all the Tokyo Dome main events! And just in time, because today is January 4th, and Okada is main eventing with Kenny Omega tonight for the IWGP Heavyweight title. I don’t when or if I’ll be able to watch it, but it should be something else.


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