NJPW: Masahiro Chono and Keiji Muto vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima (January 4, 2007)

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

This is interpromotional in the sense that Muto and Kojima were in All Japan at the time, though they both had been in New Japan until 2002. So this is like a reunion of two classic teams.

This is a lot better than the previous year’s match even though it also don’t follow the standard tag formula. Muto takes out Kojima and Tenzan with shining wizards immediately, and they have to regroup. They come back with some offense for a bit, but Chono and Muto sort of make them look like fools by outsmarting them and putting them in each other’s signature holds (Muto with an STF, Chono with a figure four). TenKoji do get some shine back by beating on the old dudes. Despite their history as a team, Tenzan seems to really go after Chono, stomping him on the outside.

I think everyone uses all of their respective signature moves. The last several minutes really tell the story of the match when TenKoji throw Muto from the ring and unload on Chono. They hit him with with an elevated Koji Cutter and a Kojima lariat. Tenzan plants him with a Tenzan Tombstone Driver, and it’s as good as over, but Tenzan pulls Chono up at two. Chono then kicks out after Tenzan’s moonsault, and Muto comes back in so the old guys can get their revenge. They sandwich Tenzan between a Shining Wizard and a Shining Yakuza kick, and then Tenzan taps to the STF while Kojima is in Muto’s figure four.

Winners – Masahiro Chono and Keiji Muto

Rating – Good

Oh, and after the match, they put on headbands in tribute to the late Shinya Hashimoto.

NJPW: Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Shiro Koshinaka and Takao Omori(January 4, 2006)

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

(Update: Turns out this wasn’t the main event of this show. For whatever reason, New Japan World doesn’t have the real main event of Brock Lesnar vs. Shinsuke Nakamura.)

This is the first – and probably only – one of these matches that features a wrestler I’ve seen in person. I saw Takao Omori wrestle in Harley Race’s World League Wrestling as champion at least once. I got his autograph on a WLW water bottle, but I don’t think I got a photo with him.

This match is pretty dull for the most part. I don’t find any of these guys all that interesting. Maybe in their respective primes, Chono and Tenzan were a good team, but I think I prefer Tenzan and Kojima together. I’ve never liked Koshinaka’s pants or his butt-based offense. And despite being the first Japanese wrestler I ever saw live, Omori has always just been kinda there to me.

It doesn’t help that they don’t work the standard tag formula. It seems like they will once Omori piledrives Tenzan on the apron (his head totally misses) and does a running Axe Bomber on the ramp. Tenzan looks to be in perfect condition to be the babyface in peril. But, no, he tags out in a few minutes to little reaction, and Chono just comes in with some stomps.

From there, they just do moves to each other, some of which get pops. The finishing stretch is fine, and the crowd’s into parts of it, but it doesn’t seem like they’ve done anything to earn anyone caring. There’s no story, no teases, and no payoffs. Chono pins Koshinaka with a shining Yakuza kick as Koshinaka runs in for one of his butt bumps. Big deal.

Winners – Chono and Tenzan

Rating – Bad