New Japan Pro Wrestling
Hyogo Beikomu Gymnasium (Hyogo, Japan)
Finals of the 2014 New Japan Cup tournament
Perhaps lost in all of the bitching from New Japan fans about how the promotion would ever dare book a “stiff” like Bad Luck Fale in the finals of the New Japan Cup, is the reality that this was a very strong match.
This was different then a lot of New Japan main events the past several years because it had to be. You could try to fit Fale into the Okada/Tanahashi or Ishii/Naito or whatever style of match but it’s probably going to fail. Or you can do what Nakamura did which is bump around the ring for Fale’s more American heavyweight friendly offense, effectively utilize the Bullet Club to run interference, and make some well-timed fiery comebacks and get a good match out of it.
I don’t dislike the Bullet Club’s interference in matches involving their members on principal. There is nothing wrong with some well-placed interference. It is more an issue of the Bullet Club’s interference generally not being very effective and subtracting from the flow of the match rather than adding to it. I thought in this match, however, the outside stuff was very effective and garnered some really strong heat.
Fale is fine working his big man, US-style heel offense so long as he doesn’t have to do much in between, which he didn’t in this one. Nakamura was very good in holding everything together. The arm bar attempts looked really good on a big guy like Fale. I wouldn’t have excepted Nakamura’s offense to work as well opposite Fale, but it did.
The big story coming out of the match was Nakamura getting busted open on an errant knee from Fale. He bled all over the place making for a rare (particularly in New Japan) visual. The match would have been fine without the unintentional blood, but is also certainly helped add to the drama and heat. The ending with Nakamura landed several Boma Ye’s was effective in leaving both guys strong coming out of the tournament.
Post-match Nakamura uses his prize for winning the tournament to challenge Tanahashi for the Intercontinental Championship in what will be the pair’s third match in about three months. So of course the same people who moments earlier were complaining about someone different (Fale) being put in the spotlight were now complaining about NJPW always running the same matches. Some people just don’t want to be pleased.
Fale looked good enough here and they put enough energy into pushing him during the Cup that they might as well give him a title match versus Okada in May. I think it could end up being pretty decent and on the same level as this strong match.
Japan Singles | Worthwhile | Quality