New Japan Pro Wrestling
Korakuen Hall (Tokyo, Japan)
Taguchi returns after spending months on the shelf with a shoulder injury. You can see the juniors division starting to gain some momentum already this year with Taguchi back, the unresolved issue between Taguchi & Devitt coming back up (Devitt broke up his team with Taguchi to form the Bullet Club), El Desperado being pushed hard as a title contender, and the Young Bucks getting a big push in the junior tag team division. They could still use a couple more high-level guys for the junior divisions, but just the fact that the titles are both being chased while there is another non-title feud going on is a HUGE improvement over 2013.
On the whole this was much better than I anticipated. The Young Bucks were kept in check and were fine with what they did. Taguchi and Devitt was teased. Fale’s ring time was limited though he did lock up with Makabe for the first time since their match at the Toyko Dome. Makabe looked good, with a big lariat on Devitt being particularly nasty. Shelly and KUSHIDA pulled out a couple of cool double teams, including a spot where Shelley did a tope threw KUSHIDA’s legs while KUSHIDA was standing on the ring ropes (he followed up with a dive of his own in short order).
Devitt pinned Taguchi after double stomping him where you don’t want to be double stomped. The Devitt/Taguchi interaction was decent and it seems they are destined for a big show grudge match sometime in the future but Taguchi will probably have to wait a while to truly get his revenge. This exact eight-man runs again on the 2/9 show from Hiroshima. On 2/11 it is Taguchi/Makabe versus Fale/Devitt so at leats there will be less people standing in Taguchi’s way in between him and Devitt.
Not sure you have to go out of you way to watch this, but it was another fine match on the 2nd half of the card.
Trios | Worthwhile | Quality