The SmarK Rant for New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS – 04.16.22
Hey, the Fight Network is on free preview up here again, so I put a few shows on the DVR for something different.
Taped from Chicago, IL, which is the Windy City Riot show, actually.
Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Matt “Aiden English” Rehwoldt
Tomohiro Ishii v. Minoru Suzuki
Joined in progress with them smacking the shit out of each other with forearms, until Ishii drops first. Suzuki hits him with a running kick, but Ishii hulks up and no-sells it, then fires back with lariats, and Suzuki won’t go down off that either. So they just slap each other silly and both guys land in the corners. So they crawl to the middle and headbutt each other and then trade forearms, but Suzuki slugs him down and we take a break. Back with Suzuki throwing sick headbutts, like legit ones, and he stomps on his face and gets two. That sets up the Gotch piledriver, but Ishii lowers his center of gravity and won’t go up, backdropping out of it instead. Ishii smashes him with a headbutt and man I wish they’d knock that off, and both guys are out. Ishii is up with a pair of lariats, but Suzuki pops right back up, so Ishii gets another one, and that only gets one. Suzuki slugs back and hits the enzuigiri, but Ishii pops up with the sliding lariat for two. Ishii tries the brainbuster and Suzuki reverses out for the choke, but Ishii powers out again. So Suzuki boots him down and tries another piledriver, but Ishii escapes and hits more headbutts to put him down again. Brainbuster finishes for Ishii at 12:00 shown. This was kind of terrifying but that’s what you’re getting into with them. ***3/4
Jon Moxley v. Will Ospreay
Ospreay decides to confront Mox on the way to the ring, but that works out badly for him and Moxley beats on him into the ring. Mox goes up and Will chops him down to the floor, however, and follows with a corkscrew dive off the top before sending him into the railing and busting him open with a nasty chairshot. What am I watching, here, Dynamite? We take a break and return with Ospreay beating on the cut in the ring, but Mox fights back with chops until Ospreay cuts him off with a spinning backbreaker for two. Ospreay tries the Oz-cutter but Moxley catches him with a german suplex and then dropkicks him to the floor, resulting in Ospreay hitting his head on the railing and getting busted open as well. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him blade before. Back in, Moxley slugs away in the corner to work on the cut and hits the drop suplex for two. They slug it out with forearms, but Ospreay hits the handspring into the enzuigiri and follows with the big boot in the corner. To the top for a forearm, and that gets two. Mox escapes the Stormbreaker and drops him with a german suplex, and then counters a springboard forearm with his own forearm to the face as we take another break. They head to the apron and Ospreay hits an Oz-cutter on the apron, which of course is the HARDEST PART OF THE RING, and he goes up again and follows with a Randy Savage flying elbow from the top and over the barricade, putting Moxley through a table in the front row. Well that was certainly macho. And now Moxley is somehow bleeding even more. Back in, Ospreay hits a springboard dropkick and follows with a shooting star press, but Moxley pops up with a Paradigm Shift and both guys are out. They slug it out with forearms and Moxley unloads with a lariat for one, but Ospreay gets fired up and they both hit each other with lariats until they both drop. This is a drastically different match than I’ve seen from Ospreay, and good on him for switching it up. Mox pops up with a piledriver, but Ospreay spins up into a powerbomb for two in an incredible reversal. Ospreay tries the Hidden Blade, but Moxley wraps him up and hits him with elbows before sinking in the choke. Ospreay flips out of that and hits the Oz-cutter for two. Ospreay goes for blood now and smashes elbows into Moxley’s neck while trying for a stoppage, but Moxley pops up with another lariat and curb stomps him for two. And Ospreay flips off the crowd while kicking out. Ospreay flips out of the Death Rider and hits the enzuigiri, and then cradles for two. Hidden Blade elbow gets two. Stormbreaker is reversed to the Paradigm Shift, and then he hangs on and turns it onto the Death Rider to finish at 19:45, although Ospreay seemingly kicked out at two. And they kind of keep going with Moxley sinking in the choke and Ospreay tapping, but the ref had already called for the bell. Apaprently this is kind of Will’s whole deal now, getting screwed by the refs. A pretty incredible fight from someone you wouldn’t expect. ****1/2
Afterwards, Moxley puts over the guts and balls of Ospreay, which is more than he say for TANAHASHI. OH NO HE DIDN’T! And then he promises to drag Tanahashi to Washington by HIS STUPID PONYTAIL. Oh man, them’s fighting words.
Not sure what the rest of the show was like, but for a one-hour show on free TV, there wasn’t much to complain about here. This was pretty great.