728x90 AdSpace

  • Latest Posts

    Saturday, February 24, 2018

    NJPW: New Japan Fallout Down Under Sydney: Kinda a Review, But Not Really

    This isn't my usual #MWM post, instead, it's a bit about my experiences at an NJPW house show in Australia.

    Despite becoming a pretty hardcore wrestling fan in 2012, I never really got around to going to a live wrestling show. Going to a WWE main roster show never really appealed to me, and I had missed a chance to go to an NXT show (the venue was pretty far, and I wasn't too keen on dealing with the size of crowd that that was going to bring). So when I was told that New Japan was about to tour Australia for the first time, I was extremely excited and immediately pounced at the opportunity (context: I live in Australia).

    For the Sydney leg of the tour, the event was held over at the Quaycentre in the Sydney Olympic Park. The turnout was pretty good, with probably about 2,900 people in attendance by my estimation. I wasn't quite prepared to take notes for this event to be perfectly honest, so I hope to be able to relay my experiences with photos.

    KUSHIDA vs. Rocky Romero

    Going into this event, I didn't really know what was on the card save for the last few matches, so I was fully expecting an eight-man or a ten-man tag to open the show. To my surprise, they opened the night with a singles match between KUSHIDA and Rocky Romero. Some comedy during the opening few minutes, with each guy channelling their inner Taguchi, eventually transitioned into a solid match. Romero plays heel during this match, and gets a spattering of boos. KUSHIDA rallies back to win it with the armbar. The crowd was pretty hot for this and the match was really solid, so it was a great opener.

    Jack Bonza vs. Yuji Nagata

    Another singles match; this is great.

    One of the things I was happiest about after watching this show was that they showcased a lot of the Australian talents. The Australian indie scene is really set to blow up, just like the UK scene did a couple of years ago. Coming to this show gave me a chance to get to know who's who in the AU scene, and who I should watch out for. 

    The next match was between the leader of the Red Nation, Jack Bonza and "Blue Justice" Yuji Nagata. The red vs. blue thing amused me more than I think it should have. I do have a very passing familiarity of the Australian talents, but I didn't know who Bonza was. It was a pretty short match, essentially being a squash, but I enjoyed what I saw out of Bonza and I look forward to knowing what the character is all about.

    EVIL & SANADA vs. Mick Moretti & Robbie Eagles

    I had definitely heard of Robbie Eagles before—he had a great match with Will Ospreay during one of Ospreay's visits to the country. Here, he was partnered with Mick Moretti, who seemed like a crazed psycho, but I liked it. They were called the Rivalry, so I assumed they were feuding or had feuded, or something to that effect. They got a good reaction from the crowd, but nothing compared to what the IWGP Tag Team Champions got.

    LIJ played heel in this match, with Moretti playing face in peril and Eagles being the hot tag. Good choice, as Eagles came out with a lot of energy. He eventually runs out of steam and gets hit with a Magic Killer. Moretti makes the save, but eventually gets driven out by SANADA, leaving Moretti to get hit with the EVIL for the pin.

    Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Roa, Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale, & Kenny Omega) vs. TMDK (Damian Slater, Elliot Sexton, Jonah Rock, Marcius Pitt, & Slex)

    So TMDK, or The Mighty Don't Kneel, is one of the major stables in the AU scene. It's where NXT's TM61 made their name, wrestling as a tag team in NOAH under this flag. I thought they looked really cool coming in.

    The Bullet Club made their entrance next, with the Tongans (and honorary Tongan Chase Owens) coming in. A couple of murmurs from the crowd mirrored my thoughts: Why were there only four guys? Did they leave Yujiro on the plane or something?

    Cue Kenny's music. The crowd goes absolutely bonkers.

    A ten-man brawl started the match. I notice Kenny's wearing his ribbon tights, so we're obviously not getting serious Kenny, and why would we? This is a small house show. As I expected, Chase Owens received the brunt of the offense from TMDK. The Aussies moved super well—Jonah Rock was someone whose presence really stood out to me, so I can't wait to see more of that guy. They kept teasing Omega's involvement as Chase took the beating, and eventually he gets tagged in. Some good action on both sides, and Omega wins it for the Bullet Club with the One-Winged Angel on Slater. Really enjoyed this. The atmosphere made it so much better.

    Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer) vs. Juice Robinson & Toa Henare

    I was really looking forward to whatever Suzuki-gun match I would get from this event. I just really wanted to do the whole "Kaze ni Nare" singing bit.

    Lance Archer makes his entrance first for his team. He did his heel thing where he goes around the crowd drinking water and spitting it on them. Really amusing, but I was glad I was far enough back that I wouldn't get splashed.

    Suzuki comes in, his music hits and I go nuts. I kinda know most of the lyrics to the song, so I sing along. While the turnout for the event was good, I had a feeling that a lot of the fans were pretty casual NJPW fans, seeing as they didn't really know when to start clapping for Suzuki's entrance. The "Kaze ni Nare" singing, while loud, wasn't quite as loud as I had hoped it would be.

    Anyway, on to the match itself. Henare played babyface in peril here. He elbowed Suzuki, which is never really a good idea, and got beaten down because of it. Juice got the hot tag, did his whole sequence of punches accompanied by Juice chants. Fun match. Henare eventually gets pinned after getting hit by the Gotch Style Piledriver.

    Tomohiro Ishii vs. Gino "Juicy" Gambino

    I didn't know Juicy Gambino was in the Bullet Club, but hey that's cool.

    They started off with a shoulder block war. The story was that Gambino couldn't quite seem to hit Ishii hard enough, and this frustrated him to comedic effect. Ishii, on the other hand, kept smacking him and smacking him, with Gambino making good babyface comebacks. He falls short however, and falls to an Ishii Brainbuster. Ishii couldn't quite get him all the way up, which I wasn't sure if it was by design or not, but hey, I enjoyed this. I do feel like it would have been nice to give one Aussie guy the win, and this probably would have been the match to do it in.

    The Elite (Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks) vs. CHAOS (Will Ospreay, Jay White, and Kazuchika Okada)

    Here we are, main event time.

    I just wanted to say that going into this show, I didn't expect that Cody Rhodes would get one of the biggest reactions of the night. Holy hell, the heat on this guy was massive. Cody flipped the fans off, threatened fans with chairs, and even stopped in the middle of the match to grab the mic and respond to "We want Brandi" chants by offering to bring her out. He basically told us, "You want her? Well, you don't deserve her!" That got massive heat as well. It was a lot of fun.

    Seeing Okada live was a bit surreal for me though. This guy is pretty much the most prestigious champion in wrestling right now, and seeing him in such a small setting was insane.

    This match was very obviously catered to Western fans, and the fans conducted themselves in a manner similar to an American indie show. This sorta disappointed me for a minute, as I would have preferred the Japanese type of crowd, but I was able to enjoy it for what it was just the same. The Bucks went insane with their Superkick parties, Ospreay went insane with his flips. The dude sitting in front of me in the crowd said he didn't enjoy flippy stuff and in my head, I was like, your loss. The spot of the match has to be the Bucks setting up Okada for the Meltzer Driver, with Ospreay making the save by intercepting with the Oscutter out of midair.

    While stories didn't quite progress in this match, they did continue the larger narratives. CHAOS and Jay White have an uneasy alliance, with White dictating who got tagged at moments in the match. Cody continued his whole "I want to be Kenny Omega" thing, performing Omega's Terminator tope spot, with the crowd reluctantly clapping along, and setting Okada up for the One-Winged Angel. He failed to hit it, though. Okada eventually hits Matt Jackson with the Rainmaker, sealing the win for his team.

    Seeing the three champions pose at the end was really cool, and they all promised that New Japan would be back. I, for one, cannot wait.

    My immediate feeling after watching this show was just the desire to watch more wrestling live. Perhaps impulsively, I pretty much right away bought tickets to an upcoming crossover show between Progress and Pro Wrestling Australia, the main indie promotion here in Sydney. As good as it is watching wrestling on TV or on my devices in the comfort of my room, there's just something about taking in the atmosphere of a live show. Matches that I would find quite boring if I were to watch on a screen suddenly becomes a lot more interesting when you're actually there. The wrestlers have a better chance of showing their charisma and you can get a good feel of who'll catch your attention.

    Overall this was a great first live wrestling show for me, and I definitely look forward to watching more.

    Would you like to see me talk more about shows in Australia? Are you interested in the Aussie indie scene? Leave a comment!


    Brandon Sy is a PhD student in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics currently based in Sydney. Since he wasn't allowed to watch wrestling as a kid, he's been overcompensating ever since. Despite being a huge fan of Japanese wrestling, he still holds a soft spot in his heart for WWE's Kane. He's good for recommending matches from pretty much anywhere, whether it be Japan, Europe, the US or Mexico. He'd be ecstatic if you watched Dragon Gate though.

    • Blogger Comments
    • Facebook Comments
    Item Reviewed: NJPW: New Japan Fallout Down Under Sydney: Kinda a Review, But Not Really Rating: 5 Reviewed By: bodonium
    Scroll to Top