By Bryan Rose, WrestlingObserver.com
Last week on NJPW on AXS TV, the fans voted for Shinsuke Nakamura to take on Hiroshi Tanahashi in the main event of the Tokyo Dome. Tanahashi was victorious that night, defeating Nakamura to secure the championship. Nakamura rebounded, winning the New Japan Cup in March and challenging Tanahashi for his title back. The match was set, and now the question remained if Nakamura could secure the championship he had worked so hard for in the last few years.
This took place April 6, 2014 at Ryogoku Kokugikan. in other words, this is from Invasion Attack 2014.
First match shown was Tetsuya Naito taking on Tetsuya Naito for the NEVER openweight championship. I remember this being an excellent match as Naito and Ishii, in terms of in ring competition, had one of the best feuds of the year. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, they went to the finishing stretch very quickly. Great back and forth sequences that eventually gives way to Ishii after a sliding D and a brainbuster. I had this at the ****1/4 range when it aired live last year, so if you have New Japan World I highly recommend giving it another look as it’s a fantastic match.
In a post match interview, Ishii says that Naito didn’t have time for him, but now he doesn’t have to worry about that anymore. He’s ready to fight, ready for the Intercontinental championship.
They show footage of Nakamura winning the NJPW Cup, beating Bad Luck Fale in the finals. Tanahashi was surprised when Nakamura chose him, saying “Again?” but at the same time, he knew that Nakamura felt he wanted revenge. He wondered about the different hypothesis of a match and says they are limitless.
The funny thing about these matches is that I forget a lot of aspects of the match until I rewatch them again. That sounds kinda bad on paper, but at time there are so many great matches in New Japan it’s hard to keep track of them all. What I remember the most about this Invasion Attack match is that it was better than the Tokyo Dome match. And after watching it, in fact, it was! I loved the work on Nakamura’s leg, the work on Tanahashi’s arm, and everything in between. The last few minutes of the match were white how, with Ranallo and Barnett being awesome in their roles as the match continued on. I have this around ****1/2- if you haven’t seen this yet, do so. It’s one of the best matches I’ve seen between the two, and while not a match of a year contender, it could have been in other years. New Japan’s talent depth right now is so amazing it’s astonishing this probably wouldn’t be in the top 10 matches of last year, but I guess that’s a testament to how great New Japan is at the moment. Nakamura pins Tanahashi after a number of boma yes to win the championship once again.
Tanahashi yells that he is still in the process of development after the match, being carted away backstage.
Daniel Gracie and Rolles Gracie are in the ring after. Boy, that brought back a lot of bad memories. Daniel challenges Nakamura for the Intercontinental championship. Sakuraba comes in the ring and says he owes them, so count him in. Nakamura says this really is CHAOS- what should he do? He agrees to wrestle Daniel and tag with Sakuraba. He says today’s match was super exciting and finishes with yeaohs.
He says the situation now is Chaos. An interviewer asks about the loss to Daniel Gracie in 2002. He says it was his first MMA match, but also the match that led to his success. He says this is a pro wrestling ring. He doesn’t care if he was a black belt in ju jitsu, he has a black belt in wrestling.
Tanahashi says he’d like to challenge for the belt again in the future as he likes the color. He also talks about Nakamura not really liking him at first, but he has changed, and their matches will change as well as the years go on, their matches becoming more technically proficient.
Overall, another fantastic hour of television. Next week, AJ Styles will take on Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP championship, the Young Bucks will take on the Forever Hooligans and Kota Ibushi will take on Ryusuke Taguchi from Wrestling Dontaku 2014.