AXS TV New Japan Pro Wrestling (May 27th, 2016): Spoiler-Free Review

This will be a review of the New Japan Pro Wrestling May 27th AXS TV show, you’re wondering how this is a review of a show that’s happening in 3 weeks, right? Well, AXS TV have decided to let us watch and review the show early! This edition features the beginning of AXS’ coverage of the G1 Climax.

“The one-of-a-kind talent” Hiroshi Tanahashi opens the show for us, mentioning that the following three matches took place July 20th, 2015 in Hokkaido. We then get some highlights from Tetsuya Naito vs Bad Luck Fale, Katsuyori Shibata vs AJ Styles, and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kota Ibushi.

Block A: Bad Luck Fale vs Tetsuya Naito

We start off with Bad Luck Fale vs Tetsuya Naito, a few weeks ago on AXS, we saw a completely different Tetsuya Naito than we’ve seen, if you’ve been watching the series since the beginning, you remember Naito in the co-main event of Wrestle Kingdom 8, losing to the man who is currently the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, and was the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, “The Rainmaker” Kazuchika Okada. Naito joined the faction known as “Los Ingobernables” (The Ungovernables) in Consejo Mundial de Lucha Libre recently, and now has a completely new attitude in New Japan Pro Wrestling. Onto the match itself, it’s the power of Bullet Club member Bad Luck Fale vs the speed of Los Ingobernables member Tetsuya Naito. This was a good match from what we saw of it, unfortunately it was cut quite a bit to show more of the next two matches (Get NJPW World for just 999 yen a month to watch in full). Find out if the Bullet Club member or the Los Ingobernables member takes the first match of the most prestigious tournament in all of professional wrestling May 27th, on AXS TV!

Block A: Katsuyori Shibata vs AJ Styles

On the last edition of the show, we saw AJ Styles lose the IWGP Heavyweight Championship to Kazuchika Okada, now, we see him in the G1 Climax, and if he wins, he gets a possible title shot in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 10! His first opponent of the G1 is not someone to take lightly, though, if you remember last year’s G1 Climax, Shibata pinned Styles! The match itself though, we see lots of strikes from both men, and Shibata looks to pin Styles with a PK again, and Styles looks to win with the Styles Clash! This was a good match, as you would expect from AJ Styles and Katsuyori Shibata, and both try to win their first match in the G1, and ultimately look to win the whole thing and win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship in the Tokyo Dome! It would be Styles’ 3rd IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and it would be Shibata’s first singles championship in New Japan Pro Wrestling! Find out who picks up the 2 points when New Japan Pro Wrestling returns to AXS TV, May 27th!

We then get a flashback interview with the “Ace of the Universe” Hiroshi Tanahashi, who talks about winning in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 9, but losing it to AJ Styles the next month. He also brings up his feud with Toru Yano. He says he’s going to comeback in 2015 by winning the G1 Climax, he talks about how good Kota Ibushi is, and brings up his match with Shinsuke Nakamura at WK9. He says that he was focused on “being himself” during this match.

Block A: Kota Ibushi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

To end off this episode of AXS TV’s New Japan Pro Wrestling, we get Kota Ibushi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi in their first ever match! Both of these two use aerial finishers, Kota Ibushi with the Phoenix Splash, and Hiroshi Tanahashi with the High Fly Flow. For the actual match, early on, Hiroshi Tanahashi damages Ibushi’s leg with Dragon Screw Legwhips, Cloverleafs, and much more, Ibushi loses power while trying to kick Tanahashi, due to this. We see lots of highflying and karate style strikes from Ibushi, as expected, and Tanahashi uses his technical ability against Ibushi, as expected. The outcome is an amazing match and that isn’t very surprising considering it was Kota Ibushi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi! Find out who wins when NJPW returns to AXS TV!

Overall Thoughts

A very good start to AXS’ coverage of the G1 Climax, everything on the show was good, and it’s definitely worth watching, so watch it, May 27th. Josh Barnett and Jim Ross are as  good as always, especially for new viewers who want to get into New Japan Pro Wrestling.

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