NJPW Final Power Hall In Tokyo Dome
Kendo Kashin vs Koji Kanemoto
Kendo attacks before the bell. He's such a shit, but Kanemoto is, at this point, maybe the cuntiest dude in NJ. Man, why the fuck are this ref's rope counts so god damn fast? The fuck? Unsurprisingly, this is mostly submission based, with Kanemoto peppering in some kicks. Kanemoto does a super...powerslam..thing. I don't know if it was supposed to be a powerslam or an exploder. Speaking of super moves, Kashin hits a super flying cross arm breaker. I'm not sure that really adds much to the submission part of the move, and it didn't end the match, so whatever. What did end the match was a drag screw...into an arm bar. Decent enough, but I don't enjoy watching Kendo Kashin at all.
Ultimo Dragon vs Shinjiro Otani IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Now, Ultimo won the WCW Cruiserweight Championship a few days prior OUTTA NOWHERE on Nitro, defeating Eddie Guerrero in about 2 minutes with his only offensive move being the dragon sleeper. It was weird, and the title isn't on the line in this match. What is on the line is Ultimo's neck, as he has a history of having extremely botchy matches on the dome shows. He's wearing his dope Mexican flag gear. Maybe it will bring him good luck. Things mostly work for the first few minutes at least. Nothing stood out as particularly bad for him, surprisingly. This match went 17 minutes and I swear nothing happened, but fans seemed pretty into it. Otani won with two dragon suplexes. Title retained.
Tatsumi Fujinami/Osamu Nishimura vs Satoshi Kojima/Manabu Nakanishi
OH SHIT, Nishimura was wearing a nWo shirt under his robe. SWERVE! He threw it into the crowd and he definitely never joined nWo Japan, so I don't know what that was all about. Nish and Nak begin. Why couldn't Kurasawa have been this huge in WCW? Dude is swoll. Nishimura ends up as the puro approximation of the FIP, taking some really painful looking bumps in the process. He looks kind of slight and mild mannered and shit, but when he gets mad, he lays it the fuck in. Just straight up full force punches Nakanishi in the jaw, then kicks the fuck out of his head. Fujinami gets his not quite a hot tag and is immediately rekt. Up to Nishimura to keep this shit alive. Then Kojima hits an avalanche Kanyon Cutter. BANG! This match was definitely a showcase for Nishimura, who pinned Kojima with a northern lights suplex. Pretty enjoyable tag, although Fujinami might as well have not even been out there for it. He was in the ring maybe 3 minutes of the whole match.
Yuji Nagata vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan
This is billed a a WCW vs nWo WAR. How fucking goofy is that? Yuji is considered a WCW wrestler on this NJPW show. Tenzan has wrestled on a good number of WCW shows. Mutoh has been all over WCW shows over the years. And Chono. And a bunch of other guys. There were never "WCW wrestlers". And for a WAR, it's a really bland, heatless match that was kind of like a slightly longer Nitro match. Nagata Lock gets the win.
Things are about to get weird. Riki Choshu was about to retire, so to finish off his month long retirement tour, he'd face off against 5 different opponents in a row in what was called the Riki Road Final Message 5.
Riki Choshu vs Kazuyuki Fujita
Ol' Iron Head himself. A real shooter. I have no doubts that Riki is going to run through him. People talk about HHH or Nash or even Hogan, but Choshu was the KING of booking himself to never lose any face. I would say odds are high he doesn't lose any of these matches. He beats Fujita in under 4 minutes.
Riki Choshu vs Yutaka Yoshie
This is before Yoshie got fat and started wearing pink. I feel like he was picked for this because he's built exactly the same as Choshu. Same size, same height, same body, same gear. He loses in under 2 minutes.
Riki Choshu vs Tatsuhito Takaiwa
Takaiwa loses in even less time than Yoshie.
Riki Choshu vs Takashi Iizuka
Iizuka counters the scorpion death lock with a heel hook in 2 minutes to make Riki tap. This shit is weird.
Riki Choshu vs Jushin Liger
I don't understand the point of this. Why are you having retiring Choshu run through 3 dudes 10 minutes, then lose in 2 minutes, then have him face a junior? The whole thing has basically just been Choshu no selling for guys and hitting lariats. And why the hell is Choshu doing planchas on Liger? Would you believe this: After having 4 matches in a row, Choshu still beat Liger in 5 minutes. After the matches, Antonio Inoki came out to say some words. This whole thing felt less like a retirment celebration and more like a big ego trip.
Don Frye vs Naoya Ogawa
This would be here, but it doesn't exist on NJPW World, or apparently anywhere on the internet. That's really bizarre. Can't even find it on those weird Japanese/Chinese/Korean streaming sites, and those usually have everything even though it's always in dog shit quality. By accounts that I could find, it was a kind of boring and weird very pro wrestling version of shoot style. Or something like that. Frye won via stoppage. Enjoy Frye/Takayama gifs instead:
Shinya Hashimoto vs Dennis Lane
One of those wacky Inoki style "MMA" matches. Dennis Lane is a kickboxer. This goes about a minute and a half before Hashimoto does a take down and Lane suffers some kind of severe leg injury that stopped the match. Can't tell if it was ankle, shin, or knee, but he couldn't stand and the match ended.
Masahiro Chono vs Shiro Koshinaka
First off, I want to point out how fucking gangster it is that Chono retained the rights to sell nWo merch in Japan even 15 years after WWE bought WCW. What a baller move. I guess these two never finished their business from two years ago. Will Chono counter a flying ass with a big boot? #bootstoasses. Surprisingly, this is is fairly methodical, with quite a bit of mat wrestling. Also a lot of familiarity spots. They have known each other for like 20 years, after all. Kosh hits a bunch of powerbombs, but none of them look particularly good due to Chono's weird body type. He dropped one of them. Not Giant/Nash level, but it could have been if there was a little more velocity on it. Chono won with like his 8th Yakuza kick. Strange match. Fans only seemed to come alive for submissions and nWo Japan interference.
Kensuke Sasaki vs Keiji Mutoh IWGP Heavyweight Championship
These two had a DOPE match at last year's event in their alter egos. Can their real selves compete with it? There's a lot of these guys teasing their respective submissions early on, and that seems like it's going to be the story of the match. Is it me or does Mutoh look quite a bit stronger than Sasaki? Mutoh is larger on all fronts. About 15 minutes in, they drop the wear down stuff and start throwing bombs. Mutoh just destroys the leg of Sasaki. Repeated low dropkicks and dragon screws. Figure four! Sasaki's gonna tap, he has to! FIGHTING SPIRITU! Perfect moonsault dead center in the ring. You can't keep Sasaki down. He fights through the pain and attempts the northern lights bomb. Mutoh knees out of it, but Sasaki tries again. Mutoh again knees him, but Sasaki stays with it and hits the move. Then another. That was enough to keep Mutoh down. Title retained. The end of the show is not Kensuke's celebration of a successful title defense at the Tokyo Dome, but Riki Choshu's retirement ceremony. Of course, Choshu did't stay retired. He returned for a match in 2000, then resumed a full time schedule in 2001. THEN he started his own promotion. THEN he started another one. Then kept wrestling for another 17 years after this (as of December 2016).
Another weird dome show. The only match I'd reccomend to go out of your way to see is Sasaki/Mutoh, which started slow but built its way to a pretty dope match. The Choshu stuff really rubbed me the wrong way. Felt like he wanted to make it clear he wasn't retiring because he was too old to compete, so he had to make sure he beat the shit out of 5 much younger guys, then somehow got to usurp Sasaki's title defense celebration.