New Year Dash is New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s version of WWE’s night after WrestleMania. The fall out of the night before and the feud to come are all highlighted throughout the show. What surprises will happen this year? Let’s find out.
Nagata, Tenzan, Nakanishi & Kojima def. Oka, Yagi, Umino & Narita @ 7:10 via Kojima lariat on Umino
The young lions tried to start their 2018 on the right foot with a win. The attacked all the veterans from behind and dumped all but Tenzan to the outside. Unfortunately, once all the veterans gained their composuer, the young lions paid the price. Fine match but wasn’t anything different than we saw from this pairing last year.
Iizuka, Taichi, Kanemaru, Deperado & Taka def. Liger, Tiger, Makabe, Henare & Kawato @ 8:49 via Desperado Pinche Loco on Kawato
Lots of the same ‘ol typical Suzuki-Gun brawling on the outside. Makabe tried to maintain order but was unable. Tiger, Liger and Kawato hit a series of their finishers onto Desperado but the pin was broken up, leading to Suzuki-Gun isolating Kawato and picking up the win. Post-match, Kawato is hit with Iizuka’s Iron Fingers from Hell. New year, same match.
Jay White def. Katsuya Kitamura @ 7:31 via Blade Runner
Alright, something new to sink our teeth into. They started off great by having White cut off Kitamura’s offense by attacking the leg to a great amount of jeers. Ultimately they ended up going about two minutes longer than they should have. Kitamura had one more comeback than he should have and they resulted in a flat finish. White gave the young lion a little too much offense.
Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks def. Cheeseburger & Roppongi 3K @ 11:19 via Meltzer Driver on Cheeseburger
The goofy comedy match you’d expect out of Kenny and the Bucks at Korakuen. Matt and Yoh played up their back injuries from yesterday and Kenny was all bandaged up. Silly little match, nothing significant but the type of thing fans of the Bucks get a kick out of seeing. I’ve become increasingly impressed with Sho. The way he carries himself like a big deal is awesome.
Cody, Scurll, Yujiro, Owens & Leo def Ibushi, KUSHIDA, Juice, Taguchi & Finlay @ 13:18 via Cody American Nightmare on Finlay
The match was good but this was all about the post-match. As for the match, this was clearly the best of the show to this point. There was a lot of goofiness mixed with strong, fun wrestling. Now for the post-match. After Cody got the win, he and Bullet Club went after Ibushi. Just as Cody was about to use a chair, Omega rushed in for the save. He sent his stable to the back and took the mic. His message was that he was tired of the in-fighting occurring within Bullet Club and the solution to their problems is Jay White. He invited Jay to come out and join the Bullet Club. Without much hesitation, Jay put the shirt on and gave Omega a hug. He then transitioned the hug into the Blade Runner and took the shirt off. Omega was unable to recruit the Switchblade, who is now the next challenger for the US Championship. These are the types of moments that make people tune into New Year Dash. Real good, memorable moment.
Tensions boil over once again within the #BulletClub, as @CodyRhodes and @KennyOmegamanX have a heated exchange over how to attend to unfinished business! Watch Now（English Commentary）▶︎https://t.co/fEh4jA7fML#njpw #njpwworld #njdash pic.twitter.com/GHO6MqLyn6
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) January 5, 2018
NEVER 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match
Fale, Tama & Tanga def. Ishii, Yano & Beretta (c) @ 14:39 via Tama Gun Stun on Beretta
A rematch of yesterday’s gauntlet finals, the titles swap yet again. Typical of this championship, this is just a filler title to make shows feel more significant than they truly are. The match itself was good, on par of yesterday’s match, not special but a good match when compared to anything else on this show. Beretta and Tama have now traded pins on back-to-back nights. This may signal a New Japan Cup match between the two in March.
Suzuki, Sabre, Archer & Smith def. Tanahashi, Elgin, Hanson & Rowe @ 11:36 via Killer Bomb on Hanson
Suzuki debuted his newly clean-shaved head, a real bizarre sight to see. It looks like his next target is Tanahashi and let me tell you, I’m ALL IN on that one. For the second straight night War Machine are defeated, meaning those NXT rumors are likely true and this was their last tour with New Japan. Another good match, this show has hit a groove after the White/Kitamura match. Nothing has been blow away but plenty of matches good enough to make the show pass with relative ease. Post-match Suzuki-Gun beat down Tanahashi as Suzuki holds the IC belt high. Sign me up!
Naito, EVIL, SANADA, Hiromu & BUSHI def. Okada, Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Ospreay & Gedo @ 13:50 via Naito Destino on YOSHI-HASHI
Hell of a post-match in this one to close out the show. Once Naito picked up the win, Hiromu delivered Time Bomb to Ospreay, EVIL gave EVIL to Goto and SANADA locked Skull End on Okada. Those very well end up being the feuds to come in the near future. BUT THAT’S NOT ALL! After his speech, Chris Jericho attacks Naito from behind. The two have a big pull apart brawl to end the show. People were wondering where Naito goes after the loss to Okada and now we have the answer. Both of Wrestle Kingdom’s unsuccessful main event challengers are destined to have a meeting. Very cool ending to thi year’s New Year Dash.
ALPHA ATTACKS NAITO!! pic.twitter.com/jB5GaNPbgT
— njpw_global (@njpwglobal) January 5, 2018
Each year the purpose of the New Year Dash is to reset from the year previous and set up the current year’s feuds. Tonight we got the set up of Naito/Jericho, Tanahashi/Suzuki, Omega/White, Ospreay/Hiromu as well as possible Goto/EVIL and Okada/SANADA matches.
None of the matches I’ll recommend but the post-matches of the Cody, Tanahashi and Naito matches are must-see as we get a look into the upcoming feud for New Japan Pro-Wrestling.