To begin with, a disclaimer: I have not seen Wrestling Dontaku 2015 yet and this is not a show review. These are my reactions to the results, speculation about what they might bring for the future, etc.
Results courtesy of Joe Lanza and voicesofwrestling.com.
Obviously, spoilers abound.
NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
WRESTLING DONTAKU 2015
3 May 2015
Fukuoka Convention Center, Fukuoka (Japan)
- Jushin Liger, Mascara Dorada, Tiger Mask, & Yuji NagataO def Captain New JapanX, KUSHIDA, Manabu Nakanishi, Ryusuke Taguchi
- Kota Ibushi & Yohei KomatsuO def Tetsuya Naito & Sho TanakaX
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, & Tomoaki HonmaO def Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Cody HallX, & Tama Tonga)
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
Young Bucks (Matt JacksonO & Nick Jackson) def Roppongi Vice© (Rocky Romero & BarettaX) and reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly)
NEW CHAMPS! Young Bucks 42nd Champions!
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Kenny Omega© def Alex Shelley
- The Kingdom (Michael Bennett, Matt Taven, & Maria KanellisO) def Bullet Club (Doc Gallows, Karl Anderson, & Amber GallowsX)
- Hiroshi TanahashiO, Katsyuori Shibata, & Togi Makabe def CHAOS (Kazushi Sakuraba, Tomohiro Ishii, & Toru YanoX)
- Bullet Club (A.J. StylesO & Yujiro) def CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHIX)
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Hirooki Goto def Shinsuke Nakamura©
NEW CHAMP! Hirooki Goto 11th Champion!
The first three matches, for me, don’t show a lot of future importance. Lanza thinks that the Ibushi tag match may have been a set-up for a bit of attention on Komatsu and Tanaka. Bullet Club taking a fall in the first trios match seems to continue the theme of latter-day BizCliz not being quite as invincible as they once were.
The Jr. Tag title match which saw the Young Bucks regain the belts has some implications, not just in New Japan but also for the War of the Worlds/Global Wars shows that I’ve previewed earlier. The quick title reign seems to have established Roppongi Vice as a top team in the Jr. Tag scramble while the Bucks have just re-enforced their claim as the top of the Jr. Tag heap. As Lanza points out, reDRagon has been well protected even in their recent losses, and again they don’t take the fall here. Speaks a hell of a lot about reDRagon’s importance to the Jr. Tag scene at present. Title wise I don’t see this change being extremely significant; I expect someone else will wear those straps soon enough. However, going into the NJPW/ROH Wars shows, this makes Young Bucks the targets rather than the hunters, and gives Roppongi Vice a huge reason to impress in their efforts on that week.
As my following of New Japan has been sketchy, I can’t say how relevant Alex Shelley has been to the singles junior heavyweight scene; last I was watching he really seemed to not be on that side of things. So while I’m sure this was a great match, it feels more like building Kenny Omega than giving him a really strong contender. It’s interesting that foreigners have really been dominating the junior scenes recently; the strongest Japanese hopes here are Ibushi and KUSHIDA, and I’m not sure either are in a position to make a run at Omega right now.
Not expecting much out of The Kingdom/Bullet Club match here. They’ve been playing it for comedy it feels like, which is fine enough, but The Kingdom are currently the IWGP Tag Team Champions and are suffering from a huge lack of credibility. This isn’t the match to give it to them, especially as it’s Maria that got the pin on Amber, not any of the feuding tag guys managing to prove anything. On both sides of the water The Kingdom needs some more definitive wins if they’re going to come out of this title reign looking any better than they came in.
My knowledge of the issues between these guys in the Tanahashi trios is very limited, really limited to what I’ve gleaned from results skimming. Tanahashi getting his pin on Yano continues their resumed cheating rivalry (if I remember correctly they were doing this a few years ago with Yano stealing Tanahashi’s heavyweight belt). Makabe and Ishii were there to hit the hell out of each other. I’m not really sure why they hate each other so much but they’ve traded the NEVER belt and had some serious slugfests. Shibata and Sakuraba I think used to tag, I guess that broke up. Sorry I don’t really have more here but it doesn’t seem a match really designed to boost anybody’s level, just to keep these rivalries going.
Bullet Club beating CHAOS seems somewhat of a given; I think CHAOS has consistently been backfooted in this feud. Apparently they did an angle afterward where Okada lifted the IWGP strap but, judging just on hearsay, I can’t see how that’d be very effective considering he just lost. Still, that’s the obvious match being built to and Styles continues to look dominant going into it.
The night’s main event features what I consider to be a shock upset but what I suspect most New Japan diehards half-expected to happen. Mostly, I would have thought that Nakamura was safe to carry the Intercontinental title over to the United States for the Wars shows. It does seem like what the title was created for, given its genesis in NJPW’s American tour-nament. I like Goto fine but I don’t know much about his trajectory here. Nakamura’s stock won’t really drop here but I’m sure he’ll be looking to rebuild when he comes stateside.
Bottom Line: It seems like a show worth catching from Lanza’s review. Things are somewhat changed around title-wise for the upcoming NJPW/ROH shows but since those are fairly cold story-wise I don’t think it’ll affect much. For New Japan I’d prefer to wait and see; as I’ve admitted (about 90 times) that my NJPW story knowledge is weak I’d like to get more of a feel for it before speaking more.