New Year Dash usually starts off the year’s storylines. Did New Japan do enough to keep people’s attention for the New Beginnings tour? Valentin let’s us all know.
Here is a question I have been asking myself since January 5th. Was NJPW’s New Year Dash event lackluster ? It was kind of my feeling after what I thought was a tremendous Wrestle Kingdom event. Without expecting a show of the same level, I had been quite used to some big moments happening on the day following the Dome event.
Therefore, let’s take a look back at what happened at New Year Dash and see if this is a question worthy of being asked.
The first thing I want to say is that, again, on an undercard some people would see as nothing really interesting, New Japan not only gave us good matches, but some events which spiced things up a bit and caught people’s attention, mine included. We had the continuity of Chuckie T beating his opponents up with chairs, costing wins to his team with Beretta. Where does that lead to ? Is it linked to the “mole” inside of CHAOS that Jay White mentioned a few months ago ? Also, it is likely that Juice Robinson’s first defense in his second reign as US champion happens against Beretta, most likely in the New Beginning in USA event. After all, the CHAOS member faced off with the champion during Robinson’s post match press conference after regaining the title.
We had a very good three on three match between Yuji Nagata, Jeff Cobb and KUSHIDA, facing Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto and Will Ospreay, the new NEVER Openweight champion. Outside of the pure quality of the match, we witnessed Nagata and Ishii going at it during and after the bell rang. Who knows if that will lead to a match or if there was an actual beef between the two men. I will gladly take a Ishii vs Nagata match, though.
The last “big” thing which happened during the undercard was the NEVER Openweight 6-man championship match between Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and Taiji Ishimori facing Togi Makabe, Toru Yano and Ryusuke Taguchi (who won the gauntlet match the day before). The champ retains, but we got to see both Yujiro Takahashi and Chase Owens rejoin Bullet Club, as they helped the champions keeping their titles.
One last thing I have to mention because this has been going on for a while as well, Roppongi 3K (with Rocky Romero) grabbed another win against Killer Elite Squad and Takashi Lizuka. Then again, who knows if that’s going to lead to something in the future, but these matches have been quite entertaining, so can we really ask for more ?
Now it’s time to talk about the more serious matter, as first with the semi-main event, we had yet another Los Ingobernables de Japon vs Suzuki-Gun five on five match. The faction lead by Naito may be full of championships, it didn’t stop their opponents from beating them in the most Suzuki-Gun fashion possible. The biggest fallout of this match is that we will have Tetsuya Naito defending the IWGP Intercontinental championship against Taichi. I personally see this match as a test for Taichi, after giving more than decent performances against Hirooki Goto and Will Ospreay around the NEVER Openweight championship not that long ago.
We also get two tag team matches, as El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru will challenge Shingo Takagi & BUSHI for the Junior Heavyweight tag team championships.
Lastly, and definitely not the least, EVIL & SANADA will face off against Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr, first in singles matches being SANADA vs Suzuki, and EVIL vs ZSJ. I was not a big fan of going back to Suzuki-Gun and LIJ feuding together, but the match-ups are actually more than appealing, so in the end, this is a good point.
Finally, the main event was a three on three CHAOS featuring Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bullet Club match. Teaming with the new IWGP Heavyweight champion ? Kazuchika Okada and a returning Yoshi-Hashi. The trio would face Jay White, Gedo, and Bad Luck Fale. Let’s get this out of the way : Yoshi’s return didn’t feel special at all. Not only that, but guess who took the pin for the losing team ?
And don’t get me wrong, he got more than a decent showing during the match, but taking the pin on your return match feels odd. I wasn’t even expecting a huge upset like Yoshi pinning Jay White, but what does that mean for him? Back to being CHAOS’ Chase Owens and be some sort of filler guy with flashes of hope in the G1 ?
That’s quite disappointing.
Now the other big thing coming out of this match, and the biggest thing coming out of this event is the continuation of the Jay White vs Hiroshi Tanahashi feud. The two men will face off in Osaka for the Heavyweight championship, and this match is incredibly uncertain. On one hand, you kind of expect Tanahashi to retain on his first defense, but on the other hand, Jay White has been sneaking up wins left and right and kept growing and becoming better. If anyone could pull off the upset, that’s the main who pinned Kazuchika Okada in the Tokyo Dome. Let’s not forget that, last year at New Beginning (In Sapporo, that time), the Switchblade pulled of what was, at the time, nearly unthinkable, as he defeated Kenny Omega to claim the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship.
With all of that in mind… Was New Year Dash really lackluster ? I will say no because some of the top matches for the New Beginning tour are something I personally look out for a lot, but the event itself had this big moment feel I missed compared to previous years. The show still gave what I objectively think is enough, I know I wouldn’t have minded if we got a little bit more.
Now tell me, what did you think of this year’s New Year Dash ? Are you looking out to the New Beginning events ?
Andrew’s Impact Wrestling YouTube Ratings & Analysis (3/22/2019)
Andrew tales a look at the YouTube performance for this week’s IMPACT! How did it match up after disappointing Twitch views?
A look at the YouTube performance for this week’s IMPACT!
As we all know, social media and other outlets have become a huge means of drawing in interaction and viewers for wrestling. Most people will point to television ratings like they did during the Monday Night Wars in the late 1990’s, however that can be skewed with so many various means of watching today that do not include cable television.
As you’ve become accustomed to this with WWE product, let’s continue the Impact YouTube! Here is this week’s IMPACT YouTube Report, compiled approximately 48 hours after IMPACT went off the air:
- The VIOLENT Debut of a New Member of oVe! | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 353k
- Top 5 Must-See Moments from IMPACT Wrestling for Mar 22, 2019 | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 99k
- Johnny & Taya Explain Their Despicable Betrayal of Brian Cage | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 93k
- Scarlett Bordeaux vs Glenn Gilbertti NEXT WEEK on IMPACT Wrestling: Against All Odds! – 50k
- Gail Kim Interrupted by a VICIOUS Brawl Between LAX & Lucha Bros! | IMPACT! Highlights Mar 22, 2019 – 47k
Well…last week and this week have surprised me. Not only for what ranked first, but by how much. I didn’t realize Sawyer Fulton had that much of a following, or again, the tag line is enticing with Debut and Violent. But either way, Sami and oVe have been a solid proven commodity for generating buzz and attention, so I suppose after the initial shock of how many people clicked it, it makes some sense. But damn, 3 times as many views as second place. Wow.
The Top 5 truncated highlight reel comes in second. These always seem to do fairly well, and good for them? Not much to extrapolate from people enjoying abridged versions of things. Ask Team Four Star or Little Kuriboh, abridged things are great.
For as monotone as he is, and how much the IWC reaction is basically what he was complaining about in his promo, he still keeps pulling good numbers. Johnny does cut a better promo as a heel, but he’s still hard to sit through. But hey, it’s bringing eyeballs, so that’s something.
Scarlett and Glenn promo video gets a little love. Scarlett is one of the hottest things in wrestling currently and Glenn does have a degree of celebrity, as well as being great in his role. Even though the only thing that makes sense is Scarlett winning next week, Glenn has been a great addition to the show this past month.
Gail Gail Gail, well now. Gail is one of the best female wrestlers ever, and LAX/Lucha Bros decided to brawl all in the same video. There’s so much to peak a little interest that it makes complete sense why it made the Top 5. Lucha Bros are on fire currently, LAX is always a draw and Gail is Gail, so I’m a little surprised this wasn’t higher.
- 2.1.2019 – 311,000
- 2.8.2019 – 293,000
- 2.15.2019 – 396,000
- 2.22.2019 – 368,000
- 3.1.2019 – 354,000
- 3.8.2019 – 439,000
- 3.15.2019 – 616,000
- 3.22.2019 – 642,000
Again we see a jump in numbers. Since the show did it’s lowest Twitch views of the year, I guess it makes sense that more people would be going to YouTube to try and catch up since there is no legal VOD service unless you DVR/On Demand the show from Pursuit…but you’d need Pursuit in the first place.
So with all that, the number could’ve been higher since the NCAA tournament was in full swing, thus distracting some potential viewers. All in all, this is nice to see interest in Impact, though it waned, didn’t go away completely…and seems to be bouncing back a little. With such a limited TV reach and hit or miss Twitch numbers, any amount of increased interest is a positive step.
As is tradition, the number 1 video:
Andrew’s New Japan Cup 2019 Final Day Ratings & Analysis
New Japan Cup comes to an end! SANADA versus OKADA! Who goes to MSG? How was the rest of the show?
New Japan Cup comes to an end! SANADA versus OKADA! Who goes to MSG? How was the rest of the show?
Okada was the favorite going into this Cup since he’s…well…Okada. Many close calls and rough matches brought up the question of who would meet him in the Finals. SANADA overcame Minoru Suzuki, Hirooki Goto, Colt Cabana and Hiroshi Tanahashi to get here. Even though Okada is the favorite, SANADA has done a lot to establish himself in this tournament.
That’s enough typing, let’s see how the show went.
- Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi vs Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura: Nagata wins via Nagata Lock 2 @6:30 – **
- Michael Elgin, Toa Henare & Colt Cabana vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Shota Umino: Elgin wins via Elgin Bomb @8:20 – ** 1/4
- Minoru Suzuki & Killer Elite Squad vs Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe & Toru Yano: Suzuki-Gun wins via Killer Bomb @7:30 – ** 1/2
- Tomohiro Ishii, Ren Narita, Ryusuke Taguchi & Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, EVIL & Shingo Takagi: Shingo wins via Pumping Bomber @11:40 – *** 1/4
- Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay: Taichi wins via Gedo Clutch @10:20 – ***
- Mikey Nicholls, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs Hikuleo, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White: White wins via Blade Runner @9:45 – ***
- IWGP US Title Match: Juice Robinson (c) vs Chase Owens: Juice retains via Pulp Friction @22:10 – ***
- NJ Cup Finals: Kazuchika Okada vs SANADA: Okada wins via Rainmaker @33:05 – *****
We get the usual veterans versus Young Lion match. You could tell the length of the New Japan tour wore on the veterans a little since early on the moves were slow and a little sloppy. But once the Young Lions turned up the aggression, the Veterans put them in their place well enough.
Solid 6 man action. TenCozy worked with Colt and Henare mainly, then when Elgin and Umino got tagged in, there was an almost obvious sense of “oh okay, the finish will be soon”. Shota keeps showing great fire and resilience, he must be slated to go on an excursion soon. He’s the most elevated Young Lion at the moment, and the fans really do seem to appreciate him.
Suzuki-Gun pick up the win in a rather one sided affair. Makabe had a small flurry, but the usual outside of the ring shenanigans and overpowering the opponents put the match away pretty easily for Suzuki-Gun. With a win over two-thirds of the NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag champions, the MSG could schedule Taguchi Japan vs Suzuki-Gun. However, it seems Lance Archer wants to murder Rocky Romero in a cage…so I’m not sure if that’s foreshadowing.
Well now, we get a few nice wrinkles here. Ibushi and Naito are headed for an Intercontinental Championship match, and there’s a lot of good tension there. Ishii didn’t really want to participate with Taguchi’s bullshit, but once EVIL hit him on the apron there was a fire started in Ishii, aimed directly at EVIL’s head. Ren Narita even got some good offense in for a Young Lion against Shingo. However, after a big pile up in the ring, Shingo ducks under a lariat from Ren Narita and lands Pumping Bomber with authority. Good match, and a lot of tension to build towards matches.
Zack and Tanahashi have heat from the fact Tanahashi beat him in the New Japan Cup. Taichi apparently wants a shot at Ospreay for the NEVER, but Ospreay told him Jeff Cobb comes first, then we’ll see. So after a solid match and Taichi spinning the ref around, he connects with a low blow on Ospreay and then applies the Gedo Clutch for the pinfall victory. So Taichi should be in line for a future shot.
This was a fine match. Not a lot of weight beyond Goto being perceived as a possible threat for White. YOSHI-HASHI continued to show some of the aggression he found in the New Japan Cup, Mikey Nicholls looked…like he’s still getting used to Chaos/New Japan. Early tandem moves looked awkward like he was a step behind or in the wrong spot. It’ll get better with time of course, but he was noticeably out of place. Goto had a nice false hope moment went YOSHI bailed him out with an Axe Bomber on Jay, Goto hit the Ushigoroshi and went for GTR, but Jay countered it into a Blade Runner for the 1-2-3. So in typical Goto fashion, close, but no cigar.
We got to see a rare side of Juice Robinson with this match. He slid in and immediately starting throwing bombs with Chase. Juice doesn’t often lose his cool, but the matches are usually interesting when he’s not as goofy and aloof. Chase had some great moments where he swept Juice’s legs on the top rope and hung him over the turnbuckles for a nice Running Kneelift. But this turned into one of those heavy interference matches. Jado was annoying very early on, Red Shoes was distracted or bumped constantly and even Bad Luck Fale came in and hit a Spear on Juice. Malfunction at the junction though when Chase tried to hit Juice with title and missed, hitting Fale (which was just a bad looking spot anyway). So Juice overcame the odds, but the excessive interference made me go from invested, to not caring pretty quickly. Also Mikey Nicholls making the save for Juice is…odd…since Mikey is Chaos and Juice is not. This whole match went from being pretty solid, to benefiting from a good beginning but the end was marred in garbage.
WOW! This was a fantastic match that felt like it told the story of their perception. SANADA was on the receiving end of Okada’s offense for the first about third of the match. SANADA hit a few desperation moves, Dropkicks, Misawa Feint into Cannonball off the apron, even a big Rolling Forearm to stop the Rolling Rainmaker at one point. Hell SANADA even pulled out the Tiger Suplex, so there was a lot of Misawa nods from SANADA’s offense, and I’m not sure if there’s a deeper story. SANADA and Okada took turns trying one another’s moves, but never successfully pulling off either. The crowd was solidly behind SANADA for most of the match, and it seemed to play well for Okada to pull out a few more arrogant moves, like a Draping DDT from the barrier. This was great, and SANADA wasn’t as desperate to throw Moonsaults at Okada, but he still wasn’t able to land one. SANADA did attempt a Shiranui (most likely to get in position for Skull End), but Okada stopped it, hit a Jumping Tombstone, and Okada lands the Rolling Rainmaker and classic Rainmaker to win the Cup! What I meant by a story of their perception, is that Okada was easily on top early in the match, and then SANADA proved himself over and over to be more of an equal than many probably assumed.
Overall Score: 7.25/10
The New Japan Cup Final match was tremendous, and there were a few wrinkles in other matches that seem to be leading to something, but overall the show was as to be expected. Decent undercard, great main event, but the US Title match was painfully underwhelming. Now in the last few years, the runner up does tend to get title shots if the winner is unsuccessful (which they are more often than not, I believe Cup winners are only 4-13 in title matches). So this tournament could’ve easily solidified SANADA as an up and coming main eventer.
Also, since a little bit of prediction never hurt anyone, I’m think Jay White retains at MSG. Coming off of a 2 year reign Jay White is the only new challenge to appear, and Okada has a tendency to have long programs overcoming Bullet Club leaders when they get the best of him early (look at the AJ Styles feud). Jay could hold it for a while, if G.o.D. win the Title vs Title match, that could play well into them helping Jay White win. That way Okada and Tanahashi could challenge G.o.D. for both belts, which keeps them both heavily involved in the Bullet Club angle, but removes them from the IWGP Heavyweight championship.
So even though the Finals were fantastic, and Okada is still the best wrestler in the business currently, Jay White should win at MSG.