Roderick Strong & Eddie Edwards vs KENTA & Atsushi Aoki ***3/4
Apollo 55 vs Golden Lovers ****1/2
Satoshi Kojima vs Hiroshi Tanahashi ****
Mentallo vs Masato Tanaka vs Akira Shoji **
Roderick Strong & Eddie Edwards vs KENTA & Atsushi Aoki ****1/4
KENTA & Atsushi Aoki vs Koji Kanemoto & Tiger Mask IV ****
This is probably the first WLH Japanese Platinum collection that Stu's put out for probably 8 or 9 years and all the matches featured are from this year with 4 of them taking place in either October or November.
We start with Noah and a match from the NTV Cup which is a tounament for junior tag teams and this is a match from the first night in Block A. Match starts pretty standard until Edwards tries a cheap shot on KENTA who's stood in the corner, KENTA basically just kicks the shit out of him on the floor. This enables KENTA and Aoki to get the heat on Eddie for a few minutes, loads of stiff kicks and forearms with Eddie getting the occasional flurry until he's able to make the hot tag to Roderick. Unfortunately for the ROH boys, Roddy doesn't have much more luck than Eddie and the NOAH team remain firmly in charge. They hit a double stomp/frog splash combo on Strong for a close two count. Aoki uses a cross armbreaker for an attempted submission, KENTA uses a running knee and a STF on Edwards. Eddie responds with a backpack bomb and a sharpshooter on KENTA, he maintains momentum with a huracanrana off the top followed by a powerbomb for a close two count. We're now getting very close to the 30 minute time limit however following yet more double teaming it's Eddie Edwards that picks up a major victory for the team by nailing KENTA with a brainbuster for the pin.
Moving onto NJPW and Apollo 55 defending their IWGP Jr tag titles against DDT's Golden Lovers, over the years there have been far more inter-promotion matches with groups happy to push outside wrestlers as serious threats to the promtion's titles. The champions start by working on Kenny Omega's arm but they are not able to maintain control and it's the challengers use of double teams that enable them to get the heat on Devitt. Omega uses a torture rack on Devitt but an unfortunate miscue allows the hot tag to Taguchi. Taguchi with a DDT on the apron on Ibushi, Prince Devitt hits a suicide dive on both Golden Lovers. Moments later both Omega & Ibushi hit somersault dives to the outside. Kota Ibushi hits his awesome double moonsault on Devitt for a 2 count and then uses what I can only describe as a somersault kick on Devitt when he was on the top rope. Devitt responds with a huge suplex on Ibushi followed by a double stomp off the top. All four men trade stiff kicks as match builds to it's conclusion. Champs think they've retained when the nail Ibushi with the Black Hole Vacation for an insane two count. We are to have new champs though when Ibushi puts Devitt away with a twisting somersault splash for the titles.
Staying with NJPW but going back to August and the final of the G1 Climax tournament, with freelancer Kojima returning in style to battle NJPW star Tanahashi. It was Tanahashi that dominates the opening few minutes working on Kojima's injured left arm. Eventually Kojima makes a comback working over Tanahashi's right knee again for about five minutes. He uses a sharpshooter and a single leg boston crab among other things. Tanahashi responds with a running rolling dive to the floor, but Kojima is back in charge after using a spinebuster and then catching Tanahashi on the top rope with a stiff lariat. Tanahashi manages to go back to working over Kojima's left arm but hits nothing but Kojima's knees when he goes for a splash off the top. He does get a couple of two counts on Kojima with a roll up and then a falcon arrow. Another splash to Kojima hits but a third misses its target again. As we head to the finish Kojima hits a brainbuster but Tanahashi stays in it with a tiger suplex. Kojima though is not to be denied and claims the win with two big lariats for the elusive pinfall.
Moving on to Tajiri's SMASH promotion and their second show from April, this is a hardcore match in the spirit of FMW in style. It also features an heavily wrapped baseball bat which is encased in barbed wire. Tanaka & Shoji start by brawling on the floor, Mentallo sees the bat and for little reason ignores it in favour off a twisting press off the top. Tanaka makes first use of the bat with a very safe swing onto Mentallo and then drops it. Mentallo hits back with moonsault off a chair onto Tanaka but as to wait for a fan to sit on the chair to steady hit. Shoji seems to be in the match to be completely beaten up and also to bleed. Tanaka dives off a balcony and puts Shoji through a table. Mentallo his Tanaka with a huracanrana, we then see Tanaka use part of the broken table to give Shoji a number of unprotected headshots, Shoji then hulks up. We get a double samoan drop from Shoji where Tanaka basically just climbs on Mentallo's back and Shoji falls backwards. Mentallo hits a falcon arrow on Shoji, lays the forgotten baseball on him and then hits a moonsault for the win. All three did work hard but this still wasn't very good.
We had back to NOAH and the final of the NTV cup, match starts slowly with some nice matwork. KENTA and Edwards then trade stiff forearms and the next few minutes are dominated by stiff chops, kicks and forearms. Edwards manages to gain the upper hand by hitting Aoki with a double stomp, a number of frequent tags by the ROH team keeps Aoki on the defensive. However a miscue by Edwards and Strong allows KENTA to make the hot tag. He manages to get a couple of two counts on Eddie but he can't maintain control of the match and Strong catches him in the stronghold and then uses one of his thousand modified backbreakers for a two count. The stars of this match are Edwards and Aoki though and they get the majority of the time in the ring with Strong & KENTA playing the minor roles. Aoki uses a fantastic rolling northern suplex on Edwards for 2. KENTA does hit Strong with the GTS but the ROH champ manages to roll to the floor. Fittingly it was Aoki who got the win after hitting Edwards with a folding suplex for the three count.
That win meant that KENTA & Aoki got to challenge Koji Kanemoto and Tiger Mask IV on 23/11 for the GHC Jr tag titles. Fans were hopeful that the home team challengers could reclaim the crowd and were red hot to see KENTA and Kanemoto go to war, Kanemoto is just fantastic as the outsider taunting the fans. KENTA gets first advantage with stiff kicks on Kanemoto. Kanemoto returns stiff kicks and forearms on Aoki but to a good crowd reaction manages to walk through it. Tiger Mask hits Aoki with a tombstone piledriver but again that does little to slow Aoki down. Aoki does miss a missile dropkick though. Moments later and KENTA & Kanemoto are taking turns in kicking each other in the face and offering face washes in the corner. Kanemoto really starts to mock the NOAH fans, KENTA misses a GTS and gets caught in an anklelock. Having survived, he then gets dragon screw leg whipped by Tiger Mask followed by a tiger driver for a two count. The challengers build steam by double teaming Tiger although the champions restore control when Kanemoto hits a moonsault on Aoki. Moments later he hooks Aoki with the anklelock and dsepite his best efforts he has to tap when KENTA is unable to make the save. Afterwards KENTA walks off leaving Aoki which indicates that he's turning heel. Kanemoto is obviously having a lot of fun with the result being that NOAH are lining up Aoki and the returning Marufuji as the next challengers which should be awesome.