Wrestling Review: NJPW Castle Attack (2021) (Night 1)

After months of dodging the challenge, the match will finally happen between Kazuchika Okada and EVIL in the main event of Night one of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) Castle Attack. EVIL had avoided the former record-breaking IWGP Champion for too long, and Okada will not be taking no for an answer in tonight’s main event inside Osaka-jo Hall. In the semi-main event, a potential match of the year clash as Jay White and Tomohiro Ishii face off in a huge singles match. A pair of singles matches between impending tag team challengers, YOSHI-HASHI and Hirooki Goto will face Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga, respectively, while Toru Yano will defend the King of Pro Wrestling trophy against Chase Owens in a custom rules Texas strap match.

+ Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL: I was all ready to rip this to piece, but it ended up being pretty good overall. Okada didn’t look like he was going through the motions for the first time in a while, and EVIL was playing up his Bullet Club shenanigans to perfection. I enjoyed this, up to and including an ending which I can’t say I was expecting
+ Tomohiro Ishii vs Jay White: these two are two of my three favourites in New Japan right now (I love me some Shingo Takagi), and you can just hook this good shit right to my veins. White being an unenviable dick and Ishii just chopping White in the throat is something I could watch forever. The speed at which these two countered the offence of the other was heart pounding, and when one guy finally hit that big move it was exactly what it needed to be. This was the match of the night, by far
+ Hirooki Goto vs Tama Tonga: this was short but sweet, following the not nearly as much fun HASHI/Tanga Loa match before it. Nothing ground breaking, but it did it’s job for the upcoming teag team contest
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi & TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) vs United Empire (Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb, & Will Ospreay): as much as I love O-Khan, I admit it was strange that he was more important than Ospreay and Cobb in this match. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would, and it made me look forward more to Tanahashi/O-Khan tomorrow, so I guess I consider it a success

Toru Yano (c) vs Chase Owens (YTR Style Texas Strap Match for the Provisional KOPW2021 Trophy): yeah, no. If this was to be comedy, as I think it was, it should have opened the show. I know NJPW puts title matches where they belong, but I think they need to make an exception for this trophy thing
YOSHI-HASHI vs Tanga Loa: holy smokes what even was this match. I like Tanga Loa in general, especially as the powerhouse to Tama Tonga’s more technical approach, but this was garbage in every sense

> the New Japan Cup starts in just a week or so, and I’m looking forward to it. I’ll try to get every day of action up for you as soon as poossible

Should you watch this event: Jay White/Tomohiro Ishii was far and away the best match of the show, and you need to go out of your way to see that. The rest you can take or leave as you will, with the bigger matches, and more importantly the championship matches, coming tomorrow night.

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