Wrestling Review: NJPW Castle Attack (2021) (Night 2)

After a blistering night of action last night, the second night of New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) Castle Attack is set to be even bigger. Four championships will be on the line, including dual IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Champion, Kota Ibushi, defending only the Intercontinental Championship against former double champ in his own right, Tetsuya Naito, in the main event. Following a severe injury to Hiromu Takahashi, three men will battle for the now vacant IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Hiromu’s stablemate, BUSHI, of Los Ingobernables de Japon; El Desperado of Suzuki-gun, and; El Phantasmo of the Bullet Club. The IWGP Tag Team Titles will also be defended, as The Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) defend their gold against YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto, of CHAOS, while Hiroshi Tanahashia puts his NEVER Openweight Title on the line against relative newcomer, Great-O-Khan.

+ Kota Ibushi (c) vs Tetsuya Naito (IWGP Intercontinental Championship): this was surprising for a few reasons, but in the end it was pretty good. I counted over a half dozen dangerous neck drops, and frankly I did lose some enjoyment from that high a number, but far be it from me how to tell these two how to do their job. Ibushi looked physically incredible coming into this match, and Naito looked like he was putting some effort in, so the match quality was incredibly high. I look forward to where this goes, even if the result was not what I was expecting
+ BUSHI vs El Desperado vs El Phantasmo (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship): this was absolutely fantastic. I was torn from the moment this was announced, as these are three of my favourite Junior Heavyweights in the company right now, and they all worked together to make this match really something great. ELP is such a jerk, that even against the other two (who are also bad guys) he stood out as a massive dickhead. The two masked men played hero in peril a few times, and one long-stretch of just two men made sense, in regards to where the third was. I really liked this match
+ Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs Great-O-Khan (NEVER Openweight Championship): this was a really solid championship match, using the old ‘experience versus youth’ deal, and easily O-Khan’s best match since returning. IT was not spectacular, aside from a few really cool looking moves, but both guys just looked great

Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (c) vs CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) (IWGP Tag Team Championships): I didn’t care for this. They tried so hard to make this a match worth seeing, and despite my love for Tanga Loa and Goto, I just couldn’t bring myself to ever entertain the idea of YOSHI-HASHI winning. The CHAOS duo even felt like a makeshift team, without Dangerous Tekkers to play with
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, & Toru Yano) vs BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens, EVIL, & Jay White): I loved the Ishii/White and liked the Okada/EVIL match last night, but this match did nothing for me. I love those four in big singles matches, but this tag match was as standard as it gets
TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) vs United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Will Ospreay): there was a lot about this that I simply didn’t like, despite the wrestling itself being perfectly fine. The Empire have stumbled in every big match so far, and despite Kojima still going hard, Tenzan’s ankles just don’t make for much action on his part

> the main event of the upcoming Anniversary show will be Kota Ibushi vs the winner of El Desperado/BUSHI/El Phantasmo, and hot damn I am excited.

Should you watch this event: This show really turned around in the second half, with the final three matches all being well worth watching. The Junior Heavyweight title triple threat was probably the best match on the show, but if you’re a fan of O-Khan or Tanahashi, give their match a watch as well. You won’t go wrong watching everything, however.


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