Monday, 20 February 2012

Cubed Circle Newsletter Issue 19: New Japan The New Beginning 2012, Raw and More!

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Cubed Circle Newsletter
This week’s newsletter is a tad bit shorter than usual, but don’t fret, next week we have a huge issue for you, more about that at the end of the issue. As always you’re feedback is welcomed either via email, the comments or the many social network options available.

New Japan Pro Wrestling New Beginning 2012

Overall Show Thoughts

Overall this was another well paced New Japan show, with a lot of good wrestling and progression. However, I did feel that there were too many title changes on one show, you could make the case for the Intercontinental title and maybe even the IWGP Heavyweight title if that’s were they had to go, but the Jr. Tag Titles really didn’t need to change hands and they could have done the Intercontinental title change on another show. But, if you are looking for a fun show with some good wrestling and a great main event then this is a show for you.

1. YOSHI-HASHI & Yujiro Takahashi vs. King Fale & Tomoaki Honma

This match was an opener, yes, that’s what it was. The match felt a bit clunky with Fale and HASHI in there, although there were some good spots in the match, they didn’t fit together very well. After getting some cheap shots in Takahashi pinned Fale in 7:51 with a wonky looking jackknife cradle.
** ½

2. Jushin Thunder Liger, Tama Tonga & Captain New Japan vs. Takashi Iizuka, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano

In an awesome heel move, Iizuka ripped off the announcers shirt and poured water on him, in complete bully fashion. Captain New Japan delayed and showboated on the ramp while his partners were attacked from behind and double teamed. This was mostly a comedy match, with Captain New Japan getting all of his wacky spots in. The crowd was super behind Tonga, which made the fact that Tonga was pinned by Yano with a powerbomb in 8:35 stupid, since you had a guy that could have clearly done the job in Captain New Japan.
** ¼

3.  IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match
Apollo 55 (Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi) (c) vs. No Remorse Corps (Davey Richards & Rocky Romero)

I enjoyed this match more than the Dome match, it felt more important than the Dome match, although the wrestling itself wasn’t necessarily better. The title change didn’t really make much sense, given the amount of title changes on the show and the fact that the titles were just changed. Richards pinned Taguchi in 15:10 with a powerbomb.
*** ½

4. Ten Man Tag Team Elimination Match
Blue Justice Army (Wataru Inoue & Yuji Nagata), KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask & Togi Makabe vs. Suzuki Army (Lance Archer, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, TAKA Michinoku & Yoshihiro Takayama)

Just seeing Takayama enter the ring, let alone wrestle made me sad, although he functioned better in this match than his last few. Participants in the match could either be eliminated by pinfall, submission or being tossed over the top rope. Archer eliminated KUSHIDA with a modified crucifix bomb, he then eliminated Tiger Mask soon after with an F5. The crowd were really into the over the top gimmick and were into all the teases. Inoue was thrown over the top rope to the outside by Archer, this made Archer look really strong. Makabe eliminated Taichi and Michinoku in quick succession, after being worked on and double teamed by the heel team. Makabe and Suzuki proceeded to trade strikes, but Suzuki was able to get the upper hand as Makabe was worked on by the heel team. Makabe continued to absorb punishment, until he finally got the big tag to Nagata. Suzuki and Nagata traded strikes, until Nagata was eliminated over the top rope by Suzuki, leaving Makabe as the last remaining member of the face team. Makabe took a double chokeslam and a shining wizard, but he was still able to kick out. Makabe began to clean house, taking on three guys at once, but Suzuki was able to lock in the sleeper, he got Makabe up and hit the piledriver for the win in 19:43. There was a bit of post match brawling with Nagata and a few members of the heel team, but not much. The match did a great job of making Makabe look great, as well as Archer who came off like a monster. Even though the match felt a bit sloppy at points, it still told a good fun story and it served it’s purpose well.
*** ¼

5. IWGP Tag Team Title Match
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (c) vs. Bad Intentions (Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson)

Even though a few months have past since the Tokyo Sports Awards, Bad Intentions is still doing the anti-Tokyo Sports gimmick. This match much like the IWGP Jr. Tag Title match felt more intense and far more emotionally fueled that their Dome match. Kojima pinned Giant Bernard in 17:47 with a lariat. They shook hands after the match and Tenzan cut a promo in broken English, saying that Bad Intentions were super.
*** ¼

6. IWGP Intercontinental Title Match
Masato Tanaka (c) vs. Hirooki Goto

Yujiro Takahashi interfered at the start of the match, attacking Goto on the ramp. Goto hit an absolutely brutal Fireman’s carry neckbreaker from the top rope, where his knee was driven right into the neck of Tanaka. Goto pinned Tanaka in 13:26 with the Shoten Kai winning the Intercontinental Championship. Having a war like this, along with a big name like Goto holding the Intercontinental Championship, gives it more meaning than it had in the past, even if the championships are just going to be merged at some point. Yujiro challenged Goto to a match after Goto won the championship.
*** ½

7. Tetsuya Niato vs. Shinsuke Nakumura

They brawled a lot on the outside and on the ramp, Nakumura worked on Niato, until Niato hit a big powerbomb which seemed to hurt the mouth of Nakumura. Niato pinned Nakumura with the star dust press in 17:38 in a hard fought match. Niato is presumably going to challenge Okada at the next big show. 
*** ½

8. IWGP Heavyweight Title Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada

The match felt like a big deal, even though Okada doesn’t necessarily have a superstar aura yet. Tanahashi lost a tooth early on and the camera crew did a good job on focusing on it. Tanahashi hit the high fly flow to the outside, Okada hit the tombstone piledriver, but was unable to make the cover. Okada then hit a big tombstone piledriver to the outside, which Tanahashi sold well. Tanahashi hit a high fly flow to the back of Okada and went up for a second to the stomach, but Okada got the knees up. We had an assortment of nearfalls up until Okada hit the rainmaker (short clothesline) for the win in 23:22. The crowd was absolutely stunned and rightfully so, sure Tanahashi and Okada had a good match, but putting the championship on him is a ridiculous and short sited move. Tanahashi is really over and he has proven that he is a big draw for the company, he has held the championship for a long time, but there have been no signs that he is beginning to loose his drawing power. Who knows maybe Okada’s reign can work and maybe he can draw, maybe New Japan’s houses will continue to grow, I don’t know. But, if something like the Tanahashi title reign works, why change it?

Credit to the Wrestling Observer Newsletter at for the match times.

Bits & Pieces

Vince Russo Gone!

Some may say that he was an influential part of the business, (not really) others may say that he had his place at a certain time, while others may say that Russo was the reason for the death of WCW and every negative aspect of modern day wrestling. Regardless of what you think, Vince Russo has left his position at TNA a few weeks ago, but it was only revealed to the public as well as most of the talent this week.

Russo was replaced last year by Bruce Prichard as head of TNA creative, which means that in all likely hood this won’t make a major difference to what we see on TV. What could make a difference though is the involvement of David Lagana, although Bruce Prichard, Hogan and Bischoff are obviously still the ones in charge.

Hopefully this leads to a positive change for TNA, if the product doesn’t improve then we can be sure that it is the Hogan, Bischoff and whoever else is there combo and that will obviously be a very hard problem to fix. Hopefully we see a change like we did at the start of the Storm Roode angle, because that will obviously be the best thing for TNA and the best thing for the business as a whole.

Terrible Elimination Chamber Go-Home Show

To put it in gentle terms, this was the end of the good string of Raws over the past few weeks this week’s Raw was bad. Excluding a great Triple H Michaels segment this show had no redeeming qualities, unless of course train wrecks are your thing.

Well at least they built up the chamber well right? Wrong. Nothing on this edition of Raw made me want to by the show, in fact it did just the opposite. Instead of captivating the viewer to buy the show with good matches and good promos, we had a very boring match between CM Punk and The Miz and a verbal debate of all things! The verbal debate featured all six men in the Raw chamber and honestly it had no substance, but after all how could six men in a verbal debate get me to by a pay-per view. The Miz was ribbed, as his time expired and he continued to recite his lines, but other than that nothing was very note worthy from the debate.

The Kane/Ryder/Cena/ Eve angle got far worse this week, with botched camera angles and terrible writing. Ryder looks terrible and has basically lost all of his steam, I can’t help thinking that this is just another rendition of the ECW situation. Maybe Vince just wants to get rid of those pesky Ryder chants and boy did he succeed. If the site of Ryder almost completely braced up isn’t enough to bring you to tears, just because of the pure stupidity of it all, the Cena and Eve portion surely will.

Eve and Cena now seem to be locked into a romantic relationship, after all top baby faces are always single and the former US champion is just a wimp anyway right? The show ended with a terrible segment between Cena, Kane and Ryder, where Ryder was completely emasculated by Cena. Kane said that Cena had embraced the hate, but that’s splendid, you see Kane feeds off of hate, so I guess like Popeye and his spinach, Kane will just eat the hate oozing from the pours of Cena and win the match. Kane pushed Ryder off the stage, Mick Foley said on twitter that it was a bad bump, but the stage really didn’t look that high, there were mats and Ryder was padded up.

Do you want to buy the Elimination Chamber now?

Next Week’s Issue

We have a big issue coming up next week, including the WWE Elimination Chamber in depth, Raw, All Together 2 and so much more. For more on next week’s issue head over to


Any Questions or Queries:
Twitter: @RyanClingman
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