NJPW Battle Formation 1996
Tokimitsu Ishizawa/Yuji Nagata vs Koji Kanemoto/Shinjiro Otani
Boy does Kanemoto/Otani sound like a cunty team. A lot of shooty style stuf to open the match from all four men. It's normal back and forth stuff until Yuji starts throwing some HEAVY kicks at Kanemoto. Ishi out here doing crawling up armbars that I've literally never seen outside of Fire Pro games. The heck. Later on, Nagata's leg becomes the main focus of the match. But then he pins Kanemoto with a top rope belly to belly OUTTA NOWHERE. Otani and Nagata get into it after the match.
Heisei Ishingun vs Osamu Nishimura/Riki Choshu/Satoshi Kojima/Takashi Iizuka
The mullet games are strong on this show. Kojima's in particular is next level. Spiked, dyed mullet. Kind of weird seeing Nishimura with shaggy hair and in blue, too. Unlike the normal undercard multi-man tag, this is heated as fuck, both from the crowd and the wrestlers. Also weird to see Kojima do his top rope elbow drop spot to not reaction. Lmao, Choshu wins after hitting 3 lariats to 3 different people in under a minute. That's Choshu as fuck.
Great Sasuke vs Jushin Liger IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
I feel like Sasuke is going to do some next level botches in this match. And then get dropped on his head. Sasuke STARTS the match with a dive. Lmao, start the match with a dive and then settle into chin locks and head scissors. Liger then gets pissed and tries to break Sasuke's legs. Just being a real dick about it, too. Sasuke makes a comeback with an Asai moonsault that half hit the guard rail. Lmao, now he's just jumping up to the top rope like nothing happened for the past 10 minutes. Then Liger drops him on his head a few times. Sasuke won with a tiger suplex OUTTA NOWHERE. New champion! If you can ignore Sasuke's selling like he did, this was pretty good.
Randy Savage vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan
The amount of colors in this match. All of them. All of the colors. Also shout out to a Starrcade rematch right here in the Tokyo Dome. A lot of neck work and heel tactics from Macho. Oh word, Macho taking the back body drop over the top. Working boots on. This is quite heated for a WCW star in the middle of the show type of match. Tenzan even got to kick out of the elbow. Lmao, Macho hits two more, then picks Tenzan up just to...beat him with a small package. What a dick.
Lex Luger vs Masahiro Chono
Lex's hair lmao. Must be humid as fuck in Tokyo. Chono attacks during introductions. Lex didn't appreciate it. I think he has a shoulder injury, too. Something looks off on the left side. This is also weirdly heated, particularly for a Lex Luger match anytime. Low blows and ramp bumps. Chono was about to get counted out after a piledriver on the ramp, so he elbows the ref in the gut. Lol. For some reason this was not a disqualification, and the match went on for a few more minutes until Chono made Lex tap to the STF. after the match, Lex threw a fit, arguing with Eric Bischoff over Chono's cheating.
Road Warriors/Power Warrior vs Steiner Brothers/Scott Norton
Hell yes. Hosses and bombs. Can't wait. This is perfect. Scotty and Hawk completely no selling each other repeatedly. Norton and Animal have the decency to sell, at least. Crowd silences be damned, this is exactly what I had hoped for. Just strong dudes throwing each other around like little men. Poor Kensuke took most of the worst stuff in the match, including powerbomb/powerslam/backdrop from Norton, nasty suplexes from Rick, and the Frankensteiner. Animal pinned Rick with an avalanche powerslam.
Great Muta vs Jinsei Shinzaki
This will be weird in a different way, no doubt. Lots of theatrics. Jinsei is announced as his Jinsei, but he's in the Hakushi paint and gimmick. Muta seems to be in a completely different class as Hakushi, though. Looks, ability, and gimmick. Signature moves are hit from both men early on. Hakushi takes a crazy bump from the apron, flying past the guard rail and landing in between the tables around ringside. He almost made it to the second guard rail. Worst of all, the camera missed most of it. A piledriver kind of breaks a table. That's a win to me. Oh shit, Muta broke Hakushi's paddle thing. What a son of a bitch. He uses it to stab Hakushi, who bleeds all over the god damn place. Muta tries to kill him for a while, hanging him with his belt, and writing something in kanji on the board. I assume it was "die" or "fuck you". In Hakushi's blood. When Hakushi finally gets back into it, he tries to suffocate Muta with a shirt. Hakushi basically piledrove himself on the apron doing the space flying tiger drop. Fuck. Muta mists out of a powerbomb and wins with the moonsault. Hakushi was a MESS after the match. The blood, his paint, and mist left him looking like something out of Evil Dead II.
Genichiro Tenryu vs Tatsumi Fujinami
Two grumpy middle aged men about to beat each other up in front of 60K people. Fans lose their shit when Fujinami is out there doing multiple suicide dives. On the third one, Tenryu hit him in the face and shattered his nose. Blood EVERYWHERE. I've never seen a dude bleed so much out of his fucking nose. And of course Tenryu kicks him in the nose like a piece of shit. There's so much blood all over Fujinami's chest that when he gets chopped, it splatters in the air. Tenryu continues to be an absolute dickhead for the next few minutes, with Fujinami almost having the match stopped due to being unresponsive. And then he got fired up, but crushed with lariats OUTTA NOWHERE. Tenryu wins. After the match, Tenryu seemed to ask Fujinami about his nose, so the unenthused Dragon smacked him in the mouth.
Shinya Hashimoto vs Nobuhiko Takada IWGP Championship
Biggest of big fight feels. The energy in the building is palpable. It only takes about two minutes before the kicks are flying. The building goes nuts when Hashimoto gets anything off. A big leg kick puts Takada in trouble, but only briefly. Hashimoto is having trouble with sustained offense. This seems to be under original UWF rules before the points system was introduced. OH SHIT LEG SWEEP OUTTA NOWHERE, THIS PLACE IS GOING BANANAS! DDT OUTTA NOWHERE! The atmosphere for this is amazing. Feels like a big time boxing match. Hashimoto hits the brainbuster and locks on the triangle. Takada taps out. NEW CHAMPION!
What a great, stacked show. No idea why NJPW refused to put on shows like this at the 1/4 shows during the 90s.