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December 25, 2005 / TJ Hawke

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto from NJPW 2005


Recap from Murray Peterson:

I have never watched a match from this far back in New Japan history but I can honestly say if it involves these two, what in the world could go wrong! This match comes from Tanahashi’s second reign as the IWGP U-30 champion. This title was a heavyweight title to be held by members of New Japan who were under the age of thirty. Soon after this particular match, Tanahashi vacated the title to pursue the IWGP Heavyweight title, and the U-30 immediately deactivated.


I would just like to say that this might be one of my least favourite belt designs. Also, this match predates Goto wearing pants and his Alladin vest. Sorry, distracted by shiny things, collar and elbow tie up results in Tanahashi getting a stiff slap across his mug. Taking a run at Goto Tanahashi gets tossed over the ropes, and promptly drop kicked over the guard rail. Quick recovery and Goto suplexes him over the ropes and into the ring from the apron. Goto tries to wear Tanahashi down with some kicks and a backdrop driver which only results in broken pinning attempts. Frustration leads to Goto getting sloppy and being caught by a release German suplex and a STO. Tanahashi, now in control, moves Goto around the turnbuckles and hits as second rope elbow drop. He makes his first cover which is a easy two count. Tanahashi begins to rely on striking, suppressing any comback attempts by Goto. A backbreaker leads to Tanahashi putting on a very deep Boston crab, which is finally broken by Goto reaching the ropes. A flying forearm smash leads Tanahashi to attempt a dragon suplex, but Goto escapes and hits a very tightly spiraled Pele kick. The slap fest begins and when Tanahashi decides he has had enough, Goto throws him back for bridging German. Two count and both men are up. Back and forth strikes from both competitors until Tanahashi hits his sling blade out of the corner. Tanahashi begins to work on the back of the head and neck of Goto using several neckbreaker variants. A half-hatch suplex caps off his efforts but it is only worth another two count. Tanahashi pulls Goto up into a dragon sleeper and places the head on the back of his knee. Goto can’t handle it and Tanahashi wins by submission!


I won’t lie, even with the work done on Goto’s neck I am surprised by this quick ending. It does make sense and at least the offence went somewhere. I am pleased to say that since this match both men got in much better shape. Tanahashi’s look hasn’t changed that much be he really toned out his body and looks much more like the star that he is. Thankfully Goto has grown out his hair because he looks very generic with a short cut. For a match that lasted roughly ten minutes there was good offence by both guys and the psychology paid off in the end. Goto was in control early but as soon as Tanahashi took control there was no looking back. Nothing dynamite but also not a bad match, well worked by both competitors.


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