Eight-man tag team match:
Suzukigun (Takashi Iizuka, Shelton X Benjamin, Lance Archer, and Davey Boy Smith, Jr.) vs. Toru Yano, Naomichi Marufuji, Shane Haste, and Mikey Nicholls
This match suffers from several of the issues that snagged the previous one on its way towards maximum fan enjoyment. Though there are definitely more familiar faces in this match for American wrestling fans — Shelton, Archer and DH Smith all worked in the WWE to varying degrees of success — the song remained largely the same, with its largely storyline-based tension expected to carry the match for everyone and not just those intimately familiar with the product.
Particularly problematic was the inability for Pro Wrestling NOAH’s team to really get things rolling which made them ultimately emerging victorious seem at the very least a little odd/forced. And this match was also hobbled in comparison to the 8-man match that opened the main show (those watching on World were also treated to NJPW’s moral equivalent to WrestleMania X-7‘s Gimmick Battle Royal) which managed to get all the “cluster” right without any of “kerfuffle” that this match was bogged down by.
HAVING SAID THAT, this was still a serviceable match in the way that the previous contest arguably wasn’t, and not just because it’s good to see Shelton Benjamin and DH Smith doing well for themselves after being so poorly used by the WWE during their respective times there. The action — when not clusterkerfuffled together — made sense and told a story, even if it was one I wasn’t particularly in.
Match .5 | PPV 1.5