After a solid undercard with two G1 Climax level singles matches, time to get to the big matches on Night One of Castle Attack. Jay White challenges Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada finally gets his hands on EVIL. We also have our only title match of the night, as Toru Yano looks to remain the current King of Pro Wrestling in a Texas Bullrope Match! Let’s get right into it!
KOPW 2021 Match: Toru Yano vs. Chase Owens [YTR Texas Strap Match]
Chase Owens has been on Toru Yano’s tail since Wrestle Kingdom, and tonight is his moment to finally prove he can beat the Sublime Master Thief in a YTR Texas Strap Match! It’s a strap match, but you need to pull off the last of the corner pads to win, unique to say the least.
They would be strapped together and Owens tried to pull Yano in early, but Yano lashed him with the strap. Yano would choke him with the strap,and Owens was regretting asking for a serious Yano. Owens retreated to the outside, and Yano took the first pad off.
Owens pulled the shirt of Yano off, and lashed him again before taking the second corner pad off. Yano would be drop kicked into the exposed steel, before Owens threw him to the outside. A tug of war would see Yano pulled into the steel and have his hands taped shut. Now Yano can’t untie the corner pads, giving Owens a huge advantage.
Yano would launch Owens into the exposed steel, but was driven into the corner soon after. Owens exposed the third pad, so whoever gets the last one wins. Yano used the strap to get control and nail a low blow. The taped hands slowed him down, but he freed himself only to take a lariat.
Owens wanted a package piledriver, but instead pulled Yano into the steel. On the outside, Owens exposed the cement floor, but got back dropped. Owens would come back by smashing Yano with the ringbell, but he was dead weight too far from the last corner pad. Yano was pulled into the ring, but would do his best to keep Owens from the pad. Owens was seconds from winning, before Yano hit a powerbomb and exposed the last pad!
Equal parts comedic and brutal, this one showed just how good Chase Owens is, and how devious Toru Yano can be. Always nice to see Yano get serious in a match, and this was the best YTR Texas Strap match ever. Probably the best Yano match in years. Match Rating: 3.75/5 (*** ¾)
Jay White vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Few would have guessed just how much the loss on January 5th would affect the mental state of Jay White. He considered retirement, before viciously attacking former CHAOS stablemate Tomohiro Ishii. White has always been able to tell the future, call his shots and make them true, but not on January 5th. He blames Ishii for putting the first dent in his armor, when Ishii shut him out of the G1 Finals in 2020. Now, he needs to vanquish Ishii before he gets back on track.
As the bell rang, the mindgame began for Jay White. He’d slip out the ring, and try to lure Ishii outside to have him break COVID-19 protocols by trying to have him brawl in the crowd. Ishii took the bait, and White was able to get the high ground in the ring. He’d dodge lariats, send Ishii outside before distracting the referee, while Gedo attacked Ishii on the outside. Back in the ring, Ishii nailed a running shoulder tackle and turned White inside out.
Ishii took White outside and used the barricade, before White went to the ramp to catch his breath. White rushed the ring, but Ishii was controlling his territory until White hit a TKO over the top rope. Once again on the outside, Ishii would be dropped rib first on the barricade. White was in firm control now, and would stomp Ishii in the ring. He’s now grounded Ishii, and just needs to maintain control.
Ishii would fight off a tight waist lock,before being whipped into the corner hard, but he came back with a catch powerslam to White. It took a lot of effort, due to the rib injury of Ishii. He’d lay in some heavy chops in the corner, before just clubbing away at White.
Ishii would keep moving with a vertical suplex, before having his back suplex countered. White nailed the DDT, dropping Ishii right onto the top of his head. He’d follow up with a Death Valley Driver, getting a two count before looking for the Uranage. Ishii denied this, and threw some hard chops to the throat. White would throw Ishii into the corner, and when Ishii exploded back out, he nailed the flatliner and the deadlift German Suplex.
Gedo called for Kiwi Crusher, but Ishii fought it off before being thrown into the corner. He’d roll to the outside, and be flung into the barricade. Ishii got back in the ring at 18, and was hit with Blade Buster. Uranage was next, but White had to shake off a headbutt first. Kiwi Crusher landed, but Ishii kicked out. He’d try for the sleeper suplex, but Ishii blocked. White laid more shots into the ribs, but Ishii was woken up by this.
You don’t throw strikes with Ishii and not lose, and White lost when Ishii hit a headbutt under the chin. Ishii would hit the superplex, but White kicked out due to the rib damage slowing Ishii. A sleeper suplex was countered, and Ishii would apply a sleeper, before Gedo ran the distraction. Regal Plex got the two count, but Ishii nailed a lariat.
Ishii was hit with a vertical drop brainbuster from White, but refused to lose to his own move. He’d counter Blade Runner into a German Suplex, staying in this fight. The powerbomb dropped White, but Gedo ran the distraction. White failed to get the low blow, and Ishii took Gedo out. They’d trade finisher attempts, before White was rocked with a lariat and headbutt, but snuck in a Blade Runner to win.
Tomohiro Ishii & Jay White are easily among the greatest professional wrestlers active today, if not two of the best in New Japan Pro Wrestling history. This match was another example, as White played the perfect heel and Ishii embodied fighting spirit. Ishii just refused to die, fighting until his last breath through injured ribs, as White picked him apart. The finishing stretch was an edge of your seat experience, with White barely winning out. Match Rating: 4.5/5 (**** ½)
Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL
Ever since EVIL beat Kazuchika Okada to win the 2020 New Japan Cup, Okada has been trying to find his place in the company again. He needs to beat EVIL to prove he can still be the ace, but EVIL until now has done everything possible to avoid a one on one encounter. Finally, The Rainmaker gets his hands on EVIL, and can hopefully defeat him to move on with his career. In this building was where EVIL beat Okada, and started his time in Bullet Club, making this all the more special.
Okada & EVIL wasted no time getting into this one, Okada putting EVIL down with the big boot. EVIL took a breather on the outside, Dick Togo ran the distraction but Okada got the slam and flipping senton over the rope onto EVIL before applying a chinlock. EVIL would be set free, snapmared and hit with a low dropkick to the outside.
Togo ran another distraction in the ring, allowing EVIL to hit a lariat. They’d spill to the outside, and EVIL ran Okada into the timekeepers table before grabbing some steel chairs. Okada would have one placed around his neck before EVIL hit a home run. EVIL would have been fine with a count out, but Okada got back into the ring only to end up in the single leg crab.
Okada dodged a big senton from EVIL and hit a sliding lariat to gain some ground. The back elbow landed, and so did that crisp DDT. EVIL blocked the neckbreaker, but got put on the top rope and was sent to the apron and then the floor with a dropkick. On the outside, Okada went after Togo before hitting both EVIL & Togo with a DDT on the ramp.
EVIL was dragged back to the ring, but wasn’t ready to leave this one. He’d block a kick from Okada, feed the foot to the referee and nailed the thrust kick to the gut. A fisherman buster got a near fall, before EVIL looked for the Scorpion Deathlock, before Togo got back to ringside and attacked Okada. Okada slipped out of Darkness Falls, and hit a flapjack instead.
EVIL would next be hit with the neckbreaker, but it only managed a two count. Okada was hitting all the classics as he went up top for the shotgun dropkick, but couldn’t get the tombstone piledriver. EVIL fought back by hitting a lariat in the corner, crushing Okada against exposed steel, before going for a superplex off the top rope. The Scorpion Deathlock was applied, Okada getting the ropes to break the hold.
EVIL followed up with Darkness Falls. When he’d go for the STO he got shoved into the corner and stuck in the Money Clip. He’d fight free, Togo got in the ring but took a big boot, before EVIL took a dropkick and was locked into the Money Clip. EVIL fought free, took the tombstone piledriver and was put back in Money Clip.
Once again, he broke free and took out the referee, but Okada kept forward with a spinning rainmaker. Togo was taken out with the Tombstone, but EVIL struck low. Okada however was ready and kicked EVIL low as revenge. A Spinning Tombstone spiked EVIL, and the Money Clip was applied, but he reached the ropes.With Money Clip having failed, he’d hit the short arm rainmaker before taking a Dragon Suplex. They’d go for each other’s finishers, before Okada nailed the Rainmaker to close this one out.
Okada & EVIL have always had good matches together, but it’s hard to not say the over involvement of Dick Togo dragged this one down. If he was taken out with the double DDt and that was that, this match would have flowed much better. In the end, Okada won this match in his classic style, and is starting to look like himself after two big wins in 2021. Match Rating: 4/5 (****)
What was your favorite match from Castle Attack? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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