‘Capital Collision’ review: Great show from New Japan, in an awful venue.
Kazuchika Okada, before his first collar-and-elbow tieup, was greeted by the Washington, D.C., crowd with chants of “This is awesome!” and “Holy sh-t! Holy sh-t!”
New Japan Pro Wrestling was at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in D.C. Saturday night as part of its extended tour of the States on Saturday for a show called “Capital Collision,” because pro wrestling shows need names like that.
This one actually didn’t need a name, with Okada, NJPW’s “Ace,” Hiroshi Tanahashi, Japanese legends Minoru Suzuki and Tomohiro Ishii, mixed in with former AEW world champ Jon Moxley, UK star Will Ospreay, and Jay White, an Aussie who has already had a run with the IWGP heavyweight title, and is set for a longer run as the company’s top heel.
The show was typical New Japan – great matches at the top, with Tanahashi defending his IWGP U.S. title in a four-way with Moxley, Ospreay and Juice Robinson in a four-way main event, Okada teaming with Rocky Romero against White and Hikuleo, and Ishii facing another AEW star, Eddie Kingston; after a run of multi-man matches, including an eight-man and a 10-man.
The vibe was … wrestling nerd convention. Ninety percent of the fans on hand were outfitted in wrestling T-shirts, most touting New Japan or AEW, and way too many for comfort went all out with get-ups including title belts, sunglasses, bandanas, garb that looked like something a wrestler might wear to the ring.
A security guard stationed outside my section – we were Section 109, Row A, Seats 1-2 – kept a running commentary with a few fans in our section, and one of his questions early on was, How big is New Japan compared to WWE?