The event is a yearly tradition for New Japan Pro Wrestling and is essentially the biggest event on their calendar. It is one of the few wrestling events in the world that is not a WWE product that actually rivals (and surpasses in the opinion of many) WrestleMania. That’s how big it is.
The card featured a main event between NJPW standard bearer and IWGP Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi and one of the hottest international stars in a generation Kazuchika Okada. Kota Ibusha challenged IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, AJ Styles faced Tetsuya Naito in an excellent match to determine the next contender for the IWGP Championships, Bullet Club members Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows defended the IWGP tag team championships against Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata and IWGP Junior Champion Ryusuke Taguchi defended the title against another Bullet Club Member, Kenny Omega.
In other action, NEVER Openweight Champion Tomohiro Ishii defended against Togi Makabe in a great example of the STRONG style, legends Kazushi Sakuraba and Minoru Suzuki competed in a dream match, contested under UWFi rules (winner only by submission or stoppage) — which is a mixture of mixed martial arts with professional wrestling, and many other matches highlighted the 4 Hour event.
Global Force Wrestling heavily promoted the card in the United States and enlisted legendary WWE, NWA, WCW, and GWF broadcaster “JR” Jim Ross to do color/play-by-play alongside another WWE alumni, Matt Striker.
This was a refreshing event to watch if you are used to North American wrestling and are somewhat dissatisfied with the redundant and at times stale brand of WWE and TNA wrestling. As a fan of New Japan back in the early 1990s, having drifted away and now coming back to see where it is in 2015, this was a mix of nostalgia and excitement at where the product is today.
As 2015 begins, with Global Force making moves, New Japan launching it’s own online network, Ring of Honor and WWE NXT gaining favor with fans … it seems a new era is about to dawn in the professional wrestling world … and era that’s long overdue.