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New Japan Invasion Attack iPPV results, Prince Devitt leaves town, AJ Styles debuts

Earlier today, Prince Devitt got a nice sendoff from New Japan Pro Wrestling, whilst AJ Styles replaced him as the leader of the Bullet Club and challenged Kazuchika Okada to an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match in the near future.

AJ Styles signing with New Japan means a TNA return is out of the question
AJ Styles signing with New Japan means a TNA return is out of the question

Lost in the hullaballoo of WrestleMania 30 hype, this weekend was also an important one for New Japan Pro Wrestling, as they had one of their biggest shows of the year, the Invasion Attack iPPV at Tokyo's Sumo Hall.

From a North American perspective, this event was unusually important, as the rumours were that Prince Devitt would have his last match for the company before signing a contract with WWE and that AJ Styles would make a surprise appearance, leading to a major push as their new top foreign star.

As Dave Meltzer reported, the gossip turned out to be true in both cases.

In a very good match despite having a surprising lack of heat, Ryusuke Taguchi cleanly defeated Prince Devitt in their Loser Leaves Town bout. This sounded very much like a storyline driven WWE style main event with both men kicking out of the others finishers until Taguchi pinned Devitt with his second Dodon (a fancy face slam). During the match, Devitt successfully courted cheers by being upset at the Young Bucks constant interference, which had been a regular feature in his matches since becoming a heel, and running them off when they turned on him and started attacking him.

Thus, Devitt got a nice sendoff from New Japan. Although there's no official confirmation that he has come to terms with WWE, it's highly unlikely that he would leave a promotion that has always treated him so well for any other opportunity.

With the Bullet Club's leader gone, you'd be wrong to think this would be the end of the faction.

After IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI defeated Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tonga when Okada pinned Tonga with the Rainmaker (a short-arm lariat), a staredown distraction by Fale allowed a hooded AJ Styles to attack Okada from behind and lay him out with the Styles Clash, revealing himself as the new leader of the Bullet Club.

Playing off their TNA past where Okada was largely used as a jabroni on Xplosion, Styles claimed he would proof that Okada was still nothing but a young boy by taking his title off him. One would expect Okada vs. Styles for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship would headline one of their next big iPPV events in May or June.

The crowd reaction to Styles's debut was tepid, although he should win them over to some degree with his strong working ability in the future. AJ is familiar with New Japan audiences from working major matches for them in 2008 against the likes of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Shinsuke Nakamura when TNA shared talent with NJPW, but stopped being used when there was no evidence that using TNA stars as outside attractions helped them to draw any extra fans. He's a good choice to add to the main event mix, even though it's unlikely he'll get as over as their top native stars.

In other results and notes from the iPPV event:

  • The show didn't seem to be sold out as there were a lot of visible empty seats in the lower part of the arena in the opening, perhaps because Okada wasn't defending his IWGP Heavyweight belt.
  • In a nice opener, The Young Bucks retained the IWGP Junior Tag Team Titles defeating Kota Ibushi & Desperado when they hit More Bang For Your Buck on Desperado.
  • Togi Makabe, Yuji Nagata & Kazushi Sakuraba defeated Minoru Suzuki, Taka Michinoku & Taichi when Sakuraba submitted Taichi with a Kimura.
  • Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan won the NWA Tag Team Titles by defeating Rob Conway & Jax Dane when Tenzan pinned Dane with a moonsault in a better than expected match.
  • In a so bad it was sometimes funny brawl, Daniel & Rolles Gracie defeated Toru Yano & Takashi Iizuka when Daniel made Iizuka submit to a heel hook.
  • In the expected top notch rematch, Tomohiro Ishii retained the NEVER Championship against Tetsuya Naito by pinfall after a pausing brainbuster.
  • In another great match, Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson retained the IWGP Tag Team Titles defeating Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata via pinfall with a double-team Magic Killer on Goto.
  • In a long dramatic main event, Shinsuke Nakamura regained the IWGP Intercontinental Championship by pinning Hiroshi Tanahashi after three Bom A Ye knee smashes to the head.
  • Daniel Gracie then came out and challenged Nakamura for the title as he had beaten him via armlock on Dec. 31st, 2002 in a shoot match. However, shoot fighting legend Kazushi Sakuraba barged in and announced that he wanted a singles match with Daniel Gracie too. Looks like this might become a triangle feud for the IC title then.
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