Watched the main event from the Korakuen Hall show after reading some thoughts about it here and on twitter.
I enjoyed it for what it was but had also read that it was comparable to the 90's AJPW 6 man tags. I obviously didn't go in with expectations of it coming close to the two best Korakuen Hall 6 man tags of the 90's (10/28/90 and 4/20/91) but Korakuen Hall crowds still deliver today so I was looking forward to seeing what they did.
* Good heat and as mentioned above, the Tanahashi/Okada tag in got a big pop
* Chaos did a nice job mixing in double and triple teams that didn't drift into that excessive US Indy/Dragon Gate triple teams where they run through so many, so quickly that it becomes mind numbing
* They went about the right length, didn't get excessive, and left me wanting to see more - which is the point of almost all non-Mexico trios matches
The not-so-good (wouldn't say these things were bad, but they stood out to me):
* When to save and when to kick out. There were a few times in the match where it was clear the crowd was ready to pop big for a kick out but there was a save by a team mate that lessened or negated whatever heat was coming from the crowd. This shouldn't be a problem with wrestlers who have this much experience but it was something that jumped out at me right away
* The Goto/Ishii elbow exchanges. These were much more reserved than what you would see in anything in NOAH post 2001, so that is a positive in itself, but great strike exchanges add to a match. This didn't add anything.
I list the not so good because it goes hand in hand with the AJPW trios matches comparison. The only comparison I could see is that they used 6 of their main stars in a trios match at the top of a Korakuen Hall show.
Structurally, they got the pairings right but instead of milking the Tanahashi/Okada tag in the third segment or starting them off against each other (Misawa/Jumbo and Misawa/Kawada usually did the opening pair off or the third exchange - can't remember an instance of them going second but obviously don't remember every AJPW trios from memory), they decided to go second. The pop Tanahashi and Okada got was good but it felt like a missed opportunity if they would have had Goto and Ishii go second. A small gripe and not something that really means a lot in the overall scheme of things but something that definitely keeps it from even approaching the AJPW trios matches status.
The top rung (10/28/90 and 4/20/91) and middle rung (5/26/90, 8/18/90, 10/15/91, and 1/24/92) Korakuen Hall AJPW trios matches leave this in the dust for overall heat, moves, execution, and story progression. That's really not a knock against this match since the first two (and 10/15/91) would all rank as historically great for me personally but it also doesn't jive with the AJPW trios comparison. I've watched and enjoyed a fair amount of New Japan this year. Would have been interesting to see a more junior member in on the Tanahashi/Shibata team, specifically someone like Homna, who killed it with Ishii in the G-1. That would have given the match that Fuchi/Ogawa/Kikuchi/Akiyama dynamic that really helped something like the 10/15/91 match, where Misawa was legit injured so he couldn't work much so his team was essentially Kawada and Kikuchi going up against the "A" squad from Jumbo's side. That's fantasy booking and I'm not holding it against the match in the context of 2014, but as a comparison to the 90's matches, it's a valid point.
I would probably go ***1/4, which in 2014 is something well worth watching for me. I watched this with Paul, who has watched almost every New Japan show this year and he was even a little lower, going about ***.