NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2017 (5/3/2017)- Fukuoka, Japan
HIRAI KAWATO & YOSHITATSU vs. KATSUYA KITAMURA & TOMOYUKI OKA- 4/10
CHAOS (Will Ospreay & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens)- 4.25/10
A short match. The guy who most impressed me here was actually Owens, who displayed some cool offense using the ropes.
TIGER MASK IV, TIGER MASK W & TOGI MAKABE vs. JUSHIN “THUNDER” LIGER, MANABU NAKANISHI, & YUJI NAGATA- 4/10
CHAOS (Jado, Gedo, Hirooki Goto, & Roppongi Vice) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, TAKA Michinoku, El Desperado, & Taichi)- 4.5/10
This started off hot but was really dragging by the time it ended. Suzuki-Gun beat Goto up after the match.
DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. CODY RHODES- 6/10
Very good for the time it got. That Alabama Slam on the floor looked sick as hell.
JUICE ROBINSON & KUSHIDA vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi)- 7.5/10
All action and lots of fun. Takahashi once again defeating KUSHIDA seems to indicate that KUSHIDA’s quest for redemption will last a lot longer than the originally theorized “win Best of the Super Juniors and take the belt back at Dominion,” which certainly makes the BOSJ field feel a lot more open.
IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: War Machine(c) vs. Ten-Koji vs. The Guerrillas of Destiny- 5.25/10
Raymond Rowe has now started doing Ishii’s stupid spot where he blocks forearm shots with his face. The match was very meh.
NEVER OPENWEIGHT SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLES: Ryusuke Taguchi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, & Ricochet(c) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, Sanada, & BUSHI)- 6.25/10
The stupid, pointless belts change hands right back to LIJ, this time off of overbooking, including an absolutely hideous ref bump which made it seem completely impossible that the referee could have been down for as long as he was, and made even worse by Taguchi having the mist all over his face in clear view of the referee. WHY?!
KENNY OMEGA vs. TOMOHIRO ISHII- 9/10
This was one hell of an exciting match which both competitors did a great job of adding a feeling of desperation to. Both men worked over the other’s head by both dropping their opponent on it or just hitting it as hard as possible. I am not and will never be a fan of Ishii’s no-selling spots, but those were kept to an extreme minimum here, while much better things like very close and believable false finishes, were quite plentiful. Fantastic match!
IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: Kazuchika Okada(c) (w/Gedo) vs. Bad Luck Fale (w/Chase Owens)- 7.25/10
Yeah, okay, this wasn’t as good as the other big Okada matches this year. They did tell a good story with Fale working over Okada’s back and Okada working over Fale’s head while also building up to Fale finally hitting Okada with the Tombstone Piledriver (which he had used to pin Okada back on the first day of this tour), but they did have some spots that didn’t look good at all (that DDT that Fale didn’t take well and the Grenade immediately come to mind), and the match just plain didn’t have the epic feel that Okada’s other big matches so far in 2017 have had. It was still pretty great, but it was well below what we’re used to seeing from New Japan main events, and Okada main events in particular.
A disappointing show from New Japan, all things considered. The downside of spreading the major matches on the tour across multiple shows is that, if you’re not setting up multiple challengers each tour is that you drastically increase the number of completely unimportant undercard tag matches you get on each show. That makes it even more important for the top matches to deliver, and tonight we got at most two and a half out of five. One of those five was an outstanding match, but, if given the choice to go back and do it again, I wouldn’t sit through anything else on this show. Some of the other matches were certainly enjoyable, but nothing really worthy of any special attention, either. Watch Omega vs. Ishii, but you can certainly skip the rest.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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