NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2018
May 4rd, 2018
Yuya Uemura, Ren Narita, & Shota Umino vs Jyushin 'Thunder' Liger, Tiger Mask, & Ryusuke Taguchi - 5/10
Young Lions have been beat up so much by Suzuki-Gun, now they're learning from them and jump the veterans to start the match, they gang up on Tiger Mask first, but once the ref gets control of the match again, the vets dominated. Tiger Mask DEFINITELY took it out on them. The one thing that the YL kept was the gang work, which did get them a small upper hand over Taguchi, but at the end, it wasn't enough and Narita ended up tapping to an ankle lock by Taguchi. Good match.
Yuji Nagata & Tomoyuki Oka vs Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi) - 5.5/10
Story here is that sizewise, Oka and Nagata can take over Yujiro and Owens, but Oka by himself will fall to either of them, and thus we get BC working over Oka for a while until the Young Lion 'hulks' up and gets the tag to Nagata. Everything was in control for the babyfaces while Nagata was inside, but as usual, YL wanted the tag to show that he could, but fell to Owens' Package Piledriver. Good match, Oka really shines now that Kitamura is gone.
Roppongi 3K vs Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, Takashi Iizuka, & TAKA Michinoku) - 4/10
The last thing that Taichi needs right now is to keep having fights with Junior Heavyweights, even when tagging with heavyweights like Iizuka. Anyway, SZKG jumped their opponents and worked over SHO for a while. Everything built to Iizuka going for the steel palm, but SHO turned it around and instead of tagging out, everyone came in, killed SZKG and SHO pinned Iizuka. Rocky and YOH were never tagged in. Hard to call it a good match when it was a just a long babyface in peril sequence.
Togi Makabe & Toa Henare vs CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) - 5.5/10
This match continued the slugfest feud between Ishii and Henare. We also saw Yano fail to pull his shtick on Makabe. The parts between Ishii and Makabe were kept to minimal, so the Ishii vs Henare things were the only thing saving this match from complete boredom. Finish saw Ishii destroy Henare with a Lariat and Brainbuster for the pin. It looks like Henare has found his style and teacher with Ishii, there is potential in this kid is he can survive.
Juice Robinson & David Finlay, & Michael Elgin vs CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Jay White, & YOSHI-HASHI) - 6.5/10
Goto is feuding with Elgin, Juice is feuding with White, who also has a history with Finlay. YOSHI-HASHI is...just here I guess. YOSHI-HASHI vs Taichi would be a terrible feud, but I think both men could try to make something out of it and prove they're worth a wild, YOSHI should had been in that 6-men match earlier today.
Match was for the most part back and forward, but I'll say this, Elgin was amazing in this match, he was earning his Yens tonight, and this comes from someone that would rather watch a YOSHI vs Taichi match than Elgin. White and Goto were also great in there. YOSHI pinned Finlay with Karma for the win.
Post-match - Taichi came out to take out Elgin and Goto. He knocked out Elgin with the mic and dragged Goto to the back. YOSHI and White just let it happen. Inside the ring, White tried to take out Robinson, but Juice got out of the Blade Runner.
Los Ingobernables de Japon vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, K.E.S., El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) - 8.5/10
Seems like a new (at least for me) entrance song for Suzuki-Gun AS a team, they all came out together to a rock song. I think they had their time limited because Archer did his shtick extra quick this time. LIJ's entrance was obviously awesome, but SZKG attacked them in the ramp and the brawl ensured.
Match started with SZKG working over BUSHI, but when Suzuki was on him, Naito tried to help him and ended up locked up by Suzuki's leg work, while BUSHI was still the babyface in peril. It was Himoru who eventually came in with the hot tag and then ALL hell broke loose, crazy fighting all over the place, fast paced action, dives, everything. Finish saw EVIL and Naito take out Kanemaru, ending with a Destino for the pin. I loved this match.
Post-match - Suzuki teased attacking Naito, but was dragged to the back by Young Lions. LIJ celebrates in the ring, everyone leaves Naito alone in the ring, when suddenly a BUSHI-masked hooded man attacks Naito from the crowd, he drags him all the way back to the ring, tossing him around. They get to the ring and he unmasks revealing himself to be CHRIS FUCKING JERICHO!
Jericho drops Naito with a Codebreaker and starts attacking Naito. All the Young Lions try to stop him and get killed for their efforts. Jericho grabs the ring bell and takes out Naito busting him open. The rest of LIJ return to save Naito, getting him out of the ring, but not without Jericho getting some final shots in. I'm not sure if this is leading to Dominion or Cow Palace, but I wonder if we can get Jericho vs EVIL as build up. Great angle, really similar to the Omega one.
At the end, Naito was a bloody mess, but he walked to the back by himself.
Bullet Club (Cody, The Young Bucks, Hangman Page, & Marty Scurll) vs Bullet Club (Golden Lovers, Guerrillas of Destiny, & Bad Luck Fale) - Dud, but an interesting watch.
Reading into everyone's entrance, Bucks were not all that enthusiastic teaming with this match. Cody was being excessively enthusiastic as usual. GoD and Fale came out to the Lover's entrance song which was kinda weird at least for Tama and Fale, but they've been cool with Ibushi since they tagged earlier in the Honor Rising shows. This match is what should have main evented last night celebrating Bullet Club's anniversary, this even feels like the final blow off for this Civil War should look like, with the ROH BC fighting the NJPW BC.
I would also like to point out this match was 1 Japanese, 1 Brit, 4 from the US, 3 Tongans, and 1 Canadian.
Match started with some great stuff between the Guerrillas and The Bucks. Cody got in, and so Ibushi wanted in, but unfortunately for him, he ended the babyface in peril for a bit. Omega got the hot tag and after some of them hit some spots, came the finish with the Bucks superkicking Fale, but with Scurll going for the Scoop Slam, Fale just fell on top of Scurll and pinned him while knocked out.
Match wasn't much in the ring (or anything for that matter), but it told a lot of small stories here and there. Bucks would fight Guerrillas, but not The Lovers. Scurll was for some reason pissing off Fale a lot. Page and Cody were really the only ones that were way antagonistic towards everyone in the Tongan team, everyone else in the match was for the most part having a proper match, but the other two were far more aggressive. Ibushi and Cody are still not done, and obviously, Cody and Omega are definitely not done. It's really easy to see that the Bullet Club is indeed fine, except for the cancer called Cody.
Post-match - Omega chased Cody to the back, but in the ring, everyone is out there, including Owens and Yujiro that just came out. They're celebrating the 5th anniversary, to that, Tama Tonga offers a 2 Sweet to everyone, that even The Bucks, Page, and Scurll took. This should had been last night's show ending picture.
Ibushi feeling out of place, just walked to the back while the Bullet Club celebrated.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match
"Time Splitter" KUSHIDA vs "The Aerial Assassin" Will Ospreay - 10/10!
Both guys are heavily taped up on the neck/shoulder area, Ospreay's goes all the way down the arm, but that could just be because they've been working the arms in their build up matches.
KUSHIDA started working over the left arm really early in the match and kept it up all the time, all his moves would focus on that same arm. This meant that Ospreay's great selling also started from the get go, and he is specially good at modifying his offense to sell his injuries. This match had the perfect balance between those crazy junior sequences and the slow methodical working of a body part, and a sparkle of strong style on top, and this was still in first gear.
There was a really great near fall with KUSHIDA locking in the Hoverboard Lock on Ospreay, but it ended with Ospreay dropping KUSHIDA on top of his head with the Essex Destroyer, making me cringe in the process. This was followed by an awesome striking sequence. Finish finally came when KUSHIDA was going for the Back to the Future from the top rope, but Ospreay got out of it, hit a springboard cutter and the Storm Breaker for the win. AWESOME match! Ospreay has now defeated his 3 main rivals from New Japan.
Post-match - Ospreay is celebrating, but the lights go off and we get the Bone Soldier vignette. Lights come back and we have Tama Tonga walking down to the ring alone. Tama Tonga is moving to the Junior Heavyweight division so he can hopefully win a title....
Just kidding. Tama Tonga is gonna cut a promo, but it's only to distract Osprey from the much more fitter Bone Soldier coming in from behind. Bone Soldier takes out Ospreay. Tama Tonga says that the Club had the idea of taking someone that was already gold and making him a diamond, and thus he unmasks Bone Soldier to reveal, Taiji Ishimori! Crowd was definitely surprised and recognized who he was immediately and what this meant. I'm glad they removed that mask from him, it's so awesome it would overshadow LIJ's.
Yet another move that makes me think that we'll end up with two Bullet Clubs by the end of the year now that the Tongans have their own Junior while Scurll could be in the other stable. Overall a perfect match followed by a great angle.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match
"Ace" Hiroshi Tanahashi vs "Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada (C) w/Gedo - 9.75/10
And we're back were it all began, Okada vs Tanahashi. Tonight in Fukuoka, the crowd is heavily behind Tanahashi, and booing Okada. The match itself showed a somewhat heeler Okada going against a man that was trying really hard to reclaim his glory by defeating the man that had stopped that glory to begin with.
Very early in the match, there was a spot that started when Tanahashi skinned the cat, does he think this is a Rumble or what? Either way, this was when Okada's dominance started. Okada worked over Tanahashi's head/neck, while Tanahashi worked over Okada's legs. The match kicked into second gear following a High Fly Flow and a Tombstone exchange outside the ring, once inside, they slowly started getting into their finishers.
They exchanged all of their greatest hits, they countered them all too, Rainmakers into Sling Blades, High Fly Flows stopped by Dropkicks. Tanahashi even hit his won Rainmaker on Okada for a kick-out at one. Finish came when Okada was looking for the Rainmaker, but Tanahashi would stop him slapping him until Okada lost his grip of Tana's wrist. When Tanahashi went for one more Sling Blade, Okada reached out, pulled Tanahashi back and landed the final Rainmaker to claim the record of most defenses in the championship's history. Awesome match, but it wasn't the best I've seen from these two, it may be because I just watched Ospreay and KUSHIDA kill it, and so it feels like it ain't a 10, but take it from me, it may as well be once I re-watch it out of context.
Post-match - Okada gets the banner of title defenses record holder. Gedo cuts a promo saying how Okada broke the record as expected. Okada does his three point promo. First he puts over Tanahashi. Second he says that he has achieved victory #12, but he doesn't care about it, he just wants to be the best champion. and 3rd, he listed his 12 big defenses, but among them, there is a 'draw', and in Osaka-Jo Hall, he wants Kenny Omega!
Kenny Omega comes down to the ring. Okada says that they're 1-1-1, that last time, they went to the 60-minute draw, and thus proposes that this time, they make it no time limit. Omega raises the stakes and proposes a 2-out-of-3 falls match, no time limit! Holy Fucking SHIT!! As commentary put it, this is unprecedented, there hasn't been a match with both stipulations before for the IWGP title, we're in for something special come Osaka-Jo Hall!.
An incredibly awesome show by NJPW. Not only two MOTYC, but some great angles, returns, debuts, challenges, and the promise of something special with Omega vs Okada IV. If you're short on time, start the show from the LIJ match, but in all honesty, even the undercard was enjoyable.
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