NJPW King of Pro Wrestling
October 8, 2018
Ryogoku Kokugikan, Tokyo, Japan
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
Jyushin 'Thunder' Liger & Tiger Mask IV vs Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado) (C) - 6.5/10
Desperado and Kanemaru jumped the old timers during their entrance and immediately went for the masks and the outside brawl for a quick minute. Inside the ring, SZKG Jr worked over Tiger Mask, keeping Liger at bay. Tiger Mask made a comeback and got the tag to Liger, who came in and took it to Kanemaru, getting some good near falls, Tiger tagged in for another great near fall. At the end, when they're all going at it, Desperado is chasing Pinche Loco, Tiger gets a huge near fall after a Tiger Driver, and after hitting a Tiger Superplex, Kanemaru finally interferes with the Whisky Mist, but Liger takes him out. Tiger misses a title shot by Despy and hits a Tiger Suplex , but the ref is down so he doesn't count. A low blow later and Pinche Loco, and Despy pins Tiger Mask to retain. I don't mind the cheating, but it got stressful how close the old timers got to winning the titles.
Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) vs Juice Robinson & Toa Henare - 6/10
Aww, they're making Henare fight his father Makabe, maybe this is about Honma and Henare fighting for Makabe's love. The big development here is that Juice Robinson is not a Kairi Hojo knockoff anymore, now he's a Young Buck. While this is a tag team match, this will be Honma's first real match where he won't be able to hide as much, this will be a real test to see how he is performing.
Match saw Henare and Honma start, they went at it for a bit until Robinson came in, he went against Makabe, getting the upper hand, but then Honma was tagged in and was able to hit the Kokeshi on him. He went to try the top rope Kokeshi, but got cut off and Robinson tagged in Henare. We got some near falls against Honma and later Makabe, but GBH hit the Kokeshi KKKD and that was it. It was an ok match, more like a feel good filler match than anything, but it's going to start building GBH towards the Tag League.
Bullet Club Elite (The Young Bucks, Hangman Page, & Chase Owens) vs Bullet Club OG (Bad Luck Fale, Guerrillas of Destiny, & "Bone Soldier" Taiji Ishimori) - 6.5/10
Story of the match is that Matt Jackson is still injured from the FSU match two weeks ago, so after an initial run with the Elite doing dives and such, OGs were able to cut off Matt from his team and work on his back. Page eventually got the hot tag and went at it against Taiji and Roa, building up to his big moonsault to the outside.
Towards the end, everyone started doing more spots, leading to Owens being the only Elite left in the ring, he fought against Ishimori and Tama Tonga, getting some good near falls since I was really expecting either Page or him getting a pin on the tag champs for some reason. At the end, Tama Tonga landed a Stun Gun for the win on Owens.
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, & Will Ospreay) vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, & Taichi) w/Miho Abe - 7/10
I've always wondered how Lord Taichi feels about not being able to sing to us because they're playing Suzuki's theme instead. Anyway, the match was the usual dealings with SZKG with the ceremonial jumping before the bell, the outside brawl, Iizuka biting people, and Minoru The Wind being awesome. We got Suzuki vs Ishii once again, which is always a treat. The finish here was that Ospreay fought Taichi, with Iizuka and Suzuki trying to cheat to get Taichi the opening, but Goto and Ishii took care of them, leaving Ospreay clear to hit the Storm Breaker and pin Taichi, the NEVER Champion.
Post-match - Ospreay challenged Taichi for the NEVER title and Suzuki and Ishii had a stare down for the British Undisputed title.
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, & Roppongi 3K) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, BUSHI, and Shingo Takagi) - 7.5/10
I didn't like that if LIJ are the ones with the big reveal, that they would come out first, but i'll let it pass since Naito took the microphone in order to make the introduction. Naito revealed that Milano Collection AT was the 6th member, but he declined on the spot. So he brought Plan B out, with a nice song, out came "The Dragon" Shingo Takagi! It was expected that it was gonna be Shingo, so it wasn't a big surprise, but overall a nice addition to the team. Shingo looks the part for LIJ, but everyone is gonna have to up their game because Shingo may now have the best workrate of the team.
Shingo started the match vs YOH, so Shingo got a chance to show off a bit before everyone started coming in and out. Everything built up to Okada and Naito being alone in the ring and doing their thing, first with Naito getting the upper hand, and later with Okada making a comeback. Naito started chasing Destino, but Okada countered and they tagged in BUSHI and SHO. R3K came close to finishing off BUSHI, but SANADA came in to even the odds, and got the tag to Shingo. Finish saw Shingo hit Last Falconry for the win. Yano's relevance in the match was getting tied up with the Paradise Lock in the ropes.
This was a good debut for Shingo, the announcers made a big deal about it and the crowd recognized him and were excited, at one point chanting 'Welcome' or something like that. I think he will be replacing Last Falconry for Last of the Dragon, or something like this.
"King of Darkness" EVIL vs Zack Sabre Jr. w/TAKA Michinoku - No Contest, Awesome Segment
EVIL got a special entrance tonight, he was rolled in on a throne, as he is getting to the ring, one of his 'monks' attacks him, and it's obviously Chris Fucking Jericho! Weird facepaint and all. Sabre was just outside enjoying it. Jericho hit a Codebreaker and hit him with the championship belt, posed with the title and left him laying.
Sabre took advantage wanted to fight, but the doctors and refs were looking over EVIL. Ref cancelled the matche, to which Sabre won by default, pissed off at not getting a match, Sabre locked a Kimura on the ref, on a young boy, and later on EVIL until Naito came in for the save and brawled with Sabre. Awesome exchange! I take it we get EVIL vs Jericho and Naito vs Sabre at Power Struggle, meaning that we may get Shingo/SANADA enter the Tag League.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match
"Time Splitter" KUSHIDA vs "The Villain" Marty Scurll - 8.5/10
From really early on, KUSHIDA started chasing the arm submission, while Scurll was focusing on the head. There was a spot where you just felt them get into second gear, as they start trading knees to the face, because before this, they had tried a lot of quick pins, submissions, superkicks; however, after that spot, the intensity was felt.
KUSHIDA landed a huge armbar from the top rope for a near fall, a few minutes later, Scurll locked in the Chickenwing for another. Scurll worked on KUSHIDA's hand, so when he tried to lock any submission, KUSHIDA couldn't lock the hands together. Scurll got a big near fall from a Scurll Driver, but he followed it with a lariat and was going for Graduation, but KUSHIDA countered into two Back to the Futures for the win. Good match, but not the best they've had. Let's see if KUSHIDA can keep the momentum the Jr. title had when Hiromu had it before getting injured.
Wrestle Kingdom's IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match Right On the Line
"Ace'" Hiroshi Tanahashi (C) vs "Switchblade" Jay White w/Gedo - 9.5/10
The story of the match here is that Tanahashi is fighting two men, inside the ring White is decimating his knees after attacking him from behind; meanwhile outside, Gedo takes every single chance he gets to get some cheap shots on Tanahashi. After a lot of punishment, Tanahashi finally got some shots in and was able to take down White and start working his legs too with the usual Tanahashi moveset.
After White realizes that Tanahashi is getting more and more offense in, he starts chasing the Bladerunner, so he and Tanahashi get into a counter's match, as Tanahashi needs to keep the offense up. Both men land some big shots, but it's Tanahashi who manages to land his Slingblades and Dragon Screws in order to open White for the High Fly Flow. Tanahaashi lands two, but Gedo pulls the ref out of the ring as he is about to count 3. Gedo prepares the brass knuckles, but Tanahashi dodges him, but not the Jay White low blow. White is gonna take out Tanahashi with a chair, but the Ace himself low blows White!
Tanahashi is going for the kill with another HFF, but White moves out of the way and Tana lands straight into a chair. White gets the ref back after another chair shot, and as he goes for Bladerunner, Tanahashi rolls him up and arguably, takes the upset win and retains the briefcase. Great match, really liked how they worked each other's legs, and I do like that Tanahashi, while winning his defenses cleanly and all, does show that his level is not as dominant as Kenny Omega has been.
I think the worst thing about this Gedo heel turn is that he's not using the bandana anymore.
Post-match - Jay White attacks Tanahashi and the Young Lions, as he is about to kill Tanahashi, it's Okada that makes the save! October 8th, 2018, the day that Okada saved Tanahashi. White and Gedo tried to get cheap shots, but Okada in both cases got the upper hand, and Okada was going to get his revenge on Gedo, but Jado came out to stop him.
Then to make things worse, all of the Firing Squad came out and surrounded the ring. They grab Gedo and Jado and push Okada to choose, and the dumbass falls for it as he tries to go for Gedo, only to be met by a Gun Stun. Jado has turned on CHAOS and joined the Firing Squad. FS open up leaving Okada there for White to hit the Bladerunner, but before he does, White puts up the Two Sweet and officially joins The Bullet Club OG. After everyone left, Tanahashi checked on Okada before leaving himself.
Jay White, Jado, and Gedo have all officially jumped to Bullet Club OG. Tremendous angle.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship 3-Way Match
Kenny Omega (C) vs Kota Ibushi vs Cody - 9/10
Kenny came out with freaking Sephirot's robe! I initially started writing the review of this match trying to go over everything that happened, but at the end, I just decided to delete everything and tell you that you need to watch this match if you really want to see everything that these 3 men did.
The are two dynamics in the match that stood out that I liked. One one side, you have Kenny and Ibushi, that they love each other so much, that even in a match for the championship, they initially took it easy on each other, and even later, when breaking up a huge pin by Ibushi, Omega felt that he had betrayed Ibushi.
The other dynamic, that is somewhat related, is that it seemed like Cody was the only one going non-stop trying to win the match, to the point that he sometimes came off as heelish as he is attacking both men fron behind and getting rid of Kota in order to attack Kenny and such; meanwhile, it sometimes felt like it was Cody vs Golden Lovers. However, this does nicely reflect on the experience, in NJPW waves at least, that Cody is far more experienced with 3-way matches than the other two since New Japan rarely does this for heavyweight matches.
Match saw a lot of innovative spots, we got Ibushi vs Omega, we got a little bit of Cody vs Ibushi, and a little bit of Omega vs Cody. Match initially saw Golden Lovers play friendly with each other and Cody being more intense, but as the match went on, the title started to get in the way of Omega and Ibushi, and so they ended with an intense fight. We got a table spot were Omega landed, another where Cody was powerbombed into, and after tons of action, it was Omega that pinned Ibushi after a One Winged Angel.
The finish was the only one that made sense because otherwise, Omega loses the title, or earns a shot at the US title, which is not something worth opening right now. This also means that Ibushi has a pin on Omega on a non-title match, but Omega's pin over him is a 3-way, so not exactly cancelling Ibushi's right.
Post-match - Kenny cut a promo in Japanese putting over the match, Ibushi, and Cody, and addressing Tanahashi. Before Kenny could finish, Tanahashi came out. Tanahashi just said they'd see each other at the Tokyo Dome.
Great show by NJPW, we had 2 huge angles with Shingo debuting and White jumping to Bullet Club OG. Top to bottom, the show was full of great matches. The 3-way for the title in Japan was a ballsy thing, a true indication that New Japan is moving into a new phase. I hope this is not something that will become more common in the main event, since there is real prestige in the title and one-on-one matches, but at the same time, you start salivating over how long until we get Naito v Okada v Tanahashi for instance.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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