NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam In MetLife Dome, Day 2
September 5th, 2021
MetLife Dome, Saitama, Japan
Queen's Quest (Momo Watanabe & Saya Kamitani) vs. Donna del Mondo (Giulia & Syuri) - 7.5/10
Fun match, really similar to yesterday's. Once again, most of the match was worked by Kamitani, but this time, she paired up with Syuri, which is a big improvement from Lady C. Momo and Giulia mostly saved themselves for run-ins and a couple of slow paced stuff at the beginning. Syuri won by submission.
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii) vs. The United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb) - 6.5/10
Okada is selling yesterday's match, he has his whole neck taped up. I hope he's just selling. Cobb had a smug smile when they finally came face to face.
Match was broke up into two single matches, first we got a lot of Okada and Cobb, mostly restarting a lot of what they did yesterday, with Cobb going after Okada's neck. Later on, we moved on to Ishii and O-Khan, which was good for the most part. Ishii at one point took on both Cobb and GOK, but as the match went on, Ishii lost control and ended up losing to O-Khan via Eliminator.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori) (c) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) - 7.5/10
Good match. Story revolved around ELP's loaded boot again, from him injuring his foot after a landing, to Desperado and Kanemaru working his leg and trying to take off his shoe, to the finish, that saw both teams fight for the shoe that was eventually used as a punching glove by Desperado (which in kayfabe, injured Despy's hand), leading to the pin and win for SZKG.
The action was nicely paced, Suzuki-Gun worked as the babyfaces, with Desperado being the babyface in peril. Ishimori and Kanemaru in my opinion stole the match, which is saying something because ELP and Despy looked good too.
At this point, it's really not alleged that the boot is loaded, it's kinda obvious now. At this point, ELP should be forced to wrestle bare foot going forward.
IWGP Tag Team Championship Three Way Match
Dangerous Tekkers (c) (w/Miho Abe) vs. CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & Tetsuya Naito) - 9/10
This was great, I loved how chaotic it was. Rules were those of two legal men in the ring and normal tag rules, but it was used for the sake of formality, the action itself didn't really reflect that, it was more like a tornado tag in there. They did do a good job at making it obvious who the legal men were, I never really lost track of that, and it helped as we got closer to the end and we started getting more and more near falls, including a big near fall when Taichi stole the win from SANADA with a blind tag.
The match was a good combination of both CHAOS and LIJ going after the Tekkers at first, singling out Taichi at first, and later on Sabre coming in for the hot tag; but in addition, we also had CHAOS vs LIJ after both Tekkers were taken out, and we ended up with a a good pair up between SANADA and YH, I was actually starting to crave a singles match between them. A lot of tag team moves from all three teams and a lot of near falls as they closed in on the end. Finish saw Taichi get the win with Black Mephisto over YH while Sabre prevented Naito from breaking the pin.
G1 Climax Announcement - WE got the announcement of the participants of the G1 Climax this year. A lot of names missing this year due to them living in the US and there being a pandemic, it's actually worse than last year. White, Juice, Finlay, and Ospreay are the obvious ones. Suzuki and Kojima seemed to have preferred to have a US tour instead of the G1 Climax.
A block has Kota Ibushi, Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Zack Sabre Jr, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii, Yujiro Takahashi, KENTA, Tanga Roa, & Great-O-Khan.
B has SANADA, Taichi, YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, Jeff Cobb, EVIL, Tama Tonga, Chase Owens, Kazuchika Okada, & Hiroshi Tanahashi.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match
Robbie Eagles (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi - 8/10
Really good match, but I just didn't feel anything for it. As good as he is as a worker, I just can't find any emotional connection to Eagles or his stories, and so I didn't really care if he won, in a way, I was more invested in him winning just to see Hiromu go through a better chase until he eventually wins it back, because that's the thing, Desperado, Eagles, Ishimori, we know they're all there to space out Hiromu reigns right now.
Match itself saw Eagles target Hiromu's legs until he got the win via submission with the Ron Miller Special after hitting a 450 to the same knee he had been working on.
Post-match - El Desperado came out and challenged Eagles for a rematch. He offered Eagles a shot at the tag titles if he gets a shot at the single's title.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship Match
Shingo Takagi (c) vs. EVIL (w/Bullet Club) - 7/10
I'm not gonna lie, seeing EVIL with this unit made me feel something. Granted only two of them are good wrestlers, but I thought the look was good. If only they were their own dark thing and not whatever subset of the Bullet Club, I'd be more interested. That and the generic way NJPW thinks all heels are.
This was totally an EVIL match with all the shenanigans and interference. I didn't hate it because as I've mentioned before, I don't have as much as a problem with cheating when the babyface ends up overcoming the odds and gets the win. But it does get tiresome until that comeback actually starts to happen. In this case, part of that comeback came along with the rest of LIJ coming out and backing up Shingo, and in a way, that was something that had been coming, when LIJ could all work together to counter EVIL, who betrayed them all. At the end, after all that went down, it came down to Shingo countering an Everything Is Evil, hitting the Last of the Dragons, and getting the win.
I do need to mention that it was weird seeing SHO be the one aiding EVIL against Shingo after SHO and Shingo had a rivalry in the Junior division.
Post-match - Shingo cut his winner's promo and celebrated with the rest of LIJ to close the show. Shingo and Tanahashi had a little stare down since Tana was on commentary, but Shingo has been doing the same with Cobb, Okada, and more. We're going into the G1 now, so all those teases will have to wait.
This was another strong show inside the ring, but that reflects a lot of the issues that NJPW is going through because of powers outside their control. No doubt that NJPW has been the promotion that as most hurt by the pandemic and I don't know if it's a matter of not being able to back down from deals, or reluctance from higher ups, but this was a great show that could had taken place in Ota Ward or Budokan and it wouldn't had looked as empty and cavernous.
NJPW, RevPro, CMLL, DDT, etc
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