TERUAKI KANEMITSU, YOSHITATSU, CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN, & TOGI MAKABE vs. MATT SYDAL, RICOCHET, SATOSHI KOJIMA, & HIROYOSHI TENZAN- 4.25/10
I am embarrassed to admit that I was so distracted by wondering why Captain New Japan & Yoshitatsu had named their team the more awkward “Hunter Club” instead of just pluralizing Yoshitatsu’s “Bullet Club Hunter” nickname to the much cooler “Bullet Club Hunters” that I completely missed the joke until just now.
Despite all supposedly being babyfaces, Makabe’s team jumped Kojima’s team before the bell. It was very strange. The match was meh.
TIGER MASK IV, TOMOAKI HONMA, MANABU NAKANISHI, & YUJI NAGATA vs. reDRagon, DAVID FINLAY JR., & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI- 4/10
Old, broken-down MANABU NAKANISHI went for a dive, but didn’t get the distance he needed and Kyle O’Reilly completely failed to catch him so Nakanishi basically did a belly flop over the ropes and down to the floor, and then, to make it all even worse, Kyle took a phantom bump.
ROPPONGI VICE vs. THE GUERRILLAS OF DESTINY- 4.75/10
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto) vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi)- 6.25/10
I, of all people, popped HUGE for Tomohiro Ishii opening up with a good old-fashioned Necro Butcher Violence Party in the corner. This was a basic tag match that started to get good towards the end.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON vs. JUICE ROBINSON, KUSHIDA, MICHAEL ELGIN, & HIROSHI TANAHASHI- 6.75/10
The match started off with Los Ingobernables jumping our babyfaces. This led to various brawls on the floor, and in one of them Naito took a chair to Elgin’s knee and he was out for a while. He recovered in time to receive the big hot tag and the babyfaces made their comeback and eventually got the win when Elgin pinned one of the Ingobernables. Naito tried to attack Elgin after the match, but Elgin won the exchange by hitting him with an Elgin Bomb, which seems like an odd way to build up their title match for the Kobe show. KUSHIDA and BUSHI were also still fighting well after the match ended, and they had to be separated.
IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: The Briscoes(c) vs. The Young Bucks- 6.25/10
The Briscoes appear to have hunted, killed, and skinned the Swamp Monster and fashioned his hide into pants (which I believe was an angle that actually did happen in Earth-3 CHIKARA).
I was very disappointed with this match. It didn’t have much of a coherent story, so most of the match felt like guys just running around and doing stuff I’ve seen them do together a million times in ROH, but slower and nowhere near as good.
They also missed a chance to tell a rather unique story for an IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title match that was presented to them by the very unusual circumstances of this match: that the challengers are also the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. Instead of doing this to try to make this relevant, they completely ignored this fact, with a Buck even lifting a Briscoe up with little effort for a powerbomb onto the apron. The only reason I could think of why they wouldn’t want to tell the “size difference” story was that it would make the Bucks the babyfaces… except that the Bucks wrestled like babyfaces the entire match, anyway.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Fine
The Guerrillas of Destiny attacked the Briscoes from behind and laid one of them out with the one of the tag belts. Then Tama Tonga said that they want their rematch. Tonga’s promo was actually pretty good until that last line. He abbreviates Guerrillas of Destiny as G.O.D., pronouncing it as “god.” As a result of this, he told the Briscoes that “god wants a rematch,” at which point immediately burst out laughing because the first thought in my brain was “what does God need with a rematch?” (Yes. Star Trek V did just manage to ruin a wrestling promo in foreign country, almost thirty years after it was released.)
ROH WORLD TITLE MATCH: Adam Cole(c) vs. Will Ospreay- 7.5/10
Solid storytelling here. Cole first worked Ospreay’s back a lot, then kept going for the Last Shot but Ospreay kept countering it, and Ospreay was met with similar struggles every time he went for the Os-Cutter. Eventually Cole was able to nail Ospreay with a Panama Sunrise before finally hitting the Last Shot to put him down.
BAD LUCK FALE (w/Yujiro Takahashi) vs. KAZUCHIKA OKADA (w/Gedo)- 8.25/10
If Fale beat Okada in the G1, then shouldn’t this be an IWGP Heavyweight Title match? Either way, this match was awesome. The main story of the match was Fale working over Okada’s arm to take away the Rainmaker. For pretty much the entire match after the heat started, Okada never successfully picked Fale up using his arms. Any time he got Fale up, the weight was initially supported by something else (like Okada’s back, or the ropes) and Okada dumped him as quickly as possible. This lasted until Okada finally got him up at the finish. They also told a nice little story of Okada always managing to counter Fale’s attempts to hit the Bad Luck Fall, which was the maneuver that Fale beat him with in the G1.
G1 BRIEFCASE MATCH: Kenny Omega(c) (w/the Young Bucks) vs. YOSHI-HASHI (w/Hirooki Goto)- 8.75/10
FANTASTIC match! Omega worked over YOSHI-HASHI’s back, then switched to his head and neck after getting some help from the Bucks to hit YOSHI-HASHI with a double spike piledriver onto a trashcan. YOSHI-HASHI worked over Omega’s head and neck. At first it didn’t seem like YOSHI-HASHI had a chance of winning this, but they had him keep fighting for just long enough that you began to believe, turning his comeback from a well-performed formality into something that you started to believe in, and kept that going just long enough before finally having Omega put him away. It’s great to see YOSHI-HASHI delivering at such a high level after years of seeming like he had that special connection with the fans but was never put in the spot to be able to deliver. Omega, meanwhile continues to build a strong case for himself as Wrestler of the Year.
KENNY OMEGA PROMO- freakin’ great!
This show was a weak under card followed by two awesome main events, so don’t bother watching anything other than the two top matches (and Cole vs. Ospreay if you want).