Hirai Kawato, Katsuya Kitamura & Tetsuhiro Yagi vs David Finlay, Shota Umino, and Tomoyuki Oka - 4.5/10
Kawato continues to challenge established wrestlers. Fans went crazy for Oka and Kitamura being tagged in, and Kitamura is really developing a stiff chop. I think Yagi may have been overwhelmed by the size of the venue, he was botching a bit before getting pinned.
Tiger Mask W, Tiger Mask IV, Togi Makabe, and Yuji Nagata vs Manabu Nakanishi, Jyushin "Thunder" Liger, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and Satoshi Kojima - 4.5/10
Kevin Kelly asks Callis if he watches Tiger Mask W, putting him on the spot, Callis obviously says he does and enjoys it a lot, but c'mon, I can't even fake the image in my head of Callis watching a cartoon. Props to all these younger guys making Tenzan and Nakanishi look good. Ok match, nothing special, just getting the popular faces out there for the fans rejoice. Makabe pins Nakanishi for the win. Not sure what happened after the match, but Makabe was scowling Tiger Mask W.
Gauntlet Match for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Championships
Los Ingobernables de Japon (C) vs Suzuki-Gun vs CHAOS vs Taguchi Japan vs Bullet Club - 6.5/10
First teams in are Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, and Hangman Page for Bullet Club, going against CHAOS, represented by Ishii, Yano, and YOSHI-HASHI. They had a somewhat long fight, mostly Ishii fighting and Fale being strong.
Third team in is Suzuki-Gun. Zack Sabre got the tron video, no jacket, just a 'KING" t-shirt, he's also wearing just black trunks like a young lion. Partners are Taichi and Kanemaru. Sabre just quickly out-wrestled Yano to the pin. This lasted about 2 minutes
Taguchi Japan is next, Ricochet, Robinson, and Ryusuke Taguchi. Mostly comedy offense here, but once the heels started getting the heat, it did get more serious. Robinson pinned Taichi to advance. Suzuki-Gun attacked them before leaving. Not even in WWE did Zack Sabre look like a small name among the talent.
Last team was Los Ingobernables de Japon, they really came off as superstars. BUSHI had an EVA Unit 2 mask. There was a tower of doom spot where Ricochet was going to catch Sanada in a powerbomb midfall, but he took an extra step and all of Sanada felt on top of Ricochet, he wasn't hurt, but that had to suck. This was the best of the match-ups, they also had the most tie to fight. Awesome dominant finish where EVIL took out Ricochet and Robinson, while Sanada had Taguchi in a Dragon Sleeper, then he releases him into an MX from BUSHI for the win.
Overall, the match was bad because the first three matches were not that good, while the last two got better. I like the idea of these matches, but they seriously need a lot more time.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
The Young Bucks vs Roppingi Vice (C) - 8/10
Romero had a Black Tiger/Bullet Club mask, it looked weird, but awesome. This was a play on the Wrestle Kingdom match where they took out Beretta and focused on Romero, but since that didn't work, now they took out Romero and focused on Beretta. This was a valiant effort by Beretta to fight off both Bucks, taking everything they had and not giving up. There was an awesome visual when Romero rejoined the match, where Romero asks for the tag, you see Beretta asking 'Are you sure?", to which Romero says yes and comes in all fire.
Everything after this was all The Bucks wanting to win the match via submission. The Bucks had originally taken out Romero with apron bombs, so even hitting IndiTaker, they went for the Sharpshooter for the win. This HAS to be the Buck's first submission win, right?
IWGP Tag Team Championship Match
War Machine (C) vs Guerrillas of War - 7.5/10
War Machine have little Valkarye head dresses, they probably thought they looked awesome, but they're worse than the helms. Match was mostly back and forward, no real heat segment for GoD, they kinda just went straight for big moves on each other and tons of strikes.
Awesome near fall when Hanson hits a plancha on Tonga, fans bought it. Finish saw Referee Tiger take a bump, Rowe dodged a chair shot from Tonga and grab it, instead of hitting Tonga, Rowe tosses the chair, but that extra second thinking, Roa sneaks in and hits him with a chair. GoD then hit Guerrilla Warfare for the pin. It was their best match so far.
"The American Nightmare" Cody vs Michael Elgin - 8/10
Cody keeps taunting Jyushin Liger, he may be shooting for that match for the US shows. Match was mostly Cody's speed overcoming Elgin all the time, but constantly showboating enough for Elgin to get back on his feet, it's one of those where if Cody had kept on the offense instead of being cocky, he could have taken Elgin down. This was a perfectly wrestled match, the crowd got into it, no shenanigans, Cody pinned Elgin clean after the cross-roads. You have to believe that Cody is the favorite to win that US championship.
Post-match - Cody gets in Kevin Kelly's mic, says he's coming for Daniels and Okada.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match
KUSHIDA vs Himoru Takahashi (C) - 9.5/10
Takahashi with the Rey Mysterio POP entrance, huge balloons in the crowd. These guys were close to just going Frye/Takayama on each other, pulling each other's hair and hitting each other with everything. Fans are somewhat behind Takahashi over KUSHIDA, at one point outside the ring KUSHIDA brought in chairs to do a Sabu on Takahashi, and the fans completely booed him, spot was awesome though.
KUSHIDA worked the arm, Takahashi the neck. KUSHIDA's attack on the arm was amazing, just the kicks he was going for, and Takahashi's sell all match was superb. At points, Himoru hit the sunset powerbomb to the outside, KUSHIDA a top rope Back to the Future, but in both occasions, neither man was able to capitalize. While we almost had a double TKO, KUSHIDA locks in the hoverboard, twists the hand, and Takahashi has to tap out. This was an amazing match.
Post-match - KUSHIDA is doing his wave thing, BUSHI blindsides him and says he's coming for the new champion. BUSHI for double champ? YES!
Lumberjack Deathmatch for the NEVER Openweight Championship
Minoru Suzuki (C) vs Hirooki Goto - 7/10
Goto's lumberjack are Ishii, Yano, YOSHI-HASHI, and Jado. Suzuki is out with Sabre, Desperado, Kanemaru, and Taka. Match was mostly Suzuki at first, really making use of the lumberjacks constantly sending Goto to his side. As the match went on, Goto and Suzuki went longer inside the ring, during this time CHAOS and Suzuki-Gun got in a brawl outside.
Finish saw Taichi come out of nowhere and pull the ref during a clear win after the GTR. Taichi hits Goto with a chair leaving him ready for Suzuki to hit the Gotch Piledriver for the win. Match was good, but the lumberjack situation did make it a clusterfuck
At one point Suzuki hit Liger who is one commentary, Liger got pissed and threw his chair at him, Suzuki dodged and the chair hit Goto instead.
Post-match - Suzuki-Gun attack Goto, YOSHI-HASHI makes the save. We have a new challenger!
IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Tetsuya Naito (C) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi - 9/10
A weird thing, Tanahashi does the most babyface thing ever grabbing the IC title that Naito has already thrown, and gently gives it to the ref, then he does the heelest thing and attacks Naito before he can even take off his suit. Fans are still completely behind Tanahashi in Osaka, yet, when Tanahashi would do some things like attacking Naito with close fists, they would turn on Tanahashi.
Because of the injury, Naito works Tanahashi's torn bicep. Tanahashi in return, works Naito's leg. First part of the match was all Naito with the upper hand, Tanahashi would have small spots here and there, but nothing to change the momentum. Eventually at one point, one of those hope spots does make a difference and Naito is hurt. Finish saw Tanahashi make a huge comeback and put Naito in a lion-tamer for the submission win. The hero of all has saved the Intercontinental Championship.
It's a nice ending to the destruction path that Naito took that belt through, but at the same time, I feel like there could had been more, like that whole Naito vs Liger thing.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match
Kazuchika Okada (C) vs Kenny Omega - 10/10!
They did it, rematch of the decade, and they fucking did it. Omega and Okada went to a time limit draw, where even at minute 57 I was still jumping from my seat at roll up near falls.
This match had four parts. Part one was Kenny working Okada's leg when Okada injures it; second part was the playback to the six star match, going for the throwback spots; part three was Okada's dominance, where he started to really beat Omega down, and as he is about to kill Omega, we get the whole Bullet Club come out, Cody wants to throw in the towel, the Bucks stop him, this fires up Kenny to being part four, about 15 or so minutes of a back and forward battle, knees vs dropkicks, Rainmakers vs One Winged Angles, and tons and tons of near falls.
Post-show - During the post show press conference with Okada, Cody came in and pretty much challenged Okada to a title shot at the Long Beach show. I saw this coming since they were outside in the ring, you could tell that Cody wanted in. Okada was waaay dead to even try to defend himself. I think that Cody vs Omega will be a thing soon, Cody kinda going around Omega and the rest of the club.
A show at a par with Wrestling Kingdom itself, top to bottom, it was a great show that as the show progressed, it got better and better and better. I question some decisions, but I want to trust there is a bigger picture. Go watch this show. I hate Kevin Kelly.