By Big Red Machine
From August 05, 2017
KATSUYA KITAMURA vs. CHASE OWENS - 2.5/10
They seemed to be going in slow motion in the beginning, which took a bit away from an otherwise uneventful match.
YUJI NAGATA, TETSUHIRO YAGI, & SHOTA UMINO vs. SUZUKI-GUN (El Desperado, Taichi, & Zack Sabre Jr.) - 5/10
TOMOYUKI OKA & HIROYOSHI TENZAN vs. BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale) - 5.25/10
TOGI MAKABE, HIRAI KAWATO, & TIGER MASK IV vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, & BUSHI) - 5.75/10
Very good for the time it got. Naito in particular was very much on tonight.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI, KOTA IBUSHI, & DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, & YOSHI-HASHI) - 6/10
This was very good for the time it got. The only bad part was Ishii's no-selling in the beginning.
BLOCK B MATCH: Toru Yano vs. Tama Tonga - 0.5/10
Dumb Yano crap. Yes, it was a little different than normal, but it's still not anywhere close to good.
BLOCK B MATCH: Sanada vs. Satoshi Kojima (w/Hiroyoshi Tenzan) - 7/10
Both guys work the head, Kojima finally picks up his first win of the tournament.
BLOCK B MATCH: Michael Elgin vs. Minoru Suzuki (w/El Desperado & Taichi) - 7.5/10
Those dastardly Suzuki-Gun bastards cheat (and distract the referee! For once) to damage Elgin's arm. We got what appeared to be one of the lamest ref bumps in history, although they were saved from that distinction by the fact that we couldn't quite see the contact because it was just off-camera. The match was still great, though.
BLOCK B MATCH: Juice Robinson vs. Kenny Omega - 8.75/10
Kenny cut Juice off via a vertical suplex to the floor where Juice landed badly and hurt his knee. Kenny then locked Juice in the Figure Four around the ringpost, which is technically an illegal maneuver because Juice is in the ropes, so the referee comes out and starts to apply the rope-break count. He gets all the way to four but Kenny still doesn't break the hold... so the referee just stops counting rather than disqualify Kenny like he should because that's not the finish. If anything you are planning on doing in your match creates a situation where there should be a DQ or a count-out but the referee doesn't call it because the finish is supposed to be something else, DON'T DO THE SPOT!
That bit aside, this match was AWESOME. Juice's leg has been a target for his opponents all tournament, and that continued here. His selling was excellent, as usual, and they had some great teases of the Pulp Friction but then Kenny started to hit his stuff and there were some excellent false finishes but then Kenny pulled Juice up for the One-Winged Angel and brought him down and JUICE ROBINSON REVERSED IT INTO A ROLL-UP AND PINNED KENNY OMEGA.
BLOCK B MATCH: EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) - 9/10
EVIL nails Okada with a chair right in front of the referee but there is no DQ. Can these LIJ f*ckers really not go through one single match without a chairshot? They also did the same dumb count-out tease they do every match where the referee doesn't even start counting until it's time for the drama to happen... except this time it was even dumber because EVIL just went back to the outside (which should have restarted the count but didn't) and dragged Okada back to the ring.
Okay... now that that is out of the way, this match was awesome! They worked over each other's heads the entire match, building to an utterly tremendous finishing sequence that was marred only by the fact that one of the announcers seems to have forgotten that it's only a Rainmaker if he starts in a wristlock, then spins the guy around and hits a short-arm lariat. This announcer was just shouting "RAAAAAAINMAKEEER!!!" for every damn lariat Okada threw.
The big news to come out of this match is that EVIL won, meaning that Okada is now no longer undefeated in the tournament. It had to happen sometime, and the longer he went undefeated the more it felt like they were building up to it, so it definitely worked on that level. AS for the choice of EVL to be the guy to it... they could have had him go undefeated the whole time before losing to Omega on the final block day, but this match (along with the previous show's Omega match and the fall PPV main event that should stem from this match) should give EVIL the opportunity to show that he belongs in the top echelon of the very talented New Japan roster.
An awesome show from New Japan, even with the handicap of a short Yano singles match on it.