Seven Match Trial, Second Match
Katsuya Kitamura vs Michael Elgin - 6/10
Big lad's wrestling! This was two huge dudes, slapping each other, chopping each other, tossing each other around the ring. Kitamura brought a good fight to Elgin, Kitamura was shown as having pretty much the same strength if not more than Elgin by beating him in some struggles. At the end Elgin's experience takes the win with a Buckle Bomb + Spinning Sitdown Powerbomb for the win. Good opener.
Suzuki-Gun (Taichi w/Miho Abe, Taka Michinoku, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & Takashi Iizuka) vs Jyushin 'Thunder' Liger, Tiger Mask, KUSHIDA, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, & Manabu Nakanishi - 5/10
It took forever for Miho Abe to make her entrance, that by the time Taichi was about to start singing, the rest of SZKG came in and he didn't get to sing. SZKG attacked the babyfaces during introductions and went on to have a somewhat long brawl all over the place, it was after a while that Taichi and Liger finally made it back to the ring to start the match. Inside the ring they tried working a match, but it really quickly went to chaos again with everyone just going all over the place. The last two inside the ring were KUSHIDA and Taka, who tapped out to the 4969. This was a fun match if you were able to pay attention to everything going on, emphasis on 'Fun', not 'Good'.
Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi & CHase Owens) vs CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) - 5.5/10
The Ishii parts of the match were all competitive and good, Yano did comedy, but a great comeback to get the hot tag to Ishii. Ishii pinned Owens to win the match. Good, nothing special.
Never Openweight 6-Man Championship Match
Ryusuke Taguchi, Henare, & Togi Makabe vs Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Guerrillas of Destiny) (C) - 6.5/10
During the post-intro face-offs, Tonga Roa broke Taguchi's glasses, and so he got pissed off and wanted to fight, and I got hyped for pissed off Taguchi, and then he used his butt to try and hurt a Samoan's head and all my hopes flew out the window. Henare was the babyface in peril, he eventually managed to escape Bad Luck and get Makabe in there, notice how I said 'escape' and not 'made a comeback' like it usually happens. Last two in the match were Tama Tonga and Henare, they actually traded near falls until Tonga submitted Henare with a new Rings of Saturn looking submission (has he done it before?). Good match and a good defense for BC, I was seriously worried they'd lose the titles.
Bullet Club (Cody, Hangman Page, & Marty Scurll) vs Kota Ibushi, Juice Robinson, & David Finlay - 7.5/10
Cody is sporting an bruised up eye from Taven's match in ROH. This whole match really played over Ibushi and Cody's rivalry, but overall, it was all about building Page into the next level.
Match started with some pair-ups until Juice came in and BC cut him off. They got heat on Juice a while until Cody was the one inside and Juice made it to Cody, and so we didn't get a hot tag, but rather, we finally got Cody alone with Ibushi in the ring. They had a short but great exchange. Then they did a weird sequence where every wrestler, both heels and babyfaces, kept taking out one of their partners, so at the end, it was only Page and Finlay left alone in the ring, where Page put down Finlay for the win. Good match.
Post-match - Cody is antagonizing everyone, from Ibushi to Kevin Kelly. And he loves Kenny Omega.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi) vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & Will Ospreay) - 7/10
When even the juniors look like bigger superstars than you, what happened to you YOSHI? The match was competitive and back and forward, but LIJ really over-shined this CHAOS team, to the point that after the match, YOSHI-HASHI is trying to attack Naito and Naito doesn't give a shit. Match was back and forward, Ospreay was great as usually, which made Naito pinning him really weird to me, and it wasn't even with Destino, it was a roll up after low blow and a superkick by Hiromu. Something was just odd in this match.
Post-match - As I mentioned, YOSHI-HASHI tried to fight Naito and Naito was just ignoring him until YOSHI has to straight up tackle Naito to the floor to get his attention. After that they brawled to the back. YOSHI is such a geek.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA, & BUSHI) vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, & Gedo) - 8/10
Not that it should matter, but SANADA finally came in with his own entrance AND last, and he has a new KICKASS attire, dude is fucking ready for Osaka! Okada on the other hand is still using his Yellow Submarine pants which I hoped would only be a WK weekend thing.
This match probably had the best use of SANADA's nudo since he defeated Yano in the G1, here SANADA put Gedo in the Nudo, but instead of going straight for the kick, he used it to mock Okada and get in his head. Even with a Gedo babyface in peril spot, I'd say this was a back and forward match, we saw almost all possible pairings before we finally got a good Okada vs SANADA run. We didn't really get much of EVIL vs Goto. Finish of the match saw EVIL and SANADA go for the Magic Killer on Goto, but Okada saved him and they hit snched Oshigoroshi, leaving BUSHI alone to be killed and submitted to Okada's Clutch.
Post-match - Okada cut a promo calling out SANADA. After SANADA ignores him, Okada runs and attacks him back into the ring where he dropped him with a piledriver and shoved down the Rainmaker money in his mouth before locking in the Cobra Clutch. Super heel move by Okada or a statement to be respected depending on how you see it.
"Switchblade" Jay White & Roppongi 3K w/Rocky Romero vs The Elite (Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks) - 8.5/10
Slight story here is that Kenny came in with his easy match attire, completely underestimating Jay White and ended up getting his ass kicked for not taking him seriously. This forces Omega and The Bucks to rise their game and take control back of the match, at which point the match went from good to great. Omega pinned YOH after an assisted Inditaker.
Post-match - White jumps Omega and hits the Switchblade before the Bucks can save him. Omega is selling a hurt shoulder, we'll see if it comes into play tomorrow.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match
Minoru Suzuki vs Hiroshi Tanahashi (C) - 10/10!
Suzuki actually came out with all four juniors, but as the honorable warrior that he is, he sends them back. Coming in to this match there is a nice feeling that we know that Tanahashi is legit injured, and we know Suzuki is legit a stiff-looking motherfucker, so I fear for Tanahashi, but I can't look away from the punishment he is taking.
Story of this match was Suzuki's complete decimation of Tanahashi's body, but never his spirit. Suzuki initially worked over Tana's injured arm, but after Tanahashi's comeback, there was yet another twist, as Tanahashi goes for the High Fly Flow, and while he lands it, he also goes knee first into the mat, so now his full right side is injured. Tanahashi goes for another HFF, but this time Suzuki counters and immediately locks in a sick looking knee bar for a really really close near fall. This was followed by a fantastic (and really long) Figure 4 Leg Lock struggle that once again had Tanahashi grasping at the edge of his life-force to survive. At this point Suzuki has broken Tanahashi physically, but not his spirit, so now Suzuki stars going for the finishing move. He hits the Gotch Piledriver and then locks in the knee bar again, never letting go, but Tanahashi will not give in, he will never submit. Red shoes is pleading with Tanahashi to give in, but Tana won't, and after about two lifetimes of torture, Red Shoes stops the match for the good of Tanahashi. Austin didn't submit to Bret because he was a badass, Tanahashi won't submit to Suzuki because he has heart.
I can't end this without mentioning. Minoru Suzuki has THE BEST flying kick in the business. No one, literally no one comes close to it.
Post-match - Suzuki cuts a promo while Tanahashi is being tended by doctors and doing a stretcher job. He tells Tanahashi is he ever heals, he'll be right here waiting for him, ready to break him again. Tells the fans that Tanahashi will never wrestle again. Awesome promo.
A good show for NJPW that started off good and ended up awesome. It kinda feels like a one match show, but looking back, the two LIJ and Elite matches were actually really good. Card-wise I thought this looked as the weaker show, so we'll see how Sapporo night 2 and Osaka turn out.