CHRIS SABIN & FLIP GORDON vs. TIGER MASK IV & SHOTA UMINO - 4.75/10
We start off with... some wrestling moves, apparently, but someone moron decided that it would be better to look at the announcers than show me the beginning of the wrestling match. Sabin & Flip did an odd bit where did stuff on one leg just for the hell of it.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, TAKA Michinoku, & Takashi Iizuka) - 4/10
When Suzuki-Gun jumped the bell on their opponents, Kevin Kelly cheerfully called it as "Suzuki-Gun wasting no time!" totally ignoring the fact that these men are engaging in a pre-match assault on unrepaired opponents. The match was basically stupid Suzuki-Gun ticks, followed by stupid Yano tricks for the finish.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT- Bad. Suzuki and Ishii had a stare-down. Suzuki went to get a chair but the young-boys held him back. Ishii keeps giving Suzuki the "come on. Come get me!" motion. Suzuki then starts to beat up the young-boys... and Ishii just stands there, still telling Suzuki to come get him. If you want to fight the dude so badly, just GO FIGHT HIM (not to mention you also get to be the babyface you're supposed to be and stop Suzuki from assaulting these innocent young-boys).
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Roppongi 3K) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (El Desperado, Taichi, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (w/Miho Abe) - 6.5/10
Holy f*ck it's a Suzuki-Gun match where no one got jumped before the bell! Unfortunately, though, we still go the stupid "fight on the outside forever without being counted out until it's time to tease the babyface being counted out even though no one ever buys it" spot. Once that crap was done, they started to have a pretty good six-man tag. The babyfaces got the pin when Yoh rolled up Kanemaru to build up to Roppogi 3K challenging Kanemaru & El Desperado for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles at Dominion 6.9 this Saturday. The heels then beat the babyfaces up after the match to get some heat for both that match and for Taichi challenging for Goto's NEVER Openweight Title (in a three-way also involving Michael Elgin).
HIROSHI TANAHASHI & TOA HENARE vs. BULLET CLUB (Marty Scurll & Yujiro Takahashi) - 6.75/10
Scurll and Tanahashi were fun whenever they worked together, and Henare was a good babyface in peril. The real story here, though, is that Scurll had been getting in Liger's face during the match Liger was minding his own business on commentary, which led to the...
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Great! The heels beat the defeated Henare down after the match. Tanahashi tried to make the save but got cut off when Marty hit him with his umbrella. Marty then locked Tanahashi in the Crossface Chickenwing until Liger ran off the heels. Everyone went nuts for this, as well as Scurll's challenge, which resulted in Scurll vs. Liger vs. Tanahashi in a three-way for some future show. That sounds awesome. Or at least that's what I heard. Marty also mentioned Rey Mysterio Jr. and the Dominion card has a six-man tag listed, but I'm dead certain I heard Marty say "three-way."
KUSHIDA, ACH, DRAGON LEE, & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, Sanada, & EVIL) - 6.75/10
POST-MATCH STUFF - Jericho showed up on the Tron and cut an awesome condescending promo on Naito, who responded by pretending to sleep through it, then cutting a great promo of his own on Jericho.
KOTA IBUSHI & CHASE OWENS vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay) - 7.75/10
Didn't they just make a big deal at the last show that all of this Bullet Club stuff was over except that everyone else is angry at Kenny and Cody? So why is Kota Ibushi still teaming with a member of Bullet Club? Could they not find a single unaffiliated person to team with Kota?
The match was pretty darn great. Owens certainly didn't drag it down, despite being several levels of skill below the other three. The real problem with this match was that the match it made me most want to see is Ibushi vs. Ospreay, which we won't be getting. Okada vs. Ibushi was good, too, but those two were mostly kept apart. Predictably, Okada pinned Chase Owens, although the twist here was that before hitting Owens with his usual Rainmaker he hit him with Kenny Omega's V-Trigger.
BEST OF THE SUPER JUNIORS FINALS:
Hiromu Takahashi vs. Taiji Ishimori - 9.75/10
The story of this match was simple: two brave warriors who wanted to win so badly that they would not stay down, no matter how hard you cranked on their necks or how many times you dropped them on their heads. The selling was amazing, the crowd was white hot, the bumps were insane, the submission struggles were epic, and F*CKING HIROMU TOOK A F*CKING RANA DOWN AN ENTIRE F*CKIG CEMENT STAIRCASE!
As for why it's not a perfect 10/10, well... if you know me you've probably already guessed that it's because of New Japan's usual rules enforcement problem. You've all heard the usual rant on it by now, so instead I'm going to highlight where I think a chunk of the problem originated.
As a way of justifying this lack of enforcement of the rules, Chris Sabin said "no one wants to see this end on a DQ or a count-out. We want to see a clean finish." This is something that Gabe used to say on commentary for the early ROH DVDs because the entire premise that ROH was built upon was that people were tired of big matches ending in sh*tty non-finishes like we had been getting from WWF and WCW for years. Thus, the fact that ROH wasn't going to f*ck you on finishes was made a major selling point of the promotion. Fans responded positively to this idea and thus other promotions began to latch on to the idea, and the whole "we won't let this match end on a DQ or a count-out!" became a staple of indy wrestling.
As so often happens in wrestling, however, people remembered the major idea, but not the details of the situation that made it work. In this case the missing details were that ROH's rules did not allow for count-outs (though the referee could throw the match out if he thought things were getting too out of control), and thus in ROH wrestlers could brawl around the ringside area for a long time and not get counted out because there were no count-outs. Similarly, ROH didn't book disqualifiable situations early on, so there were no DQs, either... but people only remember that there was never a DQ or a count-out and not WHY that was able to be the case. Thus, when they took the big idea but not the relevant details, we wind up with situations like the one in this match where Chris Sabin is telling me that everyone wants to see a clean winner in this match, and I find myself shouting back at him that it's too late for that because Ishimori just used a chair to injure Hiromu!
A pretty good show with New Japan, although all you really need to see is the main event and the two important post-match segments (Bullet Club vs. Tanahashi/Henare and Jericho/Naito promos). The BOSJ finals is the sort of show that seems like it should be expected to be a one-match show, and that match was good enough to justify the price of NJPW World this month by itself... but this show also had to function as a go-home show for Dominion, and while some of the stuff they did worked very well, not having Omega, Elgin, or the Young Bucks (challengers for the heavyweight singles, heavyweight tag, and NEVER titles) on the show was kind of awkward (this was most felt in the semi-main, where the pairing felt completely awkward).