By Big Red Machine
From July 15, 2019
JUSHIN "THUNDER" LIGER & KOTA IBUSHI vs. SHOTA UMINO & YOTA TSUJI - 6/10
Other than Shota pushing the referee down and not getting DQed, this was pretty good for the time it got.
REN NARITA, TOMAOKI HONMA, & TOA HENARE vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Sanda, EVIL, & BUSHI) - 5/10
HIROSHI TANAHASHI, KARL FREDERICKS, CLARK CONNORS, & KENTA vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Lance Archer, & Zack Sabre Jr.) - 4.75/10
Suzuki-Gun jumped the bell on their opponents. Then we actually had some good regular wrestling for long enough that I was fooled into thinking they would actually skip the usual Suzuki-Gun crap where everyone goes to the outside and brawls there with no count-out followed by weapons shots with no DQ, followed by the big count-out tease because count-outs have suddenly gone into effect... but then those damn bastards went and did it later in the match. The babyfaces' comeback was good but the finish- each of the three heels with submissions finishes getting his respective rival in a submission in a corner of the ring and Kanemaru hitting Depp Impact for the win off of the remaining corner- was way too cutesy for my taste. Suzuki-Gun not letting up on the holds after the match is something they do so often it has become meaningless.
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale) - 6.25/10
We got the usual bullsh*t on the outside. This led to a good heat segment on YOSHI-HASHI, a good hot tag to Okada, and some very good action from there on out.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Toru Yano vs. Shingo Takagi - DUD!
The match started off with Shingo trying to convince Yano to take his shirt off because, as Kevin Kelly claimed, "that was one of the ways that Yano was able to get a victory the other night." No it wasn't! It was other people wearing shirts that Yano took advantage off. The only person whose head Yano's own shirt went over was his own. Yano is apparently just as dumb as Kevin Kelly because he listens to Shingo and starts to take his shirt off, at which point Shingo attacks him. Dumbass.
Stupid Yano Tricks fail to get Yano the victory, at which point he rolls to the outside and refuses to engage in the match in the ring. He sets up a chair in the aisle and demands that Shingo come to him. One of the competitors is now refusing to fight in the ring... and of course the referee won't count him out because this New Japan, where the enforcement of the rules makes about as much sense as the average Raw script.
The referee refusing to count even after Shingo points out to him that he should be counting means that Shingo has to go to the outside and get Yano, so he does. They brawl a bit and Shingo winds up with the advantage. At this point Shingo yells to the ref to start counting... and even though he refused to do so when Shingo asked him to less than a minute ago, this time Marty Asami starts counting.
Yano managed to gain the advantage, then hit Shingo with a chair. This was not a DQ. It didn't even result in the "referee's prerogative to stop counting because someone did something he didn't like" bullsh*t. This set up a count-out tease where Yano put a bunch of stuff in Shingo's way first. This would have been a clever spot if they hadn't already made it clear that the rules only apply when the predetermined plot requires them to and are thus bullsh*t.
Also, Kevin Kelly is now calling the turnbuckle pad "Mary" because his job is apparently to take everything stupid in New Japan and make it even more infuriating to me. Say what you will about Ian Riccaboni or Mauro Ranallo trying to force various references, but at least they don't seem to be purposefully doing things to exacerbate the negatives of their respective products.
They finally put a good minute or two together, but then they flushed all of that down the toilet by giving us a ref bump and having Yano try to Eddie Guerrero his way into a win... IN A MATCH WHERE THE REFEREE HAD ALREADY SEEN YANO HIT SHINGO WITH A CHAIR AND DID NOTHING ABOUT IT!
The referee was actually about to DQ Shingo for this but Shingo convinced him not to. Then Shingo's buddy BUSHI came out to ringside and physically restrained the referee. This was also not a DQ. So, to recap:
Having your buddy physically restrain the referee so he can't do his job- not a disqualification.
Hitting someone with a chair in front of the referee- not a disqualification.
A chairshot that the referee doesn't see and is only relying on the word of one of the competitors (and a known cheater at that) to validate- that's a f*cking DQ.
While BUSHI had the ref, Shingo hit Yano with the chair. Shingo then hit the Pumping Bomber and got the pin. This was f*cking moronic.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Hirooki Goto vs. Juice Robinson - 7.25/10
Very good drama and storytelling, though I truly despise that "I block your punch with my head and you get hurt" spot.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Jeff Cobb vs. John Moxley - 6.75/10
They were on the outside forever without being counted out. Other than that, this was very good. Ambrose working the arm shows us that he's not a one-note brawler, and I liked that they felt that Cobb's size required a special set-up for the Death Rider.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Jay White (w/Gedo) - 7/10
Why the hell was this not the main event?
White bails to the outside right after the bell rings. Red Shoes' body language made his displeasure with this obvious... but at no point did he do the one thing he could do to rectify the situation- which also happens to be the thing that he's supposed to do in this situation and START COUNTING JAY WHITE OUT.
They had a good exchange in the ring leading to Ishii tossing White out of the ring and whipping him into barricades... and there was no count-out. Gedo attacked Ishii from behind right in front of Red Shoes... and there was no DQ. Gedo caused a distraction which allowed White to shove Ishii into the post. White then ran Ishii into a bunch of barricades while Red Shoes did nothing to count them out. Then, once White was back in the ring, Red Shoes staredt counting Ishii out. The reason he started counting once White was back in the ring but not when both wrestlers were on the outside was because... um... uh...
The first seven minutes or so were full of this type of crap. The next few were good, but then Ishii starting his old bullsh*t, going from selling his head and neck like death to no-selling everything, including doing a spot where White was forearming Ishii in the face but it was Ishii who was backing White up simply my walking forward with each forearm to the face that he ate. After two minutes of that crap we finished off with six great minutes of trading finisher attempts and nearfalls. This basically alternated between being great and sucking.
BLOCK B MATCH:
Tetsuya Naito vs. Taichi (w/Miho Abe & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) - 5/10
Kevin Kelly insisted that "Naito just got outsmarted by Toru Yano" during their match two nights ago. Naito didn't get outsmarted. YANO CHEATED. You know, Kevin? That thing you get angry at whenever someone in Bullet Club of Suzuki-Gun does, you stupid f*cking hypocrite?
After a bunch of stalling by Naito, they wound up brawling on the outside with no count-out. Taichi used Miho Abe as a human shield to escape. Naito grabbed her hair for a while and just held it intensely. Miho Abe was right to be creeped out and terrified by this. Taichi hit Naito in the nuts while the referee was talking to Miho and Kanemaru.
Taichi then took Naito to the outside for more whipping into the barricade and chairshots right in front of the referee. If weapon shots are not DQs then why did Red Shoes stop Naito from grabbing Taichi's mic stand before? Also, there were no count-outs here. Taichi rolled Naito back into the ring and went for the pin... but now Red Shoes is refusing to count. F*ck this sh*t.
Taichi had a boring heat with lots of grabbing and that stupid cocky paint brushing and light kicking you see in New Japan all the time that allows them to artificially extend their matches by several extra minutes without doing much for the story. Speaking of story, the story of this match was Taichi and pals cheating, and eventually it paid off and he won via Iron Fingers and a Last Ride. This probably would have worked for me without all of the dumb referee sh*t, because if the ref is going to let chairshots go then why am I supposed to be upset about these other weapons? Cheating isn't effective when you have the referee ignore it at random points, and the heat segment was just plain boring.
It's nice to see something that could turn into an actual story being told throughout the tournament with both Naito and White off to shockingly poor starts, and with Naito's losses all being due to cheating, but this was nowhere close to the quality a G1 show- or a major show from any promotion- should be.