Yuji Nagata, Yuya Uemura, & Yota Tsuji vs Manabu Nakanishi, Michael Richards, & Alex Coughlin - 4/10
Nothing here, Nakanishi and Nagata looked extra old tonight, they're movements were just slow. The stuff with the YL was good, Uemura looked great, the stuff with Tsuji vs Coughlin was good, and Richards at least has great expressions. Coughlin tapped out to Tsuji.
12th Young Lion Cup League Match
Clark Connors vs. Ren Narita - 5.5/10
This is the final night for the YLC, Narita, Fredericks, and Umino are all tied with 8 points. Narita needed a win here and for Umino to either lose or tie to stay in contention, but Connors eliminated him by tapping him out. The match was good, but I think they could have done more. There was a really great stiff chop exchange in the middle of the match that got the crowd going.
12th Young Lion Cup League Match
Karl Fredericks vs. Shota Umino - 6.5/10
I'm not gonna lie, from day one, I thought this was ALL intended to give Umino the win and start his excursion. Records show that Umino has had more matches than Kawato, Hiromu, or Oka had in their pre-excursion run. But they decided to go with Fredericks as the winner, and I think and feel that he is going to get whatever ideas they had with Kitamura a while back, at least in the sense that he is a huge dude that will be running with the YLC as his first big success.
The match saw a lot of Umino working on Fredericks. Umino went after the taped up shoulder, constantly going for armbars and armbreakers. Fredericks blocked Umino's Fisherman before heading to the finish which was another submission with a Boston Crab. All three openers had Boston Crab finishes.
Post-match - Awesome, quite eventful. First, Shota cut probably his best promo saying that of all his loses, this is the one that hurt the most and that he would use this pain to get better until he finally defeats Fredericks. He asked to be sent on excursion.
Fredericks then cut his winner's promo, pretty much saying that it was all thanks to Shibata and the LA Dojo and that as far as he knows, this Cup will always belong to the LA Dojo. Shibata then cut a promo saying that Frederick's win validated his teachings and his new career path. Then, out on nowhere, Narita approached Shibata and asked to be accepted to the LA Dojo, he wants to learn Shibata's wrestling, which given his size and complexion, becoming the new Shibata is genius.
BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Toa Henare, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma - 5/10
They're starting to cement the Haka as part of Henare's gimmick, I wonder if it was indeed Nakanishi's doing, but he was teasing the Tongan with it, so if I ever get to see Fale do a Haka, i'm selling all my properties and retiring in the jungles of Mexico, there is no more wrestling left to see afterwards. I also hope that Henare later on will dress as a rugby player and not use those leather trunks.
Anyway, match wasn't anything special. Henare vs Owens was the highlight. We had a nice little hoss fight between Makabe and Fale, but that was it. Henare had control over Chase all match, so it was kinda meh when Owens recovered and won with the PP. I think Henare could have taken this win.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jushin Thunder Liger, Rocky Romero & Tiger Mask vs. Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr.) - No Rating. AWEEEESOME Angle
This was it! Suzuki made his entrance and came down before everyone else, suddenly, not even half way through the ramp, Liger rushes him and they start brawling like crazy, pissed off Liger is the best. All of Suzuki-Gun came down to help, but then Tanahashi and company came down to even the odds and let Suzuki vs Liger to go at it.
The brawl came down to the ring where Suzuki once again went for Liger's mask, but this time, just like back in 1996, Liger finished the job, tearing up the mask and suit to reveal his darker side, Kishin Liger!! Kishin spit Black Myst on Suzuki, picked up a spike and legit stabbed a table, Suzuki couldn't do anything but run away scared and defeated.
Liger pursued and on his way, he took out a bunch of YLs, and Tanahashi himself! They fought all the way to the interview area.
I hope someone sits down Finn Balor and makes him watch this match. This is how you unleash the demon within.
On an unrelated note, Rocky Romero accepted Taguchi's invitation to team up as the Coach & Coach team. The team of the left behind tag team partners I'd call them. It's gonna be a lot of comedy, but I expect them to get far in the Jr. Tag League.
BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo, KENTA, Taiji Ishimori, & Guerrillas of Destiny) (w/Jado) vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Will Ospreay, Roppongi 3K, & YOSHI-HASHI) - 7/10
This was pretty awesome. I was really really digging the Ishii/Ospreay tag team that we got there for a while. The build of R3K getting upset wins over GoD continues with tonight as YOH picked up another win over Tama Tonga. The rest was all over the place, KENTA and YOSHI-HASHI faced off for a bit, and I'm hoping that's not KENTA's next victim. ELP and Ospreay did their thing to building to the title match. This also made me really wish we'd get an Ishimori vs Ishii match one day.
Post-match - GoD beat up R3K until CHAOS made the save. We should be getting the full KOPW card after Fighting Spirit, I'm guessing that match gets added.
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Robbie Eagles) & Kota Ibushi vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL & SANADA) - 7/10
Great match, but I was disappointed that Ibushi and Okada didn't tell any story since both their WK spot is still at stake for a couple more weeks. Robbie Eagles also felt kinda out of place in this match, but ended up looking great, SANADA sold soo much for him, he gave him a lot.
So the match was mostly SANADA and Okada doing their thing, then Ibushi and EVIL, with BUSHI and Eagles coming in and out for the chaos. From the point where SANADA started chasing the Skull End on Eagles and started trading finishers with everyone, the match felt on another level when it comes to build up matches. SANADA submitted Eagles with the Skull End for the win.
There was that spot were Okada missed the dropkick and so he hit it again. Only thing I wondered is how other promotions would have addressed such a botch, because maybe Okada woudln't know how it looked, but it was obvious for us. I could totally see WWE and Impact being the promotions where they just pretend it connected.
Post-match - Okada tried to dropkick SANADA, but failed to connect. EVIL slapped Ibushi, so they came to blows.
Hirooki Goto vs. Shingo Takagi - 9.5/10
Loved this match, slightly more than their G1 Climax match. This was another hard fought brawl with stiff everything, even the headlocks would had been stiff in this match. They traded about one hundred lariats throughout the match until they started to chase finishers on each other. At the end, they traded headbutts before Goto won with an Ushigoroshi & GTR.
No one should complain that Shingo has more potential and should have won, it was obvious that Goto was getting his win back and that, while I didn't see him going after White later tonight, it was kinda logical that he could go for KENTA anyway.
IWGP Intercontinental Title Match
Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Jay White (w/Gedo) - 9/10
Well, unlike the previous match, I liked their G1 match more. White dominated a lot of the match and it didn't get juicy until the end when they started countering each other. They worked on each other's heads all match, a lot of DDTs and neckbreakers here and there. The last 10 minutes or so, White really shone countering Destino and managing ways to get in Blade Runner position, I love that part of his matches, it's the one reason I love seeing him against anyone. Finish saw White land a Blade Runner out of all the counters and reversals. White had already landed a couple of Kiwi Krushers already, so it was well built.
There was one spot with Gedo obviously. White dragged Red Shoes allowing Gedo to attack Naito with a chair. Naito would later get his revenge using Gedo as a stepping stool for a Tornado DDT on White.
This current storyline about chasing the first ever double champion is interesting, before this I figured it would be Okada vs Ibushi at Jan 4th, then Ibushi vs Naito at Jan 5th. But now, I'm starting to think that SANADA could get in the mix and leave Naito out, I wouldn't be mad if SANADA defeats Okada at KOPW for the title, but then lose it at Jan 4th against Ibushi, while Okada gains the Intercontinental from White, then at Jan 5th, Okada and Ibushi fight the unification match. I love the plan, but leaving Naito out of the mix may be too complex since he's the one that started it all and this may as well be his last chance to really be on top.
Post-match - White mocked LIJ doing a Bullet Club roll call, and I have to hand it to him, he didn't miss anyone, not even Gino or Pieter. Well, I mean, who could forget about Pieter?
Goto then came out, White dissed him, but before he could say anything, Goto took him down. Backstage White did say that just walking down doesn't mean he gets a title shot, which means he's getting a title shot. Goto will be a good sacrifice for White at KOPW. White also brought up that he is now a Triple Crown at NJPW at only 26 years old. US, Intercontinental, and Heavyweight Champion.
Great show for NJPW, between this and Kagoshima, it felt like a good conclusion to a long tedious tour. I LOVE the storyline going with Suzuki and Liger, and I'm not gonna lie, I'm super intrigued to see how the main event of the Jan 4th show evolves in the next month. Definitely a show worth checking out.