By Big Red Machine
From August 31, 2019
REN NARITA, SHOTA UMINO, & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI vs. CHAOS (Roppongi 3K & Rocky Romero) - 6/10
Solid for the time it got.
JUICE ROBINSON & KOTA IBUSHI vs. BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi & Hikuleo) - 6.25/10
Babyfaces win clean after some good babyface in peril stuff. Ibushi pinned Hikuleo because G-d forbid we protect the big young guy and have the thirty-eight-year-old whose career ceiling has been firmly established as “Bullet Club’s designated fall guy” be the one to get pinned.
CHAOS (Robbie Eagles & Will Ospreay) vs. BULLET CLUB (Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo) - 6.75/10
Bullet Club jump the babyfaces before the match. At this point the babyfaces in NJPW look like morons for constantly falling for this sort of thing. You’d think by this point they would have learned to take their ring jackets off outside of the ring and not turn their backs on the heels. The babyfaces pick up a big win to set up a title shot in an action-packed match.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito & Sanada) vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Jay White) (w/Gedo) - 6.5/10
There was WAY too much goofy gaga bullsh*t early on. This was one of those matches that just annoyed me because it showed what a great wrestler Chase Owens can be, but before doing that they went out of their way to make him an incompetent loser goofball so that I can’t possibly take him seriously as a threat to anyone (and especially Sanada, who outwitted and wrestled him at every turn). He’s a living cartoon character now. He’s Bullet Club-era Marty Scurll if Marty had been a jobber instead of a pushed act. It just such a waste.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Bad. Jay White attacks the babyfaces after the match and beats them up with a chair… but then Naito makes his own comeback, beats White up, and counts his own pinfall on White, getting rid of all of the heat White just got.
IWGP TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Guerrillas of Destiny(c) (w/Jado) vs. Aussie Open - 6.75/10
Bullet Club jumped the bell on the babyfaces. This time it was made even worse by the fact that when the camera saw them turn around after tricking Aussie Open with the “okay, let’s all go back to our corners now” trick, we immediately cut to some fans at ringside, because hiring competent production people is apparently beyond New Japan’s capabilities.
Despite the fact that the heels jumped the bell on the babyfaces, the babyfaces were in total control within moments, so what was the point of having the heels jump the bell on them in the first place?
They had a slightly disappointing match for the thirteen minutes it got, made even worse by the fact that Aussie Open won a tournament including every team in RevPro’s tag team division (other than Suzuki-Gun), and now they have lost to New Japan’s tag champs in a match that wasn’t even given the time to have the chance to shine. RevPro just firmly established their entire tag team division as well below NJPW’s and all to get a forgettable midcard match on a New Japan show.
NEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Tomohiro Ishii(c) vs. KENTA - 7.75/10
The Guerrillas of Destiny ran in because it’s New Japan and that happens a lot here. If only Ishii were a member of some kind of faction so that when others run in on his matches, he could have friends to run in and chase them off. Oh well. And G-d forbid we let the new big heel win a title cleanly.
Other than the interference this was an excellent hard-hitting clash of wills where they didn’t overdo it on the fighting spirit. With the interference it’s that stuff interrupted by every TNA main event from 2002-2017. This would have been an 8/10 without interference, but Gedo just can’t help himself at this point.
RPW UNDISPUTED BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Zack Sabre Jr.(c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi - 8/10
This was an enjoyable wrestling match, with Tanahashi trying to do his Tanahashi stuff and Zack catching him in various submission to counter the usual Tanahashi stuff. The crowd popped big for the title change at the end, which means they must hate seeing live RPW Undisputed British Heavyweight Title matches because Tanahashi is with NJPW even more often than Zack is, and Zack is already barely around for RevPro due to his NJPW commitments. We’re also now up to the past SEVEN champions being NJPW regulars, and coming upon three years since someone not affiliated with NJPW has been the champion.
Of the 87 shows since then (that’s counting a day of TV tapings as one show and counting joint shows with NJPW, but not counting the ROH-booked Global Wars shows or the one Contenders show), the champion has missed FIFTY-FIVE OF THEM! If you also exclude the four joint shows with NJPW, the champion has missed OVER TWO THIRDS OF THE SHOWS SINCE THEN.
And he’s not going to be on the next show, either. That’s right: Tanahashi couldn’t even stick around to wrestle on the RevPro show THE NEXT F*CKING DAY. He worked the RevPro show the night before this, of course, in a meaningless tag match meant solely to act as a preview for tonight’s two top matches, but not the RevPro show the night after he just won their top title. During Suzuki’s three-and-a-half-month reign, he didn’t appear in RevPro at all from the day he won the belt until the day he dropped it. What f*cking good does this sort of crap do?
You want to be partners with New Japan? Fine. But that’s doesn’t mean you should give them your titles to treat like midcard belts.
IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Kazuchika Okada(c) vs. Minoru Suzuki - 8.5/10
My main thought on this match is as follows: These “prideful forearm exchange” spots have gone well past the point of diminishing returns for me. If you can work them into your match in a good spot then fine, but half the time I feel like they just grind the pace of the match to a halt a replace the story that the wrestlers had been telling with this new and quite frankly pointless story of “let’s see who is tougher by giving each other free shots to the face.” And to put their f*cking hands behind their backs and lean in for the shot? Remember when Bethe Correia did less than that in an MMA fight and Holly Holm knocked her unconscious? I know wrestling isn’t MMA, but don’t have the wrestlers do sh*t that would get their asses kicked if the other wrestler didn’t have to go along with a pre-planned spot.
I understand that the wrestlers are prideful individuals and want to show they are tougher than the opponent, but isn’t that inherently covered by trying to put the opponent through so much pain that he/she is forced to submit or is unable to get a shoulder up by the count of three or passes out or is knocked unconscious? Maybe I’d appreciate them more if they didn’t happen in every single f*cking big singles match in this company, but at this point every time I see this damn spot it’s like I’m at a 2003 indy show and each of these forearms is someone doing a flip and a head-drop.
So while this match did tell a story with both guys working over the head and Okada managing to avoid the Gotch-style Piledriver and there was lots of drama and some great twists and the crowd was into everything they did… I did not enjoy it anywhere near as much as most people seem to have enjoyed it, and thus my rating is lower than most.
This was a good show from New Japan, but as someone who wants to enjoy RevPro, I found this hard to watch because of the implications of everything I have seen this weekend, both on the RevPro show the night before and now on this show here. And knowing that Tanahashi just drops the belt right back to Zack in Japan makes it even worse. If you want some good New Japan action then you’ll probably enjoy this show, although New Japan put on great shows all the time so this one doesn’t stand out in any way. If you’re someone like me who wants RevPro to me more than some little kid on the playground who doesn’t know that the big kids are ripping him off when they trade him their shiny new baseball cards for the old Johnny Bench and Willie Mays and Hank Aaron cards his dad just gave him, watch something else. And it’s probably best to just give up hope.