FINALLY! PRO WRESTLING IS BACK!
Opening Video - Beautiful. They showed some of the Together shows they had been doing. I didn't know that Milano Collection AT had been doing watch-along of old matches. It ended with the announcement of their return and a lot of fans sending their love.
Show opened and the NJPW Army all came out to the ring. Tanahashi, Ibushi, Makabe, Nagata, Taguchi, Honma, Kojima, Tenzan, and the Young Lions. Uemura got fucking huge, he looks like a young SANADA now. Tanahashi thanked the fans and welcomed us back. I'm shedding tears of happiness.
Yota Tsuji vs Gabriel Kidd - 6.5/10
I've seen a lot of Kidd when he was a rookie in the UK, he seemed like another generic white boy, but he had some sense when it came to selling and his basics looked ok. Now that he's under the tutoring of Shibata, you can see a clear difference that he was completely green back then. The work, especially his elbows and forearms, look good. Having said that, you can still see some communication issues.
The match was the usual Young Lions opener with back and forward action, a lot of chain wrestling that transitions into striking into chasing the submission win. Tusji won with a Boston Crab.
Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs Tomohiro Ishii & Yuya Uemura - 6.5/10
This match is building Ishii vs Despy for the New Japan Cup. A lot of the match was SZKG working over Uemura, to later build the Ishii hot tag and the preview with Desperado. The big detail to take note here is that Desperado worked on Ishii's left knee pretty good, so Ishii should be arriving injured for tomorrow's match. Desperado submitted Uemura with a Stretch Muffler, which I don't think he's named yet, but we'll surely get a big tease with that and Ishii's hurt knee. Good match overall.
Bullet Club ('Bone Soldier' Taiji Ishimori, Yujiro Takayashi, Jado, & Gedo) vs CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano, YOSHI-HASHI) & Tomoaki Honma - 5/10
Ishimori has a new mask, a Shredder one that looks like a Great Muta tribute. Yano on the other team, has replaced spitting for an atomizer with disinfectant?
First and foremost, I have to mention that in a team with Honma, YOSHI-HASHI was still the babyface in peril. NJPW is back, but YH is still the same geek.
Match builds Goto vs Yujiro and Jado vs Yano, so they all had their time together. Likewise, Ishimori was given a chance to show off, he had a small exchange with Goto. Final two were Yujiro and Honma, with the former winning with the Pimp Juice, but the latter having a decent showing getting some near falls, but falling to Jado's kendo stick. The match wasn't really good, Honma and YH dragged it down.
Way to the Grand Master Vignette - Someone is debuting/returning soon, and it can either be Mike Bailey or Hirai Kawato.
At this point, there was a small break for the staff to thoroughly clean the ring, ringside, and commentator's area. The difference of culture between Japanese wrestling and US wrestling is miles apart.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA, EVIL, BUSHI) vs TenCozy & Ryusuke Taguchi - 6/10
Taguchi and SANADA started the match with some nice chain wrestling that got me excited for their match, as long as Taguchi wears his wrestling boots. Their fight then transitioned into Taguchi going for the Paradise Lock and got me worried again. It didn't devolve into full comedy, so it's not a lost cause.
Rest of the match was LIJ working on Tenzan, and EVIL and Kojima giving us a preview of what should be a really loud and stiff hoss battle. Final two were Taguchi and BUSHI, with the former submitting the latter with the Ankle Lock. Ok match, Opposite Momentum rule tells me that all the winners lose in their first round match anyway.
Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr, Taichi, & Douki) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Togi Makabe, & Yuji Nagata - 6.5/10
Oh now I missed Sabre! Tanahashi has a new remix of his song, I don't remember if he debuted it before the hiatus to be honest.
A lot of stuff to work here, not only Nagata vs Suzuki, but also, start the Tekkers vs Golden Aces tag title feud, that also builds Ibushi vs Sabre and Tana vs Taichi for the NJ Cup. Highlight to me was Sabre reversing a jumping Ibushi with a Dragon Screw, the rest was pretty much the usual stuff, Ibushi was babyface in peril for a bit, Nagata and Suzuki hit each other stiff, Tana and Taichi did their shtick, and the final two saw Makabe kill Douki with the King Kong Knee Drop.
Post-match - Ibushi and Sabre got into a pull apart. Tanahashi and Taichi faced off and Tanahashi told Taichi that he got fat during the hiatus.
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Roppongi 3K) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, & Shingo Takagi) - 7/10
SHO and YOH have slightly changed their attires and they now look different from each other. Okada, since he didn't get a chance to use it much, came out with the WK white attire. Likewise, Naito came out with the full suit and coat, no mask. Hiromu and Takagi had their nice attires, but they always usually do.
Shingo vs SHO is really the only match to build, but I can see the tease of a Hiromu vs Okada semifinals here when they paired up. Everything was good, SHO vs Shingo have good chemisty together, Hiromu and Okada was short, but Hiromu did get somer stuff in, and the final two were Naito vs YOH, with YOH getting some small spots before Naito debuted a new DDT and Destino for the win.
Post-match - Naito cut a promo saying they were back and to pay attention to the New Japan Cup. Hiromu and Shingo made their intentions clear that they were going to win the New Japan Cup and going after Naito.
They're back! It wasn't the best show wrestling-wise, it was a lot of tag matches, but it's the first NJPW show in months and I'm just happy to see it. I would had watched even if it was all Young Lions and YOSHI-HASHI matches. I missed Pro Wrestling so much.