I don’t really have the time to do an audio review. So this review will be blog only. As I watch more NJPW, I might start posting predictions for their big events.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
Roppongi 3k(c) vs. The Young Bucks
Winners: The Young Bucks
Pretty solid tag team match. I’m not familiar with Roppongi 3k. While I don’t know much about the actual build to this match, I knew the Bucks will aiming for their 7th reign as tag champions, and that they would have their “jerseys” retired in the Tokyo Dome. This was a lot different from the stuff I’ve seen the Bucks do as of recently. It wasn’t super spot heavy, it was more story driven than anything. Both teams played up the back injury angle. The rope hang swanton bomb that the Bucks pulled off was especially brutal. This match was definitely the best tag team match of the night.
NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship
Winners: Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano.
This match was complete madness. I’m not a huge fan of guantlet style matches, but for what it was it was still watchable. From what I can pick up, it seems as if Trent Beretta will be getting a big singles push pretty soon.
Kota Ibushi vs. Cody
Winner: Kota Ibushi
When I saw that this match was on the card, I was pretty excited, and I picked it as my sleeper match of the night. You wouldn’t think a match with two of the biggest names on the card would be considered a sleeper match, but considering it wasn’t promoted than much, I think it qualifies. I know how good both of the guys are, so that’s why I was surprised that this match got so little press from the western audience. Overall, it was really good. Cody did a sick springboard top rope frankensteiner, which was pretty amazing. I like that Cody is still rocking the blonde hair from Final Battle. Kota Ibushi look on point as always. Though, there was a scary moment during the match where Cody did the crossrhodes to the from the apron to the floor, and it looked like Ibushi spiked his head on the floor. That was a pretty horrific move. Also, kudos to Brandi Rhodes. Ibushi did a plancha to the outside, and she took the full brunt of it. Luckily, she wasn’t hurt. But this match is definitely a must watch.
IWGP Tag Team Championship
Killer Elite Squad(Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.)(c) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon(EVIL & Sanada)
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon
This match was good. Other than I like the fact that Davey Boy Jr. was dressed like his dad during the Attitude Era, I don’t really have anything noteworthy to say about this match. It was watchable.
NEVER Openweight Championship
Minoru Suzuki(c) vs. Hirooki Goto
Winner: Hirooki Goto
I’ve seen NEVER Openweight matches before, and this match seemed to fall inline with how the other matches I’ve seen. It was stiff, and hard hitting. It was a watchable match. I think if I knew more about the story, I would care a little bit more, but there is only so much the commentators can communicate to the audience.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Marty Scurll(c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi vs. Kushida vs. Will Ospreay
Winner: Will Ospreay
From what I have heard, they don’t do fatal-4-ways that often on big events like this, so in a way, it seemed as if they were trying to appease their North American audience by putting the 4 most athletic guys on the show in one match. It felt like a WWE move to me. With that said, this match was exactly what a fatal-4-way match should be. It was exciting, it was spot heavy, and all 4 guys carried their own weight. The difference between this match and how WWE treats their cruierweights, is that I know New Japan actually cares about the Junior Heavyweight Division. This is a definite must watch.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Hiroshi Tanahashi(c) vs. Jay White
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi
Not much to say about this match. It wasn’t terrible, but it didn’t tear the house down either. Tanahashi seemed a bit off. I don’t know if he is hurt or not. If you plan on watching this entire event, I say watch it, but if you are just watching it for the two main events, you didn’t miss anything special.
IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship
No Disqualification Match
Kenny Omega(c) vs. Chris Jericho
Winner: Kenny Omega
This match was fantastic. I haven’t seen Jericho work a match like this in over a decade. He seemed to be having a blast out their heeling it up, making Omega bleed, it was fun and pretty damn brutal. Kenny Omega is amazing as always. Other than Okada, I don’t think anybody can touch Omega’s workrate. There was some pretty crazy moments. Omega did a springboard swanton on to the very tiny English announce table and not only hit Don Callis, but at the same time he also managed to miss those gigantic shitbox monitors that WWE stopped using 5 years ago. Then Kenny kept taking unprotected chair shots, then he also kept running his head into a chair that was stuck between the ropes and the turnbuckle. Granted, the chairs were pretty filmsy, but it still look brutal as hell. This match lived up to all the hype it received. Which for Jericho, he hadn’t been doing that lately with his big matches. It shows you how bad WWE handcuffs Jericho. It was what everybody wanted to see Jericho and Omega do.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada(c) vs. Tetsuya Naito
Winner: Kazuchika Okada
Again, another amazing match. I know what both wrestlers are capable of, that delivered on every front. Okada came in with a new look, which was kind of jarring at first. He was wearing pants, and he has blonde hair now. So, I’m not too familiar with the build up to this match. Just from what the video package could tell me. In big events in North America, they want it to be the crowning moment for whoever they are pushing at the time. From what I read on twitter and other places, everybody seemed to think that this was going to be Naito’s time to shine, so I was kind of surprised to see Okada go over. Though, from what I’ve seen, New Japan tends to draw this kind of stuff out for years sometimes. So who knows when Naito will win the belt. My review can’t really do this match justice, so just go and watch it know. Even if you don’t know who either wrestler is, you should be thoroughly impressed by both guys.
Show Rating: A+
Go watch it if you haven’t seen it already. If you are not familiar with New Japan, this show is the perfect introduction. This show did what Wrestlemania can’t do, and that’s stay exciting for the entire show.
What I like most about watching New Japan, is that I don’t really have any favorites going into the show(besides Bullet Club), so I have no problems with how they book the card. It takes me back to how I used to watch old WWF PPVs. It makes me feel like a wrestling fan again, and not a cynical asshole. Was I slightly dissapointed when Okada won, yes, but not because I don’t enjoy watching Okada. I wanted to see a title change at the end of the show, but even though I didn’t see that, I wasn’t sad or mad. I was happy, because I had just watched a 5 star classic. I don’t really get that feeling watching main roster WWE anymore. So if you are looking for a true alternative to WWE, New Japan is where it’s at. It’s a good time to be a wrestling fan.