David Finlay vs Katsuya Kitamura - 4/10
I believe this is Kitamura's first non-young lion's single match, right? This was a good chance for Kitamura to have a match that is not the usual Oka hoss fight or a tag match, but he didn't do as much as he usually does in other matches. Finlay won with a stunner, but Kitamura's selling was terrible almost comical. FInlay put him over after the match.
The Young Bucks vs Dragon Lee & Titan - 6/10
Titan's mask looks sick tonight, and Nick Jackson is extra orange. Both teams traded momentum on several occasions, Lee and Titan were in control at first, doing several lucha spots, later on the Bucks gain control over Titan for a while, beyond that it was mostly back and forward action. Bucks won with a Sharpshooter/Crossface combination on Titan after they had already hit an Inditaker. The Mexicans actually looked a bit out of their game tonight, just out of timing. Good opener tho.
Juice Robinson, Tiger Mask, Jyushin 'Thunder' Liger, KUSHIDA, & Hirai Kawato vs Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr, Taichi, Taka Michinoku, El Desperado, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) - 6.5/10
Desperado and Kanemaru went back to the masks of Liger and Tiger and keep that thing going. Zack Sabre and Juice went at it together, so there may be something building there, also with KUSHIDA, but not as much. Aside from those points, it was the type of match were everyone gets to shine one way or another. KUSHIDA had a good exchange with Taka before becoming the babyface in peril. Kawato was obviously super over and the biggest underdog of the match. At the end, KUSHIDA tapped Taka out with the 9469. It was a chaotic match, no story, but fur overall.
It took forever to get the babyfaces out of the ring afterwards, Liger and KUSHIDA were putting Kawato over with the crowd.
Bullet Club (Cody, Yujiro Takahashi, & Chase Owens) vs Togi Makabe, Satoshi Kojima, & Hiroyoshi Tenzan - 4.5/10
They did as much as they could given what they had to work in, by that I mean they had to work with Tenzan. Bullet Club worked on Tenzan most of the match until he made a comeback against Cody and got the hot tag to Makabe. After running wild a bit, Makabe and Cody went at it a while. Finish was Kojima putting Owens down for the pin. There was something with Owens stealing Tenzan and Kojima's signature moves for some reason. Meh match.
Super Jr. Tag Tournament Finals
Super69 vs Roppongi 3K w/Rocky Romero - 9/10
Yoh has his whole chest and shoulder covered after the chop fest with Hiromu Takahashi last week. In the same vein, ACH's ribs are still all taped up, so it the focus for RPG's offense as they worked on ACH for most of the first half of the match. The second half of the match, once they were done with the whole babyface in peril stuff, was AWESOME; we saw RPG really bring in the tag work, while Super69 really brought out the heart into the match, it really felt like they had it, and it was ripped off from their hands. Finish saw RPG decimate Taguchi, leaving ACH as easy pick ems to get that 3K move.
There was an awesome near fall when Taguchi sets up Yoh for ACH to finally hit the 450, so ACH goes ropes, tears off the medical tape, hits a beautiful 450, just to be broken up by Sho!
Post-match - The Young Bucks come out to the ring and issue a challenge for the Jr Tag titles. Roppongi 3K vs Young Bucks!
Los Ingobernables de Japon vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, & Gedo) - 7/10
Go watch the whole LIJ entrance and presentation, it was awesome, especially Hiromu and Naito's interaction.
Match started with the EVIL vs Ishii feud they've been building, these dudes are gonna collide soon and it's gonna be a hell of a fight, strong style galore. We saw several other pairings, but it was all building towards Naito and Okada finally getting the tag at the same time and going at it, which they did, and it was great. A lot of good moves and counters. After a while, Naito tagged in BUSHI and we actually got to see BUSHI kick Okada's ass for a bit, and after some interference by everyone, Okada finally put BUSHI out with the Rainmaker for the win. Great match. Right before the pin, Okada had dropped Naito with a Tombstone Piledriver and as he pins BUSHI, he mocked Naito.
We get the official announcement of NJPW USA venture. Something called Strong Style Evolved. It'll happen around march.
Suzuki vs Yano Buiild-Up Video - It was made as a Ukiyo-e storytelling. It was great, but I would have knowing what the narrator said.
NEVER Openweight Championship Bull Rope Match
Toru Yano vs Minoru Suzuki (C) w/Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado - 7.5/10
Yano is back to the fire locks and eyebrows, so he looks like a a devil again and somewhat scarier, but not as scary as Suzuki looks, like any day. Fight started with Yano jumping Suzuki before he got the rope tied, Desperado and Kanemaru attacked him, but this was technically legal, so Suzuki like a babyface put him in a submission while the ref taped up the bull rope to Yano's hand.
The match was 99% of Suzuki just kicking Yano's ass all over the place, with Yano habving a few hope spots that he would use to do his shtick instead of trying to take control of the match, but eventually through pulling the hair, he did get some control and started slamming Suzuki to the exposed corner and then gave Suzuki a little bit of his own taste by trying to hang him. Finish saw Suzuki choke Yano almost unconscious, but only to set up the Gotch Style Piledriver for the win. This ended up being a good match, with Suzuki finally defeating Yano, and Suzuki-Gun even tried to interfere when the ref wasn't looking. For the first time since I now him, Yano deserves a good ovation.
At one point Desperado and Kanemaru got involved, so Goto came out to fight them and at the end got rid of both of them. Later on Iizuka came out, but only served as distraction for Suzuki to get a chair. He did later on get involved after a near fall when Yano had Suzuki for the pin, but Taichi pulled and killed the ref, giving Iizuka the opening to get involved.
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Match
"The Aerial Assassin" Will Ospreay (C) vs "The Villain" Marty Scurll - 9/10
Seems like Ospreay, Yano, and Okada all went to the same stylist to get their hair dyed. This was a back and forward match, with Scurll working Ospreay's arms towards the Chickenwings. Ospreay on the other hand, just stayed with his aerial arsenal, spamming every move he could think of.
The first half of the match kinda suffered for me because they were trying to add extra drama to their usual good chemistry, and let's face it, Ospreay is a terrible actor sometimes. But later on in the match, they started going a faster pace, move move-by-move action with little time for drama actor Ospreay to put his craft to work, and so the match escalated in violence and quality.
Finish came when Marty was trying to lock in the Crossface Chickenwing, but Ospreay kept reversing it, and in one of those reversals, out of nowhere, Scurll rolls Ospreay up and gets pinned. This was a great match, especially towards the end, but it also wasn't their best I've seen.
Post-match - KUSHIDA is out there pissed off because he never got his title rematch with Ospreay, but now tells Ospreay to fuck off and challenges Scurll. Ospray wants a rematch. Hiromu comes out, puts on head gear anti-getting-jumped, crowd is going crazy for Hiromu getting his title shot challenge out there. Scurll tells them all that if they all want a title shot, he's ok with putting the title against all four in a fatal four way match! Good little angle.
Omega vs Beretta Build-Up Video - A little story of Omega winning the title and Beretta becoming a heavyweight.
IWGP US Heavyweight Championship Match
"The Cleaner" Kenny Omega (C) w/The Young Bucks vs "Dudebuster" Beretta - 9.25/10
FUCK!! Early in the match Beretta took a suplex into an unfolded table, but to the side with the metal and landed straight on it, and then Kenny hit a foot stomp on top of the table that was on top of Beretta and freaking punctured it with his feet!
Story coming into the match was that Kenny didn't think Beretta was at his level, but Beretta dropped him with that piledriver on the apron and pissed off Kenny, and so now, while Kenny still believes Beretta can't hang with the big boys, he is STILL pissed off and off to show this new kid a lesson, and thus Kenny kicked Beretta's ass A LOT, but it was here when Beretta's heart showed when he wouldn't be put down, we he would take every hope spot possible.
As the match progressed, those hope spots came so often that it was a closer match between the two, Beretta would gain momentum only to either crash and burn (see table spot) or just get cut off by Omega. Finish saw Omega hit the One Winged Angel for the win. The last 5 or some minutes of this match were great, but overall a great performance by both, elevating Beretta a bit and cementing Omega as he goes towards Wrestle Kingdom.
There was a really scary spot when Beretta hit the Dudebuster and Omega did like a weird swing back and Beretta didn't fully grab him, and Kenny almost took that move straight to the head. Thank god he managed to tuck in the neck.
Post-match - Kenny no sells the surprise that someone has to come out challenge him, but no one comes out. Kenny cut a promo in Japanese, and as he is saying good bye, the lights go out and suddenly, in the screen we see a video of CHRIS FUCKING JERICHO!!!
CHRIS FUCKING JERICHO!!! He has a picture of Omega, he rips it off and wants Omega at Wrestle Kingdom 12! Jericho vs Omega! Vince and Ibushi aren't gonna like this! AWESOME angle. Talk about dream matches. Also, Jericho look like a legit star, not doing stupid shit like Lists and catchphrases.
Ibushi vs Tanahashi Build-Up Video - Classy hipster Tana-san is awesome. Good video, but Ibushi riding a toy whale in the park was unnecessary, yet it does fulfill something in my life.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match
Hiroshi Tanahashi (C) vs "Golden Star" Kota Ibushi - 9.75/10
The match started with both men just trying to prove to each other that one is still the one to be called 'Ace', while the other is here to take that name. Tanahashi started working on Ibushi's legs early in the match, Ibushi with an amazing selling job. After a while of taking damage on the legs, Ibushi started working on Tanahashi's lower back and ribs, with
several splashes and knees to the ribs. Later on, he started targeting the bad arm of Tanahashi.
The spots when Ibushi was trying to finally strike Kamigoye on Tana were awesome as how Tanahashi would block it. at boone point these guys also just started bitch slapping each other like crazy, stiff slaps to the face, both of them just being dicks to each other, almost heelish. Finish saw a race with Ibushi trying to hit Kamigoye, but Tana reversing it and hitting two High Fly Flows for the win. Great match, but somehow I thought Ibushi had this one.
Post-match - Ibushi and Tana embrace. Tanahashi is saying some words of thanks and yay and whatnot, he puts Ibushi over, you think it's all over, he is doing his guitar thing, everything is right in the world, streamers fly through the sky, and suddenly, Switchblade makes his debut, we see the video in the screen, and it's the returning Jay White. Leather jacket and all. Jay White came out via ramp, Tanahashi looked annoyed. White gets face to face with Tanahashi, points at the championship, and it's on. White and Tanahashi start fighting, puts Tanahashi down with a Flatliner, grabs his jacket and walks out. Challenge is out for WK12. Tanahashi's guitar thing took so long that you really thought nothing was gonna happen anymore.
This show really threw off all my ideas for WK12, we now have Jericho vs Omega (and not Omega vs Ibushi as I figured), and we have Tanahashi vs Jay White (can't ask for a better push than IC title shot at WK12). Goto vs Suzuki didn't happen, but I still expect that to be the case, and I'm guessing Ishii builds a team (YOSHI and Beretta?) to go after LIJ's trios titles. The Jr fatal four way explains where everyone ends up at, especially since White returned as a heavyweight.
Great show, go watch everything after the Super Jr Tourny finals.
We're on to the World Tag League as the final run before Wrestle Kingdom.