HGM's Introduction Video - Awesome production! Introduces the new President Harold George Meij and some of his projects. He was the one that created those NJPW bears. After the video, Meij came down to the ring running and did a speech in perfect Japanese and fans seemed to like him. He then did the speech in English saying he wants to take New Japan to the next level. He was given a NJPW Young Lion jacket, I do believe he'll get his head shaved and kicked by Suzuki on the next Lion's Gate Project show. Dude seems motivated about NJPW.
IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
Roppongi 3K w/Rocky Romero vs Suzuki-Gun (C) (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) - 6.5/10
RPG started the match strong, but Desperado turned it around quickly on them for an early countout tease. Inside the ring, they worked over YOH for a while. SHO came in and went wild, but was cut off too. RPG3K finally started having the offense when both SHO and YOH started working together over SZKG-Jr that had always worked together. This pushed Desperado and Kanemaru to cheat, but RPG dodged them both and came close to the win with the Shock Arrow, but Despy pushed SHO into the ref giving Kanemaru the clear shot with the Whisky bottle for the roll up pin.
Pretty surprised that RPG lost the match. It was good, but way too short. Understandable for this show tho.
Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs CHAOS (Jay White & YOSHI-HASHI) - 6.5/10
Match saw CHAOS work over Finlay a bit before unleashing Juice over the match, who was arguably the star of it building towards a title shot against White, who he pinned with a Pulp Friction. After the match, Juice posed with the US Championship. Not much to this match, but the purpose of it was to build the White vs Robinson match and that was done properly. YOSHI played his part perfectly as 'irrelevant'.
Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. ) w/TAKA Michinoku vs CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) - 7.5/10
Suzuki and Sabre came out to Kaze Ni Nare, but with tag team graphics, they're both sporting their Undisputed British Tag Team Championships. As well, Ishii came out with the Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship. This is surely building to a title shot for Ishii's championship, I'm just hoping it happens in Japan.
Match was all about Ishii and Suzuki antagonizing each other, but the meat of the first half was SZKG working over Yano via submissions. Suzuki and Sabre rotating submissions on someone has to be one of my favorite spots today. Ishii finally got the hot tag and worked with Suzuki for a while. This pair is an interesting and fresh one, for once, Suzuki has found someone that can out-strike him or at least fight him at his level. Finish saw Sabre counter a low blow with his tights and turn it into a submission on Yano for the win while Suzuki had Ishii on one of his own. I liked this match, worth watching just to the chemistry between Ishii and Suzuki and seeing Suzuki and Sabre's tag team work.
Post-match - Ishii followed Suzuki to the tamp and attacked him, they brawled around the ring, they both had chairs and came to a face off with the chairs inside the ring, with Suzuki being the one at top at the end, they got into a strike off and a big pull apart. I can't fucking wait for that match. At the end, Suzuki followed Ishii to the back, but we lost visual.
NEVER Openweight Championship 3-Way Match
Taichi w/Miho Abe vs "Unbreakable" Michael Elgin vs Hirooki Goto (C) - 8/10
Elgin has changed his attire to just trunks, Captain Marvel trunks. Match had a lot of action. Everything between Elgin and Goto was pretty good, hard hitting hoss fight. Taichi wasn't bad, but he played a lot of shtick picking his spots when to attack, using Miho Abe to distract the ref to get some mic shots in, trying to get a partnership along with Goto, but unfortunately everything failed for him. Match saw Elgin and Goto control most of the match until towards the end that when Taichi got some mic shots in, he came close to finishing off Goto with several kicks, but as he rolled him up for the pin, Elgin came back to life and powerbombed him to the turnbuckle, into Goto, and then the Elgin Bomb for the win. Overall a good match, but let's be honest, it could had been better without Taichi.
I'm guessing they put the title on Elgin going into the Cow Palace show, but I don't think NJPW realizes that no one in the West Coast likes Elgin.
Post-match - Elgin and Goto had a face off, we're likely getting the one-on-one soon.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champsionship Match
The Young Bucks vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (C) (EVIL & SANADA) - 9/10
Well, SANADA didn't shave that thing under his face. This is arguably one of the Buck's biggest match in their careers, at least when it comes to the prize at hand.
Match saw the Bucks start strong, but LIJ turned it around once the initial flurry settled in. They cut off Matt and work on his body, then later when Nick came in, Nick missed a kick and hit the ring post, and from there on, LIJ worked over Nick's leg. Buck's offense was similar to when Matt was injured and Nick would have to help him on his spots, but now it was Matt helping out his brother. As they near the finish, LIJ is getting ready to kill them off with either of their finishers, so Matt starts to desperately look for a finisher himself, be it the Indietaker with his brother, or the Sharpshooter by himself.
The thing here about the Indietaker is that before, Nick would just place the opponent in Matt's hands, but this time, it's Nick that can't do the springboard part. LIJ hit an Indietaker for themselves for a near fall. At the end, it's just Matt going against both EVIL and SANADA, doing a valiant effort. Nick finally makes it back and hit an awesome reversal to the Everything is Evil, drop both men with superkicks, they hit More Bang for Your Buck and capture the win and championships!
I really expected they would keep this win for the US show, but it's also nice going into the Cow Palace AS the champions. Great match, awesome selling by the Bucks, and yet people say they're spot monkeys with no psychology. Bucks are now double champions in NJPW.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jyushin "Thunder" Liger, & Rey Mysterio Jr vs Bullet Club (Marty Scurll, Cody, & Hangman Page) - 7.5/10
Man, this is a dream match, Mysterio vs Page! Talking about Rey ery, they gave Mysterio the third spot entrance for his entrance, he's good and all, but he ain't THE ACE. He's being nicknamed "The King of Lucha Libre", again, he's good, but he ain't El Santo. Lastly, he has an AMAZING mask, half Mysterio, half NJPW Logo, I was hoping for a Liger Mysterio one, but this is definitely better. Cody on the other hand, came out with a Bullet Queen t-shirt, is that a thing now? How does Amber Gallows feel about that? meh, whatever, Gallows is dead to us.
Match started weird, Liger wants Scurll, but Scurll wanted Rey, but when Rey came in, Scurll ran out and tagged Page, but Page wanted Tanahashi. No one made an argument for Cody, so Cody got himself in against Tanahashi. This was followed by a really awkward exchange of push-ups where Tanahashi just kinda humped the floor and did some Yoga. But at least this led to Scurll and Mysterio coming in and finally the wrestling started.
Bullet Club worked over Liger for a while, they all kinda targeted different body parts in their offense. Rey got the hot tag, then Tanahashi, and from here on, match just went everywhere, building up to Mysterio finally hitting the 619 on Scurll and Page. Finish saw Mysterio take out Scurll, Tanahashi take out Page, and inside the ring it seemed that Liger had Cody ready, but Cody turned it around into a CrossRhodes for the win. Good showing for Mysterio, and while the match was all about showing him off, everyone came off looking good considering it was a really short match.
Post-match - BC kept attacking Liger, Mysterio made the save. Expect Cody vs Tanahashi at the Cow Palace.
IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship Match
"Timebomb" Hiromu Takahashi vs "Aerial Assassin" Will Ospreay (C) - 10/10!
Since Naito broke Hiromu's trophy some days ago, he put a band-aid on it.
Awesome match, it played into their whole history and the last two weeks of the BOSJ as we saw both guys find counters to a lot of moves they had been getting over in the last two weeks, particularly Ospreay turning the D into a drive and Hiromu countering the Storm Breaker set up into a Sunset Flip Bomb. Both men worked over each other's heads and necks, they went back and forward from the start. The big spot in the match was set up early when Ospreay removed the padding on the floor, but would later fall there as Hiromu hit the over the top rope Sunset Flip Bomb, from there on, Hiromu headed into the finish. We had a bunch of near falls, most when Hiromu locked in the D on Ospreay, and even with Ospreay powerbombing Hiromu down, Hiromu wouldn't let go of the spot. Finish came with Hiromu dropping Ospreay with the Dynamite Plunge for the pin.
While Hiromu vs Ishimori felt like the big coronation of Hiromu's struggle through the BOSJ, this match felt like the climax and finale of the whole story. A huge reign and a huge title chase all came clashing between two guys that are at their best.
Jericho vs Naito Build Up Video - Good stuff.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship No DQs Match
Chris Jericho vs Tetsuya Naito (C) - 7.5/10
Holy shit, Jericho came out with a fedora and Nosawa Rongai facepaint!
Well, this is gonna be a brawl. Jericho jumps Naito during his entrance in within the first minutes, Naito has gone through one of those unbreakable Japanese tables and took a NASTY DDT into another table, and the bell hasn't even ranged, Naito is coming out of this with a small bump underneath the right eye. Inside the ring, Jericho was in control and worked over Naito for a while, but for every strike or move, he'd mock him twice. Naito made a comeback and started beating the shit out of Jericho around the ring, using the broke parts of the tables Jericho left behind, and fans are actually booing Naito for this. Naito made sure to repay all of the spots, even a piledriver into the same table of the DDT.
Inside the ring, match turned into Jericho working Naito's back, he kept going for the Walls of Jericho over and over, and in return, Naito would make small comebacks chasing Destino. He hit one for a near fall. Finish sucked as Naito goes for Destino, Jericho pushes the ref, low blows Naito and hits the Codebreaker for the win. Jericho is taking the title to the US. This wasn't a good match.
There was a spot where Jericho almost killed Naito when he catches him on a Frankensteiner on the top rope, then jumped to the mat for the Walls of Jericho, but Naito wasn't high enough and pretty much got piledriven down by gravity. This was actually just a little example of how careless this whole match felt, there were tons of botches, and I love Jericho, but they were all Jericho's carelessness, he was throwing broken tables around, he couldn't catch Naito on the Destino, Jericho was out of shape and being unnecessarily careless. Naito was bleeding from two spots in his face at the end.
Post-match - Jericho took out Naito with the title during his celebration. He attacked Naito with a leather belt until EVIL came for the save and kicked Jericho's ass! EVIL is my hero! Jericho vs EVIL PLEASE!!
Omega vs Okada Build Up Video - Good stuff too.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
2-out-3 Falls, No Time Limits Match
"Cleaner" Kenny Omega w/Kota Ibushi vs "Rainmaker" Kazuchika Okada (C) w/Gedo - 11/10.
The whole story going in is that Okada is a better wrestler, but Kenny has more stamina, so this stipulations could help both men. Omega's entrance was all about his dark times with the Bullet Club and how he find his better half and Golden Lover, making him a 'better' person coming into this match.
Imagine the Wrestle Kingdom 11 match was just the first fall. Yes, just the first fall. They worked each other's heads, they did the Terminator spot, the Rainmaker pose, Okada kicked out of a One Winged Angel, they hit each other with V-Triggers and Tombstones, and after about 25-30 minutes, Okada landed a Rainmaker for a near fall, and a roll up for the pin. 2 minutes between rounds. The cool thing about this fall is that it ended with a roll up, there is no reason to believe that neither man is so hurt or tired that they shouldn't just lose twice in a row like other 2-out-3 matches tend to go. In this fall, we also saw Kenny take a really bad spill into the rails, ribs first, so this is likely to be a target for the next round.
Second fall started with Okada working over the injured ribs of Okada, he kept that offense for a while until Kenny made a huge comeback, landing a foot stomp over a table over Okada, for the second time this match, they started chasing finishes. Okada gets the idea of putting Kenny through a table, so they start fighting on the apron, teasing germans, reversing OWAs and Rainmakers, but the table survives and we get a count out tease when Okada can't make it back quickly enough after a Reverserana. Inside the ring, Okada reverses a a ONe Winged Angel into a Tombstone, and Omega reverses a Rainmaker into an Uranage. Tons of near falls again, you can feel the fall coming close, but you don't really know who's taking it, but at the end, Kenny lands a V-Trigger and OWA combination to take the second fall. Okada is selling this fall like death, 2 minutes go by and he can't get up.
Third falls starts and Okada is still on the floor, Kenny goes for the OWA immediately, but Okada turns it into a Rainmaker out of desperation and they both just lay on the floor. This is when Kenny's stamina comes into play, but he looks worse than Okada. Kenny hit a Styles Clash for a near fall, but when he tries to lift Okada for the OWA, he's too tired to even lift him by himself, he needs the corner to do so. Kota tells Kenny to go for the Phoenix Splash, but Okada dodges, so thank you Kota! Kenny starts to go for the V-Triggers, landing several before Okada catches one and dropkicks Omega to finally set him up for a Rainmaker, but Okada is beat, Okada doesn't have the force to land a Rainmaker as he crashes into Kenny's body.
At the end, they get into the softest and slowest strike-off in the middle of the ring. Selling is at a 110%. Kenny lands a Shibata headbutt and Red Shoes is like "dude, c'mon!' they start getting to their feet, and Okada lands a Rainmaker out of nowhere, he hits another, but is too tired to capitalize quick enough. Okada goes for the third, but Kenny reverses with a German and another, and one from Okada, and now we see Okada starting to grab the wrist, he's chasing that Rainmaker, but one again, Kenny dodges and this time lands a Reverserana. At this point they're just reversing everything, dodging the other half, and as Okada goes for another Rainmaker, Kenny reverses into a OWA, but they're too close to the ropes to pin! Kenny makes it up first, V-Trigger, One Winged Angel, middle of the ring. 1.2.3. I just screamed in my apartment and dropped tears of happiness and satisfaction. The record is over, Kenny's dream is real. This story started in the G1 Climax 2016 and we finally got here.
THIS was the greatest match I've ever seen.
Something that I liked about this match was that there was really no reason why Okada had to lose the title, so during the second fall, all those near falls by Okada I really felt that could be it. If Okada is to retain the title for 100 defenses, he may as well win two consecutive falls here and go home early. It also helped a lot that they plan this match in a way that the times between the falls were more like rest holds as the match straight up continued where it had left off.
Post-match - Bucks came out to see Kenny. Omega embraces Kota, embraces Matt and Nick over getting the title, and Kota embraces all too. Kenny cut a promo in Japanese and English. He talked about the great accomplishments achieved today. After he is done, Cody comes out, he is walking down the ramp, almost to congratulate Omega, but decides against it and turns back.
Post-show - Kenny cut some great promos saying that Okada is the best, but it's his time to take NJPW beyond. He says that he used to fill all his matches with hate from all the people that said that he sucked, but he realized that his world is full of people who love him and support them, so he is happy to be back with the Bucks and Ibushi, this is The Elite and The Golden Lovers, but all together, they are The Golden Elite.
As expected by a Dominion, this show was amazing, arguably the best show of the year, but at least the best match of my life. This main event will be a big notch in the history and timeline of the wrestling industry.