Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb (4) vs Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida (0) - 6.5/10
This was probably the biggest difference between strength that we'll see in the tournament, with Elgin and Cobb completely dominating Umino for the first half of the match before he could even get close to tagging Yoshida, which he only managed because Yoshida distracted the big men. Yoshida did get some offense in at first, but also quickly felt victim to the power of Cobb. Yoshida landed a big Scoop Slam finally getting Cobb off his feet and then both Young Lions locked in submissions, a Guillotine by Yoshida on Cobb, and an Armbar by Umino on Elgin, but unfortunately for them, Cob and Elgin just overpowered themselves off.
Last few minutes saw Yoshida have some small offense and a near fall, but he was alone against both Cobb and Elgin, who killed him with a Powerbomb/Codebreaker for a near fall, and a Tour of the Islands for the pin. Fun opener.
Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi (2) vs Juice Robinson & David Finlay (4) - 5/10
Youth vs experience that started with Nagata out-smarting the younger guys into control, allowing Nakanishi to run over Juice until Nakanishi's lack of speed gave Juice the opening to turn things around. Juice and Finlay worked over Nakanishi for a bit, taunting Nagata a lot, until Nakanishi powered himself into a comeback and after a double suplex, got the tag to Nagata.
Nagata came in and ran wild over Finlay. Juice came in and turned things around, but once again, Nakanishi came in and went back and forward with Juice. They tried hitting a double suplex, but failed again, and Nakanishi countered with a top rope plancha. Juice and Finlay escaped the Torture Rack and Armbar respectively, and a near fall after a Lariat/Kick combo by the old timers. Finish saw Juice hit Pulp Friction on Nakanishi for the win. Nakanishi looked good all things considered.
TenCozy (4) vs Killer Elite Squad (8) - 6/10
Following this Power vs Experience (or lack of it) clashes of the last two matches, we now have K.E.S. come in and overpower TenCozy, mocking them using their own moves, and trying their best to make sure Tenzan won't walk again.
Match saw K.E.S. cut off Tenzan after Kojima initially failed to get control of the match, and they kept this control over Tenzan for a long while with constant tags and getting rid of Kojima when it seemed Tenzan had a hope spot, but eventually, a fired up Kojima made it in and ran wild for a bit until K.E.S. cut him off too and worked over him a bit too until Tenzan got his own 'warm' tag. K.E.S. got a near fall with a Hart Attack, TenCozy got a near fall with a 3-D, and another with a Lariat from Kojima. Finish saw Tenzan pull off a Top Rope Moonsault for the win over Davey Boy Smith Jr for a huge ovation, Kojima himself was marking out. Again, pretty good match considering the state of Tenzan.
Best Friends (8) vs Togi Makabe & Toa Henare (2) - 4/10
This was kind a slow match, and that's saying something after watching Tenzan and Nakanishi back to back. This match started with Best Friends working over Henare for a bit, then Makabe got in, ran wild, and eventually got Henare back in again. Beretta and Henare had a good exchange, lots of Germans and blocks, that ended with Chuck Taylor getting tagged and for some reason, he just went crazy attacking everyone, he buried Henare in chairs, ran and took out Makabe, started throwing chairs and a table in the ring, and even at one point, blinded by his rage, hit himself DQd when he hit Henare with a chair.
Post-match - Chuckie T kept this weird attack over Henare and Makabe, and even Beretta when he tried to stop him, and finally Chuckie T snapped out of it and walked to the back by himself. What the fuck was this? I'm gonna have to check out the backstage interview for this one.
Guerrillas of Destiny (8) vs Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi (6) - 7/10
GoD mocked Yujiro a lot for staying with The Elite, the worked over him and when Yujiro had hope spots, Jado attacked him from the outside with a Kendo Stick. GoD worked over Yujiro for about half of the match until Yujiro manage to counter a suplex and make it to Page, who ran wild, hitting the greatest hits.
At one point, Page went to the top rope, only to get cut off by Tanga Loa and dropped with a Dominator like move on the apron. Match went all tornado tag with Yyjuri coming in for a great little comeback, that set up Roa for Page's Buckshot for a near fall. Finish saw GoD hit the Magic Killer on Page for the win. Great match, I hadn't seen Yujiro work this hard in a while.
Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka) (6) w/El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr & Taichi) (8) w/TAKA Michinoku - 8/10
This is the match I've been waiting for all tournament. It started with potential of a masterpiece, but rapidly became clusterfuck worthy of Suzuki-Gun. It started with Sabre and Suzuki going face to face, with Suzuki actually calling out Sabre to face off, and at this point I thought that maybe they would go to the finish without even tagging Iizuka and Taichi since Iizuka was walking around the ring, and at first, Taichi hadn't taken off his entrance attire.
The match up between Suzuki and Sabre was great, just a bunch of mat wrestling, going toe-to-toe, like a student and teacher facing each other, with the teacher still having some hidden skills to be revealed. But then, they decided to tag in Iizuka and Taichi, and the amtch became comedy with Iizuka biting everyone, like he bit Taichi and Sabre, but then they brawled around the arena, and Iizuka was biting Taguchi and TAKA. They brawled so long I thought we were getting a double countout.
Finally, they got back in the ring and we got all four men going at it trading submissions and reversals, ending with both Iizuka and Suzuki locking in Sleepers on Sabre and Taichi respectively. Taichi can't escape, but Sabre manages to counter Iizuka into a pin and take the win. At one point, fans were chanting like crazy for Iizuka. I really loved this match, the whole clash of the old timers vs the young blood, watching Suzuki and Sabre not only play fair at first, but then unleash violence on each other, and at the end, Suzuki being proud of them. I feel warm and cozy all over.
Post-match - Proud father Suzuki fist bumps Sabre and Taichi, fist bumps TAKA. Kanemaru and Desperado get in the ring and they all fist bump each other.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishi & Toru Yano) (10) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & EVIL) (10) - 8/10
Another chapter in the SANADA vs Yano saga. This one started with them trading near falls from roll ups until Ishii got annoyed and tagged in and started killing SANADA. EVIL distracted Ishii and pulled him under the ropes, taking him to the top of the rafters, while SANADA locked in the Paradise Lock on Yano, rendering him useless. Back into the match, Ishii returned with a chair, only to be overtaken by the numbers game, at which point I don't know why SANADA broke the Paradise Lock instead of making Ishii fight both him and EVIL in a handicap scenario.
It seemed like Ishii would be babyface in peril for a while, but he quickly countered SANADA and tagged in Yano, for another Yano vs SANADA battle with turnbuckle pads and more Paradise Lock spots. EVIL and Ishii got in and we got a great hoss fight battle full of shoulder tackles. After some offense by LIJ on Ishii, they started chasing the Magic Killer, but Ishii got out. EVIL hit a Darkness Falls for a near fall while SANADA took out Yano outside. Ishii finally made a comeback, landing a sliding lariat. They tried their finishers on each other, only to end in a stalemate. Finish saw Ishii take out EVIL, SANADA take out Ishii, Yano went for a low blow, but SANADA blocked twice, hit an Okana Roll and got the win over Yano. Fun match, really fast paced action here. LIJ has really separated themselves from each other on points.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, & KUSHIDA vs Bullet Club ("Switchblade" Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, & "Bone Soldier" Taiji Ishimori) w/Gedo - 8.5/10
They have never been on the same side of the ring, at least not since Okada was a young lion, but Okada and Tanahashi are here, teaming up. Ishimori came out with the crutches, faking his injury.
Okada got in a fight with White while Tanahashi was barely making his entrance, so KUSHIDA and Tanahashi just ran out and got in a brawl with Fale and Ishimori until they got control of the ring and we got our first official Tanahashi/Okada double team. We also got our first signs of dissension as Okada won't tag Tana because he hasn't had enough of White.
Gedo tripped Okada, allowing White to attack him from behind and Bullet Club gained control of the ring over Okada. They worked over him for a while until Okada got away from Fale enough so we got the awesome visual of Tanahashi reaching for the tag and Okada jumping for it. Tana came in hot and took it to Fale, until Fale coutnered a Sunset Flip and hit a Banzai Drop on Tana. KUSHIDA and Isimori came in and they had a great fast paced exchange, with tons of kicks.
Outside the ring, White and Okada are still fighting; inside, KUSHIDA is about to take out Ishimori, but Fale gets involved, prompting everyone to come in, Tana and Okada hit Dragon Screws on Fale and White respectively, leaving KUSHIDA and Ishimori at it again. Ishimori gets a Bloody Cross in for a near fall. Gedo distracts the ref allowing Ishimori to get the crutch, but KUSHIDA dodges it, locks the Hoverboard, only to be broken by White, a Blade Runner, and another Bloody Cross later, Ishimori pins KUSHIDA for the win. Great match, it wasn't as epic for Tana and Okada's first team up, but it does do a lot for White to be able to cut that promo about the dream team failing to beat him.
Post-match - Okada and White keep fighting, but White lands a Blade Runner. Tanah comes for the save, but also eats a Blade Runner. White cuts a promo, making fun of Okada and Tanahashi saying this was the big moment everyone waited for, and that not even as a team, they could defeat him and they can't beat the Bullet Club.
This was the most anticipated show of the tournament for me, not only for the first Tanahashi/Okada team up, but the clash of Sabre and Suzuki, so having enjoyed those two matches a lot, I'm ok with this show, but realistically, this was kinda of meh show if you look at the undercard. We are heading into the final days of the league, with EVIL and SANADA taking the lead over everyone, but there is still a lot of people behind them that it's not a sure thing just yet.