TOA HENARE vs. YOTA TSUJI - 4.5/10
AYATO YOSHIDA & SHOTA UMINO vs. TIGER MASK IV & MANABU NAKANISHI - 5.5/10
HIROYOSHI TENZAN & REN NARITA vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Takashi Iizuka & TAKA Michinoku) - 2.25/10
Tenzan grabbed the mic and tried to get Iizuka to shake his hand but Iizuka attacked him instead. Dude... just give up on him. He's a crappy nutjob and you have freakin' Satoshi Kojima to be your partner now.
We immediately go to the outside for the usual Suzuki-Gun bullsh*t magical repetitive "the rules don't apply while we're on the outside" spot. Heat on the young-boy, Iizuka runs around biting people and never gets DQed even though the referee keeps ordering him not to, same old sh*t.
Narita eventually made the hot tag to Tenzan, Tenzan ran wild, Tenzan got double teamed. They teased Tenzan getting hit with the Iron Fingers but Narita made the save. Tenzan took over on Iizuka and called for the moonsault but TAKA knocked him down, then Iizuka hit Tenzan with the Iron Fingers for the second straight DQ with Iizuka & TAKA vs. Tenzan & A Partner in two nights, in front of the same crowd. BAD BOOKING. This isn't a story moving along; it's just repetitive. If you don't have a finish that moves the story along, just don't book the match the second time! Also for the second straight night, the heels beat Tenzan up after the match.
TOMOAKI HONMA, TOGI MAKABE, RYUSUKE TAGUCHI, & TORU YANO vs. BULLET CLUB (Guerrillas of Destiny, Taiji Ishimori, & Yujiro Takahashi) (w/Jado) - 5/10
This was a better version of last night's match. We got the same general stuff (Ishimori vs. Taguchi build, Honma's neck gets worked over, Yano wins via roll-up, Tama Tonga tries to stop his team from cheating) but with none of the pointless stalling. The change for tonight was that Tama Tonga's attempts to stop his buddies from cheating actually caused them to lose, which is good for the storyline... but the problem is that this is such a drastic character change for Tama and with seemingly nothing precipitating it, and the fact that he is SOOOOO over the top about it makes it impossible for me to think that he isn't being completely disingenuous... but if he's being disingenuous then I still don't understand why he is doing it or why he is going to the lengths of causing his team to lose.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI & CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. BULLET CLUB (Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, & Chase Owens) (w/Gedo) - 8.5/10
Another awesome match from these guys. Tanahashi's knees got worked over once again and Okada vs. Fale got it's focus, but this was much more of a regular six-man tag than last night's main event was. It was still awesome, but in a different way.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Fine build to White vs. Tanahashi.
IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi & BUSHI)(c) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado) - 8.25/10
Kevin Kelly noted the long-running rivalry between these two factions. The Australian announcer followed this up by saying that it might continue for years after this, which is a statement that I took more as a threat than anything else. Please G-d don't let that happen.
We got some stuff with BUSHI going after El Desperado's mask early on that they never went back to. We got a double heat here. Shingo's selling of his knee was particularly great. The last few minutes were extremely exciting, with the spots with the chair being a particular highlight. I know I said I don't want to see Suzuki-Gun vs. LIJ anymore, but this match persuaded me to make an exception for these two teams.
IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & Sanada)(c) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.) (w/TAKA Michinoku) - 7/10
Suzuki-Gun jumped the bell on their opponents. Stuff happened, the usual stupid Suzuki-Gun bullsh*t happened, the Count Out Tease That No One Ever Bites On happened, etc. etc. Instead of doing the same logic-defying, repetitive bullsh*t in every single match, why don't you guys just ask Gedo for three fewer minutes and just not drag your match down with this crap?
Sanada's arm got worked over. Big moves were traded the match was... really not at the level you would expect considering the talent involved, the time it got, and the fact that it was the semi-main event on a big New Japan show.
IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH:
Tetsuya Naito(c) vs. Taichi (w/Miho Abe) - 7.5/10
Naito was jumped and brutally assaulted on the ramp during his entrance. The people in charge of the cameras for New Japan, being terrible at their jobs, decided that the best thing to do once we saw Iizuka sneaking down the ramp behind Naito would be to cut to a close-up of Taichi. "Something exciting and important is about to happen on camera! Oh no! Cut away from it!"
The assault went on for several minutes, with only the ringside young-boys trying to help. Because it's not like Naito is part of a big faction, or like there are other people currently feuding with Suzuki-Gun. Naito got checked on by doctors and helped to the back. Taichi posed with the belt, and wasted time cutting promos and confronting announcers. NJPW officials came out and conferred, and time was wasted teasing a forfeit in the main event championship match that we all knew would never happen because these assholes won't even call for a f*cking DQ during a title match because it would disappoint the fans.
Eventually Naito made his way back out to ringside, being helped down the ramp by BUSHI. It sure is nice of BUSHI to help Naito now. Where were you ten minutes ago, asshole? And yes, it has been ten minutes since this all started. In fact, from the moment the attack began until the moment the bell rung, FOURTEEN WHOLE MINUTES HAD PASSED. It had been a whopping TWENTY-FIVE MINUTES since the end of the tag title match. And all for what? A swerve that absolutely nobody bit on and that they should have known absolutely nobody would bite on, so all they got out of this was a "pre-match attack" angle that could have easily been done in two minutes and gotten us to the same spot.
No one- not the referee or the announcers- seemed to have any problem with the idea of Taichi trying to put Naito through a table, even though this is clearly forbidden by the rules. They also had no problem with Naito piledriving Taichi through a table. Why was this not a DQ? He clearly knew the table was there and clearly aimed for it on purpose. There is zero plausible deniability here.
Despite everything I've said so far and the fact that I thought the match felt rather disjointed at times, I liked this match a lot. Naito sold very well, and things got rather exciting at the end, with some very good false finishes. I didn't even mind the overbooking with BUSHI and Iizuka, although that is with the caveat that this all actually leads to something like Naito vs. Iizuka or Naito & BUSHI vs. Taichi & Iizuka or even a Naito vs. Taichi rematch in a no DQs environment to give this all a proper blow-off.
This was a decent show from New Japan. It had a lot of the same frustrations as last night but on a lesser scale. The top half of the show is definitely worth your time, but if you saw last night's undercard you shouldn't feel any pressure to see tonight's. If you didn't see last night's undercard, I'd watch this one, as it seems to be slightly more storyline important and was certainly less frustrating.