NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam in MetLife Dome 9.4

NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam in MetLife Dome 9.4NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam in MetLife Dome 9.4

By Big Red Machine
From September 04, 2021

LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs. FLYING TIGER (Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask IV)- 6.75/10

Hiromu jumped Eagles from behind like a total heel, which feels like pissing into the wind to me. It’s going to be nearly impossible to get people to boo Hiromu, so why try?

There was lots of good work on the knee and leg all around, and a nice slow but not too slow pace that allowed them to ramp up well. Eagles made BUSHI tap with the Ron Miller Special, which was the right call, as despite being the champion, he’s the guy who is the underdog in tomorrow night’s title defense.

YOH vs. SHO- 6.75/10

Yoh charged right at Sho as soon as he got into the ring, jumpstarting the match. He beat on him for quite a while before they wound up on the outside, where they stayed for approximately fifty-billion years without getting counted out. Sho was every f*cking New Japan heel ever, doing the same sh*t in the same order that has bored the f*ck out of me in so many Suzuki-Gun and Bullet Club matches. This is the first time these two have faced off without Young Lion restrictions, and yet they managed to make the first third of the match feel like a match I’ve seen a million times already.

Anyway Sho worked the arm. When Yoh made his comeback, he started working the leg. At one point he had Sho in a leglock so Sho grabbed his hair to try to break it and the referee ran in and started just pounding on Sho to get him to stop pulling the hair. What the f*ck?! If a competitor is insistently disobeying the rules to the point where the referee feels the need to physically attack the competitor to get it to stop, there should have already been a disqualification. I had looked down for a second and when I looked back up, I thought it was a run-in.

After a good long battle to get to the ropes, we not a not so good and way too long forearm exchange. Eventually there was a ref bump and Sho got a chair but was unable to use it. Yoh got it but decided not to use it because he follows the rules like a good babyface. He hit a superkick instead and went for his finisher but Sho countered it with a low blow. Sho hit Yon with the chair and revived the referee, but then pulled him up after two. He then locked on a triangle choke and won by referee stoppage.

This went close to twenty-five minutes. I’m all for people getting time to show what they can do, if you’re getting twenty-five minutes to show everyone what you can do, don’t spend the first third of it showing everyone that you can do the exact same thing we see everyone else do in every single match.

POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Snore. Sho started beating up the people who came to check on Yoh, because all heels in New Japan are the same. As if to prove my point, here come Bullet Club to offer Sho a spot in their group, which he accepts, because Bullet Club having a third junior heavyweight is definitely more interesting than someone not being part of a group for once.

Chase Owens(c) vs. Toru Yano - 7/10

Owens had Yano tied up where he couldn’t defend himself and was hitting him with weapons, but when he didn’t quit, Owens just let him out. WHY? Keep hitting him with the weapons! He’ll give up eventually. Why would let him out and allow him to defend himself or possibly even fire up and make a comeback. Yano bringing the handcuff key and hiding it in his tape in case his plan backfired was clever, though.

This was another match that went WAY too long. They had some good intensity and some very good violence, but this match was a shining example of why I don’t like I Quit matches. They often feel like a regular weapons match, but without the split-second excitement of pinfalls and submissions. Still, this was probably the most I’ve enjoyed a Yano match in years, if not ever. It’s a shame that this Yano will now go away again for many years to make way for the cheating clown.

KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. JEFF COBB (w/Great O-Khan) - 8.5/10

Cobb worked over Okada’s mid-section with his size. Half of the time he just grabbed him and squeezed. It was wonderful. Then he just decided to give up his advantage so we could have the apparently mandatory spot where the heel lets the babyface get up and gives him a free shot so that we can see them trade forearms and stuff. In their defense, it did play into a minor theme in the match of Cobb’s overconfidence costing him (if he hadn’t wasted time doing the Rainmaker pose and trying to set up Tour of the Islands with a Rainmaker-like ripcord, he probably would have hit the move and possibly won), but if we see that sort of thing in every match, it lessens the effect that it has in matches with stories like this. Fortunately for Cobb, he was able to overcome this hubris (and Okada’s work on his neck) and get the win in what was easily the best match of the show so far.

Hiroshi Tanahashi(c) vs. Kota Ibushi - 6.75/10

Ibushi worked the head while Tanahashi worked the knee. At one point Ibushi had Tanahaashi down and was constantly forearming him in the back of the head and Red Shoes reached in and Ibushi, apparently being an idiot, pushed him away. Not only should his have been a DQ, but odds are that if a referee is reaching in to stop you in a situation like this, you’re about o be awarded the win via stoppage.

This was very underwhelming. On the bright side, though, I was getting ready to type something about how New Japan can’t have every match go twenty-plus minutes or people will stop buying nearfalls before the twenty-minute mark, but then this one ended relatively abruptly at 17:47. I hope Ibushi didn’t reinjure himself.

Final Thoughts
This was a rather underwhelming show from New Japan. It was good to see Cobb get a big win, but that gets cancelled out by Sho joining Bullet Club, which just needs to go away at this point. Hopefully tomorrow night’s show is better.

Join this review's conversation in the discussion board