LIJ vs Suzuki Gun is the unofficial theme of this show. After an extremely long Road to Dontaku tour (that isn’t even over yet. Though there has been some good stuff), we finally have a big show to sink our teeth into.
Yuji Nagata & Ren Narita vs Tomoyuki Oka & Shota Umino
Young lion team work over their fellow young lion. Nagata gets in and beats them both up, they young lion team briefly get back on top but Narita makes the save. Umino won’t back down as he trades strikes with Nagata who overpowers him and locks in the Nagata Lock for the win. Very good clean opener.
Winners: Yuji Nagata & Ren Narita Rating: 5 out of 10
Taguchi Japan (David Finlay, Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask, & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs CHAOS (Jay White, Rocky Romero, Sho, & Yoh)
CHAOS work “heel” here and work over Liger. Taguchi gets the hot tag and unleashes his ass on his opponents. Finlay tags in and gets worked over by R3K, who have to be future trios champions right? They cant put him away and he fights back to hit his Stunner on Romero for the win. Nothing wrong with this but nothing must see.
Winners: Taguchi Japan Rating: 4 out of 10
Togi Makabe & Toa Henare vs CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano)
Makabe and Yano start with Yano’s usual antics which gives way to some Ishii/Henare goodness. Again we get Makabe and Yano just doing the usual schtick before we get Ishii and Henare strong style-ing the F**k out of each other. It breaks down into near falls and saves before Ishii hits a brainbuster for the win. Ishii and Henare continue to produce magic and Makabe/Yano is the fun stuff.
Winners: CHAOS Rating: 5 out of 10
Suzuki Gun (Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, TAKA Michinoku & Takashi Lizuka) Vs Bullet Club (Kenny Omega, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi) & Kota Ibushi
Suzuki Gun attack before the bell. Water is wet. We get some floor brawling where ZSJ paired of with Omega which I may be reading into too much. They work over Takahashi as Iizuka bites everything in sight. Bullet Club swing the momentum thanks to the Lovers until ZSJ takes out Omega leaving Taichi to work on Ibushi. Ibushi makes the tag to Owens who works the finishing stretch with ZSJ before tapping out. Typical Suzuki Gun match here.
Winners: Suzuki Gun Rating: 4 out of 10
Post Match: The clouds are parting. A legend is returning. Wrestling may never be the same again BONE SOLDIER is returning.
Taguchi Japan (Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, Michael Elgin, & KUSHIDA) vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Will Ospreay, & YOSHI-HASHI)
We get some frequent tags before settling into CHAOS working over Juice. It spills to the floor where Okada and Tanahashi get nasty with Okada attempting a tombstone on the ramp but getting put down with sling blade instead. Robinson tags in KUSHIDA and we get the two juniors battling in the lead up to their match. It comes down to Tanahashi and HASHI after all hell breaks loose and Tana hits the High Fly Flow for the win. Another decent match tonight and the last multi-man match of the night.
Winners: Taguchi Japan Rating: 5 out of 10
BUSHI vs El Desperado
The masked members of their teams do battle. BUSHI instantly becomes the smartest man in wrestling by attacking Despy first. After his hot start, BUSHI falls to the usual heel tactics as Despy looks to outsmart him. The two really hate each other and keep trying to rip each others mask off. We’re into the finishing stretch now as both go for the win but neither man can hit his finish. Kanemaru arrives and BUSHI wins by DQ. Good intensity, good wrestling and a match I wouldn’t mind seeing again during BOSJ.
Winner: BUSHI Rating: 6 out of 10
Hiromu Takahashi vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Takahashi made the save for BUSHI and we go straight into this match. They start on the floor brawling. Despy sticks around and helps Kanemaru whenever he can as Takahashi gets worked over. Takahashi fights back and takes out Desperado on the outside. they go back and forth with Kanemaru trying to lock in his crab submission, we get to the finish with Desperado trying to get involved but Kanemaru accidentally mists Despy who is then also misted by BUSHI. This leaves Takahashi in prime position to hit the Time Bomb for the win. Another Suzuki Gun special which is starting to wear thin. No wonder the NOAH fans left in droves. No offence to either performer as they had a good match but it felt like too much of the same.
Winner: Hiromu Takahashi Rating: 4 out of 10
IWGP Tag Team Title Match- (C) Los Ingobernables De Japon (EVIL & SANADA) vs Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.)
This felt like a handicap match at times. Suzuki Gun kept EVIL away while working over SANADA to start off. Just as EVIL and SANADA were getting rolling KES hit a Killer Bomb through a table on SANADA leaving EVIL to fight the two alone. KES were sadistic and intelligent all match. Making sure they had the numbers advantage at all times. They beat EVIL from pillar to post but the King Of Darkness will not stay down. We see some near falls for the LIJ team now leading to the baseball chair spot. SANADA takes out Archer and EVIL hits Everything is Evil for the win. A bit more one-sided than I expected with KES controlling most of the match.
Winners: LIJ Rating: 5 out of 10
IWGP IC Title Match- (C) Minoru Suzuki vs. Tetsuya Naito
It needs to be said that Naito is a star. New Japan is not just the Dave Meltzer Smark promotion people claim it is. It like all companies needs to build stars. With Suzuki and Naito you had two of their top guys clashing. The crowd was electric for this and it started well when SUZUKI DID THE TRANQUILLO POSE. That’s it folks shows over! Early on the two were working a good pace and this match was well on it’s way to being great. And then Suzuki worked over the knee. And this match became a copy of the New Beginning match against Okada. The difference is Naito’s comebacks lacked any fire. At one point we had the traditional exchange with Suzuki forearming Naito who returned with very weak chops. This match required Naito to show fire whenever he managed to escape a submission. We didn’t really get that. For a match that was looking so good, it lost it’s way and never got back on track. The match doesn’t have much to it other than Naito escapes a submission and hits the Destino to win. I didn’t like this at all. Why is Naito fighting through injury for a title he hates? Why were his comebacks so weak? It seems like New Japan is scrambling with Naito now that the Jericho match is seemingly off the table.
Winner: Tetsuya Naito Rating: 4 out of 10