KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (12/5)
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WRESTLE KINGDOM 11 REV, pt. 2 of 3
JANUARY 4, 2017
TOKYO, JAPAN AT THE TOYO DOME
REPORT BY R.W. ANDREWS, PWTORCH SPECIALIST
(5) Kyle O’Reilly (c) vs. Adam Cole – ROH Heavyweight Championship Match
Where to start. So I’ve seen ROH once or twice, falling instantly in love with ACH and Jay Lethal, but I never really got into it. My guess is that it’s a pretty damn good promotion, making me wish I would have stumbled across it in the mid-2000’s. Adam Cole is a mystery to me, but thanks to the co-chairman’s (all praises) podcast on ROH’s Final Battle show a month back I at least know the name. Adam Cole is a member of the Bullet Club according to his eyeball video and his music is great. Kelly and Corino do some type of shtick surrounding Cole’s music. I guess you have to be there. O’Reilly is out next, and as a fun fact, did you know that he can wrestle his ass off?
The two exchange words in the middle of the ring. There is a handshake, begrudgingly at best, and Cole spits in O’Reilly’s face. Code of honor my ass. It means nothing apparently. The two exchange forearms before O’Reilly takes down Cole, mounts him, and slaps on an armbar that sends Cole scurrying for the ropes to break it. O’Reilly continues working the arm, but misses a forearm in the corner. Cole stomps him, has a little comedy interaction that nearly gets him rear-naked choked, and shoves O’Reilly off the top ropes when O’Reilly tries to fly. Cole chases down O’Reilly outside, grabs a chair, and smacks O’Reilly in the shoulder with it. By the way, I love the ref that they brought in for this. His voice carries like a son of a bitch.
Back inside, Cole goes to work on O’Reilly’s shoulder with an arm ringer and a whip into the corner shoulder first. Cole talks himself into a stiff forearm by O’Reilly. They trade a few shots before Cole hits the ropes to meet an O’Reilly knee. O’Reilly lands a combination of vicious kicks and forearms followed by a leg trip. O’Reilly dumps Cole to the mat with a back suplex and goes for a kneebar that Cole breaks at the ropes. He’s laying stiff kicks to Cole’s legs and arms before landing a Tiger Knee to Cole that would make Sagat nod approvingly. They trade reversals in the middle of the ring before Cole lands an overhead neckbreaker that Kelly calls The Last Shot. They square up again, clutching each other’s hair, and exchange rapid fire punches, no Batsu. They both lands kicks to the stomach and both men are down.
Through grunts and groans, O’Reilly boots Cole’s head into oblivion before nailing a brainbuster for two. He goes right into an armbar attempt, but Cole rolls to his feet and stomps O’Reilly right in the head. His foot came down like a god damn hammer! Cole is back on O’Reilly’s shoulder, stomping it relentlessly. O’Reilly’s comeback is stopped swiftly by a Shining Wizard. O’Reilly gets blasted by a running knee and another Last Shot, but escapes defeat by an inch and ¾. O’Reilly catches Cole’s superkick and transitions into an ankle lock. Cole is out, delivering four superkicks that leave O’Reilly defenseless on his knees. Cole lifts him up and delivers ANOTHER Last Shot for three.
Winner: Adam Cole to win the ROH Heavyweight Championship
(Andrews’ Analysis: Adam Cole’s reaction after he won was the same as me. He couldn’t believe he won and I couldn’t believe that the match was over that quickly. It was a good match, don’t get me wrong. The short bell to bell time is what is jarring. I’ll say this though, the match felt real. O’Reilly grunted and slobbered all over himself to take down Cole, but Cole just kept on chugging along, using the same offense on a loop to drop O’Reilly and pick up the title. Based off of this match I would absolutely like to see more of Adam Cole. I bet he has a treasure trove of great matches, much like O’Reilly.)
We get a not-so-quick commercial for New Japan’s schedule of big events and there is a lot going on. Not the calendar per se, but the god damn thing is just shouting and flashing glittery graphics. It’s an onslaught. I get it, Man! I signed up for the network! I’ll be there! Please, just calm down.
(6) Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa) (c) vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii – IWGP Tag Team Championship Triple Threat
Oh the cluster f- of cluster f-s. How is this freaking thing going to work? Oh wait, all is above board because Ishii is out with Yano and he looks ready for war. This is a welcomed sight. I’m new to Yano, but apparently he was going around stealing the tag belts, the World Tag League trophies, and Corino’s wallet. How much could possibly be in that old dusty thing anyways? Makabe and Honma come out to altered music, which is a bummer because Kelly and Corino tells us that the real deal is awesome. Apparently Karl Anderson was tweeting about the event. I wonder if the money was worth it at this point. The champs are out next, stalking to the ring with kick ass theme music that matches their vibe. Ahh hell Tanga, you ruined it! You can hear him tell Roa “watch your step” as smoke fills the arena. At least we know he’s a nice guy. Good partner to have.
Tanga and Roa waste no time attacking Yano and they grab their belts. He’s rolled into the ring and they put the boots to him before the champs turn on Makabe and Honma. Yano is whipped into the ropes and shoulder-blocked outside. Honma is in, dropping elbows to the back of Roa’s head. He goes for the falling timber head-drop that misses. Roa tells someone “Yeah, f- you too” before powerslamming Honma. Yano tags Roa’s back, removes the turnbuckle pad, and whips Honma into it. He’s a flabby pancake of a man, but I like the way he thinks. Ishii gets tagged in and he beats the piss out of Honma with a barrage of chops and forearms in rapid succession. He hits a beautiful vertical suplex for two as Yano tags himself back in. Honma slaps Yano, which is enough for Yano to tag in Tanga and he’s gone.
Tanga misses a held Honma and decks Roa, getting suplexed by Honma as he spins back around. It was pure dead weight that Honma just muscled up. He tries to tag out, but Yano jumps in and drags Honma away. He gets whipped into the exposed buckle as Makabe gets tagged in. This thick bastard shoulder blocks Tanga and Ishii and hits a snap powerslam on Roa. Kelly: “Folks if you’re scoring at home that’s about twelve F bombs in this match.” I haven’t been acknowledging it, but Carlin’s seven words are flying out at a staggering pace.
Makabe hits running clotheslines on everyone, reducing Ishii to a punchline as he and Yano clank into one another and Makabe spears them both. This better not be a precursor to his 2017. Tanga and Roa get clotheslined by Makabe as Honma reenters the ring. They both hit clotheslines, ten-punches and bridging Northern Lights suplexes for two. Honma skitters away as Tanga reverses a waistlock and unloads on Makabe with forearms and knees, dropping Makabe to one knee. “Best defensive wrestler in the game,” touts Corino. Tanga runs the ropes, creating misdirection, and leaps onto Makabe for a chokehold, but is spinebustered to the mat. Uhh, that’s better pretty damn good defense as well.
Both men tag in their partners with Honma casting a nipple-bleed spell with two stiff ass chops. “F- that s-!” screams Roa, followed by “I hate you Mo********er!” The hell with cutting someone off in traffic. Did Honma sleep with Roa’s wife or something? There was some real emotion there. Homan whips Roa into the buckles for a bulldog on the rebound and that ridiculous falling headbutt. The crowd explodes over it, but they also went batsh- over Kota Ibushi as a cartoon character. Honma gets booted in the face as the commentators crack up over Roa’s liberal use of cursing. Depending on the camera angle, either Honma hit a facebuster or Roa powerbombed him, but it’s open to interpretation as they both lay on the mat. Honma is up first and gets destroyed by an Ishii clothesline. As does Roa. Tanga dropkicks Ishii and Yano just kind of knees him. The Guerillas are all over the place – splashing, clotheslining, and swearing loudly. They are alone with Honma and deliver a tandem powerbomb as Roa screams, “Eat s- Mot*******er.” Yeah, Honma did something to someone and is paying dearly for it.
Makabe jumps in, smacks the guerillas around, and screams “f****ng come on!” Kelly has laughed himself into tears as the Guerillas drop Makabe to the mat. Makabe hits a double clothesline, leaving only Makabe and Honma in the ring. They sandwich Roa with a clothesline. Makabe screams “f- you!” at Roa before landing another clothesline. He holds Roa for Honma’s headbutt, but it only gets a two. Makabe powerbombs the hell out of Roa as Honma goes up top for the super falling tree headbutt. 1, 2, Ishii breaks it up! Ishii headbutts Honma, fires off a round of forearms, but gets blasted by a diving Honma shoulder-block/headbutt. Honma goes for a headbutt off the ropes on Tanga, but is caught in a Gun Stun! Great catch! He jumps up to catch Makabe with the same, but is caught. Roa rolls inside as Tanga slips away from Makabe and they hit Guerilla Warfare. Makabe rolls outside, leaving only Honma. Honma fights out of Guerilla Warfare but is booted in the stomach by Tanga as Yano is seen creeping up on the apron. He lightly brushes Honma’s back before Honma darts into a spinebuster by Tanga. Yano runs into a Roa clothesline and the Guerillas run into a double clothesline by Ishii. They retaliate with a double headbutt before lifting Ishii up for a double suplex, but get cup-check-uppercutted by Yano. Double clothesline by Ishii to The Guerillas. They both rock back, with Roa staggering into Yano who schoolboys him for the three.
Winners: Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship
(Andrews” Analysis: I didn’t want to watch this initially, but this wound up being a really good match. Not only was it chaotic from start to finish, but the cannon shots of swearing reached such ridiculous levels that I started cracking up minutes after I was getting pissed at Corino and Kelly for focusing on it instead of the match. Definitely check this match out and be prepared to have a good time. Also, I’m happy to see that Ishii, besides the one comedy moment, was treated like a killing machine hell-bent on destruction. I think I’m going to like the pairing of him and Yano.)
(7) KUSHIDA vs. Hiromu Takahashi – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Now it’s my turn to curse. Here we fu***ng go! For anyone who has been reading along as I discover NJPW, you know EXACLTY where KUSHIDA ranks in the pecking order of pro wrestlers for me. For those who don’t, I’m a bit of a fan. Takahashi I am unfamiliar with, BUT, if he’s getting a shot against KUSHIDA it’s safe to say that he can go and do so at an extremely high level. Corino and Kelly mention that they’ve seen Takahashi go from a young man to what he has transformed into. Giant bouncy balls are being bandied about the arena as Takahashi makes his way to the ring. Ahh, he’s Los Ingobernables de Japon. Hey, if Naito gave him the vouch then that’s good enough for me. Then again, didn’t Hogan have Virgil and Bagwell in HIS group? You know what, I’m not going to think too hard about it and enjoy this. Takahashi’s hairstyle is awesome – fluffed, feathered, and dyed like a true pec***ead. I love it. And then we get it. The intro video, the rolling drums, the man himself. KUSHIDA is here and he’s got his championship McFly colors. The cameraman does a great job of filming just over Takahashi’s shoulder as KUSHIDA makes his way to the ring. It’s a short shot, but it looked great.
Takahashi shoves KUSHIDA off the turnbuckles as the champion checks his watch and we’re off. Takahashi climbs to the second turnbuckle, but KUSHIDA pops off the floor and hits a rolling kick that dumps Takahashi to the floor with a thud. KUSHIDA wastes little time going up top to hit that crazy Swanton of his right in front of Liger. I’m sure he approved. They head back inside, where KUSHIDA works the arm with the Arn Anderson arm-first slam and a stomp to that very same arm. He sandwiches Takahashi’s arm between his legs, wrenching back to apply pressure before Takahashi gets the ropes. Kelly: “Mexico changes a man.” Yep. They trade smacks to the chest, with KUSHIDA getting the better. He whips Takahashi to the corner, but Takahashi rides the mat belly-first like he’s on a Crocodile Mile to the outside. KUSHIDA runs after him, but Takahashi runs back in. As KUSHIDA hops onto the apron, Takahashi dives over him and delivers a sunset-flip powerbomb that damn near dematerializes KUSHIDA! There was a sick thud and KUSHIDA just disappeared out of camera view!
Takahashi saunters back into the ring as Marty, the ref, checks on KUSHIDA. A doctor comes over and checks for a possible concussion as Takahashi takes a squat and waits. KUSHIDA recovers enough to get back in as Marty just decides to start the count. He and Red Shoes, Man. Takahashi tells the ref that KUSHIDA isn’t done and stomps away at him before smacking the back of his head. BIG chop by Takahashi and a superkick to the back of the head. KUSHIDA elbows his way out of a fireman’s carry pickup and scores with a nasty looking fallaway driver – sorry, Barnett isn’t here to hold my hand – that could have broken Takahashi’s neck as his face was stuffed into the bottom of the turnbuckle padding.
KUSHIDA’s head is clear, landing a running clothesline and hammer-fist before cartwheeling into a low dropkick right as Takahashi drops in slump. Great timing. He boots Takahashi in the arm thrice and lands a back elbow when Takahashi tries to create space with a whip to the ropes. KUSHIDA rolls up Takahashi’s body for the Hoverboard lock, but it’s reversed into a German Suplex. Takahashi holds on! He rolls through and powers KUSHIDA up for a second one that’s released! That…was…amazing. Marty checks KUSHIDA after getting dumped on the back of his head, but ultimately deems everything safe to continue. Takahashi heads up top, leaps, and tries for a headscissors to fling KUSHIDA over the ropes. It doesn’t go well. Takahashi lands ribcage-first on the top rope as KUSHIDA falls in a heap. KUSHIDA rolls outside and Takahashi improvises, going all the way to the top rope and leaping halfway across the ring with a senton to KUSHIDA! Jesus Christ! The thud on the landing was all tailbone!
Takahashi rolls KUSHIDA back in, going up top again to deliver a kneedrop that he holds for a pinfall. 1, 2, kickout. KUSHIDA gets laced by a forearm, but counters with a Pele kick and both men are left groggy. Takahashi clotheslines KUSHIDA over the top rope, with KUSHIDA flipping backwards and onto the apron. Takahashi takes off again for the sunset flip powerbomb, but KUSHIDA backflips away and rushes in to meet Takahashi’s elbow. Takahashi escapes to the apron, but instead of heading back inside he races towards KUSHIDA and leaps for a dropkick. KUSHIDA uses the ring post to kick his body outward and catch Takahashi into an armbar on the floor! Holy f****ng s-! The crowd erupts as KUSHIDA pulls as hard as he can on Takahashi’s arm. KUSHIDA is forced to break the hold as Marty gets to seventeen. Instead of rolling in for the count-out he takes Takahashi with him and they’re both in at 19.
KUSHIDA boots Takahashi on the arm, and again. Ouch. The third kick is blocked, but he smacks Takahashi and gets that third kick. And a forth. Hoverboard Lock! Right in the middle of the ring! Takahashi is destroying his voice box screaming as KUSHIDA controls the arm and manipulates it for maximum torque. KUSHIDA wrenches back, leaving a whisper of space for Takahashi to back up and get to his knees. The crowd collectively goes “Ooooh” as that happens. Takahashi fights for the ropes, but is pulled back by KUSHIDA. He tries again, but KUSHIDA rolls back. The momentum carries Takahashi to his feet, but KUSHIDA scores a victory roll on a twist. 1, 2, not yet! KUSHIDA looks for the Hoverboard Lock again, but TAKAHASHI fights it off. Standing switch into a KUSHIDA elbow. KUSHDIA rolls up Takahashi’s body for another Hoverboard Lock! Takahashi holds his ground, screaming in pain as KUSHIDA tries to contort the limb. What a f****ng fight! Takahashi spins out of the hold and delivers a strike to KUSHIDA’s face. KUSHIDA goes into the windup, but is caught by a Takahashi straight right. Straight right by KUSHIDA and both men collapse! The crowd is losing their minds! Hell, I’ve sweat straight through my tux!
Both men get to their feet. KUSHIDA rushes Takahashi, who ducks low to deliver an overhead belly-to-belly into the corner. Takahashi clotheslines KUSHIDA in the corner, props him up high, but KUSHIDA goes for the Hoverboard Lock. Takahashi fights it off and…holy s-!!!…Takahashi hops in the air while twisting his body to catch KUSHIDA in a reverse destroyer off the top ropes! 1, 2, kickout! KUSHIDA is convulsing as he comes up for air! Takahashi picks up KUSHIDA in a fireman’s carry pickup and charges into the buckles, using KUSHIDA’s body as the battering ram. He lifts KUSHIDA up in another fireman’s carry pickup, spinning KUSHIDA’s limp body around and dumps him on the back of his head! 1, 2, 3! New champion!
Winner: Hiromu Takahashi to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
(Andrews’ Analysis: Oh my f—ing God! What a match! It was brutal, with both men holding nothing back on their offense. They put their bodies through hell for this one and it paid off. This was incredible, fast paced and hard hitting to no end. What an introductory course on Takahashi. He’s an incredible wrestler who takes BIG risks with his body that look incredible. Yeah, he’s going to hurt himself, but I want to see more. Honestly, if KUSHIDA was going to lose, I’m glad it went to Takahashi so it ensures a rematch. KUSHIDA was brilliant here. He sold his ass off – as did Takahashi by the way – and kept that same relentless pace that accompanies all of his matches. How he can do this night after night is mind-boggling. He’s firmly atop my list of favorite wrestlers in the world, and only one man has even come close to chipping away at him. Watch this match twice – one for the story told in and out of the ring, and one to catch all the subtle things that we all probably missed with how fast the pace got.)