WADE KELLER PODCAST - EARLY PREVIEW OF ROYAL RUMBLE 2020 MEN'S MATCH, PLUS 2019 AND 2010 LOOK-BACK ROUNDTABLES
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WRESTLE KINGDOM 11 REV, pt. 3 of 3
JANUARY 4, 2017
TOKYO, JAPAN AT THE TOYO DOME
REPORT BY R.W. ANDREWS, PWTORCH SPECIALIST
(8) Katsuyori Shibata (C) vs. Hirooki Goto – Never Openweight Championship Match
This one is going to hurt. Two guys who hit hard and actually LIKE getting hit back? God dammit! I’m ready for this one, cummerbund unlatched and bowtie dangled along the collar. Goto has a beautifully haunting soundtrack that fits his war monger in-ring style to a tee. Fire shoots to the air as he makes his way down the ramp, hood covering his face as he stops to stretch before entering the warzone. Holy s- its Shibata! The crowd erupts as that blue velvet crush backdrop announces his arrival. The guitar licks the arena speakers as Shibata walks with purpose to the ring, holding TWO titles? What have I missed? He has an awesome black towel with THE WRESTLER in bold white letters draped over his shoulders. He’s got tape all over his back and left arm, no doubt nicks and bruises picked up from charging into one battle after the next. He and Goto meet in the middle of the ring and the stares they lay on one another do not carry good intentions.
The crowd is boisterous right off the bat. Ahh, Kelly lets us know that Shibata’s second belt is the Rev Pro title that Shibata won…by beating Zac Sabre Jr.!? Are you serious? Oh I need to get these two eyes on that match stat. But first, business. Yes! Masahiro Chono, friend of the Batsu game, is at ringside. When they show his face on the screen the crowd let out another collective “Oooooh”. Shibata lands a low kick on Goto to start before they reverse waistlocks into the ropes. Shibata smacks Goto HARD on the chest as the crowd explodes. Headlock by Shibata, slowly broken out of by Goto to apply one of his own. Corino talks about Goto’s potential, but says that his head isn’t always there. Shibata does a headstand to get out of Goto’s headlock and transitions into an armbar and snapmare. He juuuust whiffs on a kick to Goto’s face and the crowd applauds. Sick bastards in Tokyo. That would have imploded his skull if it landed.
More great mat wrestling, reversing in and out of wristlocks before Shibata can pin Goto down and stomp his arm. Goto rolls outside to the apron where Shibata hooks on a rear-naked choke. Goto drops to his rear, giving Shibata the freedom to hit the ropes and come back full steam with a dropkick to the back. Shibata goes out to get his old friend, rolling him back in as the crowd applauds. Shibata’s back on the arm, stomping away on it before Shibata kicks Goto in the back and goes for an armlock. Shibata traps the arm in a bend, then switches to get the armbar, but Goto gets the ropes. This is great stuff, Guys. Shibata boots Goto in the back and begins paint brushing the back of Goto’s head and face. Goto gets some offense, scoring with a lariat as the crowd boos. Forearms by Goto before he sends Shibata to the corner. Shibata boots Goto in the face, throws him in the corner and goes to town with forearms. He whips Goto into the opposite corner, but it’s reversed and Goto hits a spinning heel kick. Shibata fires back, dropping a knee on Goto.
Shibata goes for a headlock, but is suplexed hard to the mat and is holding the back of his head. Goto scores a clothesline in the corner and goes up top. He hits a falling elbow to Shibata’s chest for two. He props Shibata up and punts him in the chest. Shibata rolls back, then rolls into an upright sit with his legs crossed and his arms at rest on his knees. The crowd picks up at the sight. Another kick. Shibata shakes his head as Goto puts his hands on his hips. Another kick, this time causing Shibata to groan. He’s up to his knees, eats a kick, and another, and rises as the crowd cheers. Goto delivers another kick to Shibata’s chest as Shibata screams. Goto goes for another, but it’s caught and Shibata OBLITERATES Goto with a forearm to the face. Goto is down!
Shibata hauls in Goto and whips him into the corner, chasing in quick pursuit with a high kick. Goto’s legs wobble and as he falls to the mat where Shibata stomps the hell out of his chest. There it is, that wonderful floating dropkick by Shibata. Shibata hits a suplex in the center of the ring for two. Abdominal stretch by Shibata, wrapping those long limbs around the squatty Goto. Goto gets the ropes, but Shibata doesn’t break and hits Goto with a belly-to-back. Goto pops right back up and charges Shibata with a clothesline. Shibata doesn’t budge. They go head to head before Shibata hits the ropes and boots Goto in the face. Goto is unfazed. They go for each move again to the same result. Goto rocks Shibata with the next clothesline, but Shibata pops up and hits a German Suplex! Goto pops back up! Shibata goes for a pickup, but Goto reverses, snatching Shibata’s hair to pull him down against the point of his knee.
Goto picks Shibata up for a suplex, driving back the way they came to drive Shibata on his knee. Goto goes for a kick to the chest, but it’s caught. Shibata bends Goto’s leg as he spins him around and hits a German Suplex. Goto pops right back up and plows through Shibata with a clothesline. He lines up another shot, but Shibata blocks it and drives Goto down to the mat with a STO! Good lord! The two meet on their knees and Goto lands a forearm, which can only mean one thing…
Batsu game! Forearm by Shibata, forearm by Goto, forearm by Shibata, forearm by Goto, three mind-alteringly stiff forearms by Shibata when they get to their feet, European Uppercut by Shibata and he heads to the ropes to end the game. Goto catches Shibata, but Shibata reverses out of Goto’s clutches and slaps on a rear-naked choke. Goto is fading, lunging for the ropes to break the hold. Shibata immediately kicks Goto in the chest, dashing behind Goto to lock it on again. Goto reaches for the ropes a second time, but Shibata snatches Goto’s arm and locks the choke in deeper. He plants down on the mat and Goto slowly rolls to the ropes to break it. Awesome stuff! Shibata tries to pull Goto away from the ropes, but Red Shoes backs him off. Holy s-! Shibata shoved Red Shoes into the ropes and he’s down! Shibata peels Goto off the mat and is headbutted flush in the face. And another. Goto and Red Shoes are probably Eskimo Brothers or something because Goto got all kinds of pissed by Shibata’s treatment of Red Shoes! The last headbutt rocks Goto as well and he drops to a knee. A PK lands clean, but Shibata falls to the mat face first.
Shibata hits the ropes for another PK, but Goto catches him and drops the back of Shibata’s head against his knee. They fight for suplex position, with Goto driving Shibata to the mat for a close two. Shibata is struggling to get up as Goto is the first one up. He screams at the crowd and blasts Shibata in the chest. Shibata’s up! They trade forearms, elbows, and headbutts. Goto headbutts the back of Shibata’s head until Shibata goes limp. Goto lifts Shibata, whose body is just dangling in his hands, and drives Shibata’s head onto his knee with a downward clothesline. Shibata is left lifeless, absolutely whiskey di**ed in the ring! Goto lifts Shibata and drops him with the GTR! He hooks the leg and gets the three!
Winner: Hirooki Goto to win the NEVER Openweight Championship
(Andrews Analysis: Brutal. BRUTAL! It was shorter than I expected, but they maximized their minutes. Shibata showed why he perennially holds the title and Goto’s story was well told as the guy who couldn’t win the big one. He had to go through hell to win the big one and Shibata loves going to war in the depths of hell. Definitely watch this and as always keep those speakers turned up loud. I hope by dropping the title that it means that Shibata is about to get a promotion within the company. He deserves it, and Goto deserves to be the next NEVER Openweight champion if that promotion is coming.)
(9) Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match
Crank up the volume because we’re about to get hit with some Dynasty Warriors. Tanahashi is out first, air guitaring down the ramp to a new entrance theme not quite up to snuff to his previous, though doable. His entrance video is a hectic display of Technicolor words strobing in and out for seizure-inducing pleasure. Naito’s entrance has received an injection of life as well. Green laser beams search for life as his face pops up on the screen, his head drawn downward in a stoic pose. As the guitars kick in, the beams flitter frantically about the arena. The large eye screen is transformed into a socket where an eyeball begins gazing across the Tokyo Dome like Sauron. His theme is up-tempo Mega Man music. It doesn’t quite fit him, but Naito’s tremendous so he can do no wrong with me. His suit for the night is a plum colored three-piece with a mask much more put together than the older incarnation I’ve seen on AXS. Naito strolls with the belt dangled at his side, gnawing on gum as members of the crowd scream out his name. He takes a slow lap around the perimeter of the ring before slooowly entering to toss the belt near Tanahashi’s feet. I love this guy more and more.
Red Shoes has recovered from the shove by Shibata to ref this one, but has to be wondering when Naito is going to attack. The bell rings, the crowd explodes, and Kelly/Corino’s voices get a hair higher. This is the first time that a Tanahashi match has started that I’ve seen where the crowd didn’t break into chants of his name. It’s 50/50 in the building. They go to tie-up, but Naito walks away. Another Naito fake on the tie-up. When they finally lock together, Tanahashi decides against a clean break and drills Naito in the stomach. It gets a mix of boos and applause. Naito tosses Tanahashi outside, hits the ropes, and slides to the mat for a leisurely lay down. Tanahashi gets booted on his way inside and gets strapped up in a side headlock. Kelly tells us that Tanahashi is 7-3 against Naito.
Tanahashi gets a dropkick and strums the air guitar. He gets Naito in the corner, delivering a few forearms before going to the second rope. Naito cuts him off with a dropkick to the left leg. Naito stays on the attack, stomping away at the leg and dropping elbows to inflict more damage. He whips Tanahashi into the corner, jumps over the top rope with a kick, heel trip, and back in with a rope-assisted dropkick to Tanahashi’s leg. It’s so gorgeous and f****ng Kelly and Corino don’t even acknowledge it. Wake up, Guys! Naito circles the ring…and down goes Red Shoes with a little shove into the corner.
Tanahashi tries to fight back, but Naito rakes his eyes, swings his leg towards Red Shoes who catches it, and dropkicks the leg. Lovely stuff. Naito gets a shin-breaker on Tanahashi and bounces off the ropes for a low dropkick to the leg. A modified Deathlock is broken up at the ropes, kind of. Naito keeps it on and Red Shoes, the coward, is too afraid to count. He just kind of pries them apart. Naito fires up Tanahashi with some boot-brushing to the face. Forearm by Tanahashi, forearm by Naito, forearm by Tanahashi, fore – Naito pulls back and kicks Tanahashi in the knee. This guy even disrespects the rules of the Batsu. He’s a loose cannon I tell you! Naito gets his first full house of boos by spitting on Tanahashi. Yeah, that’ll do it.
Naito smiles through four forearms and dropkicks Tanahashi’s leg. Another flurry by Tanahashi is cut off by a kick to the leg, but Tanahashi lunges forth with a flying forearm to stay in control. Corino speculates that Naito’s game plan is to have Tanahashi blow himself up by getting in spurts of offense before he can end it with a leg shot. Well done, Steve. Nice touch. Tanahashi hits a scoop slam in the corner and lands a somersault senton for two. Tanahashi goes for a low dropkick of his own, side-stepped by Naito, and Naito feigns a kick to the face only to stomp on the leg. He hits another shin-breaker, then the ropes, and Tanahashi counters with a low dropkick to Naito’s left knee as the crowd applauds. Corino is focused now, saying that Naito’s weakness is his right knee and Tanahashi should be focusing on that instead of the left.
Naito is clinging to the top rope as Tanahashi tries to drag him back to the center of the ring. It’s broken up by a wad of spit stirred up deep within Naito’s lungs. Red Shoes got a little shrapnel on him as well, adding insult to prior injury. There’s overwhelming boos in the building from the Red Shoes section of the crowd. Naito tries for a tornado DDT using the ropes, but he’s propped outside with his left leg dangling like bait back into the ring. A dragon screw leg whip by Tanahashi stops Naito cold, popping his ligaments like the tab on a snapback. Tanahashi rolls out to the apron and hits a Slingblade, banging the back of Naito’s head on the apron. Tanahashi goes up top and rockets skyward for a High Fly Flow that not only connects, but swallows up Naito’s upper torso as a loud thud echoes off the floor! Two words: concussion protocol. That was a nasty spill. Classic Red Shoes, as he waits for the worst possible scenario for a guy before starting the count. Although, Naito was the one who shoved and sent a side-order of spit his way. Fair enough, Red Shoes. Fight on!
Tanahashi rolls in first, mocking Naito’s lay down pose on the apron. He rolls back out and gets Naito in before the twenty. Naito is sent to the corner, limping as he nears the padding, and gets stuffed by a cross-body from Tanahashi. Tanahashi goes back up top, his undercarriage eating the cable as Naito stumbles into the ropes. Naito hammer-fists Tanahashi’s knee before joining him up top for a Frankensteiner. German suplex by Naito, bridging it awkwardly for two. Kelly surmises that it was Naito’s right knee that actually buckled, allowing Tanahashi to kick out. Naito smacks the back of Tanahashi’s head with an enzuigiri and races to the ropes to land a flying forearm. He hits a hammerlock backdrop for two, then goes for the tornado DDT that’s blocked by Tanahashi. The low dropkick wasn’t.
Tanahashi gets a low dropkick of his own. He takes off for the ropes instead of staying on Naito, getting victory rolled and transitioned into a modified kneebar as opposed to whatever he was thinking. Jeff Fisher strikes again. Tanahashi is screaming as he pries Naito’s legs away and reverses into a Cloverleaf. He sits back deep as Naito fights for the ropes. Right when it looks like Red Shoes was going to call for a stoppage, Naito slithers under the ropes. Tanahashi keeps pressing, grabbing Naito’s left leg for a low dragon screw. Slingblade by Tanahashi, and another, driving Naito’s head down with force. He covers, but Naito kicks out at two. Tanahashi goes to the top turnbuckle, waiting for Naito to get to his feet. Tanahashi goes airborne, landing the High Fly Flow to put Naito back down. Tanahashi goes up again, skyrocketing for the High Fly Flow, but Naito rolls out of the way. Destino by Naito! He goes for another, reversed by Tanahashi for a dragon screw neck whip! The crowd is rabid as both guys hobble to their feet.
Batsu game! Forearm by Tanahashi, forearm by Naito, forearm by Tanahashi, forearm by Naito, forearm by Tanahashi, forearm by Naito – the crowd is roaring with each shot – they trade six more forearms, kick to Tanahashi’s leg, kick to Naito’s leg, kick to Tanahashi’s leg, kick to Naito’s leg, four more exchanges and Naito ends the game with a low dropkick to Tanahashi’s leg to put him down! Good lord! Naito picks Tanahashi up and is smacked in the face. Tanahashi plants Naito into the mat with a dragon suplex, holding him down for two. He bolts back to the top rope, landing on Naito’s back with the High Fly Flow. He goes back up again as the crowd loses their s-! Tanahashi soars for another High Fly Flow, crashing down on Naito’s knees and both men are writhing on the mat.
As both men make it to their feet, Naito stumbles into the corner. Tanahashi shuffles forward, grabbing Naito’s leg for another dragon screw but an enzuigiri stops him cold. Super Destino from the second rope! 1, 2, get the f- out of here! Tanahashi kicks out! Corino is screaming over the sound of the raucous crowd that Tanahashi didn’t get his shoulder up in time. Another Destino! 1, 2…3!
After the match, Naito demands that Red Shoes raise his hand. He gets the belt and tosses it aside, posing over Tanahashi and pounding him on the heart. He backs away and bows to Tanahashi as Kelly wonders if it’s the end of an era.
Winner: Tetsuya Naito to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
(Andrews’ Analysis: War after war after war! The past three matches have been an onslaught of spectacular wrestling! Both men could barely walk with leg injuries worked to death. What a great story told by these two men. Tanahashi gave everything he had, but Naito kept slipping away every time it looked like Tanahashi could win. Yes, this is a must-watch. Yes, you’re going to enjoy yourself. And yes, clean victories in the middle of the ring are ALWAYS the way to go.)
(10) Kazuchika Okada (C) vs. Kenny Omega – IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match
The eye shows a video of Omega, completely in the nude mind you, in the Terminator pose. He roams the wasteland, coming across a few neighborhood toughs. Omega takes out the toughs in a deleted scene and gets the main guys’ clothes. Smoke fills the arena and Omega appears wearing half a Terminator mask that might have been left over after HHH made a mockery of himself with the same get-up. Omega makes this work though. Oh, and he has a tactical shotgun with him, sooo gunplay? Red Shoes must be stressing the f- upon seeing that. The Young Bucks are with Omega, confiscating the shotgun just in case.
Okada gets a lovely entrance, the eye looking like the galaxy’s abyss. Very pretty visual as it travels space to get to the Tokyo Dome. We hear a coin as the arena glows with gold and Okada walks out. Money is cascading through the air, and if that Niffler from Wrestle Kingdom 10 survived the stampede to the parking lot then you can bet your ass that he’s all business at the moment. Gedo, STILL looking like Chavo Geurrero is walking behind Okada. Ok, I know he’s a legend and everything, but so far I’ve seen Gedo just come out with Okada and cheer him on. He’s essentially Salacious Crumb! Hey, you guys know damn well by now that a Star Wars reference is getting shoehorned into my reviews somewhere each week.
Red Shoes shows the title to Omega and tells The Young Bucks to beat it. They don’t. Omega grabs an Okada buck and crumples it before the bell rings. Corino informs us that The Young Bucks leaned in and told him that they haven’t seen anything yet. I’m willing to take their word for it. Okada and Omega trade wristlocks before Omega tries to get an armbar. Okada scrambles for a headlock, wrenching it on tight as Omega breaks it with a hair pull. They exchange clubs to the back and Omega gets in a headlock, holding it tight as Okada tries to shove him off. Okada backdrops Omega, but Omega hangs on. He tries to free himself again, but Omega grabs Okada’s hair, flips out of a backdrop, and back-elbows Okada. Omega leaps off the second rope for a sunset flip, but Okada rolls out, sentons, and is bridged away by Omega who gets a backslide for two. A series of armdrags leads Okada into an armbar.
They trade position at the ropes, with Okada tapping Omega on the back. Okada gets a shoulder-block, but Omega is shifty, scampering around to score a club to the back. After trading reversals at the turnbuckle, Omega gets Okada up for the One Winged Angel, but Okada bails and goes for the Rainmaker. Omega slaps his hand away and spits in Okada’s face. He steps outside for a breather as the Young Bucks tell him he’s doing just fine. Great cornermen.
Okada chases Omega outside before booting Omega when they get back in. A beautiful low dropkick by Okada sends Omega outside. Hmm, Corino says that Gedo is the ultimate rule breaker and has a game plan for Okada. Okada whips Omega into the guardrail and hits a sick sounding DDT on the floor. Okada, the face of the company, grabs a table from under the ring. Omega attacks Okada, nearly sandwiching Red Shoes, and is sent over the other side of the guardrail. Okada gets a running start and sails over the railing for a crossbody.
Back inside, Omega is scoop-slammed to the mat and Okada hits his slingshot senton for two. After a long chinlock, Okada lands a neckbreaker for two. Omega is whipped to the ropes, redirects with his forward-forward-dash transition for a low dropkick and the leapfrog bulldog. Omega lays in a chop to Okada’s chest and elbows him in the back, hard. And another, even harder. Corino talks about how bodyslams and hits to the back set up the One Winged Angel perfectly because the move compresses the spine. Okada knees out of suplex, but can’t find a way out of Omega’s standing Frankensteiner, sending him outside the ring. The Terminator theme is pounded off the mat as Omega takes flight and flips onto Okada. “Sweet replay,” hollers one of the Young Bucks as it’s shown on the eye. Omega scoops up Okada and slams him onto the apron.
Omega rolls Okada back in and hits a missile dropkick from waaay up in the atmosphere. Okada’s head was jolted from the impact. He goes for two, but Okada reaches grabs the ropes. Omega gets on a camel clutch, but again Okada gets the ropes. He tries, tries, and tries again for a piledriver, but Okada dead-weights him and strikes back with a suplex. Omega gets rocked by three running elbows, followed by one in the corner and a DDT. Okada kips up, driving a running European Uppercut at Omega’s jawline. Flapjack by Okada, transitioned into Red Ink (Corino didn’t know what it was, but Barnett’s learning tree has us covered). Omega gets the ropes as Corino apologizes for not knowing the move. Dude, it’s ok. This is a five hour show. Omega runs into a tombstone attempt, which he transitions into his awesome modified neckbreaker. Okada goes up top for the elbow, but Omega gets his knees up. He hits a backbreaker and Okada rolls outside.
Omega is feeling it, darting after Okada for a baseball slide that sends Okada over the railing. Omega looks at the turnbuckles for a moment, shooing Red Shoes away with a push before jumping onto the top rope to springboard off with a moonsault onto Okada. Jesus Christ, Dude! That was every bit as good as Ibushi’s and that’s saying something! Red Shoes, yet again caught slapping his tackle around and not paying attention, starts his count after a good ten Mississippi. Omega says the hell with it, ducks outside to place the table over Okada and leaps off the apron to bring down a double stomp to Okada’s stomach. “Ball game!” yells Nick Jackson. Omega rolls Okada back in and plants the champ down with a powerbomb. 1, 2, not yet Sir!
Omega is so powerful, hoisting Okada up from a gut-wrench to powerbomb him again and hold on for the cover. Still, just a two. The Young Bucks have the table set up as Corino mentions that it was Okada who brought it out to begin with. Both men are on the apron as Red Shoes pries Omega away. They both get back in and Okada continues working over Okada’s back. Gedo slams the mat as the crowd break into an “Okada” chant. Omega doesn’t give a f-, unleashing an Irish Whip that drops Okada in the corner. Omega rushes in, eating consecutive boots. Omega gets Okada up on his shoulders and front-flips him to the mat before springing off the second rope to hit a moonsault. Okada gets out at two as Omega looks bewildered.
Okada manages to get Omega perched up top, landing a HIGH dropkick that drops Omega outside. They’re back on the apron with Omega scooting out of a potential “God knows what” onto the table and lifts Okada up for the One Winged Angel, but Okada drops back inside. He eats a knife-edge chop when Omega gets back in, with a few extra for the hell of it. Omega hits the ropes and is backdropped from the heavens onto the table outside! The table detonates, sending shards all over the god damn place! A doctor and the Young Bucks try to help Omega up, but Okada goes out to roll Omega back inside. As Omega struggles to a knee, Okada goes to the top rope and dropkicks Omega – back laid flat and both feet out like a gentleman. It looked awesome. “Red Ink!” Corino yells after receiving word of the submission hold applied eons ago.
Okada calls for rain, the camera pulling waaaay back for the shot of the giant eye hovering over the proceedings. Omega clutches the ropes, receiving a club to the back as opposed to rain. Okada tries again, but Omega runs him into the corner. Two Okada forearms are met by a loud slap and Omega sets up Okada on the top turnbuckle. Okada fights him off, but a frustrated Omega goes right back after him. Holy f***ing s- he hits a top rope dragon suplex! Okada lands on the side of his head and collapses! Omega covers – 1, 2, kickout! Omega picks up Okada, delivering a neckbreaker to the knee! Omega races after Okada, missing a knee that would have made Okada’s brains shoot out of his ear canal. High-angle German Suplex by Okada! He holds on, but misses the Rainmaker. Omega shoves Okada away and strikes back with a knee to the face. Okada is rocked. Omega hits the ropes, sling-shotted back and into a high dropkick by Okada.
Okada’s Rainmaker is blocked by Omega, who retaliates with a high knee to the face. And another one! A reverse Frankensteiner spikes Okada to the mat! Omega mows down the side of Okada’s head with a sprinting knee. Okada flips out of One Winged Angel, counters with European Uppercut, and tombstones Omega! Rainmaker! 1, 2, kickout at the last possible millisecond! Okada is befuddled, pacing around Omega’s body. With Omega trying to fight back you can hear the faintest Terminator clap in the crowd. Eye poke by Omega, but Okada comes right back with a dropkick that ejects Omega backwards and into the corner. “He can’t beat you,” assures one of the Young Bucks as Omega looks like he’s been knocked into a stupor.
Okada lifts Omega up for another tombstone, but Omega reverses it, packages Okada up, and drives him into the mat. This time Okada kicks out with inches of space between Red Shoes’ hand and the mat. This is incredible! “What an instant classic,” chirps Kelly. The men meet on their knees, landing labored forearms until they get to their feet and…Championship Batsu game! Forearm by Omega, forearm by Okada, forearm by Omega, rapid fire forearm exchanges, reversal by Omega into a snap dragon suplex, pop-up and DEVOURS Okada’s soul with a lightning fast knee to the face! Championship Batsu Game pin! 1, 2, f- outta here! Okada kicks out!
Omega launches another running knee to Okada’s head. He gobbles up Okada’s body into a One Winged Angel, but Okada blocks it and laces Omega with a Rainmaker and both men are down! THIS IS INCREDIBLE! Okada refuses to let go of Omega’s wrist, repeatedly getting hoofed in the face and chest as Omega tries to break free. Okada drops, still holding on, and gets SMACKED by a knee to the face! He’s still holding on, receiving two more shots right in the face! Rainmaker! Good lord! Rainmaker again! Okada goes for another one which is ducked by Omega. Omega goes for one of his own, but Okada ducks. Okada scoops up Omega for a tombstone, but the challenger breaks loose. Okada hits the ropes and gets dropkicked square in the face by Omega! Omega calls for rain! He spins out Okada, foregoing the clothesline for a big knee to the face! Okada’s poor fu***ng skull! Omega goes for the One Winged Angel, but it’s reversed into a jumping tombstone! Rainmaker!!! 1, 2, 3!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
(Andrews’ Analysis: A masterpiece. This was high stakes, high drama action from start to finish. Both men worked their assess off and took the absolute best from one another. Omega played the role of challenger willing to do anything for the title to perfection. Okada was the resilient champion who would never quit because he’s the final boss. This match had absolutely everything. High flying? Check. High impact? You bet your ass. Obligatory table spot? Why the hell not. Reversal after reversal after reversal? You better believe it! I don’t watch enough wrestling to judge what is a match of the year candidate and what isn’t, but come the f- on. This is unlike anything I have ever seen, rewarding my investment by continually churning out heart-stopping moment after heart-stopping moment until reaching a crescendo of two desperate fighters pulling out all the stops to secure the win. This is among some of the best wrestling on the planet and you owe it to yourself to witness it. Lord knows these words could never do it justice.)
This was a marathon of matches, but it was paced rather well considering the five-plus hour runtime. Skip the rumble if you know what’s good for you, but the rest was all enjoyable, piggy-backing off of one war to the next until we got the war of all ages. I’ve become a fan of some fresh faces to me during this show and some of my favorites did not disappoint. Naito is a star, Takahashi and Goto are amazing, KUSHIDA and Shibata remain high atop my list of favorites with hopefully Shibata receiving a promotion up the ranks, Okada and Tanahashi delivered as only they can, and Kenny Omega put in the performance of a lifetime. On a side note, I know that Omega could go elsewhere at this point. And he just very well might do so. IF it is the end for Omega in New Japan, he went out with a bang. I have enjoyed every second of the matches I have seen from Omega. He’s a unique talent who does things I never knew were possible in the ring and his matches are always stellar. Wherever he goes he’s going to be a megastar because you can’t shove someone so unique down the card. Well, I suppose you can, but no one’s that big of a prick, are they? I am ecstatic to have finally seen the biggest show of the year and I’m still buzzing about it. What an event that I can’t recommend enough.)
Thanks a ton for even reading one line of this. It was long, it was wordy, but we did it together dammit. You guys are great and I appreciate your time. Now that I have NJPW World I’ll have a massive library to comb through and learn more about the best wrestling promotion in the world. Feel free to stop by and read along anytime you like as I find my way through The World. And of course, kick a little ass this week. Make it a big week for yourselves. You deserve it after reading through this scattershot salvo of bad jokes and miscalled moves. Where’s that damn JR and Barnett! How the hell did they get the night off anyway!?