NJPW WRESTLE KINGDOM 11 REVIEW 1/4 (pt. 1 of 3): Bullet Club, Finlay, Cody, Osprey, New Japan Rumble, Billy Gunn, Tiger Mask, Elgin, RPG Vice, Ricochet

By R.W. Andrews, PWTorch Contributor


WRESTLE KINGDOM 11 REV, pt. 1 of 3
JANUARY 4, 2017

Fresh off of finally making the switch from the WWE Network to NJPW World, it’s Wrestle Kingdom 11!  This is my first Wrestle Kingdom and I’m without J.R. and Barnett.  Instead we get Steve Corino and Kevin Kelly!  Hey, I think I can work with this combo.  There’ll be a lot less gimmick table talk over the course of the show, that’s for sure.  I’ve got my best tux on for this one, rented of course with the deposit f— to all hell thanks to a stain dolloped onto my lapel from an overly ambitious salsa scoop that couldn’t handle the gravity of the situation.  The Tokyo Dome is looking sharp, with a massive eyeball screen overlooking the long ramp cutting a line through the packed house.  This is going to be a long one, so pack a lunch.


New Japan Rumble

A New Japan Rumble?  Sure, why not.  Some familiar music hits and I’m stunned.  Michael Elgin is the first entrant in this thing?  I, uhhh, don’t think I like this already.  Elgin deserves to be in a match on the main card, but that could be carry-over from watching stellar performances on AXS.  The second man out is…ok, f- this.  It’s Billy Gunn.  Billy Gunn!?  Corino informs us that Gunn is 53, which makes his crotch chop and stripper entrance pretty weak.  He reminds me of this guy at a gym I used to go to who was in his fifties and yoked out of his mind.  It was weird for two reasons.  1) He always wanted to show everyone pictures of him shirtless at the beach and 2) His body was always trapped in tremored spasms from whatever he was using.  That guy reminds me of Billy Gunn, so I’ll be keeping a look out for shaky hands.

Elgin and Gunn tie up and do a bit of trash talking that the mics pick up.  They exchange immovable object shoulder blocks and scream at one another.  As they push each other around, the next man is out.  It’s the Bullet Club’s own…Bone Soldier?  You guys know that I’m new to NJPW, so I’m going to get a slew of fresh faces on this event, but this guy is ridiculous.  He’s wearing a mask that looks like it once belonged to a Marowak and he’s a few hundred jogs away from looking serviceable in the ring.  As Bone Soldier enters the ring, Elgin has Gunn nearly up and over the top.  Gunn survives.

Bone Soldier lands a few punches, but is ultimately smacked around and beat up.  As the camera begins to fade to a shot of the next man coming in, Gunn yells at Elgin to “hit me in the back.”  This isn’t WWE, Bill.  Let’s keep the sloppy s- off this network.  The next man out is Cheeseburger, a waif of a man tossing out plush food to the crowd.  Cheeseburger catches Bone Soldier rushing him at the ropes, ducks, and the soldier is gone.  Gunn grabs Cheeseburger’s hair as the crowd erupts for the next man.  Oh thank God!  Liger is here to save us!  He teams up with Cheeseburger against Elgin & Gunn.  They both get shoved to the mat before Gunn turns on Egin, only to get clotheslined out of there.

The next man is out.  It’s Kobayashi, who I know next to nothing about.  Sorry.  He’s in great shape for his age and hits a nice little spin kick on Liger.  He hits a Fisherman’s suplex on Liger, with a bridge!  We get another entrant as Kobayashi tries to pull of Liger’s mask.  It’s Tiger Mask!  Never seen him before, but I definitely know the name.  He and Kobayashi trade kicks before Liger breaks up another mask pull.  Tiger Mask gets a Crucifix pin on Kobayashi and the elder statesman is gone.  ANOTHER entrant.  It’s Nakanishi.  New name and face after new name and face, though I’m not sure how much they’ll be appearing on AXS.  He hits double-axe handles on everyone, ducks and Elgin clothesline, and spears him.  Then he does the Hacksaw “Hoooo!” and clothesline everyone, though Elgin doesn’t initially drop.  New entrant, The Funky Weapon himself, Taguchi!  I like this guy after seeing a few matches of his from old AXS shows.  He hits the funky weapon and then everyone tries to pin Nakanishi.  They hit tandem splashes and get a dogpile pin.

Liger drops Taguchi and slaps on a surfboard.  While he’s holding Taguchi in the air, Tiger Mask jumps on top of Liger for two.  As Yoshi-Tatsu is announced as the next man out, Liger and Taguchi roll up Tiger Mask and he’s gone.  Yoshi-Tatsu is wearing his Bullet Club Hunter gear and hopefully has stopped the Triple H nonsense that I saw a few weeks back.  Damn it, he doubles down on it, taking a swig of water on his way to the ring, turning to the crowd, and does the spit-pose.  He’s better than this.  He has to be.

Yoshi-Tatsu stomps away at Elgin while Taguchi suplexes Cheeseburger.  Taguchi rubs his rear in Cheeseburger’s face as – holy s- its Nagata!  This is my pick to win after watching that brilliant match he had with Shibata.  Nagata enters and locks Taguchi in an armbar but it’s broken up by Yoshi-Tatsu.  They try to get a Batsu going, but this is Nagata, so you know who wins.  Yoshi-Tatsu goes for the Pedigree, but Nagata reverses for a backdrop.  The next man out is Hiroyoshi Tenzan, another guy who had a great match with Shibata during that Legend Killer phase he went through.  Nagata hits a running knee to Yoshi-Tatsu in the corner as the camera cuts to Tenzan making his way to the ring.  When the camera cuts back, Yoshi-Tatsu is at the bottom of a scrum and is eliminated via pinfall.  Tenzan is still wearing the black mullet with gold trim, which fits him surprisingly well.

Another entrant comes out as Nagata kicks Taguchi in the ass.  It’s Hiro Saito.  I have no idea who he is.  Nagata is sent to the corner, and after a running clothesline by Saito, Tenzan hits a nice suplex followed by a running senton by Saito.  They pile up on Nagata for the pinfall elimination.  Oh my 1998!  It’s Scott Norton!  He actually looks pretty close to how he did 20 years ago with just a beer or two extra of weight in the gut.  He boots Taguchi in the stomach and spikes him into the mat with a big powerbomb.  Yeah, that’s a three.  The rest of the competitors team up to take on Elgin.  They take turns chopping, punching, and dropping elbows, but Elgin is strong so Elgin obliterates them all.  First goes Saito from a big clothesline.  Then Norton, dumped over the top rope.  There goes Tenzan, clotheslined over the top.  Cheeseburger lands a few forearms, but is clocked really really REALLY god damn hard by an Elgin forearm.   Cheeseburger shows some heart, fighting back to receive a buckle bomb and a spinning powerbomb for three.  So much for heart.

Winner: Michael Elgin to win the New Japan Rumble

(Andrews’ Analysis:  It was cool putting faces to names and seeing Nagata again after my American Horror Story fan fiction from a few weeks back, but no thanks.  Elgin deserved better, Gunn needs to use his inside voice, and Liger is always a pleasure to see.  That is all.)

Main Card

(1) Tiger Mask W vs. Tiger The Dark

Well, this is anime comes to life.  Kind of cool, though the in-ring attire looks cumbersome.  Probably no surprise to anyone reading this, but Tiger Mask W is Kota Ibushi.  My guess is that this is a big opportunity for him.  Maybe a movie role down the line or something.  God I hope so because this is…well…something to do I guess.  Tiger The Dark is none other than ACH, who I am a big fan of after a three week vacation in ROH land.

Tie-up to start before Tiger The Dark fixes his mask on an Irish Whip and the two exchange arm drags and dropkicks.  I can see these masks being an issue all match.  Dark clubs W in the back and lands a really nice looking dropkick that sends W outside.  And he’s off, hitting the ropes for a twisting backflip onto W outside.  He CLEARED the ropes!  Dark misses a clothesline and eats a W dropkick that sends him outside.  W points to the sky, runs corner to corner, leaps onto the top rope, and scores with a beautiful moonsault onto Dark outside.  Upon seeing it, Corino says, “Wait a minute…nahhh.”  You keep that kayfabe, Corino.

W rolls Dark back in and gets a two.  Lots of mask fixing from both men.  W lands a barrage of strikes and smacks the s- out of Dark’s leg with a low kick.  I can never do those quick strikes justice, but I’m sure you’ve seen them.  W misses a PK but tries for a standing moonsault but is met by Dark’s knees.  Dark locks in a “variation of a Cobra Hold” per Corino, but W fights out.  Dark picks W up for a tombstone, but W reverses, as does Dark who plants W’s skull onto the mat for two.  Kelly tells us that our favorite NJPW stars are going to be making cameos in the show.  By the way, there is a lot of shilling for the show on commentary.  Corino mentioned earlier that he watched the show on Crunchy Roll and Kelly remarked that he might want to do the same.  W ducks a clothesline to hit a snap German Suplex, followed quickly by a Tiger Suplex where he almost permanently rearranged his own neck ninety degrees for two.  W hits a “modified Tiger Bomb” per Corino for three.  It was Ibushi’s gorgeous pinning powerbomb.

Winner: Tiger Mask W

(Andrews’ Analysis: There were honestly a few nice moves by W and Dark, but it wasn’t the full-on Ibushi and ACH treatment.  All in all, not a great match given who were under the masks, but that wasn’t the intention.  It’s not like the character is going to hold a belt or anything.  It was a shill job through and through.  Shameless.  It’s not like the promotion was shilling Harrys or anything.  You guys know Harrys, right?  It’s a fine razor that gives you a close shave leaving your skin smooth to the touch.  I’ve personally been using their razors for months and feel like a fool for throwing my money down the drain on overpriced quintuple blades that just don’t do the job like Harrys.  So visit Harrys why don’t ya, and please, if you’re going to buy their products through Amazon do TORCH Tower a favor and go through Amazon using the PW TORCH banner.  That’s Harrys, a baby bottom smooth shave at bargain bin prices.  How can you go wrong?)

(2) The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (C) vs. RPG Vice (Rocky Romero & Trent Beretta) – IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship Match

Romero has ditched the eyepatch of him wearing an eyepatch.  He is however wearing a trench coat with animal fur on the collar and sleeves.  Beretta looks like a million bucks by comparison and he comes to the ring dressed like an a***ole.  The Young Bucks are out next, completely not dressed ridiculous.  They are draped in titles, tassels, and bandanas.  Love it.  They call out the Hardy’s on their way to the ring, showing off their IWGP, ROH, PWG, and Superkick titles.  F- it.  Dibiase paid for a belt and made it legitimate for half a decade.  Why can’t they?  They load the ref up with belts, with Matt saying to the ref as he walks to the challengers, “Show them.  Show them.  Give em’ back though.”

The two teams fight instantly, with The Young Bucks dropping RPG Vice.  They strip off their tasseled gold jackets and lob them at both men.  RPG tosses the Bucks outside and the champs make their way up the ramp.  Surprise, surprise.  RPG follows, get superkicked and run over by the Young Bucks so they can get back into the ring and get the twenty count started.  RPG sell like Dragonfly Jones on their way to the ring, tripping over themselves constantly before getting back in before twenty.  Nick grabs Romero and throws him back out.  Beretta hits the ropes and is double-backdropped by The Young Bucks.

Matt dropkicks Romero through the ropes and we get our first action from the guardrail as Romero slams into a section with his back.  Back inside, Nick whips Beretta up and over the turnbuckle and slaps him with a superkick.  As Beretta leans against the ropes for stability, Matt comes around the corner and pulls his legs out from under him.  “Trip!  See ya!”  Nick tags in Matt, which marks our first tag of the match.  They hit Romero with something that smacked against the speakers while the camera was focused on Beretta.  Beretta rolls into a pin for two, followed by Matt kicking him over and over again.  Matt uses Beretta’s arms like a marionette, chopping his crotch with his appendages before Romero rolls in and slaps him.  Romero gets superkicked for making a stand.

Beretta sticks Matt with a tornado DDT at the corner, sending him outside.  The Young Bucks keep Beretta in the corner, but miss a superkick/enzuigiri combo.  Beretta shuffles outside, as does Nick in hot pursuit, but misses a field goal attempt on Beretta’s face, but not Matt.  Nick chases after Beretta who is flopping around to find solid ground, but the intended superkick annihilates a bystander.  “Young Boy down!” screams Kelly.  Romero gets the tag as Nick enters.  He hits a cross-body and a hurricanranna within seconds of getting in.  He’s fast, I’ll give him that.  Matt comes in and gets a boot to the face.  Both Bucks shuffle into opposite corners for Romero to hit forever clotheslines.  Romero flips out of a double backdrop and hits a double clothesline.

Romero goes for Sliced Bread, but is held up for tombstone.  He slithers out, drops Nick as Beretta comes in, and they both hit running knees on Matt.  Romero hits the ropes, hunting down Nick with a suicide dive outside.  Beretta hoists Matt up in a fireman’s carry belly-first, flips him effortlessly in the air to put Matt in the Torture Rack position, and Romero comes off the top and drops both knees on the served-up Buck.  Really cool sequence.  They get a two.  Beretta lifts up Matt for Strong Zero, with Matt held in a position as if he was caught halfway through a sunset flip, as Romero leaps onto the top rope.  Interception!  As Romero springs off, so does Nick, who shoves Romero aside mid-air and dropkicks Beretta for Matt to land a destroyer!

Nick smacks Romero in the face with a boot in the corner and both brothers hoist him up top.  They climb up with him, lifting Romero for a double superplex, but Romero knees his way out of it and is perched back where he started.  Matt goes back up and is met by Beretta charging behind him for a second rope German!  The Bucks are huddled outside as Beretta hits the ropes for takeoff.  He floats over the top, keeps floating as he’s halfway through a front flip, and splats back-first outside as the Bucks evade.  It was a loud, painful landing that made the crowd “Ooooh” in unison.

The Bucks have Romero two on one, but Romero holds back on a double-superkick and lands a double hurricanranna.  The crowd applauds the effort as Romero is swept onto the mat ass-first and double superkicked in the face.  Nick hits a running knee as Matt rolls Romero up for two.  Matt calls for a buckle bomb and hits it as Nick cracks Romero’s skull with an enzuigiri at the point of impact.  Matt props Romero’s feet on the second rope and holds him under the armpits so he can’t go anywhere and is forced to take a 450 splash from Nick.  He covers, but Romero kicks out.  Superkick by Nick, superkick by Matt, double superkick by both guys…and Romero kicks out!  The heart!  Matt lifts up Romero in the fireman’s carry and charges towards the corner as Nick hops up top for More Bang for Your Buck.  Matt stuffs Romero, but Beretta comes alive and jumps onto the apron to trip up Nick as Romero rolls up Matt in a crucifix pin for three.

Winners: Roppongi Vice to capture the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Titles

(Andrews’ Analysis: That was a really good match.  I’ve seen Beretta twice now and I’m damn impressed by his willingness to try risky s- for his size.  I’m starting to warm up to Romero as well.  The first time I saw him I thought, “Who’s the Santino clone?”  Oh he’s so much better than Marella as far as in-ring goes.  The Young Bucks were brilliant as usual, hitting the apex of creativity in the match with that amazing springboard shove/dropkick to thwart defeat.  Great stuff and a damn fine tag team match.  Far better than their six-man stuff with Omega, though that is by design given the parameters in which they have to work.)

(3) Satoshi Kojima & Ricochet & David Finlay (C) vs. Bullet Club (Hangman Pace & Yujiro Takahashi & F- Me It’s Bad Luck Fale) vs. CHAOS (Yoshi-Hash & Will Ospreay & Jado) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & EVIL & BUSHI) – IWGP Never Openweight 6-man Tag Team Championship Gauntlet Match

I’m in good spirits.  I truly am.  But this is hell on Earth.  Three six-man tag matches in one.  Why is this happening?  I wore a tux for this god damn thing!  But you know what?  You have to go through hell to get to heaven, so I’m going to approach this with an open mind.  Oh s-, nevermind.  I almost forgot about Fale.  Well there he is, again making a gesture at the ring announcer.  Did he cut Fale off in traffic AGAIN?  On the bright side, Takahashi has a bevy of attractive women who don’t mind showing off floss in front of a gargantuan audience.  Well, I guess more than one young fella in the audience got their first deposit in the spank bank after that entrance.  Corino calls Liger a “dirty old man” as he’s shown applauding loudly to the entrance.

The Bullet Club attacks before the bell even rings, with Ospreay and Jado being thrown out right away as Page and Takahashi go out with them.  That leaves none other than Bad Luck Fale and Yoshi-Hashi in the ring.  Fale punches Yoshi-Hashi in the stomach, whips him in the corner, and lumbers forth to get himself clotheslined.  Yoshi-Hashi clotheslines Fale again, but Fale just looks at him.  Yoshi-Hashi runs the ropes, disorienting Fale with movement, and lands a leaping clothesline that puts Fale down.  Good.

Yoshi-Hashi gets clotheslined over the top, held by Takahashi, and booted in the face by Page.  They toss Yoshi-Hashi back in, but instead of going for a pin, Fale tags out.  Takahashi is in, slapping Yoshi-Hashi before hitting a snapmare and a running leg drop.  Page is tagged in so they can hit a whip-assisted clothesline and jumping DDT for two.  Page goes for a suplex, but it’s reversed into a dropping neckbreaker.  Yoshi-Hashi tags in Ospreay and all hell breaks loose.  Ospreay hits a few diving shoves to Page and races towards the Bullet Club’s corner for a double dropkick.  He hits an upper-torso-ranna at the ropes on Page and gets ready for takeoff as the Bullet Club huddle up.  He hits the ropes and uses a cartwheel to eject his body up and over the top rope for a backflip splash!  Unreal!

Page rolls in, giving Ospreay the opportunity to springboard back in with a diving forearm.  Ospreay hits a running shooting star, and in one fluid movement leaps onto the second turnbuckle for a moonsault, which Page moves out of the way of.  Ospreay lands on his feet and launches into another backflip, but Pages rolls out of the way.  Ospreay lands on his feet again and hits a standing shooting star press!  He’s not down, jumping to the turnbuckles to hit a sick corkscrew for two.  As Page tries to get up, Ospreay hits a spinning leg drop that is damn near in the 1080 neighborhood.  He gets greedy though, going for a springboard cutter that is caught by Page.  Page shoves him towards the ropes and charges, but Ospreay uses the ropes to flip out of the way, sending Page to the apron.  Ospreay hits the ropes, and while his back is turned, Page flips over the ropes and scores with a lariat that turns Ospreay inside out.  Oh, I already know that I want to see these two have a singles match.  Page goes for the Right of Passage, but Ospreay counters and drops to the apron, only to surprise Page with an enzuigiri.  He tries to springboard in, but Takahashi swipes him off the ropes and Ospreay spills back in the ring.

Takahashi is in with Page, both working together to whip Ospreay into the ropes.  Ospreay springboards back and lands a beautiful backflip knee that gets both Takahashi and Page on the backs of their heads.  Ospreay gets the tag to Jado as the crowd erupts.  Yoshi-Hashi is in as well.  Yoshi-Hashi hits a running clothesline to Takahashi in the corner, followed by Jado’s spin kick, and a boot to the face by Ospreay.  Yoshi-Hashi catches Takahashi with a flipping neckbreaker and Jado covers for two.  Close count.  Jado locks in the crossface and dammit, Fale blobs his way into the shot and breaks it up with a hefty boot to the side of Jado’s head.  Yoshi-Hashi and Jado whip Fale into the ropes, but are shoulder-blocked to the mat.  Fale splashes Jado in the corner and Page flies into the camera shot to hit a low dropkick.  He goes for the cover, but Ospreay breaks it up.  Page is in and chucks Ospreay outside.  Page heads to the apron and runs it to hit a diving shooting star onto Ospreay.  Again, these two in a singles match please!  Back inside, Takahashi lands a short DDT on Jado for three.

Oh, the six-man fun has just begun.  Los Ingobernables de Japon are headed to the ring. It’s BUSHI, EVIL, and the guy I always believed in, SANADA.  EVIL and SANADA don’t look silly at all coming to the ring.  Seriously, they don’t.  Yes, EVIL has his plastic sickle.  Sure, SANADA has a baseball bat.  I’m sure BUSHI is packing a mist capsule somewhere in his maw.  It’s all gold!  Whatever, I still like their in-ring work.  Corino: “BUSHI must have been cold because he literally took off seven layers of clothing.”  Corino again:  “It could be SANADA’s year.  It could be Yoshi-Hashi’s year.  It could be Fale’s year.”  That was immediately followed by a chuckle.  Your stock is rising Steve Corino.

SANADA starts out against Takahashi.  I kind of think I would have preferred to see SANADA vs. Ospreay.  Hopefully down the road.  Page jumps in and clubs SANADA as BUSHI and EVIL get knocked off the apron and stalked by Fale.  Good, keep his ass busy off camera.  Takahashi and Page double-team SANADA inside, scoring with a whip-assisted elbow.  They hit a double leg drop/senton combo before Fale reappears to hit a big splash on SANADA.  The hops!  Takahashi covers, but EVIL and BUSHI are in to break it up.  And they’re back out.  SANADA gets booted around by Page and Takahashi.  Page goes up top, but EVIL shoves him off.

SANADA reverses a waist-lock and shoves Takahashi into the ref to mow him out of the way.  BUSHI hits a dropkick on Takahashi, evades Fale’s charge by ducking out of the way so Fale can tumble out of the ring, and dives onto Fale outside.  A chair glides into the ring for SANADA to scoop up as Takahashi tries to scramble to his feet.  Here comes EVIL with a chair of his own.  SANADA horse-collars Takahashi and EVIL takes a homerun cut, sending the other chair flying in the air.  You can actually hear that glorious sound like when someone connects solidly on a pitch with an aluminum bat.  Corino, ever the eagle eye, informs us that a grip got hit in the head with the other chair as it shot out of the ring.  SANADA disrespectfully snatches the ref by the collar and drags him to the middle of the ring.  He locks in a dragon sleeper on Takahashi for the tap out.  I’m REALLY starting to get into this guy.

Here come the champs to tremendous theme music “altered due to the musical rights”.  Hey, I’m a fan.  This is my first look at The “Celtic Prince” David Finlay, who along with Cody Hall prove that wrestling isn’t 100% nepotism.  I’m sure it’s in the 95-98% range though.  I like seeing guys make it on their own.  Good for him.  Ahh, Ricochet.  Sly Cooper agility combined with hellacious snap to his offense.  Hey, JR isn’t here, so someone had to use the word.

With EVIL and BUSHI rocked outside by belt shots, Ricochet sends SANADA outside with a picture perfect dropkick.  Finlay enters, running the ropes in tandem with Ricochet to go up and over the ropes with front flips onto all three members of Los Ingobernables.  Whelp, that answers my question on whether Finlay wrestles like his old man.  Back inside, the champs take turns hitting clotheslines and a standing shooting star press on SANADA.  I’m sure you can figure out who hit what.  Finlay goes up to the second rope, but SANADA kills the momentum by grabbing Finlay’s leg and tripping him down.  Tag to BUSHI, who takes off his shirt to strangle Finlay.  Corino: “That eighth layer of clothing really helping out.”  Finlay comes back with a spinning uppercut and he tags to Ricochet.  Ricochet shoves EVIL off the apron, dumps SANADA into the 619 position, goes between the ropes to deliver a knee shot, cartwheel-flips over an EVIL charge, boots EVIL in the face, springboards onto the top rope, and launches skyward to come down with a big clothesline.  That was all in the space of thirty seconds.  Grab your inhalers for a puff.  BUSHI rushes in to get suplexed by Ricochet, who holds onto him and rolls through for a stalling brainbuster.

BUSHI misses an enzuigiri, but whips his foot back around to tag Ricochet in the face.  EVIL and Kojima get simultaneous tags.  EVIL misses a clothesline in the corner and Kojima hammers his chest with chops.  SANADA comes in, but is laced in front of EVIL where he receives a deluge of chops, but they kind of look like Kojima is just giving him a s****y massage by…well…me.  As does EVIL once SANADA falls.  SANADA recovers and drops Kojima before shoving Ricochet and Finlay off the apron.  He and BUSHI whip Kojima into the ropes where BUSHI dives at him with both knees.  Kojima is kicked by EVIL, punted by SANADA, and tattooed by a lariat from EVIL off the ropes.  In the background SANADA is pulled outside and whipped off camera.  A LOUD clang followed about a millisecond later.  Kojima DDT’s EVIL as Ricochet enzuigiris BUSHI.  Finlay is back in, hoisting SANADA up in a fireman’s carry pickup, but not before Ricochet kicks him in the side of the head.  Finlay throws SANADA into the air where he crashes down into a Ricochet lung-blower.  Beautiful!  Ricochet runs at EVIL, who throws Ricochet into the air.  BUSHI leaps into the shot, grabbing Ricochet by the back of the head and sticking him in the chest with both knees in an absolute crash landing!  It looked unsafe as all hell!  With Ricochet possibly out of the match, EVIL redirects Finlay into a SANADA missile dropkick.  Kojima gets a cutter on EVIL and hits a twisting lariat on EVIL.  The pinfall is broken up by SANADA, who eats a brainbuster from Kojima.  Kojima goes for another lariat, but EVIL ducks and runs into the ref, causing the distraction for BUSHI to enter and mist Kojima in the eyes.  EVIL scoops Kojima up for a layout powerbomb, clutching his legs for the pin.  But Kojima kicks out, his face lathered in dye!  EVIL hits EVIL on Kojima and its good for the win.  New champs!

Winners: BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA to win the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champions

(Andrews’ Analysis: It was a six-man gauntlet, so it dragged and dragged and dragged at points.  That being said, each matchup had highlights sprinkled throughout.  Ospreay and Page is a match I NEED to see.  SANADA showed his dickish side against Bullet Club, and Ricochet/BUSHI really shined in the last matchup.  The crash landing double-knee was reckless and might have taken a year or two off of Ricochet’s career.  Overall, don’t watch it if you don’t like six-man tags, but maybe put it on and play fast-forward roulette and see where you land.)

(4) Juice Robinson vs. Cody

Another new face and a face that I know but have never watched in the ring.  Hey, you guys know I’m not a WWE guy.  I just know the name.  Cody enters the arena to plumes of smoke and “The American Nightmare” on his eyeball video.  His song is a little Randy Orton-ish for my tastes.  It’ll probably show up in one of those facacta Fast & Furious movies or something.  Uhh, is the name Rhodes really trademarked?  That is a f****ng shame.  Cody’s father is one of the biggest legends in wrestling, but business is business I suppose.  No name for you, Young Man.  On the bright side, he’s part of the Bullet Club, so there’s gold in them thar hills.

As Cody applies an armbar, Kelly compares Cody’s path to New Japan to that of A.J. Styles and how he quickly joined Bullet Club and rocketed to the top.  Interesting.  Cody hip-tosses Robinson over the ropes, leaps up top and flies into an overhead belly-to-belly on the outside.  Robinson is all kinds of fired up, slamming the apron and screaming “I’m in the f****ng Tokyo Dome!”  Yes you are.  During the replay Kevin Kelly is screaming “My God!  My God!”  Apparently Robinson cannonballed Cody against the guardrail.  The replay shows that he did and probably didn’t deserve the eardrum treatment I just received.  Robinson wiggles on the apron although Kelly says that Robinson hurt his knee.  He goes up top and leaps over Cody, reassuring us that he indeed has knee damage as his leg buckles and Cody drops down to toe-tap him in the face.

Juice shrieks, “American Nightmare my ass!” and gets planted into the mat with an Alabama Slam.  Cody covers for two and kicks Robinson’s knee repeatedly upon kickout.  Cody steps outside, springboarding back in to hit a missile dropkick.  There is a “let’s go Cody” chant that breaks out as Cody tells Kelly to call the action.  Cody places Robinson in the corner and smacks him across the face.  Robinson gets pissed, screaming “come on Mot*******er”.  Cody dropkicks his knee to put him back in his place.  Cody hits the ropes, but is axe-kicked by Robinson.  BIG chop by Robinson, and another, followed by a standing dropkick.  Robinson hits a trio of running clotheslines leading to a reverse lungblower that doesn’t quite connect.  Cody reverses out of a stalling suplex and chop-blocks Robinson.  Cody races after Robinson in the corner and gets his jaw blown up by a left hook.  Robinson tries to go on the attack, but Cody ducks a charge and rolls Robinson into a modified Indian Deathlock.  Cody moves in the ring a lot better than I ever thought.  It was a slick roll-through.  Robinson yells and screams in agony, eventually reaching the ropes.  Robinson rolls out to the apron where Cody reaches out, grabs his hair, and chucks him into the ring post.  Showing really good agility, Cody darts towards the corner to spring off the second turnbuckle and deliver a leaping enzuigiri to the side of Robinson’s head.  He pulls Robinson over the ropes for a DDT.  Robinson is out at 2 ½.  Cody bounces off the ropes to a Robinson lariat.  Robinson’s knee buckles on a powerbomb attempt which give s Cody the opening to hit the Cross Rhodes.  Hell, is that even what it’s called given the trademark nonsense?  Anyways, it’s good for three and the win.

Winner: Cody to win my respect

(Andrews’ Analysis:  In all honesty, I was willing to yawn through this one, but Cody RHODES can wrestle.  He moves really well in the ring and his offense is far less WWE-style than I anticipated.  The match centered on Robinson’s knee and he never really got out of first gear to show much of anything other than brief spurts of agility.  Overall, just an okay match, but don’t go out of your way)


1 Comment on NJPW WRESTLE KINGDOM 11 REVIEW 1/4 (pt. 1 of 3): Bullet Club, Finlay, Cody, Osprey, New Japan Rumble, Billy Gunn, Tiger Mask, Elgin, RPG Vice, Ricochet

  1. “Elgin deserved better,”

    Elgin was out with an orbital bone fracture, and they weren’t sure he’d be healed up in time for WK. Given the uncertainty, winning the Rumble was the best thing they could do for him once he was cleared.

    “Ospreay and Page is a match I NEED to see.”

    Page and Ospreay are both signed to Ring of Honor, so they’ll doubtlessly have a singles match on ROH TV or one of the live events sometime this year. It’s a little less likely in New Japan, where they’ll almost certainly only run into each other in multi-man matches.

    “Hey, you guys know I’m not a WWE guy.”

    Wait. You’re new to New Japan. From the ACH comment you’re apparently new to ROH. You’re not a WWE guy.

    Kiwi Pro Wrestling fan, then? :p

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