7/1 & 7/2 NJPW in Long Beach, Calif. HOLT Report (2nd Report): Crowd reactions to Okada, Briscoes, Billy Gunn, Young Bucks, Liger, Cody, Omega, Elgin

Billy Gunn vs. Tanahashi (photo credit Ted London © PWTorch)


JULY 1 & 2, 2017

Night 1

(1) Chaos (Trent Beretta & Rocky Romero & The Briscoes & Ospreay) vs. Bullet Club (Young Bucks & Bad Luck Fale & Marty Scurll & Takahashi). Superstar reaction for the Bucks that maintained the entire match. Briscoes received a noticeably negative reaction. Solid match. (***)

(2) Los Ingobernables (Evil & Bushi & Takahashi & Sanada) vs. Dragon Lee & Jushin Liger & Titan & Volador Jr. Los Ingobernables as a whole received a huge reaction with Takahashi and Sanada receiving the largest reactions as they were introduced individually. Tepid reaction for Evil. Superstar reaction from the crowd for Liger. Definitely treated as the legend he is. (***)

(3) Jay Lethal vs. Hangman Page. Not as harsh as The Briscoes, but Lethal also received some negative reactions. Page got a positive reaction that I think would be afforded to anyone in a Bullet Club shirt from this crowd. (**1/2)

(4) Zach Sabre Jr. vs. Juice Robinson. Sabre was booed for the heel he is in New Japan while surprisingly Juice also received some negative reactions. I think Juice has more-than-proven himself with his work in New Japan so far, but I think to some who may not watch all of the shows he may still have some of the “C.J. Parker” NXT stink on him. Personal favorite match of the night. (***1/2)

(5) Jay White & Taguchi Japan (David Finlay & Tanahashi & Kushida) vs. Hunter Club (Billy Gunn & Yoshitatsu) & Tempura Boyz (Tanaka & Komatsu). Superstar reaction for Tanahashi and a large positive reaction for Kushida. INSANE booing and heckling for Billy Gunn and a large negative reaction for Yoshitatsu. Tempura Boyz looked good, but they’re not doing themselves any favors teaming with Hunter Club out the gate. At one point Gunn completely missed catching Tanahashi. Embarrassing. Whoever made the Gunn decision needs a good talking to. (**)

(6) War Machine vs. Guerillas of Destiny. War Machine did receive some negative reactions from the crowd that seemed to be the fashion for any ROH or perceived ROH talent, but it didn’t really maintain through the match. GoD got the standard positive reactions for the lesser members of Bullet Club. (**1/2)

(7) Ishii vs. Naito. INSANE positive reaction for Naito. Positive reactions for Ishii as well, but not on the same level. While most of the crowd stayed with Naito the majority of the match Ishii definitely won some people over to the point that by the end when he surprisingly won, nobody booed him. Widely received as Match of the Night by those in attendance. (****)

(8) Kenny Omega vs Michael Elgin. Superstar reaction for Omega. Insane negative reactions for Elgin, probably the most negative out of all the ROH guys that night which he played into perfectly. Another great match. (****)

(9) Okada vs. Cody. Okada is a god. SUPERSTAR reaction. Really can’t stress that enough and walking out of the venue I heard multiple people saying the same thing. This guy has an aura about him that I can’t compare to anyone else.  Seeing his robe on television does not do it justice. Everything about him and the way he presents himself comes off as a superstar. Cody came out to a large negative reaction but as we got into the match you could hear he did have his fans. The match was fine  but when you’re in the ring with Okada and it doesn’t get taken to that next level it’s saying something. (***1/2)

Night 2

(1) Jushin Liger & Taguchi Japan (Finlay & Kushida) vs. The Tempura Boyz & Yoshitatsu. Superstar reaction for Liger. Large negative reactions for Yoshitatsu which he played into well going heavy on the Triple H mannerisms. (**1/2)

(2) Kenny Omega vs. Jay Lethal. Superstar reaction for Omega. Still some negative reactions for Lethal, but not as strong as the previous night. Solid match. (***1/2)

(3) Ishii vs. Zach Sabre Jr. Heel reaction for Sabre and positive reaction for Ishii. Great match. (***1/2)

(4) Dragon Lee & Jay White & Volador Jr. & Juice Robinson & Titan vs. Los Ingobernables (Evil & Bushi & Takahashi & Sanada & Naito). Large positive reaction for Los Ingobernables, specifically Takahashi and Naito. (***)

(5) Bullet Club (Hangman Page & Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa) vs. Michael Elgin & War Machine. (***)

(6) The Young Bucks vs. The Roppongi Vice. Superstar reaction for the Bucks and positive reaction for Roppongi. The Meltzer Driver dedicated to Dave’s dad got a huge pop followed by a long “Meltzer” chant, which was one of the loudest and longest of the weekend. It was a very cool moment and interesting to see how in-touch New Japan fans seem to be on a daily basis with the news in the industry. As always with these two teams, great match. (***1/2)

(7) Bullet Club (Fale & Cody & Scurll & Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Okada & Ospreay & The Briscoes). Comedy match done right. Where the way Scurll spends so much time playing to the crowd normally doesn’t work for me in the context of a regular match, this is the type of match where it does and did. The constant tag-ins worked great and Ospreay drinking down a fan’s beer for rocket fuel got a huge pop. Negative reaction for the Briscoes the previous night seem to have largely faded. Fun stuff. (***1/2)

(8) Tanahashi vs. Billy Gunn. Superstar reaction for  Tanahashi. INSANE negative reactions and heckling for Gunn that didn’t let up. I was curious if people would give this match a chance to be good, but ultimately that didn’t matter because it wasn’t. Not sure if the reason Gunn got this spot was to draw in American interests or if it was to show New Japan is the superior company by having “their” guys beat “our” guys, but either way I’m not sure this accomplished much of anything other than making it seem like they are very out of touch with what American fans want. (**)

(9) Omega vs. Ishii. While Omega firmly had a hold on the crowd all weekend, Ishii more than proved himself to any who were not as familiar with him and it definitely showed in the way the crowd reacted to him with his battle chants being almost on the same level as Omega’s. Hell of a match. I think a lot of Bullet Club fans were relieved when there wasn’t a turn. It would be a shame to have to burn all those shirts they waited four-plus hours to get the night before. (****)

NOW CHECK OUT ANOTHER IN-PERSON REPORT: 7/2 NJPW in Long Beach, Calif. HOLT Report (Night 2): In-person notes on crowd reactions for each match, other observations from venue

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