KELLER & POWELL FLAGSHIP (11/14)
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RADICAN’S NJPW KING OF PRO WRESTLING REPORT
OCT. 9, 2017
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
(1) Bullet Club (Leo Tonga & Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. L.I.J (BUSHI & SANADA & Hiromu Takahashi). This was good while it lasted. Takahashi used Daryl to distract Fale from hitting the bad luck fall on BUSHI. BUSHI slipped out of it and Takahashi distracted the ref. BUSHI blew mist in Fale’s eyes and covered him for the win.
Winners: BUSHI & SANADA & Hiromu Takahashi
Star rating: (**)
(2) Suzuki Gun (NEVER Openweight Champion Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. w/ Taka Michinoku & El Desperado) vs. CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Toru Yano). Suzuki and Sabre jumped Yano and Goto before the bell rang. Suzuki Gun dominated the action using cheap tactics to maintain the upper hand. Suzuki went under the ring as everyone was brawling on the floor. He got a rope and tied Yano up. Suzuki was working over Yano to set up a countout win, but Yano hit a reverse mule kick on Suzuki. He then dove into the ring for the countout win.
After the match, Yano took Suzuki’s NEVER Openweight Title. Suzuki attacked one of the Young Lions after the match with a chair. He hit him repeatedly and then stormed to the back. Sabre grabbed a headlock on the ref on the outside as well.
Winners: Toru Yano & Hirooki Goto via countout
Star rating: (*¾)
Up next is Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet defending the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Titles against Roppongi 3K. It was unknown which wrestlers Romero was going to introduce. A video aired with Rocky Romero rapping. They went back to the live shot and Romero came out with a fire extinguisher. Sho & Yo then came out dressed in bright silver and gold gear. The fans gave them a big pop when they came out.
(3) IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Champions Funky Future (Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs. Roppongi 3K (Sho & Yo w/Rocky Romero). Roppongi 3K hit a pair of dropkicks that sent Funky Future to the floor. They then wiped them out with stereo flip dives. The announcers mentioned Taguchi was hoping they would join his Taguchi Japan faction. Yo has a red streak in his hair and Sho has some his hair dyed blond. Funky Future fired back and went to work on Yo with a big combination of moves. Taguchi took a sustained beating from Roppongi 3K. They eventually hit a pair of atomic drops, but Taguchi countered a double atomic drop and hit a double dropkick. Ricochet then got the hot tag and ran wild. Ricochet hit the northern lights into a vertical suplex combination on Yo, but only got a near fall. The fans fired up and chanted for Ricochet. Ricochet fended off a double team attempt and hit a neck breaker on Sho, which in turn forced him to DDT Yo. Sho went for a cross-arm package piledriver on Taguchi, but he couldn’t get him up. Taguchi hit a backdrop and then an enzuguri.
Yo ran into the ring, but Ricochet pushed him off and rolled through into a dropkick. Sho then turned Ricochet inside out with a HUGE clothesline and everyone was down! WOW! Ricochet ran wild and hit a big dive to wipe out Sho. He then got the tag from Taguchi and hit a springboard uppercut on Yo. He hit the benadriller on Yo, but he kicked out! WOW! Ricochet went up top and hit a SSP. He made the cover, but Sho made the save and hit a deadlift German. He hung and hit two more Germans!. Taguchi tried to make the save with a hip attack, but Sho caught him and hit three Germans in a row. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Ricochet went at it alone against Sho and Yo, but they nailed him with a combination of moves capped by a dropkick. They then both stood behind Ricochet and hit a double pop up paydirt.
Kevin Kelly said on commentary that the new finish might be called 3K. Ricochet took a long look into the crowd as he headed to the back. Romero got on the mic and congratulated Sho & Yo. He then started a Roppongi chant. Ricochet was shown still staring out into the crowd.
Winners: Sho & Yo to become the new IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Champions
Star rating: (****) – This was a fantastic high-energy debut for Sho & Yo. Both guys were very much over with the fans. They question is what do they do now that they’ve already made it to the top of the mountain in the junior tag division.
(4) IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Champions K.E.S. (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) vs. War Machine (Raymond Rowe & Hanson) vs. G.O.D. (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) in a Tornado Rules Elimination Three-way match. G.O.D. snuck behind K.E.S. as they made their entrance. K.E.S. talked smack to War Machine and G.O.D. ended up jumping them from behind. War Machine went to work on Smith and G.O.D. went to work on Archer on the floor. Archer attacked one of the Young Lions on the floor as he mounted a comeback on G.O.D. War Machine rolled into the ring and the only people left standing were G.O.D. Both teams went at it and exchanged punches. War Machine ended up tossing Loa and Tonga into each other like lawn darts. They stood tall in the ring and the fans applauded. K.E.S. recovered and got back into the mix on the floor. The action as chaotic with everyone going back and forth on the floor. Rowe wiped out K.E.S. with a big dive through the ropes. Hanson went for a dive, but Tonga nailed him with a trashcan as he came through the ropes. G.O.D. hit guerrilla warfare on Hanson, but he kicked out at 2. Rowe made the save as G.O.D went up top for a double dive on Hanson. War Machine hit decapitation on Archer. They didn’t show it, but Smith made the save. Smith got the sharpshooter on Tonga. Archer came in and choked Tonga with a kendo stick at the same time. Loa ran in and broke up the submission on Tonga. Rowe got caught with the killer bomb, but he kicked out at the last second! G.O.D. hit guerilla warfare on Archer, but he kicked out at 2. Loa got caught with fallout a short time later. Rowe made the cover as Hanson wiped out K.E.S. with a dive, but Loa kicked out! K.E.S. hit the killer bomb on Loa. Tonga tried to make the save, but Rowe grabbed him and G.O.D got eliminated.
It’s down to War Machine and K.E.S. Tonga ran in and went to work on Rowe with a trashcan lid. He then got a trashcan and hit him with it over and over. K.E.S. hit the killer bomb on Rowe, but Hanson came off the top to break up the pin. The fans fired up and Hanson tried to set up a table. K.E.S. went for a killer bomb on Hanson, but he slipped out of it. Rowe set up Archer on the table. The fans fired up and Hanson went up top. Smith ran into the picture and cut him off up top. Hanson then took the killer bomb through the table and it was good for the win.
Archer chokeslammed one of the Young Lions after the match. Smith went after another Young Lion and hit him with a trashcan lid. Kelly said the World Tag League was going to be tough for teams looking to get the best of K.E.S. Smith went after another Young Lion before heading to the back with Archer. War Machine recovered and got a big pop from the fans. They bowed to the crowd before leaving.
Winners: Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. to retain the IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Championship
Star rating: (***¼) – This was a good brawling match, but it was a bit dull at times. Things picked up down the stretch and they had a good finishing sequence. The question now is where does K.E.S. go from here? They’ve beaten the two best teams in the division twice now.
(5) Bullet Club (IWGP U.S. Champion Kenny Omega & ROH World Champion Cody Rhodes & Marty Scurll) vs. CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & Beretta & Jado). No too sweet gesture from Bullet Club before the match, as they touched fingers instead. Omega was wearing his house show outfit. He must have gotten some new house show tights after his old ones ripped during G1. HASHI ran wild early on Omega and then Cody, but Marty caught him with a kick from the apron. Cody still had his ring on during the early going. HASHI set up for a dive, but Omega got out of the ring. HASHI ducked a clothesline from Omega and he hit Scurll. Omega did a big sell and apologized to Marty. The action broke down and Beretta wiped out everyone with a flip dive off the top to the floor. CHAOS went to work on Omega inside the ring with a combination of moves capped by a big kick from Beretta for a 2 count. Omega fired back and tagged in Cody. He wanted Beretta to kiss the ring, but he slapped his hand away. Cody punched Beretta with the ring and Scurll made the cover for a 2 count a short time later. Bullet Club tagged in and out to work over Trent. Trent finally got his legs up when Cody went for a stomp on him. Beretta wasn’t able to tag out and Bullet Club continued to work him over. Scurll and Cody put four boots up on the top turnbuckle, but Trent countered Omega and sent him head first into their boots. Omega missed a charge in the corner a short time later when Beretta got out of the way. He knocked Marty off the apron. HASHI finally got the hot tag and ran wild on Kenny. Omega hit the Finlay roll/moonsault combination a short time later to cut HASHI off.
Jado got the tag from HASHI, but Scurll ended up snapping his fingers apart. Jado screamed in pain and Scurll set up for the chicken wing, but Jado countered it into a rollup for a near fall. Jado hit a hangman DDT off the middle rope on Scurll, but Cody broke up the pin. The action broke down and HASHI hit a western lariat on Omega. Jado went for the crossface on Scurll. Scurll countered Jado and got the chicken wing. Jado eventually tapped out to give Bullet Club the win.
HASHI went face-to-face with Omega after the match. HASHI pointed a finger gun in Omega’s face before leaving. Cody made one of the Young Lions kiss his ring. Cody tried to get a female fing to kiss his ring. The first wouldn’t do it, but he found another woman to do it. A man in a Bullet Club shirt also kissed his ring.
Winners: Kenny Omega & Cody Rhodes & Marty Scurll
Star rating: (**) – There wasn’t much to this match. HASHI and Omega had some interaction to build up their U.S. Title match in ROH coming up this weekend.
A video aired showing a hand holding a knife. Pages from a book with parts blacked out were shown on the wall in the background. The video concluded by saying Switchblade is coming.
(6) Kota Ibushi & Juice Robinson vs. IWGP IC Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe. Ibushi beat Tanahashi in G1 on Aug. 1. They started the match, as they are currently on a collision course to wrestle for the IWGP IC Championship. Makabe and Robinson went at it on the floor a short time later. He whipped Robinson into the guardrail before sending him back into the ring. They built to a big sequence where Ibushi hit Tanahashi with a springboard dropkick, but Tanahashi got right up and hit a sling blade and everyone was down. Makabe and Robinson were left alone in the ring. Makabe decked Robinson with a western lariat. He followed up with the kneeling powerbomb for a 2 count. Tanahashi brawled into the ring and then back to the floor. Makabe missed the King Kong knee drop off the top. Robinson hit the baseball punch on Makabe and then pulp friction for the win. WOW!
After the match, Tanahashi raised the IWGP IC Title and got in Ibushi’s face. They went head-to-head before Tanahashi left the ring.
Winners: Juice Robinson & Kota Ibushi
Star rating: (***) – The action was good here. Robinson got a pinfall win over a big name wrestler. Ibushi and Tanahashi had some good interaction to build their upcoming match.
(7) IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion KUSHIDA vs. Will Ospreay. Ospreay came out dressed like Spiderman. Kelly pointed out that Ospreay had lost four straight matches. These two had a high-end MOTYC earlier this year in the BOSJ finals. They went right at it exchanging blows. The fight spilled to the floor and Ospreay charged at KUSHIDA, but he caught him and drove him into the barricade. KUSHIDA then hit a running dropkick that sent Ospreay over the barricade. KUSHIDA went to jump off a chair, but Ospreay popped up and hit a springboard elbow. Ospreay went for a space flying tiger driver, but KUSHIDA caught him in an arm bar! Holy s–t! KUSHIDA went after Ospreay’s leg once they got back inside the ring. KUSHIDA bridged up and floated over into cattle mutilation. Ospreay managed to twist his way to get his foot on the bottom rope. Ospreay fired back and hit a handspring kick to the head. Ospreay spun around and hit a standing corkscrew splash for a near fall. Kelly teased some big news for New Zealand in 2018. They went back and forth and Ospreay hit a springboard forearm for a 2 count. They went back and forth and KUSHIDA rolled through into a DDT and immediately applied the hoverboard lock. Ospreay fought out of it and they went back and forth again until Ospreay caught KUSHIDA with the Essex destroyer.! Both men were down as the fans fired up. They traded blows again in the middle of the ring. Ospreay punched away a baseball punch from KUSHIDA and hit a big kick to the head. He set KUSHIDA up over the top rope. Ospreay then went up top. KUSHIDA ran over and nailed Ospreay up top with a kick. They went at it up top and KUSHIDA got a flying arm bar off the top. He kicked away at Ospreay and got full extension. Ospreay struggled and managed to get to the ropes quickly.
KUSHIDA grabbed Ospreay’s arms and stomped down on him like Bryan Danielson used to do to his opponents. Ospreay fired up and shook his head at KUSHIDA. He then popped him up and hit a double knee gutbuster. Ospreay followed up with a big flipping blockbuster for a near fall. Ospreay went up top, but KUSHIDA nailed him with a big double rolling kick. KUSHIDA went for the hoverboard lock up top, but Ospreay slipped out the back door and nailed a kick through KUSHIDA’s legs that connected with his head. Ospreay went for a cutter off the top, but KUSHIDA blocked it. KUSHIDA went for a super back to the future, but Ospreay turned it into a stunner! Ospreay then went up top and hit low mein pain for a near fall! WOW! Ospreay hit the Robinson special. He went for the Os-cutter, but KUSHIDA caught him in the hoverboard lock! Ospreay got the ropes, but KUSHIDA rolled him back to the middle of the ring in the hoverboard lock. The fans went nuts as Ospreay struggled for the ropes. They went back and forth exchanging counters and KUSHIDA eventually hit a stunner. KUSHIDA hit a huge running to Ospreay’s arm, but Ospreay fired back and hit a spinning facebuster. He then hit the Os-cutter for the win. WOW!
Winner: Will Ospreay to become the new IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion
Star rating: (****½) – This wasn’t their best match together, but they’ve had some incredible matches in the past. This match match was insane, as KUSHIDA worked over Ospreay’s arm throughout the match to set up the hoverboard lock. Ospreay managed to escape each time and eventually hit the Os-cutter for the win.
Hiromu Takahashi came down to the ring after the match. He went to lick the title, but Scurll ran itno the ring and snapped Takahashi’s fingers apart. Once again, Takahashi challenging for the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Title has been thwarted. Scurll got on the mic and told Ospreay he will never be as good as the villain. He said he wants Ospreays’s title. He told Ospreay to consider him his next challenger. Ospreay held the title up in Scurll’s face as Takahashi sold his fingers in the background. Takahashi recovered and sold frustration in the ring.
A video package aired for Tetsuya Naito defending his G1 Climax Briefcase against Tomohiro Ishii. Ishii beat Tanahashi during G1 Climax this year.
(8) G1 Climax Winner Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii – G1 Climax Contract match. The fans chanted for Naito loudly as he made his entrance and before the opening bell rang. Naito tried to stall early. Ishii went after him and Naito raked his eyes. Ishii did his signature fake dive and hit his pose, but Ishii was ready for it and he ran into the ring and dropped an elbow on him. Ishii hit some big chops and Naito smiled. Ishii yelled at him and hit another series of chops. Naito spit in his face, so Ishii hit another chop and a headbutt. Naito fired back on the floor and began working over Ishii’s knee. Ishii finally fired back and hit a basement dropkick and Naito sold his leg. Ishii targeted the leg before going to the corner and hitting a sick series of chops and punches. Naito went down, but Ishii fired up and hit another series of punches and chops. Ishii brought him to his feet and hit four throat chops before hitting a suplex and the fans chanted for Ishii. Ishii went for a powerbomb Naito hit an inverted DDT and his signature dropkick off the ropes and both men were down. They went back and forth and Ishii eventually hit a Saito suplex and both men were down as the fans applauded again. WOW! They went at it up top and Naito punched away at Ishii’s leg. He then slipped back to the mat and nailed Ishii’s leg with a dropkick. Once again, both men were slow to get up. Naito hit the slingshot dropkick in the corner a short time later and hit his eye pose. Naito hit a kick to the leg and absolutely waffled Ishii with a disrespectful slap to the back of the head. Ishii glared and absorbed several forearms from Naito. Naito spit at Ishii, but Ishii sent him flying into the corner with a big forearm. Ishii then hit a German into the turnbuckles a short time later and the fans fired up and chanted for Ishii.
Ishii hit the last ride powerbomb for a 2 count. Both men exchanged counters a short time later and Naito hit a satellite DDT. Both men were down and the fans chanted for Naito this time. Both men got up and began trading bombs. Naito slapped Ishii on the head and Ishii hit him with left and right elbows. Naito crumbled to the mat and Ishii went for a lariat. Naito blocked it and hit a heel kick followed by a release German and both men were down. Naito favored his knee and was slow to get up. Naito hit a frankensteiner off the top, but Ishii kicked out at 2. Naito hit a missile dropkick to the back of Ishii’s head, but he got right up. Naito hit a dragon suplex, but Ishii got right up and spit at Naito. Ishii hit an enzuguri and the sliding lariat for a near fall. WOW! Naito rolled through on Ishii and got a calf crusher. Ishii struggled, but got to the bottom rope. Naito hit Gloria for a near fall and the fans gasped when Ishii kicked out. The replay showed that Ishii appeared to land right on the back of his head. Ishii ducked destino. Ishii had the vertical brainbuster, but Naito countered it into destino for a 2 count. Naito went for another destino, but Ishii lifted him up and hit the vertical brainbuster for a near fall. WOW. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! MY GOD!
Ishii fired up and began headbutting the turnbuckle pad. He went after Naito, but Naito slapped him in the face. Ishii fired right back with a sick headbutt to the chest. Ishii hit a HUGE lariat off the ropes, but Naito kicked out at 2! “Ishii is just a brutal, brutal man,” said Don Callis on commentary. Ishii went for the brainbuster, but Naito slipped out. Ishii went for it again, but Naito slipped out and hit a destino for another 2 count! Naito set up and hit another destino and made the cover and it was good for the win! WOW!
Winner: Tetsuya Naito to retain the G1 Climax briefcase
Star rating: (****½) – This was a great match. It felt epic at times, but I think their G1 match was a little bit better. They went to war and Naito showed Ishii a ton of disrespect, which only fired him up during the course of the match. The finishing sequence was brilliant here.
After the match, Kelly said that Naito would now challenge for the IWGP Hvt. Championship at Wrestle Kingdom. Naito grabbed Ishii after the match. He spit at Ishii and Ishii rolled out of the ring. The ref presented Naito with the Tokyo Dome briefcase.
A video package aired for the Kazuchika Okada-EVIL main event for the IWGP Hvt. Championship. The video focused on EVIL. Footage was shown of EVIL beating Okada during the G1 Climax.
EVIL came out for the main event first. He was dragged to the ring on a throne by druids. This was a very cool entrance for EVIL ahead of challenging Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Hvt. Championship. EVIL got into the ring and lasers shot around him. Kazuchika Okada came out next and the fans popped for his music. They then began clapping. Okada made his down to the ring with Gedo. Kelly said if Okada wins, he will be the longest reigning IWGP Hvt. Champion in NJPW history.
(9) IWGP Hvt. Champion Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo) vs. EVIL. Kelly talked about how Okada’s neck has not been right since he faced EVIL during G1. Okada went for the rainmaker early and EVIL went for the STO, but both men escaped and came to a stalemate. Okada hit a slam and a slingshot senton. Callis said Okada has become more aggressive at the start of matches since his injuries started piling up. He also talked about how EVIL has been in a lot of tag matches with L.I.J., which has saved his body. Okada had the upper hand and began working EVIL over. He hit a dropkick that sent EVIL to the floor. Okada charged at EVIL a short time later, but he tripped him into the guardrail right near the NJPW World English broadcast table. EVIL put a chair around Okada’s neck and whipped him into the ringpost. EVIL then hit a conchairto variation on Okada on the floor. Okada was shown selling his neck on the floor. Okada crawled back into the ring and EVIL worked a neck crank. Okada struggled to get to the ropes and eventually got there to break the hold. EVIL continued to work over Okada’s neck in the ring. He hit a modified curb stomp before going back to a chin lock. Gedo went nuts at ringside and tried to rally behind Okada. The fans began clapping in support of Okada. Okada fired back and hit a big elbow off the ropes. Okada hit a DDT and kipped up. Okada hit his signature dropkick in the corner a short time later and EVIL spilled to the floor.
Okada sent EVIL over the guardrail and set up for his signature running splash into the crowd. EVIL tossed a chair at Okada and he ducked under it and still nailed EVIL with a dive over the guardrail. WOW! Okada went back to the ring and it looked like EVIL was going to get counted out. Okada went to get him, but EVIL cut him off and sent him into the chairs. EVIL went for darkness falls into the chairs. Okada escaped, but EVIL ended up clotheslining him over the guardrail. EVIL hit a big side slam back inside the ring for a 2 count. Okada fired back and hit his signature wraparound neck breaker and both men were down on the mat. They went back and forth and EVIL finally hit a big release German suplex. WOW! Okada landed right on his neck it appeared looking at the replay. They battled up top a short time later. Okada hit several forearms to send EVIL down to the mat. Okada went for a missile dropkick, but EVIL got out of the way and applied the banshee muzzle! WOW! EVIL worked the hold for a long period of time. Okada appeared to be close to tapping. Gedo fired up the crowd once again and Okada finally got his foot on the bottom rope.
EVIL hit some light kicks to Okada’s head. Okada told him to bring it. Okada fired up and hit a some forearms to EVIL’s neck. They went back and forth screaming at each other and exchanging blows. The fans gasped with each blow. They went to an exchange off the ropes. EVIL went for a criss-cross, but Okada caught him with a dropkick. He then dropped the elbow off the top and hit the rainmaker pose! WOW! Okada went for the rainmaker, but EVIL blocked it. EVIL backed the ref into the corner. Okada charged at him and Okada hit the ref with a jumping elbow. I hate spots like that. EVIL hit a fisherman buster into the corner. He then went under the ring and grabbed several chairs. EVIL began tossing the chairs into the ring. EVIL piled the chairs and went for darkness falls, but Okada countered it into a hurricanrana onto the chairs. WOW! What a counter! Okada hit a tombstone and signaled for a rainmaker.EVIL ducked a rainmaker and countered it into darkness fall and both men were down. WOW!
Okada and EVIL got to their knees and began slowly exchanging blows. They got to their feet eventually and continued to exchange. The fans shouted with each punch as they continued to exchange blows. WOW! Okada got the better of EVIL and began stomping on his back. The fans booed. Okada lifted EVIL up and hit a HUGE forearm. The ref backed Okada up and Kelly said EVIL might be defenseless. Okada shoved the ref away and went after EVIL, but EVIL caught him with a half and half suplex and then he obliterated Okada with a clothesline! Kelly announced they were at the 30 minute mark at EVIL placed Okada up top. EVIL hit a super fisherman buster and made the cover for a near fall! EVIL signaled for the finish and set up for the STO that he calls EVIL. Okada countered it and hit a German. EVIL ducked a rainmaker and hit a headbutt to Okada’s chest. He then hit a big elevated inverted DDT for a near fall. EVIL signaled for the end once again. He lifted Okada up and went for EVIL, but Okada countered it into a rainmaker! Okada collapsed and then crawled over to EVIL. He grabbed EVIL’s wrist and lifted him to his feet. Okada hit a second rainmaker and the fans applauded. Okada screamed and did the rainmaker pose. The fans fired up and Okada went for a third rainmaker. EVIL tried to counter it into EVIL, but Okada countered it into a jumping tombstone. He then hit a third rainmaker for the win. WOW!
Winner: Kazuchika Okada to retain the IWGP Hvt. Championship
Star rating: (****¾) – This was an amazing match. EVIL worked over Okada’s neck throughout the match and absolutely looked like he belonged on the main event stage with Okada. They had some great exchanges and built up to a fantastic finish with Okada finally putting EVIL away with a third rainmaker.
AFter the match, Okada stood over EVIL as majestic music played. The ref put the IWGP Hvt. Championship around his waist. This was Okada’s 21st successful title defense and he is now also the longest reigning IWGP Hvt. Champion in history.
BUSHI came down to drag EVIL out of the ring. Gedo cut a promo on EVIL. The fans reaction was mixed to what he had to say. Gedo got right in EVIL’s face and told BUSHI to take him away. Kelly said Gedo had told him that Okada was on another level. Gedo continued to speak and Kelly said he was calling Naito out. Gedo spoke again and Naito came out with his G1 Climax briefcase smiling. The fans chanted for Naito. Naito got into the ring and got on the mic. He told Okada to back off. He cut a promo and said it would be Naito vs. Okada at the Tokyo Dome! YES! The fans fired up and chanted for Naito. Okada suddenly interrupted Naito and the fans applauded. WOW! What a moment this is! The reaction then became mixed. Okada and Naito posed face-to-face as the fans chanted for both men. WOW! Naito teased leaving and got back into the ring. He then ended up leaving the ring and he hit his pose and walked to the back. Naito left his briefcase in the ring, so Okada stood on top of it. The fans gasped. He then tossed it aside. Okada hit the rainmaker pose as confetti fell around him.
Overall thoughts: (9.5) – This was an excellent show. Were the tag matches a slog to get through at times? Sure, but that’s a minor quibble. The Okada-EVIL main event delivered in spades and we now have our Tokyo Dome main event for Jan. 4, as Okada will defend the IWGP Hvt. Championship against Naito.
This was a big show. I really admire how NJPW makes matches feel important. Will Ospreay had come up short so many times against KUSHIDA, but tonight was his night and they tore it up. Ospreay’s Spider-Man gear was sick as well and gave the match a “big match” feel. This wasn’t their best match, but it was darn good. There was just no way they could top their EPIC classic at the BOSJ finals earlier this year.
Roppongi 3K had a successful debut on the undercard beating Ricochet & Taguchi for the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Championship. They had a great entrance and Sho & Yo are lined up for success in the division with Rocky Romero as their captain. Sho & Yo didn’t have a great run in ROH for their excursion, but they returned to NJPW with a bang on this show for their surprise debut as Rappongi 3K. Ricochet’s mannerisms after the match gave it away that this was his last NJPW match.
Ishii-Naito was excellent. Naito was a total jerk to Ishii in this match and it only served to fire up during the match. They built up to some great counters around their finishers late before Naito finally put Ishii away with destion. This wasn’t as good as their match in G1 earlier this year, but it was damn good. NJPW does a good job of making their second tier talent credible and that really serves to make matches like this so dramatic when under other circumstances without careful booking, fans would have a hard time engaging because they would know Naito was going to win.
The main event was awesome. In fact, this crowd was great all night and they really came up for EVIL vs. Okada for the IWGP Hvt. Championship. EVIL worked over Okada’s neck throughout the match and they played off of EVIL’s win during G1 nicely with some callbacks. Okada is just on another level and he was tremendous here. I thought the ref bump was very poorly conceived, as it was telegraphed like a Rodney Peete interception back in the day, but otherwise this was an incredible match.
The post-match segment to set up Okada defending the IWGP Hvt. Championship against Naito felt HUGE as well. That’s going to be the match that sells tickets and the fans at Sumo Hall reacted HUGE to their interaction on the mic.
This was a tremendous show and Power Struggle next month should give us an idea of where the rest of the card is headed. Thumbs way up.
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