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RADICAN’S NJPW “STRONG STYLE EVOLVED” REPORT
MARCH 25, 2018
LONG BEACH, CALIF
BY SEAN RADICAN, TORCH COLUMNIST
AIRED LIVE ON AXS TV
Announcers: Jim Ross and Josh Barnett
Jim Ross and Josh Barnett introduced the show. They kicked to a video package running down the card for the night.
(1) Roppongi 3K (Yoh & Sho & Rocky Romero) vs. So Cal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian & Christopher Daniels & Scorpio Sky). Romero got a big chant after 3K came out. Sho hit a big knee to Kazarian’s mid-section and a big Roppongi chant rang out in the venue. Daniels tripped Yoh and Kazarian slipped going for a springboard. The crowd groaned as Kazarian went into a bad looking leg drop. Yoh took a combination of moves from So Cal Uncensored at the five minute mark for a 2 count. Romero tagged himself into the match, but the ref didn’t catch it and made him go back to the apron. It’s fun to see the California scene repped so well in the opening match with Romero, Daniels, Kazarian, and Sky all participating. Romero got the hot tag and ran wild. The action broke down and Kazarian and Daniels hit a double team on Romero, but Yoh made the save. Sky got isolated and took a combination of moves from Yoh and Sho. They hit 3K on Sky and it was good for the win.
Winners: Sho & Yoh & Rocky Romero
Star rating: (**¾) – This was a good dose of action to start the show.
Ross noted on commentary that Kazarian may have injured his knee. Ross said Yoh and Sho would be back in the title picture before we know. Well Jim, they’re wrestling on the next PPVs for the Jr. tag titles.
(2) NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto & Gedo vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay. Robinson pinned Goto earlier this week in a tag match at the NJPW Cup 2018 finals. They went at it at the beginning of the match and Robinson caught Goto with a big elbow and the fans applauded. Goto took Robinson out with a clothesline. Goto then caught Finlay and suplexed him right onto Robinson and a big Goto chant rang out. Goto was bleeding from the mouth. Gedo tagged in and went after Robinson’s eyes. Robinson fired back and ended up poking Gedo in the eye. Finlay got the tag and went after Goto. He wiped out Goto with an big elbow off the ropes. Finlay eventually got caught with the ushigoroshi and a kick to the face from Gedo, but Robinson made the save. Robinson hit a big left hand on Gedo and wiped out Goto with a slingshot splash to the floor. Finlay then hit a stunned variation on Gedo for the win.
Winner: Juice Robinson & David Finlay
Star rating: (**½) – There wasn’t much to this other than a little more interaction between Robinson and Goto to set up a potential NEVER Openweight title match.
(3) KES (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) vs. CHAOS (Chucky T & Toru Yano). KES jumped Taylor and Yano during the introductions. Taylor took a beating during the early stages of the match and the fans booed KES. Taylor ducked a clothesline from Archer and hit a DDT on Smith. He finally made the tag to Yano and the fans were very happy about that. Yano did his signature rope break spot. Archer blocked an atomic drop much to the surprise of Yano. He asked for another rope break, but Archer booted him to the floor. Yano set up for a dive, but instead of going to the floor, he took off one of the turnbuckle pads and threw it over the top to the floor. Archer swatted it away. He got into the ring and looked upset. Archer and Yano grabbed each other’s hair at the same time. Yano eventually dragged him down to the mat by the hair. Taylor tried to set up Archer for a piledriver. He connected, but Smith made the save. Archer caught Taylor with a pounce and a chokeslam, but Taylor kicked out and got a crucifix pin for a near fall. Taylor fended off the killer bomb, but Ross and and Barnett didn’t even mention it. Taylor ended up taking the killer bomb a short time later for the win.
Winners: Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lane Archer
Star rating: (**½) – This was fine for what it was, but it seemed the outcome was never in doubt.
Cody was booed by the fans and Scurll played for cheers. G.O.D was out next. Cody seemed upset. This is the latest chapter of Bullet Club imploding.
Cody grabbed the mic and the fans booed. He gave it to Scurll and the fans cheered. Cody said Bullet Club is fine. He said what’s not fine is the booking of this match. Cody said there would be no match. Cody said they are friends. Tonga didn’t look like he agreed. Cody said Tonga is a Bullet Club O.G. The fans chanted f–k you Cody a short time later. Cody asked if the fans were chanting Team Cody. He said they are all Team Cody. He told Tama to tell the fans. Tama glared at Cody and grabbed the mic. Tonga Loa took the mic and said that Cody wouldn’t deny the people a match tonight. Tonga said the match will happen. He said if there’s a team they are on, it’s not Team Cody. Cody jumped Loa. Tama Tonga then turned around and went right after Cody.
(4) Bullet Club (Cody & Marty Scurll w/Brandi) vs. Bullet Club (Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga). Loa ran into the ring and sent Cody to the floor. Scurll celebrated with them in the ring. Brandi yelled at him and asked him what he was going. Scurll turned around and got wiped out by G.O.D. He then ran to the floor and hugged Cody. Brandi dragged Cody to the floor a short time later to save him from Tonga. The cameras missed Scurll hitting his PK from the apron to the floor on Tonga a short time later. Cody drew a lot of boos anytime he had the upper hand. Tonga got worked over and Scurll took forever setting up for the chicken wing. Cody tagged himself in and set up for the cross-Rhodes, but Tonga countered it into a cross-Rhodes variation of his own. Loa tagged in and pulled down his shirt for Cody to chop him. Scurll caught Tonga with a superplex a short time later. Loa cut off Scurll when he went up top and nailed him with a superplex. Cody set up for rise of the terminator and the fans booed. Loa ran into the ring and caught him with a spear, but Scurll made the save. Scurll and Rhodes hit Tonga near the ropes with a combination of moves. Cody held Loa, but he got out of the way and he ended up hitting Cody. Cody pushed Loa into Tonga and hit cross-Rhodes on Loa for the win.
Winners: Marty Scurll & Cody Rhodes
Star rating: (**½) – There wasn’t much to this match, but it was fun to watch the crowd hate Cody. It’s clear that Tonga and Loa are not on Team Cody.
After the match, Brandi put the ring on Cody’s finger.
(5) L.I.J. (Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI & IWGP Hvt. Tag Team Champion SANADA & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Dragon Lee & Ryusuke Taguchi & KUSHIDA & Hiroshi Tanahashi. The fans popped when it appeared that Naito and Tanahashi were going to square off to kick things off. They were about to lock up, but Sanada ran into the ring and jumped Tanahashi from behind. Tanahashi fired back and took both men down before tagging in Lee. The fans fired up when Lee’s longtime Rival Takahashi asked to be tagged in. Both men ran at each other and began exchanging overhand slaps as the fans fired up! WOW! They slowed down and then continued to exchange big overhand slaps to the chest at a rapid pace. Takahashi went for a hurricanrana, but Lee landed on his feet. Lee nailed Takahashi with a snap German and then connected with a big flip dive to the floor! Takahashi ended up getting isolated in the ring. He took a combination of moves for a 2 count. L.I.J. fired back and cleared the ring. KUSHIDA was left alone with Takahashi, as the rest of L.I.J. dominated on the floor.
KUSHIDA took a beating, but eventually caught SANADA with an elbow. Tanahashi got the tag and ran wild. He eventually hit a double dragon screw on SANADA and Takahashi. SANADA got the skull end on Tanahashi a short time later, but he reversed it. SANADA eventually caught Tanahashi with a springboard dropkick. He tagged in Naito, who walked right into a hip attack from Taguchi. Taguchi caught the rest of L.I.J. with hip attacks. He got an ankle lock on Naito. KUSHIDA then got the hoverboard lock on BUSHI. Tanahashi got SANADA in the cloverleaf hold. Takahashi then ran in and broke up all the submissions only for Lee to nail him with a dropkick. Lee went at it with Takahashi on the floor. Taguchi went for a running hip attack on Naito, but he got out of the way. Taguchi got a rolling leg lock and transitioned to an ankle lock, but SANADA grabbed the skull end. Tanahashi then ran in and hit the sling blade. The action broke down with both teams going back and forth. Takahashi ended a big exchange with a belly to belly on Lee into the turnbuckles. Takahashi ended up hitting destino on Taguchi for the win.
Winners: Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi & SANADA
Star rating: (***½) – This was a really good tag match. Both teams went back and forth and put together some great sequence to bring some real energy into the ring for the first time on the show.
On one of the video boards, Rey Mysterio’s name was flashed. Mysterio then came out to a big pop. He was scheduled to take on Liger, but he suffered an arm injury. Mysterio got on the mic and asked how Long Beach was doing. Mysterio said he told himself he would come out and apologize. He says accidents happen and he suffered a torn bicep two weeks ago. He said the match between him and Liger wasn’t going to happen tonight, but it didn’t mean that it’s not going to happen. He said if it happened back in December of 1996, why can’t it happen again. He said he would come to NJPW as soon as he’s ready. Mysterio promised to step into this ring and wrestle for NJPW. The fans applauded. This was a good promo from Mysterio and it’s great to hear he will wrestle in NJPW. Mysterio sat at ringside to watch the match next to a very happy fan.
Jushin Liger’s music played and the fans popped.
(6) Jushin Liger vs. IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion Will Ospreay in a Non-title match. Liger got a surfboard during the early going. Liger avoided a handspring and caught Ospreay with a back breaker. He then wiped out Ospreay with a cannonball of the apron to the floor. Liger hit a suplex on the floor and posed for the fans in the ring. Ospreay BARELY beat the 20 count and I mean if this was Vince McMahon demanding a shoot be called type of scenario for the count, he would have been in big trouble. Liger went for a frankensteiner, but Ospreay landed on his feet and jammed his leg. He still managed to spring off the ropes into a twisting kick on Liger. Ospreay hit the Sasuke special a short time later. Ospreay favored his leg and the fans fired up. Ospreay hit a one-legged missile dropkick and then a one-legged SSP for a 2 count. Ospreay went for the 619, but Liger avoided it and hit a rolling kick. Ospreay caught Liger with the Essex destroyer a short time later for a 2 count. Ospreay followed up with the Robinson special and went for the Os-cutter, but Liger blocked it. Liger set up Ospreay up top a short time later. Ospreay ended up taking a superplex, but he managed to get his foot on the bottom rope to break up the pin attempt. Ospreay ducked a shotei attempt, but Liger caught him with it a short time later for a near fall! Ospreay fired back and hit a Liger bomb for a near fall. He nailed Liger with a combination of kicks and hit the Os-cutter for the win.
Winner: Will Ospreay
Star rating: (***½) – This was a really good match. Ospreay doing high-flying moves on one leg after hurting his leg during the early going was nuts. Ospreay appeared to be doing a little better with his leg later in the match, so hopefully he’s fine.
Ospreay moves to 4-0 against Liger in singles matches. Mysterio applauded Ospreay at ringside after the match. Ospreay got on the mic. He said that was junior wrestling at his best. Liger says he will be proud to wrestle as well as Liger when he’s 53. Ospreay thanked Liger for all he’s done for wrestling. A big Liger chant fired up in the building. Ospreay said he wanted to carve out his own legacy as Jr. Hvt. Champion. He said to do that he has to go through legends. Ospreay looked at Mysterio. He said he’s nobody replacement. Mysterio nodded along at ringside. Ospreay said for six years he’s been putting on the best damn wrestling matches he physically can. He said he wants to put the championship on a new level, so how about Ospreay vs. Mysterio. The fans went nuts and broke out in a yes chant. Ospreay asked him to do it in a NJPW ring when he’s better. Scurll ran out and attacked him from behind with an umbrella. Mysterio tried to make the save, but Scurll cut him off and took his mask off. Scurll put the mask on top of his head and flipped off the fans. Liger then ran into the ring and Scurll bailed. This was a really good post-match segment. It looks like we might get a three-way between Scurll and Ospreay. Liger and Mysterio hugged after Mysterio got his mask back and put it on. Mysterio and Ospreay shook hands and hugged.
(7) CHAOS (IWGP Hvt. Champion Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii) vs. Suzuki Gun (IWGP IC Champion Minoru Suzuki & NJPW 2018 Zack Sabre Jr.). Sabre tried to work over Okada on the mat before backing away. The fans chanted for Sabre before he went back at it with Okada. They went at it again and Okada countered Sabre and went for a rainmaker, but Sabre avoided it. Ishii and Suzuki then tagged into the match. He went face to face with Suzuki. They went at it and Ishii eventually caught him with a shoulder tackle. Suzuki caught Ishii with an arm bar on the ropes a short time later. On the outside, Sabre worked over Okada out of the octopus position. Suzuki and Ishii went at it on the floor and Suzuki ended up slamming a chair over Ishii’s back before he tossed him into the crowd. Sabre worked over Okada’s arm around the guardrail. Ishii ended up back inside the ring going at it with Suzuki. Suzuki laughed at Okada when he tried to chop him. Suzuki fired back and nailed Ishii with a HUGE chop.
Suzuki and Sabre got a double Fujiwara armbar on Ishii at one point, which was great. Sabre taunted Ishii with some light kicks to the head. He yelled at Ishii and then nailed him with some big kicks. Ishii tried to strike and Sabre went to slip around him for a submission, but Ishii stopped him and hit a German much to the delight of the fans. Okada got the hot tag and ran wild. Sabre caught Okada in a front choke, but he slipped out of it. They went back and forth and Okada went for the neck breaker over his back, but Sabre countered it into a double arm submission. Ishii tried to make the save, but Suzuki cut him off. Okada managed to get to the ropes to break the hold. Sabre got in the octopus position again and he went after Okada’s arm, but Okada flipped him into the tombstone position. Sabre flipped around him and went to work on his arms. He then got Okada down on the mat with a double arm submission, but Ishii made the save. Okada fired back and got the cobra clutch, but Sabre quickly escaped. Okada countered Sabre and went for the rainmaker, but he blocked it and hit a kick to Okada’s arm. Suzuki tagged in and went right after Okada’s arm. He got the choke and quickly went for the Gotch piledriver, but Okada hit the reverse neckbreaker over his leg.
Ishii got the tag and hit chops and forearms on Suzuki in the corner. He nailed him over and over. Suzuki fired back with a kick out of the corner and they began exchanging blows. Ishii told Suzuki to bring it. They went back and forth trading big forearms. They continued to trade and Ishii began to fade. Suzuki went to go off the ropes, but Ishii caught him with a forearm. Suzuki got a front choke, but Ishii caught him with a standing vertical suplex. Suzuki slid behind Ishii and got the choke, but he escaped. Suzuki hit a big knee lift and tagged in Sabre. The fans booed Sabre a bit. Ishii fired back on Sabre and hit a folding powerbomb for a 2 count, as Suzuki and Okada went at it on the outside. Sabre was about to get Ishii in a submission, but Okada ran into the roing. They hit Sabre with a combination of moves capped by a sliding clothesline from Ishii, but Suzuki made the save. Sabre got IShii down on the mat in a cross armbreaker. Okada tried to make the save, but Suzuki grabbed him in a choke. Sabre began maneuvering around Ishii. Sabre began working towards orienteering with napalm death and got a combination arm/leg variation of the hold. The ref called for the bell.
Winners: Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki
Star rating: (****) -Sabre and Suzuki both come across as being very dangerous right now. Sabre seemed to have Okada on the verge of being in trouble many times and it’s damn impressive for him to beat someone as tough as Ishii via ref stoppage.
After the match. Sabre got on top of Okada and worked the octopus hold for a bit before letting go. Suzuki put the boots to Okada. Suzuki then worked a wrist lock on the ref and Sabre worked an ankle lock on the ref. The fans booed.
It was announced that NJPW would return to the U.S. for a G1 Special event in San Francisco at The Cow Palace on July 7.
(8) IWGP U.S. Champion Jay White vs. Hangman Page. They went at it right away and White got the better of some big chop exchanges. The action spilled to the floor and White worked over Page on the floor. He hit a big chop and the fans gasped. Page fired back on the apron. White got hung up on the middle rope and Page dropped him down onto the apron with a neck breaker. Page then tossed him into the guardrail and he favored his neck. Page hit the ball and chain suplex on White for a 2 count. Page taunted White after hitting a backbreaker out of the DVD position for a 2 count. White tried to fire back and slipped out of a suplex. Page tried to elbow his way out of White’s grasp, but White hit a snap high-angle suplex. WOW! White fired back and caught Page with an elbow off the ropes. White hit a series of rolling half-nelson suplexes. He went for a third suplex. Page drove him into the corner. White tried to bring him out of the corner and Page tried to run him into the corner again, but White sent him flying into the corner after side-stepping him. He then hit a suplex into the turnbuckles for a 2 count. White favored his back after that exchange. White picked Page off the mat right into a German with a bridge for a 2 count. Page fired back and draped White’s feet over the top rope before connecting with a hangman’s DDT.
They went at it near the apron. White got the upper hand and tied up Page in the ropes. He nailed him with several big chops. White went for the blade runner around the ropes, but he ended up catching Page with a flatliner variation on the apron after he countered the blade runner. White then hit a German off the apron to the floor that flipped Page inside out to the floor. That’s just stupid to even try. White set Page up for an avalanche German to the floor a short time later. Page fought back and they began exchanging chops up top. They stood up on the top rope and Page hit a twisting neck breaker. WOW! Both men got up and began exchanging blows in the middle of the ring. White hit a Saito suplex that sent Page flying over the top to the floor. White hit a snap Saito suplex back inside the ring a short time later. Page blocked a blade runner attempt and eventually flipped around White and hit a powerbomb.
White hit his SSP shoulder tackle from the apron to the floor a short time later. Page hit a moonsault off the top to the floor a short time later. White hit his slingshot clothesline a short time later for a near fall a short time later. Barnett noted it’s called the bukshot lariat. The fans fired up and chanted for both men. Page went for the rite of passage, but White rolled through into a folding pinning combination for a 2 count. They went at it and White hit a snap half-nelson suplex. White followed up with the kiwi crusher for a 2 count. White went for the blade runner, but Page spit in his face. Page hit a superkick and a big elbow. White slipped out of the rite of passage and hit the blade runner for the win. 11:16
Winner: Jay White to retain the IWGP U.S. Championship at 25:21
Star rating: (***¼) – The effort was there, but the crowd had a hard time caring about either man, who haven’t really bonded to the NJPW fanbase yet. They really unloaded on each other and hit some dangerous offense as the match went on to get the crowd into it.
After the match, David Finlay hit a spear on White. He’s White’s former tag partner. Finlay said he had told him he’d never be done fighting him. He said he was giving him one month and he’d challenge him on April 20 at Korakuen Hall.
(9) The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. The Golden Lovers (Kota Ibushi & Kenny Omega). Matt is wearing a weight support belt like Cody did earlier in the night. The commentators said it was to support his injured back. Ibushi wore blue, white, and gold colored trunks. Omega wore green, black, and red tights with yellow outlining. Matt said he wanted Kenny and Ibushi tagged him in. Omega seemed to be apologizing to Matt. The fans clapped The Terminator theme as they jawed. Matt suddenly turned around and took a cheap shot at Ibushi. Nick then tagged into the match. Ibushi wanted back into the ring and Omega tagged him in. They had a fast exchange and came to a stalemate. The fans fired up with a big Ibushi chant. Matt tagged in and promptly ate a big kick to the back from Ibushi. Kenny tagged in and asked Ibushi not to go after Matt’s back. Matt shoved Omega away when he tried to help him out. Omega seemed to not want to go at it, but Ibushi fired him up. Matt cut off a double team attempt and the Young Bucks went to town on Ibushi and then Omega and the fans fired up. Omega foiled a double team attempt from The Young Bucks and set up for rise of the terminator, but Nick got up on the apron and nailed him with a superkick! Omega ended up crashing and burning to the floor.
Matt went under the ring and got a table. Matt has been aggressive in terms of wanting to take the action to Omega. Nick told Matt not to take it this far and he dropped the table. Nick continued to work over Ibushi back inside the ring. NIck caught Ibushi with a hangman’s neckbreaker and he held him up for a slingshot senton from Matt. Matt came up selling his back after connecting. Ibushi fired back and sprung off the top and wiped out Nick to the floor and the fans fired up. Ibushi tried to make the tag, but Matt grabbed his leg. Nick dragged Omega off the apron when Ibushi got close to tagging out a short time later. Ibushi cut off Matt with a big dropkick as he came off the ropes. Omega finally got the tag and he went up top and hit a big crossbody on Matt. The action broke down and Ibushi cut off the Young Bucks signature dropkick/headscissors combination. He wiped out Matt and Nick with some big kicks.
The Golden Lovers wiped out Nick and stood tall alone in the ring as the fans fired up. The Golden Lovers hit the cross slash, but Ibushi didn’t connect on Nick. The cameras didn’t do a great job of showing what happened. They then went to work on Matt inside the ring. They went for the combination moonsault out of the corner and Ibushi nearly landed badly on Kenny, who managed to get out of the way in him for him to connect with the move. Omega whipped Matt hard into the corner and he sold his back. Matt slid to the floor a short time later and Omega dropped him back first onto the apron. Matt finally made the tag and Nick ran wild on Omega and Ibushi. The Young Bucks got on track with a flurry of double team moves on Omega and Ibushi. Nick connected with a big running knee on Ibushi to end the sequence and everyone was down. Nick climbed up top and Matt tagged himself into the match. He went up top with Nick, but Ibushi got up and shoved Nick to the floor. Omega and Ibushi eventually hit a double team superplex and Ibushi nearly slipped, but managed to get his footing and he hit the move. That was scary looking. Kenny and Ibushi talked about what was coming next. The fans fired up and they went up top for the Golden Shower, but Nick cut them off. Nick hit a German on the apron on Omega. Nick set up a table between the ring and the guardrail, which signaled things had gotten more personal. Matt went up top and Omega was set up on the table. Nick wanted Matt to drive Kenny through the table. Matt couldn’t decide who to hit, as Ibushi was down on the mat. Ibushi got up and cut him off with a bicycle kick. Omega got up and went for a one-winged angel off the apron through a table, but Matt fought out of it. Ibushi suddenly jumped up to the top rope and hit a German back into the ring for a near fall. WOW!
The fans fired up with a this is awesome chant. The Golden Lovers set up for the Golden Trigger, but Nick dragged Kenny to the floor. Ibushi and Matt went back and forth until Omega ran into the ring and nailed Matt with a V trigger. Ibushi hit a clothesline and followed up with the last ride powerbomb for a near fall. Ibushi held up Matt for another V trigger right into a pinning combination, but Nick made the save. WOW! Matt fired up and got in Ibushi’s face. Ibushi put him down and hit several dropkicks, but he missed a standing moonsault. Matt tired to apply the sharpshooter from his back and he got it! Omega broke it up. Matt let go of it and told Omega to bring it. Omega hit several punches and Nick came out of nowhere with a superkick. Nick then hit a step-up dive to wipeout Omega on the floor. Matt got the sharpshooter on Ibushi again. Nick came off the top and hit a X factor on Ibushi. He then hit a moonsault through the ropes on Omega. Matt tried to get Ibushi to tap, but his back gave out! The Young BUcks went for more bang for your buck on Ibushi, but instead of finishing it, Matt came off the top and drove an elbow through Omega, who was on the table on the outside. WOW!
Ibushi was alone in the ring with The Young Bucks. Ibushi tried to fight back, but ended up taking a double superkick. OMega rolled into the ring and nailed Nick with a superkick. The Young Bucks wiped out Omega with superkicks, but Ibushi caught them with a double backflip kick and everyone was down as the fans cheered. Omega staggered to his feet and Matt sold his back and got to his feet. Matt told Omega to bring it and they began punching each other in the face. They continued to trade blows and Omega hit a snap dragon, but Matt fired back with a jumping piledriver! WOW! Matt got up and took off his weight belt. He began whipping Omega with it across the back. He then went after Ibushi with it. The ref tried to take the belt, but Matt held onto the belt and the ref went flying. Omega ducked another belt shot and nailed Matt in the back. Omega then grabbed Matt’s belt. Omega tossed the belt down and the fans applauded. Omega hit a V trigger on Matt. He nailed Matt with another V trigger. Omega set up for a running V trigger, but Matt hit a spear! Matt tried to lift Omega up for the Meltzer driver, but his back wouldn’t allow it. Nick helped Matt lift up Kenny into position, but Ibushi cut him off and hit a last ride through the table. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Omega lifted up Matt into the tombstone position for a springboard IndyTaker and Matt kicked out! WOW! A NJPW chant rang out. Omega hit a big sitout powerbomb on Matt, but he kicked out right after the 37 minute mark. Omega set up for a V trigger, but looked like he didn’t want to do it. He went to pick Matt up, but Matt hit a superkick. Ibushi shoved Omega out of the way and nailed Matt with a roundhouse kick to the head. Ibushi told Kenny to hit the V trigger and Omega connected with a HUGE running V trigger. He went for the one-winged angel, but he couldn’t do it. Matt told him to do it and put himself into position. Kenny hit it and Nick made the save out of nowhere. Nick looked emotional after hitting the move.
Nick tried to get Matt up and told him it’s not over. He asked Kenny what his problem was. NIck went after Ibushi and Omega. He screamed and walked into a big V trigger from Omega and a half and half suplex from Ibushi. Omega took his knee pad down. Matt wasn’t even moving. They set Matt up for the Golden Trigger and hit it for the double pin. What. A. Match.
Winners: Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi at 41:57
Star rating: (*****) – The emotion in this match, as friends fought was incredible. The facial expressions from all four men throughout the match was incredible. Matt wanted to take things to a big extreme and at the finish when he told Kenny to hit the one winged angel, it was one of the most emotional moments I’ve seen in wrestling. Kenny didn’t want to do finish Matt off and with Matt and Ibushi’s help, he was able to do it.
Kenny kneeled down over Matt after the match. He then posed with Ibushi for the cameras. They left The Young Bucks behind in the ring. After the match, Cody came down to the ring and shoved Matt. Nick tried to get involved and Cody punched him. Omega came back down to the ring and Cody bailed. Ibushi also came back into the ring. The fans started The Elite chant. Omega looked emotional. He offered Matt a handshake and the fans applauded. Kenny and Nick hugged. WOW! This is so emotional. Omega offered MAtt a handshake. Matt glared at him and almost shook his hand, but ended up leaving the ring. Omega shook his head like he knew Matt needed more time. Nick helped Matt to the back.
Kenny was left alone in the ring with Ibushi. Omega asked for the mic. Omega said sometimes it’s a sad world we live in where friends have to go to war. Omega said sometimes in war there are casualties. He said he isn’t the Kenny Omega they’re used to seeing. He said the silver lining out of the whole situation with Bullet Club is that the golden lovers are back and here to stay. He said before they know it, NJPW is coming back to a backyard near each and every one of them. Omega said whether or not this company likes it, he will make sure they are in a featured matchup and they like to party with the fans in Long Beach.
Omega said he wished the issues would be resolved sooner rather than later. Omega said all people like Cody are good at is talking. When it comes down to it, you’re going to see Kenny Omega beat the ever loving poop out of him. He said they have no choice but to up the ante when they run and even bigger building next time after tonight’s match. Omega then invited the crowd to hit his catchphrase and he said goodbye and goodnight…bang!
Overall thoughts: (8.5) – The bulk of my score is for the main event. Go watch Golden Lovers vs. The Young Bucks right away if you didn’t see it. It’s a match I will never forget.