NJPW Wrestling Dontaku (Day 1)
May 3, 2018
Fukuoka, Japan at Fukuoka Kokusai Center
Streaming Live For NJPWWORLD
Announcers: Kevin Kelly and Don Callis
The show began with a hype video package highlighting Will Ospreay vs. Kushida for the IWGP JR Heavyweight Championship, Okada vs. Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, the latest developments in the ongoing Bullet Club storyline, Scurll & The Young Bucks getting a shot at the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship vs Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, and Tonga Loa, Cody vs. Ibushi, and Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Page.
(1) Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Young Lions (Yota Tsuji & Shota Umino)
Kevin Kelly noted that it is the 5 year anniversary of Bullet Club and that, “…their Un-Civil War takes centerstage.” The Young Lions got off to a fast start and attacked before the bell with double drop kicks. Tsuji was in the ring with Yujiro and Chase was outside the ring with Umino. Tsuji got in some offense with a bodyslam and some stiff chops. The crowd applauded his effort but Yujiro quickly cut him off with a boot to the head. Yujiro no sold some chops from Tsuji then slapped him down. Yujiro bodyslammed Tsuji and then tagged in Chase Owens. Yujiro was also applauded for his efforts by the crowd. Owens hit a backbreaker for a two count. Tsuji fires up to applause from the audience and landed a dropkick on Owens. Tsuji finally made the tag to Umino who took down Owens and then knocked Yujiro off the apron as the crowd applauded the fighting spirit of the Young Lions. Umino landed a forearm on Owens that popped the crowd again. Umino landed a missile dropkick on Owens for a two count. Umino locked in a Boston Crab on Owens but Yujiro ran in to break it up. Yujiro was then caught with a dropkick by Umino. Owens hit the Jewel Heist on Umino for a two count. Umino rolled up Chase for a two count. Chase hit a superkick and then a double knee gutbuster. Chase then hit the package piledriver on Umino for the pin.
WINNERS: Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi at 5:30
Ursin’s Analysis: Great match to start off the show. On the short side but the crowd was really into it and everything looked fine, especially Chase Owens’ package piledriver. Nothing wrong here except for the particularly short time given to this one. (**)
(2) Ryusuke Taguchi & Tiger Mask IV & Jushin Liger vs. Young Lions Ren Narita & Tomoyuki Oka and Yuji Nagata
Jushin Liger started off in the ring with Tomoyuki Oka. They traded shoulder tackles as Oka took control and hit a running forearm into the corner before Liger cut him off with the Shotei palmstrike. Liger tagged in Tiger Mask who hit a couple of dropkicks on Oka and then a couple of spinning roundhouse kicks for a two count. Tiger Mask then locked in an armbar causing Narita to run in and break it up. Narita was chopped and taken to the outside by Liger. Liger tossed Narita into the guardrail. Taguchi tagged in and took out Nagata on the apron before hitting a couple sitting drops to the chest of Oka for a two count and then tagging in Tiger Mask. Taguchi and Tiger Mask hit a double shoulder tackle on Oka. Tiger Mask locked in a submission hold on Oka that brought in Nagata who broke it up. Oka hit a suplex on Tiger Mask and was able to tag in Nagata. Nagata sent Liger and Taguchi to the floor. Nagata then hit a series of kicks on Tiger Mask and an exploder suplex for a two count. A series of reverses lead to Tiger Mask hitting a Tiger Bomb and then tagging in Taguchi. Taguchi missed with the hip attack and Nagata was able to get in a kick and then a tag to Narita. Oka, Nagata, and Narita hit Taguchi with forearms and boots in the corner. Narita hit a belly to belly suplex and then applied a Boston Crab. Tiger Mask and Liger came into the ring to make the save. Taguchi hit the hip attack on Narita for a two count. Taguchi hit an enzuigiri and then the Dodon on Narita for the pin.
WINNERS: Taguchi & Liger & Tiger Mask at 7:15
Ursin’s Analysis: Another solid match to get the show going. The crowd was invested and Taguchi picks up the pin to give him momentum heading into Best of The Super Juniors. (**)
(3) Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) & Rocky Romero vs. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) and Takashi Iizuka
The match began with all 6 men battling outside the ring. KES and Iizuka were getting in a good beatdown on RPG3K and Romero. Iizuka ended up in the ring repeatedly biting Sho on the arm. Referee Tiger Hattori attempted several times to get Iizuka to stop biting Sho. Sho quickly rolled up Iizuka for the pin as Iizuka went to attack Tiger Hattori.
WINNERS: Roppongi 3K & Rocky Romero at 2:10
Ursin’s Analysis: Sadly, nothing to see here. (DUD)
(4) Yoshi-Hashi & Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii & Jay White & Hirooki Goto vs Toa Henare & Michael Elgin & Togi Makabe & David Finlay & Juice Robinson
Each group of men came to the ring together. United States Heavyweight Champion Jay White received his own entrance. Elgin and Goto started things off. They traded stiff forearms in the center of the ring and then shoulder tackles. Goto finally hit a hip toss and tagged in Ishii. Elgin tagged in Makabe. Ishii and Makabe trade stiff chops and forearms. Yano gets involved from the apron but Makabe had none of it. He hit Ishii with a powerslam and then takes out his opponents on the apron. Ishii and David Finlay become the legal men. Finlay hit Ishii with running back elbows in the corner before being cutoff by Ishii. Yano has removed the turnbuckle pad and Ishii slammed Finaly’s head into the exposed steel. Yano whipped Finaly back first into the exposed turnbuckle. Jay White tagged in and hit Finlay with a saito suplex for a two count. Jay White whipped Finlay back first into the exposed turnbuckle and then tagged in Goto. Goto put Finlay into a chinlock and then rammed Finaly’s head into the exposed turnbuckle before tagging Yoshi-Hashi. Yoshi-Hashi took out his opponents on the apron (except Juice) and laid into Finlay with some strikes before being caught in a uranage backbreaker. Finlay tagged in Juice who took out all of his opponents on the hot tag. Juice laid in punches to Yoshi-Hashi and then hit Ishii with a backdrop. The crowd was fired up as Juice hit a running clothesline to Yoshi-Hashi in the corner. Yano came into the ring only to met with a spinebuster by Juice. Juice hit a cannonball to Yoshi-Hashi in the corner that received a two count. Yoshi-Hashi fought back with chops and a clothesline. Elgin and Goto came into the ring but neither could get the upperhand. Juice hit Goto with a dropkick and Yoshi-Hashi hit a thrust kick to Elgin. Tags were made to Henare and Jay White. They traded forearms before Henare hit a flying shoulder tackle that took White down. Henare hit a flying shoulder tackle from the top rope that received a two count. Henare hi a Samoan drop on White that was broken up. Henare hit a spear on White for a two count but White fights back with a gutwrench German suplex and then the Bladerunner for the pin.
WINNERS: Goto & White & Ishii & Yano & Yoshi-Hashi at 10:25
Ursin’s Analysis: The crowd was very into this match and it had a good spot on the card to continue building the energy of the show and furthering the feuds between these individual pairings of guys. Henare hits the ropes great with a lot of velocity. For his limited time in the match his stuff looked great. Say what you will about Jay White’s gimmick but he continues to be booked strong as he picks up the pin here. For a 10 Man tag match, this was very well laid out and executed. (**3/4)
(5) NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship Bad Luck Fale & Tama Tong & Tanga Loa (c) vs. The Young Bucks & Marty Scurll
This match was Bullet Club vs. Bullet Club. Everyone shook hands and hugged it out before the bell. At the bell, Scurll attacked Fale from behind. Fale put Scurll down with a shoulder block and Scurll tagged in Nick Jackson. Nick challenges Tama Tonga and Fale tagged him in. Nick and Tonga traded leapfrogs and slides until Tonga took Nick down with a dropkick. Tama Tonga tagged in Tanga Loa and they hit Nick with some double team offense. Matt came in off the blind tag and helped Nick hit a double boot dropkick to Tonga and Loa to the applause of the live crowd. Fale came into the ring and took out Matt, Nick, and Marty. Nick hit dropkicks to Tonga and Loa on the apron. Scurll was tagged in and superkicked Loa. Matt and Nick hit double planchas on Tonga and Loa as the audience applauded. Scurll tried to slam Fale. He couldn’t do it and Fale slammed Scurll then tossed him to the outside. All six men were outside the ring as Fale, Tonga, and Loa took control of the match. Scurll and Loa climb back inside the ring as the legal men. Loa slammed Scurll into the corner as Tonga followed up with the Stinger splash for a two count. Scurll gets isolated by the campions. Scurll eventually hit a lungblower on Loa and makes a tag to Nick while Loa makes a tag to Tama Tonga. Nick cleaned house before tagging in Matt. Nick and Matt locked in double sharpshooters on Tonga and Loa but Fale made the save. Scurll ran in and attacked Fale. Scurll hit the breaking fingers spot on Fale to the delight of the audience. Matt and Nick entered the ring and hit a double superkick to Fale and then to Tonga. Matt, Nick, and Marty triple teamed Loa in the corner. The Bucks attempted the Meltzer driver but Loa fought out and hit a clothesline on Matt for a two count. Loa and Tonga hit the Magic Killer on Matt followed by a splash from Fale but Scurll breaks up the pin at two. Fale ran at Scurll but Scurll pulled down the top rope and Fale fell to the outside. Triple superkick to Loa. Nick climbed to the top rope and wiped out Fale and Tonga on the outside. Matt and Nick hit More Bang For Your Buck as Matt pinned Loa for the win.
WINNERS: The Young Bucks and Marty Scurll at 11:05
Post Match: Fale, Loa, and Tonga handed over the Six-Man Tag Titles without incident
Ursin’s Analysis: A good but not great six man tag match. Nothing wrong here but it lacked a sense of urgency and drama. It seemed as if they were just going through the motions at times but, nobody goes through the motions better than The Young Bucks and Marty Scurll. Rarely does GOD and Fale seem to look this good in the ring. There were no different gears to the match. Just one. But it was a good gear to be in. Enjoyable even if it wasn’t amazing. (***)
-Bone Soldier Will Return video played
(6) Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi, Bushi, Evil, Sanada, and Tetsuya Naito) vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and El Desperado)
Naito was not wearing the NJPW Intercontinental title belt. Kevin Kelly mentioned that Naito said there are too many titles in NJPW and he doesn’t want the belt. Suzuki-Gun attacked LIJ before the bell and the action spilled out to the floor. Takahashi hit a dropkick on Desperado and then tagged in Naito. Naito and Bushi hit some double team offense on Desperado for a two count. Naito spit at Suzuki on the outside. Naito hit some elbows on Desperado in the corner and a dropkick before Suzuki ran in and took Naito back out to the floor. All of the action was back outside the ring again. Suzuki took apart the guardrail and pounded Naito with it then hit Naito with a chair for good measure. Naito and Desperado rolled into the ring to break the 20 count but Naito ended up in the Suzuki-Gun corner and they all went to work on him. Desperado tags in Kanemaru and Suzuki, ZSJ, and Kanemaru go to work on Naito in the corner. Kanemaru and Naito start going at it alone in the ring as Kanemaru works over Naito’s injured knee he suffered at the hands of Suzuki during their previous encounter (NJPW HI NO KUNI 2018 April 29, 2018). Taichi is tagged in. Taichi removes Naito’s shirt and began to choke Naito with it. Suzuki and ZSJ continued to punish Naito in the corner. ZSJ gets tagged in and started to use submission holds on Naito’s injured knee with help from Suzuki. ZSJ tagged in Suzuki. Naito tried to fight back but Suzuki went to work on Naito’s knee with a kneebar. Takahashi tried to save Naito but Suzuki punched him in the gut and Takahashi rolled out of the ring. Naito and Suzuki traded stiff forearms. Naito spit at Suzuki during the exchange. Naito fought back with a spinning DDT and then a tag to Sanada as Suzuki tagged in ZSJ. Sanada hit a dropkick on ZSJ and then tied Kanemaru in the Paradise Lock. ZSJ put Sanada in the cobra twist but Sanada fought out and reversed with a hip toss. ZSJ applied a guillotine. Sanada escaped and tagged in Bushi. Bushi hit a missile dropkick to ZSJ. ZSJ tagged Kanemaru. Suzuki-Gun entered the ring to team up on Bushi. Bushi tagged in Evil. Evil started to work over Kanemaru and then LIJ entered the ring to team up on Kanemaru. Evil hit Everything Is Evil on Kanemaru for the pin.
WINNERS: LIJ at 13:47
Ursin’s Analysis: This was an all out brawl, typical of Suzuki-Gun tag matches. The story here was Suzuki being angry about losing his Intercontinental title to Naito and laying down some payback. That really worked and Naito’s selling of the injured knee along with his anti-hero persona (spitting in Suzuki’s face even while taking massive punishment) did nothing but help gain sympathy for Naito who is already the most over guy in the promotion and helped further the eventual Naito/Suzuki rematch. Not an amazing match but served its purpose. (**)
Post Match – The & arrived to superkick Evil and Sanada and challenge them for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team titles. Evil accepted the challenge.
(7) Will Ospreay and Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kushida
Tanahashi starts with Okada. A “Tanahashi” chant broke out in the audience. Okada struck first but Tanahashi dumped him to the outside and hit a beautiful plancha. Tanahashi hit a slam but Okada tried for a rainmaker and missed. The two stood in the ring to applause from the crowd. Kushida and Ospreay were tagged in. They exchange flips and reversals and rope running. Ospreay goes for his backflip kneeling pose but Kushida cut it off and started to work on Ospreay’s neck. Okada ran in and attacked Tanahashi on the apron and took him to the floor. Okada sent Tanahashi into the guardrail and finished him off with a kick. Ospreay dropkicked Kushida to the back of the head for a two count. Okada tagged himself in and hit a neckbreaker on Kushida and a cover with just his boot on Kushida’s chest for two. Ospreay tagged himself in and hit Kushida with another neckbreaker. Ospreay grounded Kushida with a neck hold and tagged in Okada who raced over and knocked down Tanahashi who was on the apron. Kushida fought off a double team from Okada and Ospreay and was able to tag Tanahashi to applause from the crowd. Tanahashi hit a dropkick, slam, and senton on Okada for a two count. Okada countered a slingblade with a flapjack to Tanahashi. Okada dumps Tanahashi to the floor and went for a tombstone but Tanahashi was able to fight out and hit a dragon screw leg whip to Okada on the floor. Tanahashi hit another dragon screw in the ring and applied the cloverleaf to Okada. Ospreay came into the ring but Kushida caught him and applied the hoverboard lock. Ospreay slammed Kushida into the turnbuckle and nailed Tanahashi with a double axe handle to the back. Okada tried again for the rainmaker but missed and then hit a death valley driver on Tanahashi. Ospreay and Kushida are tagged in. Ospreay and Kushida trade forearms. Kushida hits a front row dropkick on Ospreay. Kushida tried for a rolling DDT but Ospreay counters with a stiff uppercut. Kushida cranked on the neck of Ospreay as he delivered knees to Ospreay’s head. Ospreay caught Kushida in the corner and hit Cheeky Nando’s kick for a two count. Ospreay hit a top rope 619 on Kushida and then went to the top rope for a springboard forearm which was countered by Kushida into an armbar. Tanahashi ran in to hold off Okada. Kushida hit a Pele kick but then ran into a spanish fly by Ospreay and both men were down. Okada tagged in and knocked Tanahashi to the floor. Okada hit a neckbreaker on Kushida and a beautiful elbow from the top rope. Okada called for the rainmaker but Tanahashi ran in and slapped him. Ospreay flew in and took out Tanahashi. Kushida got out of the Stormbreaker and hit Ospreay with a draping DDT. Kushida hit a hurricanrana into a pin on Okada for a two count. Okada counters Kushida’s hoverboard lock into a tombstone, dropkicked Tanahashi to the floor, and then hit the rainmaker on Kushida for the pin.
WINNERS: Ospreay & Okada at 16:15
Ursin’s Analysis: This was a damn fine tag team match between four all world professional wrestlers. The story here was to make the final push towards Okada v Tanahashi and Ospreay v Kushida on the Day 2 show tomorrow. This match absolutely accomplished that and then some. (***½)
(8) Cody vs. Kota Ibushi
They locked up and went into the ropes but Cody gave a clean break. Cody threw a headlock and grabbed Kota’s arm then took Kota down by the hair but Kota hopped up and Cody took a powder. Cody threw a chair into the ring but Ibushi dropped it back outside. Cody went back into the ring. They felt each other out again before Kota layed in some kicks. Cody got a waistlock on Ibushi. They went into the ropes and Cody kissed Ibushi on the cheek and then broke the hold. They locked up and traded arm drags. Cody was knocked down with a shoulder tackle. Ibushi catches Cody in the chest with a kick and Cody goes down to applause from the audience. Snap suplex by Ibushi didn’t even get a one count. Cody hit a release vertical suplex on Ibushi. Cody took another powder this time selling his neck injury which turned out to be a trap. Cody ran into the ring with a kick to Ibushi but Ibushi got a schoolboy for a two count. Backslide by Ibushi got a one count. Ibushi sent Cody into the turnbuckle and again Cody started to sell the neck injury. Again, Cody was faking and snaps Ibushi’s head off the top rope and then delivered a release facebuster on the apron. Cody climbed to the top rope and hit Ibushi with a springboard diving clothesline on the floor. Still outside the ring, Cody hit Ibushi with right hands and then spit water in Ibushi’s face. Back inside the ring Cody covered for two. Cody then began to stomp on Ibushi, stopping to do some push-ups. Cody kicked Ibushi in the midsection for a two count. They traded forearms. Cody took time to pose for the crowd and was met with boos. Cody started to bite Ibushi’s hand. Ibushi tried to fight back but Cody got Ibushi down and into the figure four but Ibushi eventually made it to the bottom rope. Cody whipped Ibushi hard into the turnbuckle. Cody hit a forearm but then Ibushi hit a dropkick out of desperation. Ibushi took Cody down with a series of kicks. Ibushi hit a snap rana and Cody rolled to the floor. Ibushi hit a golden triangle to Cody on the floor. Back in the ring, Cody hit a disaster kick for two. They traded forearms, kicks, and slaps. Ibushi hit a clothesline and both men were down. Cody went for the Stinger splash in the corner but Ibushi moved and Cody took out Red Shoes. Cody kicked Ibushi in the head and then slid a table into the ring. Cody set up the table and took Ibushi to the top rope. Cody went for a superplex. Ibushi tried to counter into a powerbomb. Ibushi layed Cody on the table and hit the double boot stomp into Cody’s chest but the table did not break. Ibushi went back to the top rope and delivered the double boot stomp again. This time the table did partially break. Ibushi hit the last ride sit out powerbomb and Red Shoes slides in to count for two. Ibushi goes for the knee strike but Cody counters into a roll up for two. Ibushi attempted the knee strike again but Cody moved out of the way. Cody headed out of the ring and over the barricade into the first row. Ibushi went to the top rope and hit a springboard dive onto Cody. Back inside the ring Cody hits the Cross Rhodes for two and then the Vertebreaker for the pin.
WINNER: Cody at 23:35.
Ursin’s Analysis: This fell completely flat. The crowd wanted to be invested but the pacing of this was terrible. Very disappointing. Especially considering this was put in the Semi-Main Event spot. Cody has the heat and Ibushi has the babyface love. This match was just not laid out to grab the audience and pull you in. (**)
(9) Kenny Omega vs. Hangman Page
Before the bell, Cody helped Page attack Omega. Cody got out a table but Omega was able to kick it into Cody’s face. The bell sounded and we were underway. Omega hit a snap rana that sent Page to the floor and then a slingshot plancha over the top. Kenny then hit Rise of The Terminator taking out Cody who was still at ringside. Page fought back with a release german suplex that sent Kenny outside the ring. Page then hit Kenny with a moonsault from the top rope to the outside. Page threw Kenny into the railing and then delivered his Rite of Passage finisher to Omega on the table that Cody had lying outside the ring on the floor. Back inside the ring and Omega was busted open. Page had a chair that Red Shoes tried to take away but Page pushed him down to the mat. Page then DDT’d Omega onto the chair. They were outside the ring as Page hit Omega with strikes and then an attempted suplex that was reversed into a snap suplex on the floor by Omega. Omega then suplexed Page on the apron. Omega attempts You Can’t Escape on the floor but only gets the Finlay roll and is too dazed to hit the moonsault. When he finally attempts the moonsault, Page is able to duck it. Omega then sends Page over the guardrail with a clothesline. Page came over the guardrail with the Buckshot lariat and rolled Omega into the ring for a powerbomb that got a two count. They traded blows and then Page slingshot Omega’s neck into the ropes but a cover only got a one count. Page tried for a suplex but Omega blocked it and they traded blows. The crowd cheered Omega’s fighting spirit. Page hit a pumphandle back slam with a bridge for two. Page laid in chops and then whipped Omega into the turnbuckle and Omega hit hard and then took a face bump. Omega hit two double axehandles to the chest of Page and then a flying DDT for two. Omega hit the You Can’t Escape for two. Omega hit the Aoi Shoudou. Omega missed a V trigger but then hit a drop toe hold and a V trigger to the back of Page. Page hit a package piledriver for a two count. Page took Omega to the top rope for a top rope neckbreaker that got a two count. Page went for Rite Of Passage but Omega blocked it by grabbing the ropes. Omega hit a german suplex and then a V trigger. Omega tried for a snap dragon suplex but Page fought out of it and hit an enzuigiri. Omega hit another V trigger and got Page up in The One Winged Angel but Page countered into The Rite Of Passage. Omega slipped out of that and delivered a snap dragon suplex to Page. Page went for a Buckshot lariat but Omega hit a V trigger for a two count. Omega hit another V trigger and a double underhook piledriver for two. Omega hits another V trigger and the One Winged Angel for the pin.
WINNER: Omega at 18:25.
Ursin’s Analysis: Page has a legit injury and they used a lot of things to get around it. The beginning and the end of the match were great but the middle section really moved way too slowly. This was not up to NJPW Main Event standards. (**¾)
Overall Thoughts: These NJPW PPV’s always hinge on the main event scene because, frankly, there is no better professional wrestling in the world today than the NJPW main event level. Sadly, these top matches did not live up to that unusually high standard. This was not a bad show but it was disappointing for those accustomed to NJPW’s normal main event matches. I expect Day 2 to meet expectation as it features Ospreay vs Kushida and Okada vs Tanahashi.
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