The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, & Leo Tonga) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, & SANADA) w/ Daryl
This was a fun opening match that played off Hiromu’s dislike for Bad Luck Fale after Fale destroyed poor Daryl (Hiromu’s stuffed cat. Yes a stuffed animal. He’s awesome.) Throughout the match, they referred back to this. As Fale was going for the Bad Luck Fall on Bushi, Hiromu came into the ring with Daryl and distracted Fale, leading to BUSHI being able to roll him up and get the win. A really fun opener with a little revenge for Hiromu against Fale. Nice storytelling. I think Hiromu/BUSHI are going to be a force to watch in the Super Jr. Tag Tournament.
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Toru Yano) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.) w/ El Desperado & Taka Michinoku
The largest portion of this match was spent with Suzuki and ZSJ beating down Yano. It appears Suzuki has not forgiven Yano for beating him in the G1. After trying to tie Yano up with some rope, Suzuki somehow managed to get counted out as Yano out-smarted him again. This is leading to a NEVER Openweight title shot, where Suzuki will likely destroy Yano. Should be fun!
Funky Future (Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi) AKA Taguchi Japan vs. Roppongi 3k (Sho & Yoh) w/ Rocky Romero – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
Well, Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu have made their return from excursion, and have added a much needed boost to the Jr. Tag Team division. This match was a lot of fun, and a really nice way to re-introduce the young lions, who are young lions no more. They got the win in a very fast paced match, becoming the brand new IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Rowe) vs. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Lance Archer) – Three Way Tornado Elimination Tag for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
This was a wild match, with all three teams brawling all over the place and using a ton of weapons. Given this is the fourth time this triple threat has happened recently, it seems like it’s been overdone, but this was a good match all things considered. GoD was eliminated first, but didn’t take kindly to it, and beat on War Machine after being eliminated. KES won the match, retaining the titles, after a KES bomb through a table that didn’t quite go right. Looked quite painful. Solid match though.
CHAOS (Beretta, YOSHI-HASHI, & Jado) vs. The Bullet Club (Cody, Marty Scrull, & Kenny Omega)
This match was all about setting up the match between YOSHI-HASHI and Kenny Omega at the upcoming ROH shows, and with that in mind, it set that up well. Marty Scrull managed to get a win over Jado in this one with the Chicken Wing, giving him momentum to challenge for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. A fun match!
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe vs. Juice Robinson & Kota Ibushi
We all know this match is about setting up Tanahashi and Ibushi, which will tear the house down as the likely main event for Power Struggle in November. Juice continues to improve, and showed further progression as he defeated Togi Makabe, a former IWGP Tag Team Champion in this tag. It was sad to see Taguchi Japan wrestling against each other though, in that Tanahashi, Makabe, and Juice are all members.
KUSHIDA vs. Will Ospreay – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Holy cow, this match was crazy. Lots of awesome high flying action as both men basically tried to kill each other. Ospreay bounced all over the ring, and KUSHIDA tried very hard to ground him. After losing the ROH Television title recently, KUSHIDA needed a win here to keep his momentum, but alas, it was not to be, and Ospreay got a huge win here, winning his first IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. After the match, Hiromu came out to try and challenge him, but he was interrupted by Marty Scrull, who broke his fingers and challenged Ospreay instead. Poor Hiromu. All he wants is his title back.
Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii – Tokyo Dome IWGP Heavyweight Championship Contract
Naito was looking to make a statement in this match, defending his contract for the Tokyo Dome main event, and my goodness, did he ever. This match was just awesome. Both men delivered, as they usually do. Naito and Ishii beat the life out of each other, with tons of counters to finishers (including Ishii countering a Destino with a brainbuster, which was a sight to behold), and a ton of strikes. Given that we’ve seen this match a few times, you think it would get old, but it really doesn’t. These two are amongst the best in the world today. Naito managed to get the win with a huge Destino, securing his spot in the Tokyo Dome main event on January 4th. Awesome match.
EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada (w/ Gedo) – IWGP Heavyweight Championship
This match was not as good as Naito/Ishii, nor as good as the one they had in the G1, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an awesome match. Both men worked very hard for nearly 35 minutes, with a ton of great strikes and neat spots that called back to their previous encounters. For example, on the outside of the ring, EVIL went to throw a chair at Okada as Okada went to do his running dive over the guardrail. Previously, this chair has nailed Okada. This time, Okada ducked while running, and still hit is flying crossbody over the guardrail. An excellent spot. Okada managed to win after hitting a Rain Maker, but it should be noted that he barely won. After the match, Okada called out Naito and they had a faceoff, hyping the match for January 4th at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Another awesome match.
SHOW RATING: ****1/4
An absolutely fantastic showing from NJPW here with 3 awesome main event matches. Now, things are going to heat up as everything is leading to January 4th and Wrestle Kingdom 12. We have Power Struggle in a few weeks, the Super Junior Tag Tournament, and the G1 Tag Tournament, but the road to the Tokyo Dome is now clear. We will be seeing Tetsuya Naito vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship, and that is a match that will tear the house down.