It’s the first of a two day New Japan special event held in the USA where the tournament to crown the inaugural IWGP U.S Champion begins and both the IWGP tag and heavyweight titles are defended. lets see how it all goes
Match 1 – Roppongi Vice/Briscoes/Ospreay vs. Bullet Club(Yujiro/Fale/young bucks/Scurll)
Very fun opening match, they kept the action flowing and everyone got a chance to do their own bit, Romero getting the win over the Bucks give RPG good momentum going into their IWGP Jr tag title match on day 2.
Winners: Roppongi Vice/Briscoe’s/Ospreay(via rollup) ***1/4
Match 2 – LiJ(EVIL/SANADA/BUSHI/Hiromu Takahashi) vs. Dragon Lee/Titan/Volador Jr/Jushin Liger
decent little match, LiJ control alot of it and in the end get the win thanks to a couple dirty tricks and a timebomb from Hiromu. not as action packed as the previous match but still rather enjoyable.
Winners: LiJ(via Timebomb) ***
Match 3 – US Title Tournament Quarter Final: Jay Lethal vs. Hangman Page
Pretty good tournament match, Lethal’s injured ribs play a considerable part in the match with them affecting him at certain points and Page focusing some of his offence on them, in the end though Lethal manages to overcome his injury and proceeds to the semi-final with a Lethal Injection.
Winner: Lethal(via lethal injection) ***
Match 4 – US Title Tournament Quarter Final: Juice Robinson vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
This was a very solid back and forth affair, throughout Zack picks apart Juices arm in a variety of ways which helps him in the end to get the win making Juice submit with a version of a Stunt Rider stretch. Good work from Juice too showing good resilience and spirit, Very enjoyable stuff.
Winner: Zack(via Submission) ***1/2
Match 5 – Tempura Boyz/Yoshi Tatsu/Billy Gunn vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi/Finlay/KUSHIDA/Jay White
This match was fine, Tempura boyz, Tatsu & Gunn are an odd team to have, they have a little bit of control and the finishing stretch is pretty fun, but there were a few issues in places, especially with Billy Gunn who messes up a spot and didn’t work that well, lord knows how his match with Tanahashi is gonna go on night two but this doesn’t exactly put hopes up. Overall it was a bit of mess but fine overall.
Winners: Tanahashi’s team(via flatliner) **3/4
Match 6 – IWGP Tag Title Match: Guerrillas of Destiny vs. War Machine
Before the match starts War Machine get on the mic and ask to make the match No DQ and GoD respond by hitting them with the mic, so i guess that was them accepting. Match was good, not as good as their previous match but still enjoyable, very back and forth with a few weapons used here and there. War Machine already win back the tag titles after hitting the Fallout through a table. I guess GoD won them last time purely so they could do a title change in the U.S. which is fair enough, still good work from both.
Winner: War Machine(via Fallout) ***1/4
Match 7 – US Title Tournament Quarter Final – Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Really good match between these two, lots of solid back and forth action with Ishii displaying his toughness and Naito working alot on Ishii’s head and neck area. In the end Ishii gets the win and advances with a brainbuster which I’m sure is a surprise to many including me, who thought Naito was certain to get to the final, but I’m still happy to see Ishii through, him against Zack certainly makes for an interesting pairing.
Winner: Ishii(via Brainbuster) ****
Match 8 – US Title Tournament Quarter Final – Kenny Omega vs. Michael Elgin
Great match between these two, again very back and forth, really well paced and full of good action. Omega gets the win and advances with the One Winged Angel, I personally thought Elgin was the one most probably to win the tournament so this was a welcome surprise. Still a great effort from both and best match of the show.
Winner: Omega(via One Winged Angel) ****1/4
Main Event – IWGP Heavyweight Title match: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Cody
This was a very good main event but I feel like it didn’t achieve the level of drama that it was trying for especially at the ending,. it’s Still a very solid effort from both though with Cody playing the cocky heel really well and getting a bit of control and Okada being his great usual self. Towards the end Omega comes out with a towel just like Cody did for Omega’s match at Dominion, I though the placement of it felt a little odd but it definitely did well in creating a bit of tension between Cody & Omega when Cody gets the towel and throws it at Omega after wiping himself with it and then trying for his own one winged angel which got reversed by Okada. Very enjoyable match overall but didn’t connect with me as well it could have, which may just be down to the time and place that I watched it but who knows.
Winner: Okada(via Rainmaker) ***3/4
This was a very good first U.S show for New Japan, lots of enjoyable matches with Ishii/Naito and Omega/Elgin being particularly great and the best of the show,crowd were pretty good too overall and I look forward to seeing how day 2 pans out with a couple intriguing matches set-up.