Time for one of New Japan’s last biggest shows of the year that usually helps shape some of the Wrestle Kingdom featuring Jay White/Tanahashi, KUSHIDA/Scurll and a triple threat main event for the IWGP title between Omega/Cody/Ibushi.
IWGP Jr. Tag Title Match – Yoshinobu Kanemaru/El Desperado (c) vs. Tiger Mask/Jushin Liger
Solid Jr. tag match. Kanemaru/Despy attack their opponents during their entrance and take control right away. They maintain it for a fair bit of time which definitely dragged a bit, but once the hot tag is made to Liger the match picks up well and we get some fun action on the go. Liger and Tiger had a couple close moments of winning but Kanemaru and Despy’s shenanigans including a Whiskey Bottle, Ref bump and low blow prevented that from happening and in the end Desperado hits the Pinche Loco to pick up the victory.
Winners: Kanemaru/Despy (via Pinche Loco) ***
-Ospreay pinned Taichi in a tag match so it looks like we’ll see a NEVER title match between the two in the future which should be fun.
Testuya Naito/BUSHI/SANADA/Shingo Takagi!! vs. Kazuchika Okada/SHO/YO/Toru Yano
A little surprised to see Shingo as the new LiJ member as I thought he’d do a more freelance root but there’s a lot of potential great matches to be had and though it seems he’ll be part of the Jr’ Division at the moment I’m sure there’s a chance he could move up in the future.
Anyway tag match it self was fun, had some nice exchanges on the go particularly between Okada and Naito and Shingo had a good showing for his debut with him even being the one to get the pinfall hitting the Last Falconry.
Winners: Lij (via Last falconry) ***1/4
EVIL vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
This match got cancelled after EVIL came out and got attacked by Chris Jericho disguised as one of EVIL’s entrance druids. The assault meant that EVIL was unable to do the match but Zack still decided to lock him in a submission until Naito comes out to make the save. So seems like we may be getting EVIL/Jericho and Naito/Zack at Power Struggle
IWGP Jr. Title Match: KUSHIDA vs. Marty Scurll
Great match. Very competitive with lots of good action and counters on the go, There’s a lovely bit where Scurll takes out KUSHIDA’s hand and so when he goes for the Hoverboard lock his hand is to hurt to do lock it in. Despite that setback though at the end he manages to kick-out of a sick looking package brainbuster and transitions a DVD into the Back to future to become the new Jr. Champion. Glad they gave Kushida the belt rather than Marty, now if they’ll do Shingo/Kushida at Tokyo dome that would be awesome.
Winner: KUSHIDA (via back to the future) ****
Tokyo Dome Main event Briefcase match: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Jay White w/Gedo
Terrific match probably the best of the 3 they’ve had this year. Tanahashi starts off well but then gets distracted running after Gedo which Jay takes advantage of to gain control. He proceeds to target Tana’s leg and does a good job of it, however unlike the Tana/Okada match last month it doesn’t really amount to to much and pretty much gets shrugged off once Tana makes a come back. But they still have some great action on the go and a good bit of drama for the finish which made White look like he had a viable shot of winning utilising some of his heel tactics which along with Gedo’s antics successfully garnered good heat from the crowd, like when Tana hits two successful high fly flows and Gedo pulls the ref out the ring before the 3 count.
At the end Tana decides to use Jay’s heelish ways against him and does his own low blow, he goes to hit a high flow flow while Jay lays on a chair but Jay manages to dodge and sets-up Tana for the Bladerunner only for it to be successfully reversed into a small package by Tana for the 3 count. Narrow escape from Tana but he now definitely goes onto the Tokyo dome main event, Great performance from both, Jay has really grown into his role well and Gedo is clearly loving being a dick.
Winner: Tanahashi (via high fly flow) ****1/4
-after the match an angry Jay continues to assault Tanahashi only for Okada to run-in make the save taking out both Jay and Gedo….But Jado comes in to stop Okada, then out come GoD/Fale and Tama. They at first pretend they’re are on Okada’s side before assaulting him and Jay White finishes the job with a Blade Runner…so is this a new faction or is Jay now the leader of a new bullet club? either way I dig the change up it works.
IWGP Heavyweight Title Match: Kenny Omega (c) vs. Cody vs. Kota Ibushi
Great main event. Mostly just lots of big moves and spots but they also played on the relationship aspects at certain points, the highlight probably being when Ibushi hit the Kamigoye on Cody and went for the pinfall but Omega stopped the refs arm before the 3 which made Ibushi snap and go AWOL with slaps and palm strikes on Omega.
Match goes over 30 minutes and does feel a tad too long but it is filled with great action and was never dull. I know a lot of people complained about Cody being in the match to make it a 3 way but I thought it made for a nice change of pace and was handled well enough. At the end Omega successfully retains hitting the One Winged Angel on Ibushi, don’t think there was really any doubt that he’d lose and I never really bought into any of the nearfalls but was still a highly enjoyable match overall.
Winner: Kenny Omega (via One Winged Angel) ****1/4
A lot of very good stuff on the go here with some great matches and some potential feuds being set-up. Tana/Jay was definitely the MOTN for me but the 3 way and Scurll/Kushida weren’t too far behind.
This may be my last 2018 New Japan review for the year, since I tend not to fully watch much of their last few months of content, but we’ll see.
Thanks for reading.
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