AXS and NJPW move on to King of Pro Wrestling 2018! With the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship vacant, who will be the NEW Champion, Kushida or Scurll?
This coverage of King of Pro Wrestling will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Gifs can be found at http://frentique.tumblr.com/
- 8 Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Chaos; LIJ wins.
- Vacant IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Kushida VS Marty Scurll; Kushida wins and becomes the new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS TV set the scene!
The Ticking Time Bomb was doing great as IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, but an injury put an end to his reign. The title was vacated, and a tournament began! Hiromu Takahashi’s friend in Los Ingobernables de Japon, Bushi, lost to the Time Splitter, while The Villain again defeated the Aerial Assassin. Now Kushida and Marty Scurll meet in the tournament finals, where there will be a new champion crowned! Which of these Super Juniors will again hold the gold?
Meanwhile, with Hiromu’s absence being long and serious, the leader of LIJ, Tetsuya Naito, has decided to add a new member to the team! Who will be this mysterious sixth member joining Naito’s crew in time to take on Okada’s Team Chaos? We find that out, now!
Los Ingobernables de Japon gathers.
Naito walks over to Bushi, Evil, Sanada, and even Daryl Jr. as they wait at a table in a high class establishment. Naito takes a drink at the bar while the boys play cards. Their charismatic leader speaks to the camera, saying that on “April 29th in Kumamoto, after the match,” does anyone remember what he said in that ring? Flashback: “It is important to return to normal, to not give up. But the desire and the will to change, and the courage to take the first step, are equally important.” And then, “on July 7th in San Francisco, Hiromu Takahashi got injured, and was forced to vacate his IWGP Junior Heavyweight title.” Hiromu couldn’t meet the required six month defense period, and is now out for some time. LIJ wants to stay tranquilo, and will wait for his return.
But they won’t just sit around, and decided to take a step forward. There won’t be just the four of them waiting, it will be five. In other words, they wait for Hiromu as a brand new LIJ. And that starts on October 8th, at Ryogoku Sumo Hall! That is when and where they’ll introduce their new “pareja”, so stay tuned. Adios. Who will be added to the role call? Place your bets! All in on 6.
8 Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Chaos!
Bushi, Sanada, and Naito enter first, but now it’s time to introduce Mr. X! Naito takes the mic and says “Buenas noches, Ryogoku!” He welcomes all their fans to the show, both in the arena and around the world. This is the moment they’ve all been waiting for! Who knows, Mr. X could be ringside already. This man decided to make a comeback, Milano Collection A.T. Spotlights point him out on commentary, but he confirms it’s not him. Naito admits it, he was just joking. But now to the real new member. He is… The Dragon! Well, that doesn’t really say much as to who this is, and that smiling silver mask hides his true face. He joins his team in the ring, removes the hood and then the mask… to reveal SHINGO TAKAGI!
Yes, the body builder turned pro-wrestler, the “Pumping Hawk”, and former champion in both Pro-Wrestling Noah and Dragon Gate promotions, has now joined LIJ! This brings the alumni of Animal Hamaguchi’s training to three alongside Naito and Evil, will this familiarity help him mesh with the team?
That said, The Rainmaker leads the way for his team of Toru Yano and Roppongi 3K’s Sho & Yoh to the ring. Okada makes sure to give Rocky Romero a piece of his mind, and balloons, at the commentary desk. The teams sort out while we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Shingo joins in his first LIJ first bump. And as the new guy, Shingo starts for the team. The bell rings and Yoh is there to meet him. Fans fire up for Shingo but Yoh is not intimidated. They tie up but Shingo powers Yoh off. Yoh chops, and chops, and chops, but it does nothing. Shingo chops Yoh once and he goes staggering away. Yoh kicks and puts on a headlock, but Shingo powers out. Yoh bumps shoulders and Shingo goes back, to run Yoh over on the rebound! Believe it or not, Shingo is a Junior Heavyweight just like Sho & Yoh, but does lean close to that border into true Heavyweight territory. Either way, Shingo runs and things speed up. He catches Yoh but Yoh fights out. Yoh runs, but into a big back elbow.
Shingo runs, but Sho comes in and helps Yoh, drop toehold to dropkick! They see Bushi come in and stop him. They double whip Bushi corner to corner, then whip Sho in. Bushi puts him on the apron and forearms him away. Yoh runs in but gets a boot. Naito and Sanada come in and give Yoh basement dropkicks in turn, and then Shingo and Bushi clear the Chaos corner. LIJ controls the ring while Sanada ties Yano up in a Paradise Lock around the bottom rope! Shingo keeps on Yoh while Naito and Bushi keep on Sho and Okada. Shingo elbows Yoh to a corner, then grinds in his boot. The ref counts and Shingo backs off. Yano needs help untying himself but there’s no time for that. Shingo gives Yoh a fast suplex, then covers, TWO!
Shingo points out Yano’s predicament, but tags in Sanada. LIJ mug Yoh, and the Cold Skull stalks Yoh towards the Chaos corner. Sanada brings Yoh up but Yoh hits back. They brawl while the ref tries to figure out what to do with Yano. Sanada whips Yoh and lifts, but Yoh slips out. Yoh kicks but Sanada blocks, and gets him down for another Paradise Lock! That’s two members of Chaos stuck in Paradise, so Sanada builds speed to dropkick Yoh out of it and into Yano! Yano is free but he tumbles to the floor. Sanada covers on Yoh, TWO. Fans rally as Sanada tags in Bushi. Bushi drags Yoh up for a snapmare into a chinlock across the knee. He rakes Yoh’s face, but stops at the ref’s count of 3.
Bushi tags Naito, and Naito brings Yoh around for Bushi’s missile dropkick. Bushi-rooni! The ref reprimands Bushi but he stays in while Naito whips Yoh. Yoh blocks Naito’s kick to give him a dragon screw! Bushi goes after Yoh, goes for fisherman swinging neckbreaker but Yoh spins out of it to get Bushi with a dragon screw! Fans rally as Yoh crawls for his corner. Hot tag to Okada! The Rainmaker rallies on Sanada as he comes in, then hits Shingo down, then dodges Naito. Naito boots Okada and whips but Okada reverses to a DDT! And kip up! Okada brings Naito up but Naito fires off strikes. Naito runs but into the flapjack! Cover, TWO! Okada circles around Naito as fans rally.
Naito stands, Okada lifts, but Naito resists the Alabama lift. Naito wants a piledriver, but Okada resists that, so Naito clubs him on the back. Okada staggers back, but runs over, into an atomic drop! Naito shoves Okada to a corner, jump kick to leg sweep, swinging dropkick! Bushi & Shingo rush the Chaos corner and Sanada helps on the outside. Naito elbows Okada then whips. Bushi comes in and helps, kick to sunset flip to basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Naito argues the speed of the count, but his team is keeping Okada’s team down. Naito brings Okada up, pumphandle but Okada resists. Okada arm-drags but Naito comes back with an enziguri. Naito runs, but into Okada’s dropkick!
Okada brings Naito up, wrings him out, but Naito ducks. Naito wrenches and tilt-o-whirls, but Okada blocks Destino! Okada rocks Naito with a European Uppercut, then whips. Naito comes back with flying forearms! Both leaders are down, but their teams are back at their corners. Okada goes after Naito to keep him away, then goes to his corner. Hot tags to Sho and Bushi! Sho gets Bushi in a waistlock but Bushi fights out. Bushi runs, but Sho dodges and SPEARS! Sho fires up, hits Sanada, and now Yoh joins him. RPG3K combine for backstabber to dropkick. Sanada whips Yano to a barrier but RPG3K fire up. They aim at Bushi as he stands, but Bushi denies 3K. Sanada dropkicks Sho, Bushi DDT’s Yoh! Bushi tags in Shingo!
Shingo clotheslines Sho in a corner, but runs into a knee. He still gets Sho in a Gory Special lift, but uses it for a sit-out facebuster, the Blood Fall! Cover, TWO!! Sho survives but Shingo is not frustrated one bit. He brings Sho back up, pump handles, but Yano attacks! Sanada dropkicks him out, then whips Okada. Okada reverses but Sanada knows the dropkick is coming as he holds ropes. Naito and Sanada double dropkick Okada while he’s down! Sho comes in, Naito feeds him to Bushi’s enziguri. Shingo builds speed for a BIG lariat! Bushi runs to DIVE on Yoh! Shingo fires up, gets fans chanting, and he drags Sho up. Pumphandle fireman’s carry, driver! Aka, Made in Japan! Cover, LIJ wins!
Winner: Los Ingobernables de Japon, Shingo Takagi pinning
Not only was the Pumping Hawk impressive, but this new LIJ formation was a well-oiled machine! Will this supersized Junior Heavyweight be the key to the most ungovernable faction in NJPW taking over everything?
Vacant IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Kushida VS Marty Scurll!
The Time Splitter won his match in Kobe, while The Villain won his match in San Francisco. Only one can win in Ryogoku, who will be the NEW Junior Heavyweight Champion?
The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we begin! Scurll and Kushida stare down, being familiar with each other. They circle and change levels. They tie up but Scurll breaks early to circle again. Now they grapple, and Kushida gets a wristlock. He wrenches the wrist, but Scurll rolls, spins and reverses. Scurll rolls Kushida and keeps the hold. Kushida handsprings and rolls, and rolls, and rolls even after getting free. Scurll chases him around but Kushida stands, and dares Scurll to bring it. The fans still chant “Woop Woop!” as Scurll and Kushida tie up. Scurll breaks one hold to get in close and get a headlock. Kushida pries his way out, cartwheels to a facelock, and holds on as he rolls and floats all over Scurll. Scurll gets up, but Kushida grinds in his knuckles.
Scurll goes after Kushida’s wrist and gets to a hammerlock, then headlock. Kushida powers out and they collide, but neither falls. Kushida runs again, they collide again, but still neither falls. Scurll tries, but Kushida hops over him. Things speed up, hip toss into amrbar! Scurll makes it a cover, TWO! Kushida gets to a corner, Scurll walks over. Scurll blocks the boot but Kushida breaks free, to then sunset flip. Scurll rolls through, high stacks but Kushida rolls to sit on it, Scurll sunset flips. Now Kushida rolls through, high stacks, but Scurll sits for Kushida to sunset. Scurll reepeats the process, but Kushida does, too, and gets the cover, TWO!
Kushida brings Scurll up to chop, then run. Scurll uppercuts then runs to uppercut again! Kushida tumbles out but Scurll keeps moving, to hop onto the apron and SUPERKICK! Kushida is down with spit flying, and we go to break.
NJPW on AXS returns as Scurll fetches Kushida. He brings Kushida up for a chop, then another. Kushida staggers but gets into the ring. Scurll follows, blocks the kick and ducks the enziguri because he’s too smart. Scurll has the legs, and goes for the surfboard. He pulls back on the arms, and gets lift-off! Kushida endures, reaches but can’t get to ropes. Scurll can’t maintain Kushida’s balance so he lets him go. Fans continue to “Woop Woop!” as Scurll brings Kushida up. Scurll chops Kushida again, and again. He drags Kushida up for a EuroUpper, then another. Kushida backslide hooks, then spins Scurll out for a DDT! Both men are down but fans rally up.
Kushida and Scurll sit up, and Kushida heads for a corner. He runs at Scurll and rallies with forearms. He whips Scurll, hip toss, cartwheel dropkick! Kushida grits his teeth as he brings Scurll up for a shoulder breaker. He runs, tilt-o-whirl but Scurll works to block. Kushida gets the arm, but Scurll puts him on the apron. Kushida swing kicks Scurll back, and Scurll falls. Fans rally as Kushida goes to a corner. Kushida climbs, but Scurll stops him with an uppercut! Scurll climbs up, SUPERPLEX! But Kushida small packages! TWO, SUPERKICK! Both men are down again, but the “Woop Woop!” continues.
Scurll gets himself up with the help of ropes, and he goes over to Kushida. He chops, then grins as Kushida staggers. Kushida chops, then runs, but into a forearm. Scurll hits a roaring elbow, then shoves Kushida. Kushida comes back and rolls Scurll up, but Scurll sits on it, but Kushida sunset flips. TWO, high stack from Scurll, TWO as Kushida pops Scurll into place, TWO, Scurll sits on a deep stack, TWO!! So close yet so far for The Villain! Both men go to opposite ends, Kushida comes back with a roundhouse. Then another, and another. Kushida goes after the arm and whips, but Scurll reverses. Kushida handsprings but Scurll catches him into a backslide, TWO, SUPERKICK! Both men are down again but Kushida is dazed.
Fans continue to “Woop Woop!” for Scurll as he catches his breath. Scurll watches Kushida stir, and stands on his head. Kushida pushes his way up, so Scurll cravats and drives in knees. Kushida gets free and returns the cravat and knees! Scurll gets free to give more knees, but then Kushida does it back. Kushida gives a big knee lift, but both men throw heavy forearms. They both do it again, but then Kushida Pele kicks! Scurll staggers but comes back with a clothesline! Kushida stays standing, so Scurll takes off the elbow pads. Scurll runs, but they both clothesline! They both drop to their knees and both throw big haymakers! Double knockdown as we go to break!
NJPW on AXS returns and both men are still down. Fans “Woop Woop!” as they start to stir. A standing count begins, and passes 5 before either gets up. They stand at 7, and Scurll hits Kushida with a stiff EuroUpper! Scurll runs, but Kushida handspring kicks! Scurll bails out but Kushida climbs up top. Kushida wants the camera crews to give him space, but Scurll stops him from jumping. Scurll climbs up now, and brings Kushida up. Kushida fights back, and gets the double wristlock! Scurll fights back, they both stand up, SUPER ARMBAR TAKEDOWN!! Scurll is caught, but he manages to clasp his hands. He stands and they end up by ropes, Scurll guillotine catapults Kushida into the bottom rope!
Both men are down again but the fans rally up. Kushida gasps for air but Scurll stalks him to a corner. Kushida pushes him away, and then complete shots Scurll into the buckles! Scurll crawls away but Kushida is on him. Rolling facelock, but it’s Scurll who suplexes Kushida into the Chicken Wing! He wants the crossface, and gets it! Now Kushida is stuck as he endures the squeezes. He fades, but comes back, and rolls things over. Kushida rolls back, pops out, and goes to steal the Chicken Wing Crossface! Scurll pops out, and steals the Hoverboard! Kushida endures his own hold, clasping hands behind his back. Scurll pulls but Kushida stands up. Kushida spins through to arm-drag Scurll away! Then somersault, but misses the leap, and ends up in the Chicken Wing! Kushida reaches for ropes, so Scurll makes it a Chicken Wing suplex!
Both men are down, Kushida clutching his neck. Scurll catches his breath, and brings Kushida up. He double underhooks, but Kushida resists. Scurll still lifts, but Kushida slips out. Kushida fireman’s carry, into Air Raid! Kushida doesn’t cover but then he fires up and says he’ll finish this. He drags Scurll up, fisherman but Scurll gets the arm and stomps the hand! Scurll runs, but into a boot, and a floating wristlock takedown! Kushida can’t get his Hoverboard because his hands hurt. The referee checks the hands, but Kushida just kicks Scurll’s arm. Then, fisherman, but Back to the Future becomes Scurll’s cradle! TWO!! Scurll spins and lifts Kushida to a powerbomb! High stack cover, TWO, double underhook and package lift, package piledriver! Cover, TWO!!
Scurll keeps going, bringing Kushida up. He runs, big lariat! Then with a limp Kushida, he double underhooks. Kushida revives and slips out, but Scurll brings him down for a crossface. They roll together, Scurll gets the Chicken Wing, but Kushida fireman’s carry, to a Death Valley Driver! Roll through, Back to the Future!! Cover, Kushida wins!!
Winner: Kushida, by pinfall; NEW IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
The Time Splitter gets it down, bad fingers and all, to be a six-time IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion! His hands hurt too much to hold it up for long, but how long will he hold onto the belt?
Scurll says that “For those who don’t know, I actually live in Orlando now”, and the other day, he got on a plane for about 6 hours to San Francisco, then from there to Tokyo. It’s jet lag! He went to be at midnight, woke up at 3 AM! He’s been up since then, he’s tired! Kushida lives 20 minutes away! And rode his bicycle here! How is this fair? Why wasn’t this match in the US? Fans would’ve loved that, right? Scurll calls BS.
As for Kushida, he did it! He made his mark on 2018. This belt needed him and he needed the belt. “Holding it for the first time in a year”, he forgot how heavy it felt. Kushida knows that not just the previous champion, Hiromu, but all the previous champions “have had rebellious spirits.” Kushida carries those spirits with him now, to Ireland! To England! To Tag League, and to Wrestle Kingdom! The Time Splitter is determined to make the sixth time the best, who will come for the belt in the near future?
A pretty solid night for NJPW to start King of Pro Wrestling coverage. I really enjoyed seeing the LIJ debut of Shingo Takagi. He seems like a great addition to the team, and I can’t wait to see when Hiromu returns for a full six man LIJ. And now, with three Heavyweights and three Junior Heavyweights, LIJ could dominate both divisions. Hiromu might want the Junior Heavyweight Championship back, so Bushi and Shingo can go after the Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, and might get them. Then Sanada, Evil and Naito can do what they want in the Heavyweight Division, such as Evil & Sanada going after the tag titles again while Naito goes for the top prize.
But speaking of Junior Heavyweights and that title, Scurll VS Kushida was a great match, fitting of a tournament finals. The story was clear, these two knew each other so well and the spot of stealing submissions was perfect. Kushida winning makes a lot of sense, given Scurll does a lot more work in ROH, and has even teased moving up to true Heavyweight status. Scurll making excuses was pretty good, too, it keeps with his somewhat bratty Tweener personality. Kushida wants to carry the belt all the way to the New Year and WK13, that’ll be quite the story for him in the rest of the year.
My Score: 8.5/10