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NJPW PPV Coverage

NJPW King of Pro Wrestling 10/14/2019

Matt Davis steps back into the spotlight with his review and recap of New Japan’s King Of Pro Wrestling!



New Japan King Of Pro Wrestling Okada Ibushi

Matt Davis steps back into the spotlight with his review and recap of New Japan’s King Of Pro Wrestling!

Welcome to the event everyone has been waiting for since the G1 Climax ended! Annually this show is held in October, and features marquee rivalries coming to ahead as we set the stage for WrestleKingdom. Due to inclimate weather surrounding Typhoon Hagibis, several announced talent were not able to travel to Japan for this show. Due to time constraints of my own I will jumping into the action after the first couple matches with full details and summarizing the openers.

1) El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs SHO & YOH

Originally advertised as a six man tag featuring Zack Sabre Jr, this was turned into a regular tag team match and a preview for next weeks Super Jr Tag League Tournament. El Desperado made his return to NJPW after suffering a broken jaw in May. Suzuki-gun looked like they never missed a beat and picked up the opening win after a Pinche Loco at 10:55

Winners: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Rating: **
Thoughts: Average junior tag match between two experienced teams. There was no doubt Desperado wasn’t winning his return. Let’s see what happens next week in the Super Jr Tag. I think these guys have to be favorites after their dominant run with the Tag Titles last year.

2) Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomoaki Honma vs Togi Makabe & Toru Yano
“20th Anniversary Hiroshi Tanahashi NJPW Debut Match”

This was a cool match which was the fourth in a series of anniversary matches for The Ace, honoring his longevity and loyalty to the company he helped rejuvinate over a decade ago. Makabe and Toru Yano have been with him along the way in the company, and Honma is a long time tag parter of Togi Makabe, so seeing the four veterans go at it with low stakes was fun. Tanahashi picked up the win after a High Fly Flow on Yano in under 10 minutes.

Winners: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomoaki Honma
Rating: *1/2
Thoughts: Nothing wrong with it, nothing special about it either. I’m not a huge fan of Tanahashi at this stage of his career. Other people love him, it’s fine. He hit his spots, was a basic tag with NJPW veterans.

3) Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi vs DOUKI & Taichi

Early heel action by DOUKI and Taichi, because everyone hates Taichi. The feud with Naito and Taichi goes way back, when both were juniors. Taichi upset Naito in the G1 this year. With Takagi moving to the heavyweight division, there was a lot of story here and a proving ground for Taichi and Takagi as they tried to earn a reputation as guys that can “go”. Noshigami got a near fall at the end, but Taichi broke it up. Taichi attacked Shingo with his microphone for the rare disqualification finish in under 9 minutes.

Winners: Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi
Grade: *
Thoughts: So far this card has been extremely dull, and outside some excitement that we had near the end of this, there wasn’t much to it. I wished we got some more story. Disqualifications are extremely rare in New Japan, and it really sucks the finish away. No reason Naito couldn’t have gotte a pin on DOUKI and told the same story. As we head towards WK, I have to wonder if they’re building to Naito vs Taichi.

4) KISHIN Liger vs Minoru Suzuki

This is the match we’ve all been waiting for, and where I will begin reviewing the show. For those who need some background on why the title of this match says “KISHIN” and not “Jyushin”: In October 1996, The Great Muta had ripped off Liger’s mask during a match, but Liger stood up and revealed an all white painted face with red streaks, and white body paint, which was a much more aggressive version of Jushin Liger. He named this character KUSHIN Liger. He used the character again in 2006 in a feud with Bad Boy Hido, and again in 2012 against Taichi. In 2019, Minoru Suzuki assaulted Liger during his 30th anniversary, tearing at his mask, telling Liger he did not want to face Jushin, he wanted KISHIN. On September 22nd, the demonic alternative version of Thunder Liger finally returned, attacking Suzuki with a railroad spike, trainers, young lions, and even Hiroshi Tanahashi. Suzuki got his wish, and the match was made for tonight. Jyushin Thunder Liger will be retiring at WrestleKingdom in 2020, this being one of his final single matches.

Kevin Kelly tells us that this match could be considered a blood feud, dating back 17 years. Kelly tells us that Suzuki beat Liger in an MMA match in 2002, which was Liger’s only MMA match in his career. We are told that tonight Jyushin will be wrestling as Battle Liger tonight, which is a different character than either other character we’ve seen leading up to this match, only seeing it in 2012, and only two other times prior to tonight (against Tiger Mask and in 2002 and Hashimoto in 1994). We are told Liger might kill Minoru Suzuki tonight.

They circle around each other, trying to look for any advantage. Liger spits at Suzuki, and lays down on the mat, taunting Suzuki to wrestle him. Suzuki gets on the mat trying to twist him like a preztler and they square away to cheers. Liger into a drop toe hold but Suzuki blocks into a wristlock early! Suzuki is trying to break Liger’s arm, finally Liger gets to the ropes ad Minoru Suzuki is pissed. He lays flat on his mat now, but feigns out and tries to sweep Liger. Liger mounts now, as Suzuki cradles into a leglock but LIier reverses into a TRIANGLE! Suzulo frantic and backs up and gets a break. Liger refuses to break, as the referees warns him several times before breaking. Dropkick rolls Suzuki under the bottom rope. They begin to brawl outside. OW! Liger launches Suzuki chest first at full speed into the barricade. Liger smashes a chair on the cold steel as the referee stops LIger from using it, and Suzuki boots the chair into Liger now. Suzuki crashes Liger into the barricade now, cracking a chair across his back several times and then in the shoulder!

Suzuki wraps Liger’s arm and shoulder around the barricade and tries to break his arm again. Referee breaks it up, and Suzuki berates and chokes the referee. Suzuki begins tearing at the Battle Liger mask to boos. They stand face to face as Suzuki tries to rip it off again as they exchange slaps and chest strikes. On the apron, Suzuki tries to unmask Liger again, and drapes Liger’s arm across the top rope with a cross armbreaker screaming “IM GOING TO BREAK HIS ARM!” swinging back and forth on the ropes to boos. Liger rolling around in a lot of pain. Suzuki is really targeting the arm here.We are reminded that 7 years ago Suzuki wrestled one of the finest wrestling matches ever at King of Pro Wrestling against Hiroshi Tanahashi, but tonight it will be far from that. Huge headbutt drops Liger, before a hard right hand drops him again. Suzuki tells Liger to get up and stops the referee from counting him down. Liger up and open palm strikes, Suzuki with a boot and Liger collapses against the ropes. In the corner, huge boot by Suzuki, LIger blocks the PK! Running forearm chop across the nose and Suzuko shrugs it off and charges out of the corner! FIGHTING SPIRIT!!

Suzuki with elbows and is caught with a hard clothesline by Liger across the jaw to cheers! Capo Kick! Liger tries the Brainbuster into the rear naked choke! Suzuki doesn’t want it to end as he drops a limp Liger, Liger playing possum into a deep octopus double arm bar! Suzuki screaming in pain as Liger twists the shoulder and arm. He’s screaming “ASK HIM!” Suzuki somersaults out of of the hold into the ropes for a break. Liger with a hard kick on the shoulder he just twisted. Twisting armbreaker! Suzuki blocks, but Liger does it again! Suzuki in tremendous amounts of pain. Liger with a third one- NO BLOCKED INTO THE CHOKE! Liger escapes with a snapmare, and Suzuki holds onto the choke on the mat! Liger is fading… Referee lifts the limp arm twice and Liger gets to his feet. Suzuki teases a Gotch, and Liger blocks as the crowd starting to cheer. Liger back body drop! Lou Thesz Press into a pin for two and Suzuki gets out! VERTICAL DROP BRAINSBUSTERRRRRR!!!!! SUZUKI KICKS OUT!!!! ONE OF THE MOST PROTECTED MOVES IN JAPAN!!!! Suzuki kicked out! Liger signals for the end, and Suzuki with a hard dropkick!! Open palm strikes to a prone Liger who can’t protect himself as he stumbles, but roars back with his own fighting spirit! Crowd erupts! Suzuki slaps his own face! This is insane! Liger with his own chest strikes and slaps! Suzuki stares into Liger’s soul and smiles! Suzuki reponds with lightning fast strikes! Liger drops and stands again to cheers, but stumbles before he can connect with a strike. Liger with a slap! Suzuki says more! Forearm! Slap! Slap! Suzuki wants more! HARD STRIKE BY LIGER! Suzuki elbows Liger flat. Referee checking on Liger. Liger up with strikes and they yell in each others face. As hard as anyone can strike, Liger breaks sweat off Suzuki’s chest with an open palm strike, and Suzuki with a quick elbow strike into the Stalling Gotch Style Piledriver. Suzuki gets three for the win in 18 minutes.

Winner: Minoru Suzuki
Grade: ***
Thoughts: I honestly went from super excited about this match to disappointed before the bell rang, as I thought this would be Kishin Liger against Suzuki. Battle Liger still was a good character to use, as they absolutely kicked the crap out of each other here. Big, big difference between what we saw here and Liger’s usual stuff. The crowd loved it, it was reminiscent of older New Japan stuff, and both of them knew that. I can’t believe Suzuki kicked out of the Brainbuster. It’s one of the most protected moves in Japanese wrestling. This match was different for so many reasons, but it wasn’t a epic, so I gave it three stars out of five. Great story, electric atmosphere, great strong style, but it ended a little quicker than I was expecting, and as I mentioned, slightly disappointed that it was Battle Liger and not Kishin.

After the match Minoru Suzuki gets a chair and gets in the ring as the young lions tend on Liger, Suzuki tries to destroy Liger once and for all as he raises the chair above his head, and throws it away. He kneels in front of a prone Liger, and bows down to Liger as the fans erupt with cheers! A moment that this crowd will remember forever. The ultimate form of respect. Suzuki marches away quickly as Liger gets helped to his feet. Liger takes a microphone and says “Suzuki, thank you” and throws the mic down as his music hits for one of the last times. The crowd is chanting “LIGER LIGER” as he walks away.

5) El Phantasmo vs IWGP Jr Champion Will Ospreay

El Phantasmo won the Super J Cup in August, eliminating Ospreay in the semi-finals. Phantasmo has been haunting and attacking Ospreay at every corner. After Ospreay and Robbie Eagles couldn’t beat Phantasmo and Ishimori for thr Jr Tag Titles, Ospreay said Phantasmo will never beat him for the Jr Heavyweight Title. We are told ELP was able to make it to the show as he was training in the NJPW Dojo when the typhoon hit as the Doho was flooded and the moved memorabilia upstairs all night protecting the history of New Japan. Kevin Kelly told us Bullet Club will not be at ringside during this match as Phantasmo wanted to prove he could beat Ospreay by himself and clean. Ospreay won the Best of the Super Juniors in June, and won the IWGP Jr Championship at Dominion, but if Phantasmo can win here, he would be the reigning RevPro Cruiserweight Champion, one half of the IWGP Jr Tag Champions, the Super J Cup and British J Cup winner. He could sweep all the junior accolades with a win here.

Ospreay refuses a handshake as they lock up. Against the ropes, ELP breaks and taps Ospreay on the chest. Armdrag into a headlock into a press, snapmare, both men flip around to cheers, monkeyflip, missed clothesline, hurricanrana by ELP, Ospreay misses a roundhouse kick to cheers and ELP backs up. Ospreay says he was inches away from winning. Ospreay again refuses a handshake. ELP wants a test of strength and Ospreay accepts as they clash together. ELP forces down Ospreay at first but he fights back and drives ELP down into a bridge. They exchange rolls and flips into a double pin. Both escape into mirror bridges, eyes locked. ELP with a slap in the bridge. Both men up and The Aerial Assassin with his own slap! ELP with a knife edged chop! Ospreay with his own and ELP drops! They exchange forearms and ELP stumbles. Ospreay is fighting for his life, as they come to blows. Ospreay accuses ELP of hitting him in the eye as he drops down. ELP says it was an accident and offers his hand and respectfully lifts Ospreay to his feet to cheers before driving Ospreay throat first in the corner to boos! ELP blocks a forearm, and walks the ropes launching Ospreay outside. Handspring into the ropes, backflip into the superhero pose mocking Ospreay!

Ospreay with a quick Pip Pip Cheerio! HANDSPRING BACK FLIP MOONSAULT OVER THE TOP ROPE! Ospreay drags ELP around ringside to cheers. Ospreay tosses ELP into the crowd!! WOW! He tossed him over ten feet into the commentary teams. Phantasmo with a chair shot out of no where! He says “Whoops” (hahahahah). They’re brawling in the crowd now. Commentary is limited. Phantasmo climbs into a stairwell, as Ospreay meets him on the other side. They’re standing ten feet above concrete. Both of them teetering, Ospreay flips but fights back. OSPREAY TEASES THE STORMBREAKER BUT ELP BLOCKS! Ospreay slips and falls down to the walk way below. SUICIDE CROSSBODY DIVE TO THE FLOOR BY EL PHANTASMO!!!!!! ELP drags Ospreay back to ringside and is in complete control.

Cover in the ring, and Ospreay barely kicks out. ELP sends Ospreay chest into the opposite corner and rakes his back. Ospreay put in the tree of woe. Dropkick to the face! Phantasmo fakes another one and drops a boot in the groin. As Phantasmo poses, Ospreay lifts himself up ad nails a german suplex while in the tree of woe! HARD KNIFE EDGE CHOP in the corner by Ospreay! Ospreay blocks a springboard strike with a dropkick to the chest! Twisting handspring kick to the face! Ospreay poses on the corner, misses a moonsault, misses a standing moonsault, nails a standing shooting star, and a second rope moonsault for two! Ospreay tries a Stormbreaker but ELP blocks. Ospreay signals for the Hidden Blade but ELP blocks. They dodge attacks and ELP with an enzuguiri in the corner! Phantasmo with a Frankensteiner and OSPREAY LANDS ON HIS FEET! ELP escapes the dragonsuplex, ducks the hook kick, step up enzo by ELP! Ospreay blocks a move into a cutter, ELP blocks the OsCutter into a reverse airplane spin! Both me down!

On the apron, El Phantasmo in control, Ospreay blocks the CRII as both men fight on the apron. Ospreay blocks the CRII again, and knocks ELP silly with a roundhouse kick! OS CUTTER TO THE OUTSIDE!!! Both men down as the count begins. Ospreay in at 11, ELP in at 19.98! COAST TO COAST BY OSPREAY! SHOOTING STAR PRESS! Phantasmo kicked out at two and a half! Robinson Special connects! OS CUTTERRRRR!!!! Hooks the leg and Taiji Ishimori pulls the referee out to a lot of boos! Ishimori grabs the IWGP Jr Championship, but Robbie Eagles makes the save and destroys Ishimori with a cannonball through the ropes and drags Ishimori to the back!
ELP grabs the IWGP Jr Championship now, ELP swings, Ospreay ducks, HOOK KICK! ELP is done! HIDDE BLADE MISSES! LOW BLOW BY ELP! Shot with the title to the face! He throws the title outside. ELP to the top, diving splash! Ospreay out at two! Cheeky Nando kick by ELP mocking Ospreay using his own move. Both men up top now. ELP with a spinning reverse fireman carry! Ospreay kicks out again! ELP tries the CRII. Ospreay blocks, BUT ELP NAILS THE STYLES CLASH!!!! OSPREAY KICKS OUT!! V TRIGGER BY ELP! Ospreay reverses the One Winged Angel into a cradle! Kickout! SUPERKICK BY ELP! SPANISH FLY BY Ospreay and both men down!
They’re exchanging blows in the middle of the ring as both men exhausted. They’re empting all they have. ROUNDHOUSE! Forearm! HOOK KICK! ELP is dazed! ROUNDHOUSE! ELP drops to his knees! CANADIAN DESTROYER DDT SPIKES ELP! Ospreay covers and Phantasmo kicks out! Ospreay to the top rope to cheers. Phantasmo kicks the referee into the ropes and Ospreay crumbles. Ospreay blocks the Super CRII on the top rope. Headbutt by ELP! OSPREAY BLOCKS THE SUPER FRANKENSTEINER WITH A POWERBOMB!!!!! Ospreay pulls the elbow pad down…. HIDDEN BLADE! ELP HEAD FELL OFF HIS SHOULDERS! STORMBREAKER! WIN! 28 minutes

Winner AND STILL IWGP Jr Champion: Will Ospreay
Grade: ****1/4
Thoughts: You ever watch a match and know you’re watching a breakout match for someone? Think Kenny Omega against KUSHIDA at Dominion 2015, you knew Omega was going to be special soon. This match was that moment for El Phantasmo. Several iconic moments, the suicide crossbody into the walkway was absolutely insane. You don’t see that too much in Japan, and haven’t in a major professional wrestling promotion in a while. They brought out tributes to multiple famous junior heavyweights through wrestling history. The Hidden Blade at the end was brutal. I really don’t like matches that get dirty, but the very minor interference and cheating didn’t affect this match in the least bit, so it’s okay. What a great match between two guys who work so well together. Ospreay’s offense is just so crisp and devestating. His striking ability is unlike anyone else in wrestling. Not KENTA, not Shibata, not Ibushi, no one can compare to how fast he can strike. The Roundhouse near the end was one of the stiffest shots I’ve ever seen, clean on the ear. Really fun stuff.

6) “CHAOS” Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, & YOSHI-HASHI vs “Bullet Club” Jay White, KENTA, Yujiro Takahashi

This is going to be another quick review, as six man tag matches are often dull affairs, with some stories, but not much consequence. Not sure why this match wasn’t fourth on the card. If anything, a true definition of a crowd break match. Jay White defeated Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Championship at Destruction in Kobe on September 22nd, so Bullet Club has some gold around their waists here (coming up short of another in the previous match).
KENTA dominated most of the match, after beating Ishii for the NEVER Open Championship at Royal Quest, KENTA looks to prove a statement to CHAOS and future NEVER Openweight challengers, but it was Hirooki Goto who laid claim to an opportunity as he pinned Yujiro Takahashi with the GTR as KENTA and Jay White looked on in 12 minutes.

Winners: Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, & YOSHI-HASHI
Grade: **
Thoughts: Average six man tag between two groups of upper mid card guys. You get the usual Bullet Club/Jay White dirty stuff, and KENTA being a prick, but the fans went home happy with this one as Yujiro Takahashi ate the pin. Killed the flow of the show having this here, even if it involves some of the bigger names in the company.

7) Lance Archer vs Juice Robinson

This match was supposed to be Jon Moxley against Juice Robinson but Moxley could not travel to Japan due to the typhoon. This match was made instead. Lance Archer stepped into this opportunity due to a strong showing in G1 and the Fighting Spirit Tour. Juice Robinson is a former 2 time IWGP US Champion. Lance Archer is a former 3 time IWGP Tag Team Champion, former 4 time NWA Tag Team Champion (2 with Davey Boy Smith and 2 with Kid Kash), former 2 time GHC Tag Team Champion in NOAH, but he’s never held singles gold in a major promotion. Jon Moxley has now missed AEW’s All Out and NJPW’s King of Pro Wrestling in six weeks time for various reasons.
Archer starts trying a chokeslam, Juice a low blow and with an inside cradle for two! Juice with a spear to the outside! Juice immediately grabs a chair and drives it into Archer’s ribs and back! Juice throws Archer full speed into the barricade!! He posts him! Archer down! Juice tries a cannonball but Archer with a big boot on the outside! Juice blocks a chokeslam, but Archer gets it a second time through a table in the crowd! Archer with a steel chair across the back and holds the US Championship up to cheers. Archer tears off the turnbuckle pads in all the corners as this match is about to get dangerous.

Archer gets a chair and threatens the referee as Juice is still crawling around outside. Archer takes chairs and sticks them between the turnbuckles. He assaults Juice one more time for good measure. Archer gets another table and slides it in the ring as Archer is creating his own Murder House now. EVERYBODY DIES as he assaults the Young Lions at ringside. He puts the tables in the corners that don’t have chairs. Archer throws Juice face first into one of the chairs. Juice Robinson dislocated one of his fingers as he looks to be in a bit of pain, showing the finger to the camera. Archer sends Juice into the second chair, and tries a pin but Juice kicks out. Juice’s nose is now busted open as well. Archer grabs Juice’s arm and walks the top rope half way around the entire ring. Juice finally trips him up to cheers. Juice with a headbutt. Robinson tries a superplex and drops Archer back first!! Juice tries a pin and Archer kicks out! Juice with the Dizzy Jabs! Juice tries Left Hand of God, Archer blocks, RIGHT JAB! LEFT HAND OF GOD CONNECTS! Cannonball through the table! Juice with a pin and Archer kicks out.

Juice plays the crowd, Archer reverses Pulp Friction, POUNCE THROUGH THE TABLE IN THE CORNER! Both men down and dazed. Archer rolls outside and goes under the ring looking for more destruction. Juice is outside throwing chairs in the ring on the other side. Archer is getting more chairs. Both in the ring with chairs, Archer misses a swing, Juice misses, Archer with a right hand through the chair into Juice’s face! Juice is flat out! Chokeslam reversed. EBD CLAW! NO JUICE REVERSES INTO THE JUICEBOX! Hooks the leg and Archer kicks out! Juice is stacking chairs in the middle of the ring. Juice sets Archer and tries Pulp Friction, reversed into a Chokeslam onto the pile of chairs!! Archer piles them back together and grabs Juice as he teases the Blackout off the top through the chairs… MURDER HOUSE OPEN FOR BUSINESS!! Archer pins and JUICE KICKS OUT!!!!! Archer slamming Juice’s head into the chairs. EBD CLAW! Three count in the middle of the ring and we have a new IWGP US CHAMPION in 15 minutes!! Lance Archer has done it! WOW! What a upset!

Grade: **1/2
Thoughts: For a impromptu brawl, this was fun. There was a lot of destruction, several tables went kaboom, several chairs were destroyed, and Juice’s finger and face also had better days. Juice wrestled with a dislocated finger most of a match against an opponent he wasn’t planning on facing. Gritty performance for Juice here. Archer gets a great moment as he has arrived in Japan as a singles star.

8) Kota Ibushi vs EVIL

Kota Ibushi defeated Jay White in the finals of the G1 on August 12th, guaranteeing an opportunity to face the IWGP Champion at WrestleKingdom. He must defend that opportunity here against who many regard as the spiritual successor to big brawlers like Masahiro Chono and Hiroyoshi Tenzan in New Japan; “The King of Darkness” EVIL.

EVIL attacks at the bell trying to gain an immediate upper hand to head to the Toyko Dome. EVIL with a strong side headlock early on, wearing down Kota. Kota tries to fight out but EVIL locks it in tighter and harder. Ibushi finally escapes, EVIL with a strong shoulder tackle, Ibushi kips up, and EVIL with another side headlock, dragging this one to the mat. Ibushi up, strikes and kicks EVIL hard. He follows up with multiple mid kicks. EVIL blocks another and drives Ibushi upside down over the top rope with a clothesline! Ibushi back first into the ringside barricade crashing in hard! EVIL with a receipt!

EVIL in control in the ring, swinging neckbreaker and Kota kicks out at one easily. EVIL with knee in the back, angling pressure betwee the shoulder blades but Ibushi powers out but EVIL with a double wrist lock and Ibushi can’t escape. Ibushi tries to leverage. He finally outpowers, and EVIL reverses again, dropping Ibushi to the mat, driving the knee in deep. Ibushi with a desperation mid kick! Martial art kick combo, powerslam, into the moonsault and EVIL kicks out! They exchange tie ups, Ibushi misses a springboard kick, and EVIL ties Ibushi in the corner and drives Ibushi into the mat with a stomp to the heart. EVIL tries a bronco buster, and Ibushi counters into his own double stomp! On the apron, EVIL counters a deadlift german ito a cutter across the top rope! EVIL down outside, Ibushi down inside. EVIL wraps a chair around Ibushi’s head and hits a homerun! Its gone! EVIL crushes Ibushi i the corner and is in complete control. Superplex by EVIL, and Ibushi kicks out at two and a half!
EVIL dodges a dropkick at the 10 minute mark, and EVIL stalks the G1 winner, tries a misdirection lariat, but Ibushi with a headscissors! Both men on the top rope, EVIL with a devestating headbutt, but Ibushi with a springboard hurricanrana off the top! Two count! EVIL blocks the Kamigoye. German suplex by EVIL but Ibushi lands on his feet! Both men try hard forearms and are blocked! LARIATTTTTTTTTTTTT BY EVIL! HOOKS THE LEG! KICK OUT!! EVIL connects with Darkness Falls, Ibushi kicks out! Ibushi reverses Everything Is Evil into a roll up, two! KOTA IBUSHI WITH A BASTARD DRIVER!!!! Ibushi can’t make the cover. LAST RIDE! EVIL kicks out at 2.9! SO CLOSE! Shinsuke Nakamura tribute, LARIAT KILLS IBUSHI DEAD ON HIS FEET TURNING HIM INSIDE OUT!! Both men down! PUMPING BOMBER CONNECTS! EVIL hooks the leg, Ibushi kicks out! IBushi blocks Everything Is Evil, wristlock, waistlock briding german! EVIL rolls through, Kamigoye blocked! Half and half suplex by EVIL! Another half and half suplex! EVIL can’t get the pin… The rug was pulled out from Ibushi as he thought he had it won. LARIAT BY KOTA IBUSHI!!! EVIL flips inside out! Kamigoye reversed into Everything Is Evil but Kota blocks, tries a standing Kamigoye, EVIL WITH A HEADBUTT! Kota with a headbutt! High kick! Jumping Knee, KAMIGOYE! EVIL KICKED OUT!!!!!! EVIL KICKED OUT!!! KAMIGOYE AGAIN! That’s it at 24 minutes.

Winner: Kota Ibushi
Grade: ***3/4
Thoughts: This match started so unbelievably slow, it was grueling, but the second half was worth the wait. The winner was basically undeniable, I don’t think we will ever see a G1 winner dropping the contract at King of Pro Wrestling, but if they can give us matches like this, that’s perfectly fine. EVIL dominated this match, one of his best matches of all time. His thunderous powerful offense has begun to find its spot here in New Japan and the crowd just loves him. Ibushi played the come from behind guy well, hitting several quality spots. The last three minutes is just so crisp and exciting.

9) SANADA vs IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada

This is the seventh singles meeting between these two, with Okada holding a 5-1 all time record against SANADA, but that one loss is what led to this title match, with SANADA all but eliminating Okada from the G1 (after a 6-0 start) with his upset victory over The Rainmaker. The IWGP Championship has not changed hands at KIng of Pro Wrestling since 2014, when Hiroshi Tanahashi beat AJ Styles.

Okada tries to start off hot with a shotgun dropkick but SANADA side steps, both men with bombs right away. SANADA dodges the Dropkick multiple times. SANADA to the top with the Muta Moonsault but misses, Rainmaker misses, Skull End escaped, and both men miss dropkicks as they square away.

Okada tries a waistlock but SANADA controls and gets up. SANADA with a slow pace, trying to gain any advatage. Okada reverses into a wristlock and SANADA reverses into a backlock, headlock by SANADA, both men against the ropes. Okada teases a strike and taps SANADA’s chest. Hard shoulderblock by Okada knocking SANADA off his feet. Slow neckbreaker by Okada, pins, and SANADA kicks out. Okada with a chinlock and SANADA gets to the ropes, dropkick to the ear knocks the challenger outside, and Okada follows. They exchange blows outside the ring. SANADA back first ito the barricade ad boots SANADA into the crowd! Draping DDT and SANADA reverses, twisting suplex off the barricade face first into the floor! SANADA with a fireman carry dropping Okada rib first on the barricade. Okada rolls in at 17. SANADA pins and gets two. Hard crushing back elbow in the corner by SANADA, snapmare into a pin press and gets two. Headlock by SANADA trying to weaken and drain the life from the champion. Okada blocks a splash with a boot, both men exchange maneuvers, SANADA misses the standing moonsault and Okada with an uppercut and both men down…

Okada kips up first, running forearm, forearm, ducks clotheslines, and drops SANADA with a hooking clothesline of his own! Thumping collison in the corner, SPIKING DDT by Okada, into the cover and SANADA kicks out at two. SANADA Flair flops to the apron, but Okada dropkicks him off the apron to the floor into the barricade. SANADA again into the barricade and again with a boot into the crowd. Okada HIGH SPEED DIVING CROSSBODY OVER THE BARRICADE SENDING SANADA INTO THE CROWD!!! Referee starts to count SANADA out… Okada stops the referee from counting SANADA out at 17 as SANADA stumbles into the ring and collapses at Okada’s feet. A hard right forearm drops SANADA. SANADA to his feet trying to fight back but OKada is just too much dropping SANADA again, followed by a powerslam. Okada to the top rope, SANADA up and leapfrogs Okada into a Dropkick! Springboard suicide splash to the floor byh SANADA as the crowd chanting and cheering for the challenger. SANADA plays up the crowd walking around the ring..

SANADA rolls Okada under the bottom rope and gets Okada in the Paradise Lock to cheers! SANADA plays up the crowd who loves is, SANADA sets and dropkicks the quad, freeing Okada, into the pin for two. Both men exchange counters, SANADA misses the moonsault prelude to Skull End, Shotgun Dropkick sends SANADA into the corner! Okada climbs to the top rope.. MISSILE SHOTGUN DROPKICK FROM THE TOP! Powerslam and Okada back to the top rope. Diving elbowsmash! RAINMAKKKKKKEERRRRRRR POSE!!!!!!!! SANADA ducks the Rainmaker into Skull End, Okada escapes, back into Skull End, cradle for two by Okada, SANADA tries a TKO, Okada escapes, Skull End! Okada reverses into a tombstone attempt but SANADA reverses and drops the champion with a spiking tombstone! TKO! Lateral press pin and two and a half! SANADA locks in the Bodyscissor Skull End in the middle of the ring. Okada trying to flail but SANADA trying to drain the life from Okada. Okada slowly fading… Okada slips out but SANADA locks it back in!! Okada is worse for wear, Okada going limp. Okada slips out again, trying to get to the ropes, but SANADA LOCKS IT IN A FULL BODYSCISSORS! NOT TODAY! SANADA YANKS BACK! This match should be over! Okadas’ eyes are fading. Referee checking on Okada. One hand up and down. Two hands up… Okada fights out into a roll up! Two! SANADA continues the ground mount, maintaining arm control. Okada blocks Skull End. OKada trying for leverage, SANADA trying for SKull End, flips and RAINMAKER!!!!!!! Okada took a few extra moments before trying a pin and SANADA kicked out!

Both men on their knees giving each other their all as we approach the 30 minute mark.. SANADA with hard forearms. Okada with an elbow. SANADA with a strike, Both men up. Okada with a hard forearm to the chin. Forearm by SANADA! Back and forth! Faster and harder! Uppercut by Okada! SANADA with an uppercut of his own. Okada with an uppercut. SANADA stumbles Okada with a uppercut! Okada with another! SANADA responds! Okada drops to the mat! Okada ducks a rolling elbow, SANADA ducks Rainmaker, Okada reverses Skull End into his own! Dropkick to back of the head! DROPKICK OFF THE ROPES! SANADA ducks Rainmaker, cutter out of the corner into the SKULL END! Okada fading! His arm dropping limp. SANADA spins the champion and drops in the hooks! Okada looks out! His eyes are grey! SANADA rolls Okada away from the ropes! Referee checking on Okada….. is he out? Okada eyes are closed. Referee asking Okada if he’s still with us. Referee checks the hand… Okada waving a fourth of a inch in a circle. SANADA tries a cover and OKADA KICKS OUT! MUTO MOONSAULT!!!!!! TRIES ANOTHER AND OKADA GETS THE KNEES UP! Both me down! SANADA could have gone to WrestleKingdom right there but he wanted to send a message and paid the price! Okada is out, stumbling around, barely able to grab the ropes, dazed. SANADA first to his feet as the crowd erupts. Okada with a defensive desperation boot, Moonsault into Skull End! Okada reverses into his own Skull End, TOMBSTONE! RAINMAKER BLOCKED WITH A BOOT! Rainmaker ducked! O’connor roll and the crowd is going crazy! TWO! ONLY TWO! RAINMAKER DUCKED! Tombstone reversed into Skull END! SANNADA SPINS THE CHAMPION AROUND, Okada armdrags out! Dropkick at the 35 minute mark! Rainmaker ducked, Okada ducks SANADA’s Rainmaker, popup dropkick! ROLLING ELBOW BY SANADA! OKada blocks the twisting cutter into the tombstone but SANADA tries to choke him, Michinoku Driver by OKada RAINMAKERRRRRRRRRRR GETS THREE! And still IWGP CHAMPION AT 37 MINUTES KAZUCHIKA OKADA!

Winner AND STILL IWGP Champion: Kazuchika Okada
Grade: ****1/2
Thoughts: They were testing the waters here, this was a fantastic match that told an awesome story. For all intents ad purposes if we were grading points, SANADA would be our new champion after this, after countering everything Okada had at every step of the way, completely draining him not once but twice with Skull End. But it wasn’t enough, and the Rainmaker finally connected for the successful defense as we look forward to Kazuchika Okada vs Kota Ibushi. Honestly, I’m not looking forward to that and I don’t think Ibushi will win. I would really love to see these two at it. I loved their New Japan Cup match, I loved their G1 match, and I loved this match. SANADA is often criticized for sandbagging matches, but Okada brings the best out of him. I think we saw the dawning of SANADA here and I think he will win G1 in 2020. Okada is still our champ, SANADA won our hearts and minds.

Overall Show Grade: 6/10
Overall Show Thoughts: King of Pro Wrestling is often regarded as a premier event, citing Minoru Suzuki/Tanahashi in 2012, and Tanahashi/Okada in 2013 as examples of some of the best matches in the modern era, in wrestling period both taking place at this event. Tonight had some amazing matches, but it also had it’s fair share of clunkers. All the tags were less than special, really not moving the meter much.

Top 5 Stars:

2) Minoru Suzuki/Jyushin Liger
3) El Phantasmo
4) Will Ospreay
5) Kazuchika Okada

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Mitchell’s NJPW Royal Quest II Results & Report! (10/1/22)

NJPW returns to the UK!



NJPW Royal Quest II

NJPW + FTR + UK = A classic in the making!

NJPW returns to the UK, and FTR is coming with them! Cash & Dax defend the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships against the NJPW Strong Tag Team Champions, Aussie Open!


  • Gabriel Kidd VS Dan Moloney; wins.
  • Great-O-Khan & Gideon Gray VS Michael Oku & Ricky Knight Jr; win.
  • Kanji & Jazzy Gabbert VS Alex Windsor & Ava White; win.
  • Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Suzuki-Gun; wins.
  • Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii VS JONAH & Bad Dude Tito; win.
  • 8 Man Tag: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tama Tonga, Hikuleo & Jado VS Bullet Club; win(s).
  • IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: FTR VS Aussie Open; wins and
  • Will Ospreay VS Shota Umino; wins.


[NJPW has scheduled Royal Quest II for “On Demand,” coverage will begin when video is available]


IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: FTR VS Aussie Open; wins and

This one has been a long time coming! Music City Mayhem saw the United Empire win a Six Man Tag, but they pinned Alex Zayne. Can Kyle Fletcher & Mark Davis beat Cash Wheeler & Dax Harwood 2v2? Or will the #ForeverTripleReign continue for the joint ROH, AAA & IWGP Tag Team Champions?



Will Ospreay VS Shota Umino

Speaking of title fights, The Commonwealth Kingpin just retained his IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship against David Finlay, only to find Tetsuya Naito AND Zack Sabre Jr. are after him! Will Ospreay be able to keep his focus tonight? Or will #SHOOTER hit a bull’s eye and add himself to that title picture?


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Mitchell’s NJPW Burning Spirit Results & Report! (9/25/22)

A red hot finale!



There’s even more gold on the line than before!

NJPW finishes Burning Spirit with THREE red hot championship showdowns! Will the Rebel, David Finlay, dethrone the United Empire’s Commonwealth Kingpin, Will Ospreay?


  • Six Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Bullet Club; LIJ wins.
  • Toru Yano VS Doc Gallows; Double Count-Out.
  • Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb VS Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale; Khan & Cobb win.
  • SANADA & Tetsuya Naito VS Dangerous Tekkers; Tekkers win.
  • Six Man Tag: Kazuchika Okada, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma VS TMDK; TMDK wins.
  • Tama Tonga & Jado VS Jay White & Taiji Ishimori; White & Ishimori win.
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions: TJP & Francesco Akira VS Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato; TJP & Akira win and retain the titles.
  • NEVER Openweight Championship: Karl Anderson VS Hiroshi Tanahashi; Anderson wins and retains the title.
  • IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay VS David Finlay; Ospreay wins and retains the title.


IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions: TJP & Francesco Akira VS Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato!

The United Empire took these titles away from Team Six or Nine on the New Japan Road, but Taguchi & Wato have found their road back! Will the Funky Weapon & Way of the Grandmaster be able to return the favor? Or will they fall to the Public Enemy & Nova Fireball?

The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and the rebellion begins!

Teams sort out and Taguchi starts against Akira. They circle and fans rally up. Akira talks some trash on Taguchi but Taguchi tells him to shut up and tag TJP. Akira is upset but he obliges, and TJP steps in. But then Taguchi backs down to tag Wato. Why start this off then? TJP rushes in and runs Wato over! Things speed up and TJP handsprings over Wato to then sidestep and hurdle. Wato leaps over, arm-drags TJP around but TJP headscissors. Wato kips free but TJP gets him for the twisting headscisosrs! Wato headscissors back and holds on tight. TJP headstands and fans applaud as he holds it. TJP then powers free and pats Wato on the knee.

TJP Penalty Kicks but Wato ducks under to roll TJP up. TWO, Wato sweeps the legs to cover, ONE! TJP goes for the sweep but Wato jumps over it, and then Wato pats TJP on the shoulders. Fans applaud and TJP is annoyed. TJP and Wato circle, but then Akira attacks from behind! TJP knocks Taguchi down, the Empire double whip Wato, TJP SOBATS, Akira front KICKS, TJP low KICKS, and Akira SHOTGUNS Wato down! Fans fire up for that speedy combo, and they clap, “A! KI-RA!” “T! J P!” “EM-PIRE!” The Empire double whip, double kick, but Wato ducks they double bulldog to DOUBLE DROPKICK them back!

Taguchi returns, he goes after Akira and Wato hits TJP. They go corner to corner to back elbow TJP and Akira, and then Taguchi sets up for WATO IN MOTION! Taguchi eggs Akira on and Akira rushes in, only for Taguchi to send that dropkick into TJP! Taguchi & Wato double whip Akira, double drop toehold and then double basement dropkick! Fans fire up and Wato stomps TJP down. Wato brings TJP up to scoop and SLAM, then he tags Taguchi. Taguchi gives a point-blank hip! And then another! TJP ends up in a corner and Taguchi gives him a STINK FACE! Taguchi lets off as the ref counts, but he gives more point-blank hips!

Fans rally, Taguchi runs side to side, but TJP gets up and helps Akira RAILGUN DROPKICK Taguchi down! Taguchi flops out of the ring and fans rally up with the Empire. They both run corner to corner to crisscross, TJP WRECKS Taguchi with a dropkick while Akira goes up for a MOONSAULT! Direct hit and Six or Nine are both down! Fans fire up with Akira & TJP and they high-five. The Empire drags Taguchi up, puts him in the ring, and TJP scrapes his sole off Taguchi’s face! The ref reprimands but TJP drags Taguchi up to EuroUpper. Tag to Akira, the Empire double whip Taguchi for a double atomic drop! Cover, TWO!

Akira talks trash on Taguchi and stomps him. Fans rally, Taguchi sits up and CHOPS! And CHOPS! And CHOPS! Akira DECKS Taguchi! Akira bumps Taguchi off buckles, TJP tags in and TJP puts Taguchi up top. TJP drags Taguchi into a Tree of Woe while Akira DECKS Wato. TJP gives Akira a boost up to the top and helps him walk the tightrope for a HALF COAST2COAST! TJP drags Taguchi out of the Tree and to the cover, TWO! Fans rally as Taguchi survives, but TJP puts him in a corner to dig his boot in. TJP fires up the fans as he scrapes Taguchi’s face again and again. TJP runs, but Wato’s back! TJP flips Wato off, but turns around into a HIP ATTACK!

Fans fire up and Taguchi tags in Wato! Wato rallies on TJP, dropkicks Akira down, then KICKS TJP in the chest! And again, and again! TJP ends up in a corner, Wato whips him corner to corner but TJP reverse. Wato comes back to dropkick the legs out! Wato hurries to the corner, and he springboards for a FLYING UPPERCUT! Cover, TWO! TJP survives but Wato fires up! Wato drags TJP into the waistlock, but TJP fights the lift. TJP throws back elbows, runs, Akira tags in. TJP avoids the boot and waistlocks, but Wato moves and Akira’s SUPERKICK hits TJP! Wato then ZIGZAGS Akira down! Cover, TWO!

Fans rally up and Wato calls Taguchi in. They wheelbarrow Akira, but TJP SUPERKICKS Taguchi! Wato gets around but this time TJP ducks and Akira SUPERKICKS Wato! Akira runs, TJP wheelbarrows him, but Wato uses that to hit the COMPLETE SHOT! TJP freaks out and hurries to get Wato up. TJP whips, Wato RANAS him out! Fans fire up with Wato and he drags Akira up. HIGH ANGLE GERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!! Akira survives but Wato fires up. Fans rally with him and Wato bumps Akira off buckles. Wato hoists Akira up top, CLUBS him, then climbs up after him. Wato hooks Akira up but Akira fights!

Fans rally, TJP CLUBS Wato and moves Akira aside. TJP climbs and lifts Wato in the Electric Chair! Akira springboards up, SUPER DUPER FRANKENSTEINER!! Cover, but Taguchi breaks it in time! Fans fire up and TJP throws Taguchi out. Fans rally, the Empire drags Wato up and resets. Another Electric Chair, Akira goes up top, but Wato fights free! Wato DROPKICKS Akira down! Everyone is down but Taguchi, and Taguchi returns to his corner! Wato crawls over, hot tag to Taguchi! Taguchi hurries to get Akira, but TJP CLUBS Taguchi! TJP climbs up, but Taguchi shoves him down! But Akira shoves Taguchi!

Wato returns, springs up, and he SUPERPLEXES Akira! BUM-A-YE!! Cover, TWO!!! OH MY GAH ANKLE!! Wato TORNILLOS onto TJP! Akira endures the ankle lock, Taguchi really leans on that leg, and fans are thunderous! Akira crawls, reaches, but Taguchi reels him into chicken wings! DODON TO THE THRONE!! Cover, TJP breaks it up!! Fans rally, Taguchi drags TJP up and tosses him out. Wato returns and Six or Nine coordinate. They wheelbarrow Akira, but TJP returns to COMPLETE SHOT Wato first!! And then fireman’s carry on Taguchi! Taguchi slips off, dragon sleepers, but Akira helps TJP up and over!

Akira goes up, DOUBLE STOMP ELBOW DROP DDT!! Cover, TWO!?!? Taguchi survives and the Empire can’t believe it! But they set Taguchi up in the Electric Chair, LEANING TOWER!! Cover, the Empire wins!

Winners: TJP & Francesco Akira, by pinfall (still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)

Six or Nine are 0-2 against TJP & Akira! Will Taguchi & Wato have to make the long trek back to the top? Who will the Empire look to conquer next?


NEVER Openweight Championship: Karl Anderson w/ Doc Gallows VS Hiroshi Tanahashi!

The Machinegun shot down the Good Bad Guy to take this title, but he’s been busy in Impact. Now he’s back to defend this title against the Ace of the Universe! Will Anderson take down another target? Or will the Once in a Century Talent make quite the impact himself?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see who NEVER gives up!

Fans rally, “Let’s Go, Ace!” for Tanahashi as he circles with Anderson. Anderson calls Gallows over to talk things out and even hug. Anderson and Tanahashi circle and the fans rally again. They tie up, are in a deadlock, but Tanahashi pushes Anderson to ropes. Anderson turns things around but then Tanahashi turns it back. Anderson puts Tanahashi in the corner and Red Shoes calls for the break. Anderson lets off clean and fans applaud. Tanahashi and Anderson circle again, tie up, and Tanahashi waistlocks. Anderson headlocks, Tanahashi slips out the back to get the headlock, but Anderson throws body shots.

Anderson hammerlocks Tanahashi’s arm and then wrenches it to a wristlock. Tanahashi endures, drops to get a leg and he drags Anderson down. Tanahashi floats to a headlock, Anderson slips out to headlock back, but then Tanahashi returns the favor. Anderson slips out again, but then so does Tanahashi. They end up outside the ring and fans applaud as they stare down. They put up their dukes, each daring the other to get in the ring. The ring count starts, Anderson and Tanahashi keep telling the other, “You go!” Anderson suggests they go at the same time, and so they do, at 13 of 20! Fans applaud as the two stand off in the ring now.

Anderson and Tanahashi pace as fans rally up. Anderson kicks but Tanahashi blocks! Tanahashi CLUBS the leg and Anderson goes to a corner. Tanahashi throws body shots. Tanahashi whips but Anderson reverses then runs in, only for Tanahashi to elbow him away. Tanahashi goes up to CROSSBODY! Direct hit and fans fire up for the air guitar. Gallows protests but Tanahashi ignores him to bring Anderson up. Tanahashi throws body shots, whips Anderson to ropes but Anderson reverses, only for Tanahashi to use that to WRECK Gallows with a dropkick! Tanahashi ROCKS Anderson, BOOTS Gallows, but Anderson GUN STUN HOTSHOTS Tanahashi down!

Red Shoes starts a ring count, fans rally up, “Let’s Go, Ace!” and Tanahashi is still down at 10 of 20. Anderson wants to go out but Red Shoes keeps him back. This is all to distract Red Shoes as Gallows APRON CHOKE SLAMS Tanahashi! Tanahashi flops back down to the floor and Gallows acts innocent. Red Shoes can’t call what he didn’t see but he warns Gallows to stay back. Tanahashi stirs as fans rally up, and the ring count restarts. Tanahashi drags himself up at 7 and in at 8, but Anderson is on him! Anderson scoop SLAMS Tanahashi then soaks up the cheers. Anderson runs to SENTON! Cover, TWO!

Fans rally but Anderson is annoyed. Anderson stands on Tanahashi’s face, then lets off to drag Tanahashi into a chinlock. Fans rally, Tanahashi endures, and Anderson grinds the hold. Tanahashi fights up, throws body shots, but Anderson pulls hair! Tanahashi ROCKS Anderson, but Anderson ROCKS Tanahashi. Tanahashi ROCKS Anderson again but Anderson ROCKS Tanahashi again! Fans rally up as the forearms pick up speed! Anderson gets the edge but Tanahashi gives strikes back. Anderson UPPERCUTS Tanahashi, but Tanahashi blocks the kick! DRAGON SCREW! Anderson clutches his knee and fans fire up.

Gallows coaches Anderson up but fans rally for Tanahashi. Tanahashi throws forearms on Anderson, whips him to ropes, but Anderson reverses. Tanahashi hits FLYING FOREARMS! Fans fire up, Tanahashi storms up on Anderson and he throws body shots. Tanahashi scoops and SLAMS Anderson, then goes to the corner. Tanahashi hops up for a SUNSET SENTON! Direct hit and a cover, TWO! Fans rally but Gallows gets on the apron. Tanahashi grabs Gallows’ leg and hits a DRAPING DRAGON SCREW! Gallows shouts in pain as he flops down. Tanahashi runs but into a SPINEBUSTER! Cover, TWO!

Anderson hurries to fireman’s carry Tanahashi! T K O!! Cover, TWO!! Fans fire up as Tanahashi survives! Anderson shouts at Gallows to get up but fans are rallying for Tanahashi. Anderson walks around, he pounds the mat and fans clap along. Tanahashi stirs, Anderson takes aim, GUN- NO, Tanahashi trips Anderson and gets a leg, GROUND DRAGON SCREW! And then an INVERTED GROUND DRAGON SCREW!! Anderson clutches his leg, but Tanahashi gets both legs for the TEXAS CLOVERLEAF!! Anderson endures, Gallows pushes the rope closer, but Red Shoes kicks at Gallows! Anderson crawls forward and reaches out, but Tanahashi drags him away!

Anderson endures as Tanahashi sits deep, but Gallows gets on the apron to distract Red Shoes! Red Shoes misses the tap out!! Toru Yano runs in from Japanese commentary! He trips Gallows and they brawl! Nothing was settled earlier tonight, but Gallows DECKS Yano! Tanahashi lets Anderson go, the Texas Cloverleaf meaning nothing now. GUN- NO! Tanahashi denies Anderson again! Tanahashi then dodges the lariat to run and SLINGBLADE! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi fires up, goes to the corner and climbs up, and Anderson stands. HIGH FLY ATTACK! Tanahashi fires up more and returns to the top rope!

Gallows distracts again but Yano trips him up again! Tanahashi aims and leaps, HIGH FLY FLOW onto knees!! Cover, TWO!?!? Tanahashi survives the turn around and Anderson clutches his knees. Gallows RAMS Yano into railing! Fans are thunderous for “LET’S GO, ACE!” as Anderson gets to a corner. Tanahashi stands, runs at Anderson but misses! Anderson JUMP KICKS, but his legs are hurting him! Anderson waits on Tanahashi, but still no Gun Stun! Tanahashi tries to steal but Anderson pushes him away! Gallows trips Tanahashi up but Tanahashi kicks him away. GUN- NO!! Tanahashi blocks again, but Anderson slips out of Twist ‘n’ Shout! GUN STUN!!! Cover, Anderson wins!!

Winner: Karl Anderson, by pinfall (still NEVER Openweight Champion)

The Machinegun had Big LG helping him out, and Gallows beats up on Yano for good measure! But wait, here come Jay White & Gedo! The IWGP World Heavyweight Champion and his Blacksmith are here to celebrate with the Good Brothers. White tells the Young Lions to get out of the ring so it can be Bullet Club standing over Tanahashi & Yano. Bullet Club Too Sweets, then they stomp away on The Ace & Producer! Young Lions try to stop this but they get beat up for it. Wait! Here comes TAMA TONGA! The Good Bad Guy CLOBBERS White! And Anderson! And SUPER FOREARMS Gallows! Fans fire up with Tama!

Tama sees White all alone now, and he said he’s told White already. Tama’s gonna kick White’s ass! But White is begging for mercy. Just look! It’s HIKULEO! Tama’s younger brother is storming into the ring! Tama and Hiku stare down, and White grins as he stands with the towering Tongan. “I’M his family now! It’s all about this! Bullet Club is his family!” NOT! Hiku choke grips White! And feeds him to a GUN STUN!!! Bullet Club isn’t family! Family is family! Tama and Hiku hug and the fans love it! The Guerrillas of Destiny have grown stronger now, and Tama has the belt! Tama gets the NEVER Openweight belt, too, and he holds it out to Hiku!

Fans fire up as Hiku holds up Anderson’s belt, and Tama holds up White’s belt! Will we see GoD dethrone the Bullet Club as they make their Declaration of Power?


IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay w/ The United Empire VS David Finlay!

The Commonwealth Kingpin was among many of the shocking upset wins The Rebel pulled off in this year’s G1 Climax. They’ve gone back and forth, in the ring and on the mic, and now they’ll finally settle this! Will the United Empire sweep the night to still reign supreme? Or can the rebellion still come away with a victory?

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and after a long, hard road, we see who burns brightest in this Burning Spirit finale!

The two rush each other at the bell and the forearms fly fast and furious! Fans fire up, Finlay gets the edge, then he whips. Ospreay reverses, Finlay ducks the boot but things speed up. Finlay hurdles, hurdles and DROPKICKS! Finlay clotheslines Ospreay out of the ring, then he PLANCHAS! Direct hit and down goes Ospreay! Finlay says it was “that easy,” and then he whips Ospreay into railing! Ospreay bounces off the steel and Finlay fishhooks his face! Finlay dares Ospreay to talk trash now, then CLUBS him down. Red Shoes reprimands and Finlay apologizes, only to whip Ospreay hard into more railing!

Finlay has his shillelagh as he stalks Ospreay around the way. Red Shoes reprimands and tells Finlay to put the shillelagh down. Ospreay mule kicks Finlay first! Ospreay CLUBS Finlay, puts the shillelagh aside and ROCKS Finlay in the mouth! Ospreay whips, Finlay reverses but Ospreay leaps the railing! Finlay runs in, Ospreay ROCKS him then clears off the timekeeper’s table. To pick it up and CHUCK it at Finlay! Finlay and the table go down in a heap and fans fire up for that innovative savagery. Ospreay storms over to Finlay, Abe-san at least gets the mic, bell and hammer, and Ospreay stands the table up.

Ospreay drags Finlay but Finlay has hold of another table. Ospreay whips Finlay into railing now, and he sets up the other table Finlay brought. The tables are put side by side, but Finlay throws body shots! Ospreay ROCKS Finlay, and then reels him in! Ospreay aims for the tables but Finlay fights free! Finlay RAMS Ospreay so hard into the railing, Finlay tumbles into No Man’s Land. Finlay puts Ospreay in the ring, fans rally up, but Ospreay FLAPJACK HOTSHOTS! And BOOTS Finlay down! Fans fire up while Ospreay clutches his back. Ospreay drags Finlay up, CLUBS him on the back, and has him in a corner for hard body shots!

Finlay sputters but Ospreay brings Finlay up for another hard shot! Ospreay stands on Finlay at the ropes, stomps him, but Red Shoes counts. Ospreay springboards for a knee drop! Cover, ONE! Finlay shows heart and fans cheer but Ospreay is annoyed. Ospreay bumps Finlay off buckles, stands Finlay up, and CHOPS him! Finlay staggers then drops to his knees while fans applaud the echo on that one. Ospreay stands Finlay up but Finlay throws CHOPS back! Ospreay CHOPS Finlay off his feet, covers, TWO! Ospreay drags Finlay around to omoplata the arm, and he throws elbows into the sides. Ospreay hooks Finlay’s arm for a RECLINER! It’s a cover, ONE!!

Finlay clutches his arm but Ospreay snarls as he stalks Finlay to ropes. Finlay throws body shots but Ospreay DECKS him with a right. Ospreay reels Finlay in for a cobra twist! Finlay endures but Ospreay throws in elbows. Ospreay puts more pressure on the hold but Finlay endures as fans rally. Finlay powers up to hip toss free! Finlay fires forearms on Ospreay but Ospreay SOBATS. Ospreay reels Finlay in but Finlay back drops him away! Fans fire up and Finlay goes to a corner. Finlay runs in and CLOBBERS Ospreay with forearm after forearm! Finlay whips, Ospreay reverses but Finlay CLOBBERS Ospreay again!

Ospreay goes to a corner, Finlay runs in and UPPERCUTS! Finlay shoves Ospreay out and goes up to FLYING UPPERCUT! Cover, TWO! Finlay is annoyed but he pushes Ospreay around. Fans rally, Finlay reels Ospreay in and snap suplexes! Cover, TWO! Finlay facelocks to grind Ospreay down but Ospreay fights up. Finlay clinches, Ospreay throws elbows but Finlay still lifts! Ospreay stops that with a facelock and they end up on the ropes. Red Shoes counts the break, Finlay KNEES Ospreay low again and again! Red Shoes reprimands, Finlay whips but Ospreay handsprings to NEURALIZER! Fans fire up while both men are down!

Fans rally as Ospreay sits up. Finlay crawls to a corner and staggers up. Ospreay SOBATS and Finlay drops to a knee. Ospreay whips Finlay to the corner hard and then RAMS Finlay in the other corner! Finlay falls down but Ospreay drags Finlay up. Ospreay scoops for a RUNNING BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as Finlay hangs tough. Ospreay paces around, drags Finlay up again and reels him in. Finlay fights the lift, Ospreay CLUBS him then gives him Kowata Kicks! But Finlay still fights the lift! Finlay back drops, Ospreay sunset flips but Finlay rolls through to BASEMENT EUROUPPER! Fans rally as Ospreay goes to a corner.

Finlay runs in but Ospreay BOOTS him away! Ospreay runs, into a BLUE THUNDER BOMB from Finlay! Cover, TWO! Finlay grits his teeth and fans rally up again. Finlay drags Ospreay up, fires off forearms, and Ospreay wobbles around. Finlay puts Ospreay up top, climbs up and throws headbutts. Finlay then brings Ospreay up, but Ospreay throws body shots! Ospreay HEADBUTTS Finlay down and fans rally up again. Ospreay stands but Finlay trips him up! Finlay climbs up after Ospreay but from the outside! Finlay clinches and aims at the tables! Ospreay fights back and now he aims for the tables!

Red Shoes tells them not to but the two brawl up top. They both hop down, Finlay ROCKS Ospreay, then ROCKS him again. Ospreay ROCKS Finlay, Finlay hits back, and fans rally as the forearms fly again. Ospreay gets the edge, and he HOTSHOTS Finlay off the crossbar! Ospreay leaps to sunset flip right over Finlay! Ospreay brings Finlay around for an APRON POWERBOMB! Ospreay then sets up on the other corner, for a SKY TWISTER!! Direct hit and down goes Finlay! Fans fire up while both men are down! Red Shoes checks on them and they’re both okay to continue. Ospreay gets up and brings Finlay around the way.

Ospreay smacks Finlay off the table, and again. Finlay grabs his shillelagh! Finlay blocks the table bump this time, to SMACK Ospreay’s fingers!! Ospreay scrambles away and Finlay kisses the shillelagh for helping out. Finlay then pursues Ospreay, keeps him from returning to the ring, and he wrenches the bad arm to SLAM the hand on the railing! And on the apron! Ospreay clutches his fingers but Finlay grabs the arm to put it through railing! Finlay BENDS the fingers against the railing! Red Shoes counts, Finlay lets off at 4, and Ospreay is clutching his hand in pain. Finlay just STOMPS the hand!

Red Shoes reprimands but Finlay puts Ospreay in the ring. Finlay stomps Ospreay’s bad hand again! And again! Ospreay shouts in pain but Finlay brings him up. Ospreay throws body shots but swings into a takedown! Finlay throws knee after knee into Ospreay’s side, then he gets the bad arm for a FUJIWARA ARMBAR! Finlay bends the fingers as part of it! Ospreay endures and the Empire coaches him up but Finlay pushes way back on the hold! Ospreay moves around, and gets a ROPEBREAK with a foot! Finlay lets off and Ospreay goes to the apron. Finlay stands on Ospreay’s head but lets off to bring Ospreay up.

Finlay bends the fingers on the bad hand! Ospreay throws forearms but Finlay just BITES the bad fingers! And SNAPS them! Finlay runs, into a Tiger Wall Kick and ENZIGURI! The legs still work! Finlay staggers back to a corner and Ospreay clutches his tortured hand again. Ospreay signals to the Empire to get something. Gideon Grey finds spare tape and Cobb POPS Ospreay’s fingers in place! Gideon and Cobb wrap up the bad fingers while Ospreay bites his other hand to endure the pain. Gideon finishes wrapping the fingers, but Finlay puts Ospreay on the apron! Ospreay ROCKS Finlay, springboards, but into the IRISH CURSE BACKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!

Ospreay survives and he’s again holding his bad hand. Fans fire up with Finlay as he cravats. But no Acid Drop, Ospreay puts Finlay on the apron to GAMANGIRI! Fans rally as Ospreay goes out to join Finlay. Ospreay brings Finlay up but he can’t lift Finlay because of the bad hand. Ospreay fires off Kowata Kicks again, calls his shot, but even clapping his hands hurts like hell! Finlay reels Ospreay in for an APRON HALF ‘N’ HALF! Fans fire up as Finlay sees the tables nearby. Finlay brings Ospreay up to line up a shot. Finlay goes up the corner, ACID DROP onto the tables!! But the tables don’t break and both men just bounce off!!

Fans are thunderous as Red Shoes checks both men. Somehow, Ospreay and Finlay are okay to continue. Finlay rises first and he staggers around. Finlay shakes out his head, he resets the tables and he drags Ospreay up. POWERBOMB through the tables!! Finlay gets in the ring to leave Ospreay in the wreckage. Finlay wants the count out and Red Shoes starts the ring count. Gideon checks on Ospreay, coaches him up, but we’re at 10 of 20. And then 15! Ospreay grits his teeth and growls as he crawls, but we’re at 18! Ospreay springs in at 19, into a SPEAR!! Finlay hurries to ACID DROP!! Cover, TWO!??!

Ospreay survives and Finlay is furious! But the fans are thunderous as this one continues! Finlay slashes his throat and drags Ospreay up. Finlay tries to suplex but Ospreay’s dead weight. Finlay gives him those Kowata Kicks in return! Finlay taunts Ospreay and fans rally up. Finlay drags Ospreay up but Ospreay feebly forearms him. Finlay DECKS Ospreay, and Ospreay mumbles and groans as he sits back up. Ospreay throws another weak forearm, but Finlay UPPERCUTS him. Ospreay grits his teeth and fires up to ROCK Finlay! Finlay EuroUppers over and over and over! And then he CLOBBERS Ospreay!

Ospreay sits up in a daze but Finlay suplexes! But Osprey cradles, TWO!! Finlay swings, into a backslide! TWO, and Finlay jumps, but no Prima Nocta! Ospreay spins Finlay around to GHOST PIN! TWO!! Finlay gets up, but Ospreay ROUNDHOUSES him! Ospreay springboards, but Finlay catches the cutter to an inverted suplex! OSAKA STREET CUTTER!! Finlay fires up, runs, but into a STANDING SPANISH FLY!! Cover, TWO!! Finlay survives but Ospreay prepares the arm! HIDDEN- NO! BACKSLIDE! Ospreay rolls through but Finlay suplexes, TRASH PANDA!!! Cover, ROPEBREAK!!! Red Shoes apologizes for not seeing it in time but that was a legit ropebreak!

Finlay is beside himself but the fans are thunderous! Finlay drags Ospreay back up, suplexes, but Ospreay slips out! HIDDEN BLADE!!! But both men are down as we pass 25 minutes! Fans are thunderous again as Ospreay crawls his way back over to Finlay. A standing count begins but both men are down at 5! They get forehead to forehead and give junkyard dog headbutts. They go back and forth like that, and even at the same time! Finlay throws a forearm, Ospreay gives it back and fans fire up! Ospreay and Finlay stand, and now it’s fast and furious haymakers! Ospreay ROCKS Finlay, DOUBLE LARIATS hit, Ospreay swats another to HOOK KICK!

Finlay wobbles, Ospreay runs in, but Finlay ducks the Hidden Blade! Ospreay comes back, he slips through Finlay’s clothesline to lift and- RANA from Finlay!! Cover, TWO!!! Ospreay escapes and fans are electric! Ospreay dodges Finlay, springboards, but into a PRIMA NOCTA!! Cover, TWO!?!? Ospreay survives but Finlay just roars! Fans rally with Finlay and he drags Ospreay up. ACID- NO, Ospreay throws him away, goes up and up, SUPER OSCUTTER!!! But Ospreay holds on and says he’s not done! Underhooks and- NO, Finlay fights it, so Ospreay PEDIGREES! AND POINT BLANK HIDDEN BLADES!!! Cover, TWO!??!?! WHAT??!!

Ospreay is furious! He underhooks again, lifts and STORMBREAKER!!! Cover, Ospreay wins!!!

Winner: Will Ospreay, by pinfall (still IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion)

That was a 28 minute, 22 second WAR, but the Commonwealth Kingpin managed to conquer The Rebel! Finlay came so close to taking this title, but he’s still not quite there yet. Will Finlay be able to fight his way back up and try again before the year is out?

As for Ospreay, the Empire sets up in the ring to celebrate with their leader. Ospreay has the belt around his waist as Great-O-Khan waves the Empire’s banner behind him. But wait! Tetsuya Naito makes his way out! Fans applaud and Ospreay has the rest of the Empire stand down. Naito assures them he’s not here to fight, and they let him into the ring. Ospreay even allows Naito to have the mic first. Khan holds the mic out but just drops it at Naito’s feet. Naito picks it up to tell Ospreay, in English, “Congratulations~!” Then in Japanese, Naito says, “You know why I’m out here.” And back in English, “One more time. Naito VS Ospreay.” What’s “Mr. Ospreay” say? Is it yes or no?

Naito then hands the mic to Ospreay, but then “OI OI OI OI!” Zack Sabre Jr. makes his way out! Naito is surprised, the fans are excited, but Ospreay & The Empire are pissed! ZSJ keeps shouting, “OI!” as he goes down the ramp and into the ring. ZSJ snatches the mic from Ospreay to say “OI OI OI OI!” some more. In Japanese, “Choto matte <Wait a moment.>” ZSJ addresses Naito first. “Does this head work?” Naito’s going to challenge Ospreay for the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship? “Naze? <Why?>” Naito didn’t win today! And he didn’t win against Ospreay in the G1! Ospreay agrees but he doesn’t like ZSJ defending him. He grabs for the mic but ZSJ stops him.

ZSJ admits, Naito beat him in the G1 Climax, but then “this dickhead” beat Naito. But then ZSJ beat “this dickhead” in the New Japan Cup. That means ZSJ should be the next challenger! Naito says no, Ospreay again wants the mic, but ZSJ says “OI OI OI OI.” ZSJ says he has an idea. NJPW will be in England next week for Royal Quest II! So it should be ZSJ VS Naito 1v1, to name the #1 contender to the US Championship! “Dou desu ka? <How about that?>” Naito considers it but then Ospreay grabs the mic! Only for Naito to snatch it away! Ospreay’s so mad while Naito stares ZSJ down. But then Naito turns to Ospreay with a smile. “Amigo… Hasta luego. <Friend… See you later.>”

Naito drops the mic and leaves, but he didn’t really answer anything! ZSJ pursues Naito to ask him about the challenge for Royal Quest! Ospreay then picks the mic up to ask WTF was that! Both Naito and ZSJ are challenging for Ospreay’s title? Khan says that seems to be the case. Ospreay looks to the crowd and shrugs as if to ask them now. “Hey, whichever one it is. If it’s Naito, or if it’s Zack Sabre Jr, it doesn’t matter. Ospreay is best champion.” Fans applaud that. Ospreay then puts on the United Empire merch shirt, and they all stand together again.

Khan gets the mic to say, “Do those fools think they can ruin our moment? They’ll do anything to bore the lot of you. We won’t stand for it. Those scumbags crawled all the way out here, to beg and grovel for a chance at Ospreay’s belt. Don’t get it twisted: It’s Ospreay, the champion, who has the right to pick a challenger! It’s us, the United Empire, who call the shots around here! And now, hail us, loyal subjects!” Fans applaud, and Khan says they have conquered Kobe. “Therefore, show us your allegiance! Show your imperial pride! CROWNS UP!” The Empire throws up their hand sign, but Khan demands more fans do the same!

More fans do as they’re told, and that’s satisfactory for Khan. Have they also done their duty and bought an Empire shirt? If not, it’s probably because they’re sold out. Just get your acts together. The Empire has the IWGP Junior Heavyweight and US Heavyweight titles, so the world title is inevitable! They’ll go to the homeland of Gideon Grey & Will Ospreay, where Aussie Open will “execute” FTR and take the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships! “Attention! We are Gideon Grey, Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb, Francesco Akira, TJP, and Will Ospreay! This is the power of the UNITED EMPIRE!” There’s so much gold in their treasury, will the United Empire soon conquer ALL of NJPW?

My Thoughts:

A great event to close out Burning Spirit, even with titles maintaining a status quo. Great Junior Heavyweight Tag title match, but I had a feeling on Friday that that match was going to go the Empire’s way. TJP & Akira are now open to taking on any number of Face teams, especially with Super Junior Tag League joining World Tag League for the Winter. Anderson VS Tanahashi was great stuff, even with Gallows getting involved. Tanahashi losing was a bit of a surprise, but the bigger surprise was Hikuleo leaving Bullet Club to side with his brothers in GoD. Hikuleo can definitely challenge for the NEVER Openweight title but I’m not sure his chances of winning. White VS Tama will also be awesome but I can’t be sure if Tama wins, knowing that Okada is challenging at WrestleKingdom.

And we got an awesome main event with the US Championship. Ospreay and Finlay stepped it up from their G1 Climax match, and that stuff with the tables was rough. I did like that they took finger snapping to another level and had Ospreay have to pop his fingers back into place and wrap them up. Ospreay winning was a small surprise as I thought this was going to be Finlay’s moment. But we do get a big story going into Royal Quest and Declaration of Power. Ospreay may not want it but I bet we will get Naito VS ZSJ at Royal Quest, the winner challenging Ospreay down the line. And whether it’s Naito or ZSJ, the winner will give Ospreay an awesome title match.

My Score: 8.8/10

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