Fans in the stands! What a novelty!
So this is my first foray into the New Japan world and I’m kind of excited.
Jeff has the NXT & AEW markets cornered and my boy Neil is taking ROH Soundoff’s to new heights. And since I’d rather watch The Goon vs TL Hopper on repeat in perpetuity than expose myself to the wasteland that is Raw and Smackdown, it looks like NJPW is where I’ll pen my opinions for now.
I’m going into this with minimal knowledge so go easy on me Soundoff peeps.
BATTLE ROYALE (FINAL 4 ADVANCE TO A MATCH ON NIGHT 2)
The show kicks off with a pre show Battle Royale (WWE is that you?)
Participants come in at 1 minute intervals.
First eliminations don’t come until there’s 6 guys in the ring.
Is that Kevin Kelly on commentary? I liked him better when The Rock’s shirt covered his face.
We’re 8 wrestlers in now and I still don’t recognize anybody. Although a guy named Yoshi just came out sans Mario on his back.
The Asian Junk Yard dog is the 9th entrant. Woof. (How many participants are in this thing anyways?)
Asian JYD just eliminated 2 guys with a double clothesline.
Apparently there’s multiple Bullet Club members in this. They should wear matching shirts or something. They have merch don’t they?
The next entrant is wearing a mask that only covers the top of his face. He must not watch the news.
The first entrant, Chase Owens is still in there.
Hey someone I’ve heard of! (I think) it’s Rocky Romero!
Kevin Kelly just complemented his traps. I think The Rock was right about him.
Douki? Just hit someone with a steel pipe. I guess that’s allowed. Nope. He was disqualified. In a Battle Royale? Ok I guess.
Kevin Kelly might be worse than your least favourite announcer when it comes to calling the action early.
An example: (it’s happened at least 6 times) *Guys hanging on the ropes: “oh and the dream is over for ‘….’ nope he’s still alive!”
Shut up guy with 2 first names.
I’d take current senile JR over this blubbering meathead. Bah Gawd.
Ehhhh it’s Tiger Mask! That’s Just a guy in a tiger mask right?
Rocky Romero out. Tiger Mask gone.
3 Young Lions remain (with matching trunks to assuage my confusion)
21 Toru Yano (apparently this is a 21 man battle royale) makes his way to the ring.
There’s some confusion but the match ends as the final 4 stand in the ring. Well final 3. Yano advances without even stepping foot in the ring. And he didn’t even have to hide under it!
Winners: Bushi, Owens, Bad Luck Fale & Toru Yano
Not a bad (if unspectacular) start to the night.
Whoever’s in the ring talking right now looks more like Don King than Don King does.
A little video package to open the show (with a voice over that totally reminds me of Street Fighter) and we’re ready to start NJPW’s version of Wrestlemania.
HIROMU TAKAHASHI VS. EL PHANTASMO – IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP NUMBER ONE CONTENDERSHIP MATCH
Geez the ramp is longer than Ryback’s botch list.
Fans are restricted from making audible noise? Hahaha ok no comment on that one. Japanese fans love the polite clap the most anyways.
Sick start. Top rope action and apron power-bombs. Oh my.
Cool spot where Phantasmo walks the ropes like a healthy Undertaker while Taka bites his finger like a COVID zombie. Quite unsanitary.
Lots of cool spots back and forth resulting in near falls.
My lack of New Japan knowledge comes into play here as I’m sure there’s a story behind Phantasmo going from a styles clash and a one winged angel.
Taka reverses Phantasmo’s finisher into a roll up. 1-2-3.
Winner: Hiromu Takahashi
Just got an email that RAW is doing a legends night tonight. Lol give it up Vinny. Your weekly shows are trash.
Good lord, they sure take a long time to put the graphics up for wrestlers names. Annoying af when you have no clue who most of the roster is.
TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA W/ JADO VS. TAICHI & ZACK SABRE JR. W/ DOUKI – IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Sabre & Taichi or Regal and Tajiri? Apologies. It’s gonna take a while to get me away from WWE as my frame of reference.
Slow Back and forth to start the match.
I’m really digging the blue ring mat. Reminds me of the Ps2 game “Victorious Boxers.” If you’re into video game classics, I suggest you check it out.
Ahh so Tama and Tanga are the sons of Haku. Chicken Chow Meng.
Great chemistry between King Haku’s crotch goblins. They’re like the Uso’s without the expired best before date.
Cool sequence where Tama and Tanga both end up in submission maneuvers.
A bunch of punches and kicks later and all 4 men are down on the mat.
Taichi’s stomach out here looking like he had a little bit of the bubbly with Jericho.
Taichi gets smacked with a foreign object made of iron and shaped like a glove behind the refs back and we have new tag team champions.
Hey I know that guy!! Dean Amway? Ambro? Oh yah…. Jon Moxley. Just a vignette. Apparently he’s coming. Guess we’ll see.
Not sure why the volume keeps going out during entrances? I don’t understand Japanese but I’d still like to hear the crowd. There is one there after all.
KENTA VS. SATOSHI KOJIMA W/ HIROYOSHI TENZAN – IWGP UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP RIGHT TO CHALLENGE CERTIFICATE MATCH
Wow. Kenta looks exactly like Hideo Itami. Whatever happened to that guy? I just remember him always trying to do CM Punk’s finisher and never being able to.
Any who… Kenta takes some serious chops in the corner from Kojima.
Blonde Itami takes over with some punishing offence.
It sounds like the winner of this will be facing Moxley for his title.
Massive DDT on the apron from Kojima to Kenta.
A lot of back and forth reversals end with both guys on the mat.
Some serious Hoss action concluding with a kick to Kojima’s head.
Kenta lifts Kojima up. GO. TO. SLEEP.
I guess this guy only looks like to Itami because he actually hit it.
The glass around the announcer tables make it look like all these guys got sent to the penalty box.
Match penalties all around for spitting I guess.
The above joke coincides with a break in the action for “Cleaning and Disinfection” Ha.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI VS. GREAT-O-KHAN
Some mat based wrestling starts this one off for a little change of pace from the other matches.
I’m really enjoying this PPV from a pure wrestling perspective but I’d love to get caught up on the storylines, stables etc to actually be better invested in the product going forward.
“Screaming Mongolian Chops” lol Kevin Kelly is such a goober.
Khan looks like a cross between Sabu and Jafar from Aladdin. Open sesame.
Tanahashi taking a beat down.
Tanahashi just had his ear mick foley’d. I think getting thrown off a cell would be less painful.
A flurry of exchanges leave Tanahashi on the mat after a kick to the head.
Tanahashi does his best Billy Bob Thornton impression and puts big dude on the ground with a Sling-blade.
Sweet dragon suplex followed up by double frog splashes for the 3 count.
Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi
I’ve heard about this Ocean Spray guy before but have never seen him wrestle. Or maybe that’s not his name just what he does to that piece accompanying him to the ring? No matter. Let’s see if the hype is real.
KAZUCHIKA OKADA VS. WILL OSPREAY W/ BEA PRIESTLEY
So these guys have some personal beef eh? The life of a broken wrestling faction.
Kevin Kelly with some more excellent insight. Apparently these guys could both use a win.
Hopefully it’s a double countdown. Just for my man KK.
BTW For any hardcore New Japan fans reading this: I’m currently wearing a “Wreck Everyone & Leave” toque and a “Wyatt Gym” tank top. If I also tell you I have “Slappy” from “Goosebumps” underwear on will you promise not to make fun of me?
Kevin Kelly: “It used to be wrestlers didn’t get good until 32” in reference to a lot of star wrestlers now being younger.
I wanted to make fun of him again but I wonder if he has a point? A lot of the younger studs from the past 25 years are second or third generation guys. The Rock. Orton. But they had an in. I’m wondering if today’s wrestlers are able to showcase themselves and make it to the big times at an earlier age without “paying their dues” as much?
I dunno, I just sparked a bowl and felt like investigating this theory lol
Back to your regularly scheduled program.
Osprey beats Okada down on the outside and then lands a sweet looking swinging neck breaker.
Osprey looks like he auditioned (and was a finalist) for a role on the TV show “Glee”
Is the Money Clip a Biway Bin version of the Million Dollar Dream?
Man it’s crazy how the Tokyo Dome crowd goes to a dead silence almost in unison.
Sick drop kick sends Osprey off the top rope to the outside. Even sicker flying shotgun drop kick hits osprey again on the outside. And a third off the top rope! lol Dope sequence.
Another Crazy sequence ends in a near fall. For someone just watching this from a pure wrestling standpoint at the moment this is the Best match of the night so far. Easily.
Crazy suplex from the outside railing through a table on Okada! Perfect execution.
Back in the ring Okada gets hit with a massive forearm and a painful looking power bomb but kicks outta both!
Reversal on the outside leads to Osprey getting hit with a tombstone. Insane match!
Multiple money clips applied. Dollar dollar billz y’all.
I think The Ringmaster could’ve gotten over if they named his sleeper hold the money clip lol
Spanish fly into a pin. Okada kicks out.
Osprey giving some “money clips” of his own repeating slapping a downed Okada in the face.
Move after move being traded. Drop kicks. Clothesline.
They’re beating the piss outta each other. Okada hits a huge rainmaker! 1-2-3. Over. Match of the night. 35 minutes of pure fun.
If this is the destination that the NJPW train takes me to, then choo choo. I’m all aboard.
KOTA IBUSHI VS. TETSUYA NAITO – IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT & INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Isn’t this the jobber guy from the Cruiserweight classic? Heh.
Wow. A Brock Lesnar tidbit. Totally forgot about his run in NJPW.
Speaking of guys who were in terrible Wrestlemania XX matches, I actually saw a half decent NJPW Goldberg match not too long ago.
So I was told this was supposed to be a top shelf match. Gonna be hard to top the previous match though.
I mean it wasn’t Rock-Hogan (how could it be? There’s 1/10th of the fans) but it’ll be hard to top especially immediately after. Guess we’ll see.
Scaring looking suplex ends with Ibushi landing a little awkwardly on the outside. Looks okay though.
First part of the match has Naito totally dominating Ibushi.
A Nice looking clothesline from Ibushi lands Naito onto the outside.
I like they’re playing up Ibushi neck problems while Naito continues to focus on that area. Including a nasty looking neck breaker from the apron to the floor. Ouch.
Ibushi’s legs are quicker than his exit from the CWC.
KK just mentioned how quickly the first 15 mins went by. And Kevin I got 2 words for ya!! I agree.
Seriously fast paced match thus far.
Running hurricanrana off the apron from Ibushi! Holy crap! Insane!
Another great match!
And this is just Night uno! (Not the Dark Order wrestler)
Ibushi and Naito trade blows for over a minute while the crowds silence turns to claps in unison. Such an interesting audience.
Definitely beats a “What” chant.
Ibushi hits 2 massive knees. Resulting in 2 kick outs.
Naitos not so lucky with Knees 3 and 4 though.
Winner: Kota Ibushi
After the match Jay White comes out to talk a little smack.
The show ends with Ibushi celebrating in the ring.
Gotta say if night 2 is anything like tonight (especially the final 2 matches) then we’re in for another solid card of wrestling.
For Match Of The Night I gotta go…
Ospreay vs. Okada (And after seeing Mr. Ocean Spray I may just have a new favourite wrestler!)
What are your thoughts on Night 1 of Wrestle Kingdom? Are you a seasoned NJPW fan or a newbie like me? What was your MOTN? Soundoff below!
#AEWDynamite #AEWonTNT #Wrestling #AEW #AllEliteWrestling #wwe #smackdown #wweuniverse #wweraw #wwesmackdown #NWA #TenPoundsofGold #WatchROH #ImpactWrestling #IMPACTonAXSTV #NJPW #smackdownlive #WWENXT #NXTUK #NXT #WrestlingNews #WrestlingLife #ChooseYourHonor