Air Date: 11/2/16
This is the first major show after Wrestle Kingdom and features some rematches from the show as well as a big time title match between Okada and Goto.
Jay White vs. David Finlay
Great young boy action to start the show here. These two men had an awesome back and forth with White acting like the “veteran” going after Finlay and tying him up in knots to start things off. Both men threw some vicious strikes and brought so much emotion to this match. Jay submits Finlay with a single leg Boston Crab *** ¼
CHAOS (Gedo, YOSHI-HASHI, and Kazushi Sakuraba) vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask (IV), and Ryusuke Taguchi
There was a hell of a lot to like in this match. Liger and Sakuraba grappling with each other, Tiger Mask deciding to go all out in his few minutes of offence, and Taguchi doing an ass based Nakamura tribute act all made this into a match that was far more fun than it had any right to be on paper. Taguchi submits Gedo with an ankle lock ***
TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima) vs. Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi
On Nakamura’s farewell show Nakanishi seemed to be wrestling like a completely different person, running around all over the place and being the best part of his match. He was back to his normal old self here for the most part, luckily Nagata is a great man and carried the bulk of the match and taking it in turns to beat the hell out of TenKoji. Credit to Nakanishi though, he did fire up in the last few moments of the match so that awesome wrestler from the house show is still in there somewhere. All of the weirdness about Nakanishi aside, this was a really great match. I especially loved Kojima getting pissed off after having one of his lariats countered and just destroyed Manabu with a second and third one. Kojima pins Nakanishi with the Western Lariat *** ½
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, and BUSHI) vs. Michael Elgin, Juice Robinson, and KUSHIDA
We got some really great interactions between KUSHIDA and BUSHI as well as Elgin and Naito to start off this match. I always say how great these LIJ trios matches are and this was the same, but the last few minutes of this match with BUSHI hitting KUSHIDA with the mist and EVIL just destroying Juice, who got to kick out of a devastating lariat and look great, was something really magical. EVIL pins Juice Robinson with the EVIL STO *** ¾
The Briscoes (Jay and Mark Briscoe) and Toru Yano (c) vs. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, and Yujiro Takahashi)(NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship)
I love The Briscoes in Japan because they work so damn hard, bumping all over the place and hitting all kinds of crazy offence. This match told a very simple story, Yano was the weak link of his team and every time he was isolated the Bullet Club had the upper hand. That makes complete sense as in theory The Briscoes will be sticking around and Yano has always been a comedy guy that can take falls. I am super happy for Tonga to win these titles and really hope something great comes from it. Tama Tonga pins Toru Yano *** ¼
The Young Bucks (Matt and Nick Jackson)(w/Cody Hall)(c) vs. ReDRagon (Kyle O’Reilly and Bobby Fish) vs. Ricochet and Matt Sydal (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship)
This was a weird match in that it never really felt like it got going. The Bucks were in control for the majority of the match and worked it like a more traditional tag match with cut offs and hope spots, and that’s a style that just didn’t work for these three teams. Ricochet and Sydal pin the Bucks with double Shooting Star Presses ** ¾
Katsuyori Shibata (c) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (NEVER Openweight Championship)
I loved the Tokyo Dome match between these two, and this was probably a much better match. We got the same story of these two bulls trying to out fight each other and beating the living hell out of each other. On top of that we got some incredible drama every time Shibata locked Ishii into a submission, which I give full credit to Ishii for, and some of the best selling of total exhaustion by Shibata that I’ve ever seen. This was just an incredible match and these two have such great chemistry together, I really hope we got more singles matches down the line. Shibata pins Ishii with a PK **** ¾
Bullet Club (Kenny Omega, Doc Gallows, and Karl Anderson) vs. Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma) and Hiroshi Tanahashi
This was largely a preview of the two title matches on the next New Beginning show, with Bullet Club being very dominant and working over Tanahashi’s arm and shoulder. The match was dynamic and entertaining enough for the position they were put in, GBH and Gallows and Gun have some surprisingly great chemistry. Kenny Omega pins Tomoaki Honma with the One Winged Angel ***
After the match, the entirety of Bullet Club attacks Tanahashi with chairs, a broom, and a trash can.
Kazuchika Okada (w/Gedo)(c) vs. Hirooki Goto (IWGP Heavyweight Championship)
Goto came into this covered in bodypaint and kanji like a cross between Hakushi and Finn Balor. Given how great and intense the build up was, this match was such a complete dud. Goto hated Okada and took every chance to beat the crap out of him, but once the match started he grabbed a god damn headlock and brought very little intensity to the match. I don’t know where Goto goes from here after not only losing another title match but putting on such a bad performance in the process. I also dislike Okada having to use multiple Rainmakers to beat Goto as something like that should be saved for his big opponents and not an eternal loser like Goto. Okada pins Goto with three Rainmakers ***
This was a very long show at about four hours, but it never really felt like it dragged and besides the dud of a main event and the weird junior tag title match everything was a lot of fun. Ishii/Shibata was far and away the match of the night and is probably one of my favourite matches of the year so far.