New Japan Pro Wrestling
Aired on 6/9/2019
Kevin Kelly, Don Callis & Chris Charlton on commentary.
Shota starts off hot with a tope con giro wiping out Mox and lands a front missile dropkick, but eats a lariat in return. Mox looks intense and precise, locking in a Regal Stretch. Umino gets a nice German for 2 and tries to fire up, but the fisherman is reversed into a Crash Landing for 2. Death Rider (Dirty Deeds) follows, and thats all.
Jon Moxley defeats Shota Umino by pinfall via Death Rider
JAY’S RATING: 2.25 out of 5
A quick and easy opening match to further Mox’s presense in NJPW, while Shota shows some good Young Lion fire. MOXLEY IS FREE AND I LOVE IT.
After the match, Mox declares himself for the G1 Climax. Mox also helps carry Shota to the back after the match, showing that he is not a true heel, not a true face… HE’S JUST JON FUCKING MOXLEY.
Shingo thinks that his lack of experience against heavyweights is what cost him the BOSJ finals, setting up for this match against NJPW stalwart Kojima. Standing across from Kojima, Shingo is already there weight class and impact wise whenever he wants to be/whenever New Japan wants to put him in that division. Kojima hits a pescado, which is a cool surprise, showing he can go a bit Junior-style if need be. They both brawl at ringside and almost get counted out. Machine-gun chops and the elbow strike connect, but Shingo blocks the diving elbow. Apron DVD from Shingo is blocked, Kojima looks for a Koji Cutter but Shingo gets the DVD on the 2nd try. Kojima comes back with his own apron shots. Back inside and a Koji Cutter gets 2. Top rope Koji Cutter gets another 2. Shingo fires back to drop Kojima. Noshigami is blocked as is Pumping Bomber and Kojima gets a short clotheline. Nice brainbuster from Kojima connects for 2. Shingo is staggered but hits a DDT. Koji just ABSORBS a Pumping Bomber and they both hit lariats and Shingo drops to his knees. Pumping Bomber connects but only gets 1. They trade fire, Made in Japan gets 2, Pumping Bomber connects and Last of the Dragon finishes things.
Shingo Takagi defeats Satoshi Kojima by pinfall via Last of the Dragon
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5
This was a fun outing between these two. Kojima’s no selling was great, but Shingo was locked in the whole time and is ready to level up. Maybe thats why they gave the BOSJ to Ospreay – because they want to level up Shingo right away. If so… ok I can get with that.
After the match, Shingo calls for the mic and declares himself for G1. The crowd is chanting for Shingo.
SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki/Zack Sabre, Jr.)
JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER & YOSHI-HASHI
This is about further continuing Suzuki/Liger, as well as setting up for ZSJ defending his Undisputed British title against HASHI. Suzuki-Gun attacks before the bell because OF COURSE THEY DO, and the action spills to ringside. ZSJ works over HASHI back in the ring. Dirty double teaming from Suzuki-Gun. Suzuki in. GODDAMN what a forearm. ZSJ back in who toys with HASHI and tears off the shoulder tape. Nice tag team work from Suzuki-Gun. Thudding PK from Suzuki gets 2. Liger comes in and KICKS HASHI TO WAKE HIM UP. That’s awesome. Liger is FIRED UP. HASHI fires back and tags in Liger who hits SHOTEI!’s on both and he and Suzuki square off. Suzuki looks for the Gotch Piledriver but Liger counters. Brainbuster from Liger connects. HASHI and ZSJ tagged in and HASHI gets a Headhunter and draped dropkick for 2. ZSJ with great submission counter work. Suzuki-Gun gets dual octopus holds until HASHI makes the ropes. HASHI hits a lariat and looks for Karma but ZSJ counters, looks for the submission but HASHI counters into a nice rollup for the shock WIN.
Liger/HASHI defeat Suzuki-Gun by pinfall via a rollup
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5
A fine match that allowed HASHI to look pretty good, but Liger was the one bringing the fire for me here. The build to Liger/Suzuki has been good, and that continues at pace here. Still not sure I care about HASHI challenging for the RevPro title though. I’d love for him to change my mind.
After the match ZSJ is shocked, and he and HASHI brawl. Suzuki is losing it at ringside. HASHI holds the British belt high over ZSJ.
BULLET CLUB (Jay White/Taiji Ishimori/Chase Owens)
HIROSHI TANAHASHI, JUICE ROBINSON & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI
Chase and Juice start, with Chase targeting the eye that got busted. Shots from Juice with crowd chanting with them. Cannonball is attempted but evaded. Tag to Taiji, tag to Taguchi (who has the crowd behind him). Taguchi is grinning like an idiot and I love it. Nice rope-running, Taguchi hits hip attacks in the corner but crashes and burns as Taiji evades a running one and the action spills to ringside. Back in and Chase gets the tag to work on Taguchi. Tag to Jay who drives Taguchi on the outside into the barricade and apron. Jay is a great heel. Taguchi misses another hip attack and wipes out again, but finally hits one and tags in Tana who fires at Jay. Dragon Screw by Tana connects. Somersault senton gets 2. “Go Ace” chants. Snap Saito suplex by Jay connects and BC in for the 3 on 1. Twisting suplex by Jay lands beautifully for 2. Jay calls for Blade Runner but Tana counters, Jay tries it again but Tana hits something ugly to drop Jay. Chase pulls Jay to the BC corner and tags himself in, hitting a nice knee strike for 2. Chase looks for the Package, Juice in but eats a superkick and Taguchi misses ANOTHER flying hip attack. Jewel Heist by Chase, Package Piledriver is blocked, so is Tana’s cloverleaf as Juice hits Jay with the Left Hand of God and Tana hits an UGLY Helms Street and somehow gets the WIN with that.
Tanahashi/Juice/Taguchi defeats Bullet Club by pinfall with… something…
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5
This was a surprisingly lackluster match from a group that I would have expected to deliver more. Tana gets the win to come back after losing to Jay White, and that felt like the point here.
NEVER Openweight Championship
Taichi is out with Iizuka’s iron glove bag. Taichi has some love from the crowd, but slinks out of the ring to start. Ishii lays on his back, offering Taichi the first move. LOVE IT. Taichi in and stomps on Ishii, who seems like he couldn’t care less. Taichi now toys with Ishii, who no sells all of it and gets a look in his eye. Taichi talks shit, so Ishii knocks him down with one shot. Tackle drops Taichi, and Ishii maintains control. Ishii now has the mic stand and glove bag, and tells Taichi he doesnt need them and demands a real match as he tosses them out of the ring. They trade strikes. Taichi gets the advantage for a moment with kicks, and lands a BIG slap that rocks Ishii to a nice pop. More strikes from Taichi on a grounded Ishii. Nice chest kick by Taichi collapses Ishii, and Taichi slows things down. Saito is blocked by Ishii who hits a powerslam off the ropes. Taichi with a kick to Ishii in the corner and the pants go flying. Buzzsaw kick misses, Ishii looks for the brainbuster but its countered and Taichi gets a Kawada-style gamengiri.
Axe Bomber by Taichi is blocked but he hits a head kick and another gamengiri and Ishii goes down. HUGE Saito suplex by Taichi gets 2. Ishii hits a Saito of his own. Taichi with strikes and Ishii asks for more before hitting a release German, but Taichi shoves the ref into Ishii. The low blow by Taichi is blocked twice and Ishii hits headbutts. Lariats by Ishii get 2, Taichi evades a sliding lariat and hits one of his own and gets a Gedo Clutch but only gets 2. Axe Bomber by Taichi drops Ishii and he looks for the Stretch Plum, wrenching it back, Ishii fades but Taichi transitions and hits a buzzsaw kick. Black Mephisto is blocked, Taichi gets a high kick and a nice Last Ride but still only gets 2. Superkick by Taichi is blocked twice and Ishii gets a jumping enziguri to drop Taichi. Ishii fires himself up in the corner, elbows by Ishii, another gamengiri by Taichi but Ishii absorbs it and hits a hard lariat for 2. Ishii calls for the end, Taichi counters with forearms, looks for Black Mephisto but Ishii counters into a powerbomb and sliding lariat to get 2, follows with the Vertical Drop Brainbuster and covers for the 3.
Tomohiro Ishii defeats Taichi by pinfall via the Vertical Drop Brainbuster to win the NEVER Openweight Title for the 5th Time
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
This was a strong match from both and another strong showing from Taichi, who continues to improve and consistently looks great opposite Ishii. While I love Ishii getting another reign with the title, I keep wanting Ishii to move beyond the NEVER division and into something greater, because DAMN is he fun to watch in the ring and is just an outstanding Strong Style storyteller. A great win, and he deserves even more.
IWGP World Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (EVIL/SANADA)
GUERRILLAS OF DESTINY (c) w/ Jado
SANADA starts off with Tama. Nice love for SANADA. Mix of love and hate for Tama. Chants for SANADA. They start fast, Tama evades the Paradise Lock and they stand off. Tags to Loa and EVIL. Tackles move no one. Loa rocks EVIL and talks shit. EVIL takes down Tama and drops Loa with a tackle. Chops by EVIL get 1. Jado gets a cane shot in to change the momentum as GoD takes control on the outside. Back in and Loa keeps on EVIL, hitting a nice flying knee strike for 2. Tag to Tama who hits a tope atomico. Suplex by Tama gets 2. Tag to Loa and GoD hits a nice double dropkick for 2. Quick tags as Tama comes in with a flurry. Tag to Loa who hits a tope atomico of his own. EVIL escapes the running powerslam and gets the ref-assisted gut kick and tags in SANADA. Tama in illegally for a double team but SANADA takes out Tama and puts Loa in the Paradise Lock, drops Tama with a dropkick and a pescado, gets Jado with a pescado and Loa is still tied up in the ring. The dropkick to the bum releases Loa and SANADA gets 2. Rana by SANADA is blocked into a sitout powerbomb by Loa for 2.
Tag to Tama who drops EVIL and gets a Stinger Splash on SANADA. Tama mockingly chants for SANADA, but the crowd fires up and chants loudly for him, and SANADA connects with a spring dropkick. EVIL tagged in and drops Loa, and LIJ gets the double team. Superplex by EVIL connects, standing moonsault by SANADA and EVIL locks in a Sharpshooter until Loa breaks it. Double team by LIJ drops Loa, and another double team drops Tama. They call for Magic Killer but its blocked, but SANADA gets Skull End on Loa as EVIL gets the Sharpshooter again on Tama. Jado pulls the ref out as Tama taps whick makes EVIL break, Jado hits cane shots and gets in the ring for more. BUSHI hits the ring and mists Jado, then gets a cane shot of his own followed by a nice suicide dive. Nice pop for BUSHI. Magic Killer is attempted but blocked as Tama gets a rollup with the tights to steal the WIN.
GoD defeats LIJ by pinfall via a rollup with tights to retain the IWGP Tag Team Titles
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5
This was a fairly strong tag title match, but the ending felt very deflated especially due to Jado’s interference and the flash pin. Both teams have ability, but it did feel like there wasnt enough real investment in this outing overall. The tag team division in general needs some expansion, and you could feel that need a bit given this title match. BUSHI’s pop was cool given his good showing in the latter half of BOSJ, and perhaps suggests some new fire behind under him looking ahead.
As we prepare for the next match, Katsuyori Shibata’s music hits and he comes out to a great response. He then stops on the ramp, points at the tron… and KENTA IS HERE!!! HOLY SHIT!!! KENTA IS IN NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING! Shibata takes the mic and introduces KENTA. KENTA takes the mic and introduces himself, and thanks Shibata for the opportunity. He says that he wants to show the world KENTA’s pro wrestling (a total dig at WWE), and he’s going to do so… AT THE G1 CLIMAX. It is not an overstatement to say that this changes EVERYTHING.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
DRAGON LEE (c)
HUGE response for Will. They feel each other out to start, but with some junior quickness with neither able to land moves. They look for finishes early and end in a stand off, but Lee doesnt stay there and hits a dropkick to stun Will. Will comes back with a top rope 619, Lee goes to the floor and Will hits a pescado to take him down. BIG chop from Will (his hands are so hard), who rolls Lee in and gets a 1. An elbow gets another 1, and Will looks to ground Lee, stretching the arms into a cover for 2. Pip Pip Cheerio is blocked into an STO by Lee. Lee looks for the dropkick but Will evades, looks for his own but Lee evades and gets the Shibata dropkick and a throw for 2. Handspring enziguri by Will catches Lee, and he follows with Pip Pip Cheerio for 2. Lee to the outside, Will looks for the Space Flying Tiger Drop but Lee moves and hits a knee strike, then sits Will on the barricade, goes back into the ring and HITS AN INSANE SUICIDE DIVE INTO WILL DRIVING HIM OVER THE ANNOUNCE TABLE AND INTO THE ANNOUNCERS!!! THAT WAS FUCKING NUTS. Milano Collection AT is down, and the crowd chants for him, which is great.
Lee rolls Will back inside but is hurting as well, looks for a deadlift German, Will fights but Lee gets a straightjacket German instead with a bridge for 2. Will is put in the Tree of Woe, Lee climbs, Will fights up and they trade but Will is able to dump Lee with a kick to the head and then comes off the top with a corkscrew moonsault to wipe out Lee. Reverse Bloody Sunday by Will connects but only gets 2. Hook kick by Will, he looks for Stormbreaker but Lee with a GREAT counter and is able to drop Will with a GREAT DDT, looks to float over for Desnucadora but Will counters that into a stunner and both are down. Shots traded, Will lands a ROUGH hook kick, Lee looks for a snap German, Will lands on his feet but Lee is able to get a poison rana before running into a standing Spanish Fly for Will, cover but only 2. Will climbs but Lee cuts him off, Lee looks for the over the top rana to the floor BUT WILL LANDS ON HIS FEET! Will hits a pop up powerbomb on the apron, rolls Lee inside, climbs and hits a beautiful Shooting Star Press but only gets 2! Robinson Special connects, OsCutter is called for but Lee hits a knee to the back as Will springs back and both are down.
Will on the apron, Lee with strikes but Will hits a kick, looks to climb but Lee drops him into a tree of woe over the outside of the ring and Lee hits the double stomp from that position, dropping both to the floor. The ref starts to count both out, Lee gets back in first as Will collpases, but gets back inside barely before the 20. BIG knee strike by Lee, Desnucadora is set up but Will fights it off and hits a head kick. Will counters an STO into a powerbomb attempt, but Lee counters that into a DESTROYER! Lee follows up with Boma Ye, covers but only gets 2! Knee strike is countered by Will but Lee gets the 2nd attempt. Lee goes for Desnucadora again but Will lands on his feet and hits a hook kick and a SICK Hidden Blade to the back of Lee’s head! Super OsCutter connects, Will follows with Stormbreaker and covers, and thats the 3 and we have a new champ!
Will Ospreay defeats Dragon Lee by pinfall via Stormbreaker to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title for the 3rd Time
JAY’S RATING: 4.5 out of 5
This was an utterly INCREDIBLE match between two stellar performers, and this was arguably my favorite performance from Lee that I’ve seen yet. The build of this was great, the spots were great, the execution was great, it was just fucking great. I am curious about the long term plans for Will, as he seemed poised to level up his weight class and this keeps him in the Junior realm for a bit longer. But at this point I cant really argue because this was a balls-to-the-wall affair with everyone looking fantastic and Will further cementing his legacy as one of the best in the world regardless of weight class. Brilliant work all around.
After the match, Will offers Robbie Eagles a shot at the title in Melbourne. YES PLEASE.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship
KOTA IBUSHI (c)
The crowd pops at the bell as commentary talks about how the Osaka crowd HATED Naito pre-LIJ, and that is part of what led to his transformation into his current persona. Tie up to start, they quicken the pace and Ibushi hits a chest kick to drop Naito. Naito comes back with a hiptoss and dropkick to the back and taunts the crowd to a mix of boos and cheers driven by Naito’s history here. Nice leg-full-nelson by Naito but Ibushi makes the ropes, though Naito holds it past the ref’s call to break. Naito spits right in Ibushi’s face and beats him down and the crowd boos Naito loudly, which he throws right back in their face. Fake out of Combinacion Cabron by Naito, hitting the dropkick late and goes Tranquilo, and Naito spits at Red Shoes as well. Naito starts toying with Ibushi, who starts to look fired up until Naito goes for the eyes. Ibushi comes back, evading a Naito low dropkick and hitting a double stomp to the gut. Flurry by Ibushi, nice rana follows to dump Naito and a corkscrew pescado wipes Naito out. Back inside and Ibushi looks for a cover but gets 2. Nice enziguri by Naito, Ibushi evades the flying forearm with a half nelson suplex but Naito comes right back with a tornado DDT off the ropes. A large portion of the Osaka crowd now chants for Naito. What a fascinating crowd reaction this match and Naito are getting.
Single leg dropkick folds Ibushi up for 2. Ibushi blocks an avalanche rana, Naito with hard elbows but Ibushi slips out and hits a pele to knock Naito to the apron, and looks for the deadlift German from the ropes. Naito fights back with Euros, looks for a sitout tombstone on the apron but Ibushi slips behind for an apron German, with Naito escaping again. Naito looks for a German off the apron to the floor but Ibushi holds onto the ropes to block. Naito smiles and goes for the German BUT ALMOST KILLS IBUSHI, whose head connects with the very edge of the apron on the way down! FUCKING HOLY FUCKING SHITBALLS. That was terrifying and couldve easily broken Ibushi’s neck. Jesus H. Christ thats one of the scariest bumps I’ve ever seen, full stop, and I sincerely hope he is ok – hell, I hope he’s still ALIVE. The ref counts and somehow Ibushi is still conscious and makes it back inside. Naito now sits Ibushi backward on the top rope and HITS AN AVALANCHE POISON RANA. HOLY FUCKING HELL WHAT???. Cover by Naito and SOMEHOW Ibushi still kicks out.
Naito looks for Destino but Ibushi counters and SPIKES NAITO ON HIS HEAD WITH AN INVERTED DUDEBUSTER. WHAT THE FUCK ARE THESE TWO THINKING? Both are down, the ref starts to count, but Ibushi is able to sit up and land a forearm, telling Naito to come on and hit him. They trade shots, and Naito smiles. They are standing – I have no idea how. More shots traded, the pace quickens as each get a series in but Naito lands a STIFF headbutt to the fucking face. More headbutts, Ibushi fires back and drops Naito with a palm strike and a HARD lariat and both are down again. Ibushi channels Shinsuke Nakamura but Naito evades Boma Ye and hits a running Destino! Cover by Naito, but Ibushi kicks out at 2! Naito looks for Destino again but Ibushi counters into a GTS! Sit out Last Ride connects, cover but Naito is out at 2! Ibushi calls for Kamigoye but Naito pops up and SPIKES Ibushi with a DDT. Ibushi uncovers the other knee, Osaka chants for Naito who hits a kick and an inverted tornado DDT and covers but still only gets 2. Naito is on fire, but Destino is blocked again, GTS attempted again but Naito counters into a poison rana and hits Valentia for 2! One more Destino attempt, this one connects and Naito covers and WINS, putting an end to this fucking nuts match.
Tetsuya Naito defeats Kota Ibushi by pinfall via Destino to win the IWGP IC Title for the 4th Time
JAY’S RATING: 4.6 out of 5
This was one of the most dangerous non-stipulation, non-gimmick matches I have likely ever seen. That German to the floor where Ibushi caught the apron LITERALLY could have killed Ibushi, and he’s damned lucky he didnt. And then they KEPT HITTING SICK NECK AND HEAD SPOTS. It’s hard, because it was difficult to suspend my disbelief after that apron bump – I was too worried about their well-being. But at the end of the day, looking at the whole match from the POV of everyone coming out of it ok (which I hope is actually the case), I need to try to review this match as a match, and with that in mind this was a FUCKING WAR, with a methodical crescendo, locked-in energy from both feeding the story of a ferocious rivalry, and with a great finish. I literally exclaimed several times while watching this thing. Ibushi is fearless and showed insane resilience here, and Naito delivered a fantastic if dangerous performance that had the crowd going back and forth between hating and ADORING him. A strong end to a good reign for Ibushi, as Naito now looks to build toward his goal of being a double champion with the IC strap in hand. Assuming everyone is ok, this is a must-see affair, and the Ibushi/Naito rivalry is now one of my personal favorites. And I dont know that we’ve seen the last of it.
After the match Naito is handed the belt, and he immediately throws it down, before then standing up with it and standing on Ibushi’s head in dominance.
IWGP World Heavyweight Championship
KAZUCHIKA OKADA (c)
Huge chants for Okada at the bell, which pisses off Jericho. Lockup and the signature clean break form Okada, but Jericho goes for the eye and fires off chops, hitting an elbow to drop Okada. Paintbrushes by Jericho, Okada fires back but Jericho evades the dropkick by going to the outside. Okada chases Jericho around the ring, they head back inside and Okada lands a boot to the face. Jericho blocks a missile dropkick and turns Okada right into the Walls of Jericho and sits down deep, Okada fights and gets the ropes. Okada heads outside and Jericho hits a sliding dropkick that puts Okada into the announce section and mocks the crowd chanting for him. Jericho works Okada over and DDT’s Okada on the announce table. I’m liking this new Jericho persona more and more each time I see him. Jericho now pulls a new table from under the ring and sets it at ringside, shoving Red Shoes out of the way. Powerbomb attempt is blocked by Okada who fights Jericho off, but Jericho is able to maintain control, grabbing a camera for more shenanigans. Back inside and Jericho hits a top rope crossbody for 2.
Back suplex connects from Jericho who does his classic foot-on-chest cover, but Red Shoes wont even count. More chants for Okada. Slaps by Jericho fires Okada up who tries to fight back, but Jericho hits a dropkick and taunts the crowd before continuing to work over Okada. Nice vertical suplex from Jericho, cover but only 2. Chops by Jericho, then forearms, Okada fires back and they trade, with Okada getting a flapjack to change the momentum. Okada kips up and knocks Jericho down, hits the corner elbow and DDT as Jericho rolls outside. Jericho gets whipped into the rail and then kicked over it, Okada gets distance and gets the crowd clapping, looks to fly over the rail but Jericho counters and connects with an almost-Codebreaker in mid-flight. Okada almost gets counted out but rolls back in and Jericho covers for 2, then keeps beating down Okada. We get some Y2J chants now, which Jericho just soaks up. Jericho looks for a tombstone, Okada reverses but Jericho reverses again, Okada reverses again and Jericho slips out and looks for the Walls of Jericho, getting Okada over again but Okada makes the ropes again.
Jericho gets in Red Shoes face saying Okada tapped out, but this allows Okada to land a dropkick to put Jericho down. Okada sits Jericho up top but Jericho blocks the dropkick, looks to dive but Okada lands the dropkick on the way down and follows with the Tombstone. Rainmaker is attempted but Jericho gets a Tiger Bomb, stacking Okada up but only gets 2. More Y2J chants. Codebreaker is blocked into the Air Raid Neckbreaker for 2. Okada looks for the flying elbow but Jericho cuts it off and is able to get the triangle dropkick to drop Okada. Jericho looks for a superplex but Okada fights it off, throws Jericho off and lands the diving elbow drop, hitting the Rainmaker pose. Rainmaker is blocked and Jericho lands an enziguri. They trade shots, Okada lands Euros and forearms but Jericho evades the dropkick and hits a nice Lionsault for 2. Jericho stays on him but Okada fires back with a John Woo dropkick and works over Jericho in the corner. Okada gets distance but Jericho cuts him off with a Codebreaker, covers but only gets 2.
Jericho now exposes the corner turnbuckles and talks shit at Okada and looks for a Lawn Dart, but Okada slips behind and gets a German suplex and looks to transition into Rainmaker. Jericho ducks and looks for a Rainmaker of his own but Okada ducks and hits a Codebreaker, covers but only gets 2. Spinning tombstone connects, Rainmaker is blocked again and Jericho gets the Walls of Jericho a third time and sits down deep. Okada fights again, but Jericho pulls him back and wrenches it back into the Liontamer. Okada is able to flip Jericho to escape, but Jericho sends Okada into the corner and hits a lariat. Jericho calls for the Judas Effect but Okada counters, looks for Rainmaker but its countered, Jericho looks for the Codebreaker but its countered into a cradle and Okada gets the 3 count!
Kazuchika Okada defeats Chris Jericho by pinfall via a rollup to retain the IWGP World Title
JAY’S RATING: 3.75 out of 5
This was an overall strong main event, but definitely not up to par with many other IWGP title matches. Jericho’s character evolution is fantastic, especially how vicious he has become, but the match itself didnt quite reach that “main event gear” for me. Nonetheless, both Okada and Jericho stayed locked into each other from a story perspective, and that carried it far enough to make it really good as main event. I just still feel left wanting more.
After the match, Jericho beats down Okada, shoving the ref off. Jericho grabs a chair and cracks Okada with it, then hits the Judas Effect, which… I dont know. Its not doing it for me. He then wraps a chair around Okada’s head on the outside and drives Okada into the corner post. Jericho looks for the powerbomb through the table but Tanahashi (who was on commentary) jumps up and fights Jericho off, who bails. Chants for Tana. Jericho grabs a mic and talks shit at Tana.
This was a really strong event overall, with the IWGP Junior and IC matches delivering BIG TIME. That IC match scared the hell out of me, and I’m going to be listening closely to Ibushi’s status following this because it really skirted that danger line for me. Lots of stories move forward and Ishii getting the NEVER crown back was fun, but its really about Ospreay/Lee and Ibushi/Naito. If you have to choose, choose those.