New Japan Pro Wrestling Southern Showdown in Melbourne Report | Shared on NJWorld 7/5/19

New Japan Pro Wrestling
presents

SOUTHERN SHOWDOWN IN MELBOURNE
Day 1

Aired 6/29/19
Shared on New Japan World 7/5/19
Festival Hall, Melbourne Australia

Don Marnell & Chris Charlton on commentary.

MARK TUI, ANDREW VILLALOBOS & MICHAEL RICHARDS
vs
TOA HENARE, SHOTA UMINO & NICK BURY

Tui, Villalobos and Richards are all members of the Fale Dojo. Nice pop for Nick Bury, a local and last minute replacement who has always wanted to work for New Japan. Cool feel good story. Umino and AV start off on the mat, and go toe to toe. Tag to Tui, and Bury wants in and gets the tag. Nice quickness from Bury who gets kicks but gets floored by a Tui tackle. Good sequence and sweep by Tui gets 2, tag to Richards who gets a slam for another 2. Tag to AV who keeps the pressure on Bury, hitting a good dropkick and covers but Umino breaks it at 2. Tag to Richards, Bury fires back but eats an elbow for another 2. Tag to AV who lays in boots, tag to Tui who chokes Bury in the corner, tag to Richards who hits a slam for 2 and then grounds Bury. Bury fights back, hits an enziguri and both are down. Tag to Umino who comes in hot, clearing the Fale corner and dropping Richards with an elbow. Tui in but Umino drops him and hits a basement dropkick, nice suplex on Richards, cover but only 2. Umino looks for the Boston Crab as Henare plays defense but Richards makes the ropes. German by Umino is countered, shots traded, big pops for Umino but Richards hits a lariat and both are down. Tags to Henare and AV, Henare absorbs shots but eats an elbow, AV keeps on him with a butterfly suplex but only gets 2. Henare fights back and TAKES AV’S HEAD OFF with a lariat, drops Tui and lines AV up and hits the Rampage Tackle for 2. AV fire’s back, shots are traded but Henare lands a stiff headbutt and a uranage, and thats that.

Toa Henare, Shota Umino & Nick Bury defeat Mark Tui, Andrew Villalobos & Michael Richards by pinfall via uranage
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5

That was a solid way to open the show, with Nick Bury bringing a fun underdog face energy, Shota showing continued advancement and Henare getting stiffer and tighter. The Fale guys brought decent fire as well, but the face’s definitely looked sharpest here.

AARON SOLOW
vs
SLEX

I can dig Slex’s entrance and style. They go to the mat to begin, Solow gets ahead of Slex and hits a dropkick. Slex comes back with a dropkick of his own. Shots traded, Slex gets a slingshot belly to back backbreaker, Solow bails and Slex wipes him out with a suicide dive. Solow fights off a superplex attempt, slips out to crotch Slex and hits a draped neckbreaker, cover but only 2. Elbow from Solow drops Slex for 2. Solow is dominant with boots to Slex, Slex blocks a suplex and gets a sharp enziguri, follows with a spring tornado DDT and covers for 2. Shots traded, Slex gets behind and hoists Solow up into a torture rack and spins it out into a Blue Thunder Bomb (GREAT move), cover but only gets 2. Slex tries a spring but eats a superkick to the torso, running corner kick by Solow connects hard, cover but only 2. Solow climbs, Slex cuts it off and gets Solow up, hitting a delayed superplex and covering for 2. Slex grabs the glasses for a signature bit but Solow gets a rollup for 2, follows with a double stomp to the gut and climbing the corner and getting a diving double stomp to perfection, cover but still only 2. Cradle DDT by Solow is blocked and Slex hits a Disaster Kick, lines Solow up and hits Slexecution (Trouble in Paradise) for the 3 count.

Slex defeats Aaron Solow by pinfall via Slexecution
JAY’S RATING: 3 out of 5

This was a pretty strong match by two indy vet talents, and they both delivered a crisp, quick and engaging affair together. I can see Slex really being capable of great things when let off the leash, and this was a great taster of him in particular. It makes me want to check out his match with Okada (which is apparently on New Japan World).

CHAOS (Toru Yano/Yoh)
vs
BULLET CLUB (Taiji Ishimori/Gino Gambino)

Gino and Yano start off, with Gino taking time outside to control the pace. Gino puts Yano in the ropes, Yano complains for the break and goes for the corner pad but is cut off. Yano pegs Gino in the head, then goes into the ropes and gets the “Break” chant to keep distance. Taiji gets involved which opens Yano up to a Gino shot. “Fuck You Gino” chants. Tag to Taiji who grounds Yano aggressively, but Yano gets the ropes. Tag to Gino who slams Yano, cover but only 2. More covers to wear out Yano but still only 2 until Yoh comes in. Tag to Taiji who keeps pressure on, holding the hair for the advantage but Yano does the same and pulls Taiji down, and gets the tag to Yoh who comes in hot at Taiji. Gino in for a double team but Yoh dumps him and gets a dragon screw on Taiji. Bridging single arm suplex gets Yoh a 2, Taiji gets behind Yoh, gets him draped in the corner and hits the sliding German. Taiji climbs but Yoh evades, they run the ropes and Yoh hits the corkscrew forearm. Yoh fires up, chants for Roppongi, Yoh goes for the Paydirt part of 3K but Taiji counters into the handspring enziguri. Tags to Gino and Yano and Yano goes for the corner pad, Gino cuts him off but Yano gets the opposite pad and they square off to swordfight with the pads. Yano gets the shot to the back, but Gino nails him right between the eyes. Anti-Gino chants, Taiji gets the double knees and Gino gets an avalanche into the exposed corner, Taiji follows with Bombs Away and Gino gets a big splash for 2 when Yoh breaks it up. Taiji dumps Yoh, Gino blocks a Yano low blow, Yano tackles Gino in the corner but Gino drops Yano with a tackle. Yano evades the exposed corner and sends Gino into it, the ref gets turned around and Yano hits a low blow, superkick by Yoh connects on Gino and Yano cradles him for 3!

CHAOS (Yano/Yoh) defeats Bullet Club (Taiji/Gino Gambino) by pinfall via low blow, superkick and cradle
JAY’S RATiNG: 2.75 out of 5

This was a fairly entertaining outing with Yano’s shenanigans going over well, Yoh and Taiji looking good, and Gino generating some great heat from his hometown crowd.

CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii/YOSHI-HASHI)
vs
BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens/Yujiro Takahashi)

Bullet Club jumps CHAOS beefore the bell, with HASHI and Yujiro in the ring as Owens and Ishii take it outside. Yujiro tries to dominate HASHI but eats a chop, HASHI with a chop in the corner, looks for the draped dropkick but Chase cuts it off. HASHI fires back, Ishii back in and sets Yujiro up for Headhunter by HASHI. Hotshot by Yujiro connects as Chase drops Ishii from the corner. Tag to Chase who gets a back rake. Tag to Yujiro who hits a basement dropkick for 2, then ground HASHI with shots. Tag to Chase, flatliner followed by a Yujiro basement dropkick, cover but only 2. Chase spits at Ishii in the corner, then grounds HASHI. HASHI fights up, gets the rewind kick and tags in Ishii, Chase cuts off the hot tag and lays in shots but Ishii absorbs each one as the crowd chants “You fucked up”. Hard shot by Ishii who then runs through Chase with a tackle and chops away. Yujiro tries to intervene, Ishii fights it off and hits a release German on Chase. Chants for Ishii. Chase fires back with a legsweep into the corner, tries to kick at Ishii but Ishii fires up and they trade shots. Yujiro in for the BC double team, hits a fisherman buster and Chase lands a knee strike, cover but its broken up at 2. Chase tunes up the band, Ishii ducks but Chase gets a hard knee strike instead, keeps coming at Ishii and hits a snap dragon suplex and a V-Trigger! INTERESTING. Jewel Heist connects, cover but Ishii is out at 2. Package Piledriver is cut off, HASHI lariats Yujiro but eats Helms Street from Chase who lands another big knee on Ishii, Package Piledriver is countered again and they trade. BIG lariat from Ishii connects, cover but only 2. The Vertical Drop Brainbuster finishes Chase.

CHAOS (Ishii/HASHI) defeats Bullet Club (Chase/Yujiro) by pinfall via Vertical Drop Brainbuster
JAY’S RATING: 3.25 out of 5

This was a much more fun and fiery CHAOS/BC match than the one that preceded it, with the MVPs being Ishii and Chase who both delivered for a crowd that was into both of them big time. Ishii continues to be an unsung HERO of the entire company, and Chase can pull out of truly incredible in-ring storytelling when he’s dropped in. HASHI feels like he’s already lost momentum again, surprising no one, and Yujiro does Yujiro and somehow it works, and the elements jelled well for an entertaining tag match where I continue to wish HASHI could just keep the fire burning.

RevPro Undisputed British Cruiserweight Championship
ROCKY ROMERO
vs
EL PHANTASMO (c)

If they can align their senses of humor and ELP can keep things quick and impactful, this has the potential to be a TON of fun. This came about from Rocky beating ELP during the BOSJ tournament bracket. ELP jumps Rocky before the bell but takes too much time and Rocky gets a rana off the middle turnbuckle, ELP bails and Rocky hits a suicide dive to wipe out ELP, following with the apron jumping knee. Rocky keeps on ELP outside, rolls him back in where ELP asks for a timout but Rocky lays in kicks and corner punches. ELP escapes but eats an axe handle from Rocky, but gets the advantage back by going to the eyes. Rocky dumps ELP face first on the top, they trade shots, Rocky winds up but then gets the Atomic Eye Poke in a bit of Sneaky Style. Rocky winds up again, ELP blocks it Stooges-style, so Rocky moves his hand and gets it anyway! The action gets serious again as Rocky gets a knee drop to the arm and begins working ELP’s arm in advance of the cross armbreaker, which he used to beat ELP at BOSJ. Rocky winds up but only hits one Forever Clothesline before ELP gets Rocky in the Tree of Woe and steps on the crotch “Forever-Style”. Referee Marty Asami wont call the fall after the shenanigans, so ELP grounds Rocky. Chants for Rocky. Rocky fights up but ELP is able to land a Lionsault for 2. ELP tells Rocky to go back to commentary and dumps him outside, lands a kick and sends him back inside as the crowd chants “Youre a wanker”. Rocky blocks a suplex and drapes ELP over the top rope, kicks him in the chest and tries the spring double stomp but ELP moves, looks for a suplex to the floor but gets a kick that dumps Rocky and ELP wipes out Rocky on the floor with a GORGEOUS moonsault all the way from the top and landing on his feet. That was pretty.

The ref starts to count as ELP rolls Rocky back in, cover by ELP but only 2 as ELP grounds Rocky. ELP gets wrist control and starts walking the ropes, gets ¾ of the way around but then Rocky crotches him in the corner, ELP is draped, Rocky climbs the adjacent corner and hits a FANTASTIC Coast to Coast dropkick to ELP’s head! GREAT spot from Rocky! Running rana by Rocky takes ELP over and gets momentum going with Forever Clotheslines, ELP tries to evade the third and gets Rocky up in the cutthroat tornado neckbreaker, covers but only gets 2. ELP looks for CR2 but Rocky gets a rana for 2, reversal by ELP into a rollup for 2, nice tornado DDT by Rocky which he transitions seamlessly into a suplex which he transitions into the armbar! ELP counters into an ankle lock, but Rocky reverses that into a rollup for 2. Shots traded, nice kick sequence from ELP, Rocky with a flurry but ELP gets the double Purple Nurple, “you sick fuck” chants from the crowd as Rocky hits a jumping knee and lariat to drop ELP. Another big lariat connects, chants for Rocky and he hits the running Shiranui for 2. “This is Awesome” chants, Shiranui is blocked by ELP into a tombstone but ROCKY COUNTERS INTO A SITOUT TOMBSTONE DESTROYER! That was nuts! Cover, but ELP is out at 2! Rocky looks for Shiranui again but ELP throws Rocky into the ref who is out. ELP looks for CR2 but Rocky counters into the cross armbar, and ELP taps out with no ref to see it! “You Tapped Out” chants. ELP has the belt but Rocky ducks the shot, gets a rollup but only gets 2 and the kickout sends Rocky into the ref again. This allows ELP to get the shot with the belt, CR2 follows and thats the cover and the WIN to retain. 

El Phantasmo defeats Rocky Romero via CR2 to retain the RevPro Undisputed British Cruiserweight Title
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5

This was a really great outing, with ELP looking strong, Rocky still looking the best he’s ever looked in my opinion, but the closing stretch deflated things a bit for me (and it sounded like for the crowd as well). And I can do with some shenanigans, but these shenanigans felt like they let the air out more than added to the journey. Nonetheless, a strong showing from both. Can Rocky just get a full push now please? Somewhere?

IWGP World Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
JUICE ROBINSON & MIKEY NICHOLLS
vs
GUERRILLAS OF DESTINY (c)

Juice flips off GoD as they do their 2 Sweet. Mikey and Loa start off, things start slow, tackle attempts move no one to start but Loa thumbs the eye. Mikey drops Loa in response, Tama in but Juice cuts him off and takes Tama out with a pescado and Mikey wipes out Loa outside on the other side. The action is now totally on the outside, Tama and Juice head through the crowd as Mikey keeps on Loa at ringside. The ref finally begins to count after a decent chunk of time outside, Juice tries a piledriver on the ramp on Tama but Tama backdrops Juice to counter, Loa and Mikey are back inside and GoD gets a douible team neckbreaker combo. Chants for GoD. Loa mauls and grounds Mikey, follows with a flying knee that drops Mikey but only gets 2. Tag to Tama who hits an elbow atomico, and taunts the crowd. Stinger splash connects, cover by Tama but only 2. Tag to Loa who hits a tope atomico to keep Mikey grounded. Mikey fights back and snags a DDT, crowd claps (not hotly though) and Juice gets the hot tag. Jabs to Tama, then to Loa as well, sidekicks take down both members of GoD and Juice fires up. Pulp Friction is blocked by Tama who distracts the ref so Jado can hit a cane shot, and GoD gets the corner double team to follow.

Tama keeps on Juice and dumps him, the ref keeps Mikey at bay as Jado gets another cane shot as Tama dances (flossing, to be specific) in the ring. Juice sent back in, cover by Tama but Juice is too close to the ropes. Snap suplex by Tama gets 1 and Tama is right back on top. Tag to Loa who grounds Juice, Juice tries to power up but Tama in to cut off a possible tag and GoD hits a double back suplex. Cover, but only 2. Running powerslam by Loa, cover but still only 2. Tag to Tama, they go for the corner combo again but Juice counters, evades the double back suplex and tags in Mikey who is in hot. Spinebuster by Mikey plants Tama and a sliding lariat follows for 2. Loa back in but Mikey takes down both GoD members with clotheslines. Juice back in and they get corner clotheslines and Juice hits Tama with a cannonball as Mikey hits Big Ending, and they get Loa with a senton/fist drop combo. Big Ending/falling DDT combo connects on Tama, cover but Loa breaks it at 2. Juice dumps Loa, they looks to finish but Jado jumps on the apron and eats Left Hand of God. This lets Tama hit Gun Stun on Juice, Mikey counters an attempt and looks for the Mikey Bomb, Tama out of it, Loa on the apron with a belt but Mikey drops him. The ref gets turned around and Tama gets behind Mikey for a rollup with a handfull of tights (which the ref could have seen, tbh) and gets the 3 count.

Guerrillas of Destiny defeats Juice Robinson & Mikey Nicholls by pinfall via a rollup with tights
JAY’S RATING: 2.75 out of 5

This was a pretty good match, but I wanted more for the first ever IWGP Tag Team Title match in Australia. I never once believed that Juice and Mikey were a threat to win, and while I admire the work put in to build a team energy and moveset, it just wasnt clicking. And after seeing how Mikey clicked with Shane Haste in TMDK, it strikes me as purely a chemistry issue, and I dont know if anything can be done to fix that. As a result, there wasnt enough investment or fire to make me care. They need to develop and/or import some teams, stat.

IWGP World Junior Heavyweight Championship
ROBBIE EAGLES
vs
WILL OSPREAY (c)

In the video preceding the match, we see Eagles defeating Ospreay in the past. This should be very good. Eagles is over as a total face here, in spite of the BC gear and ELP being at his side. Big chants for Eagles. Eagles tells ELP to leave ringside, and gets sung out of the ringside area by the crowd, but ELP grabs a chair and sits himself down. Lock up starts things slowly, Will looks to pick up the pace and they play a fast-paced counter and reversal game, Will evades Shiranui, Eagles evades the OsCutter and they stand off. Nice sequence. Robbie tries tackles, but Will isnt going down. Will fakes out the tackle attempt and drops Robbie with a HARD chop to the chest to mixed response, and Will flips off the crowd earning “Fuck You Ospreay” chants. They go fast again, running the ropes, nice evasion sequence off the ropes but Eagles catches Will coming with a dropkick, Will bails and Eagles wipes him out with a suicide cannonball. Chops by Eagles on the outside, back inside and Eagles covers but gets 1. Eagles toys with Will, showing no intimidation, and hits a nice basement running dropkick and gets 2. Will gets a chop that sends Eagles outside and Will is able to drop Eagles with Pip Pip Cheerio off the barricade. The crowd and Will engage with each other as Will sends Eagles into the corner post and hits the hooking superkick through the ropes. Will puts Eagles back inside and draped over the bottom rope and hits a Drive By kick, then gets inside and keeps things slow. Big slam by Will is followed by a jumping kneedrop, Will plays the heel on the cover and gets 2. Will is being a right little shit and I’m here for it.

Hesitation dropkick connects fully, cover but still 2 and he keeps Eagles grounded. Very mixed reaction for Will in the crowd. Eagles fires back and gets a nice rollup for 2, looks for the legs but Will cuts it off before Eagles gets an around the world tornado DDT to change the momentum. Chest kicks and a running kick from Eagles connect, corner double knees follows but Will fights back, they trade counters, Will misses another Drive By attempt and Eages gets an over the top double stomp on Will on the apron. Eagles now targets the legs, wrapping one around the corner post. Will back inside, Eagles gets a spring dropkick to the knee and a running elbow to the back of the head, follows with 619 and a nice spring elbow to the back of the head. Cover but only 2. Eagles keeps on the knee and slows things down on his end now, with Will having trouble staying up on the whip. Will fires back but Eagles kicks out the knee again, but Will comes back with the handspring enziguri and both are down. Top rope 619 and Pip Pip Cheerio connect from Will, cover but only 2. Eagles ducks a superkick, Will looks for the backflip enziguri but the knee buckles, Eagles tries to take advantage but Will hits the enziguri anyway. Will looks for Stormbreaker but Eagles counters, gets a PK and a step kick to the head and covers Will but only gets 2. Eagles looks for Shiranui, Will is able to sit Eagles on top in the corner and looks for a super dragon suplex, Eagles fights Will off but Will hits the backflip kick and Eagles drops into the Tree of Woe. Will now just slaps Eagles, the crowd boos, so Eagles slaps back while hanging upside down so Will just starts kicking at his head. The crowd calls Will a wanker.

They climb to the top rope, Will looks for a top rope super dragon suplex but Eagles fights it off again with Will dropping to the apron, but he dropkicks Eagles off the corner to the floor, then climbs and a corkscrew moonsault to the floor, wiping Eagles out completely. Will back in, the ref counts and gets to 19 when Eagles finally makes it back in and Will meets him with a spring dropkick to the head. Reverse Bloody Sunday follows for 2. Robinson Special lands, Will looks for the OsCutter but Eagles runs and climbs with him and hits a super Shiranui off the top and both are down! Shots traded, Turbo Backpack is countered but Eagles hits a nice kick to the head, Will flips over Eagles for the Liger Bomb, Eagles tries a rana but Will ends up turning it into a pancake and follows with a Liger Bomb, covers but only gets 2! That was an insane sequence. Will lines Eagles up and climbs but ELP interrupts which allows Eagles to climb and hit a top rope spring super rana! Eagles then climbs and goes for the 450 on the leg but Will moves! Hook kick by Will who hoists Eagles on his shoulders and climbs to the middle rope, stands up and hits a super Iconoclasm, cover but only 2 as Eagles kicks out! Will now lines Eagles up as ELP slides in a chair, but Will intercepts it. Eagles looks to go behind but Will gets a rollup for 2, a superkick and looks for OsCutter but ELP looks for a belt shot which Will evades. Suddenly Eagles hits a suicide dive wiping out ELP! Will’s leg gets caught in the ropes, Eagles hits a 450 and lands Turbo Backpack, covers for 2 and transitions into the Ron Miller Special! The crowd pops. Will fights from below but Eages locks it in again! Will ALMOST taps but stops himself, and Eagles grabs the wrist to stop the rope break, but Will struggles and gets the break.

Eagles gets Will up in a rack, Will fights out, Eagles looks to spring but Will catches him in a cutter and then hits the OsCutter! Cover but ELP pulls the ref out at 2 and starts beating down Will. ELP lines Will up for a belt shot as Eagles comes to and grabs the belt to prevent ELP  from getting the shot, ELP throws up the Too Sweet but Will is up and hits a hook kick as Red Shoes gets back into the ring. Eagles teases the belt shot but gives it to Red Shoes and they square off again. Shots traded, Will getting boos and Eagles getting yays, Eagles gets Will beaten down in the corner, looks for Turbo Backpack, Will counters with a snap dragon suplex, Eagles powers up (FIGHTING SPIRIT!) but then eats a BIG lariat! ESSEX DESTROYER CONNECTS, cover but somehow Eagles kicks out at 2. “Fight Forever” chants. Stormbreaker is attempted, Eagles escapes but eats a head kick and a hook kick, Will hoists him for Stormbreaker but Eagles reverses into a GREAT driving rana cover, but only gets 2! Kick sequence by Eagles, then he hits an INSANE Shiranui DDT and covers but STILL only gets 2! Eagles climbs and gets the 450 to the knee, looks for Ron Miller again but Will gets a cradle for 2. Liger Bomb by Will gets a little botched and a kick grazes Eagles, knee by Eagles but Will follows with a slightly botched Spanish Fly for 2. Shooting Star Press by Will lands, cover BUT ONLY 1! FIGHTING SPIRIT! Will hits the Hidden Blade and follows with Stormbreaker, and that finally puts Eagles away for 3.

Will Ospreay defeats Robbie Eagles by pinfall via Stormbreaker
JAY’S RATING: 4.6 out of 5

Ok. If there is anyone still wondering whether or not Will is one of THE BEST WRESTLERS IN THE WORLD, I defy you to tell me that after a match like this. (And I know there are those of you who will. And we will agree to disagree.) And the reason I feel so strongly about this is not because of his athleticism and flippy-boy brilliance. Its his STORYTELLING. Will Ospreay knows how to build and manipulate tension, knows how to parse out the pace of a match, knows how to sell with the BEST of them, knows how to fight from underneath or how to be a right little shit… he’s telling a story at all times. And to match him with Eagles, who was a BOSJ breakout in my opinion and delivered an utterly STELLAR performance with Will here – and succeeded in making me believe a title change was possible, if unlikely – was a stroke of genius. And to have that match in front of this crowd? Fire. This was a masterclass in blending 2019 style action with incredible psychology, with a near perfect closing stretch. WATCH THIS ONE. (PS – this to me was a breakout moment for Eagles on a major stage, and I am now watching his journey even more closely after this. Brilliant work.)

After the match, ELP looks to comfort Eagles as Will extends the hand, and Eagles pushes ELP away. ELP wants Eagles to walk away from the handshake and gets between Will and Eagles, throwing up the Too Sweet. But Eagles just DECKS ELP. Big pop and chants for Robbie, who shakes Will’s hand. Robbie Eagles has so much face potential, might have just had the breakout match of his career, and this felt extremely well handled as an official turn to cap it off.

BULLET CLUB (Jay White / Bad Luck Fale)
vs
HIROSHI TANAHASHI & KAZUCHIKA OKADA

Jay kicks the Young Lion holding the ropes for Tana away, keeping tensions flaring between those two. Okada and Fale start off with Fale showing the size and power edge. Shots by Okada who drops Fale across the middle rope and hits a basement dropkick to follow. Fale shoves Okada off and tags in Jay. Chants for Tana, who gets the tag from Okada. “Go Ace” chants as Jay rolls outside in now classic fashion to control the pace. Back inside and they grapple, they run the ropes and Jay drops but Tana snatches a headlock. Jay looks for a headlock of his own but Tana is a step ahead, but Jay uses the ref to distract Tana and get in shots. Mid rope crossbody by Tana connects but Jay is able to dump Tana to the outside as Fale drops Okada, and Jay taunts for the crowd. Big chops by Jay who drives Tana into the apron. Fale gets a shot in as Tana gets back inside. “Go Ace” chants, tag to Fale who keeps the pressure on. Tana tries a sunset flip but Fale just DROPS on him for a cover but gets 2. Tag to Jay who hits a neckbreaker and covers for 2. Headlock by Jay grounds Tana as he flips off the crowd. Tana fights up, Jay tries to counter a dragon screw, Tana gets shots but Jay takes out Tana’s knee and gets a Muta Lock. Okada in to break the hold, but Fale takes out Okada. Tag to Fale who keeps on Tana, stepping his full weight onto Tana’s chest. Tana evades a squash in the corner, gets a shot on Jay and takes out Fale’s knee, and gets the tag to Okada. Okada goes right after Fale, running the ropes and hitting the elbow and a nice DDT into a kip up. Okada keeps Jay off the corner, leads the crowd in an Aussie chant and looks to slam Fale, but cant get him up yet. Fale tries a slam but Okada drops behind and gets the slam! Cover, but barely a 2 if that.

Okada climbs, Gedo jumps on the apron to distract and Fale throws Okada off. Tag to Jay being a dick, and he hits a nice snap Saito suplex. Okada counters a suplex and is able to get the Air Raid Neckbreaker. Tag to Tana who lays into Jay, catching a kick and snagging the dragon screw, then follows with a grounded dragon screw. Tana looks for the Cloverleaf but Jay makes the ropes quickly and fights Tana off. Shots by Tana but Jay gets a big chop, then another but Tana just ABSORBS them, before getting planted with the flatliner/deadlift German combo. Twisting suplex by Jay gets 2, he follows with a big uranage but Okada is able to break it at 2 before Fale pulls him back outside. Jay calls for Blade Runner but Tana reverses, looks for a dragon suplex, Jay escapes and they trade move attempts and counters with Tana finally hitting Twist and Shout. Tag to Fale, tag to Okada who hits John Woo and tries for a tombstone, cant quite get Fale turned and Fale hits a big shoulder tackle. Corner crush and big splash by Fale, cover but only 2. Fale looks for Grenade but Tana in to break it up, Jay dragon screws Tana but Okada takes him out before eating a BIG clothesline from Fale, who lifts Okada for the Bad Luck Fall. Okada fights out and hits that beautiful dropkick. Jay in and evades a dropkick, goes for Blade Runner but Okada counters, Jay evades Rainmaker, we get a nice counter sequence and Tana comes in to hit Jay with Sling Blade. Double suplex finally gets Fale over, and Tana hits a Pescado on both Jay and Gedo at ringside. Okada hits the big elbow drop, calls for Rainmaker but Fale looks for Grenade, Okada hits a discus Rainmaker to counter and then hits Rainmaker, cover and thats 3!

Okada & Tanahashi defeat Bullet Club by pinfall via Rainmaker
JAY’S RATING: 3.5 out of 5

I think this was a solid main event to cap off the first day in Australia, thought could not quite compete with the astoundingly good semi-main that preceded it. Tana looks like he might be hurting but Okada was on fire both in the ring and with the crowd tonight, Jay played his role brilliantly as always and Fale did his Fale thing well enough I guess. It just never quite reached that next level, but it served as a nice tease for some G1 action coming up, and the crowd was into it. 

After the match, Okada takes the mics and the crowd chants for him. Okada gets pops for Australia and Melbourne, and asks how the show was tonight. Nice pop. “Best in the World” chants. Okada says “yes we are.” Then he says, “sorry, YES I AM.” Love it. Okada says I will see you again, and thanks everyone for coming and says in Japanese that he will be back again, and when he comes back, he will make it rain! Nice closer.

JAY’S THOUGHTS:

This was a super enjoyable show with an absolutely INSANE semi-main between Will Ospreay and Robbie Eagles, who I hope is poised to be a breakout star following this. He deserves it. Ospreay also continues to build on his top-tier storytelling abilities, and we get some CHAOS/BC action and G1 anticipation. The crowd was also SO INTO this show, which added a ton. All in all, well done. (Though the tag team division is still sticking out like a sore thumb as in need of some juice.) 

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