The final NJPW big show of the year promised a fitting end that what has been an awesome year for the company. Featuring four title matches and the final of the Junior Tag league, the show also featured a couple of major surprises as the build up to Wrestle Kingdom 12 truly began.
The main event was Hiroshi Tanahashi successfully defending the I-C title against Kota Ibushi and getting his revenge for the loss he suffered at this years G1 Climax tournament. These two always work really well together but I would have liked to see Ibushi get the win as he’s now working pretty much most NJPW shows these days and Tanahashi frankly needs some time off.
All the big moves were on display including Ibushi using the dangerous Lawndart throw into the corner and the always impressive out to in deadlift German suplex which did wonders for poor Tanahashi’s neck.
In the end though no-one survives the High Fly Flow and the ‘Ace’ stays champion. Following the usual epic air guitar encore, Switchblade (Jay White) made his appearance, fans seemed happy to see him and then realised he would be challenging Tanahashi at WK12 which they felt was a bit underwhelming. White laid him out and the build has begun.
Speaking of surprises, the biggest was Chris Jericho appearing in a video after Kenny Omega had successfully defended the US title against Beretta. Jericho challenged his fellow Winnipeg native to face him at the Dome on 04/01 and Kenny accepted. The fans popped big for this, Kevin Kelly and Don’t Callis reacted like it was the biggest news in the history of wrestling.
Omega’s win over Beretta was lots of fun but slightly hampered by the fact that nobody believed that Beretta had any chance of winning.
In other title matches Junior champion Will Ospreay lost in his very first title defence to regular nemesis Marty Scurll, this was very good with a nice dynamic between the styles that each man uses.
I do find it surprising that the commentators work so hard on pushing that Ospreay always loses to Scurll, a month after pushing a similar story against KUSHIDA which ended in an Ospreay title win.
After the Scurll title win, both KUSHIDA and Hiromu Takahashi came out to challenge. Hiromu was funny wearing both an helmet and gloves to protect himself after previous attacks. This sets up a four way match at the Dome.
Less entertaining was Minoru Suzuki’s win over Toru Yano in a bullrope match to retain the Never title, this was slow and plodding and featured way too much Suzuki-Gun interference. Hopefully this leads to a break in this never ending feud because it really has run its course.
Junior tag champions SHO and YOH ran the table to become the first ever tag champions to win the Junior Tag League when they beat Super 69 (Taguchi and ACH) in the final. This was very good, maybe a step behind the semi final match against BUSHI and Hiromu. Afterwards the Young Bucks challenged for the titles which was accepted and again this will probably happen at WK12.
The slow build for Okada vs. Naito continued in a 10 man tag between CHAOS and LIJ, unusually though it was Okada that got the better of it tonight and also picking up the win by pinning BUSHI with the Rainmaker.
On the undercard the highlight was the return of the Young Bucks beating Dragon Lee and Titan in a very fun match that opened the show officially. The Bucks debuted their new submission finisher on Titan which they call Cease and Desist.
Full Results and Ratings
David Finlay defeated Katsuya Kitamura ** (Pre Show)
The Young Bucks defeated Dragon Lee and Titan. ***1/2
Juice Robinson, KUSHIDA, Hirai Kawato, Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask defeated Taka Michinoku, Taichi, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr **3/4
Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Togi Makabe defeated Cody, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens. **
Roppongi 3K defeated Super 69. ****
Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, Gedo & YOSHI-HASHI defeated
Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi. ***1/2
Minoru Suzuki defeated Toru Yano. *
Marty Scurll defeated Will Ospreay. ****
Kenny Omega defeated Beretta. ***3/4
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Kota Ibushi. ****1/2