NJPW King of Pro Wrestling 2018 Review

 

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Desperado defeat Jushin Liger and Tiger Mask via pinfall to retain the IWGP Jr Tag Titles @10:15 ***
  • Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe defeat Juice Robinson and Toa Henare via pinfall @10:21 ***1/4
  • Firing Squad defeat Bullet Club Elite via pinfall @12:06 ***1/2
  • Chaos (Will Ospreay, Tomohiro Ishii, and Hirooki Goto) defeat Suzuki-Gun (Izuka, Minoru Suzuki, and Tai-Chi) via pinfall @12:09 ***1/4
  • Los Ignobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Bushi, and Sanda) defeat Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, and Roppongi 3K) via pinfall @9:30 ***1/4
  • Evil vs. Zack Sabre Jr goes to a No Contest @0:00 N/A
  • Kushida defeats Marty Scurrl via pinfall to win the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Title @18:32 ****
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi defeats Jay White to retain the G1 Briefcase via pinfall @20:40 ****1/2
  • Kenny Omega defeats Cody and Kota Ibushi to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Title via pinfall @34:13 ****1/2

 

1008_01jrtagKanemaru and Desperado (c) vs. Jushin Liger and Tiger Mask for the IWGP Jr Tag Titles:

  • Spear by Desperado hits Tiger Mask, near fall save by Liger. 
  • Swinging Dropkick by Suzuki Gun lays out Liger, isolating Tiger.
  • Tiger Driver by Tiger Mask to Desperado, very near fall.
  • Desperado goes for the mask and Tiger strikes him hard and hits a super Butterfly suplex, near fall save by Kanemaru. 
  • Cannonball off the apron by Liger wipes out Kanemaru. 
  • Tiger Mask ducks a shot with the title belt by Desperado, Tiger Suplex hits but no referee to count the pin. 
  • Pop-up low blow by Desperado to Tiger Mask, Pinche Loco hits to close the match

Winners: Desperado and Kanemaru Retain! Day Count: 214+ Days @10:15

Rating: ***, this was a routine Suzuki-Gun match with them cheating to secure the victory. Desperado and Kanemaru have been champions for way too long but these were not the challengers to dethrone them. It’s always great to see Liger in action and Tiger Mask is still very talented even with the age. 

Juice Robinson and Toa Henare vs. Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe:

  • Honma and Henare start the match.
  • Stiff chops by Honma in the corner to Henare. 
  • Long-holding Vertical suplex by Robinson to Honma, near fall. 
  • Suplex attempt battle into a vertical suplex by Honma opening the tag to Makabe.
  • Hot Tag by Togi Makabe.
  • Huge Lariat by Makabe to Robinson, near fall. 
  • Cannonball by Juice to Makabe in the corner followed up by the Full Nelson Bomb, near fall. 
  • Juice punches to Makabe, Makabe ducks it and hits a huge lariat flipping Juice. Makabe makes the tag to Honma. 
  • Hard chop by Juice to Honma, Stiff lariat by Honma, near fall save by Henare. 
  • Robinson slams Honma off the top rope and makes the tag to Henare. 
  • Huge lariat by Henare to Honma, very near fall. 
  • Running Shoulder Block by Honma takes down Henare.
  • Great rugby tackle by Henare on Makabe, near fall save by Honma.
  • Stiff lariat by Makabe knocks Henare down. 
  • Double Team Lariats by Honma and Makabe, then a headbutt/Gorilla Knee Drop combo puts Henare away. 

Winners: Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe @10:21

Rating: ***1/4, Juice Robinson is on a bit of a downward spiral and it continues here. Honma has been having to have a great moment to prove himself. This was a fun and hard-hitting tag match and every member of this match is talented and it delivered as an opening tag match. 

Bullet Club Elite (Young Bucks, Chase Owens, and Hangman Page) vs. Firing Squad (Taiji Ishimori, Bad Luck Fale, and The Guerillas):

  • Tonga Loa and Chase Owens start the match. 
  • Nick Jackson and Taiji Ishimori tag in, the pure athletes.
  • Great sequence from Taiji and Nick into the double dropkicks. 
  • Everyone strikes off in the middle of the ring. Elite dropkicks Firing Squad to ringside. 
  • Diving Senton by Nick wipes out Firing Squad ringside, Loa stops Matt’s dive and hits a powerslam ringside again targeting the bad back.
  • The Firing Squad isolates Matt’s back by removing the belt and tape and having Fale stand on his back.
  • Hot tag by Hangman Page, Dropsault on Toa and Ishimori.
  • Great Diving Moonsault to ringside by Hangman Page. 
  • Buckle Bomb by Page into the enzugiris by the Bucks to Ishimori followed by a Backbreaker by Owens, near fall. 
  • Buckshot Lariat by Page takes out Tama, German Suplex by Loa to Page. Superkick Party by The Bucks to Fale. Doublerana by Ishimori takes the Bucks ringside, Ishimori hits a twisting plancha.
  • Gun Stun reversed into a Roll up by Owens on Tama, near fall.
  • Pop-Up Gun Stun by G.O.D closes Chase Owens. 

Winners: Firing Squad @12:06

Rating: ***1/2, This was a good little tag match continuing the Bullet Club vs. Firing Squad feud. It could’ve been better if there were more spots but in the end, it was just an opening tag and the continuation of Matt Jackson’s back injury and Hangman Page looking awesome. 

Chaos (Will Ospreay, Hirooki Goto, and Tomohiro Ishii) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Tai-Chi, and Izuka):

  • Shockingly, Suzuki Gun attack early leading to a brawl ringside.
  • Tandem sequences by Chaos take out Tai-Chi and Suzuki.
  • Armbar over the top rope by Suzuki to Goto. 
  • Suzuki attacks Ishii with a chair and Izuka attacks Goto with a chair. 
  • Near countout on Goto who just escaped being isolated by Suzuki Gun ringside. 
  • Izuka biting the head of Goto, Izuka is pure nonsense. Izuka bites Ospreay and Ishii as well. 
  • Stiff mid-kicks by Suzuki to Goto, Goto squares up and chops Suzuki’s chest. Brainbuster by Goto opens up tags.
  • Hot tag by Tomohiro Ishii. 
  • Strikefest from Ishii and Suzuki, Ishii wears Suzuki down and spits at him. Suzuki rises up and smiles and decks Ishii with an elbow. A series of hard elbows by Suzuki but Ishii squares up and attempts the brainbuster but it fails, Gotch Neutralizer by Suzuki fails, and a Flying Shoulder Tackle by Ishii puts both down. Awesome stand-off. 
  • Handspring Enzugiri by Ospreay on Tai-Chi, near fall. 
  • Izuka chokes Ospreay with a chain, lariat by Tai-Chi into a near fall. 
  • Izuka grabs his iron finger but Tiger Hattori gets in his way, with Tiger distracted Tai-Chi goes to hit Ospreay with the title but Ospreay hits a Spanish Fly.
  • Storm Breaker by Ospreay closes the match on Tai-Chi, huge win for Ospreay. Ospreay challenges Tai-Chi for a Never Openweight Title Match, yes, please. 

Winners: Chaos @12:09

Rating: ***1/4, The Izuka stuff almost ruined this entire match. He took so much out of a match with 4 really talented guys. The best thing about this match was the sequence of Goto and Ishii striking the crap out of each other and Ospreay’s first big heavyweight win. Ospreay looks to challenge for the Never Openweight Title next.

  • A great video package build suspense about the new Los Ignobernables member. 

Los Ignobernables de Japon (Bushi, Naito, Sanada, and Shingo Takagi) vs. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, and Roppongi 3k):

  • After a long reveal, the new L.I.J member is revealed to be Shingo Takagi a former Dragon Gate star. 
  • Shingo Takagi and Yoh start the match.
  • The Halloween attire on Bushi is sick.
  • Paradise Lock by Sanda wraps Yano around the bottom rope. 
  • Paradise Lock by Sanada on Yoh, Sanada kicks Yoh into Yano to break the hold on both. 
  • Hot tag by Kazuchika Okada. 
  • Roll up/Dropkick combo by Naito and Bushi on Okada, near fall. 
  • Rainmaker attempt by Okada reversed into a Destino attempt by Naito, Naito hits flying forearm knocking down Okada. 
  • Widow’s Peak facebuster by Takagi on Sho, near fall.
  • Great suicide dive by Bushi.
  • Last Falconry by Takagi puts away Sho. 

Winners: Los Ignobernables de Japon

Rating: ***1/4, This was centered around Shingo Takagi and it was an awesome debut for him. It was a bit of a squash but Takagi looked awesome and his finisher the Last Falconry looked sick. I’m really excited to see how the future of L.I.J goes. 

1008_6Evil vs. Zack Sabre Jr:

  • A special “King of Darkness” entrance for Evil, one of the druids attacks him. The druid unmasks as Chris Jericho after a Codebreaker on Evil. 
  • ZSJ comes in and still tries to wrestle Evil but a no contest is called. Zack attacks the referee and Evil. ZSJ locks Evil in an armbar, Tetsuya Naito comes down to save Evil. 
  • ZSJ and Naito striker off and Naito hits a Tornado DDT to take out ZSJ. 

Winner: No Contest @0:00

Rating: N/A, At this point in the show there, hadn’t been a standout match in about 2 and a half hours of the show. So when I saw this match was next I got excited. However good it is to see Chris Jericho it was a bit of a disappointment that this match didn’t happen. I don’t know when we’ll see ZSJ vs. Evil but it’s definitely Evil vs. Chris Jericho at Wrestlekingdom. 

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Marty Scurrl vs. Kushida for the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship:

  • Jumping catch into the armbar by Kushida, Scurrl rolls it up for a near fall.
  • Roll up battle sequence, near fall by Kushida. 
  • Apron Superkick by Scurrl blasts Kushida. 
  • Stiff chops by Scurrl ringside. 
  • Romero Special by Scurrl hoists Kushida in the air and works the bad knee of Kushida. 
  • Spike DDT by Kushida gives him space from Scurrl. 
  • Kushida fires up and hits a great cartwheel dropkick. 
  • Hoverboard Lock attempt by Kushida fails and Scurrl dumps him on the apron. Step-up enzugiri by Kushida knocks down Marty. Scurrl springs up to stop Kushida on the top rope. 
  • Superplex by Scurrl but Kushida holds on for a roll up, near fall. Thrust kick by Scurrl nails Kushida. 
  • Another roll up battle sequence with a few very near falls.
  • Handspring by Kushida caught into a backslide rolled into a thrust kick by Scurrl again nailing Kushida.
  • They take turns kneeing each other in the head and it turns into a strike sequence. Double lariat into a double slap takes both out.  
  • Wheelbarrow kick by Kushida catches Scurrl against the ropes sending him ringside. 
  • Super Diablo Armbar by Kushida off the top rope by Kushida, Marty fights under the bottom rope and slingshots Kushida into the rope. 
  • STO into the corner by Kushida into a Back to the Future attempt countered into the Cross Face Chicken Wing by Scurrl, Scurrl locks it in tight and Kushida rolls through to get out.
  • Hoverboard lock by Scurrl, Kushida fights out. 
  • Half and Half suplex by Scurrl dumps Kushida on his head.
  • Graduation attempt by Scurrl reversed into an Air Raid Crash by Kushida.
  • Hand stomp by Scurrl. Kushida goes for the hoverboard lock but the damage to the hand stops Kushida from locking in the hold. 
  • Back to the Future attempt by Kushida rolled up by Scurrl, near fall.
  • Graduation by Scurrl finally hits, great near fall. 
  • 2 consecutive Back to the Future Bombs hit by Kushida closes the match.

Winner: Kushida New Champion!

Rating: ****, This match lacked the amount of excitement and urgency that Ospreay vs. Scurrl had but this was still a very good junior match. These 2 worked an exciting technical match and battled their signature submissions. While the match lacked character, it was great in-ring and Kushida delivered another good performance in grabbing the title.

1008_8_kenriJay White vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi(c) for the G1 Title Shot:

  • Rematch from Wrestlekingdom 12.
  • Jay White immediately rolled to ringside and tries to escape Tana.
  • White throws Tana into the barricade and delivers a stiff chop. Tana turns the tables and dropkicks White over the barricade. 
  • Gedo cheap shots Tana, Tana chases him and White from behind delivers a blow to the bad knee of Tana. 
  • White smashes the leg of Tana into the apron and then wraps the leg around the ring post. Gedo hits the knee of Tana with the G1 Briefcase. 
  • Tana hangs onto the top rope and dropkicks Gedo into the barricade, White catches Tana on his way back into the ring and continues to attack the knee. 
  • Dragon Screw Leg Whip by Tana hits getting himself some needed space from White.
  • Somersault Senton by Tana goes for a near fall. 
  • Cloverleaf by Tana, White gets the ropes. 
  • Saito suplex near the ropes by White dumps Tana all the way to ringside. 
  • White slams Tana into the barricade three times and Jay grabs a chair. 
  • White is distracted by Red Shoes leading to a Dragon Screw over the middle rope by Tana. 
  • Diving High Fly Flow off the top rope to ringside by Tana hits. 
  • Stiff chops by White but Tana keeps going. STO/German Suplex combo by White lays out Tana. 
  • Strikefest into a big move attempt sequence, Twist and Shout by Tana lays out White. Tana maintains control and hits another Twist and Shout. Twisting Vertical Suplex by White ends the sequence. 
  • Slingblade by Tana, Gedo hops up on the barricade and Tana punches him down. Blade Runner attempt by White fails, Dragon suplex by Tana, near fall. 
  • High Fly Flow to a standing White then a High Fly Flow to a downed White, amazing near fall save with Gedo pulling out the referee. 
  • With the referee out, Tana ducks the Brass knuckles from Gedo but White hits a low blow on Tana. White goes to attack Tana with a chair but Tana fires back with a low blow of his own. Tana has been pushed so far to cheat by White. High Fly Flow onto a chair misses sending Tana directly onto the steel chair. White throws a chair into the face of Tana knocking him down. 
  • With Red Shoes back in, White goes for the Blade Runner but Tana rolls it up to close the match. 

Winner: Hiroshi Tanahashi Retains the Title Shot!

Rating: ****1/2, the story here was Gedo and Jay White were the big deal heels taking over NJPW and betraying Chaos. Tanahashi again played an awesome babyface and this match was a saga. The working of Tana’s knee was great and the Gedo interference never got annoying and actually played into the match. The near fall after Tana hit 2 High Fly Flows on White and Gedo pulled out the referee was awesome. The urgency in this match was great too as there were a lot of moments were you thought Jay White could cheat to win. Tanahashi having to roll up to win the match protects Jay White as they continue to strap the rocket to his back and have him carry the heel portion of NJPW. 

  • Kazuchika Okada comes down to save Hiroshi Tanahashi from an attack. The Firing Squad comes down. Firing Squad forced Okada to chose between Chaos and Gedo and Tama hits a Gun Stun laying out Okada. Gedo, Jado, and the Firing Squad attack Okada with Jay White forming a new faction. 

1008_9_iwgpKenny Omega(c) vs. Cody vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Heavyweight Title:

  • Hugs all around before the match.
  • Cody quickly tosses Ibushi out to focus on Omega.
  • Omega gets in the way of the Golden Triangle by Ibushi inadvertently saving Cody. 
  • Kitaro Crusher by Omega to Cody but Ibushi goes for the pin, Omega pulls him off. 
  • Explex by Cody to Omega, near fall. 
  • Front Release Vertical Suplex ringside by Cody to Ibushi driving him ribs first into the floor.
  • Cody backdrops Ibushi over the barricade into chairs in the crowd. Ibushi might have hurt his knee. 
  • The rise of the Terminator hits by Omega. 
  • More Bang for your Buck by Golden Lovers but Cody dodges and Omega goes for the One-Winged Angel on Ibushi out of nowhere but Kota fights out. 
  • Powerslam/Moonsault combo by Ibushi on Cody, near fall. 
  • While in Mid-Suplex by Omega, Cody rolls up Kenny for a near fall. Innovative little spot there. 
  • Figure 4 by Cody locked in on Omega, Omega grabs the foot of Kota and applies an ankle lock. Standing moonsault by Ibushi on Omega still in the hold, near fall save by Cody. 
  • Standing Moonsault by Ibushi but Cody gets his knees up. 
  • V-Trigger attempt by Omega intercepted with a missile dropkick by Ibushi. 
  • Spike DDT by Cody to Ibushi, near fall. 
  • Cody ducks a lariat by Ibushi and hits a great suicide dive to Omega ringside, Cody stops the Golden Triangle and goes for a Cross Rhodes on the apron. Omega grabs Cody on the apron and drives him through the announce table with a powerbomb. 
  • Amazing Corkscrew Tope by Ibushi takes out Omega. 
  • Ibushi and Omega stand-off. Stares turn into strikes and a strikefest ensues. They take turns booting each other and then Ibushi hits his strike combo but Omega hits a stiff chop. Snap Dragon by Omega. Omega hits 2 consecutive V-Triggers into a reverserana but Ibushi lands on his feet. Stiff lariat by Ibushi flips Omega and ends an awesome sequence. 
  • Cody shoves Ibushi off the top rope to ringside and Ibushi takes a hard fall, Canadian Destroyer by Cody on Omega, near fall.
  • Omega escapes a Vertebreaker attempt by Cody and hits a spinning heel kick sending Cody into the corner. Hard corner V-trigger connects for Omega. 
  • Omega buckle bombs Ibushi into the corner with Cody in it putting Rhodes in the Tree of Woe. 
  • V-Trigger by Omega on Ibushi but the One-Winged Angel attempt fails. Lawn Dart by Ibushi sends Omega into the corner with Cody in the Tree of Woe, really smart spot. 
  • Deadlift German on the ropes by Ibushi fails but Omega goes for a springboard sunset flip, slips a little but still hits a pretty solid chain bomb. 
  • V-Trigger party by Omega, One Winged Angel attempt on Cody fails. Cody powerbombs Omega into a German Suplex by Ibushi using a Golden Lovers move. 
  • Cody pushes Omega off the top rope springboard to ringside through a table, great spot. Omega takes a hard landing.
  • Superplex by Kota but Cody holds on into a roll up, near fall. Would be a better spot if we didn’t see it in Scurrl vs. Kushida. 
  • Sit-out Powerbomb by Ibushi to Cody, great near fall. 
  • Kamegoye dodged by Cody but Ibushi maintains control into a German Suplex.
  • Kamegoye hits for Ibushi on Cody but Omega slides in to stop the referee’s hand, great near fall. 
  • Omega tries to apologize to Ibushi for costing him the title but Ibushi strikes at Omega. An intense strikefest ensues, Cody tries to join but Ibushi slaps him down. The stiff strikefest ensues and Ibushi gets Omega on the ground and hits more palm strikes. This is a different Ibushi than normal. Bomaye hits for Ibushi, near fall. 
  • Kamegoye attempt by Ibushi but Cody pulls him ringside. Cody hits a Cross Rhodes on Omega, great near fall save by Ibushi making the diving double stomp hit the pin. 
  • Another Cross Rhodes hit for Cody, amazing near fall on Omega. 
  • Vertebreaker by Cody hits on Ibushi, near fall save by Kenny. 
  • Cody grabs his US Title but decides not to use it. He grabs a steel chair anyway. Ibushi saves Omega from a steel chair shot.
  • Reverserana into a Jay Driller by Omega on Ibushi, great near fall. 
  • V-Trigger into a One-Winged Angel that hits for Omega closing the match. 

Winner: Kenny Omega Retains! Day Count: 119+ Days

Rating: ****1/2, This match flowed so well. Everyone in this match was a fantastic wrestler. I heard complaints about Cody being in this match but they are still going to have to save Omega vs. Ibushi for a larger show. The story between Omega and Ibushi was outstanding, especially after Omega broke up the pin after the Kamegoye on Cody. Kota wanted the title so bad that he kept striking on Omega and you could feel the heat and emotion. This match had some awesome near falls and the in-ring work was top notch. The main complaint with Cody is that he takes to long to focus on the match and he taunts too much, the triple threat environment forced him to keep up with 2 of the best wrestlers in the world which brought out the best Cody I’ve seen in a while. While the match is 5 stars, there have been so many 5 star matches this year which might make this towards the bottom of the top ten matches of the year but it was an absolute instant classic. It was a gamble too, the triple threat is new to NJPW and it had 2 foreigners in the match. It could’ve been badly received by the Japanese audience but it wasn’t and the gamble paid off big time. 

Grade: B

Last Words: This is a 3 match card, once you get into Kushida vs. Scurrl the show actually gets great. It’s hard to watch 2 hours of meaningless tag matches and love the show. The final 3 matches were all great though. This has been my main complaint about NJPW, they use too many tag matches and that takes away from the show as a whole. On something like a Progress Chapter or an NXT Takeover the cards are a lot smaller but also have a lot less filler. This isn’t the best NJPW show this year by a long shot but it’s also been one of New Japan’s best years. The Long Beach show last week was better but this still wasn’t bad. This show also worked as a storyline progression show as well. The additions of new storyline development in Jay White vs Hiroshi Tanahashi with adding Firing Squad into the mix and the new member of LIJ helped make this show significant. If you are rushed, only watch the LIJ tag match, Tanahashi vs. White, Scurrl vs. Kushida, and the Main Event. 

MOTN: Cody vs. Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship

MVP: Kenny Omega 

NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed 2018 Review: NJPW in America and Golden Lovers vs. Tomohiro Ishii and Kazuchika Okada

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Results + Star Ratings:

  • Rysuke Taguchi, Jushin Liger, and ACH defeated Roppongi 3K via pin @8:55 ***1/4
  • So Cal Uncensored (The Addiction) defeated Bullet Club (Hangman Page and Chase Owens) via pin @8:12 ***1/2
  • Jeff Cobb, Chris Sabin, and Flip Gordon defeated Chaos (Goto and Best Friends) via pin @12:06 ****
  • Suzuki Gun (ZSJ and Killer Elite Squad) defeated Los Ignobernables (Tetsuya Naito, Evil, and Sanada) via pin @9:22 **1/2
  • Gedo and Jay White defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kushida via pin @8:49 **1/2
  • Marty Scurrl defeated Will Ospreay to advance to the finals of the IWGP Jr Title Tournament via pin @16:10 ****1/2
  • Firing Squad defeated The Young Bucks to win the IWGP Tag Titles via pin @19:20 ****1/4
  • Cody defeats Juice Robinson to win the IWGP US Title via pin @16:43 ****1/4
  • The Golden Lovers defeated Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii via pin @23:05 *****

 

Roppongi 3K vs. Rysuke Taguchi, Jushin Liger, and ACH:

  • Liger and Yoh start the match.
  • A good face-off between Yoh and Liger.
  • Surfboard Lock by Liger to Yoh, ACH, and Taguchi put ankle locks on Rocky and Sho creating a triple submission spot. 
  • Taguchi coaches his team to lariat Yoh in the corner. Taguchi follows it up with a hip attack. 
  • Yoh whips Liger into Taguchi’s butt and Yoh grabs Taguchi’s ass sending him to ringside, wrestling is weird.
  • Sho inadvertently punches Romero off the apron, Liger hits a tilt a whirl backbreaker to Sho, hot tag by ACH leads to him hitting an awesome suicide crossbody. 
  • German Suplex Bridge by ACH on Sho, first near fall. 
  • Hot tag by Taguchi fails as he misses a Hip attack on Romero, Romero takes the momentum and hits 2 lariats to Taguchi in the corner. Taguchi goes on a hip attack rampage. 
  • Lungblower/Double Superkick combo by R3K on Taguchi, near fall. 
  • Great suicide dive by ACH wipes out Sho and Yoh, Dodon by Taguchi on Romero closes the match.

Winners: Liger, ACH, and Taguchi

Rating: ***1/4, a very fun tag team sprint. Taguchi played the comedy wrestler but took a lot of the offense of this match, ACH delivered some great dives, and it’s always great to see Liger. R3K is always fantastic and delivered here. A good opener to start the show. 

So Cal Uncensored vs. Chase Owens and Hangman Page:

  • SCU finally back in Southern California. 
  • Frankie Kazarian and Hangman Page start the match, a former feud in ROH. 
  • Kazarian’s head is patched up after the Briscoes match at Death Before Dishonor. 
  • Lariat sequence by Page and Kazarian leads to both men making tags. 
  • Great Dropsault combo by Page onto Kazarian, first near fall.
  • Standing Shooting Star Press by Page onto Kazarian, another near fall. 
  • Bullet Club isolating Kazarian, Kazarian finally makes the tag and Daniels does a  hot tag. 
  • Wheelbarrow Facebuster by Daniels on Owens, near fall. 
  • Buckshot Lariat by Page knocks Daniels down, Springboard Backbreaker by Owens on Daniels, another near fall. 
  • Shooting Star Shoulder Block off the apron by Page caught in mid-air by Kazarian with a codebreaker. 
  • Best Meltzer Ever by SCU closes Owens. 

Winners: So Cal Uncensored

Rating: ***1/2, another fun sprint with a hometown SCU and the very talented Hangman Page. The pacing was great, the spots were great, and Page really shined. Another good opening tag match. 

Chaos (Hirooki Goto and The Best Friends) vs. Jeff Cobb, Chris Sabin, and Flip Gordon:

  • Having Cobb with the ROH TV title kinda spoils the fact that he wins at a taping because it hasn’t been broadcasted yet. Weird move. 
  • Chuck Taylor and Chris Sabin start the match.
  • Early roll up attempts by Sabin and Taylor leads to near falls. 
  • Triple Strikefest ensues with the match participants.
  • Tandem Sequence by Team ROH leads to a near fall by Sabin on Taylor. 
  • Crucifix Cutter by Best Friends takes out Flip, Cobb teases a suicide dive on Best Friends but Goto stops it with a lariat, apron Penalty Kick by Sabin to Goto, Trent teases a suicide dive but Taylor stops him with a hug. The Best friends hit stereo tope con hiro taking everyone out. 
  • Standing Elbow Drop by Goto on Sabin, near fall. Sabin has been the only one legal for his team in the 5 minutes so far. 
  • A stiff chop by Baretta fires up Sabin inciting a chopfest but Trent wins. 
  • Sabin drop toe holds Taylor into Baretta headbutting a low blow, Tornado DDT by Sabin finally opens up tags. 
  • Amazing Hot tag by Flip Gordon, Great diving corkscrew off the top rope to the outside by Flip. Springblade by Flip gets Baretta into the drop zone for the 450. Baretta dodges and lays Flip out with a running knee. 
  • Tags made to Goto and Cobb, it’s big boi time. Double Lariat sequence, Goto knocks down Cobb first. Saito suplex by Goto, near fall. 
  • Deadlift Vertical Suplex by Cobb followed but by a standing moonsault that misses. Great mini-sequence between Cobb and Goto. 
  • The Best Friends suplex Cobb together, Cobb Saito suplexes both of them.
  • Taylor hits a great deadlift piledriver on Cobb, near fall save by Sabin. 
  • Diving Moonsault by Taylor misses, lariat by Cobb into the Wrath of the Gods.

Winners: Jeff Cobb, Flip Gordon, and Chris Sabin

Rating: ****, this was as close as perfection an NJPW opening tag match can get. Everybody performed great especially Jeff Cobb and put on a great tag match. The dynamic of comedy spots from the Best Friends, high spots from Flip Gordon, hard-hitting action from Cobb and Goto and the underdog Sabin mixed greatly to make one of the best opening tag matches I’ve ever seen in New Japan. 

Zack Sabre Jr. and Killer Elite Squad vs. Los Ignobernables:

  • Suzuki Gun attacks early. 
  • Pop-Up powerslam by K.E.S to Sanada. Davey Boy goes to attack Evil ringside.
  • Davey Boy works the leg of Sanada. Series of German suplexes by Davey Boy but Sanada flips over the 3rd one and goes for a tag but Lance Archer tries to stop it, after a huricanrana by Sanada to Archer, Naito tags in. Hot tag by Naito. 
  • Sidewalk Splash by K.E.S on Naito, near fall. 
  • Naito fights out of a Killer Bomb attempt by K.E.S and hits a Tornado DDT on Archer. Evil and ZSJ tag in. 
  • Strikefest between ZSJ and Evil. Double Wristlock by ZSJ, Evil powers into a fisherman’s buster.
  • One-Arm Plancha by Sanada knocks out K.E.S, in-ring, Evil hits Darkness Falls, near fall. 
  • Victory Roll with the middle fingers up by ZSJ closes Evil. 

Winner: Suzuki Gun

Rating: **1/2, a very mediocre Suzuki Gun match with them doing heel Suzuki Gun things. L.I.J never got in a groove and this match was heel work then it was done. 

Jay White and Gedo vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kushida:

  • Set up at Destruction in Kobe when Jay White attacked Okada and Tana post-match, the only G1 match that Hiroshi Tanahashi lost was to Jay too. 
  • Tanahashi went straight to attacking White having them start the match.
  • Tana popped up on the post and White pushes him to ringside, White tries to choke out Tana with his boot against the barricade. 
  • Saito Suplex by White on Tana, first near fall.
  • Tanahashi being isolated by White and Gedo, Tana looks pretty hurt. Limp Crossbody by Tana takes down Gedo, Tana finally makes the tag. 
  • Hot tag by Kushida. Jumping DDT into a Cross Armbreaker by Kushida on Gedo, White breaks the hold. 
  • Handspring Elbow by Kushida knocks White down and opens the tag to Tana.
  • Hot tag by Tanahashi on White. Blade Runner attempt countered into a Twist and Shout by Tanahashi.
  • Slingblade by Tana, near fall. 
  • White grabs Tiger Hattori to distract him, Gedo lays out Tana with Brass Knuckles. Blade Runner by White closes the match.

Winner: Jay White and Gedo

Rating: **1/2, this follows the trend of Gedo (NJPW’s secret booker) trying to turn New Japan Pro Wrestling into a better in-ring, Attitude Era WWE with the brass knuckle finish. This was a very story-based match and rightfully so not only is the whole Gedo and White vs. Okada and Tana story great it’s also the biggest story right now in NJPW. White seems to be strapped as the next golden boy of NJPW. This match, however, was too story focused to be anything other than mediocre and that’s not a complaint but it had some great talent in it and if it wanted to be great it could’ve been. I’m excited for the future of this feud. 

  • Post-match promo by Jay White, White says NJPW doesn’t want him to be in the Main Event of WrestleKingdom but he will bring on a new era. 

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Marty Scurrl vs. Will Ospreay IWGP Jr Championship Tournament:

  • These guys have my current favorite rivalry of all time in term of match quality, I gave their match at Power Struggle last year 4.75 * and their match at Sakura Genesis this year 5*. Their matches always manage to impress me a bit more than Kenny vs. Okada’s even though I like those matches better. 
  • Immediate Spanish Fly by Ospreay into a near fall.
  • Space Flying Tiger Drop into a Shooting Star Press early by Ospreay, near fall. Awesome opening sequence by Ospreay. 
  • Flying Forearm by Ospreay, Will slows his offense down.
  • Winner faces Kushida at King of Pro Wrestling for the Jr Title. 
  • Uppercuts by Scurrl knock Ospreay ringside, stiff apron superkick by Scurrl lands. 
  • Stomp on the head of Ospreay by Scurrl followed up by a sequence of stiff chops by Scurrl. Marty gains firm control.
  • Scurrl drapes Ospreay over the middle rope and stomps him over it torquing his neck.
  • Handspring Enzugiri by Ospreay gives Will much-needed space. 
  • Top Rope 619 by Ospreay followed by a failed springboard, Scurrl knocks Ospreay ringside. Scurrl chops Ospreay into the barricade. They go on the apron and strike-off. 
  • Attempt at the Spanish Fly on the apron by Ospreay, the move that crushed Will’s neck at Sakura Genesis. 
  • Amazing Sunset Bomb by Ospreay to ringside with Scurrl on the apron. Tribute to Hiromu Takahashi.
  • Great Robinson Special by Ospreay, Oscutter caught by Scurrl into a backslide rolled into a knee by Scurrl. 
  • Stormbreaker attempt by Ospreay but Scurrl gets out, mini-strikefest into a huge lariat by Ospreay. 
  • Top Rope Fighting led to Ospreay falling and low blowing himself on the top rope, awesome springboard supercanrana by Scurrl. Scurrl follows it up with a huge lariat, near fall. 
  • Stiff chops by Scurrl but Ospreay refuses to go down. Welts grow on the chest of Ospreay. Ospreay starts to strike back. Mid-air counter into the Chicken Wing by Scurrl, roll up by Ospreay near fall, roll up by Scurrl near fall. Sequence including a powerbomb near fall by Scurrl, graduation attempt by Scurrl but Ospreay hits an enzugiri putting both down.
  • Stormbreaker attempt but Scurrl carries Ospreay on his shoulders to the top rope, Ospreay fights out and hits the Cheeky Nandos kick. Scurrl takes Ospreay down off standing on the top rope, Chicken Wing attempt on the top by Scurrl transitions into an Underhook superplex by Scurrl, near fall. 
  •  Package Piledriver into the Graduation by Scurrl closes the match. 

Winner: Marty Scurrl advances!

Rating: ****1/2, this was a great sprint and a good addition to the Scurrl vs. Ospreay story. The spots were great and the starting opening offense by Ospreay got the crowd really hot. These 2 have natural chemistry and played off of it the entire match. However, it lacked the urgency that the Sakura Genesis match had. It was a great match for the IWGP Jr Tourney but is their first encounter in the past 2 years in NJPW that hasn’t been a MOTY contender. I’m not complaining though, they didn’t need to put on an absolute classic and what was here was a very high-quality Junior Heavyweight match. It was jarring to see Ospreay as a dastardly heel in Progress and ROH but be the underdog in this match. Also, Scurrl put Ospreay away with relative ease compared to what it normally takes to beat Ospreay but I’m over-thinking it. 

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The Young Bucks(c) vs. The Firing Squad IWGP Tag Titles:

  • The Elite vs OG storyline has been great so far. 
  • Big fight feel.
  • Nick Jackson and Tama Tonga start the match. 
  • Great speed showdown from Nick and Tama. Double strikefest with everyone in the match. 
  • Haku accompanies Firing Squad. 
  • Pop-up Double Dropkick by the Bucks starts a solid tandem sequence of moves by Matt and Nick. 
  • Matt’s back went out on him, this is going to play majorly into the story of the match.
  • Tonga Loa bodyslams Matt ringside targeting the back.
  • Loa tries to superplex Matt off the apron onto a table but Nick saves him. Nick hits a great suicide dive driving Loa into the barricade.
  • Great mini-sequence of offense by Nick on the OGs, Loa flattens it with a stiff lariat. Matt climbs to the top, Loa throws him off the top rope through the table ringside. Great spot, Matt will be out of the match for a while isolating Nick.
  • Diving Headbutt by Loa, Frog Splash by Tama on Nick, near fall. 
  • Long-Holding vertical suplex by Loa on Nick, very near fall.
  • Great Springboard Facebuster by Nick on Tama followed by an apron moonsault by Nick to Loa ringside.
  • Nick goes to make a tag but Matt is still on the floor, Tonga Twist by Tama on Nick, near fall. 
  • Tama Twist countered by Nick handstanding, superkick by Nicks takes both out.
  • Matt makes the hot tag successfully, Cease and Desist Sharpshooter by Matt on Tama, Loa takes a shot at the back of Matt to stop the submission. 
  • Fire up spear by Matt takes both Tama and him down, tags are made.
  • Superkick Party by the Bucks on Loa, great near fall.
  • Nick helps Matt get Loa up for the More Bang for Your Buck, Nick hits the 450 but Matt hesitates on the Moonsault, Matt finally hits the moonsault on Loa, near fall. 
  • Meltzer Driver stopped by Tama hitting an awesome Mid-air gun stun on Nick, Tombstone by Loa on Matt, awesome near fall. 
  • Matt fights out of the Magic Killer attempt by the Og’s but they get him back in on a pop-up Gun Stun closing the match. 

Winners: Firing Squad New Champions!

Rating: ****1/4, The story behind this match was great. This is the first huge match behind the Firing Squad vs. Bullet Club Elite feud. In this match, Matt Jackson brought back his back injuries which added a lot more urgency and story to an already story-packed match. The match started really hot and continued hot with some great spots. Everyone in this match contributed to something great but my only complaint is the section with Firing Squad on top was too long and got boring. The comeback for the Bucks was great and the ending sequence was pretty good. 

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Juice Robinson(c) vs. Cody for the IWGP US Title:

  • After All In as a face, Cody turns the heel on tonight.
  • Stiff chops by Cody fire up Juice and they start the momentum 3 minutes in. 
  • Dive off the top rope to ringside by Cody is caught into an overhead suplex by Juice.
  • Brandi flops after Juice barely touched her, distracting Juice into an inverted DDT by Cody ringside.
  • Brandi grabs Juice’s foot distracting him, Juice comes ringside. On his way back in, Cody hits a flatliner in between the ropes, near fall. 
  • Pulp Friction attempt by Juice, Backslide roll up by Cody, near fall. Pile roll up by Juice, near fall. 
  • Cannonball into the corner by Juice into a powerbomb attempt, Cody hits a huricanrana to Juice sending him into the corner, cheap shot by Brandi on Juice. 
  • Juice ducks a disaster kick and hits a diving crossbody to Cody, Juice hurts his ribs and is unable to make the pin. 
  • Pulp Friction attempt by Juice reversed into a Figure Four by Cody, Juice flips the hold after a while in the lock. 
  • Cody takes off the weightlifting belt, distracting Red Shoes. With Red Shoes distracted, Cody spits water at Juice and hits a Disaster Kick, near fall. 
  • Pulp Friction hits for Juice finally but Brandi pulls Cody ringside so Juice is unable to capitalize. 
  • The count starts but Juice doesn’t want to accept the win via countout.
  • Cross Rhodes ringside by Cody both back in at 19. 
  • Strikefest ensues but Cody wins with a superkick after a thumb to the eye. Cody goes for the Vertebreaker.
  • Cody hits a great Vertebreaker, great near fall. 
  • Superplex by Juice, Cody holds onto Juice in a small package getting a roll-up victory.

Winner: Cody New Champion!

Rating: ****1/4, Cody used his shenanigans again to win but that didn’t take too much away from the match. Juice is raw talent and emotion and delivered an amazing performance in this match. Cody is my favorite wrestler currently and used his great character to perfection in this match. This is my favorite NJPW Cody match since his match against Kota Ibushi at WK12. I feel like the win was unneeded for Cody and I felt bad for Juice because he’s just such a likable guy but that’s not a complaint with the match. 

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Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii vs. The Golden Lovers:

  • Kazuchika Okada and Kota Ibushi start the match. 
  • Kenny Omega and Tomohiro Ishii face-off. These 2 strike-off for a little bit.
  • Kitaro Crusher by Omega on Ishii, near fall. 
  • Stiff strikes from Ibushi and Ishii to each other, a shoulder block by Ishii trucks over Ibushi. 
  • Neckbreaker by Okada on Ibushi, near fall.
  • Ishii and Omega brawl at each other again. Ishii takes Omega ringside and runs him into the barricades. 
  • The match has been building up to Omega’s face off with Okada. I’m excited. 
  • Hot tag by Omega to Ishii, Ishii and Omega strike off again but Omega gets the upper hand with a Tornado DDT and Omega lands awkwardly on his knee. 
  • Okada and Omega are finally both tagged in at 11 minutes in but don’t face off immediately. 
  • Cross Slash Moonsault Dives by the Golden Lovers. 
  • You Can’t Escape into Double Team Moonsaults by the GL, near fall on Okada. 
  • Great vertical suplex by Ibushi to Ishii, a powerful shotgun dropkick by Okada knocks Ibushi into the corner. Omega and Okada finally face off.
  • Omega and Okada strike-off, stiff chop by Omega, Omega dodges the dropkick by Okada. The first rainmaker fails, One Winged Angel attempt by Omega fails, Another Rainmaker attempt by Okada fails, Dragon Suplex by Omega hits. 
  • Great Dropkick by Okada to Omega.
  • Ibushi saves Omega from a Rainmaker, V-Trigger/German Suplex combo by GL, Ibushi dives down Ishii allowing Omega and Okada to face off. 
  • Tombstone/Running clothesline by Okada and Ishii, near fall save by Ishii. 
  • Rainmaker by Okada countered into a stiff uranage by Omega.
  • “This is Awesome” chants. 
  • Ibushi and Ishii strikefest again, mid kick by Ibushi takes Ishii down. Knee Drop moonsault by Ibushi, near fall. 
  • Powerbomb/German Suplex combo by GL, near fall save by Okada. 
  • Okada saves Ishii from the Golden Trigger. 
  • Dropkick by Okada into an amazing mid-air powerbomb counter by Omega, Backflip kick by Ibushi to Ishii puts all 4 down. The crowd gives a standing ovation. 
  • Ibushi and Ishii strike off yet again, Ibushi hits a huge lariat taking down Ishii, near fall. 
  • Kamegoye by Ibushi dodged by Ishii, huge lariat by Ishii flips Ibushi, very near fall. 
  • Okada Dropkick sends Ibushi into a powerbomb by Ishii, great near fall.
  • German Suplex Bridge by Ibushi to Ishii, very near fall.
  • Enzugiri/V-Trigger combo by GL takes Ishii down. Omega kicks Okada off the apron into the barricade. Golden Trigger by GL pins Ishii closing the match. 

Winners: Golden Lovers

Rating: *****, while Golden Lovers Vs. The Young Bucks was better due to the mix of storyline drama and huge spots, this comes a close second as my favorite tag match of the year and maybe all time. This match focused all on in-ring work and it was between 4 guys who couldn’t have a bad match if they tried. I absolutely loved every second of this match. The hard-hitting Ibushi and Ishii parts of the match especially towards the end was fantastic, the Omega vs. Okada part was fantastic as well and the sheer creativeness of some of the moves in this match made it something special. While the big showdown of Tanahashi vs. Okada was amazing it was something we had already seen before. This match because of the tag elements was incredibly refreshing and had some of the best in-ring work I’ve seen all year so it becomes my Match of the Month for September. 

Grade: A+

Last Word: This is easily the best wrestling show since Dominion this year and even though Dominion was better this showed a lot as well too. The flow of this show was fantastic starting with good opening tag matches and starting the second half with an electric Jr. Title match in Scurrl vs. Ospreay, The IWGP Tag Title match was really good and so was Juice vs. Cody but the Main Event Tag was amazing and one of my favorite matches of the year. I don’t think it’s quite MOTY but it’s in my top ten. NJPW delivered again and this is their best show in America yet. 

All In 2018 Review, 2018’s Best PPV?

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All In Match Results:

  • So Cal Uncensored (Frankie Kazarian and Scorpio Sky) Defeat The Briscoes via pinfall @12:35 ***1/2
  • Flip Gordon won the Over Budget Battle Royale @17:15 ***
  • Matt Cross defeats MJF via pinfall @ 10:05 ***
  • Christopher Daniels defeats Stephen Amell via pinfall @11:58 ***3/4
  • Tessa Blanchard defeats Chelsea Green, Britt Baker, and Madison Rayne via pinfall @12:59 ***
  • Cody defeats Nick Aldis to win the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Title via pinfall @22:29 ****1/4
  • Hangman Page defeats Joey Janela in a Chicago Street Fight via pinfall @20:10 ****1/2
  • Jay Lethal defeats Flip Gordon to retain the ROH World Title @15:11 via pinfall ***1/2
  • Kenny Omega defeats Penta El Zero via pinfall @17:49 ****3/4
  • Kazuchika Okada defeats Marty Scurrl via pinfall @26:12 ****3/4
  • The Golden Elite defeats Fenix, Bandido, and Rey Mysterio via pinfall @11:52 ****

We are finally here, after months of build the all-Bullet Club show has arrived. The stage set-up is awesome and I was there live. I had HUGE expectations for this show. IMG_0169

Zero Hour: 

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The Briscoes vs. So Cal Uncensored:

SCU is over as hell in Chicago. The Briscoes, however, were not, they got little to no reaction and whenever people were reacting it was just bored boos. Even though the reason that I don’t like the Briscoes has to do with their alt-right past, the super prestigious ROH tag champs have lost their heat and should lose the titles soon. Regardless, this match was pretty good. Scorpio Sky delivered some awesome aerial work and the ending was pretty great with the Doomsday Device by The Briscoes being reversed into a Spanish Fly by Kazarian for the pinfall. In the end, the match did exactly what it was supposed to do and got the crowd hot for a long night of awesome wrestling. ***1/2

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Over Budget Battle Royal, Winner faces Jay Lethal for the ROH Title later tonight:

This was such a fun match and one of the best non-Royal Rumble Battle Royals I’ve seen. Everyone was booked well too, Brian Cage and Punishment Martinez looked like monsters, Colt Cabana did some great work and got some great hometown love, Marko Stunt was flying around the ring and doing some great little guy comedy and Bully Ray continued to look like a dastardly heel. In the beginning, a random luchador was dragged out by Bully and put through a table. Colt and Bully looked to be the final two and Bully eliminated Colt getting some heat but the random luchador hopped back into the ring and unmasked to be revealed as… FLIP Gordon?? Huge pop for Flip Gordon as he eliminated the annoying Bully Ray. Flip goes onto face Jay Lethal later tonight. ***

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  • Matt Cross defeated MJF to start the main show, Matt Cross got to hit his flippy shit and MJF looked like a great comedy heel. They worked at a slower pace than desirable but Cross picked up the win with a Shooting Star Press in a solid match ***

dj8axmkuwaamy5qChristopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell:

For Amell’s first One-on-One encounter he did amazing. Stephen Amell has been in and out of the wrestling world having a match at SummerSlam 2015 with Neville facing Stardust and Wade Barrett. Then later, popping up in ROH and getting an honorary spot in Bullet Club and now we are here. This match had some really good build on BTE, Daniels being the cocky veteran and Amell being the celebrity upstart. These two started the match slowly but Amell was able to hang early on having some good exchanges with Daniels. Christopher has been wrestling for a decade plus so he was calling the shots in this match and carrying most of it. Out of nowhere, Stephen goes for a Coast to Coast and hits it without any issue, that was surprising as hell. Stephen Amell also goes for an elbow drop on a table to Daniels but Daniels moves out of the way sending Amell down to a table bump. The match had an unexplained special guest referee of former ECW star Jerry Lynn and in the end, Daniels had an exchange with him which got overbooked and it looked like that would’ve caused him to lose but Daniels picked up the victory with the Best Moonsault Ever. Amell shocked me here on how well he did and it will be interesting to see how he continues his wrestling career. ***1/2

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  • Tessa Blanchard defeats Chelsea Green, Madison Rayne, and Britt Baker in a solid match regaining the crowd’s attention. The match ended sloppily with a near break up by Green that looked like she got it but ended with a 3 count. Blanchard looked good in this match and Tully was ringside. ***

codyaldisallinCody vs. Nick Aldis(c) for the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship:

I’ve rewatched this match twice since I saw it live and every time I watch it the more I appreciate it. These 2 worked an old school match throughout and had many callbacks to old school wrestling like the running powerslam on the outside by Aldis, the blade job by Cody mid-match in homage to his dad and the roll-up finish out of old NWA Title matches and British Bulldog vs. Bret Hart from Summerslam 2018. From the start, the crowd was hot for Cody and Cody came out with Brandi, Pharoah, DDP, Konnan, and Tommy Dreamer. They both had MMA-style entrances filming them walking in from backstage. This match had a big fight feel and made the NWA title come from out of obscurity completely. The match started with a great staredown that the crowd went insane for and then went into some solid work and a great suicide dive by Cody. The match picks up into a plancha dive by Cody but Aldis elbows him down. The special guest referee Earl Hebner throws up the X signifying that Cody was knocked out. The match takes an intermission and DDP comes down to check on Cody, Daivari Aldis’ crew member comes down and shoves DDP. DDP delivers a Diamond Cutter to Daivari to a huge pop. Cody ducks under the table and blades and starts to bleed. The rest of the match was fantastically worked and felt like a modern twist on an old-school classic. Aldis got Cody in the Cloverleaf and Cody fought out after a while. Aldis delivered an elbow drop but Brandi saved Cody and took the bump. Cody definitely played the babyface in this match which is a weird transition because he was one of the best heels in wrestling a few months ago Cody got an old-school rollup finish. ****1/4

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Joey Janela vs. Hangman Page Chicago Street Fight:

This match was an awesome spotfest centered around Page killing Joey Ryan. The match was also awesome exposure for Joey Janela who took some rough bumps. The match started fast and Page hit an awesome moonsault off the top rope to ringside. Page unveiled a Cracker Barrel that Janela jumped off of to swanton Page over the barricade. Janela chases Page down with the Barrel and Page Super Mario jumps over it and buckshot lariats Janela from over the barricade. Janela set up a ladder between the Barrel and the ring apron. Page delivers a burning hammer onto the ladder that gives Janela a rough bump.  The match kept insane and moved towards the stage. Janela hit a running lariat on the stage and then set up two side-by-side tables on the ramp. Page powerbombs Janela through one of the tables sending Janela to clip his head against the other table and the concrete floor. Page heads back to the ring and pulls out two trash bags. Penelope Ford comes into the ring and does some awesome dodging of Page’s lariats matrix-style. Ford opens one of the trash bags to reveal Page’s haunted boots. Page freaks out and Janela delivers a superkick to a distracted Page for a great near fall. A table and a ladder get set up in the ring and Janela climbs the ladder. In the other trash bag Page had the phone that he killed Joey Ryan with on Being The Elite. Page attacks Janela with the phone and delivers a Rite Of Passage off the ladder through the table below which is one of the best spots I’ve ever seen. Page covers Janela FTW. This match was crazy and mixed some intense spots with good work rate and comedy storytelling. Definitely match of the night so far. ****1/2

  • After the match, Inflatable Dicks come out like Undertaker’s Druids. Joey Ryans’s music hits and he is resurrected. Joey comes down and Dick Flips Page and throws a dick lollipop in his face. Page is carried away by the Inflatable Dicks to “Rest In Penis” chants. 

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Jay Lethal vs. Flip Gordon for the ROH World Title:

This match was given the dead spot after Janela vs. Page and Joey Ryan’s resurrection wowed the crowd. Flip was finally booked for all in after sneaking in earlier and he was accompanied by Brandi. The match started really slow but as always Flip started to get the pace high. Jay Lethal was playing up the Black Machismo character and Lanny Poffo was ringside and he came out to The Macho Man’s theme song. Jay lifted up Brandi as Mrs.Elizabeth too. Flip got into his flippy mode and put on some really good sequences at the end. In the end, the match got great after a Super Cutter by Lethal followed by a Lethal Injection put away Flip. ***1/2

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Pentagon Jr. vs. Kenny Omega:

This match was the best Japanese Wrestling has to offer versus the best Mexican Wrestling had to offer. These two put on a show too. I loved this match even though I felt like it could’ve been better. The match was a hard-hitting, fast-paced and surreal encounter getting “Holy Shit” chants before the match even started. Pentagon is obviously less of a star than Omega but he put on an amazing performance. Penta was over with the Zero Miedo chants which played amazingly into the match. Whenever Penta was getting striked down he would yell Zero Miedo and fire back up. Pentagon was very much able to hang with the Best in the World. Penta delivered an awesome Package Piledriver on the apron to Kenny that looked brutal. Penta also delivered an awesome Armbreaker/Piledriver sequence for an amazingly close near fall on Omega. Omega delivered a Package Piledriver of his own for another great near fall. The crowd was hot for this match getting “All In” and “This is awesome” chants. However, I think the match missed some length as Omega ended it with a One-Winged Angel before the 20-minute mark. If this match went any longer it could’ve gone the 5-stars. My opinion for MOTN changes frequently but this definitely the match of the show so far. I think it could be close to a MOTY contender as a stand-alone match though. ****3/4

  • Post-match, the lights go off and in-ring Penta is still lying down. Penta attacks Omega but unmasks to be Chris Jericho. Jericho challenges Omega to a match on the Jericho cruise. 

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dhx6yfcu8aackb8-e1530828478682Marty Scurrl vs. Kazuchika Okada:

I loved Marty Scurrl in this match, he always had to convince Okada and the crowd that he was a heavyweight. This match was the most storyline driven of all of the all in matches. Scurrl was fighting against the chances and Okada stayed at the legendary status of his NJPW title run. Both of these men left this match looking great. The match started slow but during the beginning, some of the logic and technical work was top notch. Scurrl led most of the match fighting into hitting his brainbuster. These 2 also had a great dynamic and chemistry for people who hadn’t faced before. This match was a story in itself and built on itself to a great finish. The match was long which would affect the show later but as a standalone match, this is an absolute classic in storytelling an in-ring work. There was also one of the best near falls I’ve seen. The special referee Tiger Hattori got knocked down and Scurrl opened his umbrella to Okada fending him off revealing the All In logo. Scurrl ducks a Rainmaker and hits Okada with the umbrella and knocks him down with a Rainmaker of his own, Tiger Hattori gets back up and you start to believe that Scurrl cheated to win against the living legend but the count gets close to 3 and Okada kicks out. After that, a “This Is Awesome” chant explodes. Scurrl tries hard to tap Okada with the Chicken Wing and fends off the Rainmaker finisher. Scurrl gets close to passing out Okada but Kazuchika rises up and gets frustrated and knocks Okada down with 2 Rainmakers. This is my favorite match of the night by a very little over Penta vs. Omega but this match’s storytelling was fantastic and built out like a saga. ****3/4

pjimage-3-696x392The Golden Elite vs. Rey Mysterio, Fenix, and Bandido:

There is a lot I have to say about this match that has nothing to do with the actual in-ring work. One, this shouldn’t have main evented especially with the way it ended. The show could’ve gone off air with Cody grabbing the NWA Title but instead ended with The Bucks winning a meaningless match. Two, this match would’ve been perfect to open the show and get the crowd hot but that didn’t happen and three, Fuck Fite TV. Their time slot made this match get absolutely neutered. What would Fite TV need to have on the 11:00 PM Saturday Time slot that ended this show which I guarantee was a huge payday for them. You can see how Ian Riccaboni was carrying the show and Nick Jackson yelling “It’s time to go home!” to close the show-off. Fite TV took this match from being a classic and ended The Buck’s hard worked show with an awkward finish. Because I was live, I was able to see the aftermath and The Bucks talk about ending the match which did give me some closure but I’d be pretty mad if I was Matt or Nick and the show had to end like that. Now to the match, it was a really fun encounter. It was great seeing Mysterio back in full flippy force and Bandido turned in an awesome performance. it was just pure flippy nonsense for 10 minutes which was really fun but honestly nothing special. It was some of the finest flippy shit I’ve seen for about 5 minutes but the match was unable to end or carry out like they probably had intended. It was also awesome to see Kota and Mysterio face off. It should’ve been a match for the ages but got cut early and is instead a match for the moment. ****

 

Grade: A-

Last Words: The Bullet Club show went over awesome. They totally succeeded in making it a quality show. Matches like Omega vs. Penta, Okada vs. Scurrl and Cody vs. Aldis made this an incredibly well-rounded show. Even though, none of the matches were historically awesome there were a lot of great matches and no “bad” matches. I was incredibly surprised by Stephen Amell too and his performance was a highlight of the night. Some of the spots from Janela and Page I will never forget and the resurrection of Joey Ryan was awesome. The show had some of the best moments in 2018 and was indy WrestleMania for sure. 

Ranking the Matches: 

  1.  Kazuchika Okada vs. Marty Scurrl
  2. Kenny Omega vs. Pentagon Jr. 
  3. Joey Janela vs. Hangman Page Street Fight
  4. Cody vs. Nick Aldis NWA Title
  5. The Golden Elite vs. Bandido, Fenix, and Mysterio
  6. Christopher Daniels vs. Stephen Amell
  7. Jay Lethal vs. Flip Gordon ROH Title
  8. SCU vs. Briscoes
  9. Women’s Fatal 4-Way
  10. Over Budget Battle Royale
  11. MJF vs. Matt Cross