NJPW: King of Pro Wrestling Recap and Review

Good evening everyone! Here we are with some great New Japan action! This event took place in the famed Ryogoku Hall in Tokyo. With only nine matches on the card, NJPW didn’t waste any time getting to the action. With several titles on the line, blood feuds boiling and the Tokyo Dome looming in the future, let’s get to it!

 

The Matches:

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Desperado/Kanemaru defeated Tiger Mask/Jyushin Thunder Liger

Honma/Makabe defeated Henare/Juice

Bullet Club OG (Tonga/Loa/Fale/Ishimori) defeated Bullet Club Elite (Bucks/Hangman/Owens)

CHAOS (Ospreay/Goto/Ishii) defeated Suzuki-Gun (Suzuki/Taichi/Iizuka)

Los Ingobernables (Naito/Takagi/ Bushi/Sanada) defeated CHAOS (3K/Yano/Okada)

EVIL vs. Zack Sabre Jr was a No Contest

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Kushida defeated Marty Scurll

Wrestle Kingdom Contract: Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Jay White

IWGP Heavyweight Championship Triple Threat: Kenny Omega defeated Cody and Kota Ibushi

 

The Stories:

I wanted to breeze through the match results so we could get to the meat of the show. This event was filled with so much storytelling I had to watch it twice. Each match had something to offer as far as furthering current angles that are happening or giving way to brand new ones going forward.

The opening match for the Jr Tag Titles was all about how Liger and Tiger Mask can still go even at their ages. Even in a loss, it was a great showing leading into the Junior Tag League. The second tag match was about telling that same story but for Makabe/Honma. They’re’ two-time winners of the World Tage League and came out to show they still had what it takes. We also saw Juice Robinson still struggling after losing the IWGP US Title that he fought so hard to win.

The first big story match of the night was the battle for the Bullet Club. We had the OG’s get the big win over the Elite. Once again Matt’s back gave out and hindered what he could do in the match. Chase Owens had a great showing in this match and even though he ate the pin, he looked fantastic. This wouldn’t be the last time we’d see the Bullet Club OGs.

Will Ospreay getting the big win over Taichi instantly sets him up for a Never Openweight Title match. This also seals the deal on his career as a Jr. Heavyweight. After losing to Scurll in Long Beach and now this, it’s clear that the Aerial Assassin is now a heavyweight. In the next match, we finally got the debut of the new member of LIJ.

With their comrade fallen, Naito and the boys went on the search for a replacement. After weeks of build, they debuted Shingo Takagi to a great ovation. Takagi makes his way over from Dragon Gate and made a major impact getting the huge win on his first night. Fans were getting ready to see another LIJ man go to battle as EVIL was making his way to battle with Zack Sabre Jr, but it wasn’t meant to be.

As EVIL was making his way to the ring, he was attacked by one of his druids. As the druid beat down EVIL all over ringside and the aisle it became clear who it was. The return of Chris Jericho to NJPW had finally come. After his surprise attack at ALL In, Jericho has been quiet. Not for long though as Y2J would send a clear message to EVIL. These two will go to war at Power Struggle for the Intercontinental Title.

Kushida and Marty Scurll would wage war next for the vacant IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. Both men had to gain wins at previous events in order to make it to this match. A really fun story here as both men know each other so well that they had great counters ready.

Both men went for the finish quick and even tried to seal the deal with their opponent’s finishers. Kushida once again ascended the Jr. Heavyweight mountaintop by putting Scurll away with the Back to the Future. Kushida adds another accolade to his legendary career.

The contract for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom was on the line next. Tanahashi once again was defending his future title shot against the man that destroyed CHAOS, Switchblade Jay White. These two met at Wrestle Kingdom 12 earlier this year and the match didn’t clock.

Tana had some injuries and White hadn’t quite found his place yet. This would be a world of difference. These two beat the living hell out of each other and Tana was able to steal the win with a small package.

After the match, the BC OGs made their way to the ring and laid the boots to Tana. As the beatdown ensued Okada would make his way to the ring to try and defend the exhausted legend. Soon the OGs would begin to attack Okada with the help of former Okada allies Jado and Gedo. It would soon become clear that Jado, Gedo and Jay White would be joining the Bullet Club OGs.

This was a hell of a story and it linked back to earlier this year when Kenny Omega offered White a spot in the Bullet Club. Back when White declined the offer, Tama had hinted that maybe the wrong guy (Omega) made the offer. I honestly never saw this coming and it really took me for a loop.

The final match of the night was nothing but a story from bell to bell. To begin the main event we had The Young Bucks, Omega, Ibushi, and Cody all in the ring being cordial and respectful. As the match went one we would see that friendship turn violent with each man trying to win.

Kenny at one point tried to nail Kota with the One-Winged Angel, Kota countered and Kenny instantly began to apologize. NJPW isn’t known for doing triple threats as this would be only their third in history, but these three men killed.

The near falls throughout had me thinking at any moment any of the three could walk away with the IWGP Title. Cody would put Kenny through a table and Kenny would get his receipt by powerbombing Cody through the announce table. Kota nailed all of his big spots and came close to putting away both his Golden Lover and awkward buddy Cody. In the end, Kenny is able to hit the One-Winged Angel, but not on Cody, he pinned Kota. This story is far from over and we have only just begun.

This show was top to bottom spectacular as far as in-ring action is concerned. They also added some seriously powerful storytelling as well. Whether it be small like proving a team is ready for a tournament or the CHAOS/BG OG supergroup forming, this show more than delivered.

Overall Rating: 9/10

 

We now have a string of events that will give us the Jr. Tag League and some other fun matches. The next big event will be Power Struggle from Osaka on November 3rd. That card will also feature Y2J/EVIL, Naito/ZSJ, Ospreay/Taichi, and the finals of the Jr. Tag League Tournament.

Thanks for reading our NJPW King of Pro Wrestling recap and feel free to leave that feedback down below!

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