By Anish Vishwakoti, Prowrestling.net Staffer, (@AVX_9001)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “Dontaku Finale 2018”
May 4, 2018 in Fukuoka, Japan
Broadcast live on New Japan World
This was one of NJPW’s biggest show of the year, and the midpoint between Wrestle Kingdom and NJPW Dominion which is in June. The show kicked off with a really great promo package hyping up the show, especially featuring the Jr Heavyweight and Heavyweight title matches, as well as the large Bullet Club tag match as part of the ongoing Bullet Club civil war storyline…
1. Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask and Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Yuya Uemura, Ren Narita and Shota Umino. This was a very straightforward veterans vs. young lions match to kick the show off with. The Young lions entered with little fanfare, and the veterans came out celebrating and cheering, before being jumped by the three young guns before the match started. Taguchi and Tiger Mask were knocked out of the ring and the young lions started stomping on Liger.
Even though Liger quickly tagged in Tiger Mask, the young lions just jumped straight onto him with a triple team maneuver and multiple stomps. Tiger Mask managed to regain control, hitting Uemura with a back kick before tagging n Taguchi who used his signature hip attacks to wear down Uemura.
The legends retained control for a while, with Liger applying a Romero Stretch on Uemura before it was broken up by the others, although they couldn’t halt the legends’ offense. Eventually, Umino tagged in and mounted some offense, driving Tiger Mask and Liger away, before exchanging blows and throws with Taguchi. He then managed to lock Taguchi in a Cloverleaf submission maneuver, and keep him in the middle of the ring, teasing a tapout.
However, Liger and Tiger Mask intervened and kept the Young Lions at bay, allowing Taguchi to hit a hip attack, and then lock in an Ankle Lock to get the submission victory…
Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask and Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Ren Narita, Shota Umino and Yuya Uemura.
Anish’s Take: This was a fun, inconsequential opening match. It didn’t have any real bearing on anything, but it definitely gave a shine to the legends. Given that Liger was announced to be facing Cody Rhodes at ROH War of The Worlds in the near future, it’s not a bad idea to keep him strong.
2. Yujiro Takahashi and Chase Owens vs. Tomoyuki Oka and Yuji Nagata. Bullet Club started off the match by jumping Nagata and Oka, leaving a weakened Oka in the ring to be stomped on and chopped by Chase Owens, as Nagata was quickly dealt with and tossed outside the ring. Takahashi and Owens tagged in and out very quickly, using simple heel tactics to maintain control over Oka. Oka showed fire and didn’t yield, hitting Takahashi with a Lariat before tagging in Nagata.
Yuji Nagata managed to hit some offense on Takahashi, looking extremely spry for his age in this match. He managed to knock Takahashi out of the ring and tag in Oka who managed to his Owen with a number of corner clotheslines, before engaging in a solid sequence of reversals and grappling clashes with Owens. Owens managed to recover from being hit with a kick and grab Oka in a package piledriver for the victory…
Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi defeated Yuji Nagata and Tomoyuki Oka.
Anish’s Take: Really short match, and yet another one that had no real purpose. Weird thrown together tag matches have long since been a staple of NJPW but I wish that at least for big shows like Dontaku they would put some thought into their undercard. No one was hurt by this match, but it didn’t really do anything for anyone, maybe it gave Chase Owens some credibility after taking so many falls in the Bullet Club civil war feud.
3. Rocky Romero and “Roppongi 3K” Sho and Yoh vs. TAICHI, Takashi Iizuka and Taka Michinoku. Suzuki Gun jumped Roppongi 3K before the match officially got underway, marking the third consecutive time that the heel team did this over the course of the event. Takashi Iizuka went on a biting spree early, and by coordinating this with attacks by Michinoku and TAICHI, Suzuki Gun managed to get control early, with TAICHI and Michinoku beating down Sho.
All six men rushed the ring, leading to a sloppy ref bump. This created the opportunity for TAICHI to use his staff to beat down Sho and Yoh and gave Iizuka the opportunity to get out his Iron Finger although it was unsuccessful in being of any use. Sho and Yoh managed to escape the clutches of Suzuki Gun and Romero hit a flying dropkick on Iizuka, allowing Sho and Yoh to grab Michinoku and execute their 3K finishing maneuver for the victory…
Rocky Romero, Sho, and Yoh defeated Taka Michinoku, TAICHI and Takashi Iizuka.
Anish’s Take: Yet another extremely short and meaningless tag match. At least this one managed to make Roppongi 3K look pretty strong, surviving a brutal assault and coming back for the victory.
4. Toa Henare and Togi Makabe vs. Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii. Finally a match started completely cleanly on this show. Ishii and Henare give the crowd what they wanted right of the bat and started slugging, however it didn’t last long as Makabe and Yano tagged in quickly and those 2 started going at it, much to the delight of the crowd as Toru Yano continues to be one of the most over wrestlers on the NJPW roster.
Henare then tagged in and hit an impressive flying clothesline on Yano, although Yano used a hairpull to get Henare down and then tag in Ishii who quickly rushed the ring and smashed Henare with a German Suplex. Makabe and Henare then double teamed Ishii, Henare hit a Samoan drop, followed by a double clothesline with Makabe and a savage spear. Ishii then received a slight assist from Yano allowing him to isolate Henare. This proved to be bad for Ishii however as Henare hit a giant running clothesline and a lifting spear to Ishii.
This got Henare a two count, and while he didn’t get the pin it allowed him to start slugging it out with Ishii using head butts. From here Ishii ducked under a strike attempt from Henare and hit a giant Lariat followed by a Brainbuster for the win…
Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano defeated Toa Henare and Togi Makabe.
Anish’s Take: This was definitely a strong tag match that the crowd was very invested in. The Japanese commentators helped the match along by telling the story of how relentless Henare is even in the face of Ishii’s devastating headbutts, allowing Henare to stay credible in the face of defeat.
5. Juice Robinson, Michael Elgin, and David Finlay vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Jay White and Hirooki Goto. Michael Elgin and Hirooki Goto kicked this match off with a staredown, with the crowd cheering them both on. Elgin hit a strong slap on Goto, to which Goto responded by starting to grapple. Goto got the better of him here, dragging Elgin to the corner and tagging in Jay White.
Elgin managed to tag in Juice Robinson, who along with Finlay hit White with a double bulldog, and then HASHI with a double dropkick, all while the crowd chanted for Juice. White managed to turn the tides by tripping Juice out of the ring and ramming his groin into the outside of the turnbuckle.
From here, Goto threw Juice back into the ring and along with HASHI and white, brought the fight to Juice. They attempted to celebrate, after hitting Juice with a rolling senton but White didn’t join them, much to the crowd’s disappointment.
Juice and White went at it for a while, before Juice managed to escape White’s clutches and tag in Elgin who cleared house and especially brought the fight to White, heavily wearing hm down. Elgin also hit Goto with a backbreaker, leaving just himself and White in the ring to do battle. White and Elgin exchanged holds and backbreakers here, but neither were able to get the cover even after a Suplex from Elgin and a Saito Suplex from White. Elgin then tagged in Finlay who took out Goto and started beating on HASHI, including with a flying elbow from the turnbuckles.
HASHI and Finaly wrestled in the ring, with Finlay missing a cutter and getting hit with a Lariat from HASHI and then with HASHI’s half nelson driver, allowing HASHI to get the victory for CHAOS…
Tanahashi to get in the ring and undistracted, hit a high fly flow on HASHI for the victory…
YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto and Jay White defeated Michael Elgin, Juice Robinson and David Finlay.
Anish’s Take: This was a fast paced and strong match, no doubt put in there as a prelude to the main event battle between CHAOS and Taguchi Japan’s most prolific members Tanahashi and Okada. All six men managed to get some strong offense in and the crowd definitely appreciated everyone’s performance.
After the match, TAICHI attacked Elgin and Goto, taking Goto to the back while choking him with his staff. Jay White also attempted to hit Juice with a blade runner, although Juice escaped, forcing White to retreat.
A short promo played directly after the match, hyping up the Wrestling Dontaku event in 2019 which will also emanate from the Fukuoka Kokusai Center
6. “Los Ingobernables de Japon” Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL, and Tetsuya Naito) vs. “Suzuki Gun” El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Davey Boy Smith Jr, Lance Archer, and Minoru Suzuki. While LIJ were making their way to the ring, Suzuki Gun jumped then before the official start of the match, taking the action to the crowd where Minoru Suzuki used a chair and the guard rails to weaken Naito’s leg. While this was happening, Lance Archer threw SANADA to the outside on to all of his fellow LIJ partners.
When the match officially started, Davey Boy and Suzuki targeted BUSHI, with Suzuki locking in an armbar that was broken up by Naito. Naito then fell victim to the same tactics as Suzuki used an armbar to wear him down before throwing him out of the ring. El Desperado and Hiromu Takahashi then engaged in a fast paced wrestling series, leading to Takahashi being cornered by all of Suzuki Gun who used their numbers to take him down.
LIJ then rushed the ring, giving themselves some breathing space and allowing Naito to isolate Kanemaru. This didn’t last long however as all of Suzuki Gun then entered the ring and a brawl broke out between the two factions. However LIJ got the better of it and this allowed Naito to hit Kanemaru with a Destino for the victory…
Los Ingobernables de Japon defeated Suzuki Gun.
Anish’s Take: Another short tag match, although it was related to the ongoing rivalry between Suzuki Gun and LIJ. This was fun however, as it was different to all the other tag matches, more of an all out brawl than anything else. The commentators sold how dangerous Suzuki is as well, especially after the match, as they highlighter how Suzuki had to be restrained from going back to fight LIJ himself with a chair.
After the match, LIJ celebrated in the ring, with Naito noticeable selling his knee, which he as been selling for a while now. After the rest of LIJ left the ring, Naito took a minute to stand with the crowd in Fukuoka. As he made his way to the back, a masked and hooded figure assaulted him with a guardrail, and threw him back into the ring. The masked figure stood in the ring, and ripped the mask off to reveal the Ayatollah of Rock and Rolla’ Chris Jericho himself, who is back in a NJPW ring. Jericho hit Naito with a Codebreaker and revealed his new “Los Ingobernables de Jericho” Shirt, and continued to wail on Naito.
As referees and young lions tried to break up the fight, Jericho took them all out without regard for who he was assaulting. He then went to the outside, and grabbed a very large ring bell. He used the ring bell to clock Naito with, resulting in a very loud clang that busted Naito open. With a dozen refs and young lions holding him back, Jericho fought them all off and ran back at Naito, only to be finally driven away by LIJ, even on his way out Jericho threw a chair in the ring at LIJ. On his way out Jericho flipped off the fans and took down a fair number of young lions, and a cameraman. Jericho was noticeable wearing dark lipstick, which seems to be a new addition to his ever growing list of attributes.
Anish’s Take: The crowd were staunchly pro Naito, and as soon as the initial shock of seeing Y2J back had worn off they immediately backed Naito wholeheartedly. Naito looked extremely valiant here, stumbling to the back, looking tranquilo as always but completely lathered in his own blood, a fantastic image to usher in Jericho’s return to NJPW.
7. Marty Scurll, Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson, Cody Rhodes, Adam Page, and Cody Rhodes vs. Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Bad Luck Fale, Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi. The ongoing Bullet Club civil war continued here in Fukuoka. Marty Scurll started the match, trying to lift up Bad Luck Fale, to no avail. He then tagged in Cody who had similar success against Fale, so Cody tagged in Nick Jackson, and Fale tagged in Tama Tonga. The 2 went at it, flipping and wrestling to a stalemate before their respective partners Loa and Matt tagged in, resulting in a respectful, but excellent tag team sequence that also resulted in a stalemate.
They tagged in Cody and Ibushi respectively, who started going at it with no holding back. Ibushi managed to hit a Corkscrew Moonsault, seemingly gaining control, however with an assist from Scurll on the apron, Cody managed to take control of Ibushi for a while. Ibushi quickly broke free, and hit Cody with a dropkick. He then tagged in Omega, who together, drove Scurll and Cody out of the ring.
When attempting the Cross Slash, the were blocked by the Young Bucks, who wanted to try and talk things out, although any talks were blocked by Page and Cody who dragged the Golden Lovers out of the ring.
Ibushi made his way back to the ring and hit Cody, Scurll and Page with a Triangle Moonsault. Fale then teased a leap off the top rope, but Scurll distracted him, allowing the Young Bucks to hit him with a Double Superkick. This gave Scurll the confidence to lift Fale, but since Fale was supposedly knocked out, he fell straight onto Scurll, resulting in an inadvertent pinfall victory for Fale and Co…
Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Bad Luck Fale, Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi defeated Cody Rhodes, Marty Scurll, Nick Jackson, Matt Jackson and Adam Page.
After the match, Cody and Kenny chased each other to the back, leaving the rest of the Bullet Club and Ibushi in the ring. Ibushi left the Bullet Club to their business, and with the exception of Cody and Kenny, the rest of the Bullet Club proved that at least when it comes to them, Buller Club is fine…
Anish’s Take: Very entertaining match, especially Scurll’s antics and the story of him trying to lift Fale, and eventually being defeated due to his arrogant ambition to try and do so. It was a fun use of the old smaller guy gets pinned due to a knocked out larger guy being thrust upon him gimmick, reminded me of the Regal and Big Show spot on Smackdown all those years ago.
8. Will Ospreay vs. KUSHIDA For the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. The first singles match of the night, and it’s a really exciting one for the IWGP Jr HeavyWeight title, with Will Ospreay and KUSHIDA continuing their longstanding feud. The two took a moment to look around and take it in once the bell rings, but once they lock up there was no hesitation. KUSHIDA rolled around on the ground and used a wrist lock to take control of Ospreay. Ospreay attempted to escape but every time, KUSHIDA retained control of his wrist, a very entertaining exchange from the two.
KUSHIDA eventually pushed Ospreay to the ropes and the two ducked and weaved, struggling for control, with Ospreay missing a dropkick. Eventually, KUSHIDA left Ospreay’s legs hung up on the referee’s shoulders and hit him with a kick, sending Ospreay to the outside. Here, Ospreay attempted to hit KUSHIDA with a flying maneuver from the guard rail, but KUSHIDA caught him in an armbar.
KUSHIDA continued to target Ospreay’s arm in the ring, using another armbar after noticing Ospreay clutching his arm in pain. Ospreay tried to mount some offense, but KUSHIDA rammed Ospreay’s head into the turnbuckle and then locked in a chin hold. Ospreay used some strikes to escape, but KUSHIDA locked it in again, forcing Ospreay to the ground and doing a handstand with the chin lock in to gain an advantage.
Ospreay eventually got to his feet, threw KUSHIDA to the ropes and hit a handspring Corkscrew kick, and then a Moonsault to the outside, gaining some breathing room. Ospreay then threw KUSHIDA to the corner and hit a low dropkick on him, although KUSHIDA fought back with a Neckbreaker.
Ospreay attempted to hit his new finishing move “Stormbreaker” early, but KUSHIDA escaped and attempted a kimura, before being hit with a German Suplex from Ospreay. The two then were both down, with Ospreay struggling to keep control on account of the damage done to his arm. Thus, Ospreay tried another handspring maneuver, although KUSHIDA countered, landing them both on the apron where they did battle.
Ospreay and KUSHIDA traded strikes on the apron, and eventually, KUSHIDA an impressive rolling DDT from the apron to the floor, leaving them both knocked out on the floor. The count got to a very close 19, before Ospreay just made it into the ring. Here KUSHIDA surprised him with a West-Coast-Pop pinning attempt, but Ospreay kicked out, firing up KUSHIDA even more. KUSHIDA attempted a Hurricanrana, but Ospreay reversed it, tossing KUSHIDA into the mat, and then into the corner for 8 Cheeky Nando’s kicks, expertly counted by the Japanese commentator.
Ospreay then hit an inverted 450 (054) from the top rope, although this didn’t get him the pin as KUSHIDA got a ropebreak. Ospreay then went for an Os Cutter, but KUSHIDA caught him in a painful looking Kimura, and kept him in the center of the ring. When he couldn’t get the submission, KUSHIDA transitioned into trying to hit his Back to The Future driver, but Ospreay reversed it, ran the ropes and hit a Spanish Fly.
The two, now on their knees, started going at it with forearms, and smacked each other with kicks and strikes until they were both back on the ground after a wind up punch by KUSHIDA. With Ospreay down, KUSHIDA stomped on him, and hit a running dropkick with Ospreay in the corner. KUSHIDA then attempted a top rope driver, but Ospreay reversed it into a beautiful Os Cutter and then picked KUSHIDA up and hit Stormbreaker to get the the win and retain his title…
Will Ospreay defeated KUSHIDA to retain the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
After the match was over, the lights went out and a promo played hyping up the return of Bone Soldier. Tama Tong made his way to the ring and said “Sugoi” meaning awesome in Japanese, in reference to KUSHIDA and Ospreay’s match. This was just a distraction as Bone Soldier returned and took out Ospreay. Bone Soldier then stood in the middle of the ring and took his mask off as Tama Tonga revealed the new member of Bullet Club, Taiji Ishimori who is coming to NJPW after working with NOAH and Impact as well and others in the past. This is interesting as Ishimori is only the second Japanese wrestler to join Bullet Club, the first being Yujiro Takahashi, who is included in the Gaijin stable upon the rationale that he has disdain for Japanese fans and wrestling…
Anish’s Take: Fantastic match, both Ospreay and KUSHIDA gave it everything in the ring and told a great story with Ospreay fighting his own injured arm to come back and win the match. While this match was really great, it could have been something truly amazing had they given it more time. This is one of those scenarios where NJPW’s ocean of random tag matches could have hurt the show as they took time away from these two who could have taken it to the next level. Regardless, the match was brilliant and it was evident as the crowd cheered both men who struggled to stand after the encounter.
9. Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Before the match, a great promo played, featuring promos from both Okada and Tanahashi. Rather than this being a promo hyping up the hostility between the two, it instead highlighter their respect for each other and their similar goal of being the greatest IWGP HeavyWeight Champion of all time, with Okada trying to break Tanahashi’s record of 12 title defenses in a single reign.
As soon as the bell rung, the crowd started a chant for Tanahashi, showing their adoration for The Ace. The initial lock up between the two resulted in Okada patting Tanahashi’s chest on the ropes as he always does, getting that spot out of the way quick. The two traded wrist locks and fought for control of their opponents back initially, with Tanahashi ending up with a tight headlock on Okada. Tanahashi then wrestled Okada to the ground and continued to apply pressure with the headlock. With Gedo shouting instructions on the outside, Okada used strikes to escape, reverse the hold and shoot of the ropes into a premature Rainmaker attempt.
This missed, and the two exchanged arm drags, before Tanahashi made some space for himself and played some air guitar. The crowd at this point started chanting for Tanahashi, and when no Okada chants came after, it became apparent that this was a very pro Ace crowd. The two then tried for both of their signature maneuvers, with Okada missing with a Tombstone clutch attempt, but Tanahashi successfully hitting a low dropkick. Okada managed to throw a rushing Tanahashi to the top rope and hit a dropkick, although Tanahashi managed to hold on to the top rope, bounce back and grab Okada in a rope hung Headscissors.
Okada used this position to hit an Orton style Hangman’s DDT, and then did so once again from the guard rail on the outside. From here, Okada got Tanahashi back into the ring, and posed above his body to a chorus of boos from the crowd. The commentators bring attention to this and speculate that this is because the crowd disapprove of his gloating and are more appreciative of Tanahashis demeanor.
Okada then started striking Tanahashi in the corner, and subsequently stomping him before once again applying a chin lock in the center of the ring. Tanahashi tried to fight out, but Okada used a Cravate hold to keep Tanahashi on his knees. Eventually Tanahashi hit Okada with a Neckbreaker to escape his clutches. Tanahashi and Okada then started exchanging strikes, with The Ace getting the better of the exchange with a Lariat and a pair of Dropkicks to fell Okada. The Rainmaker then bounced back with a running elbow and another DDT to Tanahashi. Okada then attempted a top rope move which failed, although it led into Okada hitting his signature Knee Driver on Tanahashi.
He then attempted to signal for the Rainmaker, but Tanahashi got right up and stared him right in the face, before hitting Okada with a Dragon Screw sending him to the outside where Tanahashi hit a Cross Body to the outside. The commentators emphasized how much this must be destroying the two at this point, Okada responds to this by catching a running Tanahashi in a Tombstone Piledriver onto the floor.
The two barely make it into the ring at the count of 19, and they slowly made their way to their knees. They then started slugging it out with forearms on their knees, falling into each other to maintain balance and consciousness. They got to their feet to continue striking, with the crowd sincerely behind Tanahashi. Okada then hit an uppercut to knock Tanahashi to the floor. Okada then plays with him, garnering even more boos which he welcomed. Tanahashi then uses the crowd to fire himself up, knock Okada to the floor and force Okada to miss a Dropkick and a Flapjack, much to the joy of the Fukuoka crowd. Tanahashi himself then missed High Fly Flow, allowing Okada to hit a pair of Dropkicks and attempt Rainmaker, although The Ace reversed this into a Slingblade.
With both men down, only Gedo cheers Okada, while the entire crowd rally for Tanahashi. Okada attempted another Tombstone, which Tanahashi fought back against, only to be hit with a running Dropkick. The commentators spot Okada laughing in Tanahashi’s face and make much of the fact that Okada is taking so much joy in wrestling Tanahashi even though he is being booed to kingdom come.
Because Okada was busy laughing, Tanahashi caught him off guard and hit a Tombstone, followed by one High Fly Flow. When going for the second, Okada got his knees up, leaving Tanahashi on the floor. Okada then attempted a Rainmaker, and although he missed, he hit a catch German Suplex. Tanahashi kicked out at one to the roar of the crowd, and reversed another Rainmaker attempt into a German of his own, followed by a Slingblade.
With them both reeling from the impact, Tanahashi headed to the top and while attempting a cross body got caught by a Dropkick. When Okada tried to follow this with a rainmaker, Tanahashi hit a Rainmaker of his own, although Okada kicked out of his own finisher at one! The two men then stood right up and started trading blows, with Tanahashi smacking Okada around to the cheers of the crowd. Okada attempted another Rainmaker, but this was blocked by slaps from Tanahashi. The Ace saw an opening here and tried to slingshot to the ropes for a Slingblade, but Okada caught him by the trunks, and hit a desperate, solitary Rainmaker to pin Tanahashi and break The Ace’s title defense record.
Kazuchika Okada defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
Anish’s Take: This match was amazing to watch in every way. Whatever wrong NJPW do in terms of neglecting their undercard, they never go wrong with a big main event like this. Tanahashi and Okada add yet another five star encounter to their long and storied rivalry, solidifying their tale as a classic feud in Professional Wrestling history. If you are under the impression that the two just recycle their old matches, then you are 100 percent incorrect, Okada and Tanahashi laid down a wrestling clinic in Fukuoka and fittingly crowned Okada as the most successful IWGP HW Champion in History.
After the match Gedo got on the mic and stated that Tanahashi is great, but absolutely nobody can stop Okada. While the crowd is not completely pro Okada, Gedo and Okada himself do a good job of getting them on board the Rainmaker train. Okada asks to say three things and starts off by addressing Tanahashi as Mr. Tanahashi and then Little Child Tanahashi and then finally Tanahashi-Senpai no translation needed much to the amusement of the crowd in Fukuoka. He calls Tanahashi strong, and then states that he is glad to have 12 defenses of the IWGP Heavyweight Title.
After thanking the crowd, he asked who will challenge him next and listed everyone who he has beaten including: Marufuji, Kenny, Suzuki, Shibata, Fale, Kenny again, Cody, EVIL, NAITO, SANADA, Zack and Tanahashi. He then asks who will be defense 13? After waiting a moment, he shouted for Kenny to come to the ring. Omega obliged and made his way to the ring. Okada stares into his face and states that it isn’t over between them, this year Okada wants to beat him for good. Omega has no problem responding in Japanese and he says they will indeed go at it one more time. However, this time Kenny asked for it to be a best of three falls match. Okada stated that would be exciting, and that we will be seeing that in Osaka.
Kenny left and with only Okada in the ring, he stated that he intends to get to defense 13, 14, 15 and onwards forever. The show closed with Okada celebrating with golden streamers everywhere, after his stellar performance against Tanahashi and his setup for Omega vs. Okada 4, the crowd couldn’t help but cheer.
Anish’s Take: Anyone who says that NJPW don’t have good promo work is lying to you, this was a great example of the crowd being turned essentially because of Gedo and Okada’s mic work. While Okada doesn’t do anything amazing on the mic, he is simple and effective, which is enough in this company.
NJPW put together a great last half of a show here, as everything from the war between Suzuki Gun and LIJ onwards was really great. The other matches before that were good as well, but they lacked real story, so if you can’t check all of this show out, then definitely start with that LIJ vs. Suzuki Gun match and drink in the return of Jericho.
Definitely watch the Bullet Club match if you have the time, it was a fun short match and Scurll and Fale especially told a fun story, that resulted with Bullet Club (mostly) coming together. The last two championship matches are must watch, all four men put in a great showing and made both their respective Championships seem prestigious and sought after, especially with the set-ups for their next challengers in Ishimori and Omega. Ospreay vs. KUSHIDA was a high-flying, shoot-em-up showcase, and Okada Tanahashi took the cake with their beautifully told classic. Overall a pretty good show from NJPW Wrestling Dontaku 2018.
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