By Jason Powell, ProWrestling.net Editor (@prowrestlingnet)
Powell’s Non-Spoiler Recommendations: First off, I had to breeze through he undercard due to timing issues, so I can’t give you a fair assessment on that. If you are short on time then the rest of the show is definitely worth watching as there were good matches and some strong, must see angles. The fifth match featured the LIJ mystery man. I watched the sixth match (IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship match) on in full and highly recommend all of it.
New Japan Pro Wrestling “King of Pro Wrestling”
October 8, 2018 in Tokyo, Japan
Broadcast live on New Japan World
Kevin Kelly, Rocky Romero, and Chris Charlton were on commentary…
1. El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Jushin Liger and Tiger Mask to retain the IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Titles.
2. Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma beat Juice Robinson and Toa Henare.
3. Bad Luck Fale, Taiji Ishimori, and Guerrillas of Destiny defeated The Young Bucks, Hangman Page, and Chase Owens.
4. Will Ospreay, Tomohiro Ishii, and Hirooki Goto beat Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iiizuka, and Taichi.
5. Tetsuya Naito, Sanada, Bushi, and Shingo Takagi beat Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, Sho, and Yoh.
6. Zack Sabre. Jr. (w/Taka Michinoku) vs. Evil. Michinoku delivered his usual big introduction for Sabre. Evil had an elaborate entrance with men dressed in black and wearing white masks leading him onto the stage. Kelly referred to the masked men as druids. Evil climbed onto ring apron and was attacked by one of the druids, who was wearing his IWGP Intercontinental Title around his waist. Yes, Chris Jericho attacked Evil and put him down with a Codebreaker before unmasking.
Kelly asked Sabre what he knew about this. Sabre claimed he didn’t know it would happen. Jericho slammed the title belt onto the face of Evil, then posed over him. After Jericho left, Sabre entered the ring and took off his ring jacket. A referee held him back while Evil sold the Jericho attack. The referee ruled the match a no-contest. Sabre went after the referee and one of the young lions, then put Evil in a submission hold. Naito ran off and hit Sabre with a tornado DDT to clear him from the ring…
Zack Sabre. Jr. vs. Evil was ruled a no-contest.
Powell’s POV: A cool angle that continued the build to Jericho defending his title against Evil. I was looking forward to Sabre vs. Evil, but this was a strong angle and I like the way they put more heat on Sabre by having him take advantage of Evil while he was down. Will we get Naito vs. Sabre Jr. or was this just a case of having the LIJ leader make the save?
7. Kushida vs. Marty Scurll for the vacant IWGP Jr. Hvt. Championship. Scurll applied an early surfboard. Kushida sold knee pain. Romero spoke about the disadvantage that Scurll had by facing Will Ospreay in a tournament match just over a week earlier while Kushida had a longer gap between tournament matches. Scurll controlled the bulk of the early action and applied a chicken wing. Kushida rolled over Scurll to break the hold, but Scurll came right back with a double wrist lock.
Scurll performed a wicked suplex that dropped Kushida on the side of his head. Gross. Kushida came right back with a side slam that dropped Scurll onto his shoulders. Scurll came right back by stomping Kushida’s hand, but Kushida countered into a Hoverboard Lock attempt. Kushida sold it like he couldn’t apply the hold due to finger damage that Scurll had done. Scurll got a two count off a powerbomb, then performed a package move for a near fall. A short time later, Kushida performed a pair of his Back to the Future moves and scored the clean pin. Kelly noted that it was the sixth time that Kushida had won the title…
Kushida defeated Marty Scurll to win the vacant IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship.
Powell’s POV: A strong match. It wasn’t as dazzling as Scurll’s match with Will Ospreay at Fighting Spirit Unleashed. It was a different type of match and it was very good for it’s style.
8. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White (w/Gedo) for the contract for an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom. Gedo reached in and grabbed the leg of Tanahashi early in the match. Tanahashi rebounded quickly and whipped and then dropkicked White into the ringside barricade. Gedo hit Tanahashi from behind. Tanahashi no-sold it and got Gedo in the ring, but White returned to clip the bad knee of Tanahashi. White mocked Tanahashi by playing air guitar with Tanahashi’s leg. Funny. White worked over the bad knee of Tanahashi. With the referee distracted, Gedo picked up Tanahashi’s briefcase that contains the contract for the title shot and hit Tanahashi with it.
Later, White wanted to bring a chair into the ring and got caught up bickering with the referee. Tanahashi performed a dragon screw leg whip. White ended up on the floor. Tanahashi performed a High Fly Flow onto White at ringside, then got up limping to sell his knee again. White came right back and performed a nice German suplex that left both men down. Both wrestlers got to their feet and exchanged strikes. They performed a wild series of reversals to their big moves without actually performing any of the moves. Finally, Tanahashi performed his twist and shout neckbreaker. White came back briefly, but Tanahashi hit the move again. Tanahashi performed a sling blade clothesline and then knocked Gedo off the apron.
Tanahashi performed a dragon suplex for two, then went up top and performed a High Fly Flow on a standing White. Tanahashi went up top and performed the move again. Tanahashi had the win, but Gedo pulled the referee to the floor. Romero threw a fit and called Gedo a rat. Gedo pulled out a pair of brass knuckles and entered the ring while the ref was down at ringside. Tanahashi ducked the brass knuckles and hit Gedo instead. White performed a low blow on Tanahashi. White grabbed a chair and wound up to hit Tanahashi, who beat him to the punch with a low blow. Tanahashi slammed White onto the chair and then followed up with a High Fly Flow, but White moved and Tanahashi landed on the chair. White threw the chair at Tanahashi’s face. White called for Gedo to get the referee. With the referee back in the ring, White set up for his Blade Runner finisher, but Tanahashi countered into an inside cradle and scored the pin…
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Jay White to retain the contract for an IWGP Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom.
After the match, White went after the knee of Tanahashi and fought off the young lions who tried to stop him. White set up for a Blade Runner, but Kazuchika Okada ran out and White fled the ring. Okada turned his attention to Gedo and was hit from behind by White. Okada quickly cleared White from the ring and ended up in the ring with Gedo. Okada worked over Gedo briefly. Jedo entered the ring wearing an Okada t-shirt and tried to talk down Okada.
Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, and Taiji Ishimori entered the ring. The Bullet Club originals grabbed Gedo and Jedo from behind and encouraged Okada to hit Gedo. Okada read he ropes and was dropped with a Gun Stun from Tonga. The Bullet Club originals, Gedo, and Jedo put the boots to Okada. Gedo motioned for White to join them. White hit a Blade Runner on Okada. Kelly said White had joined forces with the Bullet Club originals. Gedo approached Kelly and asked: “Who is the winner? Tell me?” White flipped off the crowd. After the BC originals left, Tanahashi entered the ring and knelt over Okada before young lions helped them both to the back…
Powell’s POV: First off, Tanahashi and White had a very good match. It was hard to believe that Tanahashi was going to lose and they never sold me on that possibility, but it was a well worked match and the angle that followed was great. The Bullet Club originals needed a singles leader and now they have one in White even though I assume they will continue to say that they don’t actually have a leader. The biggest part about all of this is that we are likely to see Okada and Tanahashi team together in the near future, which should be red hot given their legendary history as rivals.
Kenny Omega vs. Kota Ibushi vs. Cody for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. The Young Bucks were at ringside. Cody flew solo without Brandi. He wore the IWGP U.S. and NWA Championship belts to the ring and had a red makeup splotch under his right eye. Omega performed an early flip dive on Cody, who kinda stepped aside and it looked like he was helping Omega land safely more than taking a move. It was kinda hard to blame him given how hot Omega was coming at him. Omega and Cody set up for their series of moonsaults. Cody avoided Omega, who landed on his feet. Omega snuck under Ibushi on the ropes and had him in position for a One Winged Angel. Ibushi escaped. Omega was apologetic to Ibushi.
Later, Omega avoided a Disaster Kick from Cody and performed a snap dragon. Omega set up for a V-Trigger, but Ibushi caught him with a missile dropkick. A short time later, Cody performed a suicide dive that drove Omega into the barricade. Cody cut off Ibushi going for a move on the ropes. Cody set up for his finisher on Ibushi on the apron. Omega grabbed Cody’s legs. Cody kicked free and went for the move, but Ibushi fought out of it. Omega picked up Cody and powerbombed him through the English broadcast table that was set up behind the guardrail. Damn. Ibushi performed a corkscrew top rope dive onto Omega on the floor. Double damn.
Omega and Ibushi squared off with Cody at ringside selling. They traded forearms. Eventually, Omega caught Ibushi with a pair of V-Triggers and then performed a reverse huracanrana. Ibushi landed on his hands did a handstand onto his feet. Ibushi caught Omega with a lariat that turned him inside out. Ibushi went up top, but Cody returned and shoved him to the floor. Cody performed a Canadian Destroyer on Omega for a two count. At the 20:00 mark, Omega performed a buckle bomb on Ibushi that actually threw him into Cody, who was seated on the top rope facing the crowd. Cody fell into being tied up in a tree of woe. Ibshi came back and threw Omega into Cody like a lawn dart, which knocked Cody free.
A short time later, Cody powerbombed Omega and Ibushi caught him and turned it into a German suplex for a two count. The broadcast team pointed out that it was a Golden Lovers style move. Cody caught Omega with a Disaster Kick to knock him off the apron. Cody went to ringside and set up a table. Omega hit him from behind, but Cody slammed his face into the table. At 25:00, Omega went for a springboard move, but Cody shoved him from the ropes and Omega crashed through the table on the floor. Cody smiled and licked his lips. Ibushi performed a superplex on Cody, who hooked his legs and got a near fall. Ibushi performed a sit-out powerbomb on Cody for a near fall.
Ibushi performed a straight jacket German suplex, then followed up with a Kamigoye. Ibushi had the pin, but Omega stopped the referee from making the third count. Omega apologized to Ibushi, who was not pleased. Ibushi knocked Omega’s hand off his shoulder and then fired away with strikes. Cody entered the ring and hit Ibushi, who responded with a big shot that knocked Cody to ringside. Ibushi mounted Omega and threw palm strikes while Omega covered up. Ibushi threw punches and the referee stepped in because they were illegal. Ibushi performed a running knee on Omega for a two count. Ibushi set up for a Kamigoye, but Cody pulled him to ringside. Cody performed CrossRhodes on Omega and went for the cover. Ibushi performed a double stop that was meant for Cody, who moved and Omega took the move. Cody dumped Ibushi to the floor and hit CrossRhodes for a tremendous near fall.
Cody had Ibushi pinned a short time later, but Omega pulled Cody off to break up the pin. Cody showed frustration and then went to ringside and grabbed a chair, which he decided to throw down. The fans cheered, but then Cody grabbed his title belt and teased entering the ring with it, only to throw it to one of the Bucks. Cody grabbed the chair again and wanted to hit Ibushi, but Omega covered up Ibushi. Cody put the boots to Omega. Cody wound up with the chair, but Ibushi took it from him and blasted him with a kick. Omega performed a reverse huracanrana on Ibushi and then performed a J-Driller for another great near fall. Omega performed a V-Trigger on Ibushi and then performed a One Winged Angel for the win as Cody came up short of trying to break up the pin…
Kenny Omega defeated Kota Ibushi and Cody to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship.
After the match, Omega checked on Ibushi. Romero said Omega wasn’t worried about the championship, he was worried about his friend. He called it another complicated chapter between the Golden Lovers, and even another complicated chapter in the story between Cody and the Golden Lovers. Cody helped Omega pull Ibushi to a seated position. Romero said the Wrestle Kingdom main event is set, and the king of pro wrestling is Omega. Cody left the ring.
Omega spoke to the fans in Japanese and then called for Cody to return to the ring. Cody obliged. Omega sat down next to Ibushi and asked him to stand up together. He told him in Japanese to stand up as The Elite. Omega asked the crowd if they enjoyed it and they applauded. Omega said that it wasn’t what the fans expected, but it was undeniably a Kenny, Cody, and Ibushi match. Ibushi got to his feet. Omega mentioned the Tokyo Dome main event being set and mentioned the press release. Omega told Ibushi he loved him and hugged him, then he also hugged Cody and the Bucks. Omega closed the show with his signature senfoff.
However, Hiroshi Tanahashi walked to ringside wearing an “Ace is Back” t-shirt and carrying his IWGP Title shot briefcase. Tanahashi entered the ring. Omega spoke in Japanese and told Tanahashi that if he wants to say something he should say it now. Tanahashi spoke in Japanese and said let’s put it all on the line at the Tokyo Dome. Tanahashi dropped the mic. Omega picked up the mic. Tanahashi left the ring while Omega said they would be yelling Go Ace at the Tokyo Dome, but he was sorry to say. Omega did the goodbye, goodnight, bang and pointed at Tanahashi. Gold colored confetti was shot off as Kelly hyped the Omega vs. Tanahashi match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom. Kelly signed off to close the English broadcast…
Powell’s POV: There was some grumbling from NJPW purists over the decision to hold a rare Triple Threat match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. I get it, but this was excellent. I wouldn’t want to see Triple Threats become the norm in NJPW. In this case, it was a logical approach that saved the next Omega vs. Ibushi singles match for a bigger event. And it was so well worked. I was surprised to see Ibushi take the pin, though it works out fine since Ibushi defeated him in the G1 Climax Tournament. Plus, it protects Cody, who just won the IWGP U.S. Championship and the NWA Championship. As I mentioned at the start, I only watched the last four matches in full and they all delivered in the ring, plus there were some great angles. What I saw of the show was great and it set the stage for some big things going forward.
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