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New Japan Wrestle Kingdom 14 Night 1
January 4th 2020
From the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. Our English commentators are Kevin Kelly, Gino Gambino, and Rocky Romero. They are touting attendance of 40,000+ fans.
Jushin Liger, Tatsumi Fujinami, Tiger Mask IV, & Great Sasuke vs. Shinjiro Otani, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Naoki Sano, & Ryusuke Taguchi
This is Liger's second to last match in his retirement tour, so emotions and nostalgia are running high. Liger starts the match (to a wild ovation) against old archrival, Sano. They feel each other out, but Sano scores first with a suicide dive. Otani tags himself in and revels in the opportunity to face wash Liger. Tiger Mask and Takaiwa tag in for a chopfest, but Takaiwa's DDT allows Taguchi to isolate the masked man. Crowd pops for Fujinami's hot tag. Sasuke helps out but misses a swanton bomb. Sano catches Sasuke with a SUPERPLEX. Liger gets a hot tag and runs wild through Taguchi, hitting a top rope rana! Match breaks down, leaving Taguchi and Liger to exchange nearfalls. Taguchi plants Liger to score the pin and breaks everyone's heart at about 9:00. As a sentimental house show style tag, this was fine, **.
Winners: Shinjiro Otani, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Naoki Sano, and Ryusuke Taguchi
No hard feelings, as all eight guys stand tall together to a nice ovation. This moment was a lot more cool than the match itself.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, Bushi, Shingo Takagi, and Sanada) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Rev Pro British Heavyweight Champion Zach Sabre Jr., Taichi, and Desperado)
Suzuki-gun cheap shot before the opening bell for a brawl, leaving EVIL alone with Suzuki. EVIL nails a Bronco Buster for 2. Suzuki applies a draping armbreaker and then whips EVIL into the rail. Suzuki gets away with a chair shot. Suzuki is unable to hit a Gotch Piledriver, but Desperado tags to continue the beatdown on EVIL. Shingo gets a hot tag and runs wild through Suzuki-gun. Taichi cuts Shingo off with an enziguri and showboats by dramatically pulling off his own pants. Shingo and Taichi exchange stiff shots until they both hit the canvas. Sanada and ZSJ enter the match to preview Night 2's singles match. Sanada quickly puts Desperado into the Paradise Lock for the embarrassing dropkick to the behind. ZSJ answers with the Cobra Twist. Sanada is unable to put ZSJ into the Paradise Lock and the match breaks down. ZSJ catches Bushi into the sickening Rings of Saturn variation for the submission at 8:50. Another house show match, but with an extra dose of nastiness down the final stretch, **½.
CHAOS (Toru Yano, YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii, and Hirooki Goto) vs. Bullet Club (NEVER Openweight Champion KENTA, Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale, and Yujiro Takahashi)
This is another "get everyone on the card" match that also builds up a singles match for Night 2, this time focusing on the pending KENTA/Goto showdown. Yano wants to start, but then panics when he realizes he has to face Fale. Yano's shoulder tackles have zero effect, but Fale's knocks Yano off his feet. Yano quickly flees with a tag to YOSHI-HASHI, who squares off against Owens. Takahashi distracts to allow Owens to take over with a baseball slide dropkick. Bullet Club isolate YOSHI-HASHI, as is mandated by every tag match ever. Ishii storms the ring and hits a German as my VOD stream freezes. The New Japan World app on the Fire Stick isn't very responsive, so I can't quite get my place back easily, but the feed returns to Ishii murdering people with suplexes. Goto finishes Takahashi with the GTR at about 8:00 to send a message to KENTA. This was decent filler, **¼.
IWGP Tag Team Championship:
Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa, with Jado) vs. Juice Robinson and David Finlay
Both teams meet for a brawl on the entrance ramp, and Robinson quickly suffers a nasty backdrop. The ref calls for the bell to motivate the guys to enter the ring, and G.o.D. haul Robinson in to continue picking him apart. Juice hits a desperation inverted DDT on Loa. Finlay cleans house on Loa with only about 2 minutes gone, but he gets blindsided by Tonga. Finlay backdrops Tonga out of the ring but Loa manages to trip him up on the buckles to injure his shoulder. G.o.D. isolate Finlay for a good while. Robinson is hurt but still manages to clean house on a hot tag, hitting rapid fire cannonballs on both champions. Loa absorbs some jabs and then kills Robinson with an enziguri and German suplex. My stream freezes again, but I get it back quickly. I'm annoyed that I can't trust New Japan World the same way I can with Fite.TV. Finlay gets what feels like the 10th hot tag of the match and catches G.o.D. with a double running dropkick. Tonga eats a double flapjack. G.o.D. rebound with a sitout powerbomb/flying splash on Finlay, but Juice saves the match. G.o.D. tease the Magic Killer, but Finlay blocks, only to suffer a back suplex/neckbreaker combo instead. G.o.D. connect with the Magic Killer, but Juice breaks the cover. Magic Killer on Robinson for good measure. Finlay reverses the super powerbomb with a rana. My stream freezes yet again. We're back and Jado interferes with a kendo shot on Finlay. Juice helps FInlay hit a Gun Stun. Robinson knocks Jado off the apron and punches Loa square in the face. Pulp Friction on Tonga, followed by Finlay's Acid Drop and that finishes G.o.D. at about 14:50. This told a good story of Juice and Finlay fighting an uphill battle the entire way to defeat the dominant champions, ***.
Winners and new IWGP Tag Team Champions: Juice Robinson and David Finlay
I am having so much technical difficulties with the stream right now, I don't even know if I can continue. Not a good look or the World app on Fire Stick.
IWGP United States Championship (Texas Death Match):
Lance Archer © vs. Jon Moxley
Archer arrives dressed ready for a war in the wasteland and attacks all the young boys around the ring and flips off Moxley. Moxley hits a running knee before the bell, but Archer answers with a big crossbody. Moxley scores a suicide dive onto the ramp! Moxley perches on the top with a kendo stick but has to roll over Archer's chair shot, only to get caught by a series of shots anyway. Archer chokes with the kendo stick and delivers many blows. Archer tries to tightrope walk on the ropes but slips, allowing Moxley to retaliate with a flurry of kendo shots. Moxley hits a brutal lid shot to the face and sets it on some chairs for a vertical suplex! Archer blocks Moxley's dive with a chokeslam onto the apron. Archer chokeslams a young boy onto Moxley for some extra spite. All the boys gather around Moxley to help catch Archer in a running dive. Archer sets up 4 standing chairs and drives Moxley through them with a reverse Razor's Edge! Moxley defiantly stands up, but Archer claws him into the chair. Moxley counters with an armbreaker! Archer counters by choking and hitting an overhead suplex. Moxley answers with a lariat and DDT. Moxley's knee strikes look as bad as the Dark Order guy's punches on Dustin, but Archer keeps things moving with a chokeslam. Moxley avoids the 10 count and flips the double bird, but Archer suffocates him with a plastic bag. Archer sets some tables at ringside, but Moxley stabs him with his own spiked helmet. Moxley puts Archer through the tables with the Paradigm Shift (Death Rider in New Japan). Moxley pulls himself up but Archer is down for the 10 count, giving Moxley the win and title at 14:28. This was a properly vicious plunder brawl, only hindered by a few sloppy moments, ***¾.
Winner and new IWGP United States Champion: Jon Moxley
Moxley grabs a mic and proclaims himself as a gambler. He wants to leave with everything or nothing, and challenges Juice Robinson to a Night 2 match.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship:
Will Ospreay © vs. Hiromu Takahashi
Bell rings and a cautious start leads to some quick chain wrestling. Ospreay rests on the buckles, and the match resumes with forearm shots. They proceed to KILL THE INDUSTRY with a lightning fast sprint of counters, resulting in a Takahashi rana. Takahashi teases a powerbomb onto the rail but settles for one on the apron instead. Shotgun dropkick off the apron by Takahashi! Back to the ring, Takahashi applies a draping head scissors but Ospreay catches him with a double stomp to the back of the neck, followed by a DDT off the second rope! Ospreay is sinisterly going after Takahashi's back neck that kept him on the shelf for over a year. Takahashi hits a desperation Flatliner to gain some space and rally. Ospreay cuts him off with a back handspring somersault heel kick. Ospreay misses a back hand spring dive, land ons his feet in a German, and counters a belly to belly suplex to float into the ring and nail a Sasuke Special! THE INDUSTRY HAS BEEN COMPLETELY KILLED! Ospreay's Phenomenal Forearm only gets 2. 619 by Ospreay and a sick double stomp to the skull! Ospreay follows with another missile dropkick to the back of the head, but Takahashi kicks out as expected. Takahashi collapses, so Ospreay toys with him with disrespectful kicks. Ospreay superkicks the face through the legs and they trade scary counters on the top rope until Takahashi slams him down with a wheelbarrow driver. Dynamite Plunger by Takahashi gets 2. Ospreay hits the Robinson Special and signals the Os-cutter, but has to settle for a Made in Japan sit out piledriver! Ospreay's shooting star press is good, but TAKAHASHI KICKS OUT! Os-cutter is good, but only gets another great nearfall. Desperation pop-up powerbomb by Takahashi leaves them both down. They exchange forearms to their feet. Ospreay back handsprings right into Takahashi's German suplex! Takahashi counters into a Canadian Destroyer, but OSPREAY KICKS OUT! Death Valley Driver into the buckles by Takahashi, but Ospreay blocks Time Bomb. Hook kick by Ospreay and Spanish Fly, for a great false finish. Hidden Blade by Ospreay but Takahashi reverses Storm Breaker into a powerbomb for a great 2 count. Crowd is going wild now. Lariat by Takahashi and TIME BOMB, but OSPREAY KICKS OUT! Takahashi nails a disgusting looking modified piledriver and wins at 24:36. I understand the desire to debut a new finisher for Takahashi, but finishing with Time Bomb would have been more satisfying, as they'd hit a perfect crescendo. This was a straight up thrillride and a fitting climax to Takahashi's comeback story, ****½.
Winner and new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion: Hiromu Takahashi
IWGP Intercontinental Championship:
Jay White © (with Gedo) vs. Tetsuya Naito
The winner gets to face the IWGP Heavyweight Champion on NIght 2 in a title unification match, so the stakes couldn't not be any higher. White stalls at the opening bell so Naito grabs Gedo by the beard. White saves and gets overwhelmed by Naito in the ring and retreats. More stalling by White, but Naito catches him with a leg sweep and neckbreaker off the apron! It's all Naito until Gedo grabs his ankles to give White an opening. White crotches Naito in the ring post and leaves him for a Gedo chair shot to the surgically repaired knee. White wears down Naito for a long time, but does not just target the knee, which will help my suspension of disbelief later when Naito likely won't be selling anything. I eat my words immediately as Naito hits a rana and clutches his bad knee afterwards. Naito strings together some offense and hits a neckbreaker for 2. Naito fakes out a forearm shot and spits in the face, then fakes out again on a slingshot dropkick, only to hit a disrespectful normal dropkick. Naito applies a modified head scissors and slaps the back of the head. White saves himself with rope breaks and hits a flash DDT. Naito is in survival mode as he hobbles on his knee and thrashes White with elbow shots. STO by White and dead lift German suplex. White absorbs a neckbreaker and drops Naito head first on the buckles. White spits in the face while hyperextending the bad knee. Naito stumbles to his feet when White Irish whips him, and he looks finished. White's Uranage gets 2. White then Saito Suplexes Naito over the ropes for a disgusting bounce off the apron. Despite Naito's blocking, White hits a brainbuster and Kiwi Crusher for a RED HOT nearfall. White applies his patented "Tanahashi Tap Out" inverted Figure Four and the crowd is anxious. Naito gets a well earned rope break. White tries again, but Naito blocks via spitting in the eyes. Desperation spinebuster by Naito! Gedo interferes again and gets spat on by Naito, who catches White with a tornado DDT. More spitting by Naito as he hits an avalanche rana. Naito hits Gloria for 2. White throws Naito in the referee, but Naito blocks Gedo's chair shot. Low blow by White, but Naito counters with a Dragon Suplex. Low blow on Gedo, but White throws the chair in Naito's face. Sleeper Suplex by White, but the ref is still down. White spits in the face and hits another sleeper suplex. Naito rolls through and hits DESTINO! Crowd is going nuts. Naito hits a reverse rana and a second DESTINO, but WHITE KICKS OUT! They trade counters until Naito hits a brainbuster and then a third Destino for the win at 33:53! This was easily the best performance I've seen from Naito, as he played the underdog babyface fighting an uphill battle to perfection, foiled perfectly by White showcasing a nasty, disrespectful old school heel persona. This was an EPIC showdown that earned it's long run time and tore the roof off the dome, ****¾.
Winner and new IWGP Intercontinental Champion: Tetsuya Naito
IWGP Heavyweight Championship:
Kazuchika Okada © vs. Kota Ibushi
Okada gets some really cool rain special effects for his entrance, and then shatters some digital statues. Wrestle Kingdom is officially the new Wrestlemania. Bell rings and they let the moment breathe before engaging in some chain wrestling. Tempers suddenly flare and Ibushi wins a forearm slugfest and his a standing moonsault for 2. CUE THE CHINLOCK! Okada sells it well before getting the ropes. Ibushi delivers a sickening kick to the chest, but Okada knocks him down with a spinning elbow. DDT by Okada and then drapes Ibushi on the guard rail for a DDT! Okada dares Ibushi to hit him, which he obliges, but then plants the challenger with another DDT. Okada applies a chinlock, because they have 40 minutes to fill. Ibushi escapes and hits a dropkick for some space. Ibushi strings some offense, hitting a quick moonsault for 2. Okada answers by dropkicking Ibushi off the top rope. Okada hits a running crossbody over the guard rail. Back to the ring, Okada applies his old Red Ink camel clutch. Ibushi blocks Rainmaker, but lands on his head attempting a backflip kick, but counters into a driver to gain some separation. Okada charges into a double stomp to the chest by Ibushi! Standing moonsault to the floor by Ibushi! There's lots of resting between spots. Ibushi counters into a sitout powerbomb for 2. Ibushi runs into a perfect Okada dropkick. TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER by Okada, but no Rainmaker. Ibushi begins no-selling forearm shots and fires a palm strike and shotgun dropkick! Okada pops up but Ibushi swarms him with strikes. All the expression is gone from Ibushi's face, he looks like a killer. They tease scary bumps on the apron until Okada hits a TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER! Ibushi barely avoids a countout and crawls back for an Okada neckbreaker for 2. TKO by Okada also gets 2. HORRIFIC German suplex by Okada, but Ibushi desperately steals a RAINMAKER! Absolutely DISGUSTING German suplex off the second rope by Ibushi! I'm begging these guys not to die. Okada blocks a lawn dart and hits a third TOMBSTONE PILEDRIVER, but Ibushi pops up to steal a second RAINMAKER! Ibushi's running knee only gets a ONE COUNT! ANother running knee by Ibushi gets a scarier 2 count. A third knee to the face and OKADA BARELY KICKS OUT! Crowd is eating this up. Desperation dropkick by Okada buys them some time. They get up by exchanging forearms and Ibushi goes nuts lighting Okada up with quick strikes. They claw their way to the top rope and Okada flies into Ibushi's powerbomb counter, but KICKS OUT! Ibushi MISSES THE PHOENIX SPLASH! RAINMAKER by Okada, followed by a SECOND RAINMAKER, but IBUSHI KICKS OUT AT 2! Okada glares as he drags Ibushi up by the wrist for a THIRD RAINMAKER, and a FOURTH RAINMAKER. Another Rainmaker is countered, and Ibushi hits a V TRIGGER! Okada shakes it off with a sit out Tombstone, and one more RAINMAKER ends it at 39:18. Despite being a bit padded for time, the second half was an all-out war, with excellent character work and destruction down the stretch, ****½.
Winner and still IWGP Heavyweight Champion: Kazuchika Okada
Okada stands tall with his belt while Ibushi covers his face on the mat. Ibushi looks hurt and Okada seems concerned for him. Tetsuya Naito arrives with his newly won Intercontinental title and drapes it on the mat between him and Okada. Naito takes a mic and vows to make history by beating Okada on Night 2. They pose with their respective gold and Naito leaves without any physical altercation. Cool moment. Okada remains in the ring and proclaims himself to be the strongest IWGP Champion of all time and thanks the fans. I wonder if all 4,008 of them will be back tomorrow.
Final Thoughts: Once you got past some filler on the undercard, this was a joy. Looks like splitting Wrestle Kingdom into two nights was a worthwhile gamble. My mood was soured at times by technical woes, but it straightened itself out after a while. This was easily worth the ten dollar price tag, check this out.
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