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Jordan’s NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Jordan’s NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

Jordan’s NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Review

New Japan Rumble

My Thoughts: This was the New Japan Rumble. You should never expect to get a great match out of the NJ Rumble. It had its moments but overall this felt slow at times and the some of the eliminations were questionable. Liger, Nagata, HASHI, and a few others went out way too quick in my opinion and we didn’t really get anything super memorable out of this. Chase Owens had a good showing here though. I’m sure no one predicted Kakihara to win this, I personally hadn’t heard of him prior to this match, no disrespect. It’s a good story though, he had to retire in 06 due to injury, started to make a comeback before being diagnosed with malignant lymphoma in 2014 and now he’s back and he won the Rumble. I’m happy for him.

Rating: **1/2

Roppongi 3K (C) vs. The Young Bucks for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

My Thoughts: This was a really good match and a great way to get this show started as expected. I expected a different kind of match than what we got but I liked what we got a lot. The Bucks doubted 3K, we had a good opening stretch, the Bucks took control early and even took out Romero, Matt’s back got hurt (which he did a fantastic job of selling by the way), Sho and Yoh stuck in it and both teams made it seem like they had it won at multiple different times, and then, like I predicted, the Bucks regained the Jr. Tag Titles and will probably enter a long feud with Sho and Yoh where 3K take the titles back later this year. Great match and great effort from all 4 men, I enjoyed this a lot.

Rating: ***3/4

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tonga Loa) (C) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr., Takashi Iizuka, Taichi) vs. War Machine and Michael Elgin vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, and Beretta) vs. Togi Makabe, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Juice Robinson in a Gauntlet Match for the NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag Team Championship

“Match reviewers can already kinda prewrite the results. Match begins and Suzuki-Gun jumpstarted the bell.” – Kevin Kelly

My Thoughts: Like last years 6 Man Tag Title Gauntlet, this was an enjoyable match overall that was all action. The Suzuki-Gun shenanigans were annoying as always but I’m glad Sabre was the man to help them advance and then I was glad to see them eliminated quickly. The final stage was good and I was happy to see Beretta get the pin. I’m not a fan of Fale or the GOD’s so I wasn’t exactly hoping they’d kept their titles here but it’s annoying to see yet another short reign with those titles. If the CHAOS trio defend their newly won titles tomorrow at New Years Dash I sincerely hope they retain. Another good match, this show is off to a nice start.

Rating: ***1/2

Cody vs. Kota Ibushi

My Thoughts: This was a very good match that told a good story and had some highly memorable moments. The Cross Rhodes off the apron was brutal and the Phoenix Splash to end it was awesome as the crowd erupted and the move was beautiful. While this wasn’t a really great match in my opinion, it was a strong effort. Cody is talented, I just don’t see it with him though. I’m not a fan of the WWE style and it always seems to me that he just hasn’t quite gotten away from that. He performed well here though, as did Kota, and they put on a good match.

Rating: ***1/2

Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr.) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL and SANADA) for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

My Thoughts: This was so much better than the WTL final as it was booked very similarly but done so much better. KES looked great in their dominating portion and SANADA played a great underdog. EVIL got in and evened the odds and we got a competitive match after that. The second Killer Bomb near fall got me as I didn’t expect SANADA to kick out there. I liked the title change here, EVIL and SANADA are over and KES didn’t do much with the titles. Another good match on this show.

Rating: ***1/4

Minoru Suzuki (C) vs. Hirooki Goto in a Hair vs. Hair match for the NEVER Openweight Championship

My Thoughts: This was a great match. It was hard-hitting, told a good story, had some believable false finishes, and while they made an appearance we never actually got full-on interference from Suzuki-Gun. I wish we didn’t have to see them at all but I’ll settle for them not ever touching Goto. The match provided some memorable moments. The top rope Ushigiroshi was awesome. I love that Callis always points out that Suzuki going for the Gotch Piledriver instead of just keeping his opponent in the Sleeper is a dumb move because it almost never works, and he’s right. Goto regains the NEVER Openweight Championship and overcomes Suzuki. The first great match of the night.

Rating: ****

Marty Scurll (C) vs. Will Ospreay vs. KUSHIDA vs. Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship

My Thoughts: This was a type of match we just don’t get in New Japan and these 4 men not only made history here but made history in one hell of a match. This was everything I wanted it to be. Chaotic, high-flying, and just an overall masterpiece. They played to the 4 Way stipulation ridiculously well and provided constant action and lots of great spots that included all 4 men. I was happy that at multiple points all 4 men were going at it at once in the ring. We saw a moonsault in the crowd from Ospreay and more incredible dives, great counters showing how well all 4 of these men know each other. The title change shocked me, not that I didn’t expect a title change, I just didn’t expect to see Ospreay win back the title here and especially not by pinning Scurll. I’m hoping we get an Ospreay/Takahashi feud following this.

Rating: ****1/2

Hiroshi Tanahashi (C) vs. Jay White for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship

My Thoughts: This was a good match but I expected better. I can’t fault either man, the crowd didn’t buy White winning and while he looked good he didn’t get put over like I thought he would. I expected Tana to retain here but I expected Jay White to look like a mega star against Tanahashi and he wasn’t positioned to. He looked smart and focused but never looked like he was meant to be in this big of a match. I wasn’t a huge fan of the layout of the match. It was too similar to Suzuki/Goto and Bucks/RPG3 in that Suzuki doubted Goto, Bucks doubted 3K, and here Jay White doubted that Tana was the Ace, dominated a good portion of the match, but Tana fought back and provided a basic homestretch that didn’t make White look that great. This wasn’t even bad, it just could’ve been so much better.

Rating: ***

Kenny Omega (C) vs. Chris Jericho in a No Disqualifcation Match for the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship

My Thoughts: This was an excellent match. It was every bit of brutal, intense, and dramatic and while it wasn’t perfect it was an amazing match. Jericho was the bitter heel who knew he was better than Omega and wanted to prove that Omega isn’t on his level but Omega pushed through and proved Jericho wrong. I thought this match went just a little too long but it didn’t make the match bad by going any longer. I thought the chair stuff was brutal and the blood added a lot. I gotta give Jericho a lot of praise here for being such a fantastic heel and really making you want to see Omega get the job done. Not taking anything away from Kenny as he played his part extremely well as well. This match provided some jaw dropping moments and some close calls. What I really appreciated is that they turned this into so much more than a dream match because that can hurt a lot of matches, it builds your expectations so high that if it falls short of anything less than perfect it leaves you disappointed. They turned this match into a hate-filled fight that felt so real and so intense.

Rating: ****1/2

Kazuchika Okada (C) vs. Tetsuya Naito for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship

My Thoughts: This was an unbelievable match and a classic Wrestle Kingdom main event. While I don’t feel it topped last years main event, I felt it came very close, told one hell of a story including some great callbacks to their previous matches, some extremely good false finishes, and a really exciting closing stretch. Okada’s current reign with the IWGP Heavyweight Championship is one of the best title reigns in wrestling history and while I’m very disappointed that Naito didn’t win the title here as I believe he should’ve and it was the best time to, Okada retaining will only provide for more amazing matches and will only add to his legendary title reign. I really am curious to see where they go from here as I was convinced they would do the title change here.

Rating: ****3/4

Overall Thoughts: Overall I thought this show was really good with not one bad match on it. Although I was disappointed by a few things (White/Tana, Naito not winning the title), I was overall very satisfied with this show. We got a great opener, 5 title changes, overall incredible wrestling, and 3 early MOTY contenders. What more can you ask for?

Overall Rating: 8/10

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