NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling in Ryogoku Kokugikan (2018)

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NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling in Ryogoku Kokugikan (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c) def. Jyushin “Thunder” Liger & Tiger Mask

MY PREDICTION: El Desperado & Kanemaru (1-0)

★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
Great Bash Heel (Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe) def. Juice Robinson & Toa Henare

MY PREDICTION: G.B.H. (2-0)

★★½


8-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Bullet Club OG (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Taiji Ishimori, Bad Luck Fale) def. Bullet Club Elite (Young Bucks, Hangman Page, Chase Owens)

MY PREDICTION: Bullet Club OG (3-0)

★★★


6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Chaos (Will Ospreay, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto) def. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Takashi Iizuka)

MY PREDICTION: Ospreay, Ishii, Goto (4-0)

★★★


8-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Sanada, Bushi, Shingo Takagi) def. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, Roppongi 3K)

MY PREDICTION: L.I.J. (5-0)

★★½


SINGLES MATCH
Evil v. Zack Sabre Jr.

ENDED IN A NO CONTEST

MY PREDICTION: Zack Sabre Jr.

No rating


IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Kushida def. Marty Scurll

MY PREDICTION: Scurll (5-1)

★★★★


SINGLES MATCH FOR THE #1 CONTENDER CONTRACT TO THE IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP AT WRESTLE KINGDOM 13
Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Jay White

MY PREDICTION: Tanahashi (6-1)

★★★★


3-WAY IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Kenny Omega (c) def. Kota Ibushi and Cody

MY PREDICTION: Omega (7-1)

★★★★


King of Pro-Wrestling was a solid even all around, but nothing mind blowing. It set up interesting things to come with Chris Jericho appearing to attack Evil, the New Japan debut of Shingo Takagi, and Jay White, Gedo, and Jado officially defecting from the Chaos faction to join the Bullet Club OG faction which set up a likely White v. Okada match.

Recommended matches: Tanahashi v. White and Omega v. Ibushi v. Cody
PPV RATING: B

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NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed

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NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi, and ACH def. Roppongi 3K (Sho, Yoh, Rocky Romero)

MY PREDICTION: Roppongi 3K (0-1)

★★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
The Addiction (Christopher Daniels, Frankie Kazarian) def. Hangman Page & Chase Owens

MY PREDICTION: Page & Owens (0-2)

★★½


6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Flip Gordon, Chris Sabin, and Jeff Cobb def. Hirooki Goto and Best Friends (Chuckie T, Beretta)

MY PREDICTION: Goto, Best Friends (0-3)

★★★½


6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Zack Sabre Jr. and Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr., Lance Archer) def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Evil, Sanada)

MY PREDICTION: ZSJ, K.E.S. (1-3)

★★★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
Jay White & Gedo def. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kushida

MY PREDICTION: White, Gedo (2-3)

★★


IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP TOURNAMENT SEMIFINAL MATCH
Marty Scurll def. Will Ospreay

MY PREDICTION: Ospreay (2-4)

★★★★


IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa) def. The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson) (c)

MY PREDICTION: Young Bucks (2-5)

★★★★½


IWGP UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Cody def. Juice Robinson (c)

MY PREDICTION: Robinson (2-6)

★★★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
Golden☆Lovers (Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi) def. Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii

MY PREDICTION: Golden☆Lovers (3-6)

★★★★★


Fighting Spirit Unleashed was a really good, really fun show. I went into this one unhyped, but it turned out to be fantastic and probably my favorite of the New Japan U.S. shows for 2018. There was expected highlights such as the Golden Lovers v. Okada/Ishii and Ospreay v. Scurll, but I was absolutely not expecting the Young Bucks v. G.O.D. to be all that good and that match delivered! Easily the best match Tonga and Loa have been in this year.

Recommended matches: Bucks v. G.O.D. and GL v. Okada/Ishii
PPV RATING: A-

ALL IN (2018)

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ALL IN (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

SINGLES MATCH
Matt Cross def. MJF

★★½


SINGLES MATCH
Christopher Daniels def. Stephen Amell

★★


4-CORNER SURVIVAL MATCH
Tessa Blanchard def. Chelsea Green, Madison Rayne, and Britt Baker

★★★½


NWA WORLDS HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Cody def. Nick Aldis (c)

★★★


STREET FIGHT MATCH
Hangman Page def. Joey Janela

★★


ROH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Jay Lethal (c) def. Flip Gordon

★★★½


SINGLES MATCH
Kenny Omega def. Penta El Zero

★★★★


SINGLES MATCH
Kazuchika Okada def. Marty Scurll

★★★★


6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
The Golden Elite (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Kota Ibushi) def. Rey Mysterio, Rey Fénix, and Bandido

★★★★


ALL IN was a pretty good event, but more entertaining than of high quality which I found to be surprising with a few of the matches. The biggest disappointing performances were from Christopher Daniels and Hangman Page. Cody was being built up as a guy that really struggled to win the NWA title his dad had held many times, but I felt it was pretty forced and the match wasn’t great either. On the good side of things, I was surprised by the good the women’s 4-way was. Kenny Omega and Penta El Zero delivered as did Okada v. Scurll and the 6-man tag main event.

Recommended matches: Omega v. Penta El Zero and Golden Elite v. Mysterio, Fénix, Bandido
PPV RATING: B

NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4

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NXT TakeOver: Brooklyn 4 (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong) (c) def. Moustache Mountain (Tyler Bate, Trent Seven)

MY PREDICTION: Undisputed Era (1-0)
★★★★½


SINGLES MATCH
Velveteen Dream def. EC3

MY PREDICTION: Dream (2-0)
★★★½


NXT NORTH AMERICAN CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Ricochet def. Adam Cole (c)

MY PREDICTION: Ricochet (3-0)
★★★★


NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Kairi Sane def. Shayna Baszler (c)

MY PREDICTION: Sane (4-0)
★★★½


NXT CHAMPIONSHIP LAST MAN STANDING MATCH
Tommaso Ciampa (c) def. Johnny Gargano

MY PREDICTION: Ciampa (5-0)
★★★★


Recommended matches: NXT Tag Team Championship match and NXT North American Championship match.

PPV RATING: A-

NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco

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NJPW G1 Special in San Francisco (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

10-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
King Haku, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi, and Chase Owens def. Gedo, Yoshi-Hashi, Rocky Romero, Yoh and Sho

MY PREDICTION: Haku, Tonga, Loa, Takahashi, Owens (1-0)

★★½


TAG TEAM MATCH
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano def. Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr.

MY PREDICTION: Ishii & Yano (2-0)

★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
Hangman Page & Marty Scurll def. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kushida

MY PREDICTION: Tanahashi & Kushida (2-1)

★★½


NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Hirooki Goto (c) def. Jeff Cobb

MY PREDICTION: Goto (3-1)

★★½


IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson) (c) def. Evil & Sanada

MY PREDICTION: The Young Bucks (4-1)

★★★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay def. Tetsuya Naito & Bushi

MY PREDICTION: Naito & Bushi (4-2)

★★½


IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Hiromu Takahashi (c) def. Dragon Lee

MY PREDICTION: Takahashi (5-2)

★★★½


IWGP UNITED STATES CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Juice Robinson def. Jay White (c)

MY PREDICTION: Robinson (6-2)

★★★½


IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Kenny Omega (c) def. Cody

MY PREDICTION: Omega (7-2)

★★★★


G1 Special in San Francisco was a pretty tepid event. The first four matches were OK with a good moment here and there. Bucks v. Sanada/Evil was a step down from their Dominion match, but still very good. Okada/Ospreay v. Naito/Bushi followed with a surprisingly meh match. They must be taking off the night in preparation for the G1 that starts next week. Takahashi v. Lee was a very good match with some really hardhitting spots you’d expect out of these two. White v. Robinson had a number very good moments in a very good match. Omega v. Cody was super predictable, but was still excellent and led to more questions at the end of what everyone’s status is within the Bullet Club.

Recommended matches: Bucks v. Sanada/Evil and Omega v. Cody
PPV RATING: C+

NXT TakeOver: Chicago II

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NXT TakeOver: Chicago II (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

NXT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Undisputed Era (Kyle O’Reilly, Roderick Strong) (c) def. Oney Lorcan & Danny Burch

MY PREDICTION: Undisputed Era (1-0)

★★★★½


SINGLES MATCH
Ricochet def. Velveteen Dream

MY PREDICTION: Ricochet (2-0)

★★★★½


NXT WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Shayna Baszler (c) def. Nikki Cross

MY PREDICTION: Baszler (3-0)

★★★


NXT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Aleister Black (c) def. Lars Sullivan

MY PREDICTION: Black (4-0)

★★★½


STREET FIGHT MATCH
Tommaso Ciampa def. Johnny Gargano

MY PREDICTION: Ciampa (5-0)

★★★★½


I went into TakeOver: Chicago II expecting a good show, but not as good as the last year of TakeOvers. My expectations were exceeded a lot! The excitement and pace of the NXT Tag Team title match was insane and unrelenting. Lorcan/Burch really stepped up when they finally got onto a TakeOver PPV and were even better than their performance in the excellent 6-man tag match from the NXT weekly show a few weeks ago. Velveteen Dream brings his big wardrobe change to every TakeOver and it’s always fun. His match against Ricochet was also superb. Black v. Sullivan was much better than expected and it showed that Sullivan has a lot of potential. Ciampa and Gargano once again tore it up with a scintillating street fight that looks to set up Gargano/Ciampa III for Brooklyn IV.

Recommended matches: Ricochet v. Dream, NXT Tag Team Championship match, and Gargano v. Ciampa II

PPV RATING: A

NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-Jo Hall

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NJPW Dominion 6.9 in Osaka-Jo Hall (match rating scale is out of 5 stars)
“(c)” = incumbent champions

IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (c) def. Roppongi 3K (Sho, Yoh)

MY PREDICTION: Roppongi 3K (0-1)

★★★½


TAG TEAM MATCH
Juice Robinson & David Finlay def. Jay White & Yoshi-Hashi

MY PREDICTION: Robinson & Finlay (1-1)

★★★


TAG TEAM MATCH
Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. def. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano

MY PREDICTION: Suzuki & ZSJ (2-1)

★★★★


NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP 3-WAY MATCH
Michael Elgin def. Hirooki Goto (c) and Taichi

MY PREDICTION: Goto (2-2)

★★★½


IWGP TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson) def. Evil & Sanada (c)

MY PREDICTION: Evil & Sanada (2-3)

★★★★★


6-MAN TAG TEAM MATCH
Cody, Marty Scurll, and Hangman Page def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Rey Mysterio Jr., and Jyushin “Thunder” Liger

MY PREDICTION: Tanahashi, Mysterio Jr., Liger (2-4)

★★★★


IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Hiromu Takahashi def. Will Ospreay (c)

MY PREDICTION: Ospreay (2-5)

★★★★★


IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Chris Jericho def. Tetsuya Naito (c)

MY PREDICTION: Naito (2-6)

★★★★½


IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP BEST OF 3 FALLS, NO TIME LIMIT MATCH
Kenny Omega def. Kazuchika Okada (c)

MY PREDICTION: Omega (3-6)

★★★★★


Dominion for 2018 turned out to be as I predicted in quality. I expected multiple 5-star matches, but I didn’t expect three! The Suzuki/ZSJ v. Ishii/Yano tag match wasn’t quite 4-star match quality, but it earned it from me because it was so damn entertaining. Elgin winning the NEVER Openweight Championship really surprised me, but honestly shouldn’t have in retrospect. Elgin showed a lot of improvement at Wrestling Dontaku and I think he deserves it. The Young Bucks are now double tag champs with the NEVER 6-Man and IWGP tag championships. Chris Jericho was vicious as always when he’s in New Japan and this time he actually defeated Naito for the IWGP IC title! Omega winning the IWGP world title and unseating the incredible run by Okada was something I thought I would be wrong about. It felt surreal to see the final One-Winged Angel hit for the pin and see Kenny Omega crowned the new world champ. The whole show is a must watch and isn’t likely to be topped for best pro wrestling show of the year for 2018. See it if you can!

Recommended matches: Watch my three 5-star rated matches at least. Please.
PPV RATING: A+