Masahito Kakihara won the NEW JAPAN RUMBLE
Surprise entrants were Delirious, Cheeseburger, and Masahito Kakihara.
Chase Owens eliminated surprise entrant Delirious by pinfall. BUSHI was tossed out over the top. Leo Tonga was pinned by Nagata and Nakanishi. Nagata pinned Nakanishi, who then helped Owens and Kitamura pin Nagata. Owens hit a package piledriver on Kitamura for an elimination.
Taka Michinoku and Kanemaru were joined by Suzuki-gun stablemate El Desperado, and they triple-teamed Owens, throwing him over the top. Jushin Liger was in next, and Suzuki-gun continued their quest to unmask him. Tiger Mask jogged down for the save, and he and Desperado worked together, eventually unmasking each other, but they hid their faces. Mr. Juicy Gino Gambino was next in, and in the mask chaos, every other wrestler was eliminated.
Henare was in next, followed by YOSHI-HASHI and David Finlay. Henare and Finlay pinned Mr. Juicy after a cutter. Henare got tossed out, and Finlay rolled up YOSHI-HASHI for an elimination. Yujiro Takahashi and PIETER entered which was quite the entrance. Takahashi eliminated Finlay and danced and posed with PIETER until Cheeseburger rudely interrupted. Satoshi Kojima entered, and he and Yujiro did some clunky spots. Hiroyoshi Tenzan was in next, and Kakihara was the final entrant. Cheeseburger and Kakihara tossed Kojima and Tenzan over the top, leaving them as the final two.
Kakihara pinned Cheeseburger, and cut a promo after announcing that he has beaten cancer, and thanking fans for donating to a foundation raising money for Yoshihiro Takayama. This was a below average battle royal, but that doesn’t matter. The guy survived cancer and is trying to raise money for his injured friend. Happiness was the goal here, so mission accomplished.
The Young Bucks defeated Roppongi 3K to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
Matt and Yoh applied sharpshooters on their counterparts in the first major spot of the match. Sho and Yoh hit stereo dives on the Bucks, and Yoh sold his back. Matt hit two power bombs on the apron on the injured back, and the Bucks superkicked and powerbombed Rocky Romero on the ramp. Yoh briefly fired up and sent Matt out over the top, and Matt started selling his back. Nick tagged in and worked over Yoh. While Nick took the ref, Matt tried to power bomb Yoh on the ramp, but Yoh countered. Nick went for a dive on Yoh, but missed and hit Matt.
Sho got a hot tag and hit a double German suplex on the Bucks. A superkick party broke out, leading to Matt and Yoh being the legal men, working each other’s backs. The Bucks hit a buckle bomb and a senton for a nearfall. Yoh survived a sharpshooter for a near-submission. Sho tried to bounce back from a superkick, but his back gave out. The Bucks hit a Meltzer Driver and Nick locked in the sharpshooter for the tapout. This was a very good opener, and a totally different style of match than a casual fan might expect from the Bucks.
Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii, and Toru Yano defeated Bullet Club, Suzuki-gun, Elgin & War Machine in a Gauntlet Match to win the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship
Elgin and War Machine started against the Suzuki-gun team of Iizuka, Taichi, and Sabre. Elgin ran wild, then Iizuka got the best of Hanson. Sabre and Rowe tagged in and the pace quickened significantly. Hanson missed a top rope moonsault. War Machine recovered and went for Fallout, but Iizuka ran wild with the iron glove, and Sabre choked out Rowe for the first fall. The team of Elgin and War Machine were eliminated.
Suzuki-gun jumped the Chaos team of Toru Yano, Beretta, and Tomohiro Ishii as they came down the ramp, but it was for naught. Yano hit a low blow on Taichi and rolled him up, eliminating Suzuki-gun.
The Taguchi Japan team of Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe, and Juice Robinson entered next. They ran wild on Yano with the highlight being a series of one million clotheslines on Yano in the corner. Taguchi began channeling Shinsuke Nakamura, but in his fervor, he got rolled up by Yano for the elimination.
The Bullet Club team was last in. Ishii ran wild on them and hit a suplex on Bad Luck Fale. The Tokyo Dome exploded for a vertical suplex of all moves. Tonga and Loa went to work on Beretta. Beretta went for a moonsault but ate a Gun Stun in mid-air. Tama Tonga went for a second Gun Stun, but Beretta turned it into a dudebuster for the pin. That was a good finish, but there wasn’t much to the first half of the match.
Kota Ibushi defeated Cody
The first major spot of the match saw Ibushi miss a dive on Cody and crash into Brandi. Ibushi picked her up to help her to the back, but Cody punched him in the face, and Ibushi dropped her. Brandi and Cody cackled at this together. Brandi passed Cody a chair, then diverted the ref’s attention while Cody hit Ibushi with it. Cody missed a fourth chair shot, and Ibushi recovered and hit the Golden Triangle. They traded counters on the apron, before Cody hit Cross Rhodes from the apron to the floor.
After teasing a countout from the Cross Rhodes, Cody hit a tope rope rana. He went for Cross Rhodes in the ring, but Ibushi reversed and launched Cody headfirst into the middle of the turnbuckle pad. Ibushi hit a Last Ride for a nearfall. Cody hit a lariat for a near fall. Cody missed a Disaster Kick, and Ibushi hit him with Kamigoye, setting up the Phoenix Splash for the pin. This was good, but didn’t come close to the show-stealer that it could have been if given more time.
EVIL and SANADA defeated Killer Elite Squad to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship
Killer Elite hit the Killer Bomb on EVIL for a nearfall in the opening seconds, but SANADA made the save. EVIL sold the move as though he was in fact dead. Killer Elite threw SANADA over the top to the outside and started attacking Young Boys. Archer chokeslammed EVIL from the apron onto a pack of boys on the floor.
The story of the first ten minutes of the match was that SANADA and EVIL refused to quit. Archer and Smith hit them with everything and they got no offense at all, but they would not stay down. Archer hit a superplex on EVIL which was a sight to behold. SANADA got a hot tag and did some flying, but Smith cut him off. SANADA kicked out of a Killer Bomb. EVIL cleared out Archer, and SANADA and EVIL hit a Magic Killer for a nearfall. SANADA hit a moonsault immediately after for the victory and another title change in an okay match.
Hirooki Goto beat Minoru Suzuki in a Hair & No Seconds Deathmatch to win the NEVER Openweight Championship
Suzuki brutalized Goto with hard slaps to the face and they teased a doctor stoppage after a hangman’s choke. Despite selling the slaps, Goto fired back with chops to the chest. Suzuki locked on a guillotine, but Goto was able to get out and nailed an Ushigoroshi. Seconds tried to interfere in this no seconds match as YOSHI-HASHI chased Taichi as he tried to run in.
Suzuki locked on a choke and the ref did the old arm check on Goto, but before the ref could stop it, Suzuki went for the Gotch. Goto powered out. More slaps and Goto was bleeding from the mouth. Goto put Suzuki up top and hit a super-Ushigoroshi for a nearfall. Goto hit Suzuki with forearm strikes, and hit the GTR for the pin.
The post-match was great. Suzuki-gun tried to hustle Minoru out of the ring, but he insisted on doing the honorable thing. He took his own chair and sat in the middle of the ring and shaved his own head.
Will Ospreay defeated Marty Scurll, KUSHIDA, and Hiromu Takahashi to win the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
This was an excellent, state-of-the-art match. Ospreay is other-worldly. KUSHIDA did a senton from the top to the floor. Ospreay hit a moonsault off a light tower. Ospreay went for the Oscutter but Scurll caught him in the chicken wing. KUSHIDA broke that up. Takahashi hit a belly-to-belly on KUSHIDA. Scurll hit a neckbreaker on Ospreay for a nearfall, and an Oscutter for another. Scurll went under the ring and pulled out a bag of tape, and tied Takahashi to the barricade, then hit him with the finger break spot.
Scurll teased a double finger break spot on KUSHIDA and Ospreay, but KUSHIDA countered with a finger break on Scurll. KUSHIDA hit a flying armbar on Ospreay, transitioned to a gogoplata, then back to the armbar. Ospreay powerbombed his way out and sold his arm. Scurll threw powder in KUSHIDA’s eyes. KUSHIDA countered with Back to the Future. Ospreay broke up the pin. Takahashi broke free and hit sunset bombs on KUSHIDA and Scurll.
Takahashi got a nearfall on Ospreay. Ospreay and Scurll teamed up to try to take out Takahashi, but he countered. KUSHIDA hit a sunset bomb and Ospreay hit a shooting star to the floor on all three guys. Ospreay hit a 450 on Takahashi for a nearfall. Ospreay missed an Oscutter and Takahashi hit Time Bomb, but Scurll pulled the ref out of the ring and used an umbrella to take out KUSHIDA and Takahashi. Ospreay finally hit Scurll with an Oscutter for the pin and another title change. Best thing on the show to this point.
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Switchblade Jay White to retain the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Tanahashi got some offense in the early-going, but missed a plancha and White went to work on his bad right knee. Tanahashi recovered long enough to hit a summersault senton, then hit a pair of dragon screws, working over White’s left knee. Tanahashi hit a High Fly Flow to the floor, but missed a sling blade inside. White hit a deadlift German, and then the pace slowed. It appeared as though they mave have had some miscommunication over a spot, as White went to the top, then climbed back down as Tanahashi rolled to the opposite corner.
White hit two suplexes and a DVD for a nearfall. White missed a missle dropkick and Tanahashi hit another dragon screw. White hit a dragon suplex, but Tanahashi countered with a pair of sling blades. Tanahashi hit High Fly flow and went for another, but missed, and sold his knee. White slapped on a choke, then hit a Kiwi Crusher for a nearfall. Tanahashi hit a bridging dragon suplex for a nearfall. White got up as Tanahashi went up top, but Tanahashi slapped him down, and hit two High Fly Flows for the win.
This was good, but felt like it was just short of a star-making performance for White, and it was Tanahashi’s aura that carried the match.
Kenny Omega defeated Chris Jericho to retain the IWGP United States Championship
They traded punches and chops. Jericho got the Walls, but Omega escaped and sent Jericho outside. Omega sent Jericho outside and over the barricade, but missed a dive and crashed through the English announcers table. Jericho put some Young Boys in the Walls. They continued brawling through the broadcast area, and Omega hit a double foot stomp off a light tower onto a table and Jericho. Jericho teased a powerbomb through a table, but dropped Omega on the floor instead. Jericho was clearly having the time of his life, flipping off everyone, taking a photographer’s camera, just
Back inside, Jericho hit a spinning back elbow for a nearfall. They were completely working Jericho’s style and pace. Jericho hit a Lionsault for a nearfall, and a huge pop. Omega hit his Terminator dive, and Jericho begn selling his ribs. Back inside they teased finishers, before Jericho locked on the Walls again. Omega reached the ropes, then under the ring, and pulled out cold spray. He hit Jericho in the eyes with the spray, but Jericho countered by sending him into a chair set up in the corner, repeatedly. Omega bled.
Omega fired back with three dragon suplexes, but Jericho countered with a bunch of chair shots. Jericho teased coming off the top with a chair, but Omega sent him outside and through the Chekov’s gun table that had been set up earlier. Omega hit two V-Triggers and a underhook piledriver for a nearfall. He hit another V-Trigger and went for the One-winged Angel, but Jericho rolled through and applied the Walls. He tranisitioned to the old school Liontamer. Omega tased passing out, then tapping out, but reached the ropes. Jericho went for a Codebreaker, but Omega countered with two V-Triggers and a One-winged Angel. Jericho reached the ropes on an incredible nearfall.
Omega went up top but Jericho crotched him. Jericho teased a tope rope rana, but Omega escaped, dropping Jericho face-first on the turnbuckle. Jericho hit a Codebreaker for another nearfall. Jericho placed a chair on Omega and wen for another Lionsault, but Omega popped up, nailed him witht he chair, then hit a One-winged Angel onto the chair for the pin.
Jericho the character has been top-flight in recent years, but what was the last really good Jericho match you’ve seen? For me, it was this one. This might have been Jericho’s last true classic.
Kazuchika Okada defeated Tetsuya Naito to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Naito took his time disrobing from his awesome suit. Okada worked in bell bottoms. Tokyo Dome-caliber wardrobe choices by both competitors. Okada did not take kindly to an elbow to the head, and sent Naito to the floor with a sweet dropkick, in the first big spot of the match. Outside, Naito hit Okada with a neckbreaker over the barricade. Back inside, Naito continued working on the neck with elbows, dropkicks to the back, and neckbreakers. Okada countered by going after Naito’s neck, and hit a draping DDT from the barricade to the floor.
Inside, Okada hit a flapjack and an inverted DDT. Okada hit an elbow drop and teased the Rainmaker, but Naito escaped. Okada locked on the Cobra Clutch, and his facial expressions were top-notch here. Naito reached the ropes, forcing Okada to regroup. Naito hit a reverse rana from the top, but missed with his old Stardust Press corkscrew off the top. Judging crowd reactions from television can be a tricky thing, but it appeared to me that they really got the crowd going with that one.
Okada landed a running dropkick, but Naito popped up and hit a flying forearm. Okada took a huge bump off a missed missile dropkick from the top. Okada hit a German, and a Rainmaker, but Naito kicked out. Naito escaped from a Tombstone, and seemingly out of gas, missed an enziguri. Okada went for the piledriver again, but Naito hit him with Destino. Naito was too exhausted to go for a cover. Okada sold Naito’s finish, while Naito sold exhaustion.
They traded finishers in an intense, crazy closing sequence. I am not doing this justice. Okada retained after one last Rainmaker. This picked up significantly after a very slow start, and the climax of this bout was the best thing on the show.
This felt like Naito’s time, but with the way the show was constructed, full of title changes, you could sense this result coming.
Thank you, and goodnight.