Friday, January 5, 2018

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 Results and Review

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12 - Tokyo Dome - January 4, 2018 
The biggest show that wasn’t WWE happened yesterday and it was Wrestle Kingdom 12 from New Japan Pro Wrestling. I happened to get a handle on it, and well here is my review, as it was 5 hours and 30 minutes long, so here are my thoughts, just straight up. I’m not a follower of New Japan, but the Jericho match had me getting this, so here it is.

The Young Bucks defeated Roppongi 3K for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships

I saw the Young Bucks back when they were just Slick Nick and Mr. Instant Replay at the Viking Hall in Culver City, California. Then I saw them wrestle in FCW in Los Angeles. However, they have come a long way since then, and are very good at what they do. The duo of brothers took on Roppongi 3K and put on a show. This match was everything you’d expect from cruiserweights. They were flying across the ring, dropping kicks, doing everything that Rey Mysterio Jr used to do in WCW and then some. This was not one sided either, The Bucks were not getting an easy win here, they got put through the ringer, and the crowd ate it up, as they were getting close to tapping out, and getting pinned many times. I found this match to be fun, and well worked, with a fast pace you’d expect from the USOS. I’d love to see the Young Bucks versus The Usos, that’s for sure. Great action here, and solid back and forth. The Bucks would win after getting the Meltzer Driver and then a sharpshooter, and that was that. The new champions, and a serious battle.

Chaos (Beretta, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) defeated Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa), Michael Elgin and War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe), Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Takashi Iizuka and Zack Sabre Jr.) (with El Desperado, Taka Michinoku and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) and Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson, Ryusuke Taguchi and Togi Makabe) Gauntlet match for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship

This was an ongoing battle from all levels. I haven’t seen such a train wreck of a beat down in a long time. I am not sure who the guys are, as I haven’t seen every one of these guys, but wow, there’s a lot of back and forth. I have seen a few, don’t get me wrong, but there are some guys I haven’t seen before. I really like Zack Sabre Jr. but everyone else, it seemed like I didn’t really know. Overall, however, this was a great overall back and forth, gauntlet of teams fighting for the 6-man championship. It was entertaining, as it was crazy, and well, I don’t know what I can say, other than there’s a lot going on in this match. Zack Sabre Jr. was my favorite part of this match, that’s for sure. Watch out for the counters, and high spots, including one hell of a Diamond Cutter on Beretta. Beretta won with one of the most insane moves I’ve ever seen, and well, the Dude Buster was swift, and won this for his team. Hell of a match.

Kota Ibushi defeated Cody Rhodes

I remember Ibushi in the Cruiserweight Classic, and honestly, I haven’t seen much of him after the fact. Cody came out with his wife, and his hair dyed completely blonde, in a tribute to his father, which looked great. Cody is one of the biggest independent stars, and from what I heard, he’s pulling more money now than when he was in WWE. Good for him! The two worked well together, and honestly, it was fast paced, hard style, and worked very well for a singles match. I would say that this is the best match I’ve seen Cody work in a long time. Ibushi and Cody worked very well, and wow, what aback and forth match here. I thought this was a longer match than it was, but honestly, it’s not half bad. Rhodes did drill Ibushi with cross-Rhodes on the floor! That was awesome. Ibushi would get the win, with one hell of a finisher, which I don’t know, but it involved a lot of flipping and landing with serious power on Cody. Cody loses, and that’s that. I guess that’s the end of that.

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil and Sanada) defeated Killer Elite Squad for the IWGP Tag Team Championship

I’m not familiar with these teams, as I don’t watch New Japan often, but it’s an interesting little showcase. This tag team match was hard hitting, and very interesting. One team was more hard style, while the other team was less so. I did recognize Davey Boy Smith Jr, and he was out wearing his father’s getup, and it was a good thing to see him fight in that garb. This was a great overall match, good back and forth, lots of hard hitting action, and tag team moves. Not much else to say here, it’s a long one, but back and forth, lots of action, and no wasted moments if you ask me.

Hirooki Goto defeated Minoru Suzuki in a Hair vs. Hair Match For the NEVER Openweight Championship

An example of a Japanese hard style match, if I were to find one is this one. Goto and Suzuki put on a show here with head butts, and hard style punches, and elbows. These guys really put the bricks to each other in a show that was much like the UK title matches in WWE. I was impressed with how tough these guys are, and well, I don’t know what else to say about it. Goto practically killed Suzuki to get the pin, and it looked like he was dead afterwards. I was impressed, just wow, he won with a serious beat down.

Will Ospreay defeated Marty Scurll, Hiromu Takahashi and Kushida in a Four-way match for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship

I’ve seen a lot of entrances, but wow, Marty Scurll once again proves to be one hell of a talent. He came out with full wings and his complete garb. I liked him in ROH, and now, wow, this is an interesting focal point. He’s great, WWE should look into this, it’s an incredible focus. As far a four way goes, this was an interesting match up with a lot of smart moments. If you like high spots, cruiserweight action, and incredible athleticism, wow. This is an interesting option with a lot of hard hitting moments, and lots of back and forth. This match is as good if not better than 205 live, and I was absolutely floored by how they moved. It reminded me of early Lucha Stuff that I would see as a young kid. Ospreay is perhaps one of the greatest high flyers of all time, he’s so athletic and energetic, with some incredible timing. Scurll, Takahashi, and Kushida are also incredible talents, and had some great moments. This was a good match, and I can say it was the best up to this point in the card.

Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Jay White in the IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match

Another excellent matchup, with Jay White throwing down a lot of action against Tanahashi. I was impressed, both guys worked a fast paced, hard hitting match. Back and forth the two hit each other with everything they had, but honestly, the best part of this was the closing elements, which featured some of the hardest hits and nice overall moves to end. Tanahashi slapped the hell out of white towards the end, which was crazy. Good match leading into the main events.

Kenny Omega defeated Chris Jericho in a NO DQ Match for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship

Here we go, the big one. The only reason I’m covering a New Japan Pro Wrestling show is because Chris Jericho was involved, and the hype was so big, I couldn’t resist. Mind you, this is 3 hours and 26 minutes into the show, if you’re looking at maybe getting a download of Wrestle Kingdom 12 or the DVD or whatever. It’s a long show, but here’s the big match up. Jericho came out with a jacket that had lights, which was really cool. Omega came out like the Terminator, which is cool, but I couldn’t help but wish this was something that we saw in WWE, featuring Omega in the Rumble, but I don’t think that’s going to happen.

Jericho did seem to look a little doughy, and well, it also looked like he had surgery to help his pecs not look so bad. Jericho immediately went after Omega, and then came in the Young Bucks to try and stop him, which prompted all the referees and young lions to come and stop things a bit. The two were ready to go at it from the start.

The match was not an all out brawl at first, and had Omega throwing himself at Jericho, to the point here he even flew through the announcer’s table at one point. It looked like a rookie mistake, and since this was a NO DQ match, Jericho was brutal, at one point even pushing the referee and slapping the Young dragons at ringside around, which are just the trainees etc. He was playing up his heel persona, and it was working, while Omega was recovering from some of the spots he was taking. This match started to telegraph that Omega was going to win, that’s for sure.

As far as a wrestling match is concerned, this wasn’t bad. It had a lot of back and forth, had some hardcore elements with tables breaking, and some spots that you would expect from ECW in 1999. It was also the best Jericho has been since before he left WCW for WWE. This harder style was interesting, but there were points where you could tell that Jericho was blown up, and it was painfully obvious he is the older of the two for sure. This was a long match, with lots of fire back and forth, with Jericho popping up to ruin Omega’s offense here and there, and while it was good, you could see that it was a bit too long and wearing thin. Eventually Omega would land his finisher on Jericho onto a chair, and that would be the end. Omega pins Jericho clean, and that’s the end, the Omega is better than the Alpha, and that’s that. Not exactly what I thought would happen, but hey, it’s the right choice I’m sure. Jericho loses, and that’s the end. Omega needs to be in WWE so he can get buried by Roman Reigns, or hell Jinder Mahal.

Kazuchika Okada defeated Tetsuya Naito in the IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match

The finale, the main event, had Okada taking on Naito, and it was one hell of a fight. I say fight, but it’s supposed to be pro wrestilng. This was no doubt a back and forth affair that just had Okada getting more and more frustrated that he couldn’t put away Naito. Naito was impressive here, going through everything that Okada threw at him, and kept kicking out. I was impressed with how hard hitting this match was, even though there was a pause in the middle because it looked like they were legit hurt.

Since I don’t watch enough New Japan, I can’t comment on the past or present of these guys, but I can say that this was a match that was quite compelling overall. I did not know how the two would walk out of this one, and it had an epic feel to it as the camera’s panned away from the match. I liked it, don’t get me wrong, but I wish I was more invested in their stories. The finish came when Okada wins with a rotating tombstone piledriver and one hell of a clothesline. That’s the end, 5 hours and 30 minutes, and the end.

Overall, this was too long a show for my liking. However, it was well wrestled, had some good moments, and really is a great way to start your pro wrestling viewing. It’s better than most of the WWE stuff I’ve seen all of 2017, that’s for sure.

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