NJPW WrestleKingdom 11 Review

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s biggest show of the year, WrestleKingdom, took place on January 4th, and it’s making news all around the world. Not only was it a great show, but it was a shot across the bow to other wrestling companies. New Japan wants to expand more internationally in 2017, and WrestleKingdom 11 was a showcase for the best wrestling in the world. Not only will I be talking about WK11, but also New Year’s Dash, the traditional post-WrestleKingdom show that sets direction into the new year. For the record, I watched both shows with English commentary. Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino are easily the best English commentary team New Japan has used. With rumors that Corino is leaving ROH to do other things, I hope they find a worthy replacement.

New Japan Rumble

This was a fun way to open the show. All the New Japan dad’s were there, along with several legends and ROH’s Cheeseburger. There was however only one real threat in the Rumble, and that was Unbreakable Michael Elgin, returning from having his orbital bone broken by Tetsuya Naito. Elgin won pretty handily, entering first and running the gauntlet. There were a lot of fun bits here, and with only 14 entrants, it didn’t overstay its welcome. Rating: *** Winner: Michael Elgin

Tiger Mask W vs Tiger the Dark

This was a fine opener, but nothing special. Tiger Mask Ibushi hit all his normal spots, which mostly defeats the purpose of wearing the mask. At this point, Tiger Mask W’s identity is about as secret as Mr. America’s was. Tiger the Dark was ACH, and it will be interesting to see if he keeps working for New Japan or if this was just a one time deal. This was as good as any match involving two cartoon tigers could be. Rating: *** Winner: Tiger Mask W (more…)

WrestleKingdom 10 Review

Monday morning, I woke up at 2am to watch NJPW’s WrestleKingdom 10 live. And while I had some streaming issues, it was still a really good show. There was also a ton of news to come out of New Japan the next day, but this will just be about WK10, and we’ll get to that other stuff later. It’s been a busy first week of 2016, so let’s not waste any more time.

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Titles: ReDRagon (champions) vs. The Young Bucks vs. Roppangi Vice vs. Matt Sydal & Ricochet. 

The Young Bucks won in what was a fine opener. Nothing too special that we haven’t seen from this division before, but still fun. The highlight for me was from someone who wasn’t even in the match, as Cody Hall hit a Razor’s Edge on Ricochet, throwing him over the top rope onto a pile of people. I think it’s the first time Hall has successfully used his dad’s finisher, and may indicate he will be getting more screen time in 2016. Everyone did a good job here, not complaints. ***1/2 (more…)