NJPW Kings of Pro Wrestling 2019 Recap w/Justin C
To start the show, they announced that because of the Typhoon that affected Japan, Jon Moxley and Zack Sabre Jr. could not make it to Japan. So Moxley was stripped of the US Title and that match is now Juice Robinson vs Lance Archer.
El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs YOH and SHO
SHO suddenly joined the WCW Tag Team High Voltage with his gear. El Desperado pretends to have injured his jaw again early. He is returning from a broken jaw if you didn’t know. This allows the heels to get the upper hand and work over SHO for an extended period of time. YOH eventually gets the hot tag and gets some offense in. They go for their finisher but YOH gets thrown out and Desperado backs SHO into the ref. Kanemaru blows the whiskey mist into SHO’s face and Desperado hits Pinche Loco for the win.
WINNERS: El Desperado and Kanemaru- Basic tag team match to give a bit of a preview for the Super Juniors Tag Tournament.
Togi Makabe and Toru Yano vs Hiroshi Tanahashi and Tomoaki Honma
Man it feels weird seeing Tana in an opening tag team match like this. Yano gets in all of his shenanigans during the match. They were building up to Honma and Tana hitting the double headbutt which they eventually do. Yano throws Tana into the exposed turnbuckle for two. Tana then connects on a slingblade then hits the High Fly Flow on Yano for the win.
WINNERS: Hiroshi Tanahashi and Honma- Honma looks like he shouldn’t be wrestling at this point. He can barely move. Okay match.
Taichi and Douki vs Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito
This was the other match affected with ZSJ not there. It now becomes a regular tag instead of a six man. Taichi and Douki take both Naito and Shingo to the outside early on. Taichi tosses Naito into the chairs then uses one on him, while Douki uses his lead pipe on Shingo. Taicho and Douki work over the taped up shoulder of Shingo. Douki tries hitting a lariat on Shingo, but Shingo blocks it and eventually takes him down with an elbow. Naito gets the tag as he and Taichi square off. They exchange offense until Douki takes out Naito. Naito ducks a kick then hits the swinging DDT off the ropes. I can’t tell if they messed it up the first time because if they did they did a good job of covering it. Shingo and Douki then get the tags. Shingo hits Noshigami but Taichi breaks up the tag. Taichi throws Naito into the railing. Shingo hits the Pumping Bomber on Douki. Taichi comes in and hits Shingo with his mic stand to cause the DQ.
Taichi takes out the ref as well. Naito comes in and calls for a truce. Taichi agrees, but then goes for a kick. Naito ducks and goes for Destino. Taichi counters and hits a a German suplex. He then hits a Last Ride powerbomb and makes a pretend pin with Douki counting. Taichi then calls Naito weak and says he will get done what Naito couldn’t.
WINNERS via DQ: Tetsuya Naito and Shingo Takagi- So now I guess everyone wants to be a Double Champ huh? I’ve never been much of a Taichi guy. Match was meh. A rare New Japan no clean finish.
Jushin Thunder Liger vs Minoru Suzuki
Liger taunts Suzuki and tries to get him to the ground early. Suzuki eventually does then applies a Kimaru lock but Liger gets to the ropes. Suzuki then does the same taunt to Liger. Liger gets down there and applies a triangle choke and it is Suzuki who gets to the ropes. The fight goes to the outside. Suzuki starts to use a chair on Liger. Suzuki tries ripping the mask of Liger off. Suzuki then hits some headbutts and tells the ref to make Liger stand up. Suzuki goes for a PK but Liger blocks it. Liger hits a running forearm into the corner but Suzuki shrugs it off. Suzuki counters a brainbuster into a Sleeper. Liger sells that he passed out, but Liger gets him in a Rings of Saturn, but Suzuki gets to the ropes. Liger works over the right arm of Suzuki, but Suzuki counters the last armbreaker into a Sleeper. Suzuki goes for the Gotch Piledriver but Liger escapes and hits a brainbuster for two. They exchange slaps and Minour keeps telling Liger to bring it. Suzuki eventually knocks Liger down with a forearm. Liger tries to fight back but Suzuki eventually hits the Gotch Piledriver for the win.
WINNER: Minoru Suzuki- A little surprised by that result but Suzuki probably needed the win after Liger got the better of him for the most part during the buildup to this match. Good back and forth action.
Suzuki grabs a chair and goes to attack Liger, but instead Suzuki kneels down and bows to the mat in respect of Liger.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay (c) vs El Phantasmo
Both men send their respective seconds to the back. Phantasmo said he wants this to be a clean match. Both men show off their athleticism early on with an exchange of near misses and counters. They have another exchange of double foot catapults. Then they exchange forearms. Ospreay says he got caught in the eye with one so El Phantasmo backs away and claims it was an accident. El Phantasmo pulls Ospreay up but goes to work on him. He walks the ropes and sends Ospreay to the outside. Phantasmo then mocks Ospreay superhero pose. Ospreay comes back in with a flying forearm then a moonsault over the ropes to the outside. Ospreay then throws El Phantasmo into Gino at ringside, who had a problem with on the Australian Tour. Gino won’t move, until Phantasmo comes behind him and throws a chair into Ospreay.
They then wrestle above a ramp overhang. Ospreay hangs onto the railing but ELP knocks him off. ELP then hits a dive off the top of the overhang onto Ospreay. They go back to the ring. ELP puts Ospreay tied up in the corner and stands on his nuts. But Ospreay gets himself up and hits a snap German suplex in the corner. Ospreay then catches ELP with a dropkick mid air. Ospreay takes out ELP with a knee mid air then a running moonsault for two. ELP catches Ospreay with an enziguri on the top but Ospreay lands on his feet on a hurricarrana attempt. They exchange kicks. Ospreay hits a Cutter but ELP blocks an Os-Cutter and spins him around. They go to the apron, but Ospreay escapes a piledriver. Ospreay leaps over the guardrail and hits ELP with a cutter off the apron. It was tough to pull off, because it was clear from any angle that ELP jumped into it. ELP just gets back in the ring but walks right into a coast-to-coast dropkick then a shooting star for two. Ospreay hits the Os-Cutter but Ishimori comes out and pulls the ref out. Ishimori goes to use the Title but Robbie Eagles comes out to take out Ishimori.
ELP grabs the belt. Ospreay ducks a shot then hits a kick to the head but misses hidden blade. ELP tosses the Title to Ospreay but hits a low blow. ELP then hits a dive off the top but only gets two. ELP hits a kick in the corner. They go to the top, where ELP hits a spinning neckbreaker off the top for two. ELP then hits a Styles Clash for two. ELP hits a V-Trigger and goes for a One Winged Angel but Ospreay rolls him up for two. Ospreay hits a running Spanish fly for two. They exchange forearms. Ospreay hits a couple hook kicks. Ospreay goes to the top but ELP shoves the ref into the ropes. They battle for position on top. ELP goes for a springboard hurricarrana but Ospreay powerbombs him and hits a hidden blade and follows it with a Stormbreaker for the win.
WINNER and STILL IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion: Will Ospreay- So there was a lot going on in that match. But I wasn’t that big of a fan of it. I wasn’t keen on the interference. And it just built up to big move, rest, big move, rest. It wasn’t your typical Jr Heavyweight Title match. It was good, but it wasn’t blow away.
Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii and Yoshi-Hashi vs Jay White, KENTA and Yujiro Takahashi
White doesn’t want to fight Goto, so he tags in KENTA. Ishii comes in and KENTA doesn’t want to fight him so he tags in Yujiro. Yoshi Hashi then comes in. KENTA kicks Yoshi Hashi in the back, allowing Yujiro to drop him on the ropes. All six men end up brawling on the outside. The heels get the better on the outside then go back to working over Yoshi Hashi on the inside. KENTA taunts Ishii and knocks him off the apron at one point. He walks right back into a vertical suplex then tags in Ishii. Ishii chops KENTA down in the corner. He pulls KENTA up but Kenta chops him across the face. KENTA taunts Ishii some more. Ishii “Ishii’s Up” and hits a back suplex. Goto and White get the tags. Goto sends White to the outside and into the railing a couple times. Gedo gets on the apron in the ring, allowing White to hit a DDT. Yujiro comes in. KENTA knocks the others off the apron. KENTA hits a running dropkick in the corner then Yujiro hits a Fisherman Buster for two. KENTA and Ishii brawl on the outside. White tries sneaking in a Blade Runner on Goto but Goto shoves him away. Goto hits a Yushi Giroshi then a GTR for the win.
WINNERS: Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii and Yoshi Hashi- Match was okay. Crowd wasn’t really into it too much. It was all to get Goto a win in a build up to a match with Jay White, likely at Power Struggle.
IWGP United States Championship: Lance Archer vs Juice Robinson
Archer demands that the match still be No DQ and Juice accepts. Juice low blows Archer and spears him through the ropes to the floor. Juice uses a chair on Archer, but he takes too much time and allows Archer to use the chair as well then chokeslam Juice through a table. Archer takes off all the turnbuckle pads. Archer also grabs some chairs and tables and sets them up in corners. Archer throws Juice into the two chairs set up. Archer walks the ropes around two sides of the ring until Juice knocks him off. Juice then hits a superplex for two. Juice connects with a left hand then hits a cannonball through the table. Archer then counters Pulp Friction and hits a Pounce sending Juice through the table. Both men toss chairs into the ring. Archer ends up punching a chair into the face of Juice, though it misses. The chair goes into the crowd. Juice hits the Juice Box for two. Juice goes for Pulp Friction on a stack of chairs, but Archer counters and drops Juice on them. Archer hits Black Out on the chairs for two. Archer slams Juice’s head onto the chairs then applies the Claw for the win.
WINNER and NEW IWGP United States Champion: Lance Archer- I wonder what the original plan was here. Either way, giving Archer the US Title to start is fine. It is a Title that gets passed around a lot and Archer’s performance in the G1 warranted a brief run with something. He’s really over and I am still honestly surprised by how over he is.
After the match, David Finlay comes out to stop Archer from doing anymore damage to Juice.
Wrestle Kingdom Title Shot On The Line: Kota Ibushi vs EVIL
Ibushi frees himself form an early side headlock and connects on a dropkick. EVIL baits Ibushi in and sends him to the outside and tosses him into the railing. EVIL slows down the pace of the match a bit in the ring until Ibushi ducks a clothesline and hits a kick to the chest and follows it up with a powerslam and moonsault for two. EVIL moves out of the way of an Ibushi charge. EVIL misses a bronco buster though and Ibushi hits a double stomp. EVIL blocks the apron German suplex into the ring. They go to the outside and EVIL hits the baseball swing with the chairs. EVIL hits a superplex back in the ring for two. Ibushi again catches EVIL with a kick. EVIL knocks Ibushi off the top. But Ibushi comes back up and hits a hurricarrana off the top for two. We get some near falls and counters, then EVIL hits a standing lariat for two. EVIL hits Darkness Falls for two. Ibushi comes back with a Package Tombstone for two. The last ride powerbomb gets two. EVIL comes back with a lariat for two. EVIL hits another running lariat then two German suplexes. Ibushi hits a lariat. Both men exchange finisher attempts. Ibushi hits a Kamigoye for two, then follows it up with another for the win.
WINNER: Kota Ibushi- The match picked up a bit at the end and the crowd was into it. It’s a bit tough to build any drama in this kind of match because you know Ibushi is winning but they did good enough.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Sanada
Both men sidestep the other’s dropkicks early on and both go for their finishers. They do a double dropkick and reset. Okada slows things down a bit with some submission holds. They go to the outside where Okada throws Sanada into the railing. Okada goes for a draping DDT but Sanada counters and hits a draping swinging neckbreaker. Sanada then drops Okada on the railing. Sanada slows it down in the ring with a necklock. Sanada misses a standing moonsault and Okada hits a running forearm. Okada hits a couple more than a DDT. Sanada does the Flair Flip over the corner and Okada dropkicks him off the apron. Sanada goes back into the railing and Okada boots him over. Okada then hits a running crossbody over the railing into the chairs. Okada tells Red Shoes to stop the count and let Sanada back in.
Okada starts to taunt Sanada and shrug off all of his offense. Sanada leapfrogs Okada and hits a dropkick, then follows it up with a catapult dive to the outside. Sanada gets Okada in the Paradise Lock and hits a dropkick. Okada ducks a Sanada moonsault and shotgun dropkicks him into the corner. Okada hits a missile dropkick then an elbow drop. Sanada ducks the Rainmaker but can never fully lock in Skull End. Okada goes for the Tombstone but Sanada counters with one of his own and a TKO for two. Sanada locks in Skull End. Okada briefly escapes but Sanada locks it back in. Okada finally escapes and connects on a Rainmaker for two.
They reset as both men exchange forearms. Sanada knocks Okada down with an uppercut. Okada reverses Skull End and hits a dropkick to the back of the head then one to the front. Sanada ducks a Rainmaker and applies Skull End again. He spins Okada around and locks it in. Sanada lets go then hits the Muta Moonsault but only gets two. Sanada goes for Skull End again but Okada uses the ropes to counter to a Tombstone. Sanada blocks a Rainmaker and eventually breaks wrist control and gets 2 and 3/4. Okada armdrags out of Skull End and hits another dropkick. Okada blocks a popup TKO twice. Okada goes for a Tombstone but hits a Mitchinoku Driver then a Rainmaker for the win.
WINNER and STILL IWGP Heavyweight Champion: Kazuchika Okada- I could watch these two fight any day of the week. They have such great chemistry with each other. I’m still not the biggest fan of Skull End and I wish Okada wouldn’t go to it as much as he did. And I still maintain my prediction of Sanada winning the G1 next year. Crowds are getting behind him more and more and he can take the early part of 2020 to put it all together. Not at the leve/drama of their G1 match but still very good.
Overall, this was a fun night of pro wrestling. Nothing was grossly bad. Okada/Sanada was the match of the night. Archer winning was a nice surprise. This will be much better than RAW tonight. There is a press conference tomorrow in regards to Wrestle Kingdom. That should set the picture for what to expect come January.
Until Next Time,
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