Welcome to WrestlingObserver.com’s live coverage of NJPW King of Pro Wrestling. The main event features Kazuchika Okada vs. A.J. Styles for IWGP heavyweight title and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Tetsuya Naito for the Tokyo Dome title shot. Also on the show are Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask and Yuji Nagata.
We’re looking for your thoughts on tonight’s show, so you can leave a thumbs up, thumbs down or thumbs in the middle along with a best and worst match to firstname.lastname@example.org
New Japan King of Pro Wrestling at 3 a.m. Eastern and Midnight Pacific late Sunday night on New Japan World – Kevin Kelly & Matt Striker will be doing the announcing in English for the first time on the service.
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JUSHIN LIGER & TIGER MASK & KUSHIDA & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & MASCARA DORADA VS. JUICE ROBINSON & SHO TANAKA & JAY WHITE & DAVID FINLAY & YOHEI KOMATSU
My stream was down for this match. On the replay, Dorada pinned Finlay afer a Dorada screwdriver after Taguchi used the running hip attack.
TOMOAKI HONMA VS. YOSHI-HASHI
Honma won with a head-butt to the lower back, a shoulderblock and the diving head-butt off the toip rope. Honma’s lower back is jacked up so this wasn’t as good as most of his matches are. Matt Striker thought Yoshi-Hashi was a first and last name and kept calling him Hashi.
HIROOKI GOTO & KOTA IBUSHI & KATSUYORI SHIBATA & CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN VS. HIROYOSHI TENZAN & SATOSHI KOJIMA & YUJI NAGATA & MANABU NAKANISHI
Kojima pinned Captain after a 3-D and a lariat. The match was solid, about what you’d think. Ibushi didn’t do much in this match. They seemed to focus some on Nagata vs. Shibata, or at least that was the best action but no real clear storylines.
BOBBY FISH & KYLE O’REILLY VS. ROCKY ROMERO & BARETTA FOR IWGP JR. TAG TITLES
Decent match but what a weird finish. O’Reilly pinned Baretta and it looked like Romero saved but Tiger Hattori said he counted three and called for the bell. It was an obvious botch. Romero really looked unhappy and complained to the American announce team. I was listening to the Japanese team at the time. The finish really hurt the match which was fine but hadn’t peaked at all. Nobody really looked happy when it was over.
No matter what is announced, there are visible empty seats downsairs
KENNY OMEGA VS. MATT SYDAL FOR IWGP JR. TITLE
Omega retained with the One Winged Angel, which is an electric chair dropped into a Michinoku driver. Omega has all the talent in the world but he overacts badly. It made it hard to take the match seriously until late. Sydal is really great, one of these gus whose role it seems to be is have great matches while never getting a big push. His best spots were a reverse Frankensteiner and a Fosbury flop like dive onto Omega and Cody Hall.
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & TORU YANO & KAZUSHI SAKURABA VS. KARL ANDERSON & DOC GALLOWS & BAD LUCK FALE
A nothing match. Mostly worked on Nakamura Sakuraba has a brief time in. Yano hot tagged in. Fale went for the Bad Luck Fall on Yano, but Sakuraba saved. Tama Tonga interfered. Yano used a low blow on Fale and Tonga at the same time and surprisingly pinned Fale with the outside cradle.
Very clear this show is all about these final three matches.
TOGI MAKABE VS. TOMOHIRO ISHII FOR THE NEVER OPEN WEIGHT TITLE
Ishii won the title after a dragon suplex and brainbuster after Makabe had missed the King Kong kneedrop off the top rope. This was the weakest match these two have had. So much miscommuniation and botched stuff early, although the crowd was more into it late than anything so far on the show. The last few minutes were very good But it’s a big difference between Ishii now and in February. Honma came out to challenge Ishii after the match but it was quick and almost like a TNA challenge in that he came out and seconds later they were starting the video for Tanahashi vs. Naito.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI VS. TETSUYA NAITO FOR THE IWGP TITLE SHOT AT THE TOKYO DOME
Not a great match. Match was slow, some stuff with Naito using Tanahashi’s moves. Naito threw Tanahashi into ref Red Shoes. There was a guy under a Naito mask the entire match who ran in and it was Takaaki Watanabe. He was wearing a suit and had eye liner like Kevin Sullivan. They were beating on Tanahashi until Goto and Shibata came in. Naito used a low blow but Tanahashi kicked out of the pin. Tanahashi came back with a sling blade, crossbody off the top and high fly flow for the pin. After the match, Watanabe laid out Goto with a uranage, so that’s his direction. Good match but felt very much like a TNA main event with the ref bump and interference.
KAZCHIKA OKADA VS. A.J. STYLES FOR IWGP TITLEan
Okada won a long excellent match after three rainmakers. Okada had the match won with a rainmaker earlier but Karl Anderson pulled the ref out of the ring. Okada then did a flip dive onto everyone. There was a great near submission when Styles used the calf killer and Okada was teasing tapping until he made the ropes. These two proved again they are right at the top of any lis for the best in the world right now.
Okada cut his post-match promo and Tanahashi came out. Tanahashi would say champion and point to Okada and called himself ace over and over. Tanahashi left and Gedo did a promo. Confetti fell from the sky.