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  • Writer's pictureCarlos Astorga

NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Night 2 Championship Winners And Losers

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Robbie Eagles, Tomohiro Ishii, & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, & Shingo Takagi) vs. Most Violent Players (Togi Makabe & Toru Yano) & Ryusuke Taguchi (c) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Taichi, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Gauntlet Match)

The order of the eliminations went:

Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii, Robbie Eagles, and Yoshi-Hashi) eliminated Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, and Chase Owens) when Ishii pinned Owens after a vertical drop brainbuster.Chaos eliminated Suzukigun (Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and El Desperado) when Eagles rolled up Kanemaru.Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi) eliminated Chaos. Evil pinned Ishii with Darkness Falls.L.I.J. eliminated the champions, Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, and Ryusuke Taguchi, to win the gauntlet and the titles. Takagi pinned Taguchi with Made In Japan after Bushi spit black mist in Taguchi’s face.

Hiromu Takahashi & Ryu “Dragon” Lee vs. Jushin Liger & Naoki Sano (Jushin Liger Retirement Match)

Jushin Liger is 55 years old, Hiromu and Lee are both absolutely top talents of their generation, and STILL somehow Liger is the best guy in the match. For a man to have given so much to us for so long and to go out still having so much in the tank is incredible. The young dudes bring the fire, Liger brings the greatness, Sano still has enough in the tank to be worthwhile, this isn’t moment-for-moment the greatest match this weekend, but it’s damn good and it’s worth your time to see one of the greatest of all time on his way out.

Takahashi pinned Liger with Time Bomb 2, the finisher he debuted the previous night.

Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship)

RPG3K in control early on as they go hard out the gates, but inevitably the Bullet Club boys turn the tide. SHO gets a hot run in there but this is just a smidge too by-the-numbers back-and-forth junior heavyweight tag action for my tastes. Not bad, and there’s a low blow spot I popped huge for, but not worth going out of your way for. Sho pinned ELP after a combination Shock Arrow-double stomp. Roppongi 3K revealed during and after the match that they were wearing cups to counter the Bullet Club team’s low blows.

SANADA vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. (c) (RPW British Heavyweight Championship)

This is a tight and well-executed technical wrestling match pitting Sabre’s smooth as silk catch wrestling against SANADA’s more llave style. It’s not quite as strong as it could be, seeing as these lads have wrestled each other a bunch over the past year and change and it all felt kind of predictable as a result, but it’s a good match all the same and worth a rec.

Zack Sabre Jr defeated Sanada with a bridging pin.

Jon Moxley (c) vs. Juice Robinson (IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship)

Robinson with a strong start, jumping Moxley before the bell! That sets a tone for the match, which, as I’m sure will surprise everyone, is a hard-hitting brawl that’s a lot of fun. Not quite on the level of night one’s match against Archer, but good, good stuff all the same. Jon Moxley defeated Juice Robinson after pinning him after a Death Rider.

Kaze Ni Nare hit and Suzuki entered the arena. Suzuki stripped from a tracksuit into his ring gear, put Moxley in the rear naked choke, and hit him with the Gotch Style Piledriver. Suzuki got on the mic, threatened Moxley, and challenged him to a U.S. Championship match.

Hirooki Goto vs. KENTA (c) (NEVER Openweight Championship)

Angry Goto in full effect, this is a brawl from the jump but it feels lacking somehow. Maybe it’s just that it was positioned immediately after a) a match that was very similarly paced in a similar style and b) a tease for Mox/Suzuki that took my breath away, but it’s just missing that spark to make it deserving of a solid recommendation. Not bad, exactly-- if you like either of these dudes, you will like this match-- but not great, and Wrestle Kingdom needs you to be great to stand out. Goto pinned Kenta after a GTR.

A video announced dates for New Japan’s 2020 schedule, included the first G1 Climax tournament to be held in the autumn (because of the Summer Olympics in Tokyo this summer.)

”Switchblade” Jay White vs. Kota Ibushi

My biggest criticism of this match, frankly, is that it feels completely unnecessary. Jamming the two losers from the night one title matches together for a de facto runner’s up match, just... I fail to see the purpose. That said, it’s a solid match, and the return of dead-eyed, dead inside “pound you into a fine paste with elbow strikes” Ibushi is welcome. Indeed, I think it heats up really well by the ref bump, it’s just hard to get past the “why is this happening?” of it all. A strong 3, but just not enough to jump into the “I think you should definitely watch this” end of the scale.

Jay White pinned Ibushi with a Blade Runner for the win after a finishing stretch that included a ref bump and interference by Gedo with brass knuckles.

Chris Jericho vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

Down and dirty dad brawling at its finest! You got cocky Tanahashi stealing Jericho’s taunts, you got Jericho putting him through tables, stealing his taunts back, ref bumps, low blows... is it a truly great match? Not really. Is it a fun change of pace for 4AM on a Sunday morning that has some fire and verve and makes a good accounting of itself? Absolutely.

Chris Jericho defeated Tanahashi by tapping him out with the Liontamer.

Kazuchika Okada (IWGP Heavyweight) vs. Tetsuya Naito (IWGP Intercontinental) (IWGP Heavyweight Championship / IWGP Intercontinental Championship Double Gold Dash Match)

Once again we come to a Wrestle Kingdom main event, and once again I say to you— you’re going to watch this no matter what I say here.

So, bad thing out of the way first— two nights of Wrestle Kingdom is a lot, and a match this long at the end of two huge nights of wrestling is even more of a lot. Even being invested in Naito’s story, I found myself drifting and losing track of the match for minutes at a time.

That being said, this is a great match built around a story of Naito refusing to let up for a minute even in the face of a knee that Okada is relentless in his targeting of. Watch it!

Naito is now the first man in NJPW history to hold both of these titles at the same time.

Naito got on the mic and said he had finally beaten Okada in the main event of the Tokyo Dome. Maybe they could do this again sometime. Okada raised his fist and smiled in response.

Both championship belts were presented to Naito, who laid them on the ground and posed above them.

Naito got on the mic again and asked the crowd how it was to see him finally flip the script. What is he going to do with these belts? “You all know what the answer is: Tranquilo! Assenayo.” Naito said he will never forget this weekend and with these two belts he will now take steps forward into the future.

He started to close to the show with the first L.I.J. roll call at the Tokyo Dome, but before he could say “Japon!” Kenta ran into the ring and attacked him. Kenta hit Naito with Go 2 Sleep and sat on his chest holding both belts as the crowd started chanting for him to go home. Bushi came out to try and help Naito, but Kenta was already on his way out of the ring, egging on the boos of the fans on his way out of the arena. Bushi helped Naito to the back.


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