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Best Match: Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

Worst Match: New Japan Rambo

The New Japan Rambo was exactly what I expected it to be, until the last 10 minutes or so. There were some fun surprises, Haku being the best of them, but Sakuraba coming out was cringe-inducing and everything after that was just hard to keep track of. This match could have been used, as it was last year with Nagata, to set up a new challenger for a secondary title on one of the New Beginning shows, but I can’t see any big Jado matches coming up so the 40 minute Rambo came off as a bit of a waste of time. *1/4

The Jr. Tag Title match was a great opener, and even better than the match last year. Unlike last year, the crowd really got into this and were legitimately invested in all teams, particularly Matt Sydal and Ricochet. As with most Jr. Tag matches, it didn’t matter who won, and the Young Bucks were as good a choice as any of the others. ***3/4

As someone who has never watched ROH before, I was intrigued to see the Briscoes in action after hearing all the hype surrounding their New Japan debuts. I was let down. Immensely. This match somehow managed to suck all the life out of the crowd that the Jrs had created, and the title win came off as meaningless as the introduction of the belts themselves. I was skeptical to begin with about a Trios title, but I thought it could add some juice to the undercards on these shows. How wrong I was. The only juice in this match was ringside in a red New Japan spray jacket. This sucked. 1/2*

The ROH World Title match was okay, but it was hard to care about Jay Lethal having seen no hype on New Japan shows for his appearance. There’s so many foreigners drifting in and out of the company that some promotional vignettes would be really useful when someone like the ROH World Champion show up in the Tokyo Dome. The match was fine but already at this point the interference was starting to become frustrating. **1/4

KUSHIDA and Kenny Omega managed to turn an absolute trainwreck at the start into an exciting and thrilling Jr. Heavyweight title match. In case this show needed more Bullet Club interference, KUSHIDA just had to be beaten up before the match and hit with trash cans by The Young Bucks. Eventually this turned around, as the nearfalls were believable and KUSHIDA was incredible in making you root for him. Hot finish made this a really enjoyable match after all. ***3/4

The tag title match was the best thing on the show at this point. Honma and Anderson were great together, and Makabe and Gallows brought intensity while not being overexposed and making the match stale. The babyfaces won, as they should have, and we finally close the door on the LONG reign of Guns and Gallows. For a month at least. ****

Goto and Naito was a good match with some exciting drama towards the end, but once again interference hurt the quality. Goto winning has to set up an IWGP Title match with Okada, seeing as Goto beat him in G1 and they haven’t crossed paths since. The result says a lot about where New Japan sees Tetsuya Naito - an upper mid carder who is good for a couple G1 upsets and not much else. ***3/4

Ishii and Shibata was when the show moved from good to great. These two were obviously going to just go out there and beat the shit out of each other, but they really turned it up a notch for the Dome. It’s great to see Ishii get put in such an important slot on Wrestle Kingdom for the first time, and even better to see Shibata win his first singles title since coming back to New Japan. They’ll probably have a rematch at one of the February shows, and if this match is any indication of what it might bring, the NEVER Openweight Championship is in good hands for 2016. ****1/2

If anyone doubted the ability of AJ Styles to put on a great performance in his current physical condition, this match proved them emphatically wrong. As soon as Nakamura started working over the back, it was clear that Styles was working as a babyface, or at least not as a heel. It was paced tremendously, as the tension built up to the complete insanity of the last five minutes, as New Japan main events so often do. This may not have had the standout moments of the Nakamura-Ibushi match from last year, but as a match it was certainly on a similar level. ****3/4

Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi was perhaps the best wrestling match I have ever witnessed. I was so invested in Okada’s rise. I felt legitimately anxious with every dragon screw leg whip. I felt, watching this match, how I did as a young child watching my heroes chasing victory in a pro wrestling ring. I felt like this was real. If this was your first time watching Okada and Tanahashi, you wouldn’t get it. Some may say that’s a slight on the match, but I disagree. This was the match that 30,000+ screaming Japanese fans in the Tokyo Dome wanted to see. This was the perfect climax to a 4-year long rivalry. There was no better way for Kazuchika Okada to become the Ace of New Japan Pro Wrestling. This was an all-time classic.

There were so many moments in this match that stood out. From Okada ducking Tanahashi’s slap only 30 seconds into the match, to the constant targeting of Okada’s leg, to the closing sequences of countered Rainmakers, German suplexes, Tombstones, and High Fly Flows.

If you didn’t like this match, as many Twitter users and attention-seekers claim to, it’s time to find a new interest. Pro wrestling must not be for you. Because this was professional wrestling at its finest, a match that didn’t need insane dives, or tables smashing, or Bullet Club interference, to draw real emotion from the Tokyo crowd, and from New Japan fans around the world.

This match surpassed everything else on this incredible show. This match surpassed any other Tanahashi-Okada match. To me, this match surpassed any match in history. *****

Wrestle Kingdom 10 was fucking great.

Brian Jackson

I ordered the network yesterday specifically for the top two matches. 

After watching them, the rest of the show could be 98 WCW bad and still be THUMBS UP, but I'll hold off on picking a best and worst match.

Ordering was easy. The main event was showing at 0600cst when I logged in. I kept checking for availability on my iPhone, and started watching the archived broadcast at 0650. Little bit of delay on my desktop, no problem with the iPhone at all.

Styles-Nakamura was a shade behind last year's Ibushi-Nakamura, about 4 3/4 stars. While he did a lot, I think you could tell AJ was holding back some, and while I was more excited about that match than the main event going into it, I never thought AJ was going to win.

Tanahshi-Okada was 5 stars, good candidate for Match of the Year, even better than last year's main event. Great ebb and flow, brutal physicality, loved how they used each other's finishers. I was rooting for a changing of the guard match, and they more than provided it. 

I can only hope they keep Okada the champ for a year and do a long buildup to a Nakamura challenge at WK11.

My only problem with the broadcast was Striker and Tatsu adding practically nothing on commentary. Jim Ross could have overcome it, but Kevin Kelly wasn't strong enough to. Thankfully the action spoke volumes on its own. 

Matt Schreiner

Thumbs up
Best match: Nakamura (c) v. Styles
 
Three tremendous matches to end the night highlighted a pretty 
spectacular show.  A little too much interference hindered some 
excellent matches early, but thankfully it did not last the whole 
night.  The last three fights were all super and very different from 
each other.  The main event, while not my MOTN, felt more like a mask 
match than a title match and had the biggest 'big fight' feel of any 
match in some time.
 
I watched the Japanese stream on NJPW.  I experienced some buffering 
issues early on in the event, but they were quickly resolved by watching 
on a 1-2 minute delay.

Casey Goldman

UFC 195: Thumbs Up

Best: Lawler/Condit

Worst: One of the first three FS1 prelims. Those weren't memorable enough to even guess.

WK10:

Best: Shibata/Ishii & Tanahashi/Okada

Worst: Never 6-Man

Once again best show of the year will be on 1/4. Can't see anything beating what this was top to bottom. And the final three matches were just phenomenal all around. That's really rare. NJPW didn't even throw in a "cool down" match between them.

There wasn't a "bad" match on the entire card. Even the pre-show battle royale was fun. Wrestle Kingdom constantly delivers. 

-- 

Nathan McCarter

Thumbs WAAAAY up.  Just an incredible show, on par with WK9.

Best Match: Probably Nakamura vs. Styles by a hair, but the main event was right up there too

Worst Match: Six-Man Tag, but even that was fun.  There was not a bad match on this show.

I'll need to rewatch the whole thing to let it sink in, but as I said, this show was up there with WrestleKingdom 9 as one of the best PPVs I've ever seen.  The four-plus hours just flew by and the New Japan roster proved once again how far ahead of WWE they are.  I can't imagine WrestleMania 32 even coming close to this.

Nak vs. AJ and the main event were easily 4.5 stars if not better, Ishii vs. Shibata was 4+, and Omega vs. Kushida was around 4.  Everything else hovered around 3, but not a single throwaway match on the card (except the Rumble which I skipped).

If you haven't subscribed to NJPWWorld.com, I can't give a strong enough recommendation.  You won't see a better PPV in 2016 I'm willing to bet.

-Justin Ballard

Boston, MA

Enuffa.com

Thumbs in the middle

Best match: Shibata/Ishii
Worst match: Jr Tag Title four way
 

Well...this show was pretty lousy outside of the NEVER and IWGP Intercontinental Title matches. People will heap praise on it because it's New Japan and it's the Tokyo Dome show, but this show was really not good. I did not think it was possible for me to enjoy a Dome Show less than the 2010 one (and I'm sticking to shows titled "Wrestle Kingdom" for that, I certainly didn't hate this show like I did Wrestling World 1997, for example) but here we are. Though the last three matches delivered big time, the rest of the show was mostly out and out hot garbage. 

New Japan Rumble was...not very good. It's cool seeing Fujiwara and Koshinaka but the match really didn't serve any real purpose and I could have really done without it. Wasn't happy to see Sakuraba in the ring so soon after the Aoki fight either though they got him out quickly.

The main card opener sucked, I have no idea how you consider that a great match. They recycled spots from last year's match and the new stuff wasn't particularly good either. Fair enough the guys worked hard, but basically the same kind of opener three years in a row wears a little thin. I don't need to see another one of those ever again. 

NEVER Six Man Tag Title match was okay but not particularly great. Elgin/Lethal was fine, but nowhere as good as their WM Weekend 2013 match. 

Omega/KUSHIDA was terrible, just like the other two matches they had last year. I like everything about Kenny Omega except his actual wrestling. He looks cool, has a cool theme song and even quoted Raul Julia M. Bison once but in the ring he bores me to tears. This really should have been KUSHIDA/Liger or something better. Oh and note that this was the THIRD MATCH on the main card to have outside interference. Hey remember your quote after Jarrett joined the Bullet Club about how a little American style was fine because it was different but a lot would kill this company? Yeah, there was a LOT of American style here and in the opener...and it sucked. It's not different anymore, it's just annoying and stupid. I don't watch Japanese wrestling to see ROH style spotfests and I don't watch Japanese wrestling to see TNA levels of interference in matches.
 

Guns and Gallows/GBH was good. Really thought they would give Honma the win. It was the usual G&G match, really no different than their usual match. Hopefully GBH don't drop the belts back to Guns and Gallows next month. If I had to snowflake this, it'd be ***1/4 and comfortably the best thing on the show.
 

Naito/Goto was ANOTHER match with outside interference. That's four out of six, for those keeping score. The match itself wasn't that great until towards the end. Both guys worked hard and it was probably just below the tag title in terms of my match of the night to this point.
 

Shibata/Ishii won the day for me. This was everything I want out of pro wrestling. It was beautifully violent and felt like two guys going to war. People might cringe at the level of stiffness but that kind of stuff is why I fell for Japanese wrestling in the first place. This was the match of the night, total ***** match.
 

AJ/Nakamura was really good and they did the kind of match that will get ****3/4 or ***** ratings from a lot of people but it didn't quite reach that level for me. They had a hell of a match to be sure, but it wasn't a classic.
 

Tanahashi/Okada was weird. They clearly had the crowd from bell to bell but I was not interested in that match at all. The finishing run was the usual Okada finishing run and that's nice but the first 2/3 of that match were just them doing stuff to fill time. There's a lot of comparisons between this feud and Misawa/Kobashi and the difference is that Kobashi and Misawa could work a 43:00 match (and did on two occasions) and they could utilize time so that when the announcer said that 25 or 30:00 had passed, you couldn't believe that much time had gone. Everything had some sort of purpose and a payoff in those old All Japan matches...and that didn't happen here. This match dragged and dragged until the big moves came and by that point I just didn't care anymore. This was easily my least favorite match of theirs. Obviously I'm in the minority but this did absolutely nothing for me.

Ricky Schmidt

 

Hey Dave, 

Here are my thoughts based on a live in attendance perspective. I posted the same comments on the board too plus there are pictures there as well.

I just got back from the NJPW Tokyo Dome show. This was one hell of a great show live. The time flew by and there was not a second when the show felt like it was dragging. The Dome was definitely not sold out but I would say it was about the same as last year. I had to wait in the longest line I have ever seen to enter the Dome, which took about 30 mins. Also, the lines for the washrooms were insanely long too. I have never had either of these problems in previous years. There was no intermission which meant people had to sprint to the bathrooms between matches and would end up missing the start of the next match.

The crowd was into most of the matches with the exception of the opening Jr Tag Title match. All of my friends (all Japanese) were complaining because they didn't know most of the wrestlers in the Jr Tag Title match and they had a tough time distinguishing everyone. They all hated that a 4-way match was a title match. Keep in mind all of my wrestling friends are old school wrestling fans. One guy has been to over 500 shows including every G1 Final and NJPW Tokyo Dome. I personally enjoyed the match. The crowd went nuts for the Makabe/Honma title win, Nakamura entrance and the entire Okada vs Tanahashi match. 

When entering the buidling everyone in the crowd were given a small postcard size ticket for a free month to NJPW World. I managed to pick up 4 or 5 extra copies which had been discarded on the floor. 

Thanks for all your hardwork

-Rodney Loring

thecobra2

Hello,

I went to Tokyo Dome and it was my first live wrestling show to see ever and I must say, this was quite the great place to start.

THUMBS UP

BEST MATCH: SHINSUKE NAKAMURA VS. A.J. STYLES FOR  THE IC TITLE

WORST MATCH: MARK & JAY BRISCOE & TORU YANO VS. YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & BAD LUCK FALE & TAMA TONGA FOR NEVER TRIOS TITLES

I'll add some atmosphere commentary and missing bits from Dave's report since I had the opportunity to be there live. I also overheard some Japanese reactions which I found interesting.

NEW JAPAN RUMBLE

The people were really into it actually - there were many legends and some huge pops. Sakuraba got a huge pop but Momoka got the biggest one for sure. People were really surprised because she's a major idol here. There were a lot of photo taking and glow stick wiggling happening. Some of the fans weren't too happy when she started peddling her latest album as it doesn't have anything to do with wrestling. And the people there wanted wrestling.

Before the next match, we got a promo for the next Doraemon cartoon movie. This is TV Asahi's property and Tanahashi & Makabe took part in a promotional music video for it doing a cute dance. We got a live performance of it. Sadly, no Makabe or Tanahashi dance live but we got mascots performing it and the video on the big screen. People were snickering about this - the Japanese fans around me were quite upset about this. I thought it was cute and didn't really care.

BOBBY FISH & KYLE O'REILLY VS. YOUNG BUCKS VS. ROCKY ROMERO & BARETTA VS. MATT SYDAL & RICOCHET FOR THE IWGP JR. TAG TITLES

The crowd around me wasn't into it. I heard some comments like how it's difficult to distinguish the wrestlers cause they're all foreigners. Some folks behind me were wondering if the big guy was Cody Hall.

MARK & JAY BRISCOE & TORU YANO VS. YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & BAD LUCK FALE & TAMA TONGA FOR NEVER TRIOS TITLES

People seemed to enjoy Yano's comedy but not much else.

JAY LETHAL VS. MICHAEL ELGIN FOR ROH TITLE

The crowd around me loved Elgin and cheered for him. The match was super entertaining live and the best thing thus far. It felt too short though.

KENNY OMEGA VS. KUSHIDA FOR THE IWGP JR. TITLE

Nothing to add here. Kushida was heavily cheered and this was the first huge pop of the night, when he won.

DOC GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON VS.  TOGI MAKABE & TOMOAKI HONMA FOR IWGP TAG TITLES

I'm not super familiar with NJPW but Karl Anderson seemed to be the most over guy of the match. People were chanting his name and loved everything he did. More so than Elgin.

HIROOKI GOTO VS. TETSUYA NAITO

The crowd was a bit more quite for this match but perhaps it was only my section.

TOMOHIRO ISHII VS. KATSUYORI SHIBATA FOR NEVER OPEN WEIGHT TITLE

This was the first really huge match of the night. Wow, it was a sight to see live. You just couldn't turn your eyes off the match. This is where things got really hot and the crowd started going super crazy. The girls were cheering Shibata more and the men Ishii seemingly but they were both respected. On a funny side note, a couple next to me got in a bit of a mini-quarrel because the girl insisted on Shibata winning while the guy was into Ishii.

SHINSUKE NAKAMURA VS. A.J. STYLES FOR  THE IC TITLE

Live, this was match of the night for sure. It was freaking amazing from the start to the finish. The crowd loved every minute of it with all the near-falls and awesome wrestling. Nakamura was by far the most over guy in the building (people were wearing his shirts everywhere) but there were a lot of AJ Styles chants as well which I was surprised to hear. The match was executed perfectly with a lovely finish. Everyone went home super happy. The fist bump at the end was also well-received.

KAZUCHIKA OKADA VS. HIROSHI TANAHASHI FOR IWGP TITLE

The previous two matches were tough to follow and at the beginning, the crowd wasn't as into this match as the previous ones. There were Tanahashi chants throughout though - a lot from women. Around the 20 minute mark, things changed though, everyone went nuts with the near-falls. It was amazing to watch and you couldn't help but get into it, a fine story told and a nice passing of the torch indeed as Dave put it.

Okada's entrance was awesome though! First, the music started and then glitched with a signal sound stopping completely after about 5-10 seconds. Then, all the lights went off. The crowd was puzzled. Suddenly Okada appears and his fake money bills start falling from the sky with the music being restarted. It was super cool to see and the people were amazed - what a creative entrance!

I don't remember in detail but Gedo said that Okada is basically the best there is.

Okada added that he wants to say three things. Number one, Tanahashi is amazing. Number two, he'll take New Japan to another level. Number three, nothing really. This got a laugh. Okada was super over, this felt like an amazing build and really makes you realize how inept WWE is at building talent.

That's that! Fantastic show!

Sincerely,

Jurgen Kald

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Kevin Chiat <kevinleec@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Jan 4, 2016 at 6:24 AM
Subject: WK10 Feedback
To: dave@wrestlingobserver.com

Thumbs Up 

Best Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Kazuchika Okada

Worst Match: New Japan Rumble

What an incredible show, top to bottom a great card and you could see how some matches on the undercard benefited greatly from not having to deal with the time constraints they had last year. (I thought that was most obvious with the Jr Heavyweight Tag match.) 

I don't know if I've ever seen a show with a better final three matches. On first watch, my initial feeling was that Tanahashi vs Okada was my match of the night, but that might change on a rewatch.

I watched the show with the English commentary team, and in retrospect I suspect I would have enjoyed the show more with the Japanese announcers. Yoshi Tatsu didn't seem like he was prepared for the job or really wanted to be out there. I felt bad for him at times and he was really awkward during the AJ/Nakamura match. Kevin Kelly was fine, but obviously doesn't have the gravitas of Jim Ross last year. He also wasn't able to temper Matt Striker's bad instincts in the way Ross was at WK9. Realised whilst watching the show, that what I really don't like about Striker as an announcer for New Japan is that he calls the shows like a smark rather than a sportscaster. Sometimes he'll make an effective comment about how the wrestlers are applying holds, but then follows it up with a really dumb remark which undermines his credibility. Case in point "This match isn't going to end with a signature move" in the main event. I also thought Striker's comment at the start of Ishii vs Shibata, where he seemed to be using the match as justification to bomb the Middle East was a bizarre rhetorical leap. I hope New Japan uses the AXS team for English commentary next year.  

Kevin Chiat

 Australia 

 

Hi Dave,

I’m not sorry I set the alarm clock this morning for this fantastic show. The first few hours were good, but the last part of the show was fantastic. Two thumbs up! BTW, I’m an anime fan so it was nice to see the Doraemon skit. Tanahasi and Makabe dancing was goofy, but fun.

NEW JAPAN RUMBLE

Fun, but the wrestling wasn’t that good. However, it did what it supposed to do.

BOBBY FISH & KYLE O'REILLY VS. YOUNG BUCKS VS. ROCKY ROMERO & BARETTA VS. MATT SYDAL & RICOCHET FOR THE IWGP JR. TAG TITLES

Nice, high paced match. Sydal was the man of the match for me, but good job on everybody’s part. Nice to see they got a bit more minutes this time to do their stuff. Or did that only seem that way?

MARK & JAY BRISCOE & TORU YANO VS. YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & BAD LUCK FALE & TAMA TONGA FOR NEVER TRIOS TITLES

Better than expected, just a enjoyable little match. Tongo was great and is a class better than his partners.

JAY LETHAL VS. MICHAEL ELGIN FOR ROH TITLE

Lethal didn’t do that much for me this match, it seemed he only hit Elgin with offence after interference. I also believe that Lethal Injection is too contrived of a move to be a classic finisher. Elgin was good, but it felt to me that they went a bit too much from strength spot to power move.  The match dissapointed me greatly.

KENNY OMEGA VS. KUSHIDA FOR THE IWGP JR. TITLE

The first great match of the bunch. It was a bit of a let down that Taguchi was the mystery man in KUSHIDA’s corner, but I have to say that he did a good acting job. When Omega keeps his overacting to a minimum, he’s a good wrestler. It showed here. The right man won and I hope NJPW gives KUSHIDA a nice push this time.

DOC GALLOWS & KARL ANDERSON VS.  TOGI MAKABE & TOMOAKI HONMA FOR IWGP TAG TITLES

Luckily no interference this match. Great show by Honma taking all those hits and survive. Crowd was great for this match! Makabe got the pin so there are things left to do with Honma in the future, I think. Is he also big in Osaka? Maybe he can score the pin in the Jo Hall against Naito? Osaka seems to dislike Naito more than every other city...

HIROOKI GOTO VS. TETSUYA NAITO

I feared the interference, but it got the cheaters in the end. Decent match. Naito is such a dickish heel, but I think he’s got to get a bit less tranquilo to win matches.

TOMOHIRO ISHII VS. KATSUYORI SHIBATA FOR NEVER OPEN WEIGHT TITLE

These guys can work this style the best, I even liked it better than Honma/Ishii. They had me invested from the get go and worked a beautiful match. Didn’t think Shibata would get the win, but it was a nice surprise to see him win here.

SHINSUKE NAKAMURA VS. A.J. STYLES FOR  THE IC TITLE

Super match, very different than the last match but every bit as good. I want to see Nakamura go after the IWGP belt, so I wouldn’t be sad if Styles won this match, but they were working so great that I automatically began to cheer for Shinsuke. Strange huh? I loved the armbar/styles clash spot, but this was a great bout overall.

KAZUCHIKA OKADA VS. HIROSHI TANAHASHI FOR IWGP TITLE

It was a bit difficult for me to get invested in this match after the previous two, but after a while they could follow them. Using your opponents finisher is always fun, just as they did here.

This was a fun card, while not all classics, all matches felt different. It made the show very easy to watch.

Worst match: The Rumble

Best match: Pfff, this is a hard one to choose. The final three were great, but all in a different way. I think I choose Nakamura/Styles because they made me care who would win, while I didn’t have a real favourite before the match started (different seasons). I think that is the highest kind of praise you can give the workers.

Greetings from The Netherlands,

Bob Walrave

UFC 195 - Thumbs Up
 

Best - Lawler vs Condit

Worst - Noke vs Morono

-----------

Dome Show - Thumbs up

Best Match - Okada vs Tanahashi

Worst Match - Yanu & Briscoes vs Tama Tonga, Bad Luck Fale & Takahashi

Overall I thought this was a great show.  The top three matches, in particular, were awesome and all very different matches.  I was a little disappointed in the Lethal/Elgin match, the crowd just didn't seem into it which didn't help.  The Goto/Naito match was also pretty disappointing because those 2 could have done much better it might have been better if we hadn't seen all the other shenanigans in most of the matches before this one.

I don't know if it tops last years because the constant jumping before the start was getting very irritiating. Commentary wasn't as good as last year (for the obvious reason) Matt Striker continues to be really grating but he and Kevin Kelly are getting slightly better.  However, Yoshi Tatsu really wasn't that well suited to his role.  

Lee Dunn

Wrestle Kingdom 10
Thumbs Up
Best Match: Kazuchika Okada vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
Worst Match: New Japan Rumble

The only negative with the show for me were the buffering issues (on
the Japanese language feed that I chose to watch over English) that
seem to have been widespread for people on New Japan World. What an
outstanding event this was though.

Lou Pickney