A very good video package aired to start the show. It was similar to the ones aired before all the shows, but was in English.
CHAOS (Will Ospreay, RPG Vice & Briscoe Brothers) defeated Bullet Club (Marty Scurll, Young Bucks, Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro Takahashi)
Crowd was really into Scurll and the Young Bucks at the start, but they were hot for the whole match. A lot of spectacular moves and the match accomplished it's goal of getting the crowd excited for the rest of the night. There were about two tags the entire match, with everyone just running in at their leisure. Fale was the weak link, but he played his role perfectly. Early on the ring cleared of the other six and we had the Young Bucks and RPG Vice squaring off as a preview of tomorrow.
Jay Briscoe used a Buff Blockbuster on the floor to Yujiro. Ospreay did a step-up Shooting Star Press to the floor onto everyone. Fale gave Beretta the Bad Luck Fall onto a pile of people outside the ring.
The finish saw Romero pin Matt Jackson with a roll up after Ospreay tripped up Nick Jackson during an attempted Meltzer Driver.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Sanada, Evil, Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi) defeated Jushin Thunder Liger, Volador Jr., Dragon Lee & Titan
Takahashi came out with a stuffed cat that he gave to Jim Ross before the match.
Dragon Lee and Takahashi squared off for the best 2 minutes of the show so far. When the other 6 men were in it wasn't bad, but it was just a step below Lee & Takahashi.
Takahashi pinned Titan with the Time Bomb after Evil hit him with a chair. LIJ was blatantly breaking the rules for most of the match, but the referee seemed to not mind, which made it funny when the babyfaces had to tag in and out.
Jay Lethal pinned Hangman Page in a US Title Tournament First Round Match
Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi came to the ring to present the IWGP United States Title to the crowd before the tournament began.
Lethal has his ribs taped from an ROH match last week with the Beer City Bruiser. Page ran down the apron early in the match and dove off with a Shooting Star Shoulder Tackle to Lethal, which was impressive looking. Lethal went for a Lethal Injection early, but Page turned that into an Abdominal Stretch. Lethal came back with the Macho Man Elbow, but couldn't make the cover due to his ribs.
Page got a lot of near falls, including off a lariat and a small package when Lethal went for the Figure Four. Lethal hit a Lethal Combination and finally hit the Lethal Injection, but, again, couldn't make the cover. Lethal came back and hit a second Lethal Injection, this time for the pin.
Weakest match so far, but still good.
Zack Sabre, Jr submitted Juice Robinson in a US Title Tournament First Round Match
If you're reading this and the only stuff you ever saw of Juice was when he was CJ Parker in NXT, you would swear this was a completely different person. In this match he did more than hold his own with one of the best technical wrestlers in the world. This was an excellent match and I hope to see these two wrestle again one day.
Sabre kicked and stomped at the entire left arm of Juice at one point or another. Sabre used a Double Wrist Lock that Juice turned into a Jackhammer for a 2 count. Sabre used a rolling armbar that he turned into a cross armbreaker, but Juice did the Bob Backlund lift into a power bomb. Sabre used a pump kick to the arm and got the submission with an Octopus Hold.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kushida, Jay White & David Finlay defeated Billy Gunn, Yoshitatsu, Yohei Komatsu & Sho Tanaka
One of these things is not like the other one...
This was a lot more controlled tag team match than the two we had earlier tonight. The Tempura Boys took up most of the slack for the team, with Billy Gunn choosing his spots. Kushida had mocked Gunn earlier in the match, so when Gunn tagged in he used his American-style Offense and shouted a vulgar comment I cannot repeat while chopping his crotch.
Gunn and Tanahashi went face-to-face momentarily before Kushida made the hot tag to the IWGP IC Champion. I know I am prone to hyperbole, but Gunn certainly stood out like a sore thumb, in more than one way. Yeah he was taller than everyone else and yeah he worked different than everyone else, but he wasn't even a good American style wrestler at this point. He seemed afraid to take a bump at times and his selling was so bad that I almost lost any perverse interest I had in that match for tomorrow. In the interest of fairness when he was on offense it looked good because of the size difference and everyone willing to fly for him.
The match broke down with everyone hitting everyone with a move. Jay White pinned Yoshitatsu with a Flatliner seconds after the babyfaces hit dives on everyone.
Intermission time. Run to the bathroom, grab some chips, watch some Doctor Who and come back in a few minutes.
Welcome back! I think intermission has been the longest match tonight so far.
War Machine defeated Guerillas Of Destiny to win the IWGP Tag Team Championship
I have nothing but love and respect for Jim Ross, but this was not his best match on a show that was not his best show so far.
This match has a 60-minute time limit. I could be horribly wrong, but I doubt this match is going the time limit. This is our fourth tag team match of the night and for the fourth time all the participants just went crazy with little consideration for the rules of tag team wrestling. The difference is this one at least had no rules. Tanga Roa KO'd Rowe with a trash can lid early on. Normally I would raise an eyebrow at such shenanigans, but Roa cracked him so hard, I was yelling for it to be the finish.
Hanson did the corner-to-corner splash to Tonga and Roa over and over again, which was impressive looking for a man so large. Hanson tried to do a springboard move off the middle rope, but Roa caught him and slammed him down, which, if nothing else, was quite the feat.
Chase Owens ran in and hit Rowe with a chair, which confused JR as to if that was legal in this No DQ Match. Owens later got taken out when he got in the ring with a chair and Rowe hit a Suicide Dive to both Rowe and Tonga towards the finish. War Machine hit The Fallout to Roa through a table that Owens put in the ring to win the match and the championship. Shockingly the match did not go the 60 minutes.
Tomohiro Ishii pinned Tetsuya Naito in a US Title Tournament First Round Match
Naito was super popular here despite being a heel. He teased walking off due to Red Shoes (the referee) not holding the ropes open for him on the way in. Naito should be the biggest heel in the world, but there is just something so likeable about him.
These two men work so well together. Naito is such a great heel and Ishii is such an awesome badass. You want to see Naito do his crisp, fast-paced flashy offense while being a total showboat and then you want to see Ishii take his head off and that's exactly what you get.
Naito's mouth was busted open, so during his shine he spat at Ishii, which led to Ishii's hard hitting comeback. This match was a little rough towards the finish, but they held it together. Ishii took an Inzigiri to the head, fell back into the ropes and exploded off with a Sliding Clothesline. Naito got the nearest of near falls with a Dragon Suplex. Ishii picked up the somewhat surprising pin with a brainbuster.
Kenny Omega pinned Michael Elgin in a US Title Tournament First Round Match
We had pre-match shenanigans involving Red Shoes again. Omega and the Young Bucks (at ringside) wanted Shoes to Too Sweet them, but instead he gave them a crotch chop and allowed Elgin to put his arm around them.
The fans didn't hate Elgin, but they definitely disliked Elgin stopping Omega from getting in offense. They ended up up the aisle at one point and Omega drove Elgin face-first into the wooden ramp. Elgin crawled to the ring, Omega slammed Elgin onto the ring apron at 18 and somehow Big Mike got back in the ring before 20. It was hard to believe how that would be possible and the fans agreed, chanting "That was 20". Omega used a slingshot into the ring, but in one fluid motion Elgin hit a power slam. Omega used a Snap Dragon Suplex and a beautiful plancha over the top rope. Elgin hit a clothesline that may have knocked the dye out of Omega's hair and then used a German Suplex on the ring apron, which bent Omega in half.
Elgin had the match won with a Sit Out Crucifix Power Bomb from the middle rope...but somehow, some way, Omega kicked out. Omega not only survived that, but he kicked out of a Lariat that was so stiff that JBL called and told him to lighten up. Elgin then kicked out of a flying knee to the side of the head and a reverse hurricarana. Finally Omega hit his seventh or eighth knee strike and a One Winged Angel for the pin in a fantastic match.
This match took it from being a disappointing show into a very good one.
Kazuchika Okada pinned Cody (w/ Brandi) to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Title
Despite not having a lot of social media support, Cody had quite a bit of fan support as the fans got the dueling chants early. Cody channeled his inner-Larry Zbyszko early. Okay, maybe not that bad, but the story early was Cody stalled until Okada forced the action. Okada nearly hit a Rainmaker 3 minutes in, but Cody ducked it.
JR and Josh called Cody "Rhodes" half a dozen times and it was taking a concerned effort to stop. Cody got a near fall and spat on the referee before flipping off some of the crowd. Okada hit a dropkick while Cody was on the top rope, making him fall all the way to the floor and then Okada hit a Draping DDT off the apron onto the floor.
Cody slapped on a Calf Killer that Okada sold like grim death, but he was able to make the ropes. Okada went crazy at around the 20 minute mark and hit Cody with all kinds of hard shots. Okada set up for the Rainmaker, but Cody spat in his face. Okada paused and hit a pair of lariats.
Out walked Kenny Omega with a white towel as a take off of what happened at Dominion. Omega even used the same verbiage Cody did before giving Brandi the towel that she wouldn't throw in. Back in the ring Cody ducked the Rainmaker and hit his own! Okada kicked out an eyelash before 3 and then hit a Cross Rhodes that Cody had to kick out of!
Cody went for a One Winged Angel, but Okada got out of it, hit a Tombstone and a Rainmaker to retain the title. A good main event.
Omega took the mic after the match and said he is jealous that Okada got to main event this show. They have a rematch during the G-1 Climax, but tonight is Okada's night.
Gedo cut his post-match promo in English. He called Okada the Future Of Strong Style. Okada asked the fans, in English, how was New Japan today, which led to cheers and chants of "New Japan". Okada thanked Long Beach and promised to make it rain Strong Style all over the world. He shouted the end of his promo in Japanese and that does it for tonight.
Thank you all for reading tonight and make sure to check out Paul Fontaine's G1 Special night two coverage tomorrow night!