It’s the end of another tour but that doesn’t mean it’s time to rest on our laurels as there’s still one more show to go and, of course, Best of the Super Juniors and Dominion 6.9 on the horizon. For today, let’s stick to day 2 of Wrestling Dontaku as The Ace takes on the Rainmaker and The TimeSplitter takes on The Aerial Assassin…

Six-Man Tag-Team Match: Taguchi Japan (Ryusuke Taguchi, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask) vs Yuya Uemera, Ren Narita & Shota Umino

The Young Lions attack off the bell with dropkicks in stereo, attempting to keep Taguchi from tagging in either of the grumpy, old anime characters in his corner. Of course, eventually they get involved and I’m with Don Callis on this one, nothing is funnier than Tiger Mask getting pissed off and slapping about the Young Lions. Fun, energetic stuff with Narita particularly impressing with a beautiful roll-through on his boston crab. Taguchi with the victory with an ankle lock on Narita.

Winner: Taguchi Japan


Tag-Team Match: Yuji Nagata & Tomoyuki Oka vs Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi)

Sadly for Chase and Yuji, they don’t get to be part of the big match but they do get a Dads n’ Lads combo to take out their frustrations on. This was your standard undercard tag work: solid but unremarkable fun with Oka really starting to come into his own, though in a bittersweet sense as you feel he’s getting what he is because Kitamura’s still hurt. It didn’t go on to long and everyone looked good. Owens gots the pin on Oka with the Package Piledriver.

Winner: Bullet Club

Six-Man Tag-Team Match: Roppongi3K (Sho, Yoh, & Rocky Romero) vs Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, TAKA Michinoku & Takashi Lizuka)

OK, no one panic, but Suzuki-Gun attacked before the bell. This was your standard SG bullshit, the sooner we can move 3K onto a programme for the NEVER Openweight trios titles the better as even if they’re getting wins, being stuck against Lizuka is doing no one any favours. Sho and Yosh Hit the 3K flapjack-STO combo on TAKA for the pin.

Winner: R3K

Tag-Team Match: Taguchi Japan (Togi Makabe & Toa Henare) vs CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano)

This was much more like it, a nice, little sprint with three of the hardest-hitting guys in current NJPW and Makabe. I jest, of course about the last part but this was a lot of fun. The story here of Henare insisting on still wanting to go one-on-one with Ishii was well-told as the two have superb chemistry and really sold that Henare might be about to pull off a flourish, especially with a well-timed false finish off a cradle roll-up. Also, as much as I love Yano, he works best in small bursts and this format kept his stuff to a minimum giving it maximum impact. Ishii hit the Vertical Drop Brainbuster for the pin. After the boys from LIJ are done with the Bucks, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Ishii & Yano next in line for a shot at the tag titles.

Winner: CHAOS

Six-Man Tag-Team Match: Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson, David Finlay & Michael Elgin) vs CHAOS (Jay White, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI)

First off, as always, Fuck Michael Elgin. If we pretend he wasn’t in this match, this was Ok in parts. If we see it as three singles matches trading back and forward, the White-Robinson sections were wild, the HASHI-Finlay parts held everything together but the Elgin-Goto bits did nothing for me, I swear, for once, this has nothing to do with me disliking Elgin and was just a decent enough but energy-free part of an otherwise good match. Luckily for all involved, the heavy lifting of this match was building Juice to be positioned as White’s next opponent for the US title and under that merit, the first American to potentially actually hold it, I can’t wait to see what these two do together. HASHI got the win off a Karma pumphandle driver on Finlay. HASHI needs something occasionally,

Winner: CHAOS


Taichi attacks Goto & Elgin post-match, White attacks Juice but Juice runs him out of town.

Wrestling Dontaku will return…

Ten-Man Tag-Team Match: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)

Suuki-Gun normally attack before the bell but here, they switched it up and attacked before Naito was even half-way down the ramp. The match itself was entertaining with everyone performing their parts well, especially Takahashi, who even the commentators remarked was the odds-on favourite to win the Best of the Super Juniors tournament this year, let’s be honest, when they say favourite, they mean only real current contender, who looked ready to beat the entire army of Suzuki single handed but it was clearly only a very slight match to allow the post-match shenanigans to take centre-stage. Naito got the pin over Kanemaru off his Destino spinning reverse DDT.

Winner: LIJ

Post-match: Naito was making his way up the ramp when a man in a BUSHI mask and leathers jumped the barricade and started beating him up. Back in the ring and it turned out to be Chris Jericho, back to make more of your NJ faves bleed. He hit Codebreakers and used the ring bell to mutilate the Tranquilo one until the rest of LIJ were able to run him off. This was wild and especially fun as in his BUSHI make up, Jericho looked a bit like Eddie Izzard.

Ten-Man Tag-Team Match: Bullet Club (Kenny Omega, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Bad Luck Fale) & Kota Ibushi vs Bullet Club (Matt Jackson, Nick Jackson, Marty Scurll, Cody & Hangman Page)

So if nothing else, this match made me hope that the Young Bucks are in the G1 this year and that Tonga is in Nick Jackson’s block as their opening was wild and great. The macro-story over Dontaku of Scurll trying to pick up Fale has been great but it’s obvious the real meat of this was the focus on Omega and Cody, though I can’t help but feel Tonga is trying to unite the Club again while the two blondies fight it out for a prize that might not even be theirs anymore.  It was a bit weird having two ten-man matches back-to-back and while this is clearly far from the last chapter of the Civil War, it’s made the endgame a little bit clearer. The finish came as Scurll finally managed to lift Fale, only for the big man to fall on him for the pin.

Winner: Bullet Club & Ibushi

Post-Match: Omega chases Cody to the back. The rest of the lads Too Sweet in the ring as Ibushi walks off leaving them to it. The Bucks remark that if a certain stooge was watching, that just cost them $150,000.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay (c) vs. KUSHIDA

Ospreay and KUSHIDA have had the distinction of being KUSHIDA’s second-best singles feud of recent years, behind KUSHIDA-Takahashi of course, with KUSHI going into this one with a record of 4-1 in singles competition with him. Ospreay has come off a fantastic ‘Mania weekend but one he went into injured and can’t have left not beaten down. That was nearly a month ago and Ospreay goes into this, riding a wave of expectation and history in that the last time a junior championship changed hands just before a BOSJ tournament was 2012 when Low Ki defeated Prince Devitt. It’s probably of no surprise to any of you that these two put on a good match, better than the Scurll match but lacking some of the drama of the Takahashi match. The story of KUSHIDA trying to wear down the arms and legs of Ospreay to prevent him taking it straight to the skies but not bargaining fully with Ospreay’s new Stormbreaker spinning jackhammer finish. The match was hurt a little by a slow start but once it really got going, it was quite fantastic. As to where KUSHIDA goes from here, who knows, but the Jr Tag Division could do with some more teams.

Winner: Will Ospreay

Post-Match: Bone Soldier returns, but it’s not Captain fookin New Japan, it’s Taiji Ishimori. He hits a murder on Will Ospreay as Tama Tonga puts over Ishimori hard on the mic.

IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi

Well goddamn. I wish I were able to fully explain how much I enjoyed this match but I don’t know if I can do it justice. I’ll try anyway. The beauty of this match was that at 35 minutes, the first 20 were almost all Okada on the offence yet he really let Tanahashi be the lead in the scene. Okada, the wrestler, is such a generous performer, really allowing everyone he faces to look like they could be the one to topple the Rainmaker’s empire but equally, Okada, the character, is a selfish bastard. I’ve spoken before about both Tanahashi and Okada’s ability to subtly heel up their performances for their opponents but here, Okada was pure heel, going after Tanahashi’s neck that he’s been targetting all tour and making sure to put as much pressure upon it as he can, setting up for either exploitation of it via Cobra Clutch or Rainmaker. Cleverly, they subverted the standard format for Okada’s big matches by really not overdoing the false finishes, making it more a punishment and a trial to get there, for Tanahashi at least, for the audience, it just built up more to a fifteen minute stretch that is amongst the best wrestling you could possibly see as the crowd could buy either man winning and were hot for either direction. You could feel Tanahashi’s almost fervent desire to come out on top here, if for no other reason than to keep his position as The Ace of New Japan, every single move reiterating their singles record of 4-4-2 and keeping this writer on the edge of his damn seat and quite frequently out of it.

This was maybe not the two men’s best match but it was possibly their most dramatic as Okada allowed himself to become everything the audience hated but at the end, as he hung on by the wrist, waiting to hit one last Rainmaker for the pin, you knew that the character might not deserve it, but the performer had certainly earned it.

Winner: Kazuchika Okada

Post-Match: Okada gets on the mic and puts over Tanahashi, he then calls out Omega, for the second year in a row, he wants Omega at Dominion but this time, no time limits, no draws, 2 out of 3 falls. Oh my.

Over these two shows, we’ve seen the next big feuds for all our champions become clear and it’s all looking pretty exciting.