FIRST MATCH: Michael Elgin & Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) vs. Ayato Yoshida, Shota Umino & Yuji Nagata
This is a fun match, if you can get past the problematic Honma and Elgin. Ayato Yoshida already looks and moves like a star.
Need To Watch Rating: (3.5)
SECOND MATCH: Toa Henare vs. Bad Luck Fale
This match felt like it was specifically aimed at people that wanted Henare in this year’s G1 Climax. It’s hard to rate/talk about this brief match without spoiling it.
Need To Watch Rating: (1.0)
THIRD MATCH: CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto) vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi & Takashi Iizuka)
Solid tag match. Iizuka and Taichi do a good job of making up for lost time. Definitely felt refreshing, as these combinations weren’t seen over the past month. Goto and YOSHI-HASHI continue to be a great tandem.
Need To Watch Rating: (2.0)
FOURTH MATCH: David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. Bullet Club Elite (Cody & Hangman Page)
Finlay & Robinson make their case for World Tag League. Cody and Hangman Page are an underrated tag team, but not on the level of Page and Chase Owens.
Need To Watch Rating: (3.5)
FIFTH MATCH: Bullet Club Elite (Marty Scurll, Nick Jackson & Matt Jackson) vs. Bullet Club OGs (Taiji Ishimori, Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga)
A good match, made better by a surprise announcement before the match.
Need To Watch Rating: (6.5)
SIXTH MATCH: Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Zack Sabre Jr. & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
Really solid tag team warfare. Suzuki-gun and LIJ feel like natural rivals.
Need To Watch Rating: (5.0)
SEVENTH MATCH: CHAOS (Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Jay White) vs. Bullet Club Elite (Kenny Omega, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi)
Considering the thrown-together nature of the teams, this ends up being a lot better than expected. Yujiro Takahashi and Chase Owens have gained so much from this Bullet Club civil war. They’d never be such a major part of a match like this without the breaking of the ranks.
Need To Watch Rating: (6.0)
EIGHTH MATCH: Rey Mysterio Jr., KUSHIDA & Sengoku Enbu vs. CHAOS (SHO, YOH & Kazuchika Okada)
Sengoku Enbu is Ryusuke Taguchi. Okada would make an interesting coach for Roppongi 3K, but not in his current broken persona. Mysterio keeps the match simple, which is a tricky move for a guest star like him, but the match is better for it.
Need To Watch Rating: (6.9)
MAIN EVENT: G1 Climax Final: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi
Age vs. Beauty. Past vs. Present. This match is a struggle between NJPW’s two eras. This push and pull is the central story of this thrilling bout. Tanahashi has had an unbelievable G1 and Ibushi has been many’s pick to win from the beginning. Both men pull out references to their past matches. The beyond sold out Nippon Budokan crowd is loud and raucous for the entirety of this Match Of The Year contender. Seek. Out. This. Match.
Need To Watch Rating: (12.0)