For reasons unknown to me, my cable company is not displaying just the USA Network today. In lieu of a WWE Raw review will be a review of New Japan’s Wrestle Kingdom 9. Or at least as much as I can get to for when I’d normally stop watching Raw.
Red Dragon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly) defending their IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles vs. Forever Hooligans (Rocky Romero & Alex Kozlov) vs. The Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & Kushida) vs. The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) – I enjoy all four of these teams so it was of no surprise that they put on a thoroughly entertaining tag team match. At times, it seemed like organized chaos with people flying around the ring so psychology may not have been a forte of this match but the athleticism shown is certainly a spectacle. Red Dragon won the match with Chasing The Dragon to retain the titles. I really enjoy their work the most out of the foursome so I am glad they won. I don’t mind saying I’d love to see them wrestle the Usos.
Jeff Jarrett (With a Clown Car), Yojiro Takahashi & “Bad Luck” Fale vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma – This match seemed like filler. Honma got the winning pin after hitting for what was the first time ever, a falling head butt off the top rope. He seemed like he was very funny if I happened to be Japanese.
Takashi Iizuka, Shelton Benjamin, Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Naomichi Marufuji, Mikey Nicholls, Shane Haste & Toru Yano – The later team was from Pro Wrestling NOAH which is a rival organization. I need to type that because I don’t follow any of these leagues. I’m lost. Jim Ross & Matt Stryker are doing a good job making story lines move along. Team NOAH won in another fairly quick match. Everything has been very high pace & chaotic in all three matches so far. They are not dicking around with presenting any of the matches either.
Minoru Suzuki vs Kazushi Sakuraba – The match can only be won by knock out, submission or referee stoppage. The feed I watched stopped at a terrible time, right before the finish of the match. Sakuraba worked over Suzuki’s arm the entire match. Suzuki ended up winning with a rear naked choke that Sakuraba passed out to. It was a very well wrestled match that integrated their MMA back ground very well while still being pro wrestling.
Tomohiro Ishii defending the NEVER Openweight Championship vs. Togi Makabe – Ishii came into the match with an injured left shoulder which played into the match. I tuned out during parts of the match because there were entirely too many clothes lines. Matt Stryker said this was an example of Japanese Strong style. I can easily tune out of a lot of their programming if that statement is accurate. It did make the match seem overly physical. It was also odd for Makabe to win with a knee after the upper limbs were the story of the entire match. JR & Styker sold how important the title change was but with the pace of the show, it didn’t feel like it.
Tyusuke Taguchi defending the IWGP Junior Heavyweight vs Kenny Omega – I actually feel bad for Matt Striker that he had to explain that Omega shaves his arm three days in advance to use as an offensive maneuver. It sounded bad when Striker said it, the action in execution was even worse. Why does anyone think that is compelling? It was what I would call the first wrestling match of the night. I liked the action other than the above moment so it wrecked it for me when Jim Ross describes Omega as a journeyman after Omega wins the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title. He played him up as an underdog that has finally overcome the odds which is completely weird for a heel faction story line. So I’d call the ending a disaster in presentation.
Doc Gallows & Karl Anderson (with Clown Car) defending the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles vs. Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata – I’m ending with this match because it is entirely too late. Goto & Shibata ended up winning the titles. It struck me as ironic that Matt Striker was talking about Japanese matches building to a crescendo then ending. I feel like they keep ending out of the blue. It may be because I’m unfamiliar with most of these gentlemen’s finishing maneuvers. I did enjoy this match quite a bit again. Doc Gallows is good but he hasn’t turned into the certain star some of us, cough me, thought he could be. Karl Anderson is all good but not great. The Japanese team provided for smaller opposition that used speed to it’s advantage. It did make me wonder if the Japanese team weighed that much more than the Juniors because they looked similar in size. JR & Striker did sell these titles as the most important in the tag division.