Welcome to our coverage of Wrestle Kingdom 11 from the Tokyo Dome.
The pre-show features the New Japan Rumble.
The first entrant was the returning Michael Elgin, who has not wrestled here since the orbital fracture he suffered. The second entrant is Billy Gunn.
The third entrant is Bone Solider. Steve Corino mistakenly calls him “The Smuggler” and then corrects himself and says he’s the most important member of The Bullet Club and Kevin Kelly adamantly disagrees and says he isn’t even top ten.
Cheeseburger is in the fourth entrant. Cheeseburger ducks as Bone Solider leaps over the top and to the floor.
Jushin Thunder Liger is the next entrant.
Elgin yelled “suck it” and eliminated Gunn with a clothesline.
The sixth entrant is Kuniaki Kobayashi. He attempted a spin kick on Liger and did his best, then hit his trademark fisherman suplex but Liger kicked out. The history was that Kobayashi was Liger’s first opponent in the Liger gimmick at the first Dome show in April 1989 and was also Kobayashi’s final opponent when he retired.
The seventh entrant is Tiger Mask, Kobayashi landed a better spin to Tiger Mask and he was going after the masks of both Liger and Tiger Mask. Tiger Mask applied a crucifix to Kobayashi and was assisted by Liger and Cheeseburger to eliminate Kobayashi.
The eighth entrant is Manabu Nakanishi as Kevin Kelly notes “this is where Cheeseburger gets eaten”.
Ryusuke Taguchi is the next one to enter. All five got on top of Nakanishi to eliminate him. Tiger Mask attempted to pin Liger while he applied a surf board, Liger shoved Tiger Mask and then Taguchi hit the reverse hip attack and they landed on Tiger Mask and eliminated Tiger Mask.
The tenth entrant is Yoshitatsu followed by Yuji Nagata.
Nagata applied the Fujiwara armbar to Taguchi and Yoshitatsu broke it up. Everyone piled onto Yoshitatsu for the next elimination.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan is out next.
The #13 entrant was Hiro Saito and hit the running senton to Nagata and Tenzan jumped on top as well to eliminate Nagata.
The next entrant is Scott Norton and no sells Taguchi’s reverse hip attack and powerbombed him and pinned Taguchi. They all gang up on Elgin at this point, Elgin fires up and eliminated Saito after a lariat and then dumps Norton over the top and people were sad to see Norton eliminated.
Elgin clotheslines Tenzan out and it’s down to Elgin and Cheeseburger and hit the buckle bomb and Elgin bomb for the win at 25:13.
Winner: Michael Elgin
There were only 14 entrants as opposed to the usual 20 in past years.
The official starts then kicks off at the top of the hour.
TIGER MASK W VS TIGER THE DARK
Tiger Mask W is once again Kota Ibushi with ACH playing Tiger the Dark.
Tiger the Dark hit a Fosbury Flop to the floor. Tiger Mask W comes back with a dropkick to send Dark to the floor and hits the Golden Triangle moonsault to the floor and raises the suspicion of the announcers.
Dark kicked out of a Tiger Suplex and went for a Tiger Bomb and into a Last Ride powerbomb by Tiger Mask W for the win.
Winner: Tiger Mask W at 6:35
This was a showcase of a few key spots and more personality driven that the kind of match you would expect from the people playing the characters.
THE YOUNG BUCKS VS RPG VICE FOR THE IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TITLES
The Bucks come out with four pairs of tag titles with the IWGP junior heavyweight, ROH, PWG and the newly created Superkick Party tag titles. Matt looks into the camera and tells The Hardys they are the greatest tag team.
The Bucks tease leaving, RPG Vice chases up the ramp and are hit with superkicks and The Bucks run back to try and win by countout. It was beyond comical watching Romero and Baretta struggle and trip coming back down the ramp.
Matt used a prone Baretta’a arms to do the “suck it” at Romero, who came in and slapped Matt and was then superkicked off the apron. Nick misses Baretta and superkicked one of the young boys and allowed Baretta to finally tag in Romero.
RPG Vice set up for Strong Zero that was stopped with Nick springboard and hitting a face buster to Romero off the turnbuckle and dropkicking Matt into a sunset flip onto Baretta and looked great.
Baretta went for a tope con giro and misses Matt and crashed on the floor in one of the crazier spots you are going to see.
Romero was draped on the middle rope and Nick hit a 450 off the top and Romero kicked out. Romero kicked out of a double superkick and then The Bucks were for More Bang for your Buck but Romero applied a crucifix onto Matt as Baretta held Nick on the turnbuckle and Romero caught him for the pin and the surprise win.
Winners: RPG Vice at 12:58
This was a great match and having a straight tag worked effectively, all four guys meshed so well and this was just a really enjoyable match from start to finish and a surprise finish.
Romero held up seven fingers for the number of times has been IWGP junior heavyweight tag champion.
NEVER SIX-MAN TAG TITLE GAUNTLET MATCH
Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro & Hangman Page vs. Will Ospreay & Yoshi-Hashi & Jado
The Bullet Club jumps CHAOS before the bell.
Ospreay is in and Page blocks the Oscutter and hits a lariat for a two-count.
Page hit a shooting star off the apron to Ospreay on the floor and then Yujiro hit the Pimp Juice to win at 7:33.
Bad Luck Fale & Yujiro & Hangman Page vs. Sanada & Evil & Bushi
Sanada shoves Yujiro into the referee and then Bushi dives to the floor and takes Fale down. They place a chair around the neck of Yujiro and Evil swings a chair and hits it. Sanada applies the Skull End and the match ends quickly at 2:09 with Yujiro being submitted.
Satoshi Kojima & Ricochet & David Finlay (champions) vs. Sanada & Evil & Bushi
Ricochet and Finlay hit stereo tope con giros to all three LIJ members on the floor.
Kojima hit Sanada and Evil with chops in the corner and then called for the top rope elbow drop but was stopped. Kojima counters the STO and hits a DDT to Evil.
Ricochet flew into the corner and was hit with Bushi’s MX (code breaker) off the turnbuckle.
Kojima landed the lariat on Evil and Sanada broke it up and Kojima then hit him with a brainbuster.
The referee is distracted and Bushi hits the mist onto Kojima but he kicks out of an Evil cover, Evil then hits the STO and pins Kojima.
Winners: Sanada & Evil & Bushi at 6:30
The joke is that these titles “NEVER” stay on the champions.
The last match had the most heat mainly because of Kojima and Ricochet and Finlay got some focus as well but they had to work a lot into a short time period.
JUICE ROBINSON VS CODY
Cody sprung off the top to the floor and was caught with a belly-to-belly and then Robinson ran at Cody with cannonball into the guardrail. Robinson was favoring his knee after the cannonball.
Cody clipped the bad knee and then applies a modified Indian Death Lock and Robinson gets to the rope. Robinson kicked out of a draping double arm DDT from the ropes. Cody is doing tons of heel mannerisms and mocking Corino at ringside.
Robinson went for Pulp Friction and Cody countered it into the Cross Rhodes and won the match.
Winner: Cody at 9:38
Robinson’s selling of the knee was either tremendous or he actually injured it during the cannonball spot but it became the focus of the match. He was helped to the back.
KYLE O’REILLY VS ADAM COLE FOR THE ROH TITLE
Todd Sinclair is the referee for the match as a nice touch.
The shake hands and then Cole spits in O’Reilly’s face. Cole attacks the left shoulder of O’Reilly with a chair on the floor.
O’Reilly comes back while favoring the shoulder. Cole hits the Last Shot and gets a two-count. They drop each other with double running boots.
Cole lands a shining wizard and another Last Shot that O’Reilly kicks out of. O’Reilly catches a superkick and applies an ankle lock and Cole kicks free. Cole lights him up with a series of siperkicks and then a third Last Shot and pins O’Reilly to win the title.
Winner: Adam Cole at 10:14
This was nothing compared to their big Final Battle match and the finish will be the most discussed aspect as it can only lead to further speculation that O’Reilly is leaving Ring of Honor after a one-month title reign.
They announced all the major cards through August:
Feb. 5th – New Beginning in Sapporo
Feb. 11th – New Beginning in Osaka
March 6th – Anniversary card
March 20th – New Japan Cup
April 9th – Sakura Genesis (this appears to be replacing Invasion Attack)
May 3rd – Dontaku
June 3rd – Best of the Super Juniors tournament begins
June 11th – Dominion at Osaka-jo Hall
July 1-2nd – G-1 Climax specials in the U.S. (these will not be tournament shows but rather G-1 “special” for the U.S.)
July 17th – G-1 Climax begins
August 11-13th – G-1 Climax at Sumo Hall
GUERILLAS OF DESTINY VS TOGI MAKABE & TOMOAKI HONMA VS TOMOHIRO ISHII & TORU YANO FOR THE IWGP TAG TITLES
Everyone stomps Yano at the beginning while Ishii is on the floor. Yano takes off the turnbuckle padding and Irish whips Honma into it.
Makabe was in with clotheslines to everyone in separate corners. Honma landed a head butt off the ropes to Roa.
Makabe stops the Guerillas from hitting Guerilla Warfare onto Honma and Makabe hits a double clothesline. Honma hit a diving kokeshi off the ropes and Roa kicked out. Honma hit a kokeshi off the top and Ishii saved.
Honma blocked a gun stun then came off the ropes with a kokeshi into a gun stun by Tonga. They hit a reverse Guerilla Warfare to Makabe. Honma blocked Guerilla Warfare and Yano blind tagged himself in.
The Guerillas went for a double vertical suplex to Ishii, Yano stopped it with a pair of low blows, Ishii hit the double clothesline and Yano with a school boy and they won the match and the titles.
Winners: Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano at 12:25
The story is CHAOS currently holds the IWGP heavyweight, IWGP tag and IWGP junior heavyweight tag titles.
KUSHIDA VS HIROMU TAKAHASHI FOR THE IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
Takahashi came out with giant red and black balls in the crowd to represent bombs.
Takahashi attacked Kushida as he entered the ring. Kushida used a hand spring on the edge of the apron to knock him to the floor and followed with a Swanton off the turnbuckle to Takahashi on the floor.
Takahashi hit a sunset flip powerbomb to the floor and Kushida was checked on after landing.
Takahashi came off the top for a hurcanrana and they hit the ropes and it was all messed up. Takahashi then came off the top with a jumping senton to the floor.
Kushida avoids another sunset bomb to the floor, Takahashi leaps off the apron and Kushida applies an armbar in mid-air as Takahashi comes down, very similar to the spot with Kyle O’Relly at the BOSJ last year without a chair involved.
Kushida applies the Hoverboard Lock inside the ring and Takahashi won’t tap, he rolls away and is out of the submission. Kushida goes for it again but cannot get it.
They are on the turnbuckle, Takahashi turns into wheel barrow and spins Kushida off the turnbuckle in a sunset flip and Kushida kicked out. Takahashi followed with the Time Bomb to win the match.
Winner: Hiromu Takahashi at 16:16
Very good match and feels like the start of a major rivalry for 2017 over the junior heavyweight title. Outside of the top rope huracanrana spot, everything was on point and it was a great story with Kushida attacking the arm and Takahashi figuring out counters and escaping the hold constantly.
KATSUYORI SHIBATA VS HIROOKI GOTO FOR THE NEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE
The back of Shibata’s neck and down his right arm are covered with kinesio tape.
Shibata focuses on the left arm and trying to lock on a submission and is controlling the match.
Goto pops up from a German and then gets dropped by a STO from Shibata as both are down on the mat.
Shibata applies the rear-naked choke in the middle and goes down to the mat with the hold applied and Goto gets his leg onto the bottom rope for the break. Shibata shoves referee Red Shoes away and lifts up the prone Goto, who head butts Goto and Shibata hits the PK and both are down again.
Goto hit the Ushigoroshi and followed with the GTR and Shibata kicked out. Goto fires up and they start exchanging forearms, elbows and head butts with Goto prevailing, hits one final head butt and hits the GTR and pins Shibata.
Winner: Hirooki Goto at 16:18
The match picked up a lot in the final few minutes with Goto’s fire and the story that Goto won the big one on the big stage.
A big video feature was next on the Intercontinental title match and history between Tetsuya Naito and Hiroshi Tanahashi. Tanahashi was shown training for the match starting over with new music. This video package was excellent and ended with historical clips from both of their careers.
TETSUYA NAITO VS HIROSHI TANAHASHI FOR THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE
Actor Ken Yasuda did the ring introductions and Naito wouldn’t shake his hand.
Tanahashi came out to his new theme, which has chants of “Go Ace” mixed into it.
The crowd came alive at the start of this match and it’s obvious the final two matches were the big ones to the live crowd.
Tanahashi is receiving a mixed reaction, which Tanahashi said he was excited for. Naito starts attacking the left knee. Naito spits at Tanahashi after kicking at the knee. Tanahashi responds and attacks the left knee of Naito, which is not the one that is taped (the right knee is one that he tore the ACL in back in 2012 and required surgery on).
Tanahashi hit a high cross to the floor and then lay on the apron and did Naito’s pose.
Naito hit a top rope hurcanarana and Tanahashi kicks out of Gloria. Naito applies a version of a knee bar and Tanahashi turns it into a Texas cloverleaf and Naito gets to the rope. Tanahashi hits a pair of sling blades and Naito kicks out.
Tanahashi goes to the top and hits the high cross, back to the top and misses the High Fly Flow and Naito gets up and hits Destino. He goes for it again and Tanahashi blocks and hits the Twist and Shout. The crowd is buzzing.
They kick at each other’s knees, Tanahashi slapped him and hit a Dragon suplex for a two-count, went to the top and hit the High Fly Flow to the back, returned to the top and Naito got his knees up, with one being attacked during the match and other one has the existing injury.
Tanahashi kicked out of a Destino with Naito coming off the turnbuckle. Naito hits another Destino and pins Tanahashi.
Winner: Tetsuya Naito at 25:40
This match was awesome, fantastic storytelling and places Naito at the top as the next challenger. Naito’s growing babyface persona continues. Tanahashi’s fall continues. Naito celebrated as Tanahashi just lay down in the middle of the ring to magnify the win and the loss for both.
Corino did a fantastic job putting over the fact that Tanahashi showed honor by not attacking already injured knee of Naito and if he did, he probably would have won the match and opted not to go after the right knee.
KAZUCHIKA OKADA VS KENNY OMEGA FOR THE IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE
Kenny Omega gets entrance of the year after they filmed a scene from Terminator with Omega as Arnold Schwarzenegger and did dialogue in both Japanese and English. Omega came out with a Terminator mask on. The Bucks are in Omega’s corner and Gedo in Okada’s.
These two felt like massive superstars and a big time main event as they entered the arena.
They went back-and-forth during the first few minutes, Omega went for the One-Winged Angel that Okada blocked and then teased the Rainmaker as Omega went to the floor.
Okada brought out a table from underneath the ring. Omega was sent over the barricade and Okada ran and dove over the barricade onto Omega.
Omega sent Okada to the floor with a hurcanrana, Omega did the Rise of the Terminator and hit the tope con giro onto Okada. Omega was working on the lower back and scoop slammed Okada onto the edge of the apron. Omega came off the top with a sick missile dropkick to the back of the head that would make Shinjiro Otani wince.
Okada comes back with the Heavy Rain and then applies the Red Ink. Okada hit the belly-to-back neck breaker and then came off the top with an elbow drop to the knees of Omega. Omega hits a baseball slide dropkick and sends Okada over the guardrail where the Japanese broadcasters are stationed.
Omega hits a springboard moonsault over the guardrail to Okada and it looked phenomenal. Omega places a table onto Okada on the floor and hits a double foot stomp off the apron. He brings Okada back into the ring and Okada kicks out of a jackknife powerbomb.
The Bucks set up the table on the floor, Red Shoes wouldn’t allow Omega to use it. Okada has a nasty cut across his back as well. Okada caught Omega, placed him on the top turnbuckle and dropkicked him to the floor.
They fought on the edge of the apron and Omega teased the One-Winged Angel off the apron through the table and Okada avoided it. Omega ran at Okada in the ring and took a huge back body drop over the top and through the table on the floor. Okada breaks the count and sends Omega back into the ring.
Okada calls for the Rainmaker and then Omega drives his back into the corner.
They climb to the top and Omega hit a super Dragon suplex off the top and Okada’s neck folded upon landing and was brutal to watch during the replay.
Okada catches him with a high angle German suplex, Omega ducks the Rainmaker and hits a flying knee and then runs into an Okada dropkick. Omega lands another pair of knees and a reverse huracanrana. Omega follows with the Bom a Ye.
Omega lifts up Okada for the One-Winged Angel and Okada landed on his feet, caught Omega with a tombstone, hits the Rainmaker but Omega kicks out for an amazing near fall and reaction.
Omega counters a tombstone and hits his own for a two-count.
Omega hit a snap Dragon suplex and Bom a Ye for a near fall. He hit another Bom a Ye and then lifted for the One-Winged Angel but Okada grabbed the wrist, popped off the shoulders and landed the Rainmaker. Both are down and Okada is still holding Omega’s wrist, he pulls him up and Omega tries to kick free but cannot, he uses knees and Okada stands up and hits the Rainmaker.
Okada goes for another and Omega ducks twice, lands a dropkick on Okada and high knee, lifts for the One-Winged Angel but Okada counters it into a jumping tombstone and lifts up Omega for one more Rainmaker and pins Omega.
Winner: Kazuchika Okada at 46:46
Okada and Omega had one of the best main events you are ever going to see and will be high on the list for best match of 2017. This was phenomenal and never felt like a 46 minute match. They showed a woman in tears from watching the match. This was right at the level of Okada and Tanahashi last year.
The crowd was at another level during the final two matches but the main event felt like it, they surpassed all expectations and both men will be remembered for this match throughout their careers.