New Japan Wrestle Kingdom 9 PPV Review
January 5, 2015
Review by: Jason Namako of Wrestleview.com

“PURORESU is indeed ICHIBAN!!” WWE Wrestlemania 31, your move, because you got some big shoes to fill, buddy.

To all other professional wrestling companies, the bar has been set for the year 2015 just 4 days in and guess what, folks? The bar has been set pretty damn high. New Japan’s first foray into worldwide PPV, especially in North America, was in no uncertain terms, a stellar pro wrestling show. Now, while I myself did not see the US version of the PPV featuring commentary by Jim Ross and Matt Striker, I have heard that they did a pretty solid job all things considered, albeit it a bunch of misinformation on facts and pronunciations of the New Japan wrestler’s names, which is why I chose to watch the Japanese version on New Japan World. Production on the show was major league, top-notch stuff that I dare say the folks in Stamford may wanna take some notes on for their big show in March.

The following will be my short, but sweet thoughts on all the matches on Wrestlekingdom 9 because quite frankly, the show is so great that I don’t wanna give too much away and allow you folks reading it to go see it for yourselves.

* IWGP Jr. Tag Titles – Good, opening spotfest of a match. Young Bucks looked incredible in this match, Romero from Forever Hooligans was good, Time-Splitters were as usual, very smooth in their double-teams and reDRagon is the best tag team in pro wrestling, not named the Young Bucks. Nice, hot way to start the show.

* 6-Man Tag – Decent for what it was, Honma FINALLY having his moment and getting the big win in front of 60,000 fans at the Dome was a great culmation to his story of being the cult lovable loser that always came SO close this year to winning, but just fell short. Hopefully, this leads to a rise up the card for Honma.

* 8-Man Tag – Another fine multi-man match. Iizuka doing his wildman antics was great as always, Yano is Yano, rest of Suzuki-Gun were just there, TMDK of Haste and Nicholls were very impressive in their showcase during the match and Marufuji’s kicks towards the end were sensational. Hoping that TMDK and Marufuji continue to be used by New Japan going forward to continue the New Japan-NOAH relationship.

* Suzuki-Sakaruba, UWF Rules – Plain and simply put, Minoru Suzuki is the bad-ass to end all bad-asses. Yes, Sakaruba performed very well in this, but this was the Minoru Suzuki show. From coming out to the old Pancrase white attire to bleaching his hair and eyebrows white, to his phenomenal selling of his arm and finally, to his fiery comeback culminating in forcing Sakaruba to pass out to Saka Otoshi, Minoru Suzuki was, dare I say, the MVP of this show. First of many times I will say this, but go watch this, NOW!

* NEVER Title, Makabe/Ishii – If you like two guys absolutely beating the ever living you-know-what outta one another, than this is the match for you. This was the most HOSS fight to end all HOSS fights. Obviously, if you know anything about what I like about wrestling, you know I love me some “mean guy” matches and this was about as mean of a “mean guy” match that you can find. For the second time, go watch this, NOW!

* Jr. Title, Omega/Taguchi – These poor guys, with no usual intermission being that NJPW was on live US PPV, these two had to follow the previous match, but all things considered, they did a pretty good job. Kenny Omega is SO damn good at pro wrestling and the outstanding thing is it has less to do with his actual wrestling and more so with his facial expressions and how he portrays his character. Omega’s new “Cleaner” character got over with the Dome crowd almost instantly and while Taguchi is as bland as a bat, he had his working boots on here and put on a good performance. For being at such a tough spot on this card, these two performed very well and kept the crowd into what they were doing, Job well done.

* Tag Titles, Gallows/Anderson vs. Goto/Shibata – Fun sprint of a match. First off, nice to see Amber O’Neal get a chance to be out there with her husband (Gallows) for this match. Goto has some of the best timing in wrestling, sequences with Anderson & Goto were sensational, Shibata beat the snot outta people, which is always entertaining and finally, thought this was one of Gallows’ best performances so far in New Japan, seemed to move around a lot better than his previous outings. Well deserved title win for Goto & Shibata, this came together very well.

* Styles/Naito – Another very good match from these two, Styles gets a good, decisive win on his way back to the IWGP Title, Naito looked very good in defeat and the finish got over very nicely with the fact that they are now treating the Styles Clash as this dangerous move with fans, the referee, the announcers, everyone PLEADING with Styles before he hit the move, not to do it because of prior neck injuries folks have sustained from the move. Really like how they are taking a negative and turning it into a positive for Styles, giving him a new, dangerous edge. Very good match, third time here, go watch this, NOW!

* IC Title, Nakamura/Ibushi – Yes, its 5 days in, but I don’t care, this is currently the Match of the Year. Kota Ibushi grew up in this match from being a young guy who was a Junior star and the flag bearer of the DDT promotion prior to a man that is now a staple in the top echelon of New Japan. From mocking Nakamura’s mannerisms throughout this match, to nearly matching Nakamura, the King of Strong Style, strike for strike, especially towards the end, this was the Kota Ibushi coming out party. Then, there’s Shinsuke Nakamura. I know I’m about to talk about Okada and Tanahashi and the main event, but as an all-around package, Shinsuke Nakamura is the best pro wrestler alive today on planet Earth. Nakamura was incredible in this match with every, single, solitary thing that he did. If you love pro wrestling like I do, you MUST go check out this match.

* IWGP Title, Okada/Tanahashi – What more can I possibly say about these two and their matches that hasn’t already been said? These two are the modern-day Flair vs. Steamboat and I dare say their trilogy of matches might just be better than the Flair-Steamboat trilogy. Loved the amping up of the intensity in this, as well as the strikes, compared to their previous encounters. Both these guys are fantastic, Tanahashi’s crossbody over the barricade to the outside was insane, false finishes were incredible, if it wasn’t for the prior match, I’d say this was the best match on the show, but this was still a helluva match. For the final time, go watch this, NOW!

Overall, New Japan Wrestlekingdom 9 proved one thing, PURORESU is, beyond a shadow of doubt, indeed ICHIBAN!!!!!!!

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