Match Ratings, Review Notes For NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling 2018 From Sean Ross Sapp Of Fightful.com

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships
Suzukigun's Desperado & Kanemaru (c) defeated Liger & Tiger
5/10

Desperado and Kanemaru attack early, so Liger & Tiger work from underneath after being thoroughly beaten. The heels go after Tiger Mask's hood, then the favor is returned. Too much of this match is spent on that for there not to be mask vs. mask at some point. Otherwise, it's a waste. This gets a lot better as it goes on, and Suzukigun are real shit-heels, using every tactic they can to win. Desperado pins Tiger Mask with Angel's Wings. The work was good, but the constant burying of the ref brought things down a little for me. That's usually a no-go early in the show.

Honma & Makabe defeated Henare & Juice Robinson
4.75/10

Henare screams a lot and breathes heavy, but that's Henare. He hits his rugby tackle and almost gets the pin, but gets double teamed and Juice is unable to save him. Juice Robinson didn't see much action in this, but it was a pretty short match. Honma wasn't able to hit his headbutt off the top rope.

Firing Squad defeated Bullet Club
5.25/10

I'd like to see more foreign promotion on storylines like this that would appeal to English-language speaking fans. I know they're making an effort to do that. Matt Jackson has his weight belt taken off and has his back worked over. All of the flashy stuff is on the Elite side of things, as BCOG rely more on power and brawling outside of Ishimori. Tonga Loa really reduces the value of throwing middle fingers at people in every day life. This is a nice showcase for Chase Owens, but he still eats a terrible looking 3D and takes the pin.

CHAOS defeated SuzukiGun
4.5/10

I thought I was done with Iizuka after he missed two years of NJPW. I really don't need to see him at 52 pretend to be Japanese George "The Animal" Steele, dragging down matches that Suzuki, Goto and Ospreay are in. We saw an Ishii/Suzuki strike battle, and a face off with Taichi. I'm not sure what it is about Taichi, but everything seems a little slow, a step behind. When your teammates are Iizuka and even Suzuki, a contrast would help. Ospreay beats Taichi with a great looking Storm Runner. Ospreay looked shocked and should have been the story of this match, but Ishii and Suzuki had their own thing going that took away from it. Suzuki beat up young boys after.

LIJ defeated CHAOS
5.5/10

Shingo Takagi is the new member of LIJ. He has one hell of a vertical suplex. I'm so conditioned to not care about these tag matches because there are so many, even though NJPW puts a lot more stock into them, as we saw in the last match. Takagi had to get the win here, and with his finish to establish it and himself as a winner. That's what happens. Last Falconry gets the W.

Jericho

EVIL makes his way out to the ring, but is attacked by one of his druids before he can make the ring to face Zack Sabre Jr. The druid is wearing the IWGP Intercontinental Championship -- It's Chris Jericho, complete with halfway Sting makeup. Sabre still wants him match, and isn't happy about the no contest. He beats up everyone in sight as a result. There's a lot of burying refs, officials and young boys on this show.

Vacant IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Kushida defeated Marty Scurll to win the championship
6/10

Scurll is over in Japan. There's a nice series of pin attempts early in the match, but neither one can get it done. The Diablo Armbar looks amazing, one of the best I've seen. There's a nice transition from the Crossface Chickenwing into a double wristlock from Scurll, using Kushida's move against him. Kushida takes a scary looking chickenwing suplex, followed by a package piledriver, but it doesn't do him in. He tries the Hoverboard Lock, but his fingers are too injured. Back to The Future wins it. New Japan has objectively terrible referees. The count started well before Scurll's shoulders were down.

G1 Briefcase On The Line
Hiroshi Tanahashi (holder) defeated "Switchblade" Jay White (w/ Gedo)
6/10

Tanahashi is attacked early on because Switchblade is New Japan's new dirty son of a bitch, but fights back pretty well and hits a great High Fly Flow to the outside. A great series of reversals lead to a couple of rolling neckbreakers, but White does the spinning brainbuster to stop the momentum. Gedo got involved, and it was kind of funny to see them explain that while he used to be a heel, now he's a SUPER HEEL and the dirty things he used to do weren't as dirty as these things he's doing. Gedo stops a pin off of a High Fly Flow, which leads to Tanahsahi hitting one on a chair. Tanahashi counters the Blade Runner, and ends up winning with a small package. Tanahashi will go on to main event the Tokyo Dome show.

White attacks Tanahashi, who is saved by Okada. Gedo gets beaten up by Okada, but Jado comes in to help him. BCOGs come out and everyone is wearing similar shit, and it's hard to decipher who is doing what. Okada goes to hit Gedo, but Tonga gets a Gun Stun. So was Okada teaming with BCOGs? I get adding Switchblade, but how does what Okada did make sense?

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kenny Omega (c) defeated Kota Ibushi and Cody
6.5/10

Young Bucks are at ringside for this. Omega and Ibushi go for their finish on Cody, but as he escapes, Omega switched to the One Winged Angel, but Ibushi catches him. This is a great dynamic NJPW doesn't get alot of. They have a great spot that ends in a Cody powerslam on Omega and an Ibushi moonsault on Cody. Omega powerbombs Cody through an announce table, that was sold by Romero perfectly by saying "OH SHIT." Ibushi catches Omega with a corkscrew body press to the outside, though. Cody shows back up and shoves Ibushi off the top rope, then does the Mexican Destroyer to Omega. Kenny does a sick V-Trigger to the corner on Cody, and later Ibushi lawn darts Omega into Cody. There was an insane Powerbomb into a German suplex from Cody and Ibushi that AOP should use.

Omega goes through the terrible Japanese table, so now all three have at some point. Ibushi had Cody pinned, but Omega stops the count by holding Red Shoes' hand. Why doesn't Red Shoes just do the count with his other hand? That didn't make sense at all. Ibushi is pissed as Omega pleads with him. The ref also doesn't count with a mounted pin where Ibushi is "controlling" Omega, too.

Two Cross Rhodes hit on Omega -- Ibushi kicks out of the first, and Omega kicks out of the second. Jay Driller, V-Trigger and One Winged Angel get the victory for Omega. The in-ring work was very good in this match.

Rating guide

10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor
Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5. The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.

More