Match Ratings For NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 13, Podcast Notes From Sean Ross Sapp Of

6-Man Tag Gauntlet
Top Contender Match
Togi Makabe, Toru Yano & Ryusuke Taguchi win in 27:47

  • Elite (Page, Scurll, Takahashi with Chase Owens) and Jeff Cobb, Finlay and Yuji Nagata are the first two teams
  • Page and Cobb have really good chemistry, as we found out at Final Battle. There's some Elite miscommunication that leads to Finlay pinning Takahashi. Chase Owens leaves Scurll and Page high and dry
  • Best Friends and Goto are out next. Chuckie and Trent both do great dives on Finlay & Cobb The highlight of this fall is Cobb's double high crotch suplex on Best Friends. Finlay gets the pin.
  • I miss the New Japan Rumble. Also, This is the first time since Wrestle Kingdom I Goto isn't on the main card.
  • Killer Elite Squad and Suzuki are out next. We've already seen talent from AEW, ROH, Lucha Underground and MLW in this NJPW gauntlet match. Either way, a Killer Bomb gets the pin on Finlay. 
  • Taguchi, Makabe and Yano are out next and get their asses kicked. Suzuki bumping for an ass to the face is peak wrestling. Yano missing Taguchi's hand signals was cute. I dunno if I like Yano kicking out of a Hart Attack though. Togi Makabe gets the pin and Suzuki goes OFF.
  • Suzuki beats up people with chairs all over the place.
  • This was just fine. I still prefer the RAMBO.
Top Contender Crowned For NWA Women's Championship, Match Set For NWA Empowerrr


NEVER Openweight Championship
Will Ospreay defeated Kota Ibushi (c) to win the title in 18:13

  • These two get right after it at 100 miles an hour. This couldn't main event, but you had make sure it had the right placement. 
  • Both men have their finishers blocked. Ospreay counters an outside moonsault from Ibushi with a kick to the chest while he's upside down. Just amazing. 
  • Also amazing, Ibushi doing a springboard corkscrew moonsault press to the outside on Ospreay.
  • Both men try for powerbombs and fail in rapid succession before Ospreay snaps off a Spanish Fly.
  • Ibushi slides in with a kind of tame Bomaye. 
  • Ospreay hangs Ibushi upside down and gets in a slap war with him. This serves to piss Ospreay off.
  • There's an awesome callback to their recent camera shot where Ospreay counters athletically, and Ibushi is in disbelief. Ibushi comes back with a gnarly Dudebuster and Ospreay barely kicks out.
  • A nasty back elbow lands for Ospreay and Ibushi dead weights. Ibushi got SHMAKT. Stormbreaker wins it. 
  • That was a great contrast to what I was expecting -- which still would have been awesome.
  • Ibushi has to be carried out on a backboard. If the Ibushi injury is a work, the commentary team is selling it like shit.
  • This was a FAST 18 minutes. 

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles.
LIJ's Shingo Takagi & Bushi defeated Suzuki Gun (c) (Kanemaru & Desperado) and Roppongi 3K (w/ Rocky Romero) to become the champions in 6:51

  • Still wish the tag divisions were combined but I'm pretty sure NJPW doesn't really give much of a shit.
  • Roppongi is really dominating the highlights of this match early on and seem poised to win.
  • BUSHI and Desperado try to spit mist and whiskey and catch each other, which was a cool spot. Bushi almost takes the term suicide dive too literally.
  • Takagi gets a win with Gory Bomb and Last of The Dragon for a good, deep pin.
  • That match happened. 
  • Suzuki-Gun's reign ends at 304 days, 44 shy of Otani and Takaiwa's record.

British Heavyweight Championship
Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Tomohiro Ishii (c) to win the title in 11:37

  • I'm not as in love with Ishii as a lot of people, but I'm interested to see this one.
  • Ishii immediately rocks Sabre's dome with a belly to back suplex. Sabre then works Ishii's arm. 
  • A great counter out of a standing guillotine from Ishii, as he just heaved ZSJ overhead.
  • Interesting superplex spot as ZSJ rolls through and knee drops the arm of Ishii. 
  • I don't get the half hearted chest kicks out of ZSJ. Hilariously, Ishii fires back.
  • This ref's count and cadence is trash. Fits right in with NJPW, despite being a RevPro ref.
  • Sabre wins with a double armbar. This one was shorter than I'd expected. Pretty solid though. 

IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles
LIJ (Evil & Sanada) defeated Bullet Club GOD (c) (Tama Tonga & Tonga Loa) and Elite's Young Bucks to win the titles in 10:16

  • Good Guy Tama is fantastic. He shakes Evil's hand, which counts as a tag and he's pulled outside the ring. 
  • We get a callback for Matt Jackson's back injury, as he's beaten up on the ramp by Evil.
  • There's a lot of hit playing early, and I'm always impressed with how smooth the Bucks hit the You're Dead Neckbreaker.
  • Nick hits a breathtaking corkscrew body press to the outside.
  • Tama Tonga, the Good Guy, refuses to let his brother illegally break Matt Jackson's Sharpshooter. This is FANTASTIC. Instead, they push the rope closer for Evil to grab legally. But technically are there any DQs in this match?
  • Sanada gets a huge pop after everyone misses slingshots to the outside but him. He has the crowd on his side. 
  • I'm not sure if the moonsault Dragon sleeper with Sanada/Matt was supposed to happen that way, but it was fun. Nick flies out of nowhere with a springboard Blockbuster to take Sanada out.
  • Young Bucks take control with superkicks, but a Gun Stun from Tama stops them. Out of nowhere, LIJ hit Magic Killer and a Moonsault on Matt for the win!!

IWGP United States Championship
Juice Robinson defeated Cody (c) (w/ Brandi Rhodes) to become champion in 9:03

  • Cody baits Juice by faking his knee injury and hitting an uppercut. 
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars themed gear from @CodyRhodes and @TheBrandiRhodes. Brandi is trying to bait Juice into hitting her because he'll get DQ'd. I didn't like this spot at all, and the crowd didn't react to it.
  • Juice gets posted but as he's coming back, Brandi spears him with the bionic shoulder. She gets caught and is kicked out.
  • Cody hits Cross Rhodes, and it's kicked out of. Juice returns the favor. Cody ends up getting Pulp Friction for two.
  • Juice has some amazing punches, and sets up his big one, then plants Cody with Pulp Friction. He does a second one and wins.
  • Cody is off to have surgery and start a company now. Juice should get a nice push with the title.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Taiji Ishimori defeated Kushida (c) to win the title

  • A little kid in an eerily accurate Kushida mask comes out. Doc Brown turns the kid into the actual Kushida. Wow.
  • Last year, no Wrestle Kingdom matches went under 14 minutes. So far, only one has went over that on the main card
  • Ishimori is ready to be the new ace of this division, and Kushida has done everything he can.
  • Ishimori goes for his finish, but Kushida props Ishimori up on the ref and kicks him. A great spot. 
  • Kushida applies the Hoverboard Lock, but Ishimori goes into a big Attitude Adjustment powerslam​​​​​​.
  • Kushida rolls through an Ishimori attack and gets a Small Package Driver and a big punch to the face, but walks into a Mushroom Stomp.
  • Bloody Cross hits for the clean Ishimori pin

"Switchblade" Jay White (w/ Gedo) defeated Kazuchika Okada in 14:20

  • Okada has his shorts back! Okada's nads are properly compressed again and he's gonna fight like it god dammit.
  • He gets dropped over the top rope and sent into the barricade. He's back in and dropkicks Jay White outside.
  • Gedo tries to attack and hilariously is tossed over the barricade, with the gate hitting him in the head. Okada body presses them and the crowd is pumped.
  • White hits a uranage that is more like a Freak Accident, but can't land the Blade Runner. 
  • White tries to use a chair, but gets sent into Gedo and two big Okada dropkicks hit. He's stopped with a nice half nelson suplex when he tries a Rainmaker, though. 
  • White uses a Kiwi Crusher, and the pin looked like three, but it's not. He eats a Tombstone next.
  • They go into a great series of counters and reversals in and out of Tombstones, Rainmakers and Blade Runners, with none hitting until an Okada spinning lariat. White fires back with a quick Blade Runner for the win. 
  • Jay White performed on Okada's level, and that was a blast. But man, this show feels really, really rushed. 110 minutes of action this year through 8 Wrestle Kingdom matches compared to 146 at this point last year.
  • This seemed so unceremonious. Not the Okada epic we've come to know. ELITE performance out of him, though.

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
No DQ Match
Tetsuya Natio defeated Chris Jericho (c) to win the title

  • Jericho attacks, but gets piledriven onto a table. Nasty.
  • After getting worked over, Jericho DRILLS Naito with a kendo stick IN THE HEAD. Filthy. 
  • Jericho hits one of the nastiest DDTs of all time on a table that doesn't give at all, and Naito is spiked. Jericho rings the bell for himself, which was funny. 
  • Fortunately Naito is okay and goes on an offensive tear. He tries to go outside in with a dropkick in the corner and gets caught in a Walls of Jericho.
  • Naito gets out and scores a big swinging DDT and Gloria. Naito wears out Jericho with the kendo stick. This is a really fun brawl.
  • Naito winds up like he's swinging a baseball bat and misses, walking into an amazing Codebreaker that he sells great.
  • Jericho drags in a ton of chairs, but ends up getting a Codebreaker from his opponent. He also eats a German suplex onto chairs. 
  • Why did Jericho need to shove the ref for the low blow? There's No DQ. Either way, it happens off of a Destino attempt from Naito. 
  • Naito has more luck with a Destino this time around, but only gets a two. The title belt has been brought in the ring and we get a couple of great shots of it that put things in perspective. 
  • Naito cracks Jericho with the title belt and Destino and gets the win.
  • What will be the age where Chris Jericho can't have a good match? Because it doesn't look like it's happening any time soon.
  • Jericho smacks a worker at ringside.


IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Kenny Omega (c) (w/ Young Bucks) to win the title

  • Omega comes out with a One Winged Angel style gear and the Young Bucks. 
  • There's some really good back and forth action that leads to Omega bodyslamming Tanahashi over the barricade onto the table.
  • Omega follows up with a barricade moonsault and patronizes the Japanese announcer who was taken out. 
  • Tanahashi has spent some good time working over Omega's leg, but it doesn't keep Kenny from getting a big Kitaro Crusher.
  • Tanahashi somersault senton, Omega frankensteiner, and then Omega eats shit on a tope con hilo, even though he takes out Tanahashi too. That was a rough landing. Tanahashi didn't even make an attempt to catch him. 
  • A V-Trigger hits, as does the rolling Samoan, but Omega tweaks his knee and Tanahashi comes back with a rope hung dragon screw leg whip. 
  • Omega is bumping like crazy. There's one of the most brutal knee up counters I've ever seen when Omega killed Tanahashi's High Fly Flow attempt. 
  • Tanahashi -- to an outstanding pop -- gets a Styles clash on Omega three years after Omega kicked AJ Styles out of Bullet Club. Tanahashi follows up with a great Slingblade on the apron.
  • Tanahashi tries to play Omega's game, and wants to hit a High Fly Flow through a table at ringside. Instead Omega moves and Tanahashi eats whatever substance those tables are made out of. 
  • Omega slams Tanahashi with a series of powerbombs that I'm not sure Tanahashi kicked out of. 
  • They're standing and trading, and Omega gets the best of it and mocks Tanahashi with a Slingblade and High Fly Flow of his own. Tanahashi KICKS OUT AT ONE. 
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi with a reverse huracanrana out of a One Winged Angel almost brought me out of my seat. He follows up with a Dragon Suplex.
  • The story being told here is nothing short of amazing. Tanahashi gets two High Fly Flows, but Omega gets the shoulder up. Tanahashi tries another and gets V-Triggered.
  • A snap dragon superplex and a V-Trigger land, but a One Winged Angel is turned into some sort of Meteora by Tanahashi.
  • Hiroshi gets a Slingblade and a High Fly Flow and wins!
  • This was a blast, a must watch.


Ratings 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.

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