Match Ratings For NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 14 Night One From Sean Ross Sapp

Yuya Uemura, Yota Tsuji, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe vs. Alex Coughlin, Clark Connors, Karl Fredericks, & Toa Henare

  • Wild to hear Kevin Kelly discuss the legitimacy of the sellout.
  • Chris Charlton is sliding in well with nice facts. Rocky Romero sounds just like Eddie Bravo. Four people int the booth is too much, but at 2:30 AM, it's not the worst. I need as little dead air as possible.
  • Honma hitting the headbutt gets the pop
  • The LA Dojo ends up winning thanks to Toa Henare. Sure
  • A perfectly fine opener, but considering the number of people just doing random ass tags on this show I think a New Japan Rumble should have happened.
ACH vs. Kevin Ku Signed For March 10 MLW FUSION

Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan def. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata

  • New Contract Nagata dumping fools on their heads.
  • This is fine. Tencozy are still over. Nakanishi bows on his way out of the ring.
  • At least it was short, I guess. No harm.
  • Tencozy win.

Ryusuke Taguchi, Tatsuhito Takaiwa, Shinjiro Otani & Naoki Sano (w/Kuniaki Kobayashi) defeated Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Tiger Mask IV, The Great Sasuke & Tatsumi Fujinami (w/El Samurai)

  • There was a good 25 minutes between matches. The entrances here take like 15-20, but it's worth it.
  • Sano hits a suicide dive, and hits hard. He looks worse for wear.
  • The work here is stiff as shit. Also, these fellas are OLD. A Tiger Driver takes Tiger Mask out as he does it.
  • Sasuke HILARIOUSLY gets booted to the edge of the ringside area.
  • Sasuke is back and takes a good superplex.
  • This is pretty good.
  • Taguchi lands his signature Ass 2 Faces and then pins Liger with a Dodon.

Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & El Desparado) defeated Los Ingobernables (Sanada, Evil, Bushi & Shingo Takagi)

  • Just good, exciting work here. As inconsequential as it may be, they not only kept the crowd, but built on it from the last match. No easy task.
  • Sabre ends up tapping out Bushi.
  • This is worth seeing. It's a conundrum, because if you're in a crunch, this one won't rank high on the priority list, but it's good.
  • Sabre wouldn't let go of the hold and Sanada goes after him.

Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii, Yoshi-Hashi, Hirooki Goto & Toru Yano) defeated Bullet Club (Kenta, Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens)

  • Fale takes way too goddamn long to get to the ring. Yano wants to start the match until he realizes it's against Fale.
  • Ishii is the biggest little man ever. Fale abuses him, and reminds him of how big he is.
  • This is really just move, take the center, move, take the center.
  • The moves are good, at least.
  • "AHHHH HOLY SHIT!" - Gino when Ishii hit the brainbuster on Fale. That was amazing.
  • Goto beats Takahashi with the GTR. I miss the Shouten Kai.

IWGP Tag Team Titles
Fin Juice (Juice Robinson and David Finlay) defeated Guerrillas of Destiny (c)

  • FIN JUICE is a dumbass team name, and their outfits are out of the Fashion Police playbook. Juice cut his hair and just decided he could do anythingEither way, they won Tag League to get here.
  • Finlay is taken out and Tama is beating ass with his title belt still on.
  • Finlay sells his previously injured shoulder so well.
  • This isn't great, but Finlay is a highlight. Juice has some nice spinebusters, too.
  • Ready for NJPW to just combine the tag divisions. There's no need to separate them anymore .
  • Juice hits the ropes hard with his hamstring.
  • A couple of big double team finishes hit on Finlay, including a Magic Killer, but Juice breaks it up. He gets one too.
  • Jado calls for a super powerbomb, but Finlay frankensteiners through. Jado cracks him with a kendo stick.
  • This match got HOT for that seqeunce. Unfortunately, it's a little sloppy after.
  • Pulp Friction on Loa, then they finish off Tama. New tag team champions.

IWGP United States Championship
Texas Death Match
Jon Moxley defeated Lance Archer (c)

  • Lance Archer is beating the living shit out of Moxley. Chairs, sticks, anything.
  • Shota Umino should have been brought in for this.
  • Moxley brutalizes Archer with a chair, stick and his knee.
  • Archer catches a Moxley dive with a chokeslam, then decks a young lion, then chokeslams him onto Moxley, and then dives onto everyone.
  • Archer hits the Blackout onto a bunch of chairs! Moxley pulls an armbar out of nowhere.
  • Moxley gets the a short version of Paradigm Shift, but Archer is up with the Derailer.
  • Lance Archer is suffocating Jon Moxley with a shopping bag!!
  • Moxley hits the Death Rider (Dirty Deeds/Paradigm Shift) off the apron through a couple tables. That's a wrap.
  • This was awesome. Lance Archer just capped off the biggest year of his career at 42 years old.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Hiromu Takahashi defeated Will Ospreay (c) to become champion

  • The pace starts off breakneck, no pun intended. Then Ospreay slows it down and works Hiromu's neck.
  • They do one of the craziest, most ambitious goddamn spots. A Sasuke special that starts with a dive over the top rope, into a countered German Suplex, but then a belly to belly suplex through the ropes back into the ring. Wow.
  • There's a wild avalanche body scissors bomb by Takahashi that is teased a while before it hits.
  • Ospreay gets a shooting star press and an Oscutter but the ref's count is really anticlimactic. 
  • Strike trade leads to a German suplex counter to the Oscutter.
  • Canadian Destroyer, corner Death Valley Driver don't do it for Hiromu, and the Spanish Fly and back elbow can't win it for Ospreay.
  • Ospreay kicks out of the Time Bomb. A new finish wins it for Takahashi.
  • That was unbelievable. Outside of the ref's absolutely shitty count, this ruled.
  • That Sasuke Special spot was my favorite of the show. 

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Double Gold Dash Qualifier
Tetsuya Naito defeated Jay White (c)

  • Early on, this is the victim of match placement. The pace is good, but its following a match of the year candidate.
  • This is also very good, but tough for the spot its in.
  • Jay White is in insane shape.
  • Kevin Kelly mentions Naito possibly retiring if he loses. I get that another WK loss would be tough, but c'mon. 
  • There was a filthy suplex to the apron.
  • Naito's leg gets worked over heavily, which really picks up the story mid-way through the match. He falls over trying to run ropes, and misses a run-up tornado DDT.
  • White hits a Kiwi Crusher and a spinning suplex before applying a leglock.
  • Gedo gets in the ring when Naito takes control, but it doesn't help.
  • Naito is thrown into Red Shoes. What's it matter? White wouldn't get DQ'd anyway. Either way, ballshot on Naito, then Naito does one on Gedo. White cracks Naito with a chair, though. 
  • This match is no longer the victim of placement.
  • Jay White spits on Naito when doing a sleeper suplex, then goes for Switchblade, but Naito counters to Destino. 
  • Poisonrana and Destino hit for Naito, but White kicks out. 
  • A series of counters leads to a filthy brainbuster and Destino
  • I liked the match a lot, but finshers just being kicked out of repeatedly seems like it's gonna happen a ton this weekend, and I don't think that match needed it. 


IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Double Gold Dash Qualifier
Kazuchika Okada (c) defeated Kota Ibushi to retain

  • NJPW misses the Okada NEW SHORTS unveiling. Unforgivable.
  • The pace of this isn't quite that of most Ibushi matches, but as is with the case of Okada, it'll get there.
  • Ibushi looks every bit the Wrestle Kingdom main eventer that he should be. 
  • Ibushi's counter to powerslam and moonsault was great. Him landing flat on his head on a headscissors wasn't though. 
  • Okada's dropkick sends Ibushi outside, and it's about to go down. 
  • Ibushi gets a Dudebuster and a giant Golden Triangle. Okada counters a Bomaye with a big dropkick.
  • Out of nowhere a big Shotgun Dropkick lands. Ibushi is cracking Okada with a ton of big strikes. Hard ones. Boy, Kota Ibushi is beating the ever loving shit out of Okada.
  • Ibushi hits his own Rainmaker, too. 
  • The offense gets insane. Tombstone on the apron, Reverse Neckbreaker.
  • Rainmaker hits, and it's a doozy. Ibushi gets folded up after landing on his head about 42 times. He kicks out. 
  • Okada wraps it up and wins with a second Rainmaker. The crowd was insane for this. 
  • That was a fantastic match, a fantastic event and a fantastic night one. 

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.
These are opinions, and incredibly inconsistent ones that may change upon a second viewing, or sitting on the match for a period of time. Don't take them too seriously, and have (and share) your own!


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