Strong Style: Off to NEVERland


WrestleKingdom 11 Continues!

Greetings, everyone and welcome to Strong Style, Japanator's look at New Japan Pro Wrestling on AXS TV. This week we take a third look from action from the WrestleKingdom 11 show from the Tokyo Dome. We have the two NEVER Titles on the line as we have a six-man tag gauntlet match for the six-man belts and a hot one for the NEVER Openweight title. So let's go back to January 4, 2017, for our action!

We get the English exclusive opening as the announcer runs down tonight's action.

NEVER Openweight 6 man Title Gauntlet Match: Satoshi Kojima/ Dave Finlay jr./Ricochet vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Sananda, EVIL, Bushi) vs. CHAOS (Yoshi Hashi, Will Ospreay, Jado) vs. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, Hangman Page)

Ricochet's team are the defending champions against representatives of the three big groups in New Japan. Gauntlet rules with two teams starting until there is a pinfall or submission and then the next team comes in and then the next team. Jado is a replacement on the CHAOS team for Ishii who was put into the tag title match shown last week.

The Bullet Club is out first lead by Takahashi and some HOLY MOLY, HAWT WOMEN! Oh yeah, Page and Fale too. Screw them, there is this one woman in a barely-there outfit and a bunny mask. *drool*


The CHAOS team enter next so we have our first match up here. We have a Tony Garea reference. Ospreay is in his "I'm kinda like Okada" mode with bleached and styled hair and black and gold outfit. He is also the Rev Pro Cruiserweight champion.

MATCH 1: The Club attack before the bell with everyone going all over the place. We have Yoshi and Fale in the ring as Fale goes for the corner splash but Hashi ducks and lands a running clothesline. Yoshi brings Fale into the center of the ring and tries another clothesline, but it doesn't do much except knock Yoshi back a step. Fale grabs Yoshi by the throat and goes for the grenade early but Yoshi slips out. Yoshi ducks a clothesline and an elbow before coming off the ropes and hitting the clothesline. Yoshi tries a half nelson but Fale is so big he just goes forward and puts Yoshi on the ropes where Yujiro hits a weak knee strike to his back. Fale turns around and clotheslines Yoshi right over the top rope. Yujiro goes out and holds Yoshi as Page comes in and nails Yoshi with the boot to the face before rolling right back into the ring and Fale.

Fale runs Yoshi into Yujiro's boot before Yujiro tags in legally now. Yujiro slaps him a few times and snapmares him over before landing a running legdrop. Cover only get two. Page now tags in both guys take out the other team on the apron but we instead get a shot of the ladies at ringside.  Yoshi gets sent to the buckle where Page lands a clothesline and Yujiro hits a running boot. Page lands a running DDT but the cover again only gets two. Page gets in a waistlock as JR wonders the benefits of entering the ring with scantily clad ladies. Yoshi breaks the waistlock Page gets a shot in and goes for the suplex but Yoshi counters it into a neckbreaker. Yoshi tags in Ospreay.

Will jumps in and takes Page down with a few jumping axhandles and then takes out both Yujiro and Fale on the apron with one dropkick. Page tries to clothesline him in the corner but Will slips out and onto the apron. He sticks his legs between the ropes and sends Page flying out to the floor. Will hits the ropes and does a cartwheel into a backward dive over the top rope to take out the Bullet Club on the floor!

Page and will in the ring now as Will hits a springboard strike to Page. Ospreay gets a running start and hits a standing shooting star press and tries to go for the middle rope moonsault but misses, lands on his feet, misses again, lands on his feet, and finally lands a third one before springing to the middle rope and hitting a sky twister press! Cover only gets two. As Page gets to his knee Will does a spinning kick in the air and brings the foot down on Page. He then goes for the springboard stunner but Page catches him. He shoots Will off who hangs on to the ropes but Page charges and miss Will. As Will goes to the other ropes Page flies in and flattens him with a running clothesline. Count only gets two.

Page scoops up Will for the Alabama slam but Will hooks the ropes and goes to the apron, landing a kick to Page's head. Will tries a slingshot something but Yujiro pushes him over the ropes. Page finally tags out to Yujiro.  They shoot Will into the ropes but miss the double clothesline and Will hits them with a backward spinning double kick! Will then rolls over and tags the veteran Jado. Yoshi comes in and nails Page with a clothesline in the corner. Will hits a kick and Jado hits a clothesline before Yoshi hits a running blockbuster. Count only gets two but Jado reverses it into a crossface. Fale comes in a breaks that up. Yoshi strikes Fale and he and Jado try a double clothesline but Fale runs right over both of them. Fale flattens Jado in the corner and throws him down right into a Yujiro low dropkick. Pin attempt gets two before Will breaks it up. Page drives him from the ring and hits a moonsault from the apron outside on Will to take him out. In the ring, Yujiro hits the low DDT on Jado and gets the three count.

Back from the commercial as Los Ingobernables de Japon enter the arena. EVIL has on a new robe with semi-religious sacraments on them while Bushi is decked out in gold and black. They get their gear off quickly as we start the next match.

MATCH 2: Sanada and Yujiro start us off here. As they circle Page comes in and nails Sanada from behind as outside Fale pulls the other two guys off the apron. Page and Yujiro nail Sanada down and hit him with a leg drop/senton combo. Josh points out that Sanada actually took the test to enter the New Japan dojo but ended up training with Great Muta instead. Fale comes in and nails a BIG splash on Sanada as Yujiro goes for the cover but gets two when both Bushi and EVIL break up the pin. They are both sent out as Page and Yujiro again double up on Sanada who hits a few punches but the Club just kick him.

Sanada goes to the corner when Page tries a charge but is sent over the top rope while Yujiro nails the running boot. Page climbs up for the double team but EVIL pushes him off the rope and Sanada escapes the hold in the ring. Sanada gets a waistlock on Yujiro but in trying to counter Sanada takes down the ref. Yujiro turns around and gets hit by a lung blower from Bushi instead. Fale comes in but Bushi sends him flying over the top rope and lands a suicide dive to take out the big guy!  Sanada and EVIL get chairs and give Yujiro the horse collar and a whack before Sanada gets in the dragon sleeper for the submission.

The champions come out next. Ricochet is wearing a crown for some reason. Finlay is the son of longtime grappler Dave "Fit" Finlay and is relatively fresh from being a young boy. He was picked as the replacement for Matt Sydal after he got caught at the border with both real and fake weed and was kicked out of the country. Japan REALLY doesn't take well to dope possession and Sydal is lucky he's not in the hole right now.

MATCH 3:  LIJ attacks the champs in the aisle way to kick this off. Ricochet and Sanada enter the ring and the bell sounds. ricochet gets in a spinning leg scissors and spins Sanada around. Ricochet hits a dropkick to send Sanada to the floor as Finlay comes in. They hit the ropes and land a double dive over the top rope to take out Los Ingobernables and land on their feet! Sanada gets into the ring where he gets sent into the corner. Finlay hits him with a running clothesline and so does  Kojima and where Sanada falls to the mat Ricochet hits him with a standing shooting star press. Finlay tries for the pin but gets two.

Finlay tries to whip Sanada to the buckle but Sanada reverses. He tries for a splash but Finlay nails him with an elbow. Finlay goes to the second rope but Sanada pulls him right off with a splat on the mat. Sanada goes over and tags Bushi who comes in and takes off his shirt before choking Finlay with it. The ref gets in Bushi's face as Finlay gets up. he reverses the whip on Bushi and nails Bushi with a flying elbow.

Ricochet and Sanada tag in and he goes to town. He strikes Sanada and ducks between the ropes as Sanada charges. With Sanada in the corner Ricochet persons a 619 to send him down. When EVIL tries to grab his leg he cartwheels to avoid and then takes out EVIL at ringside. He gets back on the apron for a springboard clothesline on Sanada to send him down. Bushi comes in and Ricochet nails him with a northern lights suplex that he holds on and rolls through to hit Bushi with a vertical suplex. Cover only gets two. Ricochet scoops Bushi up in a fireman's carry but Bushi escapes. he goes for a kick but Ricochet avoids it, only to get kicked with the other leg. Both guys roll over and make tags.

Kojima and EVIL come in with Satoshi hitting a kick. EVIL tries the charge but ends up in the corner where Kojima starts his rapid fire chops. Sanada tries to interfere but Koji catches him and hits more rapid chops. Sanada falls down and Kojima starts chopping EVIL again. He whips EVIL into the opposite corner and lands a flying forearm. He goes to the apron but Sanada nails him to send him to the mat. Bushi and EVIL knock the other guys off the apron and Kojima is in trouble. Bushi whips him into the buckles and nails him with double knee. Kojima then walks into an EVIL kick and then Sanada kicks him as well. EVIL hits the ropes and nails a clothesline but the pin only gets two.

EVIL signals for the end and sets Kojima up for the STO but Kojima counters into a DDT. Kojima tags in ricochet who takes out Bushi but Sanada comes in and stops that with a kick. Sanada hits the ropes but Finlay comes in and holds Sanada say Ricochet hits him with a jumping kick. Finlay hangs on and scoops him into a fireman's carry and tosses him right into both of Ricochet's knees! EVIL comes in and Finlay scoops him up in the fireman's carry as he runs to the opposite corner where Ricochet is on top. EVIL slides out and Finlay crashes into the corner and Ricochet takes a flying leap down only for EVIL to LAUNCH him into the air where he meets Bushi who hits him with a lung blower! Ricochet doesn't come down right as he just comes straight out of the air on that.

Kojima comes in and EVIL sends him to the middle rope where Sanada dropkicks him. Finlay comes into the ring and tries to hit a clothesline but misses and Sanada hits the slingshot kick to send Finlay down. EVIL and Sanada try to double team on Kojima but he just nails Sanada and hits a Koji cutter on EVIL. Kojima springs up and nails Bushi off the buckle as he signals for the big lariat. He gets a running start but EVIL blocks it only for Kojima to nail him with the other arm! He tries for a pin but Sanada comes in and breaks it up by trying to lock in the Dragon sleeper. Kojima counters that into a big suplex. He whips EVIL in but EVIL grabs the ref as Bushi comes in and hits Kojima with the mist. Evil hits a powerbomb and Sanada hits his STO on Kojima and they score the pin to win the titles for Los Ingobernables!

NEVER Openweight Title: Katsuyoshi Shibata vs. Hirooki Goto

There are two stories going on with this match. One is that Goto is trying to win a big match on the biggest stage. He has a reputation of being a choke artist and not being able to with the big one. I'm not sure fighting for the third string title in a third from the top match is the best place to prove that untrue, but whatever. The other story here is that when asked about his former partner joining CHAOS as a way to change his focus and attitude, Shibata answered that all that really changed with Goto's ring gear and now he was just Okada's lacky who still couldn't win the big one. Them's fighting words.

We come back from commercial with our main event this week. Goto comes out first with his haunting entrance video of him under the waterfall. Goto is decked out in red, gold, and black. JR goes over these two guys' history starting from being on the same wrestling team in school and how Shibata got an instant invite to the New Japan Dojo because of his father, but he put in a good word to get Goto into the dojo as well. Together they dreamed of being the tag champions which they did two years ago at Wrestlekingdom 9.

Shibata comes out in his usual way with the NEVER belt and also a British title he has won recently. His upper back near his neck has a big amount of tape on it and so does his knee so he's been in a fight recently. JR tells us that the other belt is the Rev Pro British title that he won from Zach Sabre Jr.

Bell rings and both guys give each other the evil eye. They start with a circle and we see Masa Chono at ringside. Goto goes for the lock up but Shibata lands a kick. They lock up with Shibata gets him into the ropes but backs off clean. Goto charges ahead and Shibata gets the headlock that Goto reverses into a headlock. Shibata tries to shoot him off but doesn't get it. Shibata counters into a hammerlock and takes Goto over. Shibata tries a punt kick but Goto moves. Shibata locks in and armbar into a wristlock. He tucks the arm under Goto's head and stomps on it! Goto rolls to the apron but Shibata goes right for him and locks in a sleeper for a four count. He breaks but gets a running start for a knee that sends Goto to the floor.

Shibata rolls him in and stomps on the bad arm a few times before getting a short arm scissors, but nearly gets rolled into a pin but Shibata counters. Shibata tries to transition into an armlock but Goto gets to the ropes. The hold is broken and Shibata gets up and kicks Goto with short kicks to the head. Shibata with a forearm and Shibata goes for a running clothesline but Goto lands the clothesline. He whips Shibata in the corner but misses the charge. Shibata lands a few hard strikes but Goto slips out and nails Shibata with a big forearm of his own.

Back after the commercial with both guys down Goto hits the corner clothesline and climbs up for a top rope elbow and a 2 count. Shibata sits up as Goto lands some strong kicks but Shibata is just sitting there taking it. Goto, you pissed him off! Shibata stands up and Goto fires a kick but Shibata catches it and lands a strong chop to the chest. He strikes Goto down in the corner and hits the sweet hanging dropkick. Shibata hits a half hatch suplex but only gets two. Shibata picks Goto back up and puts him in the abdominal stretch. Goto gets to the ropes but Shibata suplex him but he gets right back up. They have a hateful stare down and start trading kicks. Shibata suplexes Goto again but Goto pops back up. Shibata tries for the ropes but Goto grabs his hair and brings him down backward on the knee. As they both get up Shibata hits a clotheslines and Goto meets him with that. Shibata goes for the leg with an ankle lock that he transfers into a German suplex but Goto rolls throw it and hits a clothesline.

Shibata tries for a running move but Goto scoops him up on the shoulders but Shibata slides out and locks in the rear choke. Goto struggles to the ropes but can't make it. Shibata gets Goto down and with the legs scissors on top of the sleeper. Goto gets his hand in the lock and rolls it over to reach the ropes. Shibata tries to grab Goto but he still has the ropes. Shibata finally gets Goto in control but Got fires off a headbutt and then a second one before they both fall to the mat.

Shibata gets up and hits the ropes but Goto catches him and hits the ushigoroshi. Goto goes for the GTR but Shibata blocks it, but gets hit with the shotenkai instead! Goto is fired up now and throws some kicks but Shibata pops right up and they start hitting each other. Goto starts firing headbutts and hits the reverse GTR and then hits the regular GTR! Goto gets the pin! Goto wins the championship on the big stage!

The ref presents Goto with the belt and it takes him a few moments to realize where he is. Both guys leave ringside in pain and loopy after that one.

Backstage Goto says tonight is the result of a year's effort He now believes in himself. He tells Shibata to rest and heal so they can fight again down the road.

Wow, this show was past paced. Before I knew it, it was already over. What action! Nothing of note was clipped which surprises and pleases me. JR and Josh once again were on for this show and it was a lot of fun!

Next week we conclude WrestleKingdom action with the Juniors division as well as Cody Rhodes! See you then!

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Soul Tsukino
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Soul Tsukino lives in the state of Maine. When not enveloping himself in a new fiction story he also comments on happenings in the animation and Otaku fan scene. A creative writer since he was yo... more + disclosures



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