This past week, New Japan Pro Wrestling ran a show in the United States for the first time in their 45 year old history.
Their two night shows in Long Beach, California definitely did not disappoint, with the company bringing all of their big names along for the two special shows. So without further ado let us get an in depth analysis of the two shows.
Night 1: The first night had a very strong card with CHAOS, Bullet Club, LIJ and Taguchi Japan all the stables being in action. In other tag team action Guerrillias of Destiny were set to defend their IWGP tag titles against War Machine. In singles action we had the first round qualifiers of the IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion tournament. The mainevent of the evening was IWGP Heavyweight champion, Kazuchika Okada defending his title against current Ring of Honor champion, Cody.
In the first match, CHAOS picked up the win with Rocky Romero getting the pinfall for his side with a quick roll up.
In the second match, the team of Evil, Bushi, Sanada and Hiromu picked up the win against Dragon Lee, Jushin Liger Thunder, Titan and Volador Jr.
The next bout was the first match of the IWGP US title qualifiers with Jay Lethal taking on Bullet Club member, Hangman Page. Lethal managed to get past Page with an easy win.
The following match was between Suzuki Gun member, Zack Sabre Jr and Juice Robinson. The match was a typical ZSJ match, with Sabre Junior being very technical and picking up the win.
The next match on the card was another tag team match with two teams led by Hiroshi Tanahashi and Billy Gunn respectively. Tanahashi’s side picked up the win after a 9 minute match.
The sixth match, was War Machine facing off against G.O.D with the IWGP tag titles on the line in a no disqualification match. This match had the only title change of the night when War Machine picked up the win after a brutal table spot and became two time tag team champions.
Next up, we were back with US Title qualifying matches and this bout was between LIJ leader, Tetsuya Naito and CHAOS member, Tomohiro Ishii. Ishii bested Naito for the win and setting up a match against ZSJ. The match itself was very amazing and some fans are also actually calling it a match of the year contender.
Match number eight, was between Michael Elgin facing off against rival and Bullet Club leader, Kenny Omega. Elgin went on into the match holding two straight wins over Kenny. This was by far the best match of the night and also another potential match of the year contender, Kenny picked up the win after hitting a one winged angel.
The main event of the night was a 27 minute match, it was definitely not the best Kazuchika Okada match but the match itself was pretty decent. Okada defeated Cody after hitting The Rainmaker.
Night 2: The second show started off with a tag team match where Jushin Thunder Liger and Taguchi Japan defeated Tempura Boyz and YoshiTatsu.
The second match was the first semifinal match of the US Title tournament between Kenny Omega and Jay Lethal. The Bullet Club leader picked up the win after hitting a One Winged Angel and advanced to the finals.
The third match was the second semifinal, where ZSJ faced off against Ishii. Ishii picked up the win after the Vertical Drop Brainbuster and set up an epic final against Kenny Omega.
The next match on the card was another tag team match where Juice, Dragon Lee, Volador Jr, Titan and Jay White picked up the win against LIJ.
The fifth bout was Bullet Club with Chase Owens and King Haku at ringside defeating War Machine and Michael Elgin.
The next match was the first title match of the evening with the Young Bucks defending their IWGP Jr. tag titles against Roppongi Vice. The match itself was pretty great and one of the best junior tag matches of the year, the Young Bucks picked up the win via a Sharpshooter. After the match Ricochet made his return to the company and challenged the Young Bucks for the titles with Ryuske Taguchi being his partner. Soon after that Rocky Romero took the mic and spoke about a five year plan that RPG Vice made years ago, the plan was for the duo to win both the junior tag titles and the Super Jr. Tag Team which they did. Hence, it was time for RPG Vice to officially disband and Trent moving up to the heavyweight division.
The seventh bout was Bullet Club taking on CHAOS. Bullet Club picked up the win thanks to Cody for picking up the pinfall after hitting the Cross Rhodes on Will Ospreay.
The eight match was between Billy Gunn and Hiroshi Tanahashi with the IWGP IC title on the line. Both men put up a really good match, definitely better than expected, in the end Tanahashi retained his title via pinfall.
The mainevent of the evening was Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii to determine the first ever IWGP US Heavyweight champion. The match was brilliant and went on for a staggering 31 minutes, finally after a grueling battle it was Kenny Omega picked up the win with a wrist clutch One Winged Angel to become the first ever IWGP US Heavyweight champion.