Wrestle Kingdom 11
As explained previously, japanese wrestling is kind of weird to watch when you are used to american wrestling because the setup is weird. Maybe its just the venue here though. The crowd is much farther away from the ring with the ring being boxed in by fences which is what the wrestlers run into during moves "on the outside". The ring itself is also a lot different with the just a straight turnbuckle pad and a much wider ring apron. Plus a very fast count to twenty for countouts that is announced over the PA system as well as by the ref, and a time-limit. The time-limit didn't come into play but it is still weird to hear someone announce "ten minutes passed" during the match. Also very surprising was the ridiculous amount of audible swearing from the competitors.
Much of this event was framed as a fight between three different major factions: Bullet Club, Los Ingobernables de Japon and Chaos, all of which can be kind of heelish though I guess of the three Chaos is the most face.
The event also had 11 matches, 8 of them for belts as both NJPW and ROH had championship matches.
Pre-Show had a Rumble match with a bunch of old favorites even I know about, like Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask and Billy Gunn. It was fine but it is kind of weird that in this Rumble you could also eliminate someone by pinning them or submission, which actually happened a couple of times including the end where Michael Elgin (who entered as #1) binned a Ring of Honor guy named Cheeseburger, who is tiny by wrestling standards.
Main show started with kind of a show match that ties into the Tiger Mask W anime series, with both guys wearing the masks from the show. It was pretty decent though nothing special.
Then there was the first of eight title matches with The Young Bucks defending against Roppongi Vice. The Young Bucks had a nice bit of pageantry when they showed up wearing a gold outfit and a total of four sets of tag-team belts including one they just made up. The match was very good with The Young bucks doing some great heel tag-team wrestling but they had a bunch of miscommunications where they hit each other at least three times which is a bit much. Their endless use of Superkicks also become kind of annoying after a while. The match ended a bit weird with a simple rollup by RPG Vice who took one set of titles off the shoulders of the Young Bucks.
Next was a six-man tag team gauntlet match which started with The Bullet Club against Chaos. In direct contrast to the first, kids-friendly match with quasi-anime characters fighting each other, The Bullet Club showed up leading what I can only describe as a Ho Train including a BDSM easter bunny girl. Sex Sells I guess. The match however was really good I was particularly impressed by Will Ospreay and all his crazy flippy shit he pulled including several standing shooting star presses. Unfortuantely Chaos lost regardless. Next out were Daryl Surat's favorites: Los Ingobernables de Japon. And I can see why just by looking at Sanada who looks like he was ripped straight out of a Final Fight game. After a cool chair spot LIJ took out The Bullet Club and advanced to face the Champions David Finlay, Ricochet and Satoshi Kojima, whom they dispatched after some more foul play by spitting "a mist" into Kojima's eyes.
"The American Nightmare" Cody (Rhodes) vs. Juice Robinson. Cody is of course the son of "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes and brother of Goldust and wrestled for a long time in WWE as Stardust, a character that he hated and so he just quit last year. Cody has since been touring the independent circuit and has according to everything I read reinvented and established himself as a top notch wrestler who was completely underused before. In this match he fights for Bullet Club. Robinson was also in WWE but mostly as a jobber in FCW/NXT where he played an holier than thou eco warrior character named CJ Parker, as his big dreadlocks dictate. The two put together a good show and Cody also really impressed. And then Cody antagonized the american commentary team in a great heel move.
Adam Cole Bay Bay vs. Kyle O'Reilly. O'Reilly has a strong striking style which just looks impressive and reminds me a lot of Daniel Bryan, though he is a bit larger. It doesn't surprise me that he is ROH World champion going in. Adam Cole also had some nice strikes and his Last Shot finisher looks great. It however took three of them to put away O'Reilly but he did. Also happy that the american commentators were drawing comparisons to hockey.
G.B.H. vs. Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Chaos in a three way tag team match. This is the kind of stipulation match I don't really like because it basically means only two of the three teams has an active person in a match and basically the third team must either get tagged in by someone else or try to tag itself in. It hardly works as a concept and always devolves into a spot-fest as it did here. Still looks great though. Also no match had more swearing it in this one and the american commentary team laughed its ass off because of it. Chaos took the championship here after a double low-blow followed by a double lariat on the Guerrillas (who btw look really great in their ring outfit).
Kushida vs. Hiromu Takahashi. Takahashi is a member of LIJ, while Kushida showed up dressed like Marty McFly. Really weird attire with a jeans shirt and an orange plastic vest. I guess that's the gimmick of his tag team though since they are called "Time Splitters", though its quite on the nose with it to the point where it's a bit ridiculous. The match opened with a big flying spot to the outside which repeated during the match with the roles reversed. Very strong performance by both in this particularly during Takahashi's attempts to get out of Kushida's "Hoverboard Lock". Takahashi wins the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship after a rather grueling match with his finisher the Time Bomb which is rather crazy as a Fireman's carry spun out into a sit-down brainbuster variant.
Hirooki Goto vs, Katsuyori Shibata. As pointed out by the commentary team, the best way to describe this match is "stubborn". Both guys just hit each other with their best shots constantly with little defence. You either take it and stand back up, or you lose. Tons of headbutts and Goto wins after a GTR.
Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi. Lots of "ring psychology" in this one with Naito working on Tanahashi's knee and then Tanahashi paying it back. Plus Naito constantly spitting. Just really good textbook wrestling in this one. This is the kind of match that makes fans. Not based on gimmick or big spots, just great wrestling.
And the main event: Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega. The match opened with a really cheesy Terminator ripoff intro video for Omega. Omega then comes to the ring in a leather jacket with a shotgun and a crappy half-mask giving him terminator-face. Also funny when The Young Bucks at ringside then start drumming the Terminator theme on the apron. Okada on the other hand has a more traditional entrace though his robe is also quite fabulous.
Just like Naito vs. Tanahashi, this is just great textbook wrestling, here with a bit more outside work and throwing guys into barricades. Particularly Omega's springboard moonsault over the guard rail was great. He then also paid the prize later with a backdrop over the top rope through a table. And despite both competitors having a small entourage at ringside, neither side got involved.
Huge dropkicks by Okada, a dragon suplex off the top rope and a bunch of stiff knees by Omega, a Tombstone piledriver by Okada followed by his Rainmaker finisher. This match was crazy good. It took like five Rainmaker's by Okada to retain his title but he did, mostly because Omega could not land his own finisher.
TL;DR Wrestle Kingdom 11 is really long and really, really great. Watch it if you can.