Inside Pulse 12

JT on NJPW – 10 Thoughts on New Japan Pro Wrestling Wrestle Kingdom 10 (Okada vs Tanahashi, AJ Styles, Nakamura)

wk 10
1. This is my first NJPW show, so forgive me if I call some of the moves wrong or mistake Ishii for Makabe. We kick off with an 8 man tag match, which is an entertaining spotfest with Richochet, Sydal and Romero being standout performers and redDragon hitting some nice impact moves. Young Bucks pick up the win with some excessive crotch chopping.
2. The NEVER 6 man tag match was better than any of the 6 man tag matches on Raw last year, with the Briscoes running hog wild (chicken wild?) and Tama Tonga proving he is the best member of the Bullet Club not to be signed by WWE.
3. The ROH title match was a little disappointing, to be honest. I haven’t watched much ROH lately, and this doesn’t really inspire me to change that. Elgin was good as the unrelenting force but Jay Lethal looked distracted and the match felt a little soft compared to the rest of the card.
4. I’ve heard a lot about Kenny Omega in terms of being style over substance, but he put on a bravura performance against KUSHIDA, pulling out some big moves and telling a believable story.
5. I’ve never seen Honma wrestle before, but I think I like him. His tag match with Makabe vs the Bullet Club team of Anderson and Gallows was very entertaining, and I can see Anderson doing big things once he hits WWE. Gallows doesn’t seem to have changed much since his last WWE run, but with the rash of injuries lately he can certainly add some depth to the tag ranks.
6. I sort of zoned out during Goto vs Naito, which is not to say that it was a bad match, more that 4 hours is a lot of wrestling to watch. Fortunately the NEVER open weight title match between Shibata and Ishii woke me up with my first taste of strong style wrestling, and holy crap some of those strikes are stiff. Shibata picks up the win after a hard fought match, and if you’re bored of the WWE formula, check out this for something different…
7. This is the first full Nakamura match I’ve watched, and the frequently used descriptor of ‘rock star’ really fits. Despite the reported back injury AJ Styles puts on a five star match, proving that WWE made a good choice in signing him. It will be interesting to see how long he spends in NXT before jumping to the main roster, as he’s better in the ring than 80% of the Raw roster right now.
8. Nakamura is a different story, in that he may be one of the best in-ring performers working today. His strikes are stiff, his throws are precise and he knows how to tell a story. It wouldn’t be surprising to see him hit the main roster straight away and challenge for the title by June – Nakamura challenging Lesnar or Reigns for the world title would be something different to what we’ve seen on WWE TV for a long time.
9. Okada vs Tanahashi was a solid match with some nice counters, and although it was tough to follow Styles vs Nakamura, the veterans worked hard to make it happen. Tanahashi put on a clinic on how to work the knee, and Okada played the fighting face to perfection, working though pain to finally earn the victory.
10. Well, that was great. In terms of pure entertainment value, I’d rank Wrestle Kingdom 10 on par with the best in NXT Takeovers. That is to say, better than Survivor Series and better than Wrestlemania. If you haven’t seen this show, I highly recommend that you track it down.

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