Now Streaming… NJPW Fighting Spirit Unleashed (Cody vs Juice Robinson & CHAOS vs Golden Lovers)

{This is a stream of consciousness-style of article. All times are based on the start of the event stream. – MJH}

 

New Japan Pro-Wrestling
September 30, 2018
Long Beach, California, USA
Walter Pyramid

 

3:08pm- Always nice to see Jushin Liger anywhere. His career is truly amazing.

3:22pm- Entertaining opener. The crowd is loud but sparse.

3:30pm- This is my first time seeing Chase Owens in a full match in YEARS. I was surprised when I saw him announced as a BC member so I’m hoping to see something special.

3:32pm- And I just did thanks to Adam Page. I’ve been saying it for 3 years, Page is the NBT.

3:36pm- It’s horrible to see all the empty seats in the arena. Imagine getting to see these insane, quality-filled wrestling live and getting to stretch out cause no one’s sitting next to you.

3:37pm- SCU gets the win and in style. Not impressed with Owens in this one but Page did steal the spotlight once again.

3:39pm- Please don’t expect me to keep up with a six-man match. I’ll just pop in from time to time.

3:40pm- Very cool hearing JR talking up Jeff Cobb. Such flashbacks to him talking about “blue chippers” like Brock Lesnar and John Cena.

3:44pm- Flip Gordon just took a tag team cutter on his face. I’m surprised he didn’t break his jaw.

3:49pm- Flip is special. Combine Prince Devitt’s ability & charisma with Daniel Bryan’s explosiveness & fan sympathy/connection and you get Flip Gordon.

3:53pm- Tour of the Island finisher = Much harder than it looks.

3:58pm- I can’t be the only one who is shocked that Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer haven’t returned to WWE considering their success as Killer Elite Squad. Although, look at what happened to Gallows and Anderson.

4:05pm- Watching all of this ROH and NJPW wrestling this weekend has me really wanting the WWE to pull the trigger on a Tag Team tournament similar to the Cruiserweight Classic or Mae Young Classic. I know they have the Dusty Invitational but I was hoping for more independent teams in the tournament. Then you’d be able to have teams like The Bucks, KES, The Addiction and The Briscoes on a major platform like WWE without having to sign an exclusive contract. If you include established WWE or NXT teams, the dream matches are mind-boggling.

4:13pm- Seemed like such a flat ending to a six-man match but then again, I haven’t been following the Evil/Sabre Jr. story so maybe it worked for some people.

4:15pm- I love Jay White and have been on the Switchblade bandwagon since his debut. White is a big star in the making ready for his shot against the established main-eventers.

4:17pm- I wish White still had a bit of the mystery and viciousness he had when he re-debuted as Switchblade.

4:24pm- Good squash match for what it was. It’s obvious that Jay White is the new NJPW “golden boy” so this was the best way to get the new partnership between him and Gedo over.

4:28pm- Such a better promo from White compared to a year ago. Love the confidence.

5:23pm- Excited to see Osprey after seeing his fantastic showing against Jay Lethal at Death Before Dishonor. He’s so much larger now that I’m interested to see if he can’t still keep up with Scrull.

5:25pm- He’s still insanely good.

5:28pm- A great appeal of Marty Scrull is his selling. Think about it… the character is a bad guy, played by a popular man who is incredibly technically gifted but always looks over-matched because of his size. Fantastic performer.

5:38pm- Sunset flip bomb to the floor. Osprey/Scrull never disappoint.

5:43pm- That cross-face chickenwing was even better than the one at Death Before Dishonor. Beautiful!

5:44pm- OUCH! Osprey’s wrap around kick is vicious looking!

5:46pm- I don’t know how Osprey is still breathing after that closing sequence that started with the double chickenwing top rope superplex. Something needs to change for Will Osprey… he’s done everything he needs for himself to be viewed as a major contender. I think it’s time he gave up all Juniors/Cruiserweight division competition and concentrate solely on heavyweight gold. Look at smaller guys like AJ Styles and Finn Balor. Both men had to make a concerted effort to get away from the smaller weight divisions and begin working with the “big boys.” Osprey is at that moment in his career where big things can happen overnight if he’s open to change.

5:50pm- This is the first time I’m see the Bullet Club division live. Thank you New Japan for the video recap of the BC drama all the way back to Kenny Omega turning on AJ Styles.

5:55pm- Here’s another example of guys being presented completely different in two organizations while essentially being the same character. The Young Bucks, in New Japan, are overly cocky, think they’re better than their Bullet Club brethren, the GoD and act like they’re “owed” their Japanese success. On American TV, The Bucks are family men who absolutely love pro-wrestling and enjoy having fun in the ring every night. They work hard, travel continuously and are considered pioneers in the world of independent wrestling. But in either instance, Nick and Matt Jackson are stars and are showcased as such.

6:04pm- Nick Jackson is fired up and the most determined I’ve seen him in a long time. If The Bucks want to remain in the heavyweight division, this is the serious side they need to show more often.

6:14pm- The Matt Jackson/injured back storyline is terrifically consistent. Every time we see The Bucks, their massive hype & promotional train usually overshadows their storylines. But Matt’s back has been an underlining story for months and I haven’t once seen them slip.

6:18pm- Sometimes watching this match I slip into thinking I’m watching a young Hardys versus Usos match.

6:20pm- Matt Jackson thru a table! This match has been all Guerrillas. And if I’m being honest, the Bullet Club – Firing Squad needs the win here. The Elite is over with the audience, the NJPW audience is sold on how good The Bucks are but the GoDs have a lot to prove if they want to re-establish the BC in their own image.

6:24pm- What the heck was that nip/superkick counter by Nick!? Very cool looking.

6:25pm- Matt is selling the back to a “T”, creating sympathy in The Bucks first heavyweight tag team championship defense. You even see Matt holding his back while on offense, giving the babyfaces (?) the “Get Out of Jail Free” card. The delays on the pinfalls or taking too long to execute a move gives The Young Bucks all the excuses in the world.

6:43pm- I don’t understand how Nick Jackson could possibly be so smooth in a wrestling ring.

6:54pm- New IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions… the Guerrillas of Destiny! A great match and a great story told with Matt being unable to physically hang with the physical GoD. If New Japan wants to go all in on a Bullet Club war, they need to start adding more bodies to The Firing Squad.

7:0opm- Really cool to see the NWA championship on a big stage again. Don’t get me wrong, Nick Aldis was great for the title, travelling all over the world with it. But Cody works for larger promotions which means a larger spotlight on the title.

7:02pm- It’s so curious to see how Cody is presented to a Japanese audience. “A little psychotic. Huge ego. Damn good. You should hate him.” Ring of Honor and the NWA are completely different as he’s the self-made independent star that’s helping to revolutionize the business. Truly fascinating.

7:04pm- Oh my goodness look at Brandi! This woman may be one of the hottest females in wrestling today, WWE or elsewhere.

7:09pm- I haven’t see much of this match’s build but just by watching this show tonight, Juice looks like the underdog, weak champion. Bad booking for a young, franchise champion.

7:17pm- Cody’s facial expressions have become some of the best in the business since his Stardust stint. He can switch emotions and characters on a dime. There’s so much Patrick Bateman/American Psycho in his performance.

7:27pm- The small package stolen pin was terrific. And look how unbelievably upset that arena is! I don’t get why he’s so hated in New Japan but so respected everywhere else. Ah well, Cody is the new IWGP United States Champion! Very good match.

7:37pm- Seriously, what is with this weird ass Okada handing out balloons?! Sure maybe his character became a little stale during his historic title reign but this change is just odd.

7:46pm- Does Okada seem like he doesn’t care any longer? Like wrestling is so easy for him that he’s just going thru the motions to see what he can get away with. His eyes seem somewhat glazed over too.

7:52pm- Kenny Omega seems a bit off tonight, character-wise. His timing and ability is spot-on as usual but he doesn’t seem to be connecting with the fans as much as usual.

7:55pm- I don’t really understand how Omega’s V-Triggers don’t knock out more opponents. The way Okada’s head snapped back, I thought he was knocked loopy for sure.

7:58pm- Spectacular mix of offenses in this match. So much fun to watch.

8:03pm- Hmm I expected a stronger showing from Kenny Omega as the IWGP Champion. I thought we’d finally see him as a massive star like how Okada carried himself as champion. Instead, we saw the regular Omega except with a shiny accessory on his shoulder.

8:09pm- Intriguing triple threat match announcement to close the show but jeez Kenny and Ibushi. Sell the match in front of the audience! Sometimes I feel New Japan depends a little too heavily on their “post-fight” press conferences.

 

 

 

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