From Sumo Hall, it’s time for King of Pro-Wrestling 2017! This show is a part of New Japan’s big four, this is a show where major storylines start for some and end for others. A good time is always had when watching KOPW.
Sanada, Bushi & Hiromu def. Fale, Yujiro & Leo Tonga @ 6:55
LIJ kick the show off by coming out to Hiromu’s entrance and receive a huge ovation from the audience. They jump Bullet Club before the bell and Hiromu stomps a hole into Fale in the corner causing the crowd to erupt in applause. Very hot start to the show. Fale uses his size advantage to ground the explosive junior and BC takes control, making quick tags. Firing up, Hiromu lands a running Rana onto Yujiro and tags Sanada. Impressing by clearing Leo Tonga’s 6’8″ frame, Sanada dumps the giant to the outside and dives onto both him and Fale. Bushi gets the tag but again BC is able to use their size in order to gain control. Just when it seemed LIJ would fail, Hiromu shows Fale his stuffed cat, Daryl, who Fale destroyed back in July. This distraction allowed Bushi to mist the big man and pick up the win for LIJ. The crowd noise throughout the match made for an extremely hot opener to the show.
Goto & Yano def. Suzuki & Sabre @ 9:18
Following up the hot opener is Suzuki’s famous sing along theme which keeps the crowd hot. Suzuki has a history of falling victim to Yano’s shenanigans so he’s all business, attacking Yano before the bell. He takes him to the outside, using the microphone chord to his sick pleasure before bringing him back into the ring. At the same time, both Suzuki and Sabre apply an Armbar to each of Yano’s arms. Sabre locks in the Figure Four and taunts Yano with a shrug before bridging back. When separation is found, Yano is able to ground Sabre and tag in Goto who throws Sabre around. The British star does his best to keep Goto grounded with submissions but the bigger wrestler is able to power out with a suplex. Both tag out and all of Yano’s patented tricks are scouted by Suzuki. They bail to the outside and a rope is pulled from under the ring. Suzuki wraps him in the rope and the referee begins the twenty count. When Yano seemed doomed, he was able to Mule Kick Suzuki in the groin, slide into the ring and Suzuki is counted out. Seeing Yano celebrate with his NEVER Openweight Championship, Suzuki and Sabre snap, taking out young lions and refs on their way out.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
Roppongi 3K def. Funky Future (c) @ 14:24
The old Roppongi Vice music plays but cuts out, signaling the change. Rocky Romero comes out with a fog machine, spraying fog into the air and behind him come out Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu, now known as Roppongi 3K. These two have been on a learning excursion in ROH as Tempura Boyz for the better part of two years. They take it to the champions before the bell and hit synchronized topes on both Taguchi and Ricochet. The more experienced wrestlers are able to weather the early storm though but not for long as 3K are able to isolate Taguchi in their corner. The style they display has a mix of heavy strikes balanced with speed and agility. Using veteran tricks to finally evade their beat down, Taguchi tags in Ricochet who employs his usual flurry of moves, as impressive as ever. Being more fresh than his partner, Ricochet is able to take 3K on two to one before tagging in the refreshed Taguchi. Sho applies a front choke to Taguchi but is saved by Ricochet and the teams reset. 3K bust out the RPG Vice double knee strike onto Taguchi for a nice callback. Sho shows off his strength hitting a trio of German Suplexes to both members of Funky Future. Yohei goes to Flapjack Ricochet but before he could fall, Sho delivers a Flatliner to the airborne Ricochet. They quickly cover and successfully pick up the pin. Rocky Romero celebrates with his new team as they walk out the new junior tag champs.
IWGP Tag Team Championship Elimination Match
K.E.S. (c) def. War Machine & G.O.D. @ 16:09
The challengers surround the champions on the outside and both teams beat down a member of K.E.S. each as they all brawl around the crowd. War Machine and G.O.D. stare each other down in the middle of the ring before the four of them begin swinging. They roll back to the outside where the three teams begin brawling once more, throwing one another over the rails and into the crowd. When attempting a dive back to the outside, Hanson is met by a trash can, delivered by Tama Tonga. Each team takes turns hitting big moves on each other in the middle of the ring for a couple of near falls. No one is able to sustain any sort of offense for a significant period. All teams hit their double team finishes only to the success of two counts. War Machine bring a table into the ring but Tama Tonga plants them with a trash lid. Tanga sets a chair into the corner by winds up running into it himself and K.E.S. follow-up with a Killer Bomb and eliminate G.O.D. @ 12:42. An irate Tama Tonga beats down Rowe in the middle of the ring with a trash lid and K.E.S. land a Killer Bomb onto him but it’s broken up by Hanson. The consequence? Hanson is forced to eat himself a Killer Bomb through the table he brought into the ring earlier and suffers the loss. Post-match Archer lifts young lion, Kawato, and drops him with a Chokeslam in the middle of the ring. K.E.S. destroy more young lions on the outside and chase around cameramen before exiting the arena. A beat up War Machine bow to the crowd and receive a warm ovation.
Omega, Cody & Scurll def. Yoshi-Hashi, Beretta & Jado @ 13:41
Each member of Bullet Club receives their own entrance. Both Scurll and Cody are treated with warm reactions but Omega’s rivals that of LIJ’s in the opening match. Before they begin, Omega wipes his butt with Yoshi-Hashi’s shirt and despite the disrespect, Omega’s chants grow louder than YH’s. This is the first match of the night not to start until the bell. YH and Omega start it off trading back and forth until the disrespect becomes too much for YH and he fires off on each member of BC. They attempt the triple team but are cut off by Beretta diving off the top onto everybody outside. When BC regain their composer, Beretta falls victim to their numbers game, isolating him in their corner. Each member takes turns keeping the newest New Japan heavyweight grounded. Chants of Beretta are quickly drowned out by those of Cody’s. BC get too cute with their shenanigans and Beretta is able to capitalize, tagging in a fired up YH. Even still, his support is drowned out by those of Omega’s. Scurll does the finger break on Jado, who sells it like a champ but is quickly able to recover and roll up Scurll for a near fall. Each member rushes in and clears one another out. Scurll, able to reverse the Crossface of Jado into the Crossface Chickenwing, scores the win for Bullet Club. They celebrate with their new hand sign of pushing index fingers together and Cody has fans kiss his ring as they walk off to the back.
The Switchblade promo plays before the second half begins.
Ibushi & Juice def. Tanahashi & Makabe @ 10:27
Tanahashi and Ibushi start off the match to the crowds very loud approval. Ibushi beat Tanahashi in the G1 and Tanahashi wants to avenge the loss in a singles match which is happening next month. After a strong shoulder tackle from Tanahashi, he beings to air guitar but unknown to him, Ibushi immediately kipped up and hits a dropkick. The two tag out to their partners who have a test of stregnth which is won by Makabe. He takes Juice to the outside and drives him into the rails a couple of times before rolling him back in and tagging Tanahashi. He delivers several uppercuts before staring down Ibushi and tags Makabe back into the match. He quickly tags Tanahashi after a few strikes. Tanahashi is too distracted by Ibushi’s presence and Juice is able to capitalize, resulting in a tag to Ibushi who hits a couple mid-kicks and a standing Moonsault. They tag in their partners who again have a test of strength, this time with Juice coming out on top. The match breaks down with each guy hitting a signature move before all collapsing. Makabe and Juice are first to their feet and begin slugging it out. Missing the King Kong Knee Drop, Juice capitalizes on Makabe’s mistake with a punch to the face and hitting Pulp Friction. Ibushi stands in the middle of the ring post-match and Tanahashi pushes his Intercontinental belt into the challenger’s face.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match
Will Ospreay def. Kushida (c) @ 15:32
Ospreay debuts a new theme song while sporting a Spiderman mask and vest. They shake hands before the bell and get into a striking battle which ends quickly as they move into their high impact moves on the outside. Kushida sets up a chair on the outside to leap off but is caught by a forearm by Ospreay. He rushes into the ring to attempt a Sasuke Special but on the landing falls into a Cross Armbreaker. Kushida rolls him back into the ring and locks in a Figure Four which Ospreay breaks up by reaching the ropes. Struggling to his feet, Ospreay uses the ropes for leverage. Kushida attacks the exposed arm and drives Ospreay’s shoulder hard into the mat. He then applies the Cattle Mutilation but loses control of the hold. He tries the continued attack to the shoulder but Ospreay handsprings out and launches himself off the ropes and into a kick to Kushida’d head. He drives Kushida into the corner and lands a dropkick. The fans get behind Ospreay but he allows this to distract him. Kushida attempts the Hoverboard Lock unsuccessfully due to the locked hands of Ospreay. The two engage in a striking battle which ends with Ospreay on top. He hangs Kushida over the top rope and climbs the corner but takes too long, allowing Kushida to meet him up top and take him down with a rolling cross armbreaker off the top. Ospreay reaches the ropes once again but Kushida stays on top of him, grabbing his arms and stomping Ospreay into the mat. The crowd boos this hard. Attempting a Back to the Future from the top, Kushida is countered via a Cutter. Ospreay jumps to the top and delivers an Imploding 450 for a near fall. In desperation, Kushida locks in another Hoverboard Lock and rolls Ospreay away from the ropes. He lifts him up for Back to the Future but is countered by a Flatliner and a stunned Kushida turns right into an Oscutter. Will Ospreay finally beats Kushida and wins the junior title for the first time. Post-match Hiromu comes to challenge Ospreay but Scurll cuts him off, does the finger break and makes his own challenge for the title. Hiromu throws a fit before popping back up and laughing, holding his “broken” hand.
Right to Main Event Tokyo Dome
Tetsuya Naito (c) def. Tomohiro Ishii @ 23:56
Reaction of the night to this point goes to Naito, which is no surprise but nonetheless a great reaction. Naito takes his time undressing from his suit, a tactic which he used to get under Ishii’s skin before back in 2016 when he beat Ishii twice. Naito evades three lock ups attempted before being met with the forearms of Ishii. After being dumped to the outside, Ishii rushes back in to attack Naito from behind. He strikes Naito against the ropes but receives that shitty dismissive smile that Naito uses to get under the skin. He block an Ishii Brainbuster by kicking his knee and drives him to the outside, follows him continuing the attack on the knee. After breaking the twenty count, Ishii is picked up to his feet and his leg draped onto the second rope where it’s repeatedly kicked. Naito applies pressure to the knee and the crowd encourages Ishii to power through. After flinging himself hard into the ropes, Naito receives a taste of his own medicine. Ishii attacks Naito’s knee and drives him into the corner where he connects with a series of both chops and forearms before lifting and dropping Naito on his head. Back and forth they counter each other before Ishii lands a suplex. He takes Naito to the top but is unable to capitalize and allows Naito to take control on the knee once again. A slap to the back of the head fires Ishii back up as he begins no-selling forearms from Naito, who then proceeds to spit in the face of Ishii. This leads to strikes of his own and dropping Naito with another Brainbuster. Once again, he brings Naito to the top rope where he himself climbs to the top and drops him for another Brainbuster. Naito ducks the Sliding Lariat and instead plants Ishii with a spinning DDT. The two engage in a striking exchange which Ishii wins but Naito is able to power back up and take Ishii to the top for a Frankensteiner which gets a near fall. Ishii powers up after two German Suplexes, spits in Naito’s face and hits a Sliding Lariat for a near fall. Grounded by a leg scissors knee lock, Naito gains control and lifts Ishii for Gloria and gets a near fall. He immeditaly hits a Destino but again, only a near fall. Ishii fire back up, met with a slap to the face but hits a headbutt and follows up with a lariat for a near fall. Twice, Naito is able to wiggle out of a Brainbuster. He connects with a Destino for a near fall and instantly hits another whih ends the match. He rolls over and covers Ishii’s mouth to prevent him from breathing, tries to pick him up but can’t and instead spits on him before they both hobble to the back.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match
Kazuchika Okada (c) def. Evil @ 33:43
Evil receives a special entrance, being carried in on a thrown by other robed men. Okada has his money rain down as he comes to the ring, his hair is darker than his usual blonde. During introductions Evil’s crowd reaction is very warm and about matches Okada’s reaction. Once the bell rings, the crowd shifts to almost all Okada. Evil starts off on top, kicking Okada in the midsection, applying a headlock and hitting a shoulder tackle. The two reset. Okada eats another kick, followed by three chops to the chest/throat, back into a headlock and another shoulder tackle. He gains control when using Evil’s aggression against him and hits two arm drags but is almost caught in Evil’ finish, properly named Evil, and has to reset once more. Again using Evil’s speed and aggression against him, Okada is able to ground the King of Darkness and hits his own Senton on him. He sends Evil to the outside with a kick, joins him outside and sends him against the rails. Charging at Evil, Okada is tripped into the rail. Pulling a chair from under the ring, Evil unfolds and places the chair around Okada’s head. He then pushes him into the ring post with the chair around him and follows that up by smacking another chair into the chair that’s around the head. The referee starts the twenty count but Okada makes it back in the ring only to be caught in another headlock. Reaching the ropes to break the hold, Okada is challenged by Evil to a strike exchange. Unable to gain control, Okada eats the mat via a Curbstomp. Once he’s able to power out of another headlock, Okada flies against the ropes and hits a crossbody. Evil tries firing back but is caught in a Flapjack and an elbow into the corner. Evil counters the following DDT with a punch to the jaw but Okada preservers and lifts Evil to the top to successfully dropkick him out of the ring. He sends Evil over the rails and when charging towards him, ducks the chair Evil threw at his face and jumps over the rail into a crossbody through the first four rows of chairs. Digging deep, Evil’s Darkness Falls into the audience’s chairs is block but he is able to lariat Okada to the other side of the rails and bring him back into the ring. They jock for position, neither able to gain advantage for long until Evil manages to hoist Okada up for a German Suplex. Okada retreats to the corner but is met by a heavy lariat and is brought to the top rope. He is able to push Evil off the ropes but when attempting the top rope dropkick, Evil slides out of the way and applies the Banshee Muzzle. Gedo, at ringside, gets the crowd to rally for Okada to reach the ropes. When he does, Evil gets to confident and allows Okada the time to get to his feet and challenges him to a strike exchange. Hitting the dropkick, Okada makes the Rainmaker Pose but Evil ducks the clothesline. When going for the elbow in the corner, Evil moves and the referee is hit instead. Evil brings a stack of chairs into the middle of the ring. He wants to hit Darkness Falls onto the chairs but Okada counters it into a Rana on top of the pile of chairs. He moves the chairs out of the ring but takes too long following up that Evil manages to dig deep, hitting Darkness Falls onto the mat for a near fall. They exchange strikes once more and Evil is completely out of gas, he crumples to the mat and Okada continues giving him the boots. The crowd boos Okada for not being sportsman-like. He picks Evil up but that allows Evil to hit a heavy strike to swing the momentum back in his favor. He takes Okada to the top and drops him with a Fishermen’s Buster Suplex for a near fall. Signaling for the end, Evil’s finish is countered, Okada moves into Rainmaker position but is countered with a headbutt to the chest. Hitting two lariats, Okada pulls Evil up for a true Rainmaker, Evil ducks, attempts the Evil but is lifted for a Spinning Tombstone Piledriver, which connects. For the finale, Okada lands the Rainmaker and Evil lands high on his neck, out for the three count. Bushi comes out to aide Evil to the back while Gedo gets on the mic and orders Naito to come out. The crowd chants for Naito, who asks Okada to step back and let him speak. Okada obliges but cuts him off mid-catchphrase which prompts Naito to stare him down and leave. Excited for Wrestle Kingdom, Okada thanks the fans for coming before he and Gedo go backstage to celebrate with the rest of CHAOS.
KOPW 2017 from beginning to end was a very fun show. They started with a bang having the LIJ guys kick off the event in very fun fashion and the crowd reaction for them was great. Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu returning was a nice moment. They will definitely be a breath a fresh air and that’s always a good thing. Kushida and Ospreay had another really good match, though arguably their weakest of the series but still nothing to complain about. Ospreay has finally won gold in New Japan, which for many people is a big deal. Naito and Ishii had the match of the night which shouldn’t come as a surprise. The chemistry between the two continues to build and their matches are always a pleasure. Evil performed very well in his first major main event. His gimmick requires some questionable moments but for the restrictions he’s having to go through he does very well. I recommend watching all five of the matches I mentioned here but if pressed for time, stick to the final three of the show.
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