The fifth anniversary of The Bullet Club! What should be an exciting celebration certainly doesn’t have that feeling. Five years later we’re seeing a Bullet Club vs Bullet Club championship match but they promise that everything is fine. Leader of Bullet Club, Kenny Omega, is in the main event facing another member of Bullet Club, but again, everything is fine. Let’s get into what all took place at the first night of Wrestling Dontaku!
Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens def. Shota Umino & Yota Tsuji @ 5:33 via Owens Package Piledriver on Umino – *1/4
A Bullet Club opener for a Bullet Club centric show. Tsuji does not appear to be ready for this position. He didn’t get a lot of help from Yujiro but this was very bland. Umino was fiery as always and took advantage of the spotlight. He blasted Yujiro with a great dropkick before taking the fall to Owens. It’s important to note that even though Tsuji is the younger lion, it was Umino who took the fall.
Liger, Tiger & Taguchi def. Nagata, Oka & Narita @ 7:13 via Taguchi Dodon on Narita – **
Everyone had really good fire, even Tiger stepped up more than his usual. The highlight moment was Narita’s sell of Tiger’s spinning back kick. Great stuff from Narita and everyone else was on their game.
Rocky, SHO & YOH def. Archer, Smith & Iizuka @ 2:05 via SHO Schoolboy on Iizuka – *1/2
In typical Suzuki-Gun fashion, everyone brawled on the outside. Iizuka brought SHO back in and proceeded to bite him. When the referee attempted to stop Iizuka, he charged the ref and SHO took advantage and won with a Schoolboy. Once again, SHO bested Iizuka in what has been an entertaining turn of events. After the match, Archer Chokeslams young lion, Uemura.
White, Goto, Ishii, HASHI & Yano def. Juice, Makabe, Elgin, Finlay & Henare @ 10:25 via White Blade Runner on Henare – **1/4
Strong work from Elgin and Goto as they traded forearms for a good portion of the match. Juice received a nice hot tag, clearly the most over wrestler on his team. Rather than facing off with Ishii, Henare challenged White. They had a nice back and forth and a great spear from Henare. Nothing huge but the key guys worked hard.
NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship
Scurll & Bucks def. Fale & Guerrillas (c) @ 11:01 via More Bang for Your Buck on Tanga – **1/2
A rare, but no longer unheard of, non-tournament Bullet Club versus Bullet Club match. Everyone shook hands before the bell and respect was shown after so there doesn’t seem to be beef between the two teams. As goofy as you might expect for a match featuring Scurll and the Bucks. A lot of Scurll trying to knock Fale down and failing in entertaining fashion. Not a barnburner but expectations shouldn’t be high for a 6-Man title match.
Naito, EVIL, SANADA, Hiromu & BUSHI def. Suzuki, Sabre, Taichi, Kanemaru & Desperado @ 13:36 via EVIL Everything is Evil on Kanemaru – **1/2
Everyone in Suzuki-Gun made it their mission to attack Naito’s knee, so clearly he’s still the focus of the group. Sabre and SANADA had a nice exchange, calling back to their New Japan Cup match. EVIL scored another win over Suzuki-Gun and an upset Suzuki laid out Tsuji after the match.
Before LIJ could make their way to the back, The Young Bucks came out and challenged EVIL and SANADA for the heavyweight tag titles. The brothers finish the segment off with a pair of Superkicks and they head backstage before the rest of LIJ could return the favor.
Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay def. Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA @ 16:15 via Okada Rainmaker on KUSHIDA – **3/4
Another great warm up bout between these four. I’m not sure how anyone could get tired of seeing these guys wrestle each other. KUSHIDA was the highlight tonight. He was able to counter Ospreay nearly every step of the way and debuted a variation of his rolling DDT. This time he rolled and hopped up to Ospreay, who was on the second rope, and drove him down for the DDT. Later on KUSHIDA landed an incredible diving Hurricanrana on Okada. That wasn’t all the punishment Okada had to endure. Tanahashi also got his licks in with two Dragon Screw Leg Whips on the champion. This didn’t stop Okada’s determination to come out on top. Once he gained control of KUSHIDA, he was able to finish him easily.
Post-match Okada and Tanahashi stared each other down in the middle of the ring.
Cody def. Kota Ibushi @ 23:37 via Din’s Fire – ***
This was the typical, slow, methodical, some would say boring, style Cody match. There were enough big moments to keep the match from falling apart but I’m sure they tested the patience of many. Cody started the match really slow, trying to dictate the pace and Ibushi would have a short comeback before being cut down again. If you’re a Cody fan you love this stuff but if you’re not then this is ridiculously tedious. Ibushi brought life back into the match with a Golden Triangle and a Springboard Plancha over the railing, landing on the outside. The match ended out of nowhere when Cody debuted a new finisher he calls Din’s Fire. Overall the match ended up being good but Cody really makes you wait for the big spots which can get annoying. What a heel.
Kenny Omega def. Hangman Page @ 18:22 via One-Winged Angel – ***1/2
Cody attacks Omega before the bell and both he and Page stomp Omega into the mat. Omega makes his come back with a Snap Rana, Plancha, Topé con Hilo combination. Cody retreats to the backstage area but Page is quickly able to gain the advantage with a top rope Moonsault to the floor. He follows with a Rite of Passage onto a table, cutting Omega’s head, and rolling him back into the ring for a DDT onto a chair. Omega attempts his ‘You Can’t Escape’ combo but is cut off and instead eats a Slingshot Lariat. This was all in the first five minutes. Insane stuff from both guys as Page continues to have really strong outings in 2018. It felt like they had to end the match earlier than planned. At around the fifteen minute mark, Page’s face collides directly into Omega’s knee and was stumbling around the final three minutes. This was reminiscent of Omega’s G1 match last year against EVIL. They threw bombs at each other for a solid fifteen minutes until Page couldn’t go anymore. It was gross but awesome at the same time.
After the match Omega thanks the fans for coming and says that he’ll see them tomorrow, Goodbye and Goodnight.
Solid show with a strong main event. It’s nice to see Omega back where he should be and Page showed once again that he’s up for any challenge New Japan throws at him. There isn’t much to rush out and see but there were two singles matches featuring Omega and Ibushi which should satisfy any fan of New Japan. Tomorrow’s show will feature both Okada versus Tanahashi and Ospreay versus KUSHIDA. That will be the final night of the tour so it should be a more complete and memorable show. As far as this show, it was fine but certainly nothing huge.
Omega vs Page
Ibushi vs Cody