WRESTLE KINGDOM 11 [Bible Report]: Let it ‘RAINNNNNNN!!!!’
If you consider yourself a wrestling fan and you haven’t been living under a Rock plushdoll the past couple of days, then you know all about the craze that was New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 11.
WK11 was, in short, outstanding. WK11 had at least 4 Match of the Year candidates. WK11 was 6-hours long. WK11 had a 7-hour press conference and festival beforehand. WK11 had caused MoodyMania to spend close to a bill on 3 T’s–including, to your right, a straight-from-Japan Kinnikuman [M.U.S.C.L.E.]-inspired Okada T.
WK11 was everything and then some.
That said, while the one DestinO and myself watch New Year’s Dash Tokyo (here’s 2.5 more hours of amazing NJPW just in case WK11 wasn’t enough), we’ll do our best to bible-grade every match from the glory that was 1/4/17.
*NEW JAPAN RUMBLE*
MOODY: Despite irony in the name Wrestle Kingdom, this opener/pre-show/legends reunion was no Royal Rumble. Lots of good humor and a few fun, albeit ultra-brief spots (i.e. 60-year old Kuniaki Kobayashi and a certain nWo Japan 56-year “old school Ryback”…), but it’s a match that was–and always intended to be–horrible, especially with many of the entrants theme songs blaringly overdubbing the broadcast (music rights reserved, my Assman). 1.5/5 Bibles.
DESTINY: Hey, look, it’s the guy Devitt turned on to start Bullet Club! But, yeah, couldn’t have said it better myself. The Rumble is always good for a few cheap pops for nostalgia’s sake; but it’s just a thing for everyone not in one of the “good” matches to do (thank god Cheeseburger didn’t get over eventual winner Michael Elgin). But, hey, Scott Norton. 1.5/5 Bibles.
*TIGER MASK W vs. TIGER THE DARK*
MOODY: Despite the spectacle involved, the first true match of WK11 was actually quite forgettable. Of course, any match involving Kota Ibushi (seen in CWC) and ACH (seen in ROH) is gonna pack some good spots, but these were definitely “safer” than usual. 2.75/5 Bibles.
DESTINY: Where were Ibushi and ACH? I only saw Tiger Mask W and Tiger the Dark. But, yeah, the spots weren’t exactly as crazy what you’d expect out of a match between the two of them. Maybe it was the ridiculously giant masks holding them back. 3/5 Bibles.
**IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLES**
*THE YOUNG BUCKS vs. ROPPONGI VICE *
MOODY: Since our brother Sean loves to call our beloved Bucks “spot-monkeys”, it’s only fitting for me to tell our fine chapel audience about the great spot in this match (and there were a few, one leaning on dang-err-ous): Nick Jackson was able to one-arm bulldog a persistent Rocky Romero off the top, all while delivering added leverage to brother Matt‘s devastating destroyer. Of course, RPG held their own, got the “flash” upset, and set the tone for a night that saw an unprecedented amount of straps being won in a row. 3.5/5 Bibles.
DESTINY: The Bucks are simply one of–if not the most exciting team to watch. But RPG Vice really surprised me and the two teams put on a helluva match, including Rocky getting powered up as he got hit with superkicks. Maybe Twitter will be nicer to Trent Baretta now that he has a title. 3.75/5 Bibles.
**NEVER SIX-MAN TAG TEAM TITLES**
*LOS INGOBERNABLES (Evil/Bushi/Sanada) v. CHAOS (Richochet/Satoshi Kojima/David Finlay) v. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale/Yujiro Takahashi/Hangman Page)*
MOODY: With Omega are the forefront, all the hype was on Bullet Club tonight–despite offering up a 3-man pair here that resembled more like The Godfather, Viscera and Repo Man. But, this silly little gauntlet match set the tone for the mega-hardcore, homeland-approved Los Ingobernables de Japon for the rest of the event. The psychology behind putting LIJ over was solid, and my dude Bushi killed it! 3/5 Bibles.
DESTINY: So many brainbusters, a certain person suggested we should’ve turned it into a drinking game. It was weird hearing Kevin Kelly refer to Bad Luck Fale (who defeated Nakamura for the IC title and Okada during the New Japan Cup tournament) as a “rising star”, as if he were still a young lion. But the gauntlet format was a cool idea, even if I didn’t enjoy the match as much as I expected to. 3.25/5 Bibles.
*CODY vs. JUICE ROBINSON*
MOODY: How good was Wrestle Kingdom 11? This, arguably one of the three worst matches of the night, would still be a very pleasing main event for any other brand’s weekly program. It was The Cody Show, and how fantastic of a heel he is and will be with the Bullet Club. His Indian deathlock looked violent as hell, and his overall work here showed flashes of Prince Devitt‘s heel brilliance a few years ago. I’m psyched for the #AmericanNightmare! 3/5 Bibles.
DESTINY: A solid match, overall. Cody was Cody, and I did laugh when he did that Stardust pose. But I got what I wanted–Juice taking the L after getting hit by a Crossrhodes (that looked especially awkward after reversing an Unprettier), so I can’t complain. 3/5 Bibles.
**ROH WORLD TITLE**
*KYLE O’REILLY vs. ADAM COLE*
MOODY: As a fan of both, especially that guy in the Bullet Club, SuperKliq and Dream Team (Bay-Bay!), I’ll be the first to tell you this didn’t belong here. But they do it every year. Bedmates ROH and NJPW had Jay Lethal vs. Elgin for the strap last year. True, we’ve seen AJ Styles defend his IWGP titles at ROH shows, so it’s only fair; I just think it kills the crowd–especially, considering, they booked back-to-back gaijin-only matches in a row. See you at Full Sail, Kyle. 3.75/5 Bibles.
DESTINY: The crowd should’ve been deader than dead for this–these types of things are usually the Japanese equivalent of a bathroom break match–but they were more into it than normal. I love the Violent Artist (seriously, what a cool as fuck nickname) and I enjoyed the hell out of this match as I do whenever Kyle O’Reilly and Adam Cole Bay-Bay beat the crap out of each other. 4/5 Bibles.
**IWGP TAG TEAM TITLES**
*GUERILLAS OF DESTINY (Tonga & Loa) v. GREAT BASH HEEL (Honma & Makabe) v. TORU YANO & TOMOHIRI ISHII*
MOODY: What a shit-show–and I mean that in the best way possible. There was a lot of gaga going on in this match, with non-stop cursing from the GoD (Guy Padre’s fav team) that made colorguy Steve Corino lose his shit, and frantic mayhem the referee has absolutely no fuckin’ control over. I was pretty sure that GBH were gonna be too fuckin’ occupied with Yano for stealing the Tag League trophies, and they were; just a shame that the more likeable “Roman Usos” of the Bullet Club had to lose their fuckin’ titles too. 3.75/5 Bibles.
DESTINY: Supposedly this set a record for the most curses in a NJPW match and, like Corino, I completely lost it at “eat shit”. At one point, we declared this the match of the night for all of its ridiculousness and a result that no one saw coming. I also cracked up at Yano & Ishii grabbing the titles and the trophies and getting the hell out of dodge. And, yeah, heel! Usos should’ve definitely modeled themselves after GoD. 3.75/5 Bibles.
**IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE**
*KUSHIDA vs. HIROMU TAKAHASHI*
MOODY: This is when WK11 went from “pretty good” to “holy fuckballs!” Hell, I got so many comic book and video game nerds into wrestling (at least for the day) when I posted the clip of Kushida catching the “Japanese Tyler Breeze” midair into an armbar. He consequently worked over his opponent with a persistent smothering of Hoverboards, which wasn’t enough for the LIJ member’s final trifecta of: flying waistlock rana, death valley driver, and–ironically–time bomb. This kid’s a star. 4.5/5 Bibles.
DESTINY: THIS WAS AWESOME (*clap clap clap clap clap*)! I’ve kinda been indifferent to the Wrestler Formerly Known as Kamaitachi, but watching him fight his way out of 1004 Hoverboards gave me a new respect for him. Not to discount the Time Splitter–KUSHIDA brought it; and his light-up shoes looked so cool when they went upside Takahashi’s head. I adore his little Back-to-the-Future-loving ass. 4.5/5 Bibles.
**NEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE**
*HIROOKI GOTO vs. KATSUYORI SHIBATA*
MOODY: Although I had a ton of fun on Twitter with this one (i.e. how Goto “Never” wins a title, but wins the “Never” title!; referring this match-up as a Japanese version of Ken Shamrock vs. Steve Blackman; how the epically drawn out rock opera of Goto melted into the soft strings of Shibata..), this was one of the most physical encounters in the squared cicle I have ever seen. Truthfully this stiff-exchanged, strong-styled contest would’ve been a 4.75-Bible/Star match if not for what was yet to come. 4.5/5 Bibles.
DESTINY: GOTO ACTUALLY WON THE BIG ONE! This match was the very definition of strong style; just brutal. Lariats and forearms for days and kicks that just looked like they’d fuck you up. Not many headbutts from Shibata, surprisingly. Anyway… 4.75/5 Bibles.
**IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP**
*TETSUYA NAITO vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI*
MOODY: Damn, this is a lot of titles…and a lot of titles switching hands. Six! Imagine this coming WrestleMania post-brand split with nearly double the titles now. That’s what this feels like. Thankfully, arguably NJPW’s #1 Wrestler of 2016 (from a non-gaijin POV) held onto his strap, which only comes on the footsteps of his classic confrontation not too long ago in the G1 Climax semifinal against that other NJPWWOTY nominee. The match itself: Slingblade on apron. Ouch! Tanahashi then followed up with a High Fly Flow to the outside. Another ouch! (This time, for both guys) The former IWGP Champ also made up for his new, horrendous entrance music (what a poor time to release this crap) with great counters and an intense Dragon. But Naito was Naito. I’ll just let DestinO *wink* take the rest… 5/5 Bibles.
DESTINY: SUPER DESTINO from the man rocking the latest from the Steve Harvey collection (seriously, I don’t know how Naito made that suit look good). Yeah, that slingblade on the apron was vicious and it was immediately followed up by the High Fly Flow to the outside, but it was that move that I popped for the most. If the last match was a slugfest, I don’t even know what to call this one. Oh, yeah, I do: a 5/5 Bible match.
**IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE**
*KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. KENNY OMEGA*
MOODY: Since the world’s most accomplished pro wrestling journalist Dave Meltzer (who has been covering the sports entertainment world for almost 35-years) honored Okada/Omega a personal record ******/5, I figured I’d just leave my thoughts on the match with this…
DESTINY: I see your 10 Bibles and add a first-born. Not mine, because I don’t have kids, but someone’s. In all seriousness, folks, no words will ever be able to do this match justice. I feel sorry for everyone that couldn’t experience it live. And, really, this tweet of mine basically sums my feelings about this match, a match I got goosebumps even the second time I watched. Now, it’s your turn. 10/5 Bibles.