I love a TakeOver. They’re never bad and are usually a hell of a lot better than good. NXT excels at delivering snappy shows that fly along on the back of fantastic wrestling. I wasn’t going to be the one to bet against their latest visit to Chicago doing the same.
Has any tag team ever generated as much conversation as The Young Bucks? For some, they are an example of what wrestling can be. Two men who without the help of WWE have created an empire for themselves. An empire that allows them to live outside the machine while travelling the world putting on a show. To others, they are the worst of modern-day pro-wrestling. Spot monkeys who destroy a business that was once built on hard men doing hard things. If you’re looking for that take, then you’re reading the wrong article.
I’m not going to try and hide it: this review is late. Over a month late to be precise. New Japan did that thing they do and put on a big old tournament which distracted me. However, I’ve reviewed every big wXw show so far this year, and goddamnit I’m going to keep going. Prepare yourself for some cold takes.
Wrestle Kingdom 11 was the show that turned me into a New Japan fan. Before that, I’d watched the previous Wrestle Kingdom while it was hard not to be up to date on The Bullet Club. However, it was that show at the Tokyo Dome that hooked me and, to be specific, it was Kenny Omega vs Kazuchika Okada.
I don’t think it’s a stretch to say Dominion was up there with Wrestle Kingdom for expectations coming in. Omega vs Okada IV would have guaranteed that by itself. Throw in Ospreay vs Takahashi, The Bucks vs LIJ, Jericho vs Naito and most people won’t just have their pants around their ankles but will be halfway to completion. Could it possibly live up to such a billing? I guess it’s time to find out.
Gosh, you always forget how long these tournaments are until you’re halfway through them, realise you’ve fallen five shows behind and need to write reviews of them all. Okay, that might not be a universal experience, but it’s been a long old road to get here. More importantly, though, it’s been a fun one, and the juniors have delivered some outstanding matches. Now it’s time to find out if the final can cap it all off nicely.
Here’s a treat that we don’t often get from New Japan. An entire card of singles matches. By combining the final days of both blocks, NJPW has put together a super show. Can it live up to the potential that it has on paper?
Our final single-camera show of the tour. I’m sure we’ll all be devastated to see them go. In saying that, KUSHIDA vs Dragon Lee and Hiromu Takahashi vs SHO isn’t a horrible way to say goodbye.
Most of you now know who has won this tournament. So what you want to do is go back and read about a show headlined by Kanemaru vs YOH, don’t you? I knew it!