NJPW Wrestling Hi no Kuni (29/4/19) Review

Probably not the best idea, Jay. Credit: NJPW

The Dontaku tour continues to wander on, dishing out good matches every now and then but surrounding them with a shitload of multiman tags. While this card has more points of interest than most, I’m not sure they’re necessarily points that entice. It had potential, but not always of the good variety. Sound like fun?

Tomoaki Honma, Shota Umino and Ren Narita defeated Toa Henare, Yota Tsuji and Yuya Uemura

We kicked off with a standard New Japan opener which isn’t a bad thing. These Young Lions continue to impress while I’m always up for a bit of Henare. There was a tad too much Honma, but it was what it was. Umino put Uemura away with the Fisherman Suplex, and while it’s not going to wow you, it would be hard not to enjoy it.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Jushin Thunder Liger, Jeff Cobb, Ryusuke Taguchi, YOSHI-HASHI and Tiger Mask defeated Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Taka Michinoku)

It’s somewhat of an understatement to say that Liger and Suzuki do not like each other. They’ve spent this tour at each other’s throats, and it doesn’t look likely to stop anytime soon. Elsewhere, Taichi wants Cobb’s NEVER Title, so that was another wrinkle to the story. It’s interesting to note that Cobb got a separate entrance from the rest of his team, it’s a small thing, but it makes him feel important.

Not that being important stopped Suzuki-gun leaping to the attack. Murder Grandpa was desperate to get Liger on the outside so they could continue their fight. Those two are determined to beat the shit out of each other, and I can’t wait for the singles match between them. They didn’t do anything spectacular here, but what they did do kept the fires burning.

Apart from that, Jeff Cobb was given some chances to impress, suplexing Despy and Kanemaru at the same time. He and Taichi had a couple of interactions, and if we get badass singing ballbag, that could be a good match. Everything else was what you’d expect with the folk involved. There was some Taguchi ass stuff, lots of Suzuki-gun antics and YOSHI-HASH was there too which was nice. It was all very skippable.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Will Ospreay and Dragon Lee defeated The Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori and HIKULEO)

One of these things is not like the others…

Although, I should point out that HIKULEO is improving. He’s still a fair bit behind 98% of the roster, but then again, most wrestlers are. Being in there with these guys who can bump around for him and give him a chance to use his size will do him no harm. He needs to find his inner monster.

And for all that he’s green, it was Dragon Lee and Ishimori that mucked up in this one. They took it in turns to hit each other with Reverse Ranas with neither one looking good. I have faith they’ll create magic together, but this wasn’t the best preview for it.

Ospreay got the win after running through his offence on HIKULEO, and it was fine. Sadly, with the amount of talent in there, fine felt like a bit of a disappointment.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Bad Luck Fale defeated Mikey Nicholls

Well, this was short, so that was good.

Mikey Nicholls’ New Japan run has been aggressively average so far. People who have watched him more than me say the guy is good, but I’m yet to see it. He’s not been awful because he’s not been much of anything. The nicest thing you can say is that he’s there.

It’s possible Nicholls can overcome this averageness, but it wasn’t going to happen wrestling Fale. This was slow, plodding and horrendously dull. I praised its shortness, but truthfully, it didn’t feel short. It was a long old seven minutes. Save yourself the pain and skip it.

Verdict: Two Stars

Juice Robinson defeated Chase Owens in a Non-Title match

I love Chase Owens. You won’t find many bigger Chase Owens fans than moi, but why did we get this match? Chase already had his shot at the title, and Juice won. Why are we redoing it?

Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t bad. It was pretty decent as Chase continues to work that old school style. Juice Robinson is a great babyface and having him battle from underneath in an attempt to combat Chase’s grinding offence works. But we’ve seen two longer versions of it in the past couple of months. I’m not sure what this achieved.

And maybe it doesn’t have to achieve anything, but that US Title needs a boost. It’s struggling, and I’m not sure these matches are helping. It feels irrelevant, and for all my love of Chase, he’s not a big enough name to get it over. Juice needs to start beating more prestigious talents, or that belt is destined to become a lower card bauble.

Verdict: Three Stars

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, SANADA, EVIL and BUSHI) defeated CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, SHO and YOH) and Kota Ibushi

LIJ and CHAOS are out to try and get this show back on track. I’m not going to bother going into detail on this, you know what an LIJ vs CHAOS match looks like, and if you don’t, you’re new, welcome and enjoy! These men will never let you down.

There was chemistry all over this match. SHO vs Shingo, Okada vs SANADA, EVIL vs Ishii and Naito vs Ibushi. That’s just the guys that are feuding right now! It was an insane level of talent, and they weren’t going to do anything but leave you happy.

The final minutes were unhinged as every fucker got a few seconds to impress. That left SANADA in the ring with SHO, and after slipping out of a Suplex, he tapped SHO out with Skull End. Lovely stuff.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa) defeated Most Violent Players (Togi Makabe and Toru Yano)

Yano carried the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles to the ring (he’s nicked them from GOD again), but neither he or Makabe bothered to take the NEVER Six-Man belts with them. You know, the titles they actually hold and the only thing with less value than the US belt.

I was dreading this match. GOD are my kryptonite, and while I’ve enjoyed them treating ROH with the contempt it deserves, I still don’t want to watch them wrestle. Sadly, I didn’t have much faith in Yano and Makabe to be the men to draw a great match out of them.

And I’d love to stick a big old but here and say that I was wrong. Sadly, I can’t. We got another GOD match, and another GOD match is, well, the last thing I wanted to see. It was so fucking boring. I’m sorry, I know some people like them, and I wish I could, but within three minutes I was screaming for this to end. It went another eleven!

Makabe got rolled up by Tama after Jado interference. I’d usually complain about that kind of finish, but seriously, who cares? I hated this. I always hate it. Why do I bother?

Verdict: One And Three Quarter Stars

Jay White defeated Hirooki Goto

White and Goto were going to have to do something special to save this show from mediocrity.

The story here was simple as Jay White had no wish to fight Hirooki Goto. He wanted to sneak around him, find his opening and take advantage. Then, when he took control, he was determined to embarrass Goto and prove him a failure. Switchblade even went as far as using the Boston Crab, deigning Old Hirooki a young boy.

Unfortunately for Knife Pervert, Goto is not an easy man to keep down. White might not have wanted a fight, but Goto was going to give him one, and when he found his opportunity he went for it. Few people have a more painful looking moveset than Goto, so he went to work trying to turn Jay into a smear on the canvas.

It was a story that worked as by the end the fans were screaming Goto on, desperate for him to murder the hated White. When he survived Gedo’s interference, you began to wonder whether he could do it, but it wasn’t to be. After that trademark dance between finishers, White found his opening and smashed Goto into the mat with the Bladerunner. While he might not have embarrassed him, he did beat him.

Sadly, this didn’t reach special. It was good, very good at times, but something was missing. A combination of a slow start, Gedo’s interference and that final dance looking a bit crap knocked it down a peg or two. It was a decent match, easily the best thing on the show, but not enough to save Hi no Kuni from its fate.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Overall Show

I can’t remember the last sizable New Japan show that I disliked as much as this one. There have been Road To shows that I’ve had little time for, but not named events. This was pretty bad with only the main event and CHAOS vs LIJ coming close to the high standards I hold for this company. Skip the rest and save yourself the hassle.

Watch New Japan: https://njpwworld.com/

If you enjoyed this review, please consider contributing to my Ko-fi, even the smallest amount is appreciated.

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