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Below are the complete results for the January 4, 2017 Wrestle Kingdom 11 event from the Tokyo Dome. The results are credited to realsport101.com who have given each match a star rating.
Match One: New Japan Rumble (Pre-Show)
Participants by Entry Order: Michael Elgin, Billy Gunn, Bone Soldier, Cheeseburger, Jushin Thunder Liger, Kuniaki Kobayashi, Tiger Mask, Manabu Nakanishi, Ryusuke Taguchi, Yoshitatsu, Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Hiro Saito, and Scott Norton
The first match of the night took place during the pre-show, but it was definitely an affair worth watching. Michael Elgin was the first one in, and by the end he had completely dominated things. If you include the eliminations made by several wrestlers at once, Elgin eliminated literally half of the participants.
There were lots of fun names involved, including plenty of NJPW veterans. Scott Norton may be remembered by some for his run in WCW, but he actually had a great run in NJPW and was one of the best gaijins of his time. Classic stars like Tenzan and Jushin Thunder Liger have been seen on and off within the States.
Then there’s Cheeseburger of ROH, Yoshitatsu who some will recognize, and of course Billy Gunn. The former member of D-Generation X has been out of WWE since failing a drug test before a powerlifting competition. Everyone got their moments, but Elgin dominated and eliminated Cheeseburger last to pick up a victory in the annual New Japan Rumble.
Match Result: Michael Elgin def. Billy Gunn, Bone Soldier, Cheeseburger, Jushin Thunder Liger, Kuniaki Kobayashi, Tiger Mask, Manabu Nakanishi, Ryusuke Taguchi, Yoshitatsu, Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Hiro Saito, and Scott Norton
Rating: 2.75/5 Stars
Match Two: Tiger Mask W vs. Tiger the Dark (aka Kota Ibushi vs. ACH)
Okay, I know some people are going to be completely confused by this. The commentary from Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino helped explain things a bit, but the short version is that there’s a Tiger Mask anime and this is a crossover match with wrestlers playing the characters from the show.
Tiger Mask W, the hero of the show, was Kota Ibushi. Meanwhile, the villain, Tiger the Dark, was portrayed by ACH. It was a fun start to the main show - a good back and forth contest where each man got some great spots - but only really a glimpse of what these two could do. Tiger the Dark almost picked up the win with a huge tombstone, but it was the hero who took the victory with a Tiger Mask W Bomb (aka Golden Star Powerbomb).
Match Result: Tiger Mask W (Kota Ibushi) def. Tiger the Dark (ACH)
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Match Three: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
The Young Bucks (c) vs. Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero and Trent)
In a way, this was the true start of the action. While the opener was decent, this really got the kind of action everyone was expecting under way. The Young Bucks made their way to the ring with eight title belts...seriously. The Young Bucks entered as the current ROH Tag Team Champions, PWG Tag Team Champions, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, and Superkick Party Champions.
That last one they made up, but it just drives home the point. Like pretty much every time you see The Young Bucks, this was a fast-paced match. Their opponents, Roppongi Vice, have been on a roll in recent months and won the Super Jr Tag Tournament at NJPW’s Power Struggle back in November. Trent, once known as Trent Beretta during his time in WWE, is one of many partners Rocky Romero has had over the years. RPG Vice is definitely hitting their stride, though.
The match itself saw a lot of great back and forth, and The Young Bucks hit plenty of their trademarks. Lots of great moments, and a huge bump to the outside where Trent landed back to floor appearing to take him out of the match. With Rocky by himself, he fought hard against the duo. It looked like The Young Bucks were set to retain when they went for More Bang For Your Buck, but Trent held the Jackson on the top rope while Romero pulled the one in the ring into a crucifix pinfall to pick up the sudden win and become the new champions. No, I don’t know which Young Buck it was. Sue me.
Match Result: Roppongi Vice (Rocky Romero and Trent) def. The Young Bucks, New IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions
Rating: 4.25/5 Stars
Match Four: NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Gauntlet Match
David Finlay, Ricochet, and Satoshi Kojima (c) vs. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Hangman Page, and Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Jado, Will Ospreay, and Yoshi-Hashi) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japan (Bushi, Evil, and Sanada)
This looked like it could be one of the messiest matches of the night, as 6-Man matches usually are, but the gauntlet stipulation actually helped things quite a bit. Ricochet, for the few who don’t know, also competes a Prince Puma in Lucha Underground. Finlay is the son of the person you’re thinking of, and Kojima has the best consecutive corner chops in the business. The champions took luck of the draw, as they were the last team to enter the fray. The match started with the trio from Bullet Club taking on the trio from Chaos, two of the biggest factions inside NJPW.
Takahashi, also known as the Tokyo Pimp, brought his own version of a Ho Train to the ring along with him. There were some great moments from Ospreay, but sadly his inclusion didn’t last long. The Chaos trio was eliminated, and the next team in was representing Los Ingobernables de Japan. One of the founding members of Los Ingobernables was La Sombra, who some fans may know now as Andrade “Cien” Almas in NXT. If you think Almas is good, you’re in for a treat from LIJ. Bushi is one of the most dynamic junior heavyweights around, and Evil and Sanada are no slouches.
We got a lot of great back and forth between LIJ and Bullet Club, but it was Los Ingobernables that were able to get the better of the Club. With the referee down, they placed one open chair on the head of Takahashi. A chair shot to it essentially sent the impact into the neck of Takahashi and allowed Sanada to quickly make him submit with a dragon sleeper. Finally, we got the current champions of Finlay, Ricochet, and Kojima. It was a fast and furious finish, and Finlay has significantly improved from where he was only a few years back. Ricochet, as always, was spectacular. In the end, Bushi's black mist combined with a pair of power moves on Kojima helped Los Ingobernables de Japan pick up the victory.
Match Result: Los Ingobernables de Japan (Bushi, Evil, and Sanada) def. David Finlay, Ricochet, and Satoshi Kojima, Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Hangman Page, and Yujiro Takahashi), and Chaos (Jado, Will Ospreay, and Yoshi-Hashi), New NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champions
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars
Match Five: “The American Nightmare” Cody vs. Juice Robinson
NJPW won’t tack the last name on there, but we all know who this man is. The Grandson of a Plumber has been lighting up the independent scene since leaving the WWE, and this was in many ways the culmination of that. Few men get the opportunity to compete at Wrestle Kingdom; fewer Americans get the opportunity to compete at Wrestle Kingdom; and fewer still get to make their NJPW debut at Wrestle Kingdom.
Cody is one of those men. Juice Robinson might look a little familiar as well, as he had a short run in NXT as CJ Parker. He was the tree hugger with the protest signs who busted Kevin Owens’ nose with a palm strike during Owens' debut. Cody has truly embraced his moniker of “The American Nightmare,” and he played into it throughout the match.
While CJ Parker may not have seemed that impressive, Juice Robinson is actually a fairly underrated competitor who held his own in a hard-fought contest against a man who is hitting the stride of his career at only 31 years of age. Juice had a good showing, but the application of the Cross Rhodes put him away and gave Cody the win in his NJPW debut.
Match Result: “The American Nightmare” Cody def. Juice Robinson
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Match Six: ROH World Championship Match
Kyle O’Reilly (c) vs. Adam Cole
He’s Adam Cole, bay bay! There, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, I can continue. This is only the second time in history that the ROH World Championship has been defended at Wrestle Kingdom, and it easily turned into the most physical one yet. Kyle O’Reilly captured the ROH World Championship from Adam Cole at ROH’s Final Battle 2016 in a brutal No Disqualification Match. They carried the intensity over into this contest.
Though it was not a No DQ Match, ROH’s Senior Official Todd Sinclair was understandably lenient during the match as he wanted a clear finish at such a big event. That came into play early when Cole crushed Kyle’s arm between a steel chair and the ringpost. This left O’Reilly on the defensive for a good portion of the match. It was relatively short for an ROH World Championship Match, but it was still a great contest. It was intense right from the start, but by the end Cole had pretty much demolished Kyle O’Reilly.
Cole hit four consecutive powerful kicks to the head and finished it with a brainbuster into his knee that finished off O’Reilly and allowed Cole to reclaim the ROH World Championship. It’s worth noting that O’Reilly’s contract with ROH recently expired. He’s yet to sign anywhere, but even Dave Meltzer tweeted following the match that “you know what Adam Cole winning means.” Looks like O’Reilly could be NXT bound…
Match Result: Adam Cole def. Kyle O’Reilly, New ROH World Champion
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Match Seven: IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Triple Threat Match
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tonga Roa) (c) vs. Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) vs. G.B.H. (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma)
This was another chaotic tag team match for the night, and it featured three very different teams. Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma came out on top in NJPW’s annual World Tag League which earned them this championship match. Interestingly, the team they defeated in the finals of the World Tag League was the current champions, the Guerrillas of Destiny. Unfortunately for them, this match had an x-factor.
The pair from Chaos, Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano, wormed their way into the match and certainly complicated things. Tonga Roa might look familiar to some, and it’s because he used to be in WWE as Camacho. Yes, Camacho was portrayed as Hispanic. No, he’s not. He’s Tongan. The Guerrillas of Destiny are basically what the current version of The Usos wish they could be. Ishii is the most badass human being in existence. Yano is as cheesy as they come, and never met a rule he wouldn’t break. Makabe is old-school cool, and Honma is just awesomeness in the form of Kokeshi Headbutts.
After a hard-fought contest, it looked like Honma and Makabe would pick up the victory, but Ishii broke up the pinfall in what would have surely been the end had the match not been a triple threat. That continued to play into things, as the Guerrillas went for a double suplex on Ishii near the end. They got him into the air, but after distracting the referee Yano was able to hit a low blow on both of them and follow it with a roll-up on Tonga Roa to earn a sudden victory.
Match Result: Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) def. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tonga Roa) and G.B.H. (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma), New IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions
Rating: 3.75/5 Stars
Match Eight: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match
Kushida (c) vs. Hiromu Takahashi
With the night heating up, at this point all that was left were hard-hitting championship matches. The first of our final four featured the returning Hiromu Takahashi taking on The Ace of the Super Juniors. The nickname for Kushida was given by none other than Jushin Thunder Liger, and over the last year Kushida has definitely lived up to it. Kushida is quick and impactful, but he’s also one of the most dynamic submission specialists today.
Before he made his mark on the Junior Heavyweight Division, Kushida was a staple of the Jr Heavyweight Tag Division along with Alex Shelley. The duo formed the Time Splitters, paying homage to Back to the Future in plenty of ways. Kushida’s devastating Kimura Lock is known as the Hoverboard Lock, and it’s even more terrifying than the one that Brock Lesnar has used within WWE. Kushida puts such torque on it.
Meanwhile, Takahashi is a cocky young talent who is equally dangerous inside the ring. After a brief stint in NJPW, he’s spent most of the last few years in CMLL as Kamaitachi and had a brief run in ROH last year. Since returning to NJPW he’s gone by his real name, and Takahashi really stepped up to the next level in this contest. Kushida is as resilient as they come, but after sixteen minutes of intense competition, it was Takahashi who was able to pick up the victory and capture the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship.
Match Result: Hiromu Takahashi def. Kushida, New IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion
Rating: 4.25/5 Stars
Match Nine: NEVER Openweight Championship Match
Katsuyori Shibata (c) vs. Hirooki Goto
The second of our four big singles championships on the line was the NEVER Openweight Championship. For those unfamiliar with NJPW, the NEVER Openweight Championship was introduced in 2012 with the intention of being something for the younger talent to aspire for. As time passed, it took on a new meaning. Going into Wrestle Kingdom 11, there were only eight men who had held the NEVER Openweight Championship. Only three men held it more than once, and they are Tomohiro Ishii, Togi Makabe, and the current champion Katsuyori Shibata.
All three men are legit badasses who wrestle extremely powerful and stiff matches. The NEVER Openweight Championship has come to represent the hardest hitting matches in NJPW, and this one lived up to the reputation. Shibata and Goto actually have quite a history, and they even captured the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships at Wrestle Kingdom 9 from Luke Gallows (then known as Doc Gallows) & Karl Anderson.
Now, they’re bitter rivals, and bitter is a good way to describe this contest. It was brutal, hard-hitting, and almost made me sore to even watch. Goto has had a history of struggling in big moments, but he overcame that at Wrestle Kingdom 11. After a rough contest, Goto was able to finally pick up the win over his former tag partner and capture the NEVER Openweight Championship.
Match Result: Hirooki Goto def. Katsuyori Shibata, New NEVER Openweight Champion
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Match Ten: IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match
Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
In WWE, secondary titles tend to struggle to hold prestige anywhere close to the level of the top tier championship. That could have been the same issue with the Intercontinental Championship after it was introduced in 2011, but it was Shinsuke Nakamura who brought it to the next level. After capturing the title for the first time in 2012, Nakamura began to define the greatness of the IWGP Intercontinental Championship. He pushed its prestige so high that at Wrestle Kingdom 8 in 2014 he actually Main Evented against Hiroshi Tanahashi, and the IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match went on before them.
Just imagine a WWE Intercontinental Championship Match being the Main Event of WrestleMania. That’s how big of a deal it was. This specific contest featured Tetsuya Naito defending the title, and Naito is one of the coolest guys in NJPW. The leader of Los Ingobernables de Japan has no shortage of arrogance, but he backs it up. Meanwhile, Hiroshi Tanahashi, for simplicity sake, is the John Cena if NJPW. He’s known as The Ace of New Japan, Mr. Tokyo Dome, and a “Once in a Century Talent.”
Tanahashi has held the IWGP Heavyweight Championship a record of seven different times. He had a rough year in 2016, and some say he’s reaching the end of his years, but Tanahashi was looking to prove himself here. After twenty-five minutes of intense action, it was Naito who hit the Destino twice to finally get the win and retain his championship. This also made Naito the first man in the night to have retained a championship.
Match Result: Tetsuya Naito def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Retains IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Rating: 4.25/5 Stars
Match Eleven: IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Kenny Omega
Finally, it was time for the Main Event of the evening. And boy, it really did feel like it. WrestleMania has followed a formula in recent years that ebbs and flows and sometimes the Main Event is even a questionable choice. That’s not the case in NJPW. Wrestle Kingdom tends to start good, and just get steadily bigger as the night goes on. The last four matches keep upping the ante, and this was definitely the biggest of the night. If Tanahashi is the John Cena of NJPW, you could say that Kazuchika Okada is sort of like the Randy Orton of NJPW. The similarities aren’t vast, but Okada has been a cocky upstart trying to unseat Tanahashi for the last several years. Now, he’s truly taking his place at the top as the face of New Japan, and he’s coming into his prime at only 29 years old.
Okada is truly great, has a gorgeous dropkick, and a devastating clothesline known as the Rainmaker. Meanwhile, Kenny Omega has pushed his way all the way to the top of NJPW. Two years ago, he captured the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship for the first time. In the time since then, the man known as “The Cleaner” laid waste to the Junior division. Immediately after Shinsuke Nakamura and AJ Styles departed from NJPW after last year’s Wrestle Kingdom 10, Omega saw his shot and took it. Omega declared himself a heavyweight, entered the big leagues, and then subsequently banished AJ Styles from the Bullet Club and took his rightful place at the top of the group.
It’s not a position to be taken lightly, considering the others at the top have been AJ Styles and Finn Balor (then known as Prince Devitt). Omega is a crafty heel, and as creative a competitor as there is. Omega entered NJPW’s annual G1 Climax tournament and put together a string of amazing performances to become the winner and earn himself a shot at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at Wrestle Kingdom 11. Omega stole the show before the bell even rang with an epic Terminator-themed entrance, complete with pre-entrance video spot. Okada’s entrance was as extravagant as ever, but finally the bell rang and two greats of today’s business began to go at each other with literally everything they possibly had.
Do yourself a favor and find this match. As good as the IWGP Intercontinental Match was, this one truly stole the show, represented such excellent ring psychology, and lived up to the spectacle of Wrestle Kingdom. After a long contest, both men had given each other their best shot. Omega looked done after a Tombstone Piledriver and a Rainmaker, but somehow kicked out. It was so close that I leapt out of my chair. So many near falls, a truly unforgettable match, and one that may end up being Match of the Year in about twelve months. I'm still on adrenaline, but this legitimately may be one of the greatest matches I've ever witnessed.
Match Result: Kazuchika Okada def. Kenny Omega, Retains IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Rating: 5/5 Stars
What did you think of Wrestle Kingdom 11?