Block B Shelton Benjamin [4 Points] vs. Kota Ibushi [6 Points]
This is like a 2008 dream match with each man going into completely different directions since that time. Shelton sent Kota into a barricade repeatedly to get the advantage. He was in control for a bit, but Kota eventually managed to send him to the floor for The Kota Ibushi Moonsault to the Floor. Shelton eventually came back with a nice superkick for a good nearfall. They went back and forth. Kota eventually went for a springboard move, but Shelton caught him with Paydirt: 1…2…3. That result makes me sad in the pants.
Despite the disappointing result, there is no denying that this was a fun opener. Kota Ibushi is officially a miracle worker after making me forget how much I dislike watching Shelton Benjamin. Shelton now has six points. Match Rating: ***
Block B Karl Anderson [6 Points] vs. Toru Yano [2 Points]
The crowd may be into this quite a bit.
Anderson attacked Yano before the bell. They brawled on the floor. They got back into the ring, and Anderson worked him over for a bit. Yano worked in his babyface cheating shtick. Yano avoided a Gun Stun and sent Anderson into an exposed turnbuckle for a second time. Anderson came back with a spinebuster. Anderson called for a Gun Stun, but Yano pulled the ref in the way. The confusion allowed Yano to kick Anderson in the balls: 1…2…3
This match was amusing enough for the position it was in. The result seems stupid, but what can you but complain on the internet? Yano now has four points. Match Rating: **1/2
Block A Davey Boy Smith Jr. [4 Points] vs. Tomohiro Ishii [4 Points]
Smith was able to overpower Ishii a lot early on. Ishii was finally able to catch Smith with a vertical suplex. Ishii got a nearfall with a powerbomb. Smith came back with a snap powerslam and then a saito suplex for a nearfall. Smith got another nearfall with a superplex. Ishii avoided a Liger Bomb with a headbutt. Smith hit a falling powerbomb for a nearfall. Ishii came back with a gamengiri. Ishii hit a superplex for another nearfall. He got another nearfall with a lariat. Smith came back and eventually hit a Liger Bomb: 1…2…3
This was a solid match. They did a lot of stuff, but I cannot say I ever got greatly invested in the action. Harry Smith can have that effect on me. Smith now has six points. Match Rating: **1/2
Block B Minoru Suzuki [4 Points] vs. Yujiro Takahashi [6 Points]
Minoru Suzuki’s music makes everything better. Even Yujiro.
Suzuki attacked Yujiro during his pre-match promo. Everyone approved of this. Yujiro got control after using a chair to attack him. Suzuki came back after a bit, but Yujiro cut him off again. Yujiro hit his moonsault for a nearfall. After two failed attempts, Suzuki managed to lock in a sleeper. Suzuki transitioned it into a Gotch Piledriver: 1…2…3
This was just there in every way. Why oh why must I watch Yujiro??? Minoru Suzuki is on a cold streak as far as quality matches goes. Suzuki now has six points. Match Rating: **
Block A Lance Archer [4 Points] vs. Togi Makabe [4 Points]
This show is just chock full of stuff I do not care about.
The crowd seems fairly hyped for this at least. Once you discover that Lance Archer has a tramp stamp, you cannot see anything else. Archer hit a chokeslam very quickly and then took Makabe to the floor to beat him down. He controlled the match for a bit until Makabe finally hit a lariat. Acher came back and went for a moonsault, but Makabe avoided it. They traded strikes until Archer hit a spear. They went back and forth some more. Makabe eventually hit a spider German and then a diving knee drop: 1…2…3
I just found it so hard to get into this. I know this review must seem repetitive, but between the weak matchups and ambivalent crowd, this show has not been the most fun to watch. Makabe now has six points. Match Rating: **1/4
Block B Tetsuya Naito [6 Points] vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan [4 Points]
I keep thinking this show will give me a good match, and I am continuously disappointed!
They went back and forth. Naito got control first. Tenzan came back with a Samoan Drop. They went back and forth some more. Tenzan got a nearfall with a diving headbutt. Tenzan avoided the Stardust Press and hit a spinning heel kick. Tenzan then got the Anaconda Vice. Naito escaped. Tenzan went for the Anaconda again, but he couldn’t get it locked in. He managed to slam Naito down though and then hit the Anaconda Vice: 1…2…3!
Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. That was so much better than anyone could have reasonable expected. The crowd was into both guys, and they managed to put on a lively match. It wasn’t special, but it defied expectations. Tenzan now has six points. Match Rating: **3/4
Block A Prince Devitt [6 Points] vs. Satoshi Kojima [6 Points]
Well, this matchup is definitely the most interesting one we’ve had since the opener. This tournament has made me higher on Kojima than I thought possible at this stage of his career.
Devitt got the advantage after he started to target Kojima’s taped-up right arm. Kojima eventually came back and hit some Kobashi corner chops. He then got a nearfall with a shitty diving elbow. Devitt came back with a double stomp for a nearfall. Kojima hit an Ace Crusher. He had the match won after a brain buster, but Bad Luck Fale interfered. Kojima fought back, but he could not overcome it all. Devitt hit a double stomp with a chair: 1…2…NO! He then hit a modified Bloody Sunday: 1…2…3
They had a cool little match building here, but the interference pretty much completely killed it for me. The Bullet Club is getting on my nerves more and more, and it’s not in a good way. They had the formula down for so long. It’s really annoyed that they messed with it. Devitt now has eight points. Match Rating: ***
Block A Kazuchika Okada [4 Points] vs. Katsuyori Shibata [6 Points]
Why yes, this is something that I am interested in!
Shibata overwhelmed Okada with strikes at the start. Okada fought back, but Shibata held the advantage for a while. This match is cool even if it deserve a better situation for their first-time meeting. Okada fought back and hit the Air Raid Crash on the thigh. He hit the Hail to the King and called for the Rainmaker. Shibata did not respect his authority. Shibata hit a German and then did the Rainmaker pose. He locked in the sleeper. Okada was fading, but he managed to escape. Shibata avoided the Rainmaker but ate a dropkick and a tombstone. RAINMAKER: 1…2…3
This was easily the most interesting match of the whole show. You can only do a first-time matchup once, which still makes me slightly disappointed it didn’t happen under more important circumstances. However, they had a good match and made me hopeful they can have a great match one day. Okada now has six points. Match Rating: ***1/2
Block B Shinsuke Nakamura  vs. Yuji Nagata 
Things started slowly. Nakamura briefly had control. Nagata made a comeback. Nakamura made a comeback. A lot of NJPW babyface vs. babyface matches feel very similar to WWE babyface vs. babyfaces. Each guy just runs through their shit, and the crowd eats it up! Anyhow, each guy ran through their shit. Nagata dropped him on his head with a German, but Nagata came right back with a Boma Ye to the back of the head. They continued to go back and forth. It was delightful. Nakamura finally caught him with a proper Boma Ye: 1…2…NO!!!! Boma Ye: 1…2…3!
I know I shouldn’t be, but I’m genuinely surprised this match worked as well as it did. The crowd had been lukewarm all night, but maybe they were just waiting for the actual interesting matches. Huge thumbs up for this one! Nakamura now has eight points. Match Rating: ***3/4
Block A Hiroshi Tanahashi [4 Points] vs. Hirooki Goto [8 Points]
I’m developing a begrudging respect for Goto’s abilities. I’m still not a huge fan though.
They quickly ended up on the floor, which is where Goto got the avantage. Tana came back and hit a High Fly Flow to the floor. Goto started selling his knee after that. Tana went after that, but Goto managed to come back. They traded forearms. Tana hit the Florida Key for a nearfall. He went for a High Fly Flow, but Glow avoided it and hit a sliding lariat. Goto hit a lariat and a DVD on the knee. Goto hit Gloria: 1…2…NO! Goto caught him with a headbutt. Tana avoided the Shouten and hit a bridging Dragon suplex: 1…2…NO! Tana hit a sunset flip powerbomb and then the Styles Clash. He followed it with a High Fly Flow: 1…2…3!
I think this match would have felt so much bigger if Goto won, but I obviously get why he didn’t. The match was still a ton of fun. Tanahashi is truly one of the top three wrestlers in the world along with Okada and Daniel Bryan. He makes every match worth watching. Tanahashi now has six points. Match Rating: ***3/4
After six days of competition, here are the tournament standings:
The 411: While this show was nowhere near as good as the best NJPW shows, it did provide enough fun matches to make it worth the watch (even with the weaker matches holding the show back). There's no one match you need to see, but the opener and the last few matches are very strong. Thumbs up for Day Six.