Welcome to PWInsider.com's live, ongoing coverage of New Japan Pro Wrestling's Wrestle Kingdom 11 from The Tokyo Dome in Tokyo, Japan. Our coverage will be following the English language commentary with Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino.
The stream opened with a crowd shot of the Dome with blimp floating overhead.
New Japan Rumble
The first competitor out was Michael Elgin. The second man out was Billy Gunn.
Kevin Kelly and Steve Corino noted that Elgin had to be upset he wasn't walking the Dome ramp, as it's a pre-show match, not the official Dome show. They noted that Gunn impressed officials during the World Tag League and was invited back. They each tested their strength against the other and shoved each other as the buzzer rang for competitor number three.
The third man out was Bone Soldier. Corino said he was the most interesting member of the Bullet Club. Ha! Elgin nearly had Gunn over the ropes but Gunn fought back. Gunn drilled Soldier with a right hand and was told no punches by referee Tiger Hatori. Elgin did the same and was also admonished. They worked over Solider together as the countdown began for the next competitor.
Number four was ROH's Cheeseburger, who got a nice reaction from the crowd. He went right after Gunn but was backdropped over. He landed on his feet and nailed a series of kicks. Soldier shoved Burger into Hatori but Burger was able to stop before he hit the referee. Soldier charged at Burger, who dropped down and pulled the rope down with him. Soldier's momentum sent him over the top. He is eliminated.
Next out is my all time favorite Jushin Liger. Liger teamed up with Burger, his protege of sorts and they went after Gunn and Elgin. They were easily muscled down. Gunn and Elgin went right back after each other. Elgin avoided the Famouser, yelled "Suck it!" and clotheslined Gunn over the top to the floor. He is eliminated. Gunn threatened to slap Kevin Kelly on the way out.
The next man out is Kuniaki Kobayashi! Wow. That is cool. He went right after Liger and took him down with a big rear kick. He nailed a Fisherman's suplex for a two count and then ripped at Liger's mask as the countdown for the next competitor began.
Out next was Tiger Mask IV, who obviously came to the rescue of Liger. Kobayashi took him down and went for his mask. Liger saved him. Mask used a crucifix to pin Kobayashi. That was a cool cameo.
Out next is Manabu Nakanishi. The announcers said he might eat Burger. He laid out everyone with axehandles until he got to Elgin, who absorbed it. Nakanishi nailed a spear and that took Elgin down. He nailed a lariat in each of the Junior Heavyweights. Elgin and Nakanishi fought each other and took the other down with lariats. All the juniors jumped on them to try and get pins.
Next man out was Rysuke Taguchi. He nailed a hip attack off the top on Nakanishi as the others held him. Four of them jumped on him but Nakanishi still kicked out. They all nailed five splashes and that finally eliminated Nakanishi. Liger put Taguchi in the bow and arrow. Tiger Mask jumped inside the move and tried to pin Liger who kicked out at two. Liger came back and pinned Mask, eliminating him.
Next man was Yoshi Tatsu. He went right after Elgin. Taguchi tried to use a Boston Crab on Burger, who made it to the ropes.
Out next is the one and only Yuji Nagata! Yes! Taguchi was immediately locked in an armbreaker. Tatsu saved him with a kick to Nagata's back. The crowd was not happy. Nagata and Tatsu battled back and forth. Tatsu avoided a running knee and nailed a series of kicks to the chest. He went for a pedigree but was backdropped over.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan was the next man out as Tatsu was pinned and eliminated. Nagata and Tenzan battled back and forth. Taguchi began nailing some shots, which the crowd laughed at. Nagata finally cut off Taguchi with a front facelock and nailed a series of kicks.
Hiro Saito then began making his way to the ring. Wow. I love all the cameos tonight. Nagata continues to drill Tenzan with hard kicks. Saito got involved. He nailed a running senton on Nagata. Saito and Tenzan piled on and scored the pin. Adios, Blue Justice!
The next man out was former WCW star and former IWGP Heavyweight champion Scott Norton. Jurassic Powers represented! Taguchi attempted several hip attacks to no avail and was laid out. Norton drilled him with a big powerbomb for the pin. Everyone in the bout agreed to team up on Elgin. He began attempting to fend them off.
Elgin tossed Norton and Saito. Tenzan and Burger worked over Elgin. Tenzan was tossed, leaving Burger and Elgin as the final two competitors. Burger psyched himself up and took the fight to Elgin but was drilled with a right hand and crumpled down. Elgin set him up for a powerbomb but Burger slipped out and nailed a superkick. They went back and forth until Burger was nailed with a Buckle Bomb and then a spinning sitdown powerbomb for the pin.
Your winner, Michael Elgin!
It was a fun match for cameos and unique appearances. The announcers made it clear that this was all about having some fun, but it will be all business once the official show begins. I expect Norton is going to get a lot of independent date offers coming out of this as he looked good. Cheeseburger was great as the smallest guy in the ring who kept showing his fight. Elgin came off well against everyone he worked with. You have to love seeing Kobayashi and Liger going at it after all these years. That really made me smile. Nice way to start things off.
New Japan Wrestle Kingdom officially kicked off with an introductory video running down every match on tonight's card.
The Dome looked pretty damn packed.
Tiger Mask W vs. Tiger The Dark.
Mask W is Kota Ibushi. Dark is ACH. This is partially a promotional bout to push the "Tiger Mask W" anime series that airs in Japan and on Crunchyroll. They noted some New Japan stars will be animated and appearing in the series.
They locked up and W grabbed a side headlock. He was sent into the ropes and shoulderblocked Dark down. They exchanged a series of armdrags and each went for dropkicks at the same time before facing off. Dark worked over W in the corner. Dark nailed a series of backflips before catching W with a dropkick into the corner. W went to the floor, where Dark nailed a nice reverse flip dive to the floor, similar to the one WWE's Tony Nese executes. He tossed W into the ring and scored a two count.
Back in the ring, Dark continued the assault until being shocked with a dropkick that sent him to the floor. W charged the ring and hit a big moonsault out of the corner to the floor, which looked awesome. W unloaded with strikes and went for a standing moonsault but Dark pulled his knees up. He attempted a tombstone piledriver but was not able to pull W over. He instead locked in an abdominal stretch before attacking the ribs. He set up for the tombstone but it was reversed and then reversed back. Dark tombstoned W and scored a two count.
W caught Dark with a snap German suplex and then a Tiger suplex for a two count. W finally nailed a Tiger Bomb (what else?) for the pin.
Your winner, Tiger Mask W!
Solid opening match with some really nice spots to the outside.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team champions The Young Bucks vs. Roppongi Vice.
The Bucks came out wearing custom SuperKick Tag Team championship belts. They called out Matt and Jeff Hardy, knocking them and saying that they were the true best tag team of all time. They also wore the ROH and IWGP Tag Team championships. They got right in Vice's face and everyone started fighting. The Bucks were sent to the floor. Vice teased stereo dives but the Bucks got out of the way.
The Bucks began walking up the ramp, saying they were done with this. Vice followed but got laid out on the ramp, leaving them prey for a countout. They made it back in before the 20 count. Romero was immediately tossed back to the floor. They nailed a double backdrop on Trent Beretta. Matt Jackson nailed a dropkick through the ropes to the floor on Romero. Nick Jackson nailed the first superkick of many on Beretta, who fell from the apron to the floor.
The Bucks worked over Beretta. Romero hit the ring and nailed a big right hand on Nick but was kicked back off the apron. Beretta nailed Matt off the apron and caught Nick with a tornado DDT. The Bucks worked them over until they accidentally took out a young boy on the outside with an inadvertant superkick. Romero fought back and nailed the Forever lariat. The Bucks accidentally nailed each other as well.
Vice nailed a double leaping knee to Matt Jackson. Romero nailed a big dive to the outide on Nick. Vice unloaded with some double team maneuvers for a close two count, Beretta held Nick for a move but Matt Jackson leapt off the top, taking out Romero in mid-air and kicking Beretta, sending him over into a Canadian Destroyer of sorts. They all battled in the corner, where the Bucks attempted a double suplex but it was fought off. Matt Jackson attempted to nail a superplex on Romero but was caught by Beretta and flipped upside down with a belly to back suplex.
Beretta tried to nail a big dive over the top but Nick pulled Matt away and Beretta crashed hard on the floor beyond the padding. Romero tried to overcome a two on one advantage and even caught the Bucks with a double rana but was soon overwhelmed with a big superkick. Romero kicked up at two. Romero was drilled with the bucklebomb/kick to the head combination. They hung Romero on the ropes where Nick nailed a big 450 splash and scored a two count.
The Bucks measured Romero and drilled him with superkicks. Romero psyched himself up but was superkicked down again. He kicked up again. The announcers talked about his samurai spirit. The Bucks were setting up for a move when Romero, out of nowhere, caught one of them with a crucifix and scored the pin.
Your winners and new IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team champions, RPG Vice!
Good match. Bucks are just in another world right now as an act. They are absolutely at the top of their game as personalities and as a unit. RPG Vice looked really good. Beretta took some awesome bumps here. Really enjoyable.
The Bucks declared that they still had all their other belts after the match.
Coverage continues on Page 2!
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