Wrestle Kingdom 14 Night 2 recap, winners, match grades

first_imgHere are match grades and a recap, courtesy of SN’s Steven Muehlhausen.Join DAZN and watch more than 100 fight nights a yearEvil, Shingo Takagi, and Bushi def. Togi Makabe and Toru Yano and Ryusuke Taguchi to win the NEVER Openweight 6-Man tag team championshipMuehlhausen: It was a five-team gauntlet match that came down to these two teams.Evil is always solid, Bushi is ok, but Takagi has something that always makes you want to see him inside the ring. The bout concludes when Bushi sprays the mist in Taguchi’s eyes and Takagi hits the Made in Japan to score the pin to win the titles.  Grade: CHiromu Takahashi & Ryu Lee def. Jyushin Thunder Liger & Naoki SanoMuehlhausen: Watching Liger walk down the ramp one final time was a goosebump moment because of what he meant for the smaller guys in wrestling in proving that they are special and can do and mean just as much as the big guys.The central focus was on Takahashi, who won the IWGP junior heavyweight title from Will Ospreay on Saturday, and Liger.The two started and finished the match with Takhashi executing the time bomb for the pinfall in a passing of the torch moment. That was the correct move with Takahashi in position to be what Liger was for over 30 years.A phenomenal career, and thank you to Jyushin Thunder Liger for everything you have given to the professional wrestling business.Grade: C+Roppongi 3K def. Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo to win the IWGP junior heavyweight tag team championshipMuehlhausen: What a match. The pace set by all four guys was a sight to see. I know people will be upset because they are used to WWE and their methodical style of tag team wrestling.Remember this as the contest that set the standard for how the show is going to play out.Grade: B+Zack Sabre Jr. def. Sanada to retain the British heavyweight championshipMuehlhausen: If you are a fan of technical wrestling, this was for you. Sabre is a genius at work. The way he’s able to make what looks like boring holds into something exciting is a testament to him. And that’s due to the confidence he exudes inside the squared circle.Credit should be given to Sanada to being able to adapt to Sabre’s style. Not many guys can adjust to different styles, but he was ready too.Shocked Sabre won, considering the build had been centered on Sanada not winning a singles title. But the story continues that Sanada comes up just a bit short.Grade: BJon Moxley def. Juice Robinson to retain the IWGP United States titleMuehlhausen: You went from a grappling match to a tremendous hard-hitting brawl between two rivals.Seeing Robinson from NXT to New Japan is night and day. His improvement is great to see. And being in New Japan is tailor-made for Moxley as he gets to go back to his roots of being in hardcore matches before entering WWE.The shots Moxley and Robinson were throwing were hard and stiff with neither giving an inch until Moxley put him away with a double-arm DDT followed immediately by the Death Ryder to hold onto the championship.It was expected that Moxley would lose the belt here, so it’s good to see him staying in the company. Maybe this is an extension of a possible partnership between AEW and New Japan.Grade: BHirooki Goto def. KENTA to win the NEVER Openweight championshipMuehlhausen: A little lackluster, but you could see it coming as the three previous matches were very good. While everything KENTA and Goto did was fine, it lacked something to kick into high gear.What a difference a year makes for KENTA. He went from being an afterthought after leaving Japan for WWE to now being near what he was when he was on top in the 2010s. You could see when he was walking to the ring that his confidence is back after looking like it was shot.Combined that with his performance in the ring with Goto, it appears KENTA is just about back to his old self.Wonder what’s next for both guys as it looked like they could be running it back reasonably quick.Grade: CJay White def. Kota IbushiMuehlhausen: What a performance from White and Ibushi considering what they put their bodies through on Saturday. The storytelling was so great.Both guys sold for each other’s moves like a million bucks, especially White when Ibushi showed his new mean streak and planted White with one vicious strike after another. The look in his eyes was spine-tingling and made you feel he wanted to inflict serious harm to White.The interference by Gedo with the brass knuckles in helping White get the victory was a tad too much, but it fits the dastardly heel persona of White to a tee.It’ll be interesting to see where Ibushi goes after two straight losses, as White looks to be in for a crack against Naito down the road.Grade: A-Chris Jericho def. Hiroshi TanahashiMuehlhausen: That was a tremendous old-school wrestling match. Jericho and Tanahashi did each other’s mannerisms, showed great facial expressions throughout to make you believe in what they were doing and made every move they executed matter.They had the crowd in the palm of their hands from start-to-finish, which culminated in Jericho making Tanahashi tap out to his patented Lion Tamer.There’s a reason Jericho and Tanahashi are two of the all-time greats. And this bout showed why that’s the case.I know many fans wanted Tanahashi to win so he could get a crack at the AEW heavyweight title, but as NJPW announcer Kevin Kelly said on the broadcast after the match, ‘Goodbye forbidden portal,’ shows the tension between both organizations is still there.Let’s hope one day that changes as both companies working together is what’s best for business.Grade: A-Tetsuya Naito def. Kazuchika Okada to win the IWGP heavyweight title and retain the Intercontinental titleMuehlhausen: You can get a pretty good feel how a match is going to go before the two participants even lock up. That was the case for Okada and Naito as the crowd was deafening and they hadn’t yet even touched each other yet.Early on, it was playing off like Okada is always one step ahead of Naito and showed heel tendencies by being cockier and confident that he could beat Naito whenever he wanted. He even showed a new dimension to his character when he slammed Naito face-first through the announce table and injured his knee.That only got the crowd more behind Naito and they had the people from there, who were into every single thing either guy was doing but in unison wanted Naito to pull through and win the big one finally.But then we saw both guys continuing to kick out of the other’s finishing moves at the last possible moment, which made you get on the edge of your seat wondering what it would take for Okada or Naito to put the other away. Could New Japan Pro Wrestling top the first night of Wrestle Kingdom 14 on Sunday morning at the Tokyo Dome in Tokyo?NJPW’s signature event provided moments of a lifetime. You went from the final match in the legendary career of Jyushin Thunder Liger to two historic figures in the pro wrestling in Chris Jericho and Hiroshi Tanahashi finally locking horns and ending with Tetsuya Naito and Kazuchika Okada putting on one of the greatest matches in recent memory that saw Naito get the victory to become the first wrestler in New Japan history to hold the IWGP heavyweight and Intercontinental championships at the same time. You knew it was Naito’s night when unlike the last time they met at Wrestle Kingdom 12 in January 2018, Natio hit the Stardust Press. He followed it up with one final Destino to get the win and capture the ultimate prize at the New Japan’s premier event and become the first person in NJPW history to hold both titles simultaneously.This was an unbelievable match to cap off a historic weekend. The bar was Okada-Ibushi from Saturday, but Naito-Okada smashed through and put on an epic encounter people will be talking about for years to come.Grade: A++++last_img