The night started with another great outing for Lance Archer, this time brutalising Kota Ibushi. Ibushi had a hard time getting around Archer’s hard strikes and power moves, even taking a massive chokeslam at one point. Archer was able to block a Kamigoye attempt with a knee to to Ibushi’s face. He missed a moonsault, then caught Ibushi to try for Blackout, but Ibushi countered and hit a bomaye then Kamigoye, but Archer was still up! A second Kamigoye finally put the big man down for 3.
The next match was nowhere near as good, as Bad Luck Fale took on Will Ospreay. There was far too much intreference with Bullet Club getting heavily involved and the ref getting knocked out. The end was Red Shoes’ best moment though, and he ran down to the ring and started to count the pinfall, after Chase Owens and Jado had assisted Fale to get the cover, before flipping off Fale and disqualifying him!
Next up, Zack Sabre Jr and EVIL rekindled their rivalry. EVIL used his strength to overcome ZSJ’s submissiopn style. ZSJ managed to counter Everything is EVIL several times before EVIL finally hit it for the victory.
Tanahashi and SANADA had a solid bout, with Tanahashi eventually getting the win with Aces High followed by High Fly Flow. It wasn’t a classic but it’s worth watching if you have the time. SANADA is another member of LIJ who just hasn’t been having the best of tournaments when it comes to wins and losses, but like Takagi, he’s been putting on great shows.
The main event was one of the most anticipated of the tournament, Kazuchika Okada v KENTA
They had a very deliberately paced match that very nearly went to the time limit. KENTA’s been getting more heelish as the tournament goes on. At one point he hit a Shibata-style dropkick off the apron onto Okada when he was draped over the barricade. It was a great move, and showed us KENTA would have been perfectly happy to win by countout. Okada took it to KENTA with hit his own Shibata style dropkick too. They both went all out with strikes, the forearms by Okada and palmstrikes by KENTA looked absolutely brutal.
A spinning tombstone to KENTA spelled the end, and Okada followed up with the Rainmaker for the win.
Okada and KENTA shook hands following the match. The match was one of the tournament highlights and I highly recommend watching it when you can.