Fan Feedback: NJPW Wrestle Kingdom 12

Thumbs UP!

– Best Match: Okada-Naito
– Worst Match: New Japan Rumble

I was there live and it was definitely worth the trip. Surprised Naito didn’t win. I love Okada, but Naito’s merch dwarfed everyone else combined 10 to 1. Naito got the biggest pops of the night by far. 

– Adam Berger

For what it’s worth, I was impressed by what I saw from Reika Seiki in the main event of the Joshi show that aired on DDT Universe ahead of WK12. She’s this cute 25-year-old who is 4’11” but throws these amazing kicks, very stiff, with a style that reminds me of Nakajima.
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Thumbs Up
– Best Match: Kazuchika Okada vs. Tetsuya Naito
– Worst Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Jay White

This show was outstanding with great matches in a variety of styles. It was a mistake in my opinion to not pull the trigger on Naito as that crowd was ready to pop huge for a Naito title win. But I’m sure Gedo has a long-term plan with this. Most of the matches delivered at or above my expectations, which were
rather lofty. Goto vs. Suzuki was brutal but excellent, ditto for Omega vs. Jericho in a different way, and of course the four-way for
the Jr. Title was remarkable, especially when they started using their opponent’s trademark moves against one another.

I watched the Japanese version and really enjoyed Shinpei’s calls, especially in the Jericho/Omega match, but also in the four-way when Scurll hit an Oscutter on Ospreay and Shinpei went bonkers over it. It will be fun to hear Jim Ross’ play-by-play of the final two matches on AXS TV. Tanahashi vs. White wasn’t a bad match, but on a loaded show that overachieved, their match felt flat.

– Lou Pickney

Thumbs way up. The whole show was great. Best match for me was Alpha v Omega. This was absolutely my favorite. I’m a big Jericho and Omega fan, so I may be biased, but the passion and story in this match was just fantastic. It never mattered to me who would win, just that both were giving their all. And I was literally on the edge of my seat the more the match played out. I marked out a little when the Liontamer happened and with the One Winged Angel on the chair. Too many spots to be honest to call them all out.

I loved the whole show. Okada v Naito was amazing, as was the 4 way, and I thought Cody showed up to play. Great heel tactics with Brandi.

– Josh McGee

Thumbs Up

MOTN: Omega vs. Jericho
Worst: Tag Gauntlet (not counting Rumble, and I didn’t think it was a bad match, just “worst” on the card)

Loved Omega vs Jericho. Shocked to say it was my MOTN. The No DQ stip was obviously the smoke and mirrors they needed for Jericho at this point in his career, but he really came through and the match over delivered. Hats off to them, didn’t think it could eclipse the main event, but it did.

Okada vs. Naito felt flat aside from the last few minutes. I don’t mind Okada retaining, Gedo’s booking an all-time king and we had arguably the best year of title defenses in the history of the business, so I’m not complaining that it’s not over. Also, with the interjection of Jericho into this card, for better or for worse, Naito wasn’t the main focus of this event in the final build and to a large portion of the global audience, so perhaps the eventual crowning is better off when the focus is solely on him. 

Suzuki vs. Goto was great, and again over delivered as I could not care less about Goto, but Suzuki was on fire and gave one of his best performances of the year. 

4-way was good, but I think almost any combo of the 4 in a singles would have been a better match. Didn’t need the umbrella whacking finish, it added nothing to the match, especially when a No DQ was following it up later. 

Tana vs. White, I really had zero investment in White whatsoever. Tana put on a great show as always, but White has no business in a Top 3 Tokyo Dome match. Glad Tana won because White is not ready to beat him, but upset Tana is seemingly never going to take time off to heal.

Ibushi vs. Cody was decent, but Cody just isn’t a big match NJPW performer, as we all know. 

Good card, but overall definitely the weakest Tokyo Dome of the last few years as was expected due to the booking and leaving Ishii and Ibushi out of big singles matches with too much focus on guys like White and Cody who are not at Tokyo Dome singles matches levels yet. The top 4 of last year vs. this year is no comparison, and nothing hit 5 stars IMO.

– Tim Dudley, Toronto

I think WK12 was not on the level of WK 11, 10 or 9. It’s too bad with so many new eyes, people are seeing this WK and not WK11. I personally don’t have any match as 5 star match on the card.

MOTN – IWGP Jr. Heavyweight 4 Way followed by: Omega – Jericho

Okada – Naito – a little disappointed both in the booking of the match and the match not delivering like Omega – Okada or Tanahashi – Okada. Naito is white hot and they don’t go with him?

Also what was up with Okada’s pants?

Ibushi – Cody – Cody’s best match so far

Bucks vs R3K – Can you report if  Matt was legit injured because either that is the greatest sell job of all time or he tweeked his back bad.

KES vs LIJ – Young Lions were the MVP

6 Man – Gauntlet 

Tanahashi – Jay White – I hated this match. I have seen Jay White live twice in ROH and each time the crowds were dead for him. I was speaking to some people who watch RevPro and they said the same thing. I have nothing against Jay White but I dont see anything in him and I dont understand putting him against Tanahashi in that slot at WK. 

Imagine Tanahashi and Ibushi have their match from Power Struggle at WK12. I think the whole event feels different.

– Thomas Grimes

Thumbs way up
 
Best match – Okada/Naito
Worst match – gauntlet match

I thought it was an amazing show. The backlash of Okada winning online is somewhat ridiculous. My only real criticism of the show is the TERRIBLE blade hand off spot with Omega/Red Shoes . This ALMOST completely lost me on the match. I couldn’t believe they did such a horrible job with camera angles there and it seemed to go on forever. 

-Ty Dawson

Thumbs SIGNIFICANTLY up. Stayed up all night watching it live and I’m glad I did. 

Best Match: Jericho/Omega. Okada/Naito an inch behind. I liked more of Jericho/Omega than I did the other. The last 6-7 minutes of Okada/Naito was absolutely bonkers.

Worst Match: Tanahashi/White. Not to say it was bad. It just wasn’t as good as the others. Poor Tanahashi. That guy can’t get a break. Literally. He needs to go away and heal. He looks miserable and constantly in pain. 
 
– Cale Koprowski

Thumbs firmly in the middle due to NJPW’s own standards they’ve set for themselves over the last year. Length wise it seemed to drag, especially including the NJR. 

Jnr 4 Way easily the best match of the night with what felt like a surprising winner too. Scurll looked like a superstar out there, he’s always very good but thought he was MVP last night.

Tanahashi vs White worst for me, very underwhelming debut for White, got the tools but no where near ready for a WK singles match. Seen some Young Lions have much better performances the in the previous weeks. Sad that Tanahashi has now had two high profile matches between the US show against Gunn and this match that were both pretty poor, through no fault of his own. 
 
– Scott Anderson

First off i want to give this show more than 2 thumbs up. What i really liked about it was the different champions comming out of the show and i think somd stars were made including Switchblade Jay White and Will Ospreay.

My match of the night was for the IWGP JR heavyweight championship between Kushida, Takahashi, Ospreay and Marty Scrull. I thought this match was faced paced and action packed. What i took away from this match was Will Ospreay is superstar now. I feel he showed the world just how darn good of wrestler he is. In my own opinon if someone does not think Ospreay can work, watch this match, he has his own flare and style that i think really translates.

My worst match of the night still wasnt even that bad and that was the guanlet match. It was a little quick and i just didnt like some of the quick pins by Yano. I still liked the match but that one just didnt go over well for me.

I think a very notable match was Kota Ibushi vs Cody. I thought the match was paced well and had a little of everything in it to keep it interesting. I really think Kota is future champion.

– Ryan Stine, Ohio

Overall great show last night, truly the best wrestling on the planet.  Best bout for me was the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Fatal 4 Way match.  If I had to pick a worst bout it would have to be the Never 6 Man Tag gauntlet match.  Great show though, exceeded my expectations for my first NJPW show.

– Tyler Switzky

Thumbs up. One of the best shows we will see all year.

Best Match: Fatal 4 Way for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship. Nonstop excitement, innovative spots, pure talent, and a total spotfest but not sloppy. Jericho vs. Omega is a close 2nd place for Match of the Night.

Worst Match: Tanahashi vs. Jay White. Hands down, the worst of the Night. Slow, limited, and definitely the wrong spot on the card. 

– Chris Rogers

This was more than an A show, let’s get the easy log out of the way.  I just want to talk about Naito and Okada’s match. 

Well, the penultimate match on the card was, yes, what we kinda hoped for but not fully expected to devlier. Lots of spots, crazy sequences, and in-ring psychology were continuously chiseled as the match progressed. Saw some botches (I mean, okay some chair shots were meh) but really forgivable. Last thing that I want to point on this match then is that, damn I liked that transition from Walls of Jericho into Liontamer then as soon as Omega tried to grasp some solitude, he went back to the Walls. Hehe that was so really logically cool.

Okay then here are my main cards at hand.

To be honest, I have really toned down my expectations with the bout. Heck, maybe I was just rooting for Okada to win so much that it hindered me to dig deep into the Naito angle.

The opening sequences were pretty WWE-like, it was filled with theatrics and yeah, just trying to immediately connect with the audience thingy and all, but the slow yet equally entertaining start, in a fingersnap, turned into a fast-paced slugfest. Okada was trying to be the aggressor in the early goings, since as for my understanding, he’s taking in the heel role in here, but actually I then got to appreciate how tweener-like their natural characters are. 

Of course, the proverbial “Attack Okada’s Neck” ploy was employed. I was actually expecting that even before the match began. But at least it was not really strung up to a degree where it would be unimaginably possible for anyone to fight through. I was scared on a certain spot where Okada nailed his head after a top-rope reverse frankensteiner. He seemed quite groggy to me, well if he isn’t then yeah haha he sold it pretty well on me, AGAIN.

Of course, the instances where both competitors kicked out of each other’s greatest aces, in an extremely close fashion, are always a treat. Okada ultimately won and personally, that made me happy. Not just because I heavily favoredhim, but I think he can still imprint quite a heavier impact say a few more months before relinquishing it to someone. Damn, Naito or Omega, or anyone else can do the succession. 

Truth be told, not even meters close to that masterpiece of a main event last year but if we talk about storyline continuity and psychology, it skyrockets its way to certain heights. WOULD BE RATING IT A GENEROUS 4.5 AT THE VERY LEAST. Omega-Jericho can have 5 stars at the very most.

– Juan Carlo Trono

Just back from seeing the show live at the Dome.  The show was incredible live so very much a thumbs up. Best match for me was by far Okada/Naito, the atmosphere was unreal and much louder than it was for even Jericho/Omega. Worst match would have to be the gauntlet match which was fun but nothing else, although the biggest disappointment was Tanahashi/White.

– Daniel McIlwra

Overall: Thumbs up
 
My wife and I attended live this year for our honeymoon. We were excited, yet anxious the show might not live up to the hype. It was amazing. I might put it above last year, but that might be the bias of being there live. The crowd was intense. We were seated right by the stage, and it was impressive seeing all those people packed in the stadium. 

Best match: Okada v Naito 

There was no way to tell who was winning this, although my wife and I agreed before the match that Naito winning would be a bit too obvious. They have done well establishing Okada as a strong and worthy champion. It is going to be something really special when he finally drops the belt. Naito was super over with the crowd, but Okada still had some very strong support especially in my section of the crowd. Omega v Jericho and the Jr 4 Way were close for best of the night. The Omega match justified the double main billing, though I’m still not sure it needed the no DQ stip.

Worst match: Tanahashi v White

It wasn’t bad, just disappointing. Tanahashi looked like he had a hard time just getting to the ring. The audience seemed to be very uncomfortable watching Tanahashi get worked over by White. There were no real bad matches on the show. The gauntlet managed to be more fast paced and easy flowing than last year’s, even though there were more teams. Even the opening rumble got by with some simple story telling in it with the various alliances and factions, and the ending with Kakihara made it impossible to hate. 

– Will Treadway

MVPs

Naito – This house was there for Naito and his crew.  He deserves that recognition.
Yoh – That opener was hot, and Yoh’s babyface-in-peril performance carried the bulk of it.

I want to say Jericho as well, but his comments about Benoit leading up to the show did spoil the occasion.

Best Match: Naito/Okada – This is rough because it ends on such a sour note, but up until the very last second this is the match of the night.  I came into the show more excited about this than Jericho/Omega.  That finish really does feel rotten, though.  The crowd went dead for it.  They chanted for Naito during the post-match speeches.  I don’t want to predict gloom and doom, nor make this a thing against Gedo or the booking, but it just feels like the wrong choice was made here.

Worst Match: Tanahashi/White – Tanahashi needs to be resting.  White just needs more time to figure out his deal.  Neither one did very badly here at all, but it just wasn’t what it was supposed to be.

THUMBS UP: In the end, this was a very watchable show that didn’t feel like it dragged too long except perhaps the Jericho match.  Booking frustrations aside, the performances were good, the stage looked great, it felt like a big show.  Not as good as last year’s show. 

– RJ Zavala

This was my first time watching a wrestle kingdom and watched very little New Japan product. Having said that I give the show a thumbs up! The match of the night for me was Jericho vs Omega, this was the best match I have watched in the past five years, maybe since Shawn vs Undertaker WM25 which is my personal favorite. It was very nice to see the story telling in this match and color was a great addition. I also really enjoyed The Young Bucks vs Sho/Yoh, Naito vs Okada, and the fatal 4 way. My most disliked match was the tag team gauntlet, kinda confusing and just too much going on.

– Brian Owens

Thumbs up!
 
Best Match: Junior 4 way
Worst Match: New Japan Rumble (it still ruled!)

Notes: Stream wouldn’t load on laptop until after the Rumble. Tried it in Chrome & Edge before it eventually loaded in Chrome. Others on my Timeline were having similar issues except those who were watching via Chromecast or Amazon Fire. Stream worked fine for the rest of the show. Someone on my timeline said that the Japanese broadcast was easier for them to stream. Tamia, a streaming site, was streaming the show. At 2:15 AM PT they had 1100+ people in the English broadcast room and 800+ in the Japanese broadcast room.

This is my second consecutive year watching WK live. My timeline was much more active this year. Most of the active participants in our group chat set alarms to wake up to watch the entire show live, a few others joined in around 2 PT. There was one person who I didn’t even know watched wrestling watching New Japan for the first time. Eventually they powered down during the KES/LIJ tag match.

I could pick apart some of the booking, such as going with Ospreay over Hiromu, beating Sho & Yoh this early, and not taking the belt off Okada. But, I don’t necessarily mind the directions they chose to go. I hope Hiromu gets a singles match, Sho & Yoh had run through the top end of the division, and Okada is the best wrestler in the world drawing very well. But it felt like a missed opportunity to crown Naito. So it goes.

– Brady Childs

Huge thumbs up overall.

I missed the Rumble. Young Bucks, thumbs up, that Swanton spot was nuts! 6man gauntlet, thumbs middle. Alright match, I had some connectivity problems during so I missed the middle act. Ibushi v Rhodes, thumbs Up. Crossrhodes on the apron, holy hell. I thought it was an excellent upper/midcard match. Tag match, thumps up. Again excellent match for its spot. 

Suzuki v Goto was where the event began its climax for me. I loved the psychology in this match. I dug Suzuki as the crazy one but come back to honor the stipulation. Fatal 4way. Holy hell. Match of the night for me. The entire thing is instantly rewatchable. Everyone brought it. I love Scurll but Ospreay just showed up. Even the botch towards the end was recovered nicely. This kept me on a high.

Tanahashi vs Switchblade was the match you had to have after he fatal 4way. Was a well done match but was definitely the primer for the next match. Probably the lullest match but I like what I see in Jay White.

Y2j vs Omega. Perfect storytelling. Omega it th scrappy never give up kinda guy. Y2j is the arrogant veteran who controlled the first half but by the end was putting over Omega perfectly. I wish the set up chair spot for the the winged angel was done a little differently but that is nitpicking. This hit my expectations exactly right. 

Okada vs Naito. Again just perfect storytelling. I kinda wanted Naito to go over but that’s personal preference more than anything. Okada proves once again why he’s headlining WK for a third time in a row. 

The whole show was almost too much to handle honestly. Perfect combination of technical prowess and utter pure unadulterated fun. I really hope njpw can reach higher audiences. Next time they tour states I’m going regardless where their shows are. Once again a a lifelong WWE fan I cringe when I look at the past few WM offerings in comparison, especially because wwe has the personnel to execute comparable show. After wk12, njpw I my go to recommended product. 

– Phil Stricklin

Thumbs up for the show. 6 hours doesn’t feel like 6 hours without endless filler and advertising like a WWE show, the show was booked in perfect order of ascending quality and heat of match with 1 exception. Which leads to the Worst match: white v. Tanahashi. Just flat. So, so flat and dull and… Just bleh. It was a fine match, but it was just not “good”

Best match: I’m gonna do it. I want to say Naito v. Okada or Omega v. Jericho, but the truth is the best match was the Jr heavyweight 4 way. It had all the coordination of a tag, the high spots, some technical wrestling, some comedy, some viciousness. It was a match with something for everyone on top of great athletes doing great things and the added bonus of not telegraphing the winner at any point.

– David Litrenta