|WrestleKingdom 7 - 1/4/13|
What a splendid show this was. From start to finish, WrestleKingdom 7 delivered at about the highest possible level, including an instant classic main event, an unexpectedly great IC match, and one of the best Triple Threats I've ever seen. New Japan was in the midst of a wrestling renaissance, my friends.
The show started with an amusing opening match designed to ease the crowd into it: Akebono, Manabu Nakanishi, MVP and Strong Man vs. Chaos (Bob Sapp, Takashi Iizuka, Toru Yano and Yujiro Takahashi). This had a lot of kinda goofy spots, like the babyfaces all hitting corner avalanches on all four heels. I think they did that spot two or three times actually. Anyway the match was inoffensive but felt like a throwaway.
The proper start to WK7 was Masato Tanaka vs. Shelton Benjamin for the NEVER Openweight Title, in what was pretty damn good for a six-minute match. Four more minutes and this would've approached three-star territory. Side note: Shelton should go back to being a babyface, as his style was much more exciting that way.
Next up was KES (Davey Boy Smith jr & Lance Archer) vs. Sword & Guns (Hirooki Goto & Karl Anderson) in a surprisingly good Tag Title match. I didn't think I'd be all that impressed with KES, but they've made a solid top team. Seeing Karl Anderson as a babyface was pretty weird - he even wore light-colored gear. This was full of action and fun tandem offense.
The first classic of the night was next, between Yuji Nagata and Minoru Suzuki. This was their third WK match together, and this blew the other two out of the water. Really hard-hitting action as usual but this match felt much bigger and got the time it needed. Nagata finally got the win with the Backdrop Hold after some amazingly stiff wrestling.
The show stealer of WK7 was in the center of the card: Prince Devitt vs. Kota Ibushi vs. Low-Ki for the Jr. Heavyweight Title. Just an amazing, amazing match, and seriously one of the best of its kind that I've ever seen. These three managed to make a 3-way match flow totally smoothly, where it wasn't just two guys fighting while the other sold on the outside. And when that did happen, the third guy would show up out of nowhere with an insane spot. At multiple points, Wrestler A would hit a big move on Wrestler B, only for Wrestler C to immediately follow it up with some huge move on Wrestler A. Just a breathtaking match you should go out of your way to see. Low-Ki by the way was able to wrestle at this level while wearing a full suit (in tribute to the videogame Hitman), which is insane to me.