New Japan Pro Wrestling
Wrestling World in Singapore 2016
November 15, 2016
Marina Bay Sands Expo & Convention Center Hall

Watch: NJPW World

This year on their trip to Singapore, New Japan Pro Wrestling is offering a pretty interesting show. Unlike most minor shows, we’re actually getting three singles matches, with one of them being a NEVER title match. While this isn’t a pay per view level event, this is definitely more than your run of the mill house show. Let’s get to it and see what New Japan has to offer to the fine people of Singapore. As the intro video says, “prepare to be set ablaze by the fighting spirit of true warriors!”

Juice Robinson def David Finlay

David Finlay walks into this match with what looks to be a killer sunburn, which should give Juice an advantage as all of his strikes will have that extra sting to them. Speaking of Juice, based on his entrance alone this guy looks like a star. I would never have said that CJ Parker was going to go anywhere, but Robinson clearly made the right move by going to Japan. The fans in Singapore are really behind Robinson, with several of them having “JUICE” signs in the front row.

The match is a solid opener that really came alive in the closing stretch. Things were kept pretty even in terms of offense. This felt like a flashback to earlier in the year when they were both doing young lion duties. Robinson picked up the win with a jumping Killswitch that looked pretty devastating. It’s clear that New Japan has something planned for Juice. Don’t forget that Finlay is one of the NEVER trios champions. Add that to Robinson pinning Kojima in a tag match and Juice has victories over two thirds of the reigning team. Now he just needs to find himself some partners to make a run at the titles with. ***

RPG Vice (Rocky Romero and Baretta) def Ryusuke Taguchi and Jushin Thunder Liger

This was your basic southern style tag, but the four men involved kept it fun. RPG Vice controlled most of the match, as they should seeing as they’re challenging for the Junior Tag belts at Wrestle Kingdom 11. As always, Liger worked his ass off and I guess Taguchi did the same, but he literally used his ass. The match came to an end when RPG Vice hit their dropkick assisted Dudebuster on Liger, allowing Romero to score the pinfall. Nothing special here, but it was a lot of fun. **½

G.O.D. (Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa) def. Tomohiro Ishii and Gedo

This was the match that would determine if the four star match that GOD had at Power Struggle was a fluke and thankfully they delivered. I don’t know what it was for this team that finally clicked, but now they’re firing on all cylinders. It can’t hurt to be in the ring with Tomohiro Ishii either. The match was a fast paced, back and forth affair that still kept it fun. I was a big fan of a spot where Tonga tried to headbut Ishii, leaving him screaming in pain while Ishii was completely unphased. Everybody worked hard in this one. It wasn’t a tag title match, but it sure felt like one. The crowd was super into this match and this may have been the most well received that GOD has ever been. Hopefully they can keep up this level of performance going forward. To absolutely nobody’s surprise, Gedo ate the pin, giving the champions a strong win. While this didn’t reach the heights of their Power Struggle match, this was still a very good showing for GOD. ***½

Hirooki Goto def. Tomoaki Honma

You ever watch a match and you didn’t like it, but you don’t know why? That’s how I’m feeling with this one.

With these two in a single match, you have a certain expectation for what you’re going to get. Sadly, I don’t think that they delivered on the promise of a great match. The crowd was going crazy though, so maybe I’m the one that’s wrong.

A majority of the match felt like it was worked at half speed. This would have been a great match on a house show, but watching it on video there wasn’t anything worth writing home about. Honma did his Honma stuff and Goto did his Goto stuff. Goto picked up the win with the GTO after a lackluster closing stretch. **

Hiroshi Tanahashi, KUSHIDA & Togi Makabe def. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito)

I’m going to lead off this review with the single bit of information that everybody wants to know; how many bumps did Makabe take throughout the match?

If you guessed one, you win!

Going into this match, I assumed that KUSHIDA would do most of the work for his side, which ended up being the case. Tanahashi held up his weight of things pretty well having some great interactions with both Naito and BUSHI, but KUSHIDA was left to pick up Makabe’s slack.

Even though they lost, LIJ looked like the more impressive team in the match. This unit is so great, it feels almost impossible for any trio from LIJ to have a bad match. Everyone not named Makabe put in a good effort with this match and it really showed. The interactions between Tanahashi and Naito are only getting me more excited for their match at the Dome. The match came to a close when Tanahashi put away BUSHI with the High Fly Flow. Super fun trios match! ***½

Kazuchika Okada and YOSHI-HASHI def. Kenny Omega and Yujiro Takahashi

The moments leading into this match show that Singapore LOVES both Okada and Omega. Both men got incredible reactions with Omega getting his name changed like he’s wrestling in front of a British crowd. Just like with Tanahashi and Naito, every time that Okada and Omega were in the ring together, it only got me more excited about their Wrestle Kingdom match.

As far as this match goes, it was pretty good. Everyone worked hard and looked good, even Yujiro. The action was fast paced and there was never a dull moment. Okada and YOSHI-HASHI were a great team as always and Omega has actually made Yujiro into a pretty solid partner for himself. I’ve developed a fondness for Yujiro recently after watching him as the loveable dope on episodes of Being the Elite.

Now I can’t see him and not think of the time he decided it was a good idea to wear a wig he found in the street. Even the street wig couldn’t save him as Okada put down Yujiro with the Rainmaker for the three count. ***½

NEVER Openweight Championship Match
Katsuyori Shibata def. EVIL

This was easily the best match of the show and I think that this topped their previous match.

Shibata came to the ring with his new title from Rev Pro and wrestled the opening moments of the match with a technical style that reminded me of Zack Sabre Jr. Folding up EVIL’s arm and then stomping it had to be a shout out to the man he beat for his new title. As he did in the last match, EVIL focused most of his attacks on the heavily taped shoulder of Shibata. While there were some chair-related shenanigans this time around as well, they didn’t detract from the match.

This was as hard hitting as you wanted it to be with both men swinging for the fences. Fans that are grossed out by Shibata’s headbutts are in luck because there are none to be found in this contest. Shibata wins back his NEVER Championship with the sleeper and a PK to put away EVIL. After the match, Shibata celebrated by tossing EVIL from the ring.

This result really makes me wonder what Shibata will be doing at the Dome. Another match with EVIL is a possibility, but potential matches with NOAH talent like Go Shiozaki could happen too if the working relationship is still strong between the two companies.

Another option might be a match with Goto following his win over Honma earlier in the show. There are a ton of options and I’m alright with all of them. That’s enough looking to the future though. Shibata and EVIL took advantage of their main event spot and gave us a great match.

While EVIL had a short run with the NEVER title, he still gets the distinction of having two singles victories over Shibata this year. Shibata continues to have a very good 2016 and things only seem to be getting better for him.. ****¼

Final Thoughts

Overall, Wrestling World in Singapore 2016 wasn’t a must see show, but it was a solid show that was super easy to watch. All of the tag matches were strong and the main event really delivered. The only disappointment of the night came from the Honma/Goto match, but even if this was the worst match that those two could have, it was still better than anything we’ve seen from the thankfully absent Yoshitatsu and Bone Soldier. If you don’t have the three hours in your schedule for this show, just watch the final three matches.