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New Japan Pro Wrestling King of Pro-Wrestling 2017 match recommendations:

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King of Pro-Wrestling went down this morning, and if you’d like complete results, you can take a look at our post right here.

As always, I've got a very simple five point scale laid out where a 1 is total skip, 2 you can probably skip unless you love one of the folks in it, 3 is a match that's worth watching but not necessarily worth making time for, a 4 is a solid recommendation to make time for if you can, and a 5 is a must-watch.

Mind you, these are not star ratings. They're not meant to be absolute ratings in any sense, but rather a simple (and hopefully sensible) way to determine if a match is worth your time. A one is not necessarily a bad match, but rather just one I feel like you're best off skipping. I have my biases, of course, but hopefully I can make it easy for you to adjust for them.

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Leo Tonga, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, & SANADA) (4): All-out brawling early as Hiromu takes the attack to Fale to avenge poor Daryl, but Bullet Club's size advantage plays out and Bad Luck proceeds to try and literally squash Takahashi. Eventually Takahashi-on-Takahashi violence leads to a tag and we cycle through segments with SANADA and BUSHI until Daryl himself gets involved for the finish.

So, on the merits of the action, a pretty standard opening tag, albeit assisted by the novelty of having so much of it built around Fale wrestling juniors, but on the merits of the avenging spirit of Daryl Takahashi, an exceptional match. I’m going a little high because I’m a cat man, tried and true, but watch accordingly!

Chaos (Hirooki Goto & Toru Yano) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre, Jr.) (5): Suzuki-gun with the obligatory beating at the bell, Suzuki really taking it to Yano in particular, bringing him in the ring to destroy his arm. Sabre joins the fun as they tag back and forth, really working the Sublime Master Thief over, but inevitably Goto gets in and is able to turn it back into a match for Chaos.

This match really overachieved for me, being comprised as it is of almost pure ZSJ technical wrestling clinic and Suzuki's hate for Yano given form. Not an all-time classic or anything, but a really fun match that you should probably make time for, especially considering it’ll take you less than ten minutes to do so.

Funky Future (Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (Sho & Yoh) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship) (4): RPG3K with a hot start, throwing dives, but Funky Future are able to assert control for a while. Back to Sho & Yoh after some tandem offense goes poorly for the champs, working Taguchi over for an extended period, but the Funky Weapon's veteran wiles get him back in the game and allow a tag to Ricochet, who comes in hot and clears house in spectacular fashion.

Back and forth action as the match enters the final stretch, and it adds up to a very good match, although I can't quite cross the line to a must-watch on it. Super glad to see Tanaka and Komatsu back from excursion, though, those boys are an exceptional pair of pro wrestlers.

Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Lance Archer) (c) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Ray Rowe) (IWGP Tag Team Championship Elimination Tornado Tag Team Match) (3): All-out chaos, as is to be espected here. Eventually KES get temporarily taken out and War Machine do battle with GoD for a while. The champs cycle in, Archer beaten down by War Machine but DBS gets the better of GoD, leading a little ways down the road to a situation where all three teams hit their finish and all three teams come up empty.

This leads to hardcore escalation and our first elimination, and so we go a-clubberin' to our finish. This was fine, and even good at points, and there's kind of a cool story in here about these teams being so equally matched that they all hit their finishers, came up empty, and had to resort to plunder in order to get an elimination, but there's just not enough new here. So I'm calling it down the middle, because if you didn't watch any of the Destruction tag title matches, this might be worth your time, but if you watched those, you don't really need to make time for this.

Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes, Kenny Omega, & Marty Scurll) vs. Chaos (Beretta, Jado, & YOSHI-HASHI) (2): Omega and YOSHI-HASHI to start, Kenny in full house show mode but Tacos takes it seriously and manages to fend off all three Bullet Club guys on his own. On the floor, That Damned Numbers Game threatens to take charge but his Chaos stablemates come around and save the day.

Beretta tags in and proves to be less savvy than HASHI, getting worked over by the Bullet Club guys as they publicly cycle through plans of attack and generally treat the whole situation like a circus. Which, of course, leads to the tables turning and Tacos coming back in to clear house. Jado gets a turn and then the match breaks down en route to the finish.

This match is basically two things-- a showcase for YOSHI-HASHI, and a showcase for Bullet Club being large hams. Both things are showcased rather effectively, but one is rather more divisive than the other, so I'm going a little low, but if you’re into either of those things, by all means, use your discretion, folks.

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe vs. Juice Robinson & Kota Ibushi (2): Ibushi and Tanahashi starting off but they switch away to Makabe and Robinson before giving too much away. Togi takes the fight outside and beats Juice up pretty good, and the match shifts to Team Ace working the relative rookie over.

Juice uses his punching prowess and a big spinebuster to create an opening and tag Kota back in and the heat turns up as we get a proper preview of our future Intercontinental Championship match, Ibushi throwing kicks like lightning and Hiroshi firing up to fire back. Back to Robinson/Makabe for a bit of bull moose business and the story becomes all about Tanahashi trying to keep Ibushi occupied long enough for the Unchained King Kong to finish Juice off.

This felt like it was just a beat too short, the kind of match that ends right as it feels like it's really starting to get going. Not bad by any means, but safely skipped unless you're really hungry for Ibushi/Tanahashi content.

KUSHIDA (c) vs. Will "Tomcat" Ospreay (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship) (5): Pyrotechnics right from the jump as the fighting spills outside and we get some HUGE counters, Ospreay blocking a step-up dive with a chair by springboarding off the barricade with a forearm and KUSHIDA doing one of his trademark catch armbars off a Space Flying Tiger Drop!

This leads to KUSHIDA having the initiative in the ring and laying waste to Will with submissions until Ospreay can get some kicks in and turn the tide and from there it only gets wilder, folks. So many cool reversals and tight exchanges here, it's not a perfect match, necessarily, but it's one you should make haste to watch!

Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (G1 Climax Championship Contract) (5): Mind games early as Naito fools around and baits Ishii, but the Stone Pitbull has bested him twice this year and he's ready for anything. Anything, that is, except for the Stardust Genius's patented vicious targeting of the knee. Tom is strong, though, and he finds his way out of the pit and onto the offensive for a while.

From there the match goes back and forth, the focal question being whether Ishii's resolve can hold out the more his leg is damaged, and later, when it’s clear that his resolve is far sterner than his leg, who can drop the biggest bomb to end it. If you watched their Long Beach match or their G1 match, you get the idea, and you know how great it is, and you've probably already watched it without needing me to tell you to go and do it. If not, well... what are you waiting for?

EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada (c) (IWGP Heavyweight Championship) (5): Okada in control early, hoping to put EVIL away before he has a chance to overwhelm him with his power advantage. No such luck, however, as the King of Darkess is in full control on the outside, engaging in his usual chair-based offense before capitalizing on it in the ring, going after the champion's weakened neck with vigor.

The Rainmaker gets back in it with his educated feet, the action spilling to the floor so he can do his trademark crossbody over the barricade (ducking a chair on the way) as payback for EVIL earlier, but going outside with the King of Darkness is always a risky proposition and he ends up paying for it. Okada fights his way out of the hole again, things look bleak after a ref bump and he finally manages to level the playing field reversing Darkness Falls into a headscissors takeover into chairs.

So, the champion's neck is shot but EVIL isn't looking too much better, and the match comes down to the final intense stretch of action, where the first man to falter will fall. All in all, that makes for a great sequel to their G1 match that's well worth your time.

There you have it, folks

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to toss in your two cents below, Cagesiders.

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