clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NJPW Sakura Genesis 2018 match recommendations: Would you like a chocolate covered pretzel?

NJPW World

New Japan Pro Wrestling Sakura Genesis 2018 (for full results, you can go ahead and check right here) is in the books, so let’s get right to breaking down what you need to watch and what you can click right past, shall we?

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 (Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (4): Chase and Yujiro start off hot after the Bucks turn down a Too Sweet, but the Jackson brothers don’t stay down long. Matt’s back starts playing up, the facade begins to crack, and the tide turns but it’s Nick that’s isolated, so the Bucks have at least a fighting chance once Matt tags in and the final stretch of the match is a question of whether the Bullet Club team can capitalize.

The Young Bucks are on such a roll right now, it’s incredible. Watching this tag isn’t going to change your life or anything, but it’s a good time. I’m going a tiny bit high here, but watch accordingly.

Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi & Takashi Iizuka) (1): Suzuki-gun start the match in their usual style, Ishii’s hard striking looks to get Chaos back into it but shenanigans take us to the floor and Taichi and Iizuka stay in charge for a good long while. Yano gets the hot tag, his shenanigans are cheeky and fun, the match continues until it finishes and there’s just not a lot here, folks.

Suzuki-gun’s control segment is long and boring, Ishii’s comeback is kinda hype and the finish is fun but I wouldn’t recommend watching this.

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, & Tanga Loa) (c) vs. Taguchi Japan (Michael Elgin, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Togi Makabe) (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship) (2): Elgin on Loa early, testing their strength, and Bullet Club take things to the floor for violence. Makabe eventually comes in, clears house, and engages in some bull moose action of his own against Fale. Cycling to Taguchi/Tonga, Annoying Butt Man creates a malfunction at the junction and runs hot on Guerrillas of Destiny! Trading control and we head inevitably to our finish.

I liked this one a bit more than I expected to, but I can’t help but feel like it was missing something, like it needed more escalation late or a hotter finishing sequence or something. Not bad by any means, but...

Chaos (Hirooki Goto, “Switchblade” Jay White, & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. David Finlay, Hiroshi Tanahashi, & Juice Robinson (2): All about Finlay beating on Switchblade early, the match breaks down and Chaos take it to the floor for the obligatory breakdown segment to isolate David and turn the tide on him. Juice comes in, we get a solid segment between him and Goto and then cycle through to Tanahashi on Tacos for a while. A cool sequence sees Robinson and Finlay take care of their respective feudmates reversing into their finishers, and it’s all about if the 1/100 dude can take care of business.

Again, not a bad match, just lacking some certain spark to push it past the line, for me. If you’re into any of these dudes or any of these feuds, by all means, take the time and watch this, but otherwise, I don’t think you need this one, folks.

Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Suzuki-gun (Davey Boy Smith, Jr., Lance Archer, & Minoru Suzuki) (3): Suzuki-gun with the opening beatdown, LIJ come right back, it’s all about the Suzuki/Naito matchup in the early goings here. After a nice long exchange between the two, the action shifts to Killer Elite Squad and the tag champions. EVIL with the hot tag, showing he hasn’t missed a step despite the layoff from injuring his orbital bone, and the match breaks down again before heading into the final stretch.

With a hot finishing sequence and a bunch of enjoyable interplay between Suzuki and Naito, I wouldn’t say you have to watch this as such, but it’s a good time.

Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi) vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (c) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship) (3): RPG3K hot out the gates, clearing everybody else out! LIJ take a turn next, keeping YOH isolated, BUSHI choking him with his t-shirt, the tag champs eventually swapping in. SHO with the comeback. Rocky Romero gets sucked into the action and SHO goes to sacrifice himself to save his mentor, but the tide doesn’t turn just yet. The match breaks down a little, Hiromu has it won but Kanemaru yanks referee Marty Asami from the ring and we head for the closing moments of the match.

I feel like this one ended right as I was getting really into it, unfortunately. So I can’t give it a strong recommendation, but there’s some really cool stuff in here (the triple stack German suplex / sunset flip combo from LIJ!) and it’s probably worth checking out unless you’re pressed for time.

Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay (c) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship) (5): Mat wrestling to start, heating up and Scurll doesn’t want anything to do with Ospreay’s kicks, so he begs off, throws some chops, and that leads Will to dig into his box of aerial tricks. Marty cuts him off, Ospreay refuses to stay down, but the Villain ends up firmly in charge after a trip to the outside, targeting the neck. And so Will has to fight through the pain, clutching his neck in hopes that if he just holds it together long enough he can retain his title.

This is a great match, if perhaps a bit on the long side and also more than a bit scary late after a Spanish Fly to the floor cracked Ospreay’s head open. Will always goes a little big with his selling whenever he wrestles a match like this where he emphasizes it and that may be a turnoff for some, but it works pretty well for me, especially with Scurll primarily targeting the head and neck rather than trying to work an arm or a leg that would have required more adjustment on Ospreay’s part. Much like their previous IWGP Heavyweight Championship match, this was a step above what I expect out of these two from their indie work and you should definitely watch it.

Bullet Club (Cody Rhodes & Hangman Page) vs. Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) (5): Stalling early because Cody wants nothing to do with Omega, so Page starts and Rhodes just takes his shots wherever he can. And so basically the story here is one of the Bullet Club team engaging in dirty tricks and subterfuge to keep the Golden Lovers off balance. At one point after some fighting on the floor the Young Bucks come down to ringside to express their disappointment in how this has all gone.

Cody gets busted open bad, Golden Lovers are rolling, and it’s just a question of if they can do the deed before Bullet Club can find a way to cheat themselves in. So this isn’t the greatest match or anything, it’s not on the level of SSE’s Bucks/Lovers match, but it’s got plenty of drama and it tells a strong story well, so... definitely worth a watch.

Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. (IWGP Heavyweight Championship) (5): Mat grappling early, of course, Sabre with a clear advantage but Okada holding his own. The pace intensifies, going from exchanges to trading potential finishing holds as Zack gradually settles on working a leg over. Finally into the striking, as the Rainmaker practically begs ZSJ for it and suckers the Evolve World Champion into playing his game for a bit.

Back to a kitchen sink approach, working the Rainmaker arm over and it pays dividends later as Zack is able to fend off the Rainmaker in a number of inventive ways. Great match, slow and steady early, heating up evenly with twists and turns, awesome submission catches, reversals, and exchanges... I could sit here and find a million ways to put it over but you should just go watch it with haste!

There you have it, folks

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

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Cageside Seats Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your pro wrestling news from Cageside Seats