I planned on watching New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Wrestle Kingdom 9 later, but after a recommendation from UFC fighter Jessamyn Duke I decided to spend the last night of my vacation with Matt Striker and Jim Ross and watch the event.
The four-way junior heavyweight tag team title match was fast paced and filled with some high spot, as did the six-man and eight-man tag bouts.
The match between Minoru Sizuki and Kasushi Sakuraba was classic, stiff bout between two tough guys. It was physical, but told a good story. As a Sakuraba fan it was sad to see him lose (spoilers) but he looked great out there.
The match between A.J. Styles and Tetsuya Naito was a classic back-and-forth match that was a continuation from their first encounter in the G-1 Climax tournament.
All of the championship bouts were entertaining and told their own stories. I was enthralled with the NEVER Openweight title bout.
I liked the commentary with Striker and Ross. Striker provided numerous facts and plot points, which probably helped some newer fans. Even if you weren’t familiar with New Japan’s storylines, you weren’t lost.
Ross has had some great broadcast partners in the past who were great on the mic but were reactive to what was happening in the ring. With Striker you had someone who could keep up the pace with Ross. This broadcast team reminded me of Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan.