IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
KENNY OMEGA (c) vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI
The two locked up and in a move totally out of character, Tanahashi slapped the champion hard across the face for not taking him seriously. They brawled into the ropes and the ref broke it up, only for Tanahashi once again to slap the champion across the face, even harder this time. Omega rushed him but got rolled up into a small package — The Ace has got his number!
Instead of locking up again both guys just traded slaps to the face, over and over again. Zero respect from either side. Omega got the better of the exchange and delivered a backbreaker, softening up a whole slew of injuries that have plagued his opponent over the years. He slowed things down, methodically working over the back with simple suplexes and backbreakers. Eventually he just started playfully kicking Tanahashi in the head, mocking him relentless and telling him to get back up and fight.
Omega was ruthless, taking the Ace to the outside and slamming him hard into the Japanese commentary table, right in front of Masa Chono, Milano A.T. and several other legends. Tana slowly got back to his feet and checked on Milano, but Omega did a springboard moonsault off the guardrail, taking them all out again. The crowd started to boo as the champion mocked Milano and the other legends, but you could tell they don’t really want to be against Omega. Not really.
Omega rolled the challenger back in the ring and hit him with stiff chops and elbow strikes, screaming at him to fire one back. Tanahashi tried instead came off the ropes, connecting with a Slingblade! The Ace shook off the cobwebs and started throwing elbows, backing Kenny into the corner before dropping him with a Dragon Screw. He climbed the ropes, albeit slowly, and connected with a senton splash, but it wasn’t enough to put the match away.
The champion sent Tanahashi to the outside and teased the Terminator pose, but the Ace wasn’t stupid and didn’t let him finish, connecting with a dropkick to the back of the head. Omega continued to fire back however, focussing on the lower back. He went to dive again and this time connected with his signature big match spot — the tope con hilo into the entrance ramp.
Omega dragged his opponent, almost like prey at this point, back into the ring and dropped him with a V-Trigger. He set up for the You Can’t Escape combo, but tweaked his knee on the senton, and Tanahashi took advantage with a brutal, inverted Dragon Screw bending the knee in a nasty, nasty direction. The Ace went right to work on him, hitting the Twist & Shout, immediately going into the Texas Cloverleaf.
They teased a submission on the messed up knee, just passing the 20-minute mark, but eventually Kenny managed to get to the ropes. He stumbled to his feet and tried for a snap hurricanrana, but Tanahashi caught him in the air and — WAIT A MINUTE… STYLES CLASH CONNECTS! 1…2…NO! The Tokyo Dome about came unglued for that spot. Tana climbed the ropes and went for the High Fly Flow, but came down crashing into Omega’s knees, hurting both guys big time.
It was Tanahashi who got to his feet first, and Tanahashi who delivered the Slingblade on the very edge of the ring apron. Seeing the table from earlier still set up at ringside, the Ace set his opponent on top of it and climbed the ropes, as the Young Bucks (who I just realized were at ringside) protested and screamed at him to get down. Instead Tana launched himself outside with the High Fly Flow, but the champion rolled out of the way at the last second, and sent him crashing hard through the table, to the floor below.
Omega now looking to finally put things away, he pulled the challenger’s body back into the ring and hit his own version of the Dragon Screw in the ropes, before coming off the top with a double foot stomp. He lined up for a V-Trigger but Tana with one gasp of life left as he exploded into a desperation Slingblade! Both men down.
Omega got back up and started pelting his opponent with hard slaps and chops, right across the face. Tana tried to fight back but had no life behind his swings. Omega dropped him with a Saito suplex, but somehow the Ace got right back up and asked for more. This time the champion hit a Slingblade of his own and smiled devilishly as the fans booed. He slowly climbed the top rope and — OMEGA HIT THE HIGH FLY FLOW! 1…NO! TANAHASHI UP AT ONE! THE ACE WILL NOT BE PUT DOWN WITH HIS OWN MOVE!
Kenny couldn’t believe it and immediately nailed Tanahashi in the jaw with a V-Trigger. There’s still fight in the challenger as he slowly crawls back to his knees and asks for more. Another V-Trigger connects and he’s barely conscious. Still he fights, glaring a hole into the champion, telling him to finish the job. Reverse Rana from the Best Bout Machine, into yet another V-Trigger that damn near took the veteran’s head off. STILL HE FIGHTS BACK! HOW IS HE DOING THIS!?
Omega got him up for the One Winged Angel to finally put this war to rest — TANAHASHI WITH A REVERSE RANA! Slingblade! He climbs the ropes for the standing High Fly Flow and hits it. One more time he climbs for the… HIGH… FLY… FLOW! HE GETS IT! 1…2……NOOOO! OMEGA KICKED OUT!
The referee checked on both men as we approach the 40 minute mark of this match, and neither guy is responding. He begins to count, and they slowly rise, with Omega pulling his opponent’s body over to the ropes and beginning to climb. He set up for what looked like a Super Dragon Suplex off the top rope, over-rotating intentionally to send him flying with a full 180-degree flip. Insane. Absolutely insane. Omega called for it the finish, delivering one final V-Trigger into the ropes, as Tanahashi’s head sickeningly ricocheted back and forth. One Winged Angel coming… NO! TANAHASHI REVERSES INTO A FAMEASSER! SLINGBLADE CONNECTS! TO THE TOP ROPE FOR — HIGH FLY FLOW CONNECTS! 1…2….3!?!?!
Winner and New Champion: Hiroshi Tanahashi