Toru Yano def. Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale and BUSHI in a Four-Way Match to Win the Provisional KOPW 2021 Trophy
These four survived a Ranbo Battle Royal on Night 1 to determine who would fight for the KOPW trophy on this show. Owens and Fale are both Bullet Club members, so they almost did the Finger Poke of Doom early on (almost exactly on the 22nd anniversary of the infamous moment, by the way) before imploding down the stretch because both of them wanted to win. Yano was easily the best part about this, but it wasn't a very memorable four-way on the whole. I was surprised Yano won considering he's a comedy act, but I guess it helps him establish credibility if nothing else.
Pre-Show: Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Bushi and Toru Yano Were the Remaining Four Competitors in the New Japan Ranbo and Advanced to the KOPW Provisional Championship Match on Night 2
I've seen a few NJPW Battle Royals over the years and some are more fun than others, especially depending on who the surprise entrants are. I believe Rocky Romero wasn't previously announced as an entrance, but that was about it as far as the surprises went. It was a pretty tame Battle Royal on the whole that was wisely placed on the pre-show. That isn't to say it was bad, but it didn't feature anything out of the ordinary either, at least except for Toru Yano winning without actually entering. That was pretty funny.
Kagetsu, Jenny Rose and Hazuki def. Hana Kimura, Stella Grey and Sumie Sakai (Pre-Show Match)
To be honest, I arrived at the building and got to my seat soon after this match started, but what I did see was perfectly fine. I'm not familiar with half of these women, but I thought everyone held their own and it was a nice showcase for the Ring of Honor ladies and for STARDOM. The crowd wasn't too into the action, but I think a big part of that had to do with most fans not being seated yet.
Kenny King Won the 30-Man Honor Rumble Match (Pre-Show Match)
I haven't seen too many of these Honor Rumbles before, but I really hope they aren't all as structured as poorly as this one. There were a ton of technical mishaps between entrants coming out too quickly, the buzzer not going off, and the wrong entrance video playing at times. I don't follow New Japan Pro Wrestling too closely, so not knowing most of the performers in this thing didn't help matter, either. This was just one giant mess, but at least it had its fun moments, especially down the stretch when The Great Muta and Jushin Thunder Liger went at it. King winning was logical based off how aggressively he's been pushed over the past year.
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada def. Kenny Omega
When you hear so many glowing reviews of something, you tend to have high expectations when you go to see it for yourself, and oftentimes, it falls short of meeting those lofty expectations. Well, I can safely say this match between Okada and Omega was every bit as epic as it had been hyped up to be. Some may criticize the long length of the matchup at nearly 50 minutes, but the beauty of this bout to be was that it didn't drag whatsoever, and those near-50 minutes felt like 10 minutes. That's a tremendous testament to the phenomenal pace they worked and especially that exceptional second half. I wouldn't label the first half as "boring" but rather a beautiful build to what was to come, and those table spots were excellently executed. Had Omega been slightly off on that moonsault to the outside, he could have seriously hurt himself, so thankfully that went off without a hitch. I also loved how The Young Bucks were able to appear at ringside without tainting the quality of the contest by getting involved in any way. Then again, this is New Japan Pro Wrestling and they don't normally water down matches with interference, so that didn't entirely surprise me. But the constant counters were incredible and Omega was the real star for me in this match given Okada was already established. Following the fantastic year he had in 2016, I personally would have gone with Omega as the new champion, but Okada successfully retaining didn't hinder my enjoyment of the match, and he put over Omega afterward in a major way. I know Omega has had people talking with whether he'll be leaving Japan or not, but I think he will re-sign with NJPW and eventually capture the belt. To call this the greatest wrestling match of all-time is absolutely arguable, but what can not be denied was that this was a masterpiece of a match.
Even if you watched the live feed of Wrestle Kingdom 11, this version on AXS TV is well-worth checking out if only for the commentary provided by Jim Ross and Josh Barnett. This entire episode is devoted to this one match, which was wise of them to do considering the massive amount of buzz surronding it at the moment. The next few editions of NJPW on AXS TV will feature other matches from Wrestle Kingdom, so if you have yet to see those matches as well, check them out. Needless to say, go out of your way to watch this monumental match as it has been the talk of the town over the past week and a half and I'm thrilled I finally had the opportunity to see it for myself.