#NewJapanWeek Gang Warfare ’18: CHAOS

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Photo: NJPW

2018 started out so strong for CHAOS and has ended up in a big gray area. It has indeed thrown the group into chaos. Let’s look at each member and run down how the year treated them.

THE LEADER: Kazuchika Okada

Photo: NJPW

Okada started 2018 as high as you can get. He was the IWGP Heavyweight Champion, headlining Wrestle Kingdom 12 against Tetsuya Naito. Okada had successful title defenses against SANADA, Zack Sabre, Jr., and Hiroshi Tanahashi. He was smooth-sailing into June with a record 12 successful defenses. At Dominion 6.9, The Rainmaker finally met his match in Kenny Omega. They squared off in a two-out-of-three falls match that was rated over five stars by the Wrestling Observer Newsletter. This ended Okada’s historic reign at 720 days.

Next, Okada’s focus became the G1 Climax. After all, winning the G1 would get him back in the heavyweight title picture. He finished the tournament without making it to the finals. After this, he and longtime manager Gedo seemed to amicably part ways. Okada’s attitude changed, his confidence was dimmed. His next issue would be closer than he could ever imagine. September 23rd, Destruction in Kobe. Jay White lived up to his ‘Switchblade’ nickname and stabbed Okada in the back by attacking him. The ultimate betrayal followed, with Gedo joining in on the attack as well. Now he goes into Wrestle Kingdom 13 looking to settle a score.

THE RISK-TAKER: Will Ospreay

Photo: CHAOS

Will Ospreay started the year by regaining the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. He was part of a four-way match with Marty Scurll, Himoru Takahashi and KUSHIDA at Wrestle Kingdom 12. Ospreay made it to Sakura Genesis unscathed, but during his match with Marty Scurll, he did get injured. He landed scarily on his head, causing a lot of bleeding, but Ospreay did finish the match and retain his title. After his match at Wrestling Dontaku, he was attacked by the newest member of Bullet Club, Taiji Ishimori. He would hold onto the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title until Dominion 6.9 in June, where he lost to Takahashi.

Throughout the rest of the summer, Ospreay would take part in many multi-man tag matches with other members of CHAOS. He would go down with an injury in mid-October which caused him to miss about two months of action. Ospreay would return on the final night of the World Tag League. He would defeat Taichi to become the number one contender to the NEVER Openweight Championship. He will face Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom 13 for that title. Ospreay will look to start 2019 as he started 2018, by walking away with the belt.

THE WILD WARRIOR: Hirooki Goto

Photo: NJPW

Goto had a roller coaster of a year when it comes to the NEVER Openweight Championship. He won and lost it three times in 2018. Goto first won it by defeating Minoru Suzuki in a match that was also hair vs. hair at Wrestle Kingdom 12. He then lost the title at Dominion 6.9 in a three-way match to Michael Elgin; Taichi was the third participant. Goto regained it just 8 days later during the Kizuna Road tour. He would hold the title until Destruction in Beppu when he lost it to Taichi. Taking his stable-mate Will Ospreay’s place, he challenged Taichi at Power Struggle. There, Goto won the NEVER Openweight Championship for the fourth time. The title wouldn’t stay with Goto here either. He would lose it on the final night of the World Tag League to Kota Ibushi.

THE BEST FRIENDS: Beretta and Chuckie T

Photo: NJPW

Beretta teamed with Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano at Wrestle Kingdom 12. They upset Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, and Tonga Loa to win the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Championships. They would, however, lose them back to the Tongan Bullet Club members the very next day at New Year Dash. Chuckie T would get the chance to participate in the New Japan Cup but was eliminated in the first round. Best Friends would enter the World Tag League and would finish with 14 points.

Photo: NJPW

THE FOUNDING MEMBERS: Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano

Photo: NJPW

Ishii and Yano have been with CHAOS since the group’s formation back in 2009. They, along with Beretta, surprised everyone by defeating the Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, and Tonga Loa) for the Never Openweight 6-Man Championships. They did, unfortunately, lose them back to BC at New Year Dash. The team of Ishii and Yano performed very well in the World Tag League, finishing just shy of the finals with 18 points.

Photo: NJPW

In addition to his tag team exploits, Ishii also competed heavily as a singles wrestler. He was in the 2018 New Japan Cup and was eliminated in the first round. Soon thereafter, he appeared at the RevPro WrestleCon show. There, he defeated Zack Sabre, Jr. to win the RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Championship. Ishii lost this title to Minoru Suzuki at RevPro’s Strong Style Evolved UK show. Ishii also participated in the G1 Climax, finishing with ten points. To get back into the RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight title picture, he defeated WALTER. This took place at RevPro’s Summer Sizzler 2018. Ishii would regain the title from Suzuki at NJPW and RevPro’s Global Wars. He also competed throughout the year for Ring of Honor and Over the Top (OTT) Wrestling.

THE CONSTANT: YOSHI-HASHI

Photo: NJPW

YOSHI-HASHI has also been with the group for a long time, since 2011. He participated in the New Japan Cup but was eliminated in the first round. He also participated in the G1 Climax and finished in the middle of the pack with six points. YOSHI-HASHI is always around to be an additional partner for any of the various teams within CHAOS. He also attempted to help Okada while he was being attacked by Jay White. Unfortunately, he himself was injured during that moment and has been out with head and shoulder injuries since.

THE JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT ACES: Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH)

Photo: NJPW

Roppongi 3K didn’t start 2018 on the best foot. They lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships to the Young Bucks. They did, however, regain them at the New Beginning in Sapporo. SHO and YOH would hold onto them until March, where they would lose them again. They lost them in a three-way match to Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemura), where Los Ingobernables de Japon was also involved. Both YOH and SHO would enter the Best of the Super Juniors and each would finish with 6 points. They also entered the Super Junior Tag League, which they won for the second year in a row. Due to this, Roppongi 3K will challenge for the IWGP Junior tag titles at Wrestle Kingdom 13.

Photo: NJPW

THE HYPE MAN: Rocky Romero

Photo: NJPW

Rocky Romero mainly acts as a manager for Roppongi 3K and provides English commentary for NJPW. However, when needed, Romero still steps between the ropes to help. You will mostly see him in tag action, whether it be a traditional tag team match or a multi-man tag match. Romero has also been very loyal to the group, he refused to give Jay White a chair when White attacked Okada and got beat down for his trouble. Rocky will certainly be in Roppongi 3K’s corner as they go on to challenge for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships at Wrestle Kingdom.

THE BETRAYERS: Jay White, Gedo and Jado

Photo: NJPW

Jay White is a young star in New Japan Pro Wrestling who joined CHAOS just after Wrestle Kingdom 12. Soon after joining, he would capture the IWGP United States Championship. White would hold the title until the G1 Special in San Francisco, where he lost it to Juice Robinson. Jay participated in the 2018 G1 Climax, where he finished third in the A Block with 12 points. He was the only man in the entire field to pin Tanahashi in the tournament.

Photo: NJPW

At Destruction in Kobe, after Tanahashi defeated Okada, Jay White appeared on the scene. He attacked Tanahashi and then Okada. Gedo, Okada’s former manager, came down seemingly to stop the attack. He shocked everyone by turning on CHAOS as well and hitting Okada with a chair. On October 8th at King of Pro-Wrestling, White was defeated by Tanahashi. After the match, he and Gedo attacked Tanahashi; Okada came down to make the save. Soon the party was crashed by Jado and the Bullet Club OGs. Thus it revealed itself to be a set-up to attack Okada and showed that all three CHAOS members had jumped ship to Bullet Club.

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