New Japan Pro Wrestling ran something of a “B show” in Tokyo’s Korakuen Hall on Saturday.
The legendary fifth-floor venue hosted its second consecutive event, kicking off the Road to Wrestling Dontaku tour. IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada and top contender Hiroshi Tanahashi did not wrestle on the show, and the main event served to further the IWGP Intercontinental, Tag Team, and Junior Heavyweight Tag Team title feuds, featuring the warring Suzuki-gun and Los Ingobernables de Japon stables.
The undercard featured another tag battle between the Taguchi Japan squad and the CHAOS faction, which saw United States Heavyweight Champion Jay White, NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto, and Junior Heavyweight title holder Will Ospreay in action against their future challengers, David Finlay, Juice Robinson, and KUSHIDA.
Below are the results from Korakuen Hall —
– Ren Narita defeated Yota Tsuji via submission with a Boston Crab.
– Yuji Nagata defeated Shota Umino via submission with a Nagata Lock.
– Tomoyuki Oka, Ryusuke Taguchi & Manabu Nakanishi defeated Tetsuhiro Yagi, Tiger Mask IV & Hiroyoshi Tenzan when Oka made Yagi tap out to a Boston Crab.
– Taichi, TAKA Michinoku & Takashi Iizuka defeated Roppongi 3K (SHO, YOH & Rocky Romero) when Taichi pinned SHO after a Tensho Juji Ho.
– Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano defeated Toa Henare & Togi Makabe when Ishii pinned Henare after a vertical brainbuster.
– David Finlay, KUSHIDA, Juice Robinson & Michael Elgin defeated IWGP United States Heavyweight Champion Jay White, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay, NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
White and Finlay started off, and White looked motivated to match Finlay’s recent intensity. He teased using a chair, but thought better of it. Ospreay and KUSHIDA tagged in and did an electrifying sequence — some really state of the art stuff from two of the best in the world.
Ospreay started selling his neck, and the Taguchi Japan team went to work on the champ. Ospreay initially countered some of Elgin’s power moves, so Elgin went to an enzuigiri and a slingshot neckbreaker to vary his attack. Robinson, Finlay, and KUSHIDA all used axe handles off the top to continue pounding on Ospreay’s neck.
Ospreay finally made a tag to Goto, who did a sequence with Robinson that led to a double down. YOSHI-HASHI and Elgin tagged in, and Elgin sold a lot for him. Elgin recovered and hit a flying headscissors, which didn’t lead to anything. It was a wasted spot.
Elgin hit a fallaway slam and a press slam for a near fall. He went for an Elgin Bomb, but Ospreay cut him off. The match broke down into an eight-way, with White, Goto, and KUSHIDA all hitting finishers.
With the ring cleared, YOSHI-HASHI hit a lariat on Elgin for a near fall. He went to the top for a crossbody, but Elgin caught him and turned it into a buckle bomb, followed by an Elgin Bomb and a pinfall. The last two minutes or so were good.
After the bout, Finlay taunted White, and White hit Finlay with a Blade Runner.
– Suzuki-gun (IWGP Intercontinental Champion Minoru Suzuki, IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Killer Elite Squad) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi & IWGP Tag Team Champions EVIL & SANADA)
Did you know that sometimes Suzuki-gun jumps their opponents before the bell? You would think that their opponents would employ this strategy themselves far more often than they do.
Suzuki went to work on Naito, who was the most over guy on the show by a wide margin. Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer did the same, before Naito made a tag. Naito and Suzuki brawled around the ring and in the crowd, with Suzuki getting the best of it. EVIL and SANADA got a little bit of offense on Smith, but were cut off. Several minutes of the match were spent on Suzuki-gun getting the heat on EVIL.
Kanemaru escaped a backslide, shoved the ref, hit a low blow on BUSHI, and pinned him for the first elimination. Naito quickly used a bridging combination to pin Kanemaru. Naito and Suzuki brawled to the apron, and Suzuki teased hitting the Gotch piledriver, but Naito evaded it and pulled Suzuki to the floor, going down with him. The two brawled to the back.
Smith was next out, thrown over the top by SANADA with a Dragon Screw of sorts. Archer quickly tossed SANADA after escaping a Paradise Lock attempt and hitting a Pounce. Archer then eliminated EVIL over the top rope, before Takahashi sent him up and over.
The final few minutes saw Desperado and Takahashi as the final two, with Desperado taking the bulk of the offense on Takahashi. They did more strong style power stuff than you might expect. Takahashi got a near fall, but while Desperado took the ref, Kanemaru reappeared, blowing mist in Takahashi’s eyes. Desperado took advantage and scored the victory for Suzuki-gun with a roll-up
The top two matches featured some good action, but this second show of a long tour is not required viewing.