After a few days off of NJPW being televised, the promotion came back on Saturday with a Road to The New Beginning show from Osaka. Let’s look at the show.
Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida vs. Yota Tsuji & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
This show’s start was different from the rest because it did not have a video package. Instead, we just went right into the show. The first match included three Young Lions and Hiroyoshi Tenzan. Don Callius is back on English commentary after being absent for most of the month of January. Late in this match Tenzan gave Tsuji a hot tag onto Umino. He gave him a back bodydrop for a two count. He landed a great dropkick and then a Boston Crab which Yoshida broke up. Yoshida made a comeback, landing a missile dropkick for a two count. He put in a Boston Crab which Tenzan ended. Yoshida did a kick, and then Umina landed a Fisherman Suplex which bridged into a pinfall to end the match. Nice move, but doesn’t beat the Belly-to-Belly that Narita has been landing lately. I’m a real big fan of these Young Lions, to be honest.
Ren Narita vs. YOSHI-HASHI
In a singles match, YOSHI-HASHI battled Ren Narita. Narita jumped YOSHI, which surprised me. These two battled for a very long time. Narita escaped a Boston Crab by going to the ropes. After Narita tried two roll-up attempts, YOSHI landed an amazing kick. He followed it up with a neckbreaker for a two count. YOSHI-HASHI put on some sort of Masterlock submission move that made Narita tap out. Felt a little long of a match but not bad.
Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens vs. Toa Henare & Tomoaki Honma
The next match was a tag team bout between Bullet Club and the team of Henare and Honma. Honma and Owens started the match. Early on Owens avoided a Kokeshi. Later on another one was missed on Takahashi after a Running Bulldog. Bullet Club used their cheating tactics numerous times during this match. Tama Tonga wasn’t there to tell them otherwise. Henare got a hot tag on Owens. He landed a Shoulder Tackle off the ropes. He gave Takahashi a Samoan Drop when he came in to save Owens. Honma landed a Kokeshi and Henare did a chop on Owens but he kicked out. Henare gave his takedown type of move, but Takahashi broke up the pin. Owens tried for a Small Package Piledriver but Henare got out. He landed it a few minutes later, putting away Henare for good.
El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki vs. BUSHI, SANADA & EVIL
In the fourth match, Suzuki-gun faced Los Ingobernables de Japon. As expected, people started brawling all around the venue eventually. EVIL got barricades and chairs stacked on him by Suzuki. BUSHI did a dive to the outside onto Desperado during this match. EVIL and SANADA did a Magic Killer onto Kanemaru to end the match. Magic Killer is such a great finishing move.
TAKA Michinoku & Taichi vs. Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito
After Tetsuya Naito and Taichi had their close battle earlier this week for the IC title, they met once again in a tag match that also included TAKA and Shingo. Early in the match Taichi did the laying down pose that Naito usually does. Takagi gave Michinoku the “Last of the Dragon” to end the match. I wasn’t expecting that Takagi would get the win for his team.
Taiji Ishimori, Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White w/ Jado & Gedo vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano, Togi Makabe, Kazuchika Okada & Hiroshi Tanahashi (Elimination Tag Team Match)
The main event was a ten man elimination tag team match. The rules are that you can take someone out is via pinfall, submission or over the top rope elimination. Jay White was in Hiroshi Tanahashi’s face before the match started. They both started the bout. They are the obvious focus in this match as their match for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship was on the next show. Surprisingly, no team jumped the other before the bell. Jado put his kendo stick to use during this match, hitting Taguchi in the head with it when he got out of a roll-up pin. When Makabe was on a roll against Tanga Loa, he was shoved off the top rope by Fale. During this whole match, Tama Tonga was doing his “good guy” gimmick. Makabe was the first elimination by being thrown over the top rope by Loa. Makabe was distracted by Jado who was at ringside. Yano was the next in for his team. He was hit with a double team move, but the pin attempt was broken up. Yano gave Loa a roll-up while he was distracted to make it four on four. Tama Tonga was handed a kendo stick and had the option to cheat. He eventually unleashed after weeks of being the good guy. He was disqualified after hitting everyone. Odd that the good guy gimmick went away on a Road To show. He turned so bad that Loa was actually holding him back at one point.
The match became three on three after Jay White gave Yano a Blade Runner for a pinfall. Okada took Fale out of the match via over the top rope elimination but took himself out at the same time. This left it down to the final four wrestlers, who all were involved in title matches on the next show. Ishimori and Taguchi fought next. Taguchi gave Taiji a hip attack move on the apron, eliminating both of them. So they basically did the same spot that was done in the two eliminations before. Tanahashi and White were the final two left. While White fought with the referee over a chair, Gedo tried putting Tanahashi over the top rope. He avoided elimination. When turning around he got out of a Blade Runner but was given a Rock Bottom. The match ended when Tanahashi gave White a Swingblade on the apron to eliminate him. This ending felt sort of anticlimactic, but not horrible. After the match Jay White attacked Tanahashi. White cut a promo afterwards, saying how he will be the new champion. He got some boos from the crowd.