While Road to The New Beginning isn’t a huge tour, day three was a special event. In the main event, KUSHIDA faced Hiroshi Tanahashi. This match was his send-off match for NJPW, before he heads to WWE. Let’s look at the show.
Yuya Uemura vs. Ren Narita
The first match was a battle between Yuya Uemura and Ren Narita, two Young Lions. On this tour Uemura is 0-1-1, while Narita is 1-1. Early in the match, Narita put in a Boston Crab. Uemura escaped since he was close to the ropes. Uemura landed two impressive dropkicks which gave him a two count. Uemura landed a Backbody Drop and then tried for a Boston Crab of his own. He was really bending Narita. Narita escaped the hold eventually. The match ended after Narita landed a very good looking Belly-To-Belly German Suplex bridged into a pinfall.
Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
The next match was a Young Lions versus veterans match. Umino landed a slam on Nakanishi during this match which got a big reaction. Umino went off the ropes but was hit with a Spear. White Umino was in a Torture Rack, Tenzan put in an Anaconda Vice to end the match.
Ryusuke Taguchi & Toa Henare vs. Taiji Ishimori & Yujiro Takahashi
The Young Lions were done for the show, as the next match was Taguchi and Henare teaming with Ishimori and Takahashi. The crowd was chanting for Taguchi when the match started. Taguchi and Ishimori started the match. They had a good combo of attacks that concluded with Taguchi hitting a hip attack that sent Taiji to the outside. Henare and Takahashi got tagged in right after. Henare was on a roll with an Armdrag, Slam and Shoulder Tackle which got him a two count. Takahashi took control of the match and got to double team Henare because Ishimori took out Taguchi and then came in the ring. Henare and Yujiro traded chops, and then Yujiro landed a kick to the head against the ropes. Taiji was tagged back in and was controlling Henare, but then Henare fought out and gave Taguchi a hot tag. He did a dive off the second rope to the outside onto Ishimori. Taguchi did a Springboard Hip Attack for a two count. Ishimori did a good spot where he dipped in-between ropes to juke Taguchi and eventually land a move off the top. Taguchi put in an Ankle Lock that Ishimori escaped. Ishimori landed a kick which gave him time to tag out. Henare and Takahashi came back in. Henare landed a Shoulder Tackle off the ropes and then a Samoan Drop for a two count. Taguchi brought his rugby ball into the ring. Taguchi did a Hip Attack in the corner onto Takahashi. Henare did a Spear for a pin attempt that Ishimori broke up. Ishimori was taken out of the ring by a Hip Attack, and then Henare did a type of Spear for a two count. Yujiro landed a Fisherman Buster for a kickout. He then landed a DDT with Henare on his knees to end the match.
I really enjoyed this match. I’m slowly becoming a fan of Henare. I don’t really know his gimmick but he’s a good wrestler. After the match Taguchi was on the apron and spoke to Ishimori. Taiji stole Taguchi’s rugby ball and kicked it into the crowd. This made Taguchi look sad. He got his ball back and left.
Tomoaki Honma, Toru Yano & Togi Makabe vs. Chase Owens, Tonga Loa & Tama Tonga w/ Jado
The Guerillas of Destiny fought in this next match before they were set to defend their NEVER Openweight 6-Man Championships on the next night with Taiji Ishimori. Tonga Loa and Togi Makabe started off, fighting for a minute or so. When Tama Tonga and Tomoaki Honma came in, Tonga tried to shake Honma’s hand to continue the good guy gimmick. He shook hands and hugged, but couldn’t get a shake for the other two members of Honma’s team. Owens and Loa came in and attacked the two other members, which Tonga didn’t like. He apologized while continuing to fight. The Bullet Club trio had frequent tags, isolating Honma in their corner. Tonga refused to participate in certain antics with his team. Commentator Kevin Kelly has stayed vigilant about if the good guy gimmick is genuine. Honma gave Loa a clothesline which finally let him tag in Toru Yano. Yano undid a corner, but Tonga tried putting it back on. While he did this, Yano took apart another corner and tried using it. He tossed it to Tonga, who then gave it to the referee. Yano gave Tonga a neckbreaker of some sort and then tagged in Makabe. Makabe did his punches in the corner which are always followed by a evil laugh. Owens tagged himself in on Makabe. The trio picked on Makabe in the corner. Owens tried for a Package Piledriver but couldn’t land it. Owens shoved Makabe into the referee, which let the group do a double team spot. Yes, it let them, but they didn’t because Tonga hesistated. Yano and Honma came in, with Honma trying for a Kokeshi which Jado stopped with his kendo stick. Jado tried for a draping DDT on Homna which would have been ultimate disrespect, but it was stopped. Makabe landed a King Kong Kneedrop on Owens to end the match after his teammates help take out other members. I can assume the referee spot done tonight was planned for the match the night before, but didn’t work. Not a bad match. I liked the callback when Jado tried landing the draping DDT.
Jay White & Bad Luck Fale w/ Gedo vs. YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada
White and Fale faced YOSHI-HASHI and Okada next. The Bullet Club team jumped Okada and Hashi. Fale tried for a Bad Luck Fall on the floor but Okada escaped it. Everyone fought outside the ring at the start. After YOSHI-HASHI was picked on for a long time, Okada finally got tagged in. Okada slammed White and then went to the top, but White got up. Okada was hit with a Side Suplex, and then tagged in Fale. Okada was given a huge Back Body Drop. After that, HASHI was taken off the apron. Fale landed a standing Elbow Drop for a kickout. He tried for a Bad Luck Fall but Okada reversed it into a Back Body Drop. HASHI got the hot tag, taking out White and finally taking down Fale. He landed a top rope Blockbuster, but then White came in. White tried for a Blade Runner but Okada came in and gave him a Dropkick. Fale took out Okada and then did a standing Frogsplash for a two count. YOSHI did lariats off the ropes, but the third time around was hit with one instead. Fale gave YOSHI-HASHI a Grenade to end the match. I thought there wasn’t enough focus on Okada in this match, since White versus him is what’s next. Okada tried saving HASHI but was given a Grenade. The Young Lions stopped a Bad Luck Fall attempt. Fale gave Uemura a Grenade as well. Gedo was sort of invisible during this whole match. YOSHI-HASHI came off as real dead weight in this match for Okada.
El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr., Minoru Suzuki & Taichi w/ TAKA Michinoku vs. Shingo Takagi, BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito
We got a rematch from the night before, except it is normal stipulations for this match. All of Suzuki-Gun came out to Taichi’s music. Taka Michinoku cut a short promo before the match. The main program being built out of this match is Taichi versus Naito. Taichi held the ropes open for Naito, and then Naito jumped Taichi seconds after. As expected the fight went all over the place at the start. SANADA and Minoru Suzuki had a good exchange of slaps and moves in the ring. Taichi went after Naito. He hit his head against the “WEST” sign in Korakuen Hall. Suzuki hit SANADA with a chair and barricades. After SANADA and Suzuki battled more in the ring, Naito and Taichi got tagged in. Both guys tried doing Suplexes but got it stopped by holding onto the referee. BUSHI was hit with a Deep Impact by Kanemaru, but teammates came in to break the pin attempt that followed it. BUSHI tagged in EVIL who took out ZSJ on the apron and then went to Kanemaru. EVIL landed a Clothesline and then a Darkness Falls for a two count. He tried for an Everything is Evil but ZSJ stopped it. Tons of people came in and out of the ring. Taichi did his pants pull off spot. The ref was distracted when Naito kicked Taichi in the groin and hit a Destino. Takagi landed a Clothesline and then EVIL hit the Everything is EVIL to win the match. The middle of the match lost me but the finishing combo was good. Naito taunted Taichi after the match, teasing that he would snap his microphone.
KUSHIDA vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
The main event of the evening was the goodbye match for KUSHIDA. The crowd all had orange KUSHIDA signs that they held up during his entrance. There was a “Thank You KUSHIDA” flag on the balcony. During Tanahashi’s theme, KUSHIDA laid on his back in the ring. This match started slowly with lots of technical wrestling. KUSHIDA landed a Cartwheel Dropkick and then tried for a DDT which got turned into a Cloverleaf from Tanahashi. A knee of KUSHIDA’s was targeted by Tanahashi throughout the match. KUSHIDA put Tanahashi in a Hoverboard Lock for quite some time, but eventually, KUSHIDA tried turning it into a Back to The Future. The move was turned into a Twist & Shout. Tanahashi followed it up with a Swingblade for a two count. Tanahashi went to the top for a Crossbody and then a High Fly Flow, except KUSHIDA put his knees up. He followed it up with a Back to The Future for a two count. KUSHIDA put in another Tanahashi landed a Bridging German Suplex for a two count. Tanahashi put in a Boston Crab which made KUSHIDA tap out. This was a slow paced match but an enjoyable one. It’s sad to see KUSHIDA go, but he has other things in his career to do. As Tanahashi was sitting over a hurt KUSHIDA, Jay White came in and hit Tanahashi with a chair. This was amazing because White got some real boos from this crowd. He wedged a chair in between his right leg, and then smashed it with another chair. After the attack Tanahashi and KUSHIDA hugged outside the ring. Tanahashi was helped backstage and KUSHIDA went back into the ring to talk to the crowd.
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