ROH/NJPW Honor Rising: Japan 2019 Day 2 Results and Review

This show was the second of two Honor Rising shows this year. Ring of Honor sent over some of their talent to compete with NJPW’s talent. The first night had three title matches, and so did this one. Let’s look at night two.

Honor Rising Day 1 Results and Review

Toa Henare & Johnathan Gresham vs. TAKA Michinoku & Zack Sabre Jr.

Before the first match, TAKA Michinoku cut a promo on his team’s opponents. He didn’t or at least pretended he didn’t know who Johnathan Gresham is. Man, TAKA’s slogans and all of that are so cool. I wish he would do the English promo more often. Henare jumped his opponents to start the show. ZSJ and Gresham showed a great battle of grappling at the start. Henare got a hot tag and hit a combo of moves on ZSJ. He got a two count from a Samoan Drop. ZSJ turned a vertical Suplex attempt into a Guillotine. Henare fought out of it and landed a Clothesline after getting hit with a kick. ZSJ landed a DDT off the ropes, allowing him to tag in Michinoku. TAKA was given a Samoan Drop off the ropes, and then Johnathan Gresham was tagged in. Gresham was in a 2-on-1 situation, landing a Moonsault onto ZSJ and then a Tope Suicida onto Michinoku. Gresham did a Shooting Star Press onto TAKA but ZSJ broke up the pin. Gresham put in the Octopus Lock, making TAKA tap out. Gresham really stuck out to me in this match. We didn’t get to see much of him on day 1 because his tag match was so short.

Robbie Eagles vs. Marty Scurll

They showed the wrong image on the screen in Korakuen Hall for this match. Robbie Eagles fought Marty Scurll in this bout. Right out the gates both of these guys traded blows. Eagles did a Huricanrana and then was given a clothesline by Scurll. Eagles got thrown out of the ring and hit a Springboard Dropkick when getting back in. Later on, Eagles tried for a 450 Splash but Scurll avoided it. They traded roll-up pin attempts after. Scurll did a Small Package Piledriver, but Eagles kicked out at two. He attempted to follow it up with a Crossface Chickenwing but had to settle with a German Suplex. On the top rope, Eagles hit a Huricanrana. This was impressive cause when I said they were on the top rope, I meant they were both standing on the top rope with no support for balance except each other. Scurll took some kicks and then spat at Eagles. The crowd booed when Eagles avoided his fingers getting snapped. When Eagles went off the ropes he was hit with a strike and then given a Crossface Chickenwing to end the match. I thought the finish was a little abrupt but the match was still good. The top rope spot was impressive.

Cheeseburger & Delirious vs. Colt Cabana & Toru Yano

It’s time for a comedy match. Cheeseburger and Delirious faced Colt Cabana and Toru Yano. Cabana teamed with Cheeseburger and Delirious last night for 6-man titles but lost, which caused some beef within the trio. Cabana helped promote Yano’s curry line during his entrance. Cheeseburger teased leaving the match when the crowd was chanting against him. Yano wasn’t as successful with undoing the turnbuckles tonight. Instead, Cabana brought in a long corner pad that NJPW usually uses. Delirious hit Yano with it. When Cheeseburger was trying for a Sunset Flip, Cabana gave Yano another corner pad, letting him hit Cheeseburger in the head with it. Cheeseburger gave Cabana his palm strike, but he kicked out. When the ref wasn’t looking, Delirious took a play out of Yano’s book and gave Cabana a low blow for a two count. Cabana gave Delirious a Chicago Skyline to win the match.

Dalton Castle & Jeff Cobb vs. Hirooki Goto & Will Ospreay

The next match combined both of yesterdays singles matches that were for titles. Cobb got a hot tag late in this match. He was striking Goto when Ospreay came in and was given a huge belly-to-belly German Suplex. Cobb did a Samoa Drop and then a Standing Moonsault onto Goto for a two count. Ospreay tagged in and prevented Castle from coming in. After Ospreay did a Springboard Forearm, he did a flippy move off of Goto’s back. After other tag members came in and out of the ring, Ospreay did a Robinson Special. He tried for an Os-Cutter but it was reversed into a slap. Cobb tried for a Tour of the Islands but Ospreay escaped. Goto and Ospreay both gave him strikes, and then Ospreay did his elbow strike which is still terrifying. Ospreay lifted Cobb in impressive fashion for a Storm Breaker to end the match. Ospreay never ceases to amaze. Simple as that. Also, Cobb is quite the competitor as well.

Vinny Marseglia & Matt Taven vs. Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito

The next match was The Kingdom versus Los Ingobernables. Colt Cabana joined the English commentary team at this point. The Kingdom jumped their opponents before the bell. In this match Takagi avoided a Swanton Bomb and then gave Marseglia a Back Bodydrop and a Shoulder Tackle, finally allowing him to tag in Naito. He gave Taven a dropkick and then spat at him. Naito was given a backbreaker by Marseglia but kicked out at two. Takagi and Naito teamed up at the end, letting Naito hit the Destino to win the match. I thought the teamwork from LIJ at the end was good, but overall I wasn’t a huge fan of this.

TK O’Ryan vs. Jay Lethal (ROH World Championship Match)

The first championship match was for the ROH World Title. It’s odd that the biggest title was the first defence on the show. Lethal caught O’Ryan off guard, diving to the outside before the bell. Jay did a Suplex on the floor. They got in the ring eventually and the match started. I liked a spot where Lethal had a Figure Four in, and when O’Ryan would lie down he would get counted for a pin, and have to sit up. When Lethal tried for it again, O’Ryan tried for a roll-up. Lethal tried for a Lethal Injection but O’Ryan stopped it. O’Ryan nearly almost won the match with a roll-up but the ref stopped counting before three. Lethal did his own roll-up and then went off the ropes to hit a Lethal Injection to retain the belt. After the match, Matt Taven attacked Jay Lethal. That’s the matchup set for Ring of Honor’s anniversary show. I thought this match was good. I haven’t seen a ton of O’Ryan but he worked well with Lethal.

Tama Tonga & Tonga Loa w/ Jado vs. SANADA & EVIL (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match)

The next championship match was for the IWGP Heavyweight tag belts. The team’s last defence was at the second night of New Beginning in Sapporo against Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr. For anyone who hasn’t watched recently, Tama Tonga isn’t a good guy anymore. During the match, SANADA took out Jado with a Crossbody while Tonga Loa was in a Paradise Lock. There was some weird spot where Tonga dodged a dropkick from SANADA but also awkwardly brushed into him. It didn’t look like it was meant to be done the way it was. EVIL almost got a hot tag but was stopped by Tonga, who pushed him off the apron. Minutes after EVIL got tagged in he found himself on the top rope with Loa. Loa landed a Superplex for a two count. SANADA leapfrogged over Tonga twice and then did a dropkick.

After many reversals, Tonga hit the Tonga Twist. SANADA did a Dropkick on Loa and then EVIL clotheslined him out of the ring. They called for the Magic Killer but Tonga escaped it, giving EVIL a DDT. Tonga tried for a Gun Stun but SANADA caught it and turned it into a Skull End. Tonga wasn’t tapping, so he let go of the hold. SANADA tried for a Moonsault off the top but Tonga escaped. The English team was criticizing SANADA for letting go of the hold. They tried again for a Magic Killer but Tonga escaped, shoving SANADA into the referee. Jado came in and tried using a kendo stick. He didn’t use it, and almost got hit with a Magic Killer but Loa came in to stop it. Loa and Tonga hit a double team move on EVIL. SANADA went off the top and was hit with a Gun Stun. The team landed a Super Powerbomb while EVIL was being held back by Jado. The pinfall after made them win the match and crowned them as the new champions.

The finishing combination of this match was amazing. I’m really enjoying Jado as a manager for this team. He has a purpose every time he is out there. It’s also good that at least one title changed hands on this tour since there were six title matches. It would be too predictable if everyone retained.

David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe (ROH World Tag Team Championship Match)

The main event for this show was the team of Lifeblood challenging The Briscoes for the ROH World Tag Titles. Early in the match, Mark did an Elbow Drop off the apron onto the floor. Later on Mark also did a Moonsault off the top onto both of his opponents. Robinson ran into both Briscoes and then gave Mark a Juicebox after spinning around. Off the ropes, Jay did a Death Valley Driver for a two count. Lifeblood did dual summersault dives off the apron onto the floor. They also did cannonballs into the barricades. On the top rope, Finlay was given a Superplex and then an Elbow Drop for a two count. They tried for a Doomsday Device but Finlay escaped. Finlay hit a Spear on one Briscoe and a backbreaker on another. The team landed their own Doomsday Device, but Jay kicked out. Finlay was held down while being hit with a Froggy-Bow to end the match. The Briscoes retain.

I wasn’t as interested in this match compared to the one before. Although that could be because I’m more invested in the teams in the match before. Finlay was being checked out after the match with something happening to his elbow. I’m unsure about whether that’s a real injury or not. If it is real then I hope he is okay. After the match, The Briscoes cut a promo. They talked about how the Guerillas of Destiny won the IWGP tag belts in the match before. They challenged Loa and Tonga in a title versus title match on the April 6th show at Madison Square Garden. The team came out and took the challenge. This was a good way to finish the show since the MSG show is a big one between these two promotions, and it’s worth having an angle on this show about it.

This show was pretty good. My favourite match was probably the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title match. These were two fun shows to watch this weekend as NJPW takes a week or so off before their anniversary show.

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ROH/NJPW Honor Rising: Japan 2019 Day 1 Results and Review

Finishing off the February calendar for NJPW is their two collaborative shows with Ring of Honor, called Honor Rising. Live from Korakuen Hall, let’s look at the first night of the tour, including three championship matches.

Ren Narita vs. Marty Scurll

Tonight’s show took place in a ring that had Ring of Honor turnbuckles and aprons. Chris Charlton was on the English commentary team with Kevin Kelly. I think the last time he was at the desk was Wrestle Kingdom or New Year Dash. In what is a pretty big way to start the show, Young Lion Ren Narita fought Marty Scurll. Late in the match, Scurll did a Powerbomb into a Boston Crab, but Narita escaped. As you could expect, Scurll won the match. Scurll finally ended the match with a Crossface Chickenwing. Honestly, this went way longer than I expected.

Shota Umino vs. Zack Sabre Jr. w/ TAKA Michinoku

Before the next match, TAKA Michinoku cut a promo fully in English. I don’t often hear what he says in his pre-match promos, but this one sounded pretty cool. When Michinoku called the “Young Boy” Umino to “come over ever,” he kicked Michinoku right in the gut. Umino put ZSJ in an Armbar during this match but put his leg on a rope to escape. This crowd was very enthusiastic tonight. ZSJ put in a Guillotine but Umino lifted him for a slam and escaped. Umino went to the top rope and landed a Missile Dropkick for a two count. ZSJ won the match with a Fisherman Suplex into a leg move that made Umino tap. This match made Umino look very strong. ZSJ tried hurting Umino more after the bell.

Johnathan Greshman & Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Robbie Eagles & Taiji Ishimori

This next tag match helped promote the upcoming title match between Ishimori and Liger. This was a debut match under NJPW for Johnathan Gresham. When Ishimori and Liger got in the ring, Liger did a roll-up to win the match in very short time. This caught my off guard and very much annoyed Ishimori. Hey, if I put facepaint on for a five-minute match I’d be mad too. This was a fun little way to promote their upcoming match. I hope we get to see more of Gresham on the second night.

Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma, David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. Tonga Loa, Tama Tonga, Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe w/ Jado & Hikuleo

In the biggest match of the evening (in size), The Guerillas of Destiny teamed with The Briscoes to face Lifeblood and the team of Henare and Honma. Hikuleo returned to be at ringside for this match. Late into this match with it was Mark and Juice who got hot tags. They exchanged punches, and then Juice reversed a Irish Whip into a Spinebuster. Finlay and Jay got into the ring, making it a two on two situation. Lifeblood did double clotheslines and then put each Briscoe in a corner. Finlay was thrown out of the ring and then Robinson was given a double team neckbreaker. The pin attempt that followed it was broken up. The Briscoes tried for a Doomsday Device but Juice escaped. He got Loa to run into Mark instead of attacking him. Robinson tried for a Pulp Friction but Mark escaped. He rolled to the ropes where Jado accidentally hit him with a kendo stick instead of Juice. Robinson scored a pinfall to end the match. Hikuleo, Loa and Tonga beat up The Briscoes afterwards.

Cheeseburger, Delirious & Colt Cabana vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Toru Yano & Togi Makabe (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match)

The first of three title matches on this show was for the NEVER Openweight 6-man title belts. The challenging team was ROH’s Cheeseburger, Delirious and Colt Cabana. Toru Yano has been promoting his line of curry instead of his DVDs recently, and I seriously want to give them a try. The trio was wearing Taguchi Japan jerseys, all with custom names and numbers on them. The match started with Yano and Delirious. Yano was terrified of him. Cabana said some Japanese lines during the match which got a pop from the crowd. Yano did his unbuckling of the corners spot, but struggled since ROH’s turnbuckles had more tying involved and only undid the top of the three. Cabana and Yano battled with two turnbuckle pads. As the ref was distracted with Cabana, Delirious was given a hip attack from Taguchi, a low blow from Yano and a chop from Makabe to end the match. This was a decent comedy match. It felt weird that this was for the titles though since this team was an impromptu one.

Dalton Castle w/ The Boys vs. Will Ospreay (NEVER Openweight Championship Match)

It took a little time before the next match because people had to put turnbuckles back on.  The next match was Will Ospreay defending his NEVER Openweight Championship for the first time since he won it at Wrestle Kingdom in January. Jushin Thunder Liger joined the Japanese commentary team. The fight went outside the ring early on with Ospreay hitting a barricade hard. Ospreay did a Space Tiger Drop later on. There was a move during the ring where Ospreay went off the ropes and was supposed to land on Castle but sort of went right over him. Ospreay got a close count after a Spanish Fly. Ospreay tried for his elbow attack but Castle avoided it. Castle did an impressive Powerbomb for a two count. Ospreay did a Superkick and then his Hidden Blade elbow strike (which looks terrifying), and then a Storm Breaker to win the match. After the match, they shook hands. That elbow move looks so convincing, it’s really terrifying.

Hirooki Goto vs. Jeff Cobb (ROH World Television Championship Match)

The third and final championship match was Hirooki Goto versus Jeff Cobb for the ROH World TV Title. Goto got some boos from the crowd during this match when he slammed a Young Lion onto Cobb. In the ring Goto did a kick in the corner and then went to the top rope for an Elbow Drop, but Cobb avoided it. Cobb caught Goto and did an impressive Belly-to-Belly German Suplex. He followed that up with a Standing Moonsault, which gave him a two count. Minutes later, Goto started to mount a comeback, landing a great clothesline at one point which flipped him around. Goto went for a pin attempt after a kick to the chest, but Cobb kicked out. Goto landed a reverse GTR for a two count. He tried for another GTR but Cobb escaped and landed a kick. With Goto going off the ropes, Cobb landed a Tour of the Islands to win the match and retain his belt.

Matt Taven, TK O’Ryan & Vinny Marseglia vs. Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Jay Lethal

The main event of the show was The Kingdom versus a Okada, Tanahashi and Jay Lethal. As Vinny Marseglia was coming to the ring he let a balloon fly to the ceiling of Korakuen Hall. This match previews tomorrow’s ROH World Title match between Jay Lethal and TK O’Ryan, though the illusion of the match was kind of ruined when Kevin Kelly mentioned that Matt Taven is facing Lethal for the belt farther down the line. Lethal did a dive to outside the ring onto Taven, and then dragged him back into the ring for Okada, who landed a reverse neck breaker. Kingdom tried for a Rockstar Supernova, but Okada and Tanahashi came in to save it. They both did dropkicks while Lethal did a Huricanrana to escape his move. Lethal gave Marseglia a Lethal Injection to win the match. After the match, Taven got some extra shots in on Lethal. After the match Lethal cut a promo on The Kingdom. The match was somewhat short, but I enjoyed it.

This show, in general, had a lot of good matches. ZSJ versus Shota Umino was great, especially for a Young Lion match. I really enjoyed Cobb versus Goto and Castle versus Ospreay. I look forward to tomorrow’s second and final show.

NJPW Road to The New Beginning Day 4 2019 Results and Review

The third and final taped night of The New Beginning nights moved locations and included a title match. Let’s get into night four.

Day 2 Recap (With Day 1 Results)

Day 3 Recap

Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida vs. Yota Tsuji & Toa Henare

The first match was a Young Lion contest set for fifteen minutes. Umino and Henare got hot tags early in this match. Tsuji gave Umino a Boston Crab but Yoshida broke it up. Shota put Tsuji in a Boston Crab of his own, but Tsuji made it to the ropes. He then landed a Missile Dropkick off the top rope, and then a Fisherman Suplex for the win.

Tiger Mask & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Ren Narita & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

The next match was three veterans and a Young Lion in a tag match. Narita jumped his opponents before the bell. At one point Narita had a Boston Crab in and was getting hit with chops, yet enduring and keeping the hold. Tiger Mask gave Narita a leg lock that Tenzan got him out of. After a kick to the head from Tiger Mask, Nakanishi landed a chop off the top rope, and Tiger landed a Tiger Driver to end the match.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Shingo Takagi

We had the third singles match of the tour next. Yoshinobu Kanemaru faced Shingo Takagi. Or, as I like to call it, the battle of the two guys in their factions with normal names that aren’t the faction’s leader. Very quickly in the contest, the fight went outside the ring. Takagi was given a reverse DDT on the ramp. He was also given a kick to the head on the apron. Takagi tried for a Satori Surprise but Takagi dodged and then hit a Samoan Drop. He landed a clothesline after. As Tagaki was looking for another move, the match ended with a DQ after El Desperado did a run-in. BUSHI came in to even the odds.

El Desperado vs. BUSHI

The next scheduled match was BUSHI versus Desperado, so we went right into the next match. Kanemaru got involved when the referee wasn’t looking, pushing BUSHI off the apron and slamming him on the floor. Desperado took BUSHI and threw him into barricades and rows of chairs. BUSHI just barely made the count, getting in at 19. BUSHI did a Tope Suicida on both Desperado and Kanemaru with the help of Takagi. The match also ended in a DQ after BUSHI was unmasked. In a brawl afterwards, El Desperado was unmasked as well.  I didn’t like these two matches, they felt sort of lame.

Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White w/ Gedo vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Tomoaki Honma & Hiroshi Tanahashi

Our next eight-man tag match was CHAOS versus Bullet Club. Hiroshi Tanahashi was sporting new red hair. White jumped Tanahashi before the bell and hoisted his IWGP Heavyweight Championship. Early in the match Honma failed at landing a Kokeshi. Owens tried a package piledriver on Honma but couldn’t land it. After being isolated for minutes upon minutes, Honma tagged out. Later on, Tanahashi got some shots in on White after he interrupted KUSHIDA’s goodbye match the show before. White landed a Rock Bottom after a combo of reversals. Okada gave Takahashi one of his great dropkicks, and then did a Tombstone Piledriver. Tanahashi gave Takahashi a Styles Clash and then Okada did an Elbow Drop. Tanahashi did a High Fly Flow to end the match. I loved this finishing combo, very well done.

Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi w/ TAKA Michinoku vs. SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito

Before this next match started, EVIL and ZSJ were in each other’s faces. Naito faced off with Taichi since they will face each other soon. There was no chaotic start to this match. Both teams civilly waiting for the bell to ring. The politeness would only last so long as the fight eventually made it’s way into the crowd. Naito was thrown over maybe three or four rows of chairs. SANADA at one point had Suzuki in a hold but he escaped it by holding onto the ref. It was EVIL and ZSJ who ended the match, with ZSJ reversing an Everything is EVIL into a bridged pinfall. Suzuki-gun walked off with all of the titles that LIJ brought in. I thought it was good that ZSJ got the finish to put the focus on the tag match while showcasing the Taichi match a little. The match itself wasn’t anything to write home about, but wasn’t bad either.

Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe & Toru Yano vs. Taiji Ishimori, Tama Tonga & Tonga Loa w/ Jado (NEVER 6-Man Openweight Championship Match)

Togi Makabe’s copyright free music was cranked up extra loud for this main event. So much so that Kevin Kelly’s commentary was just a vibration in the background. The main event of the show was a NEVER 6-Man Openweight Tag Team Match. Taguchi got the hometown pop when starting the match. Just like in the matches before, Tonga was playing up his good guy gimmick. Taguchi landed a move on Taiji which would have been a three count, but Jado pulled the referee out. Chase Owens then came in and tried to give Taguchi a Package Piledriver, but then was given a low blow from Yano. When Taguchi had Taiji in an Ankle Lock, he rolled out, making Taguchi hit the referee. Then Bad Luck Fale came in, with Kazuchika Okada coming in for the save. Jay White made a run-in as well, with Tanahashi making yet another save. This could have been done without Okada and Fale. Taguchi did an O’Connor Roll and was hit with a kendo stick by Jado when Taiji kicked out. Taguchi kicked out of a pin attempt from Ishimori. Taguchi did another Ankle Lock, which got turned into a different hold which made Ishimori tap. We have new 6-man champs.

I don’t like this. I thought this was really going time for Ishimori to be pushed. I thought he could really look like a star. Sure, he can lose the belts, but all of this? Tapping out? Taiji looked completely weak by the end of this. He still has his other belt, but it’s the man who makes the belt, not the belt who makes the man. Taguchi cut a promo to finish the show.

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NJPW Road to The New Beginning 2019 Day 2 Results and Review

After the collaborative Fantastica Mania tour between NJPW and CMLL, New Japan has returned to their regular roster. The three Road to The New Beginning shows acted as the finale for January. The first day wasn’t televised, here are the results of that card:

  1. Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura (Draw)
  2. Toa Henare def. Ren Narita
  3. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Manabu Nakanishi def. Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino
  4. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa def. Tomoaki Honma & YOSHI-HASHI
  5. Togi Makabe & Toru Yano def. Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi
  6. El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr. def. BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA, Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito
  7. Bad Luck Fale, Gedo, Jay White & Taiji Ishimori def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, KUSHIDA & Ryusuke Taguchi.

Source: cagematch.net

Let’s look at day two now.

Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs. Ren Narita & Manabu Nakanishi

The first match on the show was a Young Lion battle, with Nakanishi teaming with Narita to face Uemura and Tsuji. Narita was put in a Boston Crab my Uemura while Tsuji kept Nakanishi out of the ring. Narita made it to the ropes to escape the move. Narita took a double dropkick and then a double team suplex for a pin attempt that Nakanishi broke up. The team tried to do a double team suplex on Nakanishi but both go suplexed instead. Narita and Uemura were back in the ring with Narita looking impactful with shoulder tackles. He did a belly-to-belly for a pinfall that Tsuji broke up. Nakanishi took Tsuji to the outside, and then Narita did a Boston Crab to end the match. I enjoyed the ending sequence of the match.

Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida vs. Toa Henare & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

This is a good time to point out that Ayato Yoshida has an amazing theme. Henare was getting in the face of Umino before the match. At the start of the match Umino knocked down Tenzan after landing many moves kept him standing. Yoshida and Henare traded chops, and later on Henare landed a combo of a clothesline in a corner and then a Samoan Drop. Umino did a Missile Dropkick off the second rope onto Tenzan for a two count. After that Tenzan landed a move that gave him time to tag in Henare. Umino reversed a Vertical Suplex into one of his own and then gave Yoshida a hot tag. While Henare was put in a Rear Naked Choke, Tenzan was put in a Boston Crab. Henare made it to the ropes to escape the hold. Henare landed a bad looking Spear, with the pin afterwards being broken up by Umino. Yoshida did a roll-up that Henare kicked out of, and then Henare landed a Rock Bottom to end the match. Henare and Yoshida had a good battle, although the finish felt sort of unceremonious.

Tomoaki Honma, Toru Yano, Togi Makabe & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Chase Owens, Tama Tonga, Tonga Loa & Taiji Ishimori w/ Jado

In this next match, Ryusuke Taguchi was still running with his rugby gimmick. He had gotten rid of the pharaoh outfit that he wore during Fantastica Mania. Makabe and Loa started in the match. After Makabe took down Loa with a clothesline he tagged in Yano. Yano got big chants from the crowd. Tama Tonga got tagged in as well. Tonga tried to tell Yano that he is now a good guy, but Yano didn’t buy it. Yano took off a corner pad, but then Tonga tried putting it back on to show that he is a good guy. This might be the most comedy I’ve seen Tama Tonga do. Tonga was thrown into a corner but Chase Owens held up the pad that was taken off. When Yano went into the corner Owens took off the pad, letting him hit the exposed corner. After that everyone brawled into the crowd. At ringside Yano was hit in the head with a corner pad by Owens. Yano made the count back into the ring at 14, and then Ishimori got tagged in. For what it’s worth, Ishimori got a separate entrance from other Bullet Club members on this show. Yano was thrown into the exposed corner once again when Owens was tagged in. Tonga even avoided doing a double team when Loa wanted him to. Tonga got thrown into the exposed corner and then stopped Yano from tagging in Taguchi. Moments later Taguchi and Ishimori got hot tags. Ishimori and Owens were both given hip attacks. He did his B-Triggers off the ropes for a minute. Taguchi put Ishimori in an Ankle Lock which he rolled out of, knocked down the referee as well. The referee bump seemed to have no significance in the match. Honma finally got tagged in and missed a Kokeshi after a Running Bulldog. Loa got tagged in, and then all of Bullet Club picked on Honma while others were out at ringside. After the Guerillas of Destiny hit a combo of moves on Honma everyone started coming in. Honma landed a Kokeshi on Tonga, took out Jado on the ring apron, and then gave Loa a Shoulder Tackle for a two count. Honma gave Loa two clotheslines but the third one got reversed. Going off the ropes Honma was hit with a Kendo Stick from Jado, and then was given Loa’s finishing move to end the match. This match was pretty good besides the unnecessary referee bump.

Yujiro Takahashi & Bad Luck Fale vs. YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada

The next match was a traditional tag team match with “The Tokyo Pimp” Yujiro Takahashi and Bad Luck Fale facing YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada. Okada got a lesser than first time, but still audible pop when showing his wrestling shorts. Okada and Fale started, with Okada being thrown around the ring. When Yujiro got tagged in he threw Okada off the ropes, which made Okada fly at Fale and take him off the apron. Okada gave Takahashi a big boot and then tagged in YOSHI-HASHI. The fight went outside the ring after this. Fale choked out Okada with a microphone cord. Back in the ring, Takahashi slammed HASHI and then tagged in Fale. This match was a real slowing down of pace compared to the one before. Yujiro landed a good kick when he got tagged in, and go a two count on HASHI. The Bullet Club members frequently tagged each other in. HASHI finally worked his way out out of the situation, giving Okada the hot tag. Fale got taken down with a DDT, taking his first bump of the match. Okada tried slamming him but did not land it. Fale tried for a slam which Okada escaped, and then Okada got his slam in. Okada landed an Uppercut but when going off the ropes was given a Clothesline. Takahashi came back in and gave Okada a Fisherman Buster for a near fall. Fale came in and charged at Okada in a corner. HASHI broke up a pin after Yujiro landed a kick. Yujiro landed a good Tour of the Islands type of move for a two count. HASHI came in again, this time giving Yujiro a clothesline and Fale a Superkick. Okada clotheslined Fale out of the ring, and then gave Yujiro a dropkick. Okada landed an Elbow Drop and then a Rainmaker to win the match. This match did what it was meant to do. After the match Fale attacked Okada and YOSHI-HASHI. He tried to give Okada a Bad Luck Fall on the floor, but Okada escaped with the help of the Young Lions.

Jay White & Gedo vs. KUSHIDA & Hiroshi Tanahashi

On the way to the ring before the next match, Jay White clutched the face of a Young Lion, asking him if he’ll beat Tanahashi. This was Jay White’s first match back since the start of Fantastica Mania. In this match KUSHIDA teamed with Hiroshi Tanahashi. They will face each other on the next show, which will be KUSHIDA’s New Japan send-off. Tanahashi and White started the match. Ryusuke Taguchi joined the Japanese commentary team at this point. They barely did any moves on each other, and then KUSHIDA was tagged in. KUSHIDA called White “Dojo Boy” at some point. The two CHAOS members tagged in and out frantically. KUSHIDA was on a roll against White but Gedo kept getting in his way. White did a Belly-to-Belly Suplex on KUSHIDA, sending him over the ropes. Outside the ring Gedo had KUSHIDA up against a barricade. White slammed a Young Lion onto Tanahashi. Gedo used a chair on KUSHIDA. Outside the ring White bashed KUSHIDA into the barricade and ring apron. He’s not going easy on him at all before he goes to WWE. After KUSHIDA was fighting an uphill battle for quite some time he tagged in Tanahashi. There was a good combo where Tanahashi landed a Twist & Shout, and then got set up for a Blade Runner but was hit with a Rock Bottom instead. Gedo put Tanahashi in a roll-up for a two count and then landed a few kicks for another close count. Gedo took brass knuckles out of his jacket which distracted the referee. White came in with a chair but KUSHIDA gave him a Springboard Dropkick. KUSHIDA did a Crossbody to the outside, letting Tanahashi hit a Swingblade and a High Fly Flow for the win. I really liked this match. Good that Gedo took the pin since he isn’t involved in the Tanahashi and White program. Out of frustration, White attacked a Young Lion on the way out. KUSHIDA embraced the crowd after the match.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi w/ TAKA Michinoku vs. Shingo Takagi, SANADA, EVIL, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito (Elimination Tag Team Match)

Minoru Suzuki unveiled a new haircut at this show. This match was done in an elimination tag format, except eliminating someone of the top rope counted as well. The fight spread throughout Korakuen Hall very quickly. During this match there was a spot where Naito gave Taichi a kick to the back of the head and then spat on him repeatedly. Suzuki went wild around the ring, using a chair on SANADA in a hallway of the venue. It felt like this match was really testing my attention span with how little happened at the start. Suzuki tried for a Piledriver but SANADA escaped and tried throwing him over the ropes. Suzuki did a Guillotine but SANADA got out and went over the ropes with Suzuki. This eliminated both of them, making them the first eliminations, fifteen minutes into the match. They fought to the back. Takagi and Desperado were the next two in the ring. Desperado was thrown over the top by a strong clothesline from Shingo. Takagi tried for a second rope move but Desperado stopped it. He escaped near elimination, but then got eliminated because BUSHI was thrown into him, knocking him off the ring apron. BUSHI did an arched pin to eliminated Kanemaru. ZSJ nearly got pinned as well but kicked out. ZSJ reversed a Huricanrana into an Ankle Lock into an STF which made BUSHI tap out. EVIL gave ZSJ a Darkness Falls but he kicked out. EVIl tried tossing ZSJ over the top, but was instead given an Arm hold through the ropes. EVIL got pulled over the top and onto the apron. ZSJ kept cranking on the arm hold until he let go, and got hit with an Everything Is EVIL which eliminated both of them. The final two were Taichi and Naito. After Taichi threw the referee into Naito, he picked up Naito’s Intercontinental Championship and tried to hit him with it. This didn’t work, with Taichi getting hit with a kick instead. Naito shoved the referee once again, which let Taichi kick Naito in the groin. Naito was thrown over onto the apron and given a kick which nearly eliminated him. Another kick gave Taichi and his team the win. The kick felt sort of lame but I liked this finish. The match was way too long, especially at the start, but not horrible. Taichi cut a promo after the match.

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