New Japan’s final show before the Summer Struggle tour sees the NEVER trios title defended once again, as the Third Generation trio of Yuiji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan look to claim the gold.
Kota Ibushi submitted Yota Tsuji in 12:10 (***)
Shingo Takagi pinned Yuya Uemura in 11:03 (***¼)
El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki submitted Jado, El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori in 11:08 (***)
BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito pinned DOUKI, Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi in 12:13 (***)
Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI pinned Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata & Hiroyoshi Tenzan in 26:50 to retain the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship (***¾)
For the final time (well, for about a fortnight), we’re back to Korakuen Hall…
Yota Tsuji vs. Kota Ibushi
Ibushi took on Uemura last week… so this is the natural “complete the set” match.
There’s a tentative start here, with Tsuji looking for a single leg takedown only to get stopped as Ibushi took him to the mat. Tsuji goes for a cover, but Ibushi pushes free before they locked up… which led to Tsuji working a wristlock. Ibushi tries to fight free, eventually pushing off Tsuji into the ropes for a kick, before a shoulder tackle took down Kota.
An elbow exchange leads to Tsuji getting taken down with an unexpected kick for a two-count, before he had to fight out of a sleeperhold from Ibushi. Ibushi switches it up into an Arabian clutch, but Tsuji manages to power through and dive into the ropes for a break.
Getting back to his feet, Tsuji throws some overhand chops to the chest, then some more orthodox ones, before a single kick from Ibushi had him staggering backwards. A big dropkick has Tsuji back in it, leading up to a slam and a running flip senton… then the Mount Tsuji splash for a near-fall.
Tsuji goes for a Boston crab from there, but Ibushi rolls him through and hits a double stomp to break free. More kicks wear down Tsuji, as did a barrage of palm strikes, but a leaping shoulder tackle has Ibushi down as Tsuji goes for the Boston crab again… except he surprises us all with a Giant Swing! The Boston crab followed, but Ibushi breaks in the ropes, before Tsuji tried his luck with a Gory stretch…
Ibushi blocks it and gets right back in with a half crab… pulling Tsuji into almost a headstand as the submission’s eventually registered. A decent showing for Ibushi, with Tsuji taking perhaps too long to get going here. ***
Yuya Uemura vs. Shingo Takagi
Shingo beat Yota Tsuji in May on the Road to Wrestle Grand Slam “tour”, so he’s completing the set here…
We start with Uemura taking Shingo into the ropes, roughing him up on the break before things went to the mat. Shingo edged ahead with a side headlock, but Uemura countered out with one of his own before the pair got into a brief shoving match. A back senton from Shingo misses as an arm drag and an armbar from Uemura puts him back on top.
My feed buffers as we head outside, with Uemura having been taken into the guard rails, before a slingshot stomp back inside had him grabbing the ropes for a break. Running knees in the ropes lead to dropkicks from Uemura as he wore down Shingo, leading to a back suplex for a two-count.
From the kickout, Uemura goes to a cross armbar, but it’s broken in the ropes before Shingo hit back with the elbow/jab/lariat combo. A falling back elbow off the top rope lands for another near-fall for Shingo, before a noshigami’s countered into a backslide for a near-fall.
Shingo goes back to – and lands – the noshigami for a near-fall, before some Danielson elbows wore down the Young Lion. A sliding lariat’s countered with a crucifix for a near-fall as Uemura tried his luck with a German suplex… but that last burst didn’t last for too long as Uemura went for a Kanuki suplex, only for Shingo to block it as a Pumping Bomber put away the black trunk’d one. A good showing from Uemura here, as he took the fight to Shingo throughout, but at the end of it, the one-hit kill Pumping Bomber proved to be too much. ***¼
Post-match, a bloodied Uemura shoved Shingo, who seemed to be happy to have another go.
Bullet Club (El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori & Jado) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki)
We’ve Ishimori vs. Desperado in a week…
We’ve a jump start from the Suzuki-gun lads, who eschew the usual introductions so Desperado and Ishimori could wallop each other with rights. A suplex from Desperado shuts it all down for a quick two-count, before Suzuki came in to punt Ishimori for another two-count.
Ishimori looked to fight back, but elbows from Suzuki have him in the corner before a low dropkick from Kanemaru proved to be enough for a two-count. Phantasmo distracts Kanemaru in the ropes, allowing Ishimori time to clear the apron as the Bullet Club trio took over on the outside with the usual trips to the guard rails.
Desperado gets posted by Ishimori before we settle down with Jado charging down Kanemaru with a shoulder block. An old-school eye rake with the ropes keeps Kanemaru down, before Phantasmo came in to show how much his fingernails had grown in a week, raking Kanemaru’s back.
More backrakes follow from Ishimori, while Minoru Suzuki ran in to try and break up the beating that Kanemaru was getting in the corner. ELP elbows away on Kanemaru, but a cartwheel’s meat with a boot as Phantasmo looked to get too flashy before a dropkick to the knee eventually spiked the Canadian on his head.
Tags get us back to Ishimori and Desperado, with the latter catching a handspring and turning it into a back suplex for a two-count. Guitarra de Angel is escaped by Ishimori, who then rolled Desperado into a Yes Lock.. which Desperado manages to roll free of as he countered into Numero Dos. The counters continue as Ishimori rolled free, only to get kicked in the knee ahead of landing the handspring enziguiri.
Jado tags in as ELP charges the Suzuki-gun apron… double-teams on Desperado lead to back rakes and clotheslines for a two-count, before the Green Killer draping DDT almost got Jado an unlikely win. Suzuki tries to take care of Jado as a Parade of Moves breaks out, leading to an OJK crossface from Jado on Desperado… but Desperado rolled out and put away Jado with the Numero Dos for the submission. Decent stuff, as Desperado continues to rack up wins ahead of his defence next week. ***
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI) vs. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & DOUKI)
We’ve another title match next weekend, so by rights, we need to tick off the “build it up” box here, with Japanese commentary apparently noting that Taichi wants to use the Patriot Missile as a tribute to the recently-passed Del Wilkes.
We eventually have a jump start as the match spilled to the floor, with Sabre and SANADA trading holds on the inside, countering pin attempts before Sabre switched a Paradise Lock into an armbar that ended in the ropes.
Taichi’s in to wrap SANADA’s arm around the rope as the reigning champions found their target early on, before DOUKI hit a shoulder tackle off the top rope as he managed to land that Patriot Missile. Sabre’s back to keep working over SANADA’s arm with a wristlock, but SANADA rolled free and hit a dropkick as Naito proceeded to tag in.
My feed drops out, recovering with BUSHI dropkicking Sabre’s leg in the ropes, before Naito cornered Sabre for some mudhole stomping. Combinacion Cabron followed, which looked a little low too, before Sabre found a way free with a neck twist on Naito. SANADA tries to make the save, but he’s met with another neck twist as Sabre makes the tag out to Taichi.
Kawada-style kicks from Taichi are stopped by SANADA… and now the choking starts. Naito makes the save, but gets throttled to the mat. More of the same on Naito and SANADA gets stopped as the LIJ lads choke Taichi as a measure of revenge, before a double Axe Bomber from Taichi had them down.
A ‘rana from SANADA takes Taichi outside for a plancha, with the match heading back inside as SANADA looked for a TKO… but a leaping enziguiri from Taichi levelled the score. Tags bring in BUSHI and DOUKI, with a flying ‘rana from BUSHI landing ahead of a DDT for a two-count.
BUSHI stops to clear the Suzuki-gun apron, but an enziguiri from DOUKI takes him outside for an Asai moonsault. Back inside, Daybreak lands as DOUKI gets a two-count, before Suplex de la Luna was stopped as Naito ran in to spark the usual Parade of Moves. That culminates in a Skull End on Sabre, a Destino on Taichi, before Naito handed off DOUKI for a Codebeaker from BUSHI… who followed up with the MX for the win. Another solid undercard tag – with minimal bullshit, which always helps. ***
Post-match, Naito and SANADA stood tall over Sabre and Taichi – the (almost) final shot before the tag title match in Hokkaido next weekend.
NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI (c)
The CHAOS lads extended their record last week with their sixth defence of these titles, but coming into their 325th day of their reign, they’ll need to win here and hope they’ll not be called on for another defence until Summer Struggle in Osaka if they’re to break the record for longest single reign, currently held by the Taguchi/Makabe/Yano trio.
Nagata and Ishii start, looking to pick up from their slugfest last night as we open with shoulder tackles and elbows as they tried to wear each other down. After that, tags bring in Kojima and Goto as we replay yesterday’s singles matches, with Goto’s side headlock being pushed off as he came in with a shoulder tackle, before Kojima returned the favour.
Goto’s taken to the corner for Machine Gun chops, but YOSHI-HASHI stopped them and hit some of his own. He’s gonna pay. Tenzan stops YOSHI-HASHI, who’s then met with a double suplex before Goto ate some Mongolian chops. A slam from Kojima leaves Goto down for the falling headbutt/slingshot elbow combo for a near-fall, before the champion trio took things outside for the obligatory trips to the guard rails.
Back inside, Goto stomps on Kojima before YOSHI-HASHI came in with a chinlock on Kojima as Ishii stood guard. Ishii takes over with chops to Kojima in the corner, forcing the referee to make a break as a trickle of blood went down Kojima’s chest from all that. Bloody hell…
YOSHI-HASHI comes in to beat up Kojima’s already-reddened chest, following in with a suplex for a two-count. Kojima’s hung in the ropes for a YOSHI-HASHI dropkick for a near-fall, before Kojima freed himself with a Koji cutter and made the tag out to Tenzan. After clearing the apron, Tenzan lays into YOSHI-HASHI with Mongolian chops, before the brainbuster landed for another two-count.
An Anaconda Buster from Tenan’s blocked, so he and YOSHI-HASHI trade elbows before Tenzan busted out another set of Mongolian chops. A neckbreaker from YOSHI-HASHI lands for a near-fall, which then rolled into a Butterfly hold as YOSHI-HASHI looked for back-to-back submissions over Tenzan… who broke free and resisted some high chops to the throat before returning with a spinning heel kick.
Nagata tags in to kick away on YOSHI-HASHI, following up with a tease of a double underhook suplex before YOSHI-HASHI ran in with a Head Hunter. A Western Lariat from YOSHI-HASHI gets him a two-count, before Kojima ran in to break up a Kumagaroshi attempt. Double-teaming with Goto gets rid of Kojima, before Nagata booted away Goto… then ran into a low dropkick from YOSHI-HASHI.
Ishii tags in and drops Nagata with a powerslam off the ropes, before Tenzan came in to stop the offence. Mongolian chops are blocked, but Ishii’s headbutt has no effect as he and Tenzan clonk heads. Ishii gets knocked down as Nagata bust out the Nagata Lock II crossface, while YOSHI-HASHI got caught in an Anaconda Vise… Goto’s restrained by Kojima’s overhead wristlock, but Goto broke free and managed to break up the Nagata Lock.
Except Nagata just upgrades it to the Nagata Lock III – almost a Rings of Saturn – as Ishii then got rolled into a cover for a two-count. It’s back to the Nagata Lock II from there, which YOSHI-HASHI breaks up with a low dropkick as the feed begins to buffer. Yep. An Exploder from Nagata chucks Ishii across the ring, before a German suplex evened things up for Ishii.
A boot from Nagata’s shrugged off as Ishii reverses an Irish whip into the corner, allowing Goto to help out as YOSHI-HASHI came in for a side Russian legsweep/Head Hunter combo, with Ishii’s sliding lariat almost getting the successful three-count seconds later. An enziguiri from Ishii drops Nagata as the rest of the Third Generation trio seemingly hurled their foes into the railings, before Kojima slid in to take a lariat for Nagata. Tenzan’s in too, but he’s elbowed away on before a headbutt took Ishii down.
Tenzan lands an Anaconda Slam on Ishii as Nagata looked to pull ahead, but he can’t bridge on a Backdrop Hold, with the eventual pin getting broken up by Goto. Kojima chucks Goto to the outside before a rising headbutt from Ishii levelled Nagata, with both men then making the tag out. Goto and Kojima charge into each other as they looked for an edge… which came in the form of a lariat from Goto.
Kojima tries to turn it back around with more Machine Gun chops, but he couldn’t follow with the elbow off the top as Goto cut him off and hit one of his own. Tenzan breaks up some double-teaming as things began to break down… a step-up knee from Nagata in the corner leads to him throwing Ishii into the TenKoji Cutter, before attentions turned to Goto, who clotheslined away the same move.
YOSHI-HASHI helps out again, superkicking Kojima before some running double knees led to a PK from Goto for a near-fall. From there, Kojima kicks away a GYW attempt and nailed Goto with a brainbuster for a two-count, before he just ran into an ushigoroshi. We go back to the kicks as Goto then teased an ushigoroshi… but faked out Kojima with a GTR instead as that proved to be too much. This didn’t feel as long as last week’s trios match, but it again inched towards that seemingly prerequisite half-hour block for these matches. Cracking effort from the New Japan Dads, but in the end it’s the CHAOS team who remain unstoppable in this particular level. ***¾
Post-match, Nagata shakes Ishii’s hand – before the traditional end-of-show speech was cut off as the lights went out… and came back up with EVIL and Dick Togo choking out ishii. Goto and YOSHI-HASHI were nowhere to be seen, as EVIL later would say that he didn’t want another shot at those trios titles – he just wanted Ishii. I mean sure, why not?
New Japan’s back next Saturday – July 10 – for the first half of the Summer Struggle in Sapporo, featuring El Desperado vs. Taiji Ishimori for the IWGP junior heavyweight title. That’ll be a 10am start in the UK (5am EST)… then we’ve a 6am UK start on Sunday for the second night, with Naito and SANADA vs. Sabre & Taichi for the IWGP tag titles.
This was a fairly solid, consistent show from New Japan, as those Young Lion singles matches again proved to be the high point, alongside the NEVER trios match as the company looks to make these belts more prominent and add something else to the mix as the promotion continues to chug along.