We’re back at Korakuen Hall for the final time this week, as the build to next week’s shows in Hiroshima continue.

Quick Results
Ryusuke Taguchi & Gabriel Kidd pinned Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji in 8:28 (***)
Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada pinned Yujiro Takahashi, Jay White & EVIL in 11:08 (***¼)
El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Jado pinned DOUKI, Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr., El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 12:18 (***¼)
Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi pinned Tomoaki Honma & SHO in 12:45 (***)
SANADA & BUSHI submitted Master Wato & Kota Ibushi in 18:47 (***½)

Kevin Kelly’s running solo on commentary once more.

Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Gabriel Kidd
Kidd and Tsuji pick up where they left off last night, trading elbows at the bell, before a shoulder tackle shoved down Tsuji.

An uppercut takes Tsuji back into the corner, before he met Kidd’s boot… only to dump the Brit with a slam moments later. Tsuji takes Kidd into the corner as Uemura tagged in to throw some elbows. A cravat from Uemura restrains Kidd, as did a snapmare and a chinlock, ending with Kidd getting his feet to the ropes.

There’s a stomp on the break as Uemura stays on Kidd with elbows, then brought Tsuji back in to keep it going. A slam drops Kidd for a two-count, but Kidd slips out of a suplex and resumes trading elbows… but he’s taking more than he gives before finally connecting with a dropkick.

In comes Taguchi, who wiped out Uemura with a hip attack… there’s some to Tsuji too, including a springboard hip attack for a near-fall. The Three Amigos follow, but Tsuji reverses the third one, before Uemura tagged back in to trade elbows. A dropkick traps Taguchi in the corner for a two-count, before a big splash off the ropes from Tsuji, then a Uemura elbow drop gets another near-fall.

Uemura looks for a Boston crab next, but Kidd breaks it up… only to get speared out of his boots by Tsuji. A Kanuki suplex looks to follow from Uemura, but Taguchi backs into the ropes to prevent it and eventually took down Uemura for the ankle lock. Uemura escapes that… then rolled out of Dodon for another near-fall, before an enziguiri and Dodon eventually put away the Young Lion. A decent opener, with Uemura inching closer towards that main roster win that we all know is never coming before excursion… ***

Bullet Club (EVIL, Jay White & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii
Jay White’s “comeback” continues here, after it was confirmed that he and the Guerrillas of Destiny will get a trios title shot in Hiroshima next week. I’ll prepare for Ishii charging out of the blocks as Kevin Kelly brought all the energy of someone looking to get away from a hawker as he turned down EVIL’s too sweet offer.

Yep, of course Ishii charges at Jay White, perhaps upset by the OnlyFans shirt, They scrap, but when White bails, he’s met outside by Okada and Yano, who throw him back in to take a lariat. Gedo distracts, and Ishii falls for it, allowing White to hit a Dragon screw in the ropes before standing him on his head with a DDT. That gets White a two-count, as the corner pad got surreptitiously removed from the Bullet Club corner.

White Dragon screws Ishii’s leg into the mat, before Yujiro tagged in and went after Ishii… who just rolled out side and went after White, who had some help from EVIL in choking out Ishii with the camera cable. Ishii’s rolled back inside as Yujiro gets a two-count, then tagged in EVIL.

Ishii’s taken into the corner as White looks to control things again, this time throwing Ishii chest-first into the corner for a two-count. White nails Ishii with a series of elbows, then ducked a lariat and hit a Saito suplex… only to get caught with a quick response. Tags bring in Okada and EVIL to switch things up, as Okada started with a back elbow off the ropes before rolling EVIL into a diving uppercut for a two-count.

Dick Togo distracts, as EVIL threw out Okada for some trips into the guard rails. Back inside, EVIL’s Fisherman buster is escaped, but Okada can’t hit a tombstone as Yujiro gets the tag back in. A front kick hits Okada by the ropes, but Yujiro just gets flapjacked before Toru Yano came in to undo more turnbuckle pads.

Yano blocks a whip into the corner, but runs into it at the second time of asking as Yujiro sweeps the leg and hits a low dropkick. A reverse DDT is next from Yujiro for a two-count, before Jay White came in to pull down Yano by the hair. That drew in Ishii as he countered a Blade Runner with a German suplex, starting the obligatory Parade of Moves before Togo tripped Yano in the ropes. He holds Yano for some punches before Yano broke free, slingshotted Yujiro him, then finished off Yujiro with a low blow and a roll-up. The White/Ishii stuff feels red hot (what a surprise, eh?), but the rest of this was pretty much business as usual. ***¼

Post-match, the bedlam continues as Hirooki Goto leaves the Japanese commentary table to attack White… who broke free and cleared house with chairshots. Poor Young Lions.

Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr., El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI) vs. Bullet Club (Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa), Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo & Jado)
Remember Monday? This time it’s not under elimination rules…

We’ve a jump start as Tama Tonga was baiting Taichi with his “Iron fingers”, in a convenient leather bag. Except when Taichi got control of the bag, all that was in there… was a toilet roll. Hey, that was really valuable stuff ten months ago! Tama tags out as he ran away from Taichi, as we go to Ishimori and Kanemaru, with the former’s springboard seated senton almost getting a win.

Kanemaru uses the referee as a human shield to distract as an enziguiri dropped Ishimori… then brought in Desperado for some double-teaming. Desperado and Ishimori trade elbows, but an eye poke from Despy stops Ishimori… while a Kendo stick from Jado cracked Desperado down ot the mat. Selective deafness from the referee, eh?

Tama’s in with the toilet paper roll, jabbing Desperado with it like it were the Iron fingers… and it’s sold. Rope choking is next as the TP fingers seemed to have a big effect, so ELP’s in with a back rake off the top, as we entered the back rake portion of the contest. Tama’s ground and pound drew in Taichi, whose distraction didn’t help things, as a side headlock on the mat from Jado keeps Desperado down.

Desperado elbows free, but he’s charged down by Jado, before sentons atomico from the Guerrillas and ELP’s hand-walk senton led to a two-count for Tanga Loa. A suplex from Tanga’s escaped as Desperado’s eye poke and punch freed him as ZSJ tagged in, clearing Jado off the apron before launching in with uppercuts. Tanga charges Sabre into the corner, but ends up taking an overhead kick to the arm before Sabre stomped on it.

Ishimori runs in, but gets caught in a neck twist, before Sabre’s PK to Tanga Loa was caught. Sabre countered out into an Octopus hold, while Taichi trapped Tama in a Plum Stretch that’s quickly broken up. Another exchange ends with Sabre getting speared, before tags took us to DOUKI and ELP… a Goomba Stomp and a DOUKI Chokey has ELP in trouble, but he escapes the Italian Stretch #32 with the help of Jado as a Parade of Moves starts…

DOUKI blocks a Sudden Death, then hit the backsliding Widow’s Peak for a near-fall. Daybreak looks to follow, but ELP catches him… then rolled through into CR2… but DOUKI cradles him for a near-fall. A throat thrust is next, but then DOUKI runs into Sudden Death, and there’s the win. A pretty fun tag match, ending with Jado just CANING DOUKI after the bell. There’s clearly money owed there. ***¼

Tomoaki Honma & SHO vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi)
Some nifty product placement from Hiromu here…

SHO spears Hiromu at the bell, with Honma fending off Naito as Hiromu gets stomped on early on. A double suplex drops the junior champion as a kick from SHO earned an early two-count, before transitioning into a cross armbar as Hiromu needed to scramble to the ropes for a break.

Honma tags in as Hiromu’s kept isolated, as chops take him into the ropes… my feed drops as we return to see SHO getting taken into the railings, as Naito and Hiromu then stomped away on Honma. Hiromu tags in Naito, who goes for a submission as LIJ then swapped quick tags in the corner so they could chop Honma. We’re back to SHO and Hiromu, but another cross armbar ends in the ropes as SHO continued to focus on the left arm and shoulder.

Hiromu’s headscissors get caught, but he’s able to trap SHO in the D, rolling SHO away from the ropes as we buffer. SHO manages to break free, as tags bring us to Honma and Naito. A DDT from Honma has him ahead, as does a bulldog out of the corner, but he misses a Kokeshi. Honma recovers and searches for a superplex, landing it too as Honma took some damage to give some.

Honma’s back to his feet, but gets elbowed away… he lands a clothesline for a two-count, then went for Kokeshi Otoshi… but Hiromu runs in to break it up before Naito fought back with a leaping forearm, then wound up Honma for a Destino for the win. My feed was buffering really badly throughout this, but what I was able to see this was another piece of the slow-burn that keeps us going… and also left Hiromu beside himself as his second Best of the Super Junior trophy got broken. He has no luck with those. ***

Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & BUSHI) vs. Kota Ibushi & Master Wato
Wato and BUSHI start us off, with Wato looking to pull ahead with a leaping back kick to take BUSHI outside for a tornillo… Wato cracks his foot on the railing on the landing, but was able to continue.

More kicks have BUSHI dazed in the ring, as Ibushi comes in to wear down BUSHI with some elbows. Wato’s quickly back in with more kicks as Ibushi stared down SANADA on the floor… where we quickly headed as the LIJ lads took their opponents into the guard rails. BUSHI works on Wato’s legs, clearly fed up of getting kicked, before tagging in SANADA, who continued the leg work.

SANADA trips Wato out of the corner and pulls him into a Paradise Lock, breaking it up before BUSHI helped with a leg splitter. BUSHI again works the leg with almost a calf slicer, forcing Wato to the ropes. Wato still tries to kick back, but he’s elbowed by BUSHI before a leaping head kick bought him some breathing space.

SANADA tags back in and stops Wato from tagging out, but Wato lands a tiltawhirl backbreaker before tagging in Ibushi, who springboards in with a missile dropkick. SANADA rolls outside and takes a plancha, as Ibushi took control. Switching waistlocks lead to SANADA’s double leapfrog and dropkick before landing his own plancha.

Back inside, Ibushi floats over SANADA and hits a ‘rana, taking him into the corner before SANADA tried to moonsault back in. A SANADA ‘rana continues the mirror image gimmick, before they go for and escape their big moves, leading to SANADA rolling Ibushi into Skull End. Ibushi escapes and nails a head kick, leaving SANADA prone for a Kamigoye, but it comes to nougth as Ibushi then had to escape a Magic Screw.

A bicycle knee from Ibushi comes to nought as SANADA nails the back suplex. BUSHI’s back in with a missile dropkick to the double champion, but the Fisherman’s screw came to nought as Ibushi returned fire with a knee strike. Wato’s back with yet more kicks to BUSHI, leading to another near-fall.

Wato gets lifted onto the apron, but returns with a gamengiri as a springboard back in came up short. BUSHI retaliates with an enziguiri before draping Wato over the top rope for a dropkick… Wato escapes and hits his springboard uppercut in return, following up with a leaping neckbreaker a la Dolph Ziggler for a two-count. BUSHI manages to snuff out Wato with a dropkick in the ropes, then hit a Fisherman screw neckbreaker for a near-fall, before he teased Terrible… but Wato hits Recientemente first as both men were left laying.

SANADA tags back in as Wato’s still on the deck… he gets some help from Ibushi as a pair of head kicks almost gets the upset. A powerbomb’s fought out of as SANADA shoves Wato into a Codebreaker that starts a Parade of Moves. Ibushi fights into, and out of a Skull End before he’s sent outside for a BUSHI tope suicida, while Wato keeps trying to nick the win with roll-ups. In the end. SANADA backflips towards Wato and grabs a swinging Skull End to force the eventual submission. Another solid main event, as Ibushi and SANADA continue to trade wins ahead of Hiroshima. ***½

…and that’s it for New Japan’s Road to this week. They’re back on Monday, again at Korakuen Hall, before Wednesday and Thursday’s New Beginning in Hiroshima. After Monday’s nadir, New Japan’s back to the usual formula for these Road to shows. Sure, there’s a lot to be said for running Korakuen so often, and these shows are all but essential viewing for the most part, but with the current state of play in Japan it seems that New Japan have firmly ensconced themselves in Tokyo for the most part.