It’s the second night of the Road to the New Beginning, as Master Wato gets another crack in the main event, this time teaming with Hiroshi Tanahashi.
Great-O-Khan & Will Ospreay pinned Yuya Uemura & Satoshi Kojima in 9:18 (***)
El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, DOUKI & Minoru Suzuki submitted Gedo, Jado, Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo in 9:50 (**¾)
Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI submitted Dick Togo, EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi in 13:07 (**¾)
SANADA, Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi submitted Tomoaki Honma, SHO & Kota Ibushi in 12:27 (***¼)
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Master Wato pinned BUSHI & Shingo Takagi in 14:06 (***½)
Once again, Kevin Kelly is on commentary, flying solo at Korakuen Hall – and it’s another rush job as the pre-show video started early so we could hit the ground running at bell time.
United Empire (Will Ospreay & Great-O-Khan) vs. Satoshi Kojima & Yuya Uemura
We’ve a jump start here as Ospreay went for Kojima before the bell, while O-Khan isolated Uemura early on.
Uemura fought back with a series of shoulder tackles, and absorbed a Mongolian chop before knocking down O-Khan. Ospreay’s in, but runs into an armdrag as Kojima clears up the mess, following up with a double shoulder tackle to O-Khan. That helps Uemura get a two-count, but he goes to the Kanuki suplex way too soon, and O-Khan easily blocks it by throwing Uemura to the mat for a head and arm choke.
That’s eventually broken up via the ropes, but O-Khan stays on Uemura with a gutwrench facebuster for a two-count. Kojima ran in to break it up, but got thrown outside as Ospreay then tagged in to hit a backbreaker for a two-count. Elbows knock Uemura into the corner, with O-Khan tagging back in to keep Uemura cornered, ahead of a modified Dragon sleeper that had Uemura bent back on himself.
O-Khan gets caught with a dropkick moments later, and made the tag to Kojima who went wild with Machine Gun chops. The elbow off the top’s stopped when O-Khan press slammed Kojima to the floor as the Empire followed up with some double-teaming… which Kojima countered out of with a pair of DDTs. A Cozy lariat’s ducked by Ospreay, who tries a Storm Breaker, but instead he eats a Koji Cutter.
Uemura’s on the apron wanting back in, and gets the tag… he drops Ospreay with a forearm before a Kanuki suplex awas blocked… with Ospreay going all Mike Tyson on him. A backdrop suplex gets him ahead as O-Khan returned to get a near-fall from a facebuster. Kojima broke that up and was taken out by Ospreay again, before Uemura countered a suplex into an inside cradle for a near-fall.
More flash pins provide worry, but O-Khan’s big boot dumps Uemura before the Eliminator ragdolled Uemura for the three-count. A step lower than yesterday’s opener, but still a solid tag match as the Empire outclassed their opponents here. ***
Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo, Gedo & Jado) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI)
We’re into re-runs as the build for Saturday’s junior tag title match continues.
Today, the Suzuki-gun lads are in no mood for messing around, as they jump the Bullet Club with Kanemaru looking to remove ELP’s boot early. Ishimori makes the save as things spilled outside, well, except for Gedo, who was having his leg torn apart by Suzuki in the opening minute.
DOUKI helps throw Gedo into the corner ahead of a Suzuki PK… but Jado cracks DOUKI in the back with a Kendo stick as he was prepping for a leaping stomp. We’re into the guard rails now as bedlam ensued once more, where ELP raked Suzuki’s eyes. That may be a bad idea.
Back inside, Jado rakes DOUKI’s eye against the rope before a chinlock’s broken up… but DOUKI’s just charged back to the mat. Phantasmo comes in next as we start the back rakes, once ELP had wound up Suzuki enough to want him to come in with a chair, distracting the referee in the process. However… DOUKI’s mesh shirt makes him immune to back rakes… but not nipple twisters.
Ishimori’s in with a neck twist as Desperado’s attempt to break it up was cut off. DOUKI tries to chop back against Jado, but gets stopped with an elbow drop before he scrambled out of a suplex and hit a throat thrust. A DDT’s next, as DOUKI finally got himself enough time to make the tag out to Desperado. Ishimori’s back too as those two went at it, but it’s Ishimori’s elbows that earned him a spear from Despy.
Desperado gets hung up in the ropes as ELP came in for some double-teaming… but he face-plants as Kanemaru hits a low dropkick as the tables turned. They turned back with a leaping knee from Ishimori before Desperado got caught with an ELP superkick… retaliating with a poke to the eye.
Gedo’s back to hit some stomps to the weakened gut of Desperado, before ELP distracted the referee with the bell hammer. Gedo tries to get involved with brass knuckles, but gets choked out by Suzuki as a Parade of Moves broke out, leading to Gedo taking a spinebuster for a near-fall, before Numero Dos forced the verbal submission. Like yesterday this was initially missing some zip at the start, but just about got going as the reigning champions got a win back. **¾
Bullet Club (EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi & Dick Togo) vs. Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii
EVIL seems to be a little more willing to engage with Okada today… but it’s all a ruse as Dick Togo attacked from behind as we opened with some double-teaming.
Stomps keep Okada down as my feed wavered a little. It settles down as YOSHI-HASHI came in to chop away on Yujiro ahead of a neckbreaker for a two-count. Togo kicks YOSHI-HASHI in the ropes, but gets knocked off as Yujiro ends up hanging himn up in the ropes as the Bullet Club took over.
Things spill outside as EVIL threw Okada into the railings, before breaking a chair on his back. Yujiro chokes out YOSHI-HASHI with his pimp cane, almost leading to him getting counted out – despite EVIL throwing YOSHI-HASHI into the railings – but YOSHI beats the count.
Dick Togo tags in, or “Tick Tock” as Okada called him after yesterday’s show, snapmaring and dropping a fist on YOSHI-HASHI for a two-count. EVIL’s back in to throw YOSHI-HASHI into a conveniently-exposed corner… then again, just because. Yujiro’s back to boot YOSHI-HASHI in the ropes, but a second boot’s caught before YOSHI-HASHI chopped away on Yujiro.
An eye rake stops YOSHI-HASHI, who eventually suplexed his way free and tagged out to Ishii. Ishii goes after Yujiro, teasing a German suplex before instead rebounding out of the corner for a shoulder tackle. A leg sweep from Yujiro takes Ishii down for a low dropkick, before things broke down into a strike exchange, ending with Ishii getting bitten before he swatted away Yujiro.
A suplex gets countered into a reverse DDT by Yujiro, who tags in EVIL. Ishii meets the exposed corner, but charges back out with a shoulder tackle as he then tagged in Okada to get him some. Okada’s flapjack drops EVIL before Okada maneuvered EVIL briefly into the Money Clip. EVIL breaks it in the corner, then rolled Okada almost into the Edgucator, but that too is broken via the ropes.
Togo trips Okada in the ropes as the Bullet Club pulled ahead once more, triple-teaming Okada in the corner before a Fisherman buster from EVIL got Togo a two-count. A teased Spoiler choker’s broken up by Ishii as the ring began to fill, leading to a Western lariat from YOSHI-HASHI before Togo raked Okada’s eyes. Okada’s dropkick stops that, before he wrapped up Togo in a Money Clip for the quick submission. They’re continuing to tease EVIL vs. Okada for the New Japan Cup later in the year, but this was another go around of what felt like a match for the sake of it, at least as far as building up for this tour’s big shows goes. **¾
Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Kota Ibushi, SHO & Tomoaki Honma
Hiromu’s clearly had his coffee today…
Which is just as well, as he started out trading elbows with SHO, taking each other into the corners before SHO scored with a shoulder tackle. Hiromu popped back up, but was taken into the corner as Honma tagged in to put the boots to him. Chops keep Hiromu in the ropes, as Honma looked to clear the apron as Hiromu was charged down ahead of dualling Kokeshi.
SHO returned and began to work over Hiromu’s arm, wrenching it over the shoulder before Naito can in to help out, leading to SHO getting clotheslined to the outside by Hiromu. Things continue to spill outside as SHO’s flung into the railings, before Naito and Hiromu double-teamed SHO back inside for a two-count.
SANADA’s in to keep things going, while Naito returned with a Combinacion Cabron set-up… before he stopped to swipe Honma off the apron before finishing that combination for a two-count. An enziguiri from Naito clocks SHO but a leaping forearm misses… with SHO then blocking a swinging DDT and hits a suplex in return.
Hiromu runs in to stop SHO from tagging out, but SHO nails a spear to stop Naito and Hiromu as he finally dragged himself across to tag in Ibushi. SANADA’s in too, but runs into a diving mid kick before a standing moonsault got Ibushi a two-count. More kicks from Ibushi get ducked as SANADA took him down for a low dropkick, which led to a tease of a Paradise Lock… but Ibushi pushed him away, then tried one of his own.
Ibushi couldn’t tie it in though, but did manage to dropkick SANADA before Honma tagged back in. Naito comes in to help out as Honma was whaling away on SNAADA, but Honma recovers with a DDT/Flatliner combo that spiked Naito on his head… then landed a Kokeshi on SANADA. That’s a worryingly-high hit-rate tonight for Honma. Honma looks for Kokeshi Otoshi next, but SANADA blocks the move and raked the eyes. A dropkick from SANADA misses, so Honma dives in for his third Kokeshi of the day for barely a one-count as the ring began to fill. Hiromu dispatches of SHO with a pop-up powerbomb, before Honma ate a trio of low dropkicks for a two-count.
SANADA looks for a Skull End, but Honma cradles him for a two-count, before he was spiked with a Magic Screw for a near-fall. From there, SANADA goes back to the Skull End, and there’s your submission as we go three-for-four on tap outs for the evening. Much better than yesterday’s equivalent, with Honma not being quite so worrying to watch. ***¼
Naito continues to yank Hiromu’s chain as he hid his Best of the Super Junior trophy under the ring… Hiromu replied by throwing Naito’s cap towards the ring.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Master Wato vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi & BUSHI)
BUSHI and Wato start us off, swinging for kicks before BUSHI settled down… and got a stomping from Wato. Was that on the way to the Grand Master?
Elbows from Wato have BUSHI in the ropes, before Shingo helped out, tripping Wato before heading over to take Tanahashi off the apron. Wato’s thrown to the outside and gets hurled into the guard rails, before Shingo came into play, knocking Wato back down inside the ring. A suplex gets him a two-count on Wato, but Shingo sets up for a sliding lariat on Wato… then went after Tanahashi, knocking him off the apron before taking him into the railings.
BUSHI’d taken care of Wato in the interim, then tagged in as he traded blows with him, before Shingo kicked Wato in the ropes to snuff out a threatened comeback. Wato escapes with some tijeras to BUSHI before kicks caught Shingo unawares… leading to a flying mid kick as Wato finally got himself some breathing room. Tanahashi tags in and dropped Shingo with a Dragon screw that set up a Cloverleaf… but BUSHI tries to break it up and got Dragon screwed too. Elbow drops and back sentons miss as Shingo returned with a back suplex out of the corner, before BUSHI tagged in to land a missile dropkick off the top rope.
A back elbow and a crossbody of the corner has Tanahashi ahead, as he then tagged out to Wato. BUSHI rakes the eyes, but runs into a tiltawhirl backbreaker before some kicks laid him out. An attempt at Recientemente’s blocked, but BUSHI couldn’t avoid a spinning roundhouse kick… nor the second attempt at Recientemente as Wato almost got the win.
More back-and-forth has BUSHI ahead, with a rewind kick catching out Wato ahead of a back cracker. Tags bring us back to Shingo and Tanahashi, with Tanahashi pushing ahead with elbows before he got clobbered with a clothesline in the corner. Shingo blocks Tiwist and Shout, then nailed one of his own after teasing a noshigami. Tanahashi nails his own Twist and Shout neckbreaker, then blocked part of the Shingo combination as things descend back into back-and-forth elbows.
Shingo batters Tanahashi before a spinning clothesline stunned the Ace… who then came back with a Slingblade. A Pumping Bomber quickly drops Tanahashi after that, before BUSHI came in and went after Tanahashi’s knees. They head into the corner as Tanahashi’s double-teamed with a spinebuster/back cracker combo for a two-count, before a Dragon screw caught out BUSHI.
From there, Tanahashi rolls BUSHI into a Cloverleaf, but Shingo breaks it up with a Pumping Bomber to the back. Headbutts stagger Tanahashi, but Wato makes the save with a springboard uppercut before hitting a neat tornillo to Shingo on the outside. From there, Tanahashi nails another Slingblade to drop BUSHI, before heading up top for a High Fly Flow… and with Master Wato restraining Shingo, that was enough to get the win. Definitely the best thing on this show, as Tanahashi (and Wato) were left standing tall to close out the card. ***½
We’re back tomorrow for a third show in a row at Korakuen Hall – as SHO, Master Wato and Hiroshi Tanahashi team up for trios action in the main event against Shingo Takagi, BUSHI and Hiromu Takahashi.
With a similar card to yesterday, it’s no surprise today’s show felt much like Sunday’s effort – although the noticeably lower crowd points to wider issues around New Japan hitting Korakuen too often (and of course, ongoing concerns around covid). Usually as we get closer to the big shows, things pick up – and with the New Beginning tour line-ups changing somewhat after the Nagoya show on the 30th, those who are really down on these line-ups will at least have something to look to.