It’s the last night of Suzuki-gun, as all eight members of the unit take on each other in the main event of New Japan’s final show of the year.
Yujiro Takahashi & SHO pinned Yuto Nakashima & Jado in 6:02 (**½)
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano submitted Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita in 9:11 (***¼)
Francesco Akira, Great O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare pinned Tiger Mask, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma & Ren Narita in 8:21 (***)
Shingo Takagi & Hiromu Takahashi pinned Dick Togo & EVIL in 8:49 (**¾)
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI pinned Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima in 10:11 (***)
Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI pinned Ryusuke Taguchi, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Shota Umino in 10:56 (***¼)
YOH, Kazuchika Okada & Master Wato pinned Gedo, El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori in 12:15 (***¼)
Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI pinned Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, El Desperado & TAKA Michinoku in 19:11 (***½)
We’re back at Korakuen Hall for the last night of Suzuki-gun… but with the same sponsor as last night, we’ve got Masked Horse coming out for some shenanigans. I wonder what stable he’d be a part of…
Like last night, there’s no live English commentary – that’ll be coming over the holidays, I’d expect.
Yuto Nakashima & Jado vs. House of Torture (Yujiro Takahashi & SHO)
Jado subbed here for Oskar Leube, who wasn’t cleared to compete due to fever.
SHO started off with a cheapshot on Jado, before Jado’s trickery earned SHO a pair of slaps. Straight out of the holiday camp style, were those. Nakashima’s in to hit a shoulder tackle, before he choked on SHO in the corner with his boot. Getting onto the apron, SHO dropped Nakashima’s arm across the top rope, then took things outside as the guard rails came into play.
Yujiro tags in and works over Nakashima’s arm and shoulder, before Nakashima got kicked in the ropes as he threatened a fightback. Jado gives Yujiro a similar shot though, as Nakashima pulled ahead with shoulder tackles for a two-count, then a Boston crab that ended with Yujiro making it to the ropes as SHO’d been trapped in the OGK crossface by Jado.
Nakashima couldn’t quite keep the pace going though, as he almost fell to a brainbuster from Yujiro, before the Pimp Juice got the win. **½
Ryohei Oiwa & Kosei Fujita vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano
Ishii’s back in action after his unexpected main event at Rev Pro last weekend…
There’s a jump start from the Young Lions, who hit a double dropkick to Ishii before taking Yano to the corner for elbows and slams. The referee separates things as Oiwa ends up taking an atomic drop from Yano, who then went for the corner pad… removing it so he could chuck Oiwa, then Fujita into the exposed corner.
Things spill outside as the young lions get a taste of the guard rails, which helped quell their fire as the CHAOS lads took over back inside. Chops from Ishii take Oiwa into the corner, as Ishii was hell-bent on roughing him up… even more so as Oiwa tried to fight back with strikes of his own.
Yano’s back, but quickly eats a dropkick as Fujita came in to try and turn things around. A Judo throw’s blocked by Yano, but another dropkick has Yano on the deck as he then grabbed the rope to avoid a Boston crab attempt. A bop on the head from Yano just angers Fujita, who’s then pulled down by the hair as Ishii returned to absorb a bunch of elbow strikes… and a suplex too.
Oiwa’s back in with strikes, then with a corner dropkick before Ishii began to trade elbows. A gutwrench suplex attempt gets elbowed away by Ishii, who threw chops, elbows and suplexes to take Oiwa down for a near-fall, with Fujita breaking up the pin in the nick of time. Yano trips Oiwa in the ropes, but Oiwa’s still able to go for near-falls with roll-ups and inside cradles, only for Ishii to have to withstand a Boston crab.
He powers out as we got see-saw pinning attempts, leading to Oiwa landing that gutwrench suplex for a near-fall, before a back suplex from Ishii turned it around. From there, Ishii goes for a Boston crab, sitting down on Oiwa to force the submission. THAT’S what I wanna see from my Young Lion matches – Ishii and Yano weren’t slipping, but they had a much sterner test than they surely expected here. ***¼
Ren Narita, Tiger Mask, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. United Empire (Great O-Khan, Jeff Cobb, Aaron Henare & Francesco Akira)
It’s a weird warm-up for Narita’s TV title tournament final, but with ZSJ busy elsewhere on the card, he’ll take what he can get. Even if that included Honma playing Peek-a-Boo with O-Khan’s title…
Honma hits an early Kokeshi on O-Khan, then Akira and Henare… before Narita kicked and stomped Cobb down so Cobb could complete the set. Merry Christmas indeed. Following up, O-Khan ducks a clothesline and began to choke Honma with his braid, while Akira came in to keep the choking going as he had Honma under his boot. Cobb’s in to chuck Honma with rolling gutwrench suplexes, forcing Tiger Mask in to kick apart the cover.
Some surfing on Honma’s back followed from Cobb, before Henare tagged in to punt Honma in the back. More strikes from Henare are eventually cut off as Honma caught him with a DDT, allowing Makabe to tag in and go right after Henare with some mounted punches in the corner. A clothesline’s next from Makabe for a near-fall, before all hell broke loose. Tiger Mask sails into Akira with a crossbody off the top, sparking a Parade of Moves, ending with an enziguiri from Akira to Honma.
Tiger Mask scores with a Tiger Driver moments later for a near-fall on Akira, but O-Khan breaks up a Tiger suplex as the Empire swarmed the ring… leading to Akira getting the win with the Fireball. ***
House of Torture (EVIL & Dick Togo) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi & Hiromu Takahashi)
I mean… sure?
My feed dropped early on, so I’m picking up with Hiromu making a comeback on EVIL and Togo, scoring with a low dropkick on the latter. Togo apparently wants to hold his eyes open, proving he’s worthy of a handshake from Hiromu… who of course fell for it as he was met with a cheapshot and a whip into a conveniently-exposed corner.
The camera misses EVIL killing the timekeeper by shoving Shingo into the rails nearby him, as Togo put the boots to Hiromu in the ring. A fist drop from Togo gets a one-count, as EVIL tagged in and put the boots to Hiromu some more. Hiromu’s chucked outside so Togo could jab him with a chair, before EVIL almost picked up the win back inside.
EVIL’s given a Dragon screw after Hiromu outsmarted him, before a tag brought in Shingo… who was quickly swarmed. He broke through with corner-to-corner clotheslines though, before EVIL blocked a Made in Japan… and unsighted the referee to allow Togo to catch Shingo with a chair. Meanwhile, Hiromu’s been used to wipe out the timekeeper again, as Shingo gets battered in the corner, leading to a Fisherman suplex from EVIL for a two-count.
EVIL’s got the ref as Togo’s garroting Shingo, but Shingo breaks free… and gets caught with the wire. The referee takes care of it as Togo pokes Shingo in the eye, only for Shingo to hit back with a double clothesline. Hiromu’s back on his feet, rolling into the ring to help as a Pumping Bomber from Shingo, then a sliding lariat proved to be enough to get the win. **¾
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI)
With Satoshi Kojima having spent much of 2022 in Pro Wrestling NOAH, holding the GHC tag and heavyweight titles, this is the first time that TenKoji have tagged since July… and before that, World Tag League 2021 (if you only count 2 vs. 2 matches).
We start with Goto and Kojima locking up into the ropes, before the pair traded wristlocks and side headlocks, only for Kojima to break free and take out Bishamon with shoulder tackles. Tenzan’s in to help with Mongolian chops to Goto, ahead of a slam and the old falling headbutt/slingshot elbow drop double-team.
A turnaround allows Goto back in, as Tenzan’s rolled down for a chinlock, before YOSHI-HASHI tagged in and chopped through Tenzan… at least until Tenzan struck back with a Mountain bomb. Kojima’s back to trade shoulder tackles with Goto, then elbow strikes, only for Goto to get caught with Machine gun chops in the corner.
YOSHI-HASHI tries to help, but got the same treatment, as Tenzan returned to add more Mongolian chops and a brainbuster to boot. It’s good for a two-count, as Goto then had to block a TenKoji Cutter… that sparks another eventual turnaround, but Tenzan’s knee seemed to give out on a side Russian legsweep/Headhunter combo. It eventually lands for a near-fall, before Shoto put Tenzan down for the count. ***
The remaining three matches were delayed briefly so they could be broadcast for free on BS Asahi in Japan… so an impromptu intermission followed, unlike yesterday’s card.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Shota Umino & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI)
Shota’s out in a santa hat as we’re looking to get a singles match with him and Tetsuya Naito in the new year… it’s a little telling that he’s the first wrestler out on the TV special.
We start with the LIJ jump start, settling down with BUSHI trying to force Taguchi’s gonads inside of him with a boot. A hip attack helps Taguchi clear the decks, until SANADA stopped it by kicking him in the arse… only to get the hip attack anyway. Tanahashi’s in to work over BUSHI, landing a crossbody out of the corner ahead of the flip senton off the middle rope.
LIJ swam the ring as Naito hits a low dropkick to Tanahashi’s knee, and that’s where the focus stays for a while. SANADA keeps it going, but he and Tanahashi catch each other’s kicks before a tag brings in Shota to clear house. There’s an armdrag and a low dropkick from Shota to Naito, while BUSHI just got planted ahead of a diving uppercut as he tried to cut off the returning Umino.
SANADA’s still legal though, as he took a dropkick to the side of the head, then a Fisherman suplex for a two-count. Shota’s hung up in the ropes courtesy of SANADA, but was able to push out of a Paradise Lock at the first try. Second time’s the charm for SANADA, whose dropkick frees Shota as we got to Naito and Shota trading blows.
Shota counters a leaping forearm from Naito into an Exploder before Taguichi came in to hit the Three Amigos… countering Naito’s counter to complete the set. That’s followed with Oh My & Garankle, but BUSHI breaks it up as the ring threatened to fill… before we settled abc to to Naito getting caught in Oh My & Garankle again.
Breaking free, Naito’s helped out with a low dropkick from SANADA as a Parade of Moves broke out, culminating in Naito hitting an assisted DDT to Taguchi… BUSHI wipes out Tanahashi with a tope, before Naito took home the win with a Destino. ***¼
Kazuchika Okada, Master Wato & YOH vs. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori & Gedo)
We’re working with split entrances here, as more folks than usual are getting that BS Asahi shine.
The early going saw the CHAOS-and-co lot focus on Ishimori, but the Bullet Club were able to turn things around as Ishimori took Master Wato into the guard rails. ELP goes for YOH’s nipples too, as the Bullet Club then began to work over YOH… courtesy of an egged-up back rake from ELP.
Gedo adds a back rake as well, as YOH’s then chucked into the Bullet Club’s boots in the corner. Ishimori joins in on the back rakes, as ELP then returned for a stalling suplex to drop YOH for a two-count. A grounded side headlock keeps YOH down, before Phantasmo went back to the nipples once YOH had fought free.
Breaking free, YOH’s able to tag in Okada, who wiped out ELP with a sliding back elbow, then with a DDT out of the corner for a two-count. Okada back body drops out of a CR2 attempt, but couldn’t avoid a back rake as ELP pulled him up for a UFO attempt… then had to make do with a superkick.
Ishimori’s in to tie up Okada in a Bone Lock, but Wato stomps it apart. Wato’s tagged in after that, but misses a springboard aimed at Ishimori, then had to fight away Gedo’s clutches before he finally scored with a springboard uppercut. A leaping neckbreaker from Wato gets a two-count, before a handspring enziguiri from Ishimori stemmed the tide.
Tags get us back to Gedo and YOH, with YOH on top as a leaping forearm took Gedo to the mat. YOH misses an elbow out of the corner and almost fell to a Gedo clutch, with Okada breaking up the cover as he then went to crack Gedo in the mouth with a forearm. YOH’s superkick has Gedo down, before the Direct Drive wins the match. ***¼
Post-match, Francesco Akira attacked YOH and smashed his junior tag league trophy to pieces… that’s what I get for making a coffee between matches!
Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, El Desperado & TAKA Michinoku)
One more time for the very last time… with everyone getting individual entrances. Even TAKA and his sweary theme!
The camera zooms in on Taichi’s bag, which looked to have the Iron Fingers From Hell with him… I guess in lieu of Iizuka? We got going with Suzuki offering himself up to Taichi for back-and-forth chops, then elbows, before Taichi began to throw kicks and boots at Suzuki. Both men are left laying, as tags brought us to Kanemaru and Desperado, with the former multiple-time junior tag champions not holding back as they went at pace.
Kanemaru avoids an armdrag and grounds Desperado with a side headlock, before DOUKI came in… only for Desperado to break free and throw Kanemaru into DOUKI. TAKA tags in next, putting the boots to the group’s newest member before he stuffed a tijeras attempt… with DOUKI then rolling TAKA into a DOUKI CHOKEY attempt.
TAKA avoids it and went for a Bully Choke, but DOUKI’s out and back into the Italian Stretch Number 32! TAKA sits on it for a near-fall, then scored with a running knee, then an enziguiri before DOUKI left him laying with a clothesline. Tags bring us to Sabre and Archer, whose attempt at a Test of Strength went nowhere as Zack opted to hit and run.
Uppercuts from Sabre earn him a shoulder tackle from Archer, before Sabre flipped out of a stretch and went for a Cobra Twist… which Archer easily threw aside. A chokeslam attempt from Archer’s countered into a triangle armbar from Sabre, but Archer breaks free before he nailed a crossbody to Sabre.
Suzuki’s back in as we cross the ten-minute mark, but his PK on Sabre’s blocked as Suzuki was forced to roll free from a leg lock attempt. Sabre takes offence at Suzuki calling him a “young boy” as the pair descended into strikes, including that CLONKING elbow from Suzuki, before Suzuki got caught in a Cobra twist for a brief moment. There’s a Cobra Twist from Suzuki moments later, with Sabre countering into an Octopus hold, then Suzuki into an ankle lock as they went hold-for-hold.
A Euro clutch from Sabre nearly won it, before the rest of the Suzuki-gun lads cleared the apron… right as Suzuki went for a rear naked choke and Gotch style piledriver. Sabre wriggles out as we have a Parade of Moves, featuring all of your favourite Suzuki-gun shenanigans including the Kanemaru whiskey mist, the Daybreak from DOUKI, and an eye poke from TAKA. We cross the 15-minute mark with Suzuki putting the boots to everyone, before he shrugged off a superkick from TAKA… and began to face off with the rest of his unit. A right hand from Desperado staggers Suzuki, while Archer’s Derailer took Suzuki into the corner…
Suzuki demands Taichi give him his best, which led to Taichi reaching for the funky oven glove. Suzuki throws aside the referee and ends up getting clocked with the Iron Fingers, as the rest of Suzuki-gun seemingly watched on in disbelief of what they’d become. Sabre picks up Suzuki, thanking him before he finished him off with a Zack Driver… and that is that. ***½
After the match, everyone gathered over the slain Suzuki, with Taichi hugging him before Suzuki was helped to his feet. Korakuen Hall clapped as best they could as the unit said their final words, with the unit – and the show – coming to a close in the snow of Korakuen Hall… with Takashi Iizuka’s music hitting? HE’S EMERGED! Iizuka’s roaming the stands and is terrorising everyone as he got to be a part of the final Suzuki-gun squad photo. He leaves with the Iron Fingers From Hell, and hopefully that really is that for the funky oven glove.
Given how the match ended, with Suzuki taking a beating en route to a loss (TAKA was right there, you know), I do wonder just how long there is left before time’s called on Suzuki’s career.
The farewell to Suzuki-gun was the highlight of these two Road to Tokyo Dome shows, as New Japan rounded out their year with a solid show with a few glimmers of hope for a brighter 2023 – even if they weren’t able to do too much of what you’d expect as far as building for WrestleKingdom.