New Japan returned to Korakuen Hall for another stop on the Summer Struggle tour, as Suzuki-gun took part in an elimination main event.
Kosei Fujita and Ryohei Oiwa went to a 10:00 time limit draw (**½)
Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo pinned DOUKI & Minoru Suzuki in 10:27 (***)
Toru Yano & Togi Makabe defeated Chase Owens & Jado via disqualification in 7:43 (**)
Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan pinned Tomoaki Honma & Kazuchika Okada in 14:28 (***¼)
Hirooki Goto was the last man standing in an elimination match in 29:41 (***½)
We’re back at Korakuen Hall once more, but don’t expect too many changes.
Kosei Fujita vs. Ryohei Oiwa
Both of these lads will be facing each other this week with ten-minute time limits, so expect more of what we had yesterday…
The match opens with a scramble for a headlock, before a scurry for waistlocks led to a stand-off. A headlock takedown is countered out of, and back to a stand-off… then another headlock takedown. We switch to a cravat for the takedown, but it’s quickly countered by Oiwa, as the pair remain on the ground.
A wacky scissored armbar attempt ends in the ropes as Oiwa was suddenly on the defensive, with Fujita going for the arm. A Fujiwara armbar, then a hammerlock ends in the ropes as Fujita pushed on, throwing some stomps before the pair traded elbows.
A heel hook takes us into the closing stages as Oiwa again needs the ropes – but Fujita stays on him with stomps to the knee. It’s back to the heel hook as he rolled Oiwa into a half crab, which also ends in the ropes as Fujita keeps the aggression going… only for Oiwa to trip him for some mounted elbow strikes. Those strikes almost had the ref consider a stoppage, but Oiwa goes for a cover, getting a two-count instead, before a Boston crab forces Fujita to hang on to ride out the time limit draw. These matches are going to be basic, but making the most out of very little is what these guys should be doing – Young Lions, Contenders, what have you, should be about maximising what you know, rather than trying to run before you can walk. A very promising start to wrestling life for both Oiwa and Fujita. **½
Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & DOUKI)
Considering how close DOUKI came to a win over Hirooki Goto in last night’s main event, this might be a little more even than you’d think…
Phantasmo and Suzuki start us off, with Phantasmo having his arm targeted early on. Suzuki baits ELP into a chop battle, which sent the Canadian wilting into the ropes, before Suzuki measured him up for a CLONKER of an elbow. Sometimes bravado isn’t the best plan of action.
In response, Phantasmo twists Suzuki’s nipples, then got headbutted. Brave, but he’ll learn one day. DOUKI tags in to put the boots to ELP, following up with a tijeras and a dropkick too, before Ishimori and ELP were lifted to the outside for a moonsault from DOUKI. The Bullet Club pair continue on the outside, with ELP taking shots on Suzuki on the floor, before DOUKI found himself getting choked on back in the ring.
DOUKI works his way out of the corner to hit Ishimori with an enziguiri, before Suzuki tagged back in to trade shots. Suzuki gets a solid two-count there, before he trapped ELP and Ishimori in a half crab and armbar at the same time. The Bullet Club pair take over on DOUKI with an elevated Codebreaker/springboard moonsault combo for a two-count, as Suzuki breaks things up.
Ishimori’s caught in a rear naked choke before ELP back rakes Suzuki to stop a Gotch piledriver. Those two brawl to the outside while DOUKI found his way in with a Daybreak springboard DDT for a near-fall on Ishimori. From there, DOUKI goes for Suplex de la Luna, then countered a counter into a roll-up for a two-count, before a torture rack sidewalk slam drew a two-count… which ELP broke up with Sudden Death as Ishimori proceeds to get the academic win. Decent for what time they had, as ELP seems to be freely using that Sudden Death once again. ***
Toru Yano & Togi Makabe vs. Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Jado)
It seems like Chase Owens is a little sour his strap match was voted down… so he’s trying to use it anyway. I mean, he can use it in the I Quit match, so I don’t get his point?
We’ve a jump start as Owens takes Yano outside at the bell, then sprayed Yano with his disinfecting spray. Meanwhile, Jado’s raking Makabe’s eyes as Yano’s run into the rails. When things settle down in the ring, Makabe’s running into Jado and Owens with clotheslines in the corners, leading to the mounted punches. Jado takes over as he raked Makabe’s eyes in the ropes, while keeping Makabe cornered as the Bullet Club pair controlled the pace.
Owens snaps back on Makabe’s knee, then distracted the ref as Jado dropped Makabe in the ropes for a two-count, before a clothesline got Owens a two-count. Makabe gets fired up as Owens slapped away, eventually swatting Jado off the apron before a swivelling lariat took Chase down.
Yano gets the tag in and instantly removes a corner pad. Chase gets thrown into the exposed corner before Yano choked him with what looked like some boot laces. A slingshot into the same exposed corner followed for Owens, before the ref stops Yano from a low blow. So instead, Yano pulls out some tape and tries to tie-up Owens as revenge for yesterday… only for the ref to stop that as Chase then punted Yano low. The ref’s chucked to the outside, and there’s your DQ as Owens proceeds to drop Yano with a package piledriver on his own chair afterwards. This was better than yesterday, but I think we may need a search party to find many people buzzing for the title match next month… **
As everyone found out once again that ringing the bell doesn’t stop the baddies from doing evil things, Makabe’s taken care of while Yano’s tied up in the ropes so Chase could whip him with the strap. The three poor Young Lions trying to make the save got the strap and a Kendo stick as Chase tried to get Yano to quit via whipping…
United Empire (Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan) vs. Kazuchika Okada & Tomoaki Honma
We’re still building to Cobb/Okada next month in a rematch from New Japan’s last Dome show…
Okada charges at Cobb early, but it’s sidestepped as the Empire controlled proceedings early on. Tags get us to Honma and O-Khan, whose grappling ends in the ropes before Honma came back with a slam, only for O-Khan to take him into the corner with chops. O-Khan takes a seat too, then stood on Honma’s ankle so Cobb could continue things with stomps to the leg.
Standing backbreakers from Cobb and a toss leave Honma down, while Mongolian chops from O-Khan keep Honma cornered. The standing head and arm choke leads Honma into a slam… but he escaped and found a way back in with a DDT as Okada gets the hot tag in. Back elbows off the ropes have O-Khan down, while Okada knocks Cobb off the apron. O-Khan tries to find a way back with a gutwrench suplex, before a Judo-style takedown had Okada on the deck.
Cobb tags in to capitalise, charging Okada into the corners ahead of a running suplex. Okada returns with a Money Clip, before a dropkick had Cobb down ahead of a tag out. Honma’s in with chops to Cobb, but O-Khan interferes with Mongolian chops to wear down Honma, who replies with a Flatliner/DDT combo.
From there, Honma manages to Kokeshi both men without missing, then follow up with a STF… but it’s broken up as O-Khan and Cobb have their fun with gutwrench suplexes, forcing Okada in to break up the pins. An Oklahoma Stampede’s next from Cobb, getting a near-fall, before a leaping Kokeshi gave Honma hope. Which he then spurned by going up top for a swandive Kokeshi… he’s stopped by O-Khan, while Okada’s effort at a save saw him eat a Cobb dropkick.
Honma’s still up top, but leaps into a Spin Cycle, before a Tour of the Islands got the win. A dominant win for the Empire, as Cobb is slowly racking up those wins over Okada & co again. ***¼
Elimination: Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr., El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
We all know the drill here – there’s no Survivor Series-style early eliminations to a roll-up or suchlike (sorry Mike Knox)…
There’s a jump start, because of course there is, as things start on the floor. When we get to the ring, YOSHI-HASHI, Robbie Eagles and Hirooki Goto do the war drum clubbering, bringing Tiger Mask into the mix too, before YOSHI-HASHI threw forearms in the corner. Kicks keep Taichi on the back foot, but we’re again back outside and in the railings as Suzuki-gun take over.
Taichi gets a two-count on YOSHI-HASHI in the ropes, while Sabre came in to tie up YOSHI-HASHI in a grapevine’d bow-and-arrow hold… which then rolled into a modified STF. The focus stays on YOSHI-HASHI, who’s taken outside and into the rails, before Kanemaru picked up a two-count back inside. Everyone rakes YOSHI-HASHI’s eyes in the corner too, as the opening nine minutes were beginning to feel like an eternity to YOSHI-HASHI.
Eventually YOSHI-HASHI began to fight back with chops, but gets caught in the corner with a clothesline and is rolled out for a two-count, before he’s forced to defend the Holy Emperor Cross Mausoleum. He does so successfully, then ran in with a Head Hunter neckbreaker before tagging out to Goto, who picked up on Taichi with a spinning heel kick and a bulldog for a two-count.
Everyone’s in to throttle Taichi, whose attempted backdrop driver is blocked before an enziguiri took down Goto. Tags get us to Kanemaru and Eagles, with the latter’s swinging armdrag off the ropes and tijeras having Kanemaru down. Desperado kicks Eagles in the ropes, allowing Kanemaru to come in with a low dropkick as the Suzuki-gun team took over again, this time with Desperado stomping away on Eagles ahead of a Numero Dos. A dropkick from Eagles helps get him back in it as he tagged in Tiger Mask at the 15-minute mark, with Tiger Mask’s crossbody off the top and a tiltawhirl backbreaker almost leading to our first elimination.
Desperado goes back to Numero Dos, but the ropes save Tiger Mask before a running dropkick from Kanemaru, then a Pinche Loco led to a near-fall. Desperado’s low bridged onto the apron by Tiger Mask, before he looked to have been swept off the apron… but Kanemaru distracted the ref, allowing Desperado to return, low blow Tiger Mask, then chuck him out at 17:20.
Eagles takes over on Desperado’s legs, before he lifted Desperado to the outside, blocking a Pinche Loco in the process, but couldn’t take him to the floor. Instead, Eagles and Desperado lift each other onto the apron, then trade strikes as a Turbo Backpack from Eagles was blocked. He ends up getting back inside, then hit an enziguiri to knock Desperado to the floor at 19:07.
Kanemaru’s right on Eagles, but gets cornered for running double knees that lead to a two-count. Eagles rolls through a 450 splash, but then got lifted onto the apron as Kanemaru looked to get an elimination, before Eagles was lifted over the top rope again. Desperado grabs hold of Eagles’ ankle before Kanemaru just pushed away a springboard at 20:51 for the next elimination.
YOSHI-HASHI takes over and chops Kanemaru off the apron at 21:12, leaving us with the two pairs in the tag title hunt next month. The four of them trade strikes, before things settled to YOSHI-HASHI and Taichi trading clotheslines, leading to an Axe Bomber from Taichi, which drew Goto in to spark a Parade of Moves that left all four men laying.
Taichi tries to lift YOSHI-HASHI over the top rope and to the floor, but YOSHI-HASHI ducks a gamengiri on the apron, then lifted Taichi over with him. Throttling from Taichi leads to a chokeslam attempt, but YOSHI-HASHI clings to the ropes before he caught Taichi in the ropes with a Butterfly lock, eventually throwing him to the floor at 25:27. Literally seconds later, Sabre boots YOSHI-HASHI off at 25:27, which leaves us with Sabre and Goto.
Sabre and Goto trade uppercuts, before Sabre threw Goto over the top rope… only to get caught in a sleeperhold in the ropes. Zack tries to kick Goto’s knees out to get an elimination, but opted to hang the arm up in the rope instead. Goto tries to come back with a top rope elbow drop, but it’s caught and turned into a cross armbar that instantly ends in the ropes.
Zack puts the boots to Goto, but one of those kicks gets caught as Goto tries to come back with a GTR, only to get caught with a Euro clutch for a near-fall. A spinning clothesline has Sabre down as the pace increases, before Goto lifte Sabre over the top and onto the apron. Sabre goes for the arm, tying it up in the ropes, but Goto frees himself and threw some elbows before a clothesline finally took Sabre down to the floor for the win. ***½
After the match, Sabre and Taichi ran back out to lay out Goto and YOSHI-HASHI anyway, with Sabre then branding himself the “Pontins Rumble Champion.” If you know, you know… we’re back in Korakuen Hall tomorrow as the United Empire take on Kazuchika Okada and Satoshi Kojima in the main event.
This was better than yesterday’s show, but the signs of strain are clearly there as you can only do so much with a lean roster – and unfortunately, with this roster, not too much to hype up those two Dome shows, as the big selling point left this week is Hiromu Takahashi’s return back on Friday against DOUKI…