The Summer Struggle resumes, as Korakuen Hall played host to the start of the 2021 Super Junior Tag League.
Toru Yano, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Togi Makabe pinned Jado, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi in 8:29 (**)
SANADA, Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI submitted Tomoaki Honma, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii in 14:40 (**¾)
Super Junior Tag League 2021: Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask submitted Gedo & Dick Togo in 11:55 (***¼)
Super Junior Tag League 2021: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado pinned Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato in 13:51 (***¼)
Super Junior Tag League 2021: Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo pinned YOH & SHO in 15:56 (***½)
We’re back at Korakuen Hall for the start of another run of shows. If you’re looking for English commentary, Kevin Kelly’ll be back for the on-demand uploads…
Toru Yano, Togi Makabe & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Jado)
You’ll notice a lot of big names missing from these shows…
We’ve a jump start, because of course we have, as Yano took Owens outside in a headlock to try and make him say I quit. Either that or it was a really poor ventriloquism attempt. Tenzan’s in with Mongolian chops to Jado, before Tenzan’s pulled outside… Owens tries the “I quit” thing again, but to no avail as my feed dropped horribly. I don’t think I missed too much of note. We’re back with Owens clubbing away on Tenzan, before Yujiro came in to hit a diving kick for a two-count, only to run into a Mountain Bomb as Makabe got the tag in. A clothesline drops Yujiro for a two-count, before he countered a suplex and left Yujiro laying. Jado cracks Makabe in the ropes with a Kendo stick, as Yujiro finally hits his Fisherman suplex, but there’s no cover as tags get us to Yano and Owens.
You know the drill. Yano goes for the corner pads. Eventually gets it, but Owens hits a clothesline with the pad before we go to the distractions. Yujiro distracts with his Pimp Cane, but Makabe catches Jado’s Kendo stick shot before blasting through Owens and Yujiro with a double clothesline. In the end, a Mongolian chop and a roll-up gets Yano the win in a forgettable opener. **
Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii & Tomoaki Honma vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, BUSHI & Shingo Takagi)
We’ve a NEVER trios title defence in Yokohama this week, so our other non-tag league match is a warm-up for that…
Yep, there’s a jump start. BUSHI, knowing how he’s struggled against juniors in 2021, starts on Hirooki Goto, but made a tag out early to Naito, before YOSHI-HASHI made a save on some double-teaming, helping to take down Shingo before Goto, YOSHI-HASHI and Ishii clubbed on BUSHI’s back. An attempted Kokeshi on Naito’s thwarted by Shingo, as the wild start continued with YOSHI-HASHI eating a low dropkick before things went outside for the usual trips to the guard rails. When things settled down, everyone’s working over YOSHI-HASHI’s arm, as BUSHI pulled him down to the mat in a Fujiwara armbar while Naito was openly mocking YOSHI-HASHI on the floor.
SANADA tags in next as they continued the focus on the arm, but YOSHI-HASHI eventually stemmed the tide with a Bunker Buster on Naito. Goto tags in to clear house by charging down BUSHI, only to end up taking a DDT moments later. Goto blocks a Fisherman screw, but Naito runs in off-screen to turn things around, leading to a Codebreaker from BUSHI. Tags bring us to SANADA and Ishii, with SANADA landing a dropkick to end an exchange, only to get caught with a German suplex in return. Shingo slides in to get in Ishii’s face, as those two exchange elbows, leading to a backdrop suplex out of Ishii to end that spell. SANADA’s back with a springboard missile dropkick, but Honma runs in and takes down SANADA for a Kokeshi… albeit a leaping version.
Apparently Honma had snuck in a tag as he got a two-count from that, before going up top… but he’s caught by Naito as he gets thrown down, leading to SANADA almost snatching a win from a sliding lariat. The Skull End looks to follow, but instead we get a Parade of Moves, ending with a clothesline from Honma to SANADA for a two-count. In the end, SANADA’s right back with a Dragon sleeper, but let’s go and gets headbutted, before landing a TKO on Honma for another near-fall, with a Skull End finally following for the submission. **¾
Post-match, Goto, Naito, BUSHI and Ishii continue to scrap around ringside.
Super Junior Tag League 2021: Bullet Club (Gedo & Dick Togo) vs. Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask
The Super Junior Tag League is for a shot at the IWGP junior tag titles, which you’d think gives away that ELP and Ishimori aren’t winning?
We’ve the generic Bullet Club music for Gedo and Togo, and yep, we’re 3-for-3 on jump starts. Gedo and Togo throw Eagles outside so they can focus on Tiger Mask, but Dick just runs into a tiltawhirl backbreaker, then a double-team hiptoss as the Bullet Club stuttered. Gedo and Togo head into the crowd to stall, but they were then faced with the conundrum of a count-out as Tiger Mask waited in the ring. Begging off doesn’t stop the count as Gedo eventually leaned into the ring to break the count. Tiger Mask tries to chase after him, but Togo kicks the ropes into Tiger Mask’s groin, then distracted the ref as Gedo whipped Tiger Mask with a belt. Returning to the ring, Tiger Mask gets cornered before Togo hit a fist drop for a solid two-count.
Some choking from Gedo leads to a two-count on Tiger Mask. Elbows from Togo wear down Tiger Mask, until rear spin kicks took Dick down, as Robbie Eagles then got the tag in to blast through Togo with more kicks. Double knees keep Dick in the corner, before Gedo accidentally charge into Dick… then headbutted Dick right in the, erm. You know. More double knees have Togo down for a two-count. Eagles has to stop a 450 splash to the knee as Togo rolled away, before the Aussie got caught in a roll-through crossface. Eagles gets free and almost wins with a lucha roll-up, only to get kicked in the ropes ahead of a clothesline from Togo. After getting a near-fall from a Complete Shot, Gedo distracts the referee so Togo could choke out Eagles… Tiger Mask stops that, then hit Gedo with a Tiger Driver, before a rare dive wiped out Togo on the floor.
All that’s left is for Eagles to get back this feet, but he’s caught with an inside cradle for a near-fall, then a back slide as Gedo was busting out the Young Lion-ish flash pins. An eye rake stops a Turbo Backpack, before Eagles got pushed into the ref. The Aussie stops a low blow though, then dropped Gedo with kicks, eventually taking him down for the springboard missile dropkick to the leg and a Ron Miller Special forced the stoppage in an entertaining tag that wasn’t without its shenanigans. ***¼
Super Junior Tag League 2021: Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato
The Way to the Ass-Master reunites!
FOUR FOR FOUR. Another jump start. Master Wato and Ryusuke Taguchi overcome that initially, with Wato’s drop toe hold sending Kanemaru into the arse early on. Desperado gets kicked down by Wato for a two-count, before things get taken outside and into the guard rails.
Back inside, Kanemaru’s slam leads to Desperado knee-dropping Taguchi’s knee, before a Boston crab around the ropes from Kanemaru wore down Taguchi some more. After getting free, Taguchi leaps into an atomic drop, before faking out hip attacks led to one finally connecting on Desperado. Wato tags back in and gets lifted to the apron for a springboard uppercut, which lands for a near-fall. Desperado stings Wato with a chop before an exchange of strikes leads to Wato having his toe stomped on. A ‘rana from Wato’s caught as Desperado eventually countered into a back suplex, before Kanemaru came in and ran into a Wato dropkick.
Taguchi tagged back in and bust out the Three Amigos on Kanemaru, only to get stopped mid-flow with an eye rake… so a hip attack takes down Kanemaru instead. Wato’s back to help throw Kanemaru into another hip attack, before Wato was wheelbarrow’d onto Kanemaru for a near-fall. Taguchi looked for a Dodon low blow, but Kanemaru escaped for a roll-up… which got countered, allowing Taguchi to hit an enziguiri after the kick-out. A Parade of Stuff breaks out, with Wato wiping out Desperado on the outside with a corkscrew tope, before a Bomaye knee almost got Taguchi the win… only for Kanemaru to win it seconds later with a roll-up. ***¼
Super Junior Tag League 2021: Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori)
A rematch from the Kizuna Road tour, where Roppongi 3K dropped the tag titles to ELP and Ishimori…
After faking out throwing Milano Collection AT a new t-shirt, ELP start with SHO, going for an early eye poke before SHO caught headscissors… but couldn’t do much with them. Chops from Phantasmo led to a reversed Irish whip as SHO and YOH took him down, then dropkicked Ishimori to the outside. Ishimori and ELP break the count-out before Ishimori tagged in to have a pop at YOH. A neckbreaker lands for a two-count on YOH, before things spilled back outside as ELP hooked away on YOH’s nose and mouth. Back inside, YOH takes ELP’s boot, then a Bret Hart-ish elbow off the middle rope for a two-count.
Ishimori’s boot is up next as he continued to wear down YOH, before the pair faked out a baseball slide dropkick in a Tree of Woe… so they could stomp on YOH’s balls. Phantasmo openly telegraphs a back body drop, so YOH counters away, hitting a Dragon screw to Ishimori… only for ELP to pull SHO off the apron just as they went for a tag. We get a back body drop moments later, this time from YOH, as he took ELP away… before Ishimori was pushed away as YOH finally got that tag out. SHO sweeps the leg and dropkicks ELP off the apron, then went after Ishimori with some short-range kicks. A cross armbreaker from SHO forces Ishimori towards the ropes for a break, before Ishimori avoided having his arm kicked away.
A handspring enziguiri takes SHO down, as tags get us back to ELP and YOH. They trade elbows, before a rebound lariat from Phantasmo led to a superkick and a bridging German from YOH. Phantasmo returned with a Ligerbomb for a two-count, but SHO’s back to help with a pair of leaping knees ahead of the Dominator/neckbreaker double-team. From there, they seat up for the 3K, but Ishimori makes the save as ELP threw SHO to the outside… leading to the Bullet Club hitting a CCK-ish elevated Codebreaker ahead of a Phantasmo moonsault for a near-fall.
Phantasmo holds up YOH for a knee-assisted whirlibird neckbreaker, but SHO makes the save on the cover, then got taken outside as ELP dropped him with a moonsault. Ishimori’s legal, but his Bloody Cross was escaped as YOH nearly won with backslide, then an inside cradle, before an O’Connor roll was countered into a Bone Lock as Ishimori tried to get the stoppage. Rolling YOH back to his feet, Ishimori switched tactic and lands a Bloody Cross instead, and that’s your lot. They didn’t go long with this one, and this match was all the better for it – nice and competitive without the obvious padding, as Roppongi 3K’s path back to a title match started badly. ***½
Your Super Junior Tag League 2021 standings after one match each…
El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru; Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask; El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori – 1-0/2pts
Gedo & Dick Togo; Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato; SHO & YOH – 0-1/0pts
We’re back at Korakuen, same time tomorrow, with ELP and Ishimori in the main event again as Master Wato and Ryusuke Taguchi provide their second round opponents in the tag league. Today was another good, but not great show as New Japan continues to hit Korakuen hard. The addition of the Super Junior Tag League certainly pads these cards out – but these shows feel sorely lacking in star power, particularly with Hiroshi Tanahashi having gone to the States for the upcoming Resurgence show, and Kazuchika Okada totally off the current set of line-ups.