New Japan returned to Korakuen Hall with another elimination main event ahead of tomorrow’s NEVER trios title defence.

Quick Results
Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma submitted Yota Tsuji & Yuji Nagata in 10:14 (**¾)
Chase Owens, El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori pinned Yuya Uemura, Toru Yano & Hiroshi Tanahashi in 12:40 (**¾)
Robbie Eagles, Tiger Mask & Kazuchika Okada submitted Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi & Hiroyoshi Tenzan in 11:55 (***)
BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & SANADA pinned Gedo, Dick Togo, EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi in 14:11 (**¾)
El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru were the last men standing in an Elimination match at 29:38 (***¼)

We’re back at Korakuen Hall for the second of three nights in this stretch…

Yugi Nagata & Yota Tsuji vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
It’s Tsuji’s penultimate match before he leaves… and he’s up against some tag team specialists. And a slightly less leaky version of Immigrant Song…

Tsuji charges Makabe to start, but that early push ends when Makabe tagged out. Nagata’s in too after a brief stare, as he trades wristlocks with Honma, before Honma chopped him into the corner. There’s a bulldog out of it too, but of course Honma misses a Kokeshi, and that opened the door for Tsuji to return with some arm wringers. Nagata’s back to kick away at Honma’s leg, but Honma got free and brought Makabe in to clothesline Nagata back into the corner for some mounted punches. A Nagata Lock II crossface is quickly broken up by Honma, who’s given a Kitchen Sink knee to the gut, before Tsuji returned to hit a suplex on Makabe for a two-count.

Makabe takes a surprise second bump, this time to an Exploder from Nagata, as Tsuji’s big splash gets a two-count… then it’s to a Boston crab. Honma tried to break it up, but he’s put back in the Nagata Lock II as Makabe crawled to the ropes. Makabe’s back with a spear for a two-count as we see Nagata getting hurled into the railings in the background, before Tsuji tried his luck with a sunset flip and almost took the win! A spear makes Makabe take a third bump (he’s feeling generous today), but Honma’s back to snuff out Tsuji with a DDT. From their, Makabe and Honma’s sandwich lariats leave Tsuji down, before a King Kong knee drop off the top from Makabe led to a Boston crab, as he made Tsuji tap. Another good showing from Tsuji, who’s more than ready for excursion – but the same old result I’m afraid. **¾

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano & Yuya Uemura vs. Bullet Club (Chase Owens, Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo)
It’s another go around for the KOPW rematch – and with Tanahashi soon to head off to America for a shot at the US title, this is more or less killing time.

We’ve a jump start from the Bullet Club, who cleared the ring so they could triple-team Toru Yano. At least ELP stopped to sanitize his hands…

A load of hair pulling ends with Tanahashi making the save, and the referee breaking it up, before Uemura came in to grab a two-count over Ishimori. Things spill outside with ELP taking Uemura into the barriers, before Ishimori began to clamp down on the Young Lion’s ear. Back rakes come next, as my feed dropped out… it comes back as Uemura hit a dropkick to ELP, before making a tag out to Tanahashi who returned those back rakes before he caught Phantasmo with a Dragon screw out of the corner. A Cloverleaf is next, but Chase’s attempt to break it up gets him a Dragon screw too before ELP and Ishimori took down Tanahashi with some double-teaming.

Chase feigns throwing some powder, but Yano doesn’t flinch. Instead he raked Owen’s eyes, then went for the turnbuckle pad. A bop on the head enrages Owens, who runs into the exposed corner and got rolled up for a near-fall, before a hair pull yanked Owens back to the mat. Uemura tags in and cracks Owens with a corner dropkick, before a double chop and back suplex landed for a near-fall. Triple-teaming turns it around, as Tanahashi and Yano need to make the save after an Owens knee strike… then cleared the ring as Chase got his comeuppance, leading to the release Kanuki suplex from Uemura for a near-fall. Uemura goes for another Kanuki, but Chase avoids it, only to get cradled for a near-fall.

From the kick-out, Owens runs in with a knee strike, then put Uemura away with a package piledriver, having come oh so close to an embarrassing loss. This started a little rough, but those near-falls at the end almost got me convinced that Owens was slipping on the proverbial banana peel. **¾

Post-match, Toru Yano tried to dive for the KOPW trophy, but got caught by Owens, who wrapped him in a STF. Owens is definitely going to try for an I Quit defence of the trophy, but remember, these things are usually balloted…

Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs. Kazuchika Okada, Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask
We’re doing another Super Junior Tag League tease, with Taguchi & Wato vs. Eagles & Tiger Mask being slated for August 17th’s Korakuen show.

For some reason Taguchi moons us as the referee inspected the rather tatty stitching on the tights. Eagles and Wato start us off, with Wato getting lifted to the outside… but both men have to abort springboard attempts as Eagles decided to kick out Wato’s leg ahead of a rather testy stand-off. Okada and Tenzan tag in, with Okada taking things into the ropes, where he feigned a Mongolian chop, and ended up getting headbutted for it. A brainbuster’s escaped by Okada, who lands a DDT instead, before Tiger Mask came in to elbow Tenzan in the head.

Eagles returns as he kicks Tenzan in the legs, before a low dropkick to the knees led to Okada tagging back in. A Mountain Bomb from Tenzan surprises Okada, with Tenzan then tagging out to Taguchi, whose arse attacks eventually found a way through, as he countered Tiger Mask’s crossbody out of the corner. More hip attacks await Eagles and Tiger Mask in the ropes, before Tiger Mask dropped down to avoid another diving arse.

Eagles tags back in to throw some more kicks at Taguchi, then, straight out of Father Ted, kicked Bishop Brennan in the arse. A charge into the corner’s caught as Taguchi countered with a spin-out side suplex, before Master Wato tagged in to capitalise, throwing some more kicks as he pushed ahead. A tiltawhirl backbreaker from Wato, a diving hip attack from Taguchi, then Recientemente nearly puts away the junior champion Eagles, before Wato crashed and burned on RPP… Eagles returns with an overhead kick, before a springboard dropkick to the knee spun Wato inside out… only for the Ron Miller Special to be countered with an inside cradle.

Kicking out, Eagles quickly pulls up Wato for a Turbo Backpack, then reapplied the Ron Miller Special to force the submission. Some decent stuff to warm up for the start of the junior tag league next week. ***

Post-match, Taguchi’s got his arse crack out on show again as we have some staredowns. Staredowns that got a little less uncomfortable after Tenzan pulled up Taguchi’s briefs…

Bullet Club (EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, Gedo & Dick Togo) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI)
We’ve over a month until EVIL vs. Shingo, so prepare for the New Japan equivalent of a slow burner…

EVIL jumps Shingo during the introductions as the match spilled outside to start. When we recover, the camera’s obscured as EVIL swung the IWGP title, before Naito looked to clear the ring, dispatching of EVIL with a swinging DDT before dumping Gedo with a neckbreaker.

Yujiro’s in next, and surprises Naito with a lariat, as we go back outside and into the guard rails. Of course the ring announcer’s wiped out, before Naito’s rolled back into the ring as the Bullet Club looked to focus on him. Once again, Naito’s thrown outside so EVIL can jab him with a chair, then charge him back into the rails as Gedo looked to pick up an easy two-count. Gedo rakes Naito’s eye, while Yujiro slowed down the pace some more with front kicks, before BUSHI ran in to see-saw Yujiro into a low dropkick. SANADA’s in with another low dropkick, but that just drew in Gedo and Togo, who end up looking like the Keystone Cops as SANADA treated them like fools.

There’s a plancha to Yujiro on the outside next from SANADA, before SANADA and Yujiro started nibbling on each other. That says a lot about New Japan’s catering these days… a hotshot from Yujiro allows him time to tag in EVIL, who flung his former tag partner into the exposed corner. Shingo has some better luck after he’d tagged in, but a Fisherman buster from EVIL turned it back around and drew a near-fall. A back elbow, jab and DDT from Shingo stops all that though, before tags brought us back to BUSHI and Gedo. Headscissors quickly took Gedo down, with a DDT following for a two-count, before an overhead kick in the ropes and a missile dropkick took Gedo to the outside.

BUSHI tries for a tope, but Dick Togo trips, allowing Gedo to reply with a thrust kick for a near-fall. A Parade of Stuff breaks out as both sides looked to pull ahead… but it’s EVIL with a chair that looked to do the trick, only for Shingo to disarm him ahead of a Pumping Bomber. The Shingo combination dumps Gedo, as BUSHI then heads up top to hit the MX for the win – as BUSHI picked up back-to-back wins in Korakuen. This was fine, but full of your usual shenanigans that’ll not win you over if you’re not a fan. **¾

Post-match, EVIL decks Shingo with the IWGP title for shits and giggles. He even managed to break off a part of the sideplates while doing it. Shoddy workmanship, that’s what that is.

Elimination: Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr., Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs. Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii & Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH)
I feel like I’ve seen an awful lot of matches with over-the-top-rope rules in the last 24 hours… this one’s setting up for the Suzuki-gun NEVER trios title challenge tomorrow, so at least there’s a reason for this one.

There’s yet another jump start here as the elimination match started with everyone heading outside for a scrap, with plenty of trips to the guard rails. Hope you weren’t doing any drinking games to that, because I’d pity your liver…

Anyway, when things hit the ring, we’ve Desperado and SHO getting us going, before YOH came in to help fend off some interference. We’ve double-teaming on Desperado as Taichi stopped him from going over the top, before YOH’s dropkick was caught… leaving him in some rather sticky spots.

YOH gets dismantled on the outside by Sabre and Suzuki’s strikes. More of those wear down YOH back inside, as an elbow strike from Suzuki nearly gave us an elimination via pinfall, before Sabre and Suzuki stretched on YOH in the ropes. I miss that Sabre/Suzuki tag team combo… Taichi stretches YOH with a Cobra Twist/abdominal stretch variant, but YOH manages to hobble into the ropes for the break. YOH tries to fight back, but Taichi just chokes him until YOH dropkick’d his way free. Hirooki Goto gets the tag in and manga to clear house, suplexing Sabre onto Taichi, before a spinning heel kick into the corner and a bulldog out of it left Taichi down for a near-fall.

A thrust kick from Taichi took Goto down… as did an overhead-ish kick, before the ring filled up to prevent a Zack Mephisto. YOSHI-HASHI hits a superkick as the Parade of Stuff continues, and ends with a gamengiri from Taichi to Goto in the corner as the two teams feuding over the heavyweight tag titles had their flurry of offence. Goto manages to surprise Taichi with an ushigoroshi, before Kanemaru and Desperado held down the ropes as Taichi’s sumo throw and kick eliminated Goto at 12:31. Taichi’s kicked out by YOSHI-HASHI at 12:38, before YOSHI-HASHI and Zack Sabre Jr. began trading pins back-and-forth, racking up those near-falls.

A PK from Sabre’s caught, but he then chucks YOSHI-HASHI over the top… a headbutt stops YOSHI-HASHI from immediate danger, but rather than head back in he tries to suplex Sabre to the floor, only to get caught with an overhead kick and a leg sweep as Sabre eventually shoved him down at 14:47. Tomohiro Ishii’s in to throw Sabre over the top, with SHO then charging Ishii into Sabre to knock him down at 15:26. Yep, we’re into the rapid-fire eliminations!

Ishii’s arm was worked over by Sabre before that elimination, and he’s left laying as the match seemed to just awkwardly pause, with Sabre, Goto, Taichi and YOSHI-HASHI debating on the floor. I think we’re down to Ishii, SHO & YOH vs. Suzuki, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru, by the way… Suzuki and Ishii resume, trading elbows as the crowd clapped in time, before Suzuki stopped to put a little more mustard on his strikes. CLONK. Ishii roars back and walks through them, before an elbow left Suzuki in a crumpled heap. Ishii throws some toying kicks at him, which proved to be a bad idea as Suzuki got back to his feet and rattled off a hattrick of hard elbows, leaving Ishii on jelly legs.

Rolling Ishii under the bottom rope, Suzuki heads outside to chuck him into the rails. The referee starts the count out as Suzuki whales away in Ishii… stopping to grab a chair from under the ring, and it’s not the using it that gets the DQ, as both Ishii and Suzuki get counted out at 21:19… not that Suzuki cared, he’s already worn out the chair and bent the frame over Ishii too! El Desperado tries to make the save but gets yelled at by Suzuki… so that leaves Kanemaru to pick up the match as Suzuki’s carted to the back. SHO resumes with Kanemaru, who quickly got helped by Desperado as Suzuki ran back out, looking for blood. SHO manages to drop Kanemaru and Desperado with a spear, before a PK drew a two-count from Kanemaru.

A scooping reverse DDT from Kanemaru’s good for a two-count, before SHO evaded a Deep Impact… and came back with double leaping knees with help from YOH. A SHO back cracker and a single-leg YOH dropkick followed, before Kanemaru escaped a 3K and low bridged SHO onto the apron. An eye rake looks to get rid of SHO, but Kanemaru just chucks YOH into him to knock him off the apron at 26:36, before YOH had to resist some double-teaming as Tomohiro Ishii came to and grabbed a chair to take to the back for Suzuki. Not to sit on, mind you…

YOH’s Dragon screw pauses some of the double-teaming as an inside cradle and a roll-up nearly eliminates Desperado, before Kanemaru broke up an O’Connor roll. El Es Claro nearly ends the match, before a bridging German suplex drew YOH a two-count. The double-teaming resumes with a knee crusher to YOH, before Numero Dos from Desperado left YOH in trouble… SHO grabs the referee to prevent a decision from being called, but to no avail as Desperado rolled YOH back inside and clamped on Numero Dos some more for the stoppage. There’s even a cheeky knee-drop on YOH’s leg after the decision, as the former junior tag champs in Desperado and Kanemaru were the survivors here in a match that was overshadowed somewhat by Ishii and Suzuki’s enduring scrap. ***¼

We’re back at Korakuen again tomorrow for the final night in this stretch, headlined by Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. challenging for the NEVER trios titles. Main event aside, this was another run of the mill Korakuen show – keeping things snappy makes all but the worst shows fly along, and this was no exception.