Good morning, and we are back!
It’s December 14th, and New Japan is on the Road to Wrestle Kingdom. Today, the road brings it home, to Korakuen Hall, in Tokyo. Tonight, it should be an eight man main event as Team Tanahashi faces Team Omega in the main event.
1. Tomoaki Honma, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Tiger Mask & Kushida vs Toa Henare, Ayato Yoshida, Ren Narita & Yuya Uemura.
Wow, Kushida in the opening match. Also, not sure what’s up with this Honma vs Henare feud. Narita ended up taking most of the damage for the middle portion of the match. Honma does a diving headbutt and Tiger Mask a tiger bomb on Uemura for the pin. Henare exchanges angry words with Honma afterwards.
2. Shingo Takagi vs Shota Umino
Another surprise. Takagi is usually not in the Young Lion (read: jobber) matches. This was definitely a major coming out by Umino, he shined throughout the match, as was intended. Takagi did eventually pin him with a Last of the Dragon (pumphandle driver), but then offered a handshake. Umino slapped it away out of anger.
3. Hirooki Goto & Rocky Romero vs Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka
Goto shoulderblocked Iizuka into a Romero roll-up for a bit of an upset. Feels like Suzuki hasn’t won in a while.
4. Tomohiro Ishii & Roppongi 3K vs Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado (with Miho Abe)
Miho comes out in a beautiful Christmas outfit. Kanemaru dominates Ishii for a while until a lariat and a brainbuster ends in a pin. Confrontation between the two tag teams and the two singles wrestlers after the bell.
5. Bad Luck Fale, Guerillas of Destiny & Taiji Ishimori (with Jado) vs Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, Sanada & Bushi
It’s interesting that Fale and Naito are heating things up, going into Naito’s title challenge against Jericho. Possible interference in that match, but I don’t see Jericho winning and then Naito feuding with Fale. This got very good, very very fast, and stayed that way, all after Naito simply took the bumps for the first five-ten minutes or so. Jado nailed Bushi with his singapore cane to the back, and GoD pinned Bushi after a super bomb for the win. Worth checking out.
6. Kazuchika Okada vs Gedo
So, Gedo comes out doing his best Shawn Michaels impression, left hand in sling, and limping. Ricky Romero, at announcers’ table and Gedo, exchange words. Gedo laughs at Romero, and keeps walking to the ring. He says that he is hurt, and the match is therefore cancelled. Before he can finish his speech, you can hear the coins falling and Okada comes out. Okada comes out and says Gedo is faking it. He pretends to hit him, and Gedo raises his arm and steps back, revealing his lie. But, that was only part 1. Before the ref can ring the bell, Gedo pepper-sprays Okada, nails him and goes for the pin. It’s a 2 count. Gedo takes Okada out and beats him all over the building, crushing his back with several chairs. This is right in front of where Romero is sitting, so he is forced to watch. He stands up, but doesn’t act. Gedo, after destroying Okada, returns him to the ring. During an Irish Whip, Okada comes alive and reverses it. It’s all his show now. Gedo tries to cheat in every way possible, but it doesn’t do him much good. Jado comes down to help, distracts ref, allowing a low blow to happen, but Okada still nails a tombstone. He goes for the pin, but the ref is down. Jay White runs in. He destroys Okada. Romero runs in, and he is successful for a while but his Sliced Bread #2 is turned into Blade Runner. Now he tries to Blade Runner Okada, but Kazuchika escapes and destroys White. One Rainmaker later, he gets a three. Okada sits up Gedo and makes a slashing motion across his throat. This sends Jay White running into the ring, he gets beat up, but eventually nails a dragon suplex, and… that’s where it ends for today.
7. Golden Lovers, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens vs Hiroshi Tanahashi Will Ospreay, Togi Makabe & Toru Yano
So, I am a little lost, as there are two Chaos members on Tanahashi’s team. Wonder if there was an angle about an alliance not just between the two leaders, but the two camps. This match was awesome. You won’t get five star ratings for an eight-man match, and this one was way too short to merit a serious appraisal, but man, were the featured players at their best, actually, everybody except maybe Yujiro & Chase, who weren’t supposed to be. The match did a great job of both building up to the Wrestle Kingdom and providing a sneak peek of how good the two matches were going to be. How did it end? Well, Chase went for packaged piledriver on Ospreay, but got a superkick, and Tanahashi ran in with a sling blade, while Yano was holding the Golden Lovers on the outside, and Makabe ran it at one point and after the usual rope running, ducked under and lariated both Ibushi and Omega, and Ospreay finally pinned Owens with a Stormbreaker. This took place in seconds. Whew!