New Japan Road is a bit of an unprecedented situation. Due to Tiger Hattori retiring February 19th and Manabu Nakanishi retiring on the 22nd; NJPW decided to make it a small tour.
Some days are just a normal “Road to” style show; but then we’ve got pretty great days like today.
Roppongi 3k defends the Junior Tag titles against the Mega Coaches; while Shingo Takagi will apply his force against Tomohiro Ishii, last one to die keeps the NEVER belt.
Let’s check out the New Japan Road!
New Japan Road Results:
- Gabriel Kidd vs Yota Tsuji: Tsuji wins via Boston Crab @7:10 – **
- Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, Taichi & Minoru Suzuki) vs Will Ospreay, YOSHI-HASHI, Yuya Uemura & Hirooki Goto: Kanemaru wins via Deep Impact @11:20 – *** 1/4
- Tomoaki Honma, Toa Henare & Togi Makabe vs Toru Yano, Colt Cabana & Kazuchika Okada: Cabana wins via Superman Pin @9:00 – ** 1/2
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Tiger Mask, Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima & Manabu Nakanishi vs BUSHI, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito: Kojima wins via Cozy Lariat @20:40 – ***
- Kota Ibushi, David Finlay, Juice Robinson & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Guerrillas of Destiny, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White: Loa wins via Title Belt Shot @11:20 – ***
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Mega Coaches (Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs Roppongi 3k (SHO & YOH) (c): 3k retain via Strong X @26:45 – ****
- NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs Tomohiro Ishii: Takagi retains via Last of the Dragon @27:05 – **** 1/2
New Japan Road Analysis:
Gabriel Kidd vs Yota Tsuji – LA Dojo Young Lion faces off against New Japan Dojo Young Lion. The little bit of east coast/west coast rivalry has been a nice touch with the newer LA Dojo.
Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, Taichi & Minoru Suzuki) vs Will Ospreay, YOSHI-HASHI, Yuya Uemura & Hirooki Goto – Suzuki comes out doing his usual thing, and when the mostly CHAOS team comes out, Yuya rushes the ring; goes right after Suzuki and we see the Young Lion really cutting his teeth. A good bit of this match is Yuya and Suzuki going throughout the building and crowd; taking it to one another.
Tomoaki Honma, Toa Henare & Togi Makabe vs Toru Yano, Colt Cabana & Kazuchika Okada – Yano and Colt start the old “You go, no you go” skit for who will start off the match. And in a style reminiscent of Abbott and Costello, Okada just screams “I GO!” and walks through the bickering pranksters. Okada always seems to enjoy his time without the belt. We get to see a little more personality; and a few interesting interactions with wrestlers outside of the main event scene.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Tiger Mask, Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima & Manabu Nakanishi vs BUSHI, SANADA, Hiromu Takahashi, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito – The Third Generation faces LIJ. It appears that they are facing the stables as we build towards Nakanishi’s retirement on the 22nd. They beat Suzuki-Gun yesterday and now it’s LIJ’s turn.
Kota Ibushi, David Finlay, Juice Robinson & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Guerrillas of Destiny, Bad Luck Fale & Jay White – FinJuice and the Golden Aces showed a decent amount of teamwork; even though this match could’ve had awkward ramifications. Golden Aces have the title match tomorrow regardless, but do we get any new wrinkles?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Mega Coaches (Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs Roppongi 3k (SHO & YOH) (c) – After dropping a couple singles losses and a tag loss during the Junior Tag tournament; the Mega Coaches recombined to challenge the young champions. Roppongi 3k are trying to establish themselves as a team that can defend the titles; as well as win them. Romero and Taguchi are two of the most decorated Junior tag wrestlers; so this is a bigger challenge than newer fans may be aware of.
NEVER Openweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs Tomohiro Ishii – Okay, English commentary tried to remind fans that NEVER is an acronym, with the original idea of it being a title for younger wrestlers to propel them. NEVER stands for: New blood Evolution Valiantly Eternal Radical – like most Japanese applications of English words…it’s a little goofy. But it’s really no different than people that get Kanji tattoos; assuming it says “courage” when we all know it’s probably closer to saying “soup”.
Overall Score: 8/10
New Japan Road was actually quite good. A show that wasn’t too bloated, with great wrestling and two great end cap matches. Everything about this was an easy watch; with story threads that were very easy to follow.