NJPW continues down this road to the Anniversary Show!
NJPW isn’t stopping yet! It’s day 2 of New Japan Road in Korakuen Hall with two more championship matches! Will LIJ still say NEVER?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Toru Yano, Ryusuke Taguchi & Colt Cabana; LIJ wins and retains the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships.
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Guerrillas of Destiny VS Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi; Tanahashi & Ibushi win and become new IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions.
PLAY BY PLAY
NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Toru Yano, Ryusuke Taguchi & Colt Cabana!
The Dragon, Shingo Takagi, went through a grueling defense of his NEVER Openweight Championship just yesterday to retain the title. Mega Coach Taguchi also went through an incredible IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship match alongside Rocky Romero, only to fall short. What affects will those matches have on this trios championship showdown?
The introductions are made, but the belts can’t be raised because Yano stole them! And he pretends to have no idea what anyone is talking about. Maybe someone took them? That’s it! LIJ attacks the jokers and Red Shoes rings the bell to put this on the record. LIJ triple whip but Yano, Taguchi and Cabana all hold onto the ropes. The jokers bail out and Yano reveals the belts were under the ring the entire time! He and his team hold them up high and claim they’re already the champions. Bye~! But Red Shoes tells them to please be serious and hand the belts over. Cabana doesn’t want to and Yano tries to explain to Red Shoes that if they have the belts, they’re the champs. Red Shoes insists that’s not how this works, so Yano and team reluctantly hand over the belts.
Yano, Taguchi and Cabana apologize for the misunderstanding, but LIJ doesn’t care. The ring count begins and Yano tells Red Shoes to shut up! The count doesn’t stop and Yano’s team argues about who goes in first. Taguchi gives baseball signs, but the count passes 10 of 20! Who’s going?! 15 of 20! 17! 19!! Taguchi slides in, but he’s all alone against LIJ! Fans rally for Taguchi as he tries to call a time-out. There’re no time-outs in wrestling! LIJ stomps Taguchi 3v1! Cabana and Yano protest and Red Shoes reprimands LIJ. Evil and Bushi back of and Takagi drags Taguchi up. The two men who already went through big matches are 1v1 as Takagi bumps Taguchi off buckles. Takagi grinds a boot into Taguchi’s head then stands on him! Red Shoes counts and Takagi lets up at 4.
Taguchi crawls and almost reaches his corner, but Takagi catches him in time! Takagi elbows Taguchi then whips him to ropes. Taguchi leaps but the Funky Weapon is caught into an atomic drop! Takagi SPANKS Taguchi, and again, and again! Takagi runs but into the hip attack! Fans rally and Yano tags in! Yano orders the timekeeper to ring the bell and call the match, but that’s still not how this works. Takagi attacks Yano and puts him in a corner with back elbows. Takagi whips but Yano reverses, then Yano goes to untie a buckle pad! Yano gets it undone, evades Takagi, and hurries to untie the other pad! Yano arms himself with one, but Takagi grabs the other! And yet Yano protests what Takagi’s up to?
Takagi and Yano battle with buckle pad swords! Takagi has much more power and he disarms Yano, but Yano kicks low! Yano grabs the pad and swings but Takagi ducks to LARIAT through the pad! Red Shoes confiscates the pads and Takagi demands he get to have one. Yano grabs the belts in the distraction! He’s trying to steal them again! Evil and Bushi stop him, so Cabana and Taguchi go to reinforce Yano. Evil beats Cabana down, and Takagi whips him into railing! Bushi and Evil stomp the thieving Yano as Takagi SMACKS Cabana on the back with the buckle pad! Bushi and Evil stomp Taguchi and take back their belts. Takagi rams Cabana into railings and a post, and then goes back into the ring. Bushi puts Yano in and Takagi stomps him down.
Takagi brings Yano up and wrenches. Yano knows Takagi is aiming for an open corner and holds tight to the ropes! “Yada, yada, yada!” Yano doesn’t want to! Takagi keeps pulling but Yano rakes his eyes! Yano whips but Takagi stops himself. “CHIKUSHO!” Yano is upset as he runs in, and Takagi sends him into exposed buckles! Takagi runs, and runs Yano over! Cover, TWO! Fans rally up as Takagi tags Bushi. Bushi climbs up, Takagi brings Yano over for the missile dropkick! Bushirooni! Bushi puts on a chinlock and even hooks the nose. He rakes Yano’s face and then stomps Yano down. Tag to Evil and he hits Cabana down. Evil drags Yano up to wrench and whip to the other exposed corner!
Yano stops himself, but walks into a kick. Evil goes to run but Yano grabs his hair! Evil kicks and whips but Yano reverses to hit a hair-yanking neckbreaker! Both men are down, fans rally up, hot tag to Cabana! Cabana shoulders Evil and bumps him off buckles. Cabana tumbles in and sunset flips, but Evil rolls through. Evil swings on Cabana but Cabana ducks to JAB, JAB, JAB! Power up the BIONIC ELBOW! Cabana dodges Bushi, BIONIC ELBOW! Takagi looks to step in, but then steps out, but then steps in. Evil attacks Cabana during the distraction! Bushi joins in and LIJ double whip Cabana. Cabana ducks, springboards, DOUBLE QUEBRADA! Cover, TWO! Fans rally for Cabana as he brings Evil up. Cabana whips Evil, Evil reverses, Cabana just manages to stop himself. Cabana gets under Evil’s boot to CHOP!
Evil puts up a boot but Cabana blocks it to spin Evil. Evil blocks Cabana’s boot and gives it to Red Shoes! MULE KICK! Takagi hits Taguchi down and LIJ regroups. They have Cabana in a corner, double whip and Cabana hits bare buckles! Takagi runs in, corner clothesline! Bushi hits a big knee! Evil runs in, but Cabana ducks and Yano SMACKS Evil with a buckle pad! Superman Clutch! Cover, but Bushi breaks it in time! Yano throws Bushi out and regroups with Cabana. They double whip Evil, Evil gets around to shove Cabana into Yano. Evil kicks Cabana, uses Yano as the platform, but Yano doesn’t want to! Takagi RAMS Yano to complete MAGIC KILLER! Cover, but Yano breaks it up! Takagi throws Yano out and Evil stalks Cabana to a corner. Fans rally up as Evil runs corner to corner, corner clothesline!
Evil puts Cabana up top, climbs up to join him, but Cabana fights back! Cabana hits a Bionic Elbow! Evil holds on but Cabana keeps hitting him. Cabana powers it up, BIONIC ELBOW! SUPERMAN- MONKEY FLIP! Cabana hits bare buckles again and both men are down! Fans rally up as Evl and Cabana crawl, hot tags to Bushi and Taguchi! Funky Weapon for Bushi! Funky Weapon for Takagi! Takagi and Bushi are on the ropes, Taguchi starts up the Funky Weapon Train! Bushi, then Takagi, back to Bushi, repeat! Bushi ends up hanging out of the ring, so Taguchi slides and hip attacks him back in! Taguchi aims as Bushi staggers up, springboard hip attack! Cover, TWO!
Fans rally as Taguchi brings Bushi up. Taguchi suplexes but Bushi slips out to underhook and backslide. Taguchi rolls through, hip attack! Cover, TWO! Into the ANKLE LOCK! Taguchi twists Bushi’s leg as Yano trips Takagi up on the apron. Cabana slides out to keep Evil out, but Bushi crawls around. Bushi reaches, and gets the ropebreak! Taguchi lets go but he calls upon the powers of Shinsuke! Taguchi runs corner to corner, but gets bare buckles! Evil clotheslines, Takagi clotheslines, Evil mule kicks and Bushi backstabber! LIJ guards Bushi as he covers, TWO! Taguchi lives and fans cheer.
Bushi climbs up as Taguchi stands. Taguchi ducks MX and Yano throws Bushi down. Evil runs Yano over, Cabana tilt-o-whirl headscissors Evil! Takagi swings on Cabana but gets a JAB! JAB! Cabana powers up but Takagi LARIATS! Takagi distracts Red Shoes as Bushi has a belt! Taguchi ducks the belt shot and kicks back! Taguchi grabs the belt, but Bushi turns him around! The belt is a shield, but Bushi doesn’t spray! Until Taguchi lets his guard down! The black mist hits, Bushi back slides and bridges Taguchi, LIJ wins!
Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon, by pinfall (still NEVER Openweight Champions)
The Bushi Roll finishes it off, and though LIJ never lost the titles, they have the belts back! Will Shingo and his allies lead the charge into making the Openweight Division a spotlight attraction for NJPW?
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Guerrillas of Destiny VS Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi!
Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa just got these titles back while in the United States and must now defend them against a dynamic duo! Will the The Ace and the Golden Star be golden together? Or can not even their powers combined surpass GoD?
The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and the true test of two individuals coming together as a team begins!
The teams sort out and after a Low Sweet, Loa steps up to face Tanahashi. Fans are obviously on Tanahashi’s side with chants of “GO ACE!” Tanahashi and Loa circle, tie up, and Loa powers Tanahashi to the ropes. Tanahashi turns it around, then lets off with the ropebreak. Fans chant even louder as Tanahashi and Loa tie up again. Tanahashi waistlocks and shifts to a headlock. Loa tries to power out but Tanahashi holds tight. Tanahashi grinds on the hold but Loa bearhugs back. Tanahashi cranks harder, so Loa pulls hair! The ref counts but Tanahashi grabs Loa’s beard! Tanahashi gets the headlock back but Loa pulls hair again. They end up in a corner, Red Shoes counts, but Loa lets up. To throw a punch! Tanahashi gets clear and gives a little air guitar.
Fans rally up as Tanahashi waits for Loa. Loa tags to Tama, and Tanahashi tags Ibushi! Now fans chant for Ibushi as he waits on the Bad Boy. Tama takes his time and circles with Ibushi. Tama gets annoyed and rushes Ibushi. They tie up, are in a deadlock, and Tama headlocks. Tama grinds the hold but Ibushi powers out. Tama runs Ibushi over, but Ibushi kips up! Fans cheer as Ibushi shrugs at Tama. Tama runs him over again, but Ibushi kips back up! Tama runs, Ibushi leaps over and things speed up. Ibushi enziguris Tama right down! Fans fire up for Ibushi as he kicks and clubs Tama. Ibushi throws forearms and runs, but Tama runs him over with an elbow! Loa hits Tanahashi off the apron then goes after him on the outside. Tama stomps Ibushi then scoop slams him!
Loa rams Tanahashi into the apron while Tama stalks Ibushi. Tama drags Ibushi up and suplexes! Ibushi ends up in the GoD corner and Tama scrapes Ibushi’s face. Tag to Loa and Tama clubs Ibushi down. Loa bumps Ibushi off buckles then stomps a mudhole. Red Shoes counts, Loa lets up, but goes back to grind his boot in. Red Shoes counts again and Loa lets up. Fans rally for Ibushi and Ibushi throws body shots and elbows! Ibushi fights his way out of the corner, but Loa kicks back. Loa whips, Ibushi reverses and dropkicks! Both men are down but Ibushi tags in Tanahashi! Tanahashi throws big forearms on Loa and whips. Loa reverses but Tanahashi baseball slides Jado! The Ace knows the Heater will try anything if he gets close!
Loa runs in but Tanahashi blocks the boot, to a DRAGON SCREW! Tama runs in but he gets a DRAGON SCREW! Fans fire up with Tanahashi as he has Loa in a corner. Tanahashi throws body shots then scoop slams Loa down. Tanahashi hops up, second rope somersault senton! Cover, TWO! Fans again cheer, “GO ACE!” as Tanahashi watches Loa slowly rise. Tama distracts Red Shoes as Tanahashi runs, Jado SMACKS Tanahashi with the kendo stick! The Heater gets away with something after all. Loa sucker punches Ibushi for good measure before going to Tanahashi. Loa throaws Tanahashi out as Tama sends Ibushi into and OVER railing! Fans shout as Loa scoops Tanahashi to snake eyes him on railing!
Tama and Loa regroup and mug Tanahashi at the rails. GoD drags Tanahashi up to mug more, right in front of the fans. Ibushi tries to hep but Loa decks him! Tanahashi puts Tanahashi in then clubs Ibushi down! Tama mugs Ibushi while Loa goes after Tanahashi. Loa drops an elbow, and then another, and then scrapes Tanahashi’s face! Fans rally up but Loa drags Tanahashi up. Loa scoops Tanahashi, tags Tama then slams Tanahashi down. Tama slingshot sentons! Loa adds his own slingshot senton! Cover, TWO! The Ace lives and fans rally up again. Tama snarls as he drags Tanahashi up for headbutts! Tanahashi grits his teeth as Tama headbutts more! And more! Tanahashi gives headbutts back!
Tama body shots then whips Tanahashi to a corner. Tama runs in but into boots! He tries again but gets an elbow. Tanahashi goes up, springboard crossbody! Both men are down but fans fire up. Tanahashi crawls, hot tag to Ibushi! The Golden Star springboards to missile dropkick Loa! Tama clubs Ibushi and whips, but Ibushi goes up and over. Ibushi hits a SNAP-RANA! Fans cheer as Ibushi and Tama stand. Ibushi fires off a strike fest! Back kick and Mid Kick! Standing Moonsault! Cover, TWO! Ibushi has a cut on his eyebrow but he doesn’t let it bother him. Ibushi drags Tama up, Tama elbows out of the waistlock, and catches Ibushi into a Complete Shot!
Tag to Loa and Loa drags Ibushi up. Loa rams Ibushi into a corner! Tama hits a corner splash! Loa hits a SPINE BUSTER! Cover, TWO! Ibushi survives and fans are still strongly behind him. Loa looms over Ibushi and drags him up. Loa scoops and aims for the corner, but Ibushi slips out! Ibushi swings a kick but Loa gets under to kick low. Loa knees but misses the enziguri! Ibushi dead lift GERMAN SUPLEXES! Both men are down and fans rally again. Hot tag to Tanahashi! Tanahashi throws hands on Loa then whips. Loa reverses but Tanahashi dropkicks the legs out! Tanahashi goes after the leg but Loa clubs him back. Loa lifts but Tanahashi slips out and dodges, to run into a SPEAR! Loa uses that UTEP football training to perfect use!
Tag to Tama and Tama stalks Tanahashi. Tama runs in, but the splashes misses! Tanahashi hits flying forearms! Tanahashi runs but no slingblade, Tama back suplexes! Tama calls to his brother and the GoD go after Tanahashi together. Loa drags Tanahashi up to uppercut into Tama’s leaping neckbreaker! Cover, TWO!! Tanahashi lives but GoD bring him back up. Loa holds Tanahashi up but Tanahashi fights out of the Magic Killer! Tanahashi uppercuts Tama! Then uppercuts Loa! Tama grabs Tanahashi in a dragon sleeper, Loa picks Tanahashi up, GUERRILLA WARFARE! Cover, but Ibushi breaks it! Loa LARIATS Ibushi inside-out! Ibushi flops out of the ring and GoD focuses on Tanahashi again.
Tama drags Tanahashi up, brings him up for Loa to hold, MAGIC KILLER!! But they’re not going to cover!? GoD wants Tanahashi to pay for thinking he and Ibushi could become champions together! Loa goes up top and Tama brings Tanahashi up. Ibushi runs back in and goes up to, to give Loa a SUPER STEINER! Tama leaps but no Gun Stun! Ibushi swings a kick, Tama gets under, GUN STUN! Tama shouts for the Super Powerbomb and gives Tanahashi to Loa. Loa RAMS Tanahashi into the buckle, Tama adds his splash! Loa goes up, Tama suplexes Tanahashi up, but Tanahashi snap suplexes back! Tanahashi gets Loa for TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! Tama leaps, no Gun Stun, TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! Fans fire up with Tanahashi, SLINGBLADE! Cover, TWO!!
Tanahashi won’t stop, he just heads up top! HIGH FLY FLOW!! Cover, but Jado yanks Red Shoes out!! The Heater plays dumb as he screws the Ace over. Fans rally up as Tanahashi and Tama stir. Loa has a belt as Tanahashi shouts at Red Shoes. BELT SHOT! Loa stomps Tanahashi over and over and grinds his foot in. Loa clubs IBushi down and puts him in the ring. GoD stomps Ibushi, and Tama has the belt. Loa brings Ibushi up, Tama runs in, but Ibushi ducks! Loa gets the BELT SHOT! ROUNDHOUSE for Tama! Ibushi is all fired up as he gives Tama KAMIGOYE!! Red Shoes is still recovering as Ibushi PLANCHAS onto Loa and Jado! The fans are thunderous as Tanahashi and Tama are both down. Ibushi gets Red Shoes in and shouts to Tanahashi to finish!
Tanahashi flounders his way to a corner and manages to climb up top. Ibushi keeps Jado and Loa down as Tanahashi leaps, HIGH FLY FLOW!! Cover, Tanahashi & Ibushi win!!!
Winners: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi, by pinfall (NEW IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)
The Golden Aces are truly golden!! Ibushi and Tanahashi celebrate this dream team dream come true! Tanahashi becomes a three-time champion, the last time being alongside Shinsuke Nakamura, the other of Ibushi’s role models. Young Lions help these two put on the belts, and the champions truly feel like champions as they pose for the cameras. Tanahashi takes up the mic as fans again chant, “GO ACE!”
“Everyone, thank you very much!” One fan shouts, “Tanahashi, you look cool as hell!” Tanahashi again says thanks. And Tanahashi really just has one more thing to say. He wants everyone to enjoy pro-wrestling! He and Ibushi, they really did it! “From now on, we’re going to face a whole range of different opponents!” And that is something very exciting for these two. Tanahashi has to catch his breath, but he claims he’s not tired. Even so, the air guitar may have to wait until next time. “Because we’re going to hold these belts forever, so there will be a next time.” Tanahashi then shouts a declaration, only for he and Ibushi to be attacked!
It’s Suzuki-Gun, Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr! They stomp Tanahashi but Ibushi fights back! Ibushi fires off on ZSJ but Taichi LOW BLOWS! ZSJ lifts, Taichi SUPERKICKS, ZACK DRIVER! Taichi pulls the title belt off Tanahashi and drags him up. He holds Tanahashi up when ZSJ hits a DRAGON SCREW! And another! And then a Half Crab with heel hook, into another heel hook! Taichi mockingly asks if Tanahashi gives up. Tanahashi refuses, but Taichi keeps asking. Taichi gets in Tanahashi’s face and makes him nod. Well if Tanahashi isn’t going to give up, they’ll give him no choice! Taichi Alabama lifts Tanahashi, ZSJ helps get Tanahashi around, assisted BLACK MEPHISTO! Or perhaps, ZACK Mephisto.
Fans boo as the “Dangerous Tekkers” sit on the champions. ZSJ grabs the mic to say, “Oi! Do you chodes think…” Fans interrupt with their jeers so ZSJ tells the “dickheads” to shut it. “Your face is red from one beer, dickhead, shut up! Urusei!” But ZSJ continues to say that the NJPW Heavyweight Tag Team Division is a “load of bullocks,” and it’ll take more than “these two princesses” to save it. ZSJ tells us who will save it: Z and Dangerous T, the Dangerous Tekkers. Taichi, take over in Japanese, please. “What he said.” But Taichi asks Tanahashi what he was even going on about, saying he loves the fans. Love left Taichi long ago. Taichi says NJPW tag team pro-wrestling is dead without him and ZSJ.
This devious team holds up the championship belts, and then Taichi tells the fans to go home if they don’t like it. Taichi and ZSJ give the belts back to Ibushi and Tanahashi to “hold onto,” and then “congratulate” them for the win. Fans boo as Z and T take their leave, but will they look to hunt the champions down like a pack of wolves?
A really surprising turn of events for NJPW on a really good second night of New Japan Road. The 6 Man Tag championship match had a hilarious start, and had a lot of great humor throughout, but that’s expected with having both Yano and Taguchi in the match. Naturally, Los Ingobernables de Japon retained the championships to extend their reign. As I said in yesterday’s New Japan Road coverage, this is a great sign that Takagi is becoming the NJPW workhorse having both NEVER championships and therefore being able to take on many different opponents. NJPW is also cleverly using their two double champions differently: Naito defends both titles at the same time while Takagi must defend his championships separately, so you can tell both kinds of stories at the same time.
The big surprise is that Guerrillas of Destiny lost! The story was of course that a new team of individuals couldn’t possibly beat an experienced team of blood brothers. But that should’ve been the reason to expect this upset victory. Tanahashi and Ibushi getting the championships leads to another newly established team of individuals with Dangerous Tekkers. ZSJ and Taichi each looked like they were after other things, such as ZSJ wanting the IWGP United States Championship from Jon Moxley and Taichi wanting to dethrone Okada as face of NJPW. But I suppose while Moxley is busy in AEW, ZSJ will do this on the side. Also, ZSJ lost his Rev-Pro British Heavyweight Championship to Will Ospreay during a Rev-Pro event, which I wish I knew about sooner. Therefore, ZSJ won’t be a double champion any time soon, but he can start from scratch here.
My Score: 8.9/10