With Sakura Genesis in two days, New Japan wrapped up their second and final Road To show at Korakuen Hall. Let’s go through the card and talk about how the show was. On commentary for the english feed was Kevin Kelly, Don Callis and guest Rocky Romero!
Ren Narita vs. Tetsuhiro Yagi
Our first match was, as usual, a Young Lion battle. Ren Narita squared off against Tetsuhiro Yagi. These guys nearly killed each other with chops, which echoed throughout the Hall. This match was better than other Young Lion matches recently. First of all, the crowd was completely alive for it. On top of that, the moves were brutal and aggressive. Narita hit a headbutt which looked like attempted murder, then a belly-to-belly for a two count. Approaching the time limit of the match, Yagi put Narita in the Boston Crab. Narita struggled under the move for a whole minute, until he finally reached the ropes.
With 30 seconds left, Yagi was put in the Boston Crab. The match reached a time limit draw. This match blew me away. I always think that Young Lion matches are somewhat of a quiet start to the show, but this time around I feel like it really kickstarted the show with energy. Couldn’t have asked more from it.
Shota Umino vs. Yuji Nagata
In the second match, Young Lion Shota Umino was challenged with facing NJPW Dad Yuji Nagata. Early in the match both of these guys were swinging for the fences, which is funny since baseball was started back up. Umino hit the Boston Crab late in the match. Nagata escaped, and late fell to a submission move to Nagata’s. This match wasn’t as hype as the one before, but still wasn’t bad. They hugged afterwards.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi & Tomoyuki Oka vs. Michael Elgin, Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe (CHAOS)
The third match on the card was a battle of babyfaces. Taguchi had a “C” armband, marking that he was the captain of his team. Taguchi did his Funky Weapon moves in the match, with only some of them working. Michael Elgin was flaunting new blue attire for this match. Late in the match, Oka got the hot tag onto Elgin. Oka surprisingly threw Elgin all around the ring, hitting a Belly-to-belly at one point. Elgin hit a Lariat which gave him a close two count. Elgin hit a Buckle Bomb then a Powerbomb to finish the match.
This match was short and good. The fight at the end between Elgin and Oka afterwards was great. Oka was being way more dominant and powerful then I expected he would be. After the match, Tenzan attacked Makabe. The situation eventually cooled down and the groups got seperated.
Toa Henare, David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. Jay White, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto (CHAOS)
Another 6-man on the card, with the main feud in it being Jay White versus David Finlay. Finlay and White start the match against each other, coincidentally. Outside of the ring at one point, Ishii and Henare were brawling. Henare was thrown over a barricade, onto the feet of four front row crowd members. They went over to some more chairs, before heading back to the ring. Late in the match, Juice Robinson hit a Cannonball in the corner onto Goto. He hit the Full Nelson Bomb afterwards for a two count. Henare got the hot tag onto Ishii. We had mayhem near the end of the match with everyone flying in and out of the ring. We finally came back to the two legal members. Henare hit a Spear, but then got his other move countered with a Lariat from Ishii.
Henare got a very close count with a Lariat of his own. Ishii finished the match off with a Vertical-Drop Brainbuster. I thought that this match was good, but Finlay and White wasn’t emphasized enough. They barely got any time together in the ring, despite opening the match up. They had a little brawl segment after the match, but other than that, that was it.
RPG3K (Sho & Yoh) w/ Rocky Romero & Toru Yano (CHAOS) vs. Tiger Mask, KUSHIDA & Hiroshi Tanahashi
Before our next tag match, Yano did his normal entrance. When he spat water into the air, it got on Don Callis, who did not enjoy it. It’s also worth mentioning that Rocky Romero left commentary to manage his team. Makabe was on Japanese commentary for this match. Tiger hit a Tiger Driver during this match, which looked great. After that he want to the top rope, and tried to do a risky move on Yoh, but he avoided it. Tiger Mask put Yoh in a submission, which Yano was able to break up.
RPG3K hit duo Knees onto Tiger Mask, then tagged in Yano. Yano of course removed a corner pad the second he entered the ring. Ironically, Yano was the one who ran into the corner. Tiger hit a Crossbody off the top rope for a two count. Later on, Yano escaped a double team move from Tanahashi and Tiger Mask, then gave both of them a low blow when the ref wasn’t looking. Yano hit a roll-up on Tiger Mask for the win. I don’t have any complaints with this match, to be honest.
Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito (Los Ingobernables de Japon) vs. Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (Suzuki-gun)
Los Ingobernables squared off against Suzuki-gun in a 10-man match. After a broken orbital bone, EVIL made his return in this match. When Suzuki-gun came out, Don Callis tried to open an umbrella to avoid Lance Archer’s usual rainfall. Don Callis hightailed it throughout Korakuen Hall, attempting to avoid the water. Minoru continued his mind games against Naito before the match, shoving him multiple times. Naito stayed calm and composed, allowing Suzuki to come as close to him as he wanted. Naito teased starting the match against Suzuki, but decided to not do that.
During the match, Naito spat in Suzuki’s face, in hopes of many further pissing him off. Suzuki eventually snapped, brawling into the crowd. This brawl was a nasty one, stomping over purses and bags on the floor. Suzuki used chairs, and choked Naito out with a guardrail. Late in this match, Naito was attacking Suzuki outside the ring. The tables turned. While this happened, SANADA and Lance Archer were battling in the ring. BUSHI and Kanemaru got the hot tag. BUSHI did a dropkick then the Bushiroonie. Takahashi and BUSHi did a double team for a two count. BUSHI went to the second rope for an MX, but Desperado countered it. Everyone started flying everywhere.
Kanemura tried for something, but BUSHI dodged it. EVIL got tagged in and hit Kanemaru with a Powerbomb for a two count. EVIL hit Kanemura with a Lariat for another two count. EVIL hit Magic Killer with SANADA, but KES came in to break it up. EVIL reversed a Killer Bomb, then SANADA dove to the outside onto both of them. EVIL hit Everything Is EVIL onto Kanemaru for the win. As all of this happened, Naito and Suzuki were battle inside the arena. We saw them go past the backstage press area.
Wow, the final minutes of this match were AMAZING. I’m loving every single second of this Los Ingobernables de Japon versus Suzuki-gun feud. After the match, everyone left had a staredown. Lance Archer attacked a Young Lion, then went to the English Commentary booth to tell them that they will get the tag titles soon. He also mentioned that Whataburger is better than In-And-Out, I guess.
One more thing to note about this match, was that it felt right that EVIL was given the finish to this match. This was my favourite match of the night, with Young Lions coming second.
Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. (Suzuki-gun) vs. YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada (CHAOS)
The commentary team welcomed back Rocky Romero for the main event. The main event was Taichi and Zack Sabre Jr. versus YOSHI-HASHI and Kazuchika Okada. The purpose of this match is to hype up the Sunday match between ZSJ and Okada on Sunday. Before the match, ZSJ’s manager cut a promo. Okada was accompanied by Gedo, who cut his own promo before the match.
This match was pretty good, and ended with ended with ZSJ putting YOSHI-HASHi in a crazy move. ZSJ mocked Okada after the match by patting him on the face. I liked this main event. It wasn’t anything fantastic, but was still enjoyable. ZSJ getting the win was a good idea since he’s on fire from the New Japan Cup. After the match, ZSJ’s manager cut another promo. Gedo came in the ring, and got put in a move by ZSJ. They forced Gedo to verbally tap out. As the promo was finishing, ZSJ was flipping off the crowd while holding Okada’s title. This wraps up the second Road To Sakura Genesis show.