Another “Road To” show from the best place to view Pro Wrestling, Korakuen Hall. Its honestly impressive how many tickets have been sold to these shows with the smaller tour and the cards being announced the day before the show. Anyway, the card for the 6th’s is as follows:
– Alex Coughlin vs Michael Richards – Young Lion Cup
– Clark Connors vs Karl Fredericks – Young Lion Cup
– Yuya Uemura, Shota Umino, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Satoshi Kojima, Yota Tsuji, and Ren Narita
– Tomoaki Honma, YOSHI-HASHI, and Tomohiro Ishii vs Guerillas of Destiny, and Yujiro Takahashi
– Birds of Prey and Toa Henare vs El Phantasmo, Bad Luck Fale, and Taiji Ishimori
– Rocky Romero, Kazuchika Okada, and Hirooki Goto, vs BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, and SANADA
– EVIL and Tetsuya Naito vs Jay White and Chase Owens
– Ryusuke Taguchi and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr.
Alex Coughlin Def. Michael Richards in 6m13s with a Bridging Indian Deathlock.(**¾)
The opening match between two fairly new wrestlers in NJPW as Alex Coughlin takes on Michael Richards who both sit on 2 points in the Young Lion Cup. The match starts out quite slowly with jockeying for position and a chop battle that Michael Richards eventually puts a stop to with a kick to the gut. However Coughlin comes back with a shoulder tackle and quite a few chops. Both men’s chests are red raw at this point. Coughlin bridges out of a headscissors beautifully into a form of a sharpshooter. More chops by Coughlin and now there is a permanent HANDPRINT in Michael Richards chest. Dropkick and a Boston Crab by Coughlin is almost enough as Richards scampers away to the ropes. However a Side Russian Leg Sweep followed up by a Beautiful Indian Deathlock by Coughlin will finish the match as Richards taps, moving Coughlin to 4 points.
Decent young lion match, the crowd wasn’t really into it though which kinda worsened the match quality for me.
Karl Fredericks Def. Clark Connors in 7m06s with a Half Boston Crab (****)
Second match now as two more Young Lions go at it, however these two are a bit more well known as Clark Connors face’s Karl Fredericks, Clark Connors on 2 points and Karl Fredericks on 0. This match starts out a lot more technical than the opener with the Shibata influence being clear in the two. Some great chain wrestling by the two which eventually evolves into a sprint which culminates with Fredericks almost getting caught out with his dropkick almost being turned into a Boston crab. Connors gets the early advantage by going after Fredericks taped up Shoulder. Chops and forearms however only seem to wake Karl up as he “Hulks up” and delivers some great European uppercuts to Connors. The striking match is cut short though a Connors once again goes after the injured shoulder. A hip toss is smoothly reversed into a pin by Fredericks for a two.
Great selling by Karl, this guy really does just have the “it” factor if I’m honest. Bodyslam by Karl is reversed into a roll up for a late two. These two are great together. The second attempt at a bodyslam is successful though and Karl gets a stomp in for good measure. JOHN WOO shotgun dropkick nearly kills Connors. Corner splash by Karl and he is definitely in control before Connors comes back with a brutal spear from the corner. Striking match between the two is stopped when Connors runs into a great Double A spine buster by Karl Fredericks. He then transitions into a Half Boston crab that almost turned into a half lion tamer, Connors has no choice but to tap, moving Karl Fredericks up to 2 points.
This match RULED, go check it out if you can.
Ren Narita, Satoshi Kojima, and Yota Tsuji Def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuya Uemura, and Shota Umino in 11m41s when Ren Narita pinned Yuya Uemura with a bridging Belly to Belly Suplex (**)
Similar match to yesterday just with a few different young lions, the veterans stay the same though. Kojima and Tenzan start again, with the crowd firmly into this. Clean break once again broken by Tenzan. The rudeness is replicated though as Kojima steals Tenzan’s own Mongolian Chops. I’m kinda happy when the old guard decided to tag out to the young lions. This time its Ren Narita and Shota Umino respectively. Intensity by both men results in some very good back and forth grappling in between a few shoulder tackles. Shota gets the early advantage over Ren with a dropkick to a seated Narita. Now Ren and Shota tag out, Shota somewhat unwillingly, to Uemura and Tsuji. The youngest of the young lions in terms of length of stay. Another great few moments of technical wrestling as Uemura gets the upper hand there.
Tenzan’s team begin to isolate Tsuji and put the boots to him. Tsuji manages to fight through a blistering chop by Umino to bodyslam him and tag in to Kojima who cleans house! Machine gun chops follows and a big ICCHAUZO BAKAYARO followed by a top rope elbow that popped the crowd. Shota manages to get away and tags in Tenzan who gets his own back with some mongolian chops of his own. OK BRAINBUSTA. Koji Cutter by Kojima and they tag in Uemura and Narita respectively. Uemura with the power edge but can’t seem to get his arm hooked belly to belly throw on Narita. Narita hits Shota with his belly to belly which gives Uemura enough time to recover to hit his running dropkick in the corner and a standard Belly to belly. Uemura gets caught though coming off the ropes with Narita’s gorgeous bridging Belly to Belly suplex and that’s it.
Fun match, nothing special, good showing by the best young lions, Ren and Shota.
Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, and Yujiro Takahashi Def. Tomohiro Ishii, Tomoaki Honma, and YOSHI HASHI in 11m32s when Tanga Loa pinned Tomoaki Honma with ApeShit(**)
This match is a preview of the IWGP Tag Team Title match that apparently is happening when G.O.D defend against Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI man the Tag divisions need more teams. Faint Yoshi Hashi chants as he appears to start the match against Tama Tonga until the rest of BC come in and attack everyone. G.O.D with some good tag team moves to Ishii and YH before the CHAOS boys get their own back. Honma comes in and lays out Yujiro and Tama, he hits the KOKESHI on Yujiro but gets too big for his boots and misses the follow up one on Tama. YH attacks Jado and BC drag him out to the floor to attack.
Yoshi Hashi gets back in at 11 and this is when the heels start to go to work isolating YH, smart move. Tama Tonga with a missed “BwainBushta” and a mule kick by YH gives him the space he needs to tag into Ishii who gets the better of the Guerillas. Ishii starts to hit his chop and forearm combo on Tama but Tama is saved by his brother who go to town on Ishii. Tongan Twist by Tama onto Ishii for a two count. Ishii with a suplex on Tanga Loa though as he tags into Honma! Who gets the better of Tanga Loa and hits him with KOKESHI!!! Loa tanks 2 lariats before nailing a lariat of his own on Honma after a Kendo Stick assist by Jado. Rikishi Driver by Tanga Loa after that and that’s all she wrote.
This did its job, nothing great in the match but it wasn’t bad at all either.
Bad Luck Fale, El Phantasmo, and Taiji Ishimori Def. Will Ospreay, Robbie Eagles, and Toa Henare in 10m12s when Bad Luck Fale pinned Toa Henare with the Grenade (***)
Birds of Prey in NJPW I will never tire of saying that. This is a preview of the IWGP Jr Tag Team titles, it’s a bit weird this being on after the HW tag team titles preview but oh well. Ishimori and Eagles start as the crowd is firmly behind Robbie. Duel clean breaks by these two before Eagles almost had Ishimori in his finisher. Eagles with a great innovative arm drag in the early goings. BoP with some frequent tags which results in a double stomp and a chop to the arm of Ishimori. Henare is tagged in and gets an eye rake for his troubles.
This allows BC to get the advantage and isolate henare, probably a smart decision. Some incredible innovative back rakes in this one. Fale is stopped from ascending the ropes and causing another earthquake in Japan by Henare who breaks free of the Jr tag champs and fights back. Henare manages to tag in Ospreay who cleans house to the delight of the fans in attendance, and with the help of Robbie Eagles takes out Fale as well. Some great double team work by the Birds of Prey.
A double top rope spanish fly is once again prevented by Ishimori who takes out Eagles. Ospreay and ELP have a great back and forth culminating in ELP getting the upper hand with an airplane spin neckbreaker. Reset tag now as Ospreay and ELP tag into Henare and Fale respectively. Henare fails to lift Fale thanks to interference by Ishimori. A quick comeback from Henare ends with a great Lariat actually taking the big man off his feet for a 2 count. However, an ELP distraction and a Fale Grenade spells the end for Henare.
Fun match, built up the Jr tag belts match nicely, I like how BoP are only pulling out the double spanish fly on big occasions.
Shingo Takagi, SANADA, and BUSHI Def. Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, and Rocky Romero in 11m35s with Shingo Takagi pinning Rocky Romero with Made in Japan
Surprisingly enough Okada and SANADA did not start this match, this time its Shingo starting against Goto. Lots of strikes to start things off with Shingo and Goto being really equal in most departments. BUSHI tags himself in and goes to work strangling Goto as he does only for Goto to reverse it into a Saito Suplex. After that the fight went to the floor for a good few minutes. Back in the ring the faces get the upper hand on BUSHI. Eventually BUSHI escapes CHAOS’ grasp with a second rope Huricanrana on Okada, and makes the tag to SANADA. Now the Fans are into it as IWGP Champ and challenger are going at it.
SANADA getting the early upper hand with a great standing dropkick and Plancha to Okada. A lot of countering here as they both know each other’s big moves before Okada catches SANADA with a flapjack. Okada uses the space to tag into Goto who goes after SANADA. However SANADA gets the upper hand with a counter to Goto’s corner spinning wheel kick, SANADA tags in Shingo who goes after his future opponent. MENTAL forearm and lariat exchanges make me incredibly excited for their G1 rematch. Ushigoroshi gives Goto the advantage at the end of the exchange. Rocky gets tagged in and goes for his Forever clothesline on Shingo only to be countered before he gets to his third.
Tornado DDT and a two count by Rocky makes up for it though. However it doesn’t take long for the rest of LIJ to group up on Rocky. Goto saves Rocky from Last of the Dragon before getting taken out by SANADA. Once the ring is clear Rocky hits a great standing Shiranui for a 2 count. Unfortunately, a pop up DVD, Pumping Bomber, and Made in Japan will finish off Rocky’s dream.
Tetsuya Naito and EVIL Def. Jay White and Chase Owens in 10m43s with EVIL submitting Chase Owens with a Scorpion Deathlock (****)
A lot of banter surrounds these two, in the end as long as Gedo doesn’t get involved(ha.. Ha.. sigh) this should be a battle of who can annoy the other more, and I’m completely here for it. The beginning of this match made me break down with laughter, Chase jumps the gun and starts to beat on EVIL, White and Naito meanwhile just stop doing anything, look at the two men fighting on the ground and look at each other like “tut what are we going to do with these two”. However the good vibes can only last so long as Naito cheap shots White as he goes for an LIJ fistbump. Naito with a quick Tope Tranquilo to annoy White. This doesn’t work as he tags out to Chase, Naito also tags out and EVIL runs out of the blocks and destroys Owens.
A Gedo distraction however gives the heels the upper hand as they isolate EVIL. Chase uses Milano’s own EVIL scythe to stab at EVIL with before nicely giving it back to Milano. Jay White mocking Naito and LIJ to the boos of the crowd is the best. After Jay Whites’ failed attempts to stop him, EVIL finally manages to tag in Naito. Naito picks up White and after consoling him a little, begins to beat on the IC challenger including hitting a great single leg dropkick and an arm drag. Naito with a trademark spit into the face of Jay White before getting drilled with a ddt off White which gives him space to tag to Chase.
Shining Wizard missed by Chase that allows Naito to hit a neckbreaker on him. After two lots of double teaming by each team, White hits a spinning brainbuster and Chase hits a Shining Wizard for a 2 count. Package Piledriver is blocked by EVIL and that gives Naito the time to come in to make the save and also hit a ‘Rana on White. A multitude of strikes followed up with a Scorpion Deathlock on Chase from EVIL will finish this one.
5* for comedy 3* for match quality means 4* overall I loved this.
Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr Def. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Ryusuke Taguchi in 14m47s with Zack Sabre Jr pinning Ryusuke Taguchi with a Zack Driver (***¾)
Before the match started, there was already a commotion as ZSJ was coming to the ring, but there was no sight of his tag partner Minoru Suzuki, this is because Suzuki had other plans. Those plans were to attack Jushin Liger! Suzuki destroyed Liger before the match, including giving him a Gotch Style Piledriver on a Chair! This caused Tanahashi and Taguchi to rush down to the ring to stop them so the match got underway quickly.
After Tana and Taguchi came down the match flew into chaos with the faces doing a double plancha to the outside on the heels. The bell finally rings as Tanahashi and ZSJ “start” the match. Tana gets the advantage early on with a well placed dropkick and chop block to the knee. Make a wish and double hip attack give the Taguchi Japan duo the advantage at the moment. However thanks to a Suzuki interference ZSJ doesn’t have to do much to be back in control as Suzuki drags Taguchi to the outside for a brawl.
After Suzuki is finished killing Taguchi the count starts and Taguchi only barely manages to get into the ring for the count of 19. This may have not been the best decision as father and son Suzuki and ZSJ go to work swapping submission holds on the Funky Weapon’s 4 limbs, Zack follows up with some shoot kicks to the rear end that sounded awful before tagging in to Suzuki. Taguchi tries to fight back but the isolation continues as Suzuki floors Taguchi with one forearm. European Uppercuts to the Rear end don’t seem to faze Taguchi as he begins to hulk up.
Tanking these shots like it’s something he does regularly… A hip attack to both Suzuki and ZSJ gives Taguchi the space he needs to tag out to Tanahashi. Tana tanks a forearm from Suzuki before rocking him with a paintbrush slap and flipping senton. Suzuki manages to get back control with a sleeper as he tags into ZSJ who begins to trade octopus locks with Tanahashi. The Ace manages to reverse a Zack Driver into a twist and shout and hit a Slingblade for a two.
Tanahashi goes up top and looks to hit his High Fly Flow but Zack gets his knees up and transitions into a submission. Tana catches a PK attempt and turns it into a Dragon screw leg whip that looked amazing. This allows him to tag into Taguchi who sends ZSJ to hip attack city. The two legal men trade ankle locks before Zack manages to get to the ropes for a break. A Bumaye is reversed into a choke that looked as smooth as butter. Suzuki and Tana re-join the fun only for Zack to hit a Zack Driver on both Tana and Taguchi to pick up the win.
This was a great match that didn’t overstay its welcome. The stuff before the match was also great with Suzuki setting up for his (hopefully) WK match with Jushin Liger. Really fun show, much better than yesterdays.