In celebration of his forty year professional wrestling career, 1,569 come to Korakuen Hall to be a part of the retirement ceremony in honor of Super Strong Machine. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi and Ryusuke Taguchi will all honor Super Strong Machine by putting their own special takes on his classic ring attire.
Yujiro Takahashi & Taiji Ishimori def. KUSHIDA & Ren Narita @ 8:35 via Yujiro Pimp Juice on Narita – **1/4
Whenever you get an interaction between KUSHIDA and Ishimori you know you’re in for a good time. Narita showed some good fire here too, made Yujiro look like a chump on a couple occasions. Ishimori ducked a KUSHIDA handspring back elbow and hit his own handspring enziguri. Ultimately, this was always going to result in Narita taking the loss but he looked pretty strong face to face with Yujiro.
Makabe, Liger & Tiger def. Henare, Oka & Umino @ 7:56 via Makabe King Kong Knee Drop on Oka – **1/4
Umino started off white hot, attacking Makabe before the bell, hitting a double dropkick on both Liger and Tiger, a dropkick from the top rope on Tiger and applying a Boston Crab. Liger distracted Umino, forcing him to relinquish the hold and allowing Tiger, along with the other veterans, to take control. They beat down the young lion with boot in the corner and a throw into the guardrails before Liger locked in the Romero Special. Oka came in to make the save but ate a dropkick from Tiger for his effort. Henare eventually got the tag and gave Liger a Samoan Drop but the veteran cut him off on his way to the top rope and gave Henare a suplex from the top. Oka came in and hit a few nice suplexes on Makabe but couldn’t keep him down. Makabe delivered a couple lariats and finished with the knee drop. Started extremely hot and faded quickly there after.
Desperado, Kanemaru & TAKA def. Rocky, YOH & SHO @ 6:50 via Desperado El Es Culero on Rocky – **1/2
Suzuki-Gun jump from behind but SHO is ready to fire back with some dropkicks and is joined by his team with more dropkicks to Kanemaru. Of course, Suzuki-Gun take it to the outside to even the score. Kanemaru does his guardrail leg drop and draping apron dropkick on YOH, who finds the strength to dragon screw each member of SZKG. Rocky and Desperado have a chop battle, Rocky hits a springboard dropkick while SHO and YOH launch themselves over the top with planchas. Kanemaru evades the plancha and sprays Rocky with the whiskey and Desperado rolls him up for the win. Good pace from start to finish.
All of the G1 Climax tournament matches and dates are announced. Here are the main events.
July 14: Kazuchika Okada vs Jay White
July 15: Kenny Omega vs Tetsuya Naito
July 16: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Jay White
July 19: Kenny Omega vs Hirooki Goto
July 20: Kazuchika Okada vs Hangman Page
July 21: Tomohiro Ishii vs Hirooki Goto
July 22: Kazuchika Okada vs Togi Makabe
July 26: Kota Ibushi vs SANADA
July 27: Kazuchika Okada vs YOSHI-HASHI
July 28: Kota Ibushi vs Tomohiro Ishii
July 30: Kazuchika Okada vs Michael Elgin
August 1: Kota Ibushi vs Hirooki Goto
August 2: Kazuchika Okada vs Minoru Suzuki
August 4: Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii
August 5: Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL
August 8: Tetsuya Naito vs SANADA
August 10: Kazuchika Okada vs Hiroshi Tanahashi
August 11: Kenny Omega vs Kota Ibushi
August 12: Finals
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano def. Takashi Iizuka & Taichi @ 9:36 via Yano Roll Up on Iizuka – *3/4
When Taichi and Ishii were in the ring together, the match was good. When it was Yano and Iizuka, not so much. I men this not in terms of style but execution. Both Yano and izuka were not on the same page and had some really rough moments. Taichi and Ishii on the other hand did some great things. The section of the crowd jeering Taichi were shouted down by a louder section cheering on Taichi. The two laid in some good shots, Taichi with a nasty enziguri and Ishii was an even nastier headbutt. Iizuka blocked one low blow but couldn’t block the second and found himself rolled up and defeated. Both Iizuka and Taichi throw young lions all over the place before stomping to the back.
Okada, White, Goto & Y-H def. Juice, Elgin, Cobb & Finlay @ 14:51 via White Blade Runner on Juice – ***
Cobb and Goto start off by trying to out-hoss the other and this is something I can watch all day. Unfortunately that ends pretty quickly but Okada and Finlay are tagged in and Okada continues going berzerk. He drives Finlay down over and over, screaming in the process. All of Chaos take turns beating up Finlay until he lands a dropkick and tags Elgin, who cleans house. Goto eats several kicks from Elgin before Cobb is tagged back in and then is served with forearms and lariats. Okada comes in to make the save but instead Cobb drops him with an incredible swinging suplex. This distraction gives Goto time to regroup and avoid Cobb’s standing moonsault. White and Juice are tagged in and Juice fires up with some corner lariats and a spinebuster. The match breaks down with everyone running in for a big spot. White gets out of the Pulp Friction by attacking the injured hand of Juice and planting him with a Blade Runner. No doubt the title match between these two should rule.
Super Strong Machine Ace, Super Strong Machine Buffalo, Super Strong Machine Don, Super Strong Machine Justice & Super Strong Machine No. 69 def. Naito, EVIL, SANADA, Hiromu & BUSHI @ 15:34 via No. 69 Devil Windmill Suplex on BUSHI – ***1/4
This match was designed to celebrate the career of Super Strong Machine. The man is a forty year pro with a history that spans across multiple continents. His last official in ring performance was back in 2014 and has been a trainer in the New Japan dojo since but he officially decided to call it a career here tonight. In his honor, Tanahashi, Nagata, Tenzan, Nakanishi and Taguchi all dressed up as their own personal version of the legend. This was a very goofball match but means a lot to those who are in and follow the history of New Japan. Super Strong Machine, along with his manager KY Wakamatsu, made an appearance at ringside.
Everyone was having fun, including Naito who was booed loudly for trying to unmask his “mysterious” opponents. Naito tried to attack SSM but was cut off by KY and Tenzan. Later on, SSM laid Naito out with his Machine Lariat which turned Naito inside out. Both Nakanishi and Tanahashi hit Machine’s signature senton on BUSHI before Taguchi finished him with Machine’s finish, the Devil Windmill Suplex. Lighthearted match that even people who don’t know Super Strong Machine can appreciate. Everyone was just out there to have a good time and remember the past as we see a chapter come to an end.
The post-match celebration saw members of Super Strong Machine’s various stables throughout his career greet him with flowers and smiles. Machine tells the crowd he recently lost his wife of twenty-eight years to cancer earlier this year and that he wants to show his gratitude to her. He says he has no ill will towards wrestling and the life it gave him but his body no longer allows him to perform. He now is looking forward to see what life has in store for him.
Heartwarming conclusion to a long, storied career. Even if you know nothing about Super Strong Machine going in, you’ll find yourself appreciating what he meant to the long time New Japan fans. I recommend checking out the main event and seeing how much fun everyone had together.
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