New Japan returns with a bang! The Golden Lovers take on Tomohiro Ishii & Will Ospreay in the main event at Korakuen Hall. It’s been nearly a month since the conclusion of the G1 Climax and fans are itching for their next fix of New Japan Pro-Wrestling! They were rewarded with a big time main event but what else happened along the way?
Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi def. Shota Umino & Ren Narita @ 8:17 via Owens Package Piledriver on Narita – **1/4
The young lions are as fiery as ever. They show off a double team combination where Narita hits a jumping elbow drop followed by an Umino dropkick. Yujiro himself got a little fiery and dumped Narita into the crowd onto a fan but quickly apologized for his actions. Narita turned one Package Piledriver into a jack knife pin and that into another pinning combination but when Owens got up he drilled Narita with a Superkick and kept him down with the Package Piledriver. Have I mentioned it’s nice to have New Japan back?
Fale, Tama, Tanga & Ishimori def. Juice, Elgin, Finlay & Yoshida @ 9:35 via Tanga Apeshit on Yoshida – **1/4
Yoshida is who I have my eyes on during the tour. He’s been featured a lot on Lion’s Gate shows and made his main roster debut on the finals of the G1 but this is a full tour. We didn’t see much from him here. He was the last one to tag in, hit a series of impressive overhand chops but was quickly put away by Tanga Loa. Finlay had a nice comedy spot where he tagged in only for Fale to tag in on the other side. When Finlay looked to tag back out, his team all dropped off the apron, forcing him to wrestle Fale. Everyone got a little bit in here but nothing to take away.
Beretta def. Toa Henare @ 8:48 via Dudebuster – **1/2
This was the Beretta return match and while he’s one of my favorites, he’s never been someone the Japanese fans have taken to. He bullied Henare around, disrespecting him with slaps before hanging him out to dry over the guardrails and delivering a running stomp from the apron. Henare fought back by stopping a Satellite DDT and turning it into a suplex but his flurry is ended quickly when Beretta sees him jumping off the top and puts a knee into Henare’s face. Beretta shows ore disrespect, takes them to the top for a Hurricanrana but Henare holds on and rolls through for a nearfall. Again Henare’s face meets Beretta’s knee, this time on an attempted Spear. The knee is followed with a Piledriver for two and immediately into a Dudebuster for a Beretta win. Lukewarm reaction like it always is for Beretta but hopefully they keep the spotlight on him and maybe keep him as a bully. If they aren’t going to cheer him, make them boo him.
Hirooki Goto & Gedo def. Taichi & TAKA Michinoku @ 9:19 via Goto GTR on TAKA – **1/4
Taichi makes his displeasure for Harold Meij known by flipping him off on his way to the ring. Taichi receives his full entrance and makes sure Goto doesn’t get the same, attacking him before the bell. The crowd’s negative chants for Taichi get drowned out by positives one, highlighting how positive this year has been for him. He saved TAKA on multiple occasions by kicking Goto in the face before he could deliver the Ushigoroshi. Goto himself fought out of the Last Ride, hit them both with an Ushigoroshi before finishing TAKA with the GTR. Like all Taichi matches, this was not the most exciting match but I’ll accept it due to the extended break we’ve had from New Japan.
Naito, EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI def. Suzuki, Iizuka, Desperado & Kanemaru @ 12:04 via Magic Killer on Iizuka – ***
Coming off their recent CMLL tour, Naito wears his LIJ shirt representing the Mexican flag. He fakes Suzuki out on an attack before the bell and turns his back. Suzuki doesn’t waste any time and beats Naito down before taking him to the outside and continues the assault. All of Suzuki-Gun follow suit and before LIJ could regroup, Suzuki locked Naito in an armbreaker over the top rope and took him into the crowd where he repeatedly attacked the arm with a chair. He wasn’t done there, Suzuki then applied an armbreaker draping off the apron. He set Naito up for the Gotch-Style Piledriver but Naito fought out, hit the flying forearm and tagged in SANADA. LIJ made quick work on Suzuki-Gun once the action stayed in the ring. EVIL and SANADA dropped Iizuka with the Magic Killer and picked up the win. After the bell, Naito drilled Suzuki with a springboard corner dropkick and hit his pose. When Suzuki was being pulled out of the arena, Naito did another fake out attack, pissing Suzuki off even more. These LIJ versus Suzuki-Gun tags are always a good time and this of course was no different.
Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma @ 13:25 via Yano Roll Up on Honma – **1/2
The return of the “Honma” match, filled with the Kokeshi suspense. He attempted one on Y-H early but Yano swept the leg and pulled him out of the ring. He tried another on Okada, missed and Okada immediately went for one of his own, also missed. We then gets a back-and-forth between Okada and Tanahashi, Makabe comes in with a few Lariats and Honma finally connects with a Kokeshi but the pin is broken up. Yano is drilled with the Kokeshi Rocket but is able to distract the referee and low blow Honma, rolling him up for three. It’s nice to have Honma back.
Golden Lovers def. Tomohiro Ishii & Will Ospreay @ 19:29 via Golden Trigger on Ospreay – ****
Next.Level.Match. This is a match that jumps out on paper. Based off moveset, these four are the most exciting wrestlers on the New Japan roster. They squeezed a lot into twenty minutes, as you’d fully expect from them. The match starts with a stalemate between Ospreay and Ibushi. Ishii and Omega come in and immedately Ishii begins no-selling all of Omega’s offense. Omega forces Ishii to sell a few blistering chops. Ishii cuts off an Omega dive, he and Ospreay double team Omega with Ospreay diving off Ishii’s back. Ospreay fires up with a top rope 619 and running Shooting Star Press but Omega ducks a strike and turns it into a snap Dragon Suplex and Ibushi catches Ishii running in, drilling him with a springboard dropkick. With their opponets bailing to the outside, the Golden Lovers follow them out with Cross Slash, bring Ishii back in and hit him with a You Can’t Escape combination, which included a running Shooting Star Press from Ibushi and back-to-back Moonsaults from both Ibushi and Omega.
Ospreay comes back in and delivers a double overhead kick on both Omega and Ibushi and Ishii lifts Omega into Powerbomb position and Ospreay springboards off the top rope, drilling Omega with a forearm and causing him to collapse to the mat. Ibushi cuts off the Powerbomb and he and Omega follow with a simultaneous overhead kick + V-Trigger combination. They catch Ospreay coming off the top, attempt a Golden Shower but Ishii cuts them off, positions Omega for a Brainbuster but Omega knees himself free and hits a combination Dragon Suplex + V-Trigger. Ishii fights out of the One-Winged Angel, Omega flips through his suplex, Ospreay and Ibushi exchange strikes which leads into Ospreay hitting a float-over Liger Bomb and Robinson Special. Omega cuts him off from further attack on Ibushi put eats a Stundog Millionaire for his trouble, Ibushi catches the Oscutter into a Straightjacket German but Ospreay avoids the V-Trigger. He sets up for another attempt at the Oscutter, this timer Omega flies in with a V-Trigger and Ospreay collapses on the apron. Ibushi does his stalling second rope German and then he and Omega put Ospreay away with the Golden Trigger.
This turned out to be even more amazing than I’d pictured in my head. No wasted motion, no wasted time. Twenty minutes of non-stop insanity. You knew what these guys were going to do and they delivered. Excellent main event.
Although the majority was your typical ‘Road to’ stuff, it’s nice to have New Japan back, isn’t it? The main event was next level and demands to be seen. The LIJ and Suzuki-Gun match, while typical ‘Road to’ style, was also fun. The rest can be skipped unless you’re someone who likes to see everything. Watch this main event.
Golden Lovers vs Ishii & Ospreay
LIJ vs Suzuki-Gun
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