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NJPW ‘Road to New Beginning’ 2.5.18 Results & Review

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New Japan Pro-Wrestling returns to Korakuen Hall to build anticipation for Saturday’s New Beginning in Osaka which will feature six singles matches, the most you’ll see on any NJPW show aside from possibly a Wrestle Kingdom. Tonight, LIJ faced off against Chaos in a 5-on-5 Elimination Match and we also had two special singles matches. Let’s discuss more below.

Liger, Tiger & Taguchi def. Umino, Yagi & Narita @ 7:17 via Taguchi Dodon on Umino
Each of the young lions showed fire and delivered a dropkick or two for their troubles. Narita stepped up to Liger and was quickly swallowed up. Yagi landed some strikes on Tiger but was eventually tossed aside. Umino received the big hot tag and showcased the most, even getting a near fall on Taguchi. Firey opener but the young lions were unable to overcome.

Yujiro & HIKULEO def. Nakanishi & Oka @ 6:07 via Yujiro Pimp Juice on Oka
Really strong showcase for Oka who had a throw, suplex and brain buster. He had the crowd wowed by his feat of strength when lifted up HIKULEO. Everything worked perfectly for the match they laid out.

Hiroyoshi Tenzan def. Katsuya Kitamura @ 9:43 via Anaconda Vice
Although they started off at a nice pace, they ended up falling off during the second half. At the beginning they exchanged some impressive shoulder tackles and a nice little chop battle. Once Tenzan started wearing down Kitamura, down went the match. There was a nice shoutout to Kojima with the elbow pad throw and there was also a nostalgic feel to watching Tenzan in a singles match so it wasn’t a complete loss.

Romero, YOH & SHO def. Taichi, Desperado & TAKA @ 10:37 via YOH & SHO 3K on TAKA
The first half consisted of team SZKG wearing down SHO by attacking the bandaged back as a result of 3K’s match against the Young Bucks last weekend. Once Rocky got the tag, the playfield was evened and they overcame. Fair match that saw 3K continue digging deep in order to show their dominance in the division.

Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano def. Juice Robinson & Toa Henare @ 8:54 via Ishii Brainbuster on Henare

I’m very happy to have had another taste of Ishii and Henare after seeing their first meeting in a tag back in December. You can tell Ishii is motivated when stepping in the ring with Henare. The two fight each other hard and it’s a lot of fun to watch. For the third match in a row, Ishii and Yano pick up a win. Yano was able to help by tying Juice’s hair to the railing while Ishii took care of Henare.

Makabe, Elgin & KUSHIDA def. Suzuki, Iizuka & Kanemaru @ 14:02 via Makabe King Kong Knee Drop on Kanemaru
Brutal match which saw both Makabe and KUSHIDA mercilessly beaten down by team SZKG. They ended up overcoming but not without some serious struggling. The setup for Suzuki/Makabe is heating up quickly as Makabe has staked his claim for the IC title. I have a sneaking suspicion that this will all be setup for a KUSHIDA payoff somewhere down the road. Call it a hunch.

Jay White def. David Finlay @ 11:41 via Blade Runner
These two have history as previous gaijin young lions of the same class. Numerous times they faced off as young lions and tonight they had their first meeting as graduates from the dojo. Jay White is completely unhinged. At one point he release suplexed Finlay over the top rope, onto the apron. He even brought a chair into the ring and shoved Red Shoes to the mat but was unable to hit Finlay, who on the other hand did have an opportunity to use the chair. He ultimately refused to sink to that level and White used that weakness to score the win. There were several moments here but as a whole the match didn’t connect the way I felt it should have. Post-match White continued the attack before storming off to the back.

5-on-5 Over the Top Rope, Pin or Submission Elimination Match
Naito, EVIL, SANADA, Hiromu & BUSHI def. Okada, Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Ospreay & Gedo @ 21:42 via EVIL Everything Is Evil on YOSHI-HASHI

Elimination Order:
Hiromu @ 10:33 via Over the Top (Self)
Ospreay @ 10:39 via Over the Top (Naito)
Naito @ 12:22 via Over the Top (YOSHI-HASHI)
Gedo @ 13:48 via DQ (Removing BUSHI’s mask)
BUSHI @ 14:05 via Over the Top (YOSHI-HASHI)
SANADA @ 16:58 via Over the Top (Okada)
Okada @ 17:03 via Over the Top (EVIL)
Goto @ 19:24 via Over the Top (EVIL)
YOSHI-HASHI @ 21:42 via Everything Is Evil (EVIL)
A change of pace from the typical Korakuen Hall show and where no one ate any pins (except for YOSHI-HASHI LOL). EVIL scored the last three eliminations, standing tall for his team, heading into he and SANADA’s IWGP Tag Team Championship defense against Okada and Goto tomorrow night. This wasn’t particularly anything great or must-see but nonetheless a welcome change of pace from the norm. The crowd seemed pleased that LIJ came out on top and was a nice way to end the night.

Although there were plenty of nice little moments throughout this show, none of the matches jumped out as something that needs to be seen. No one dropped the ball but it also didn’t feel like anyone picked the ball up either, it was kind of just there. An inoffensive show but nevertheless not one that will jump out at you either.

Recommended Matches
Makabe, Elgin & KUSHIDA vs Suzuki, Iizuka & Kanemaru (Light Recommendation) – Don’t rush out for this one but the sequences between Makabe and Suzuki were really good. Kanemaru looked more motivated than usual and KUSHIDA had some great moments trying to overcome the numbers game from SZKG.

Robert McCauley hasn't miss an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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