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NJPW ‘Road to the New Beginning’ (1.29.19) Results & Review

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New Japan says farewell to six-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, KUSHIDA, as he makes his way towards a new beginning. His sendoff match sees him take on Hiroshi Tanahashi in a singles match main event at Korakuen Hall. Let’s get started!

Ren Narita def. Yuya Uemura @ 6:24 via Bridging Belly-to-Belly Suplex – **1/2
The young lions came out wanting to prove superiority on the mat. When Narita was unable to put Uemura away with the Boston Crab, the boots came out. His temper allowed Uemura an opening to slide out of a slam, hit a dropkick to he back and fire another one in the corner. Uemura would headbutt his way out of one belly-to-belly but wouldn’t be able to fight off a second. Narita bridged on the suplex for an impressive visual to pick up the win.

Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Manabu Nakanishi def. Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida @ 7:25 via Tenxan Anaconda Vice on Yoshida – **1/4
Even when standing next to Nakanishi, Umino’s size can’t be denied. He’s become very beefy and looked to showcase his power against the monster. This was another match where Yoshida was given an opportunity to tee off on the veterans. He’s not a flashy guy but can really excel when dishing out the heat with strikes. The young lions showed a lot of heart before being put away by the legends.

Yujiro Takahashi & Taiji Ishimori def. Toa Henare & Ryusuke Taguchi @ 8:51 via Yujiro Pimp Juice on Henare – **1/2
Taguchi goofed off on Ishimori but was made to look the fool when Ishimori showcased his speed advantage. Taguchi was quick to establish himself as the power guy, first with a shoulder tackle and followed by a hip attack that sent Ishimori out of the ring. He’d land a Plancha to the outside but again Ishimori used his speed and agility to gain control at a moment’s notice. Yujiro and Henare had strong man interactions, hitting each other with a variety of suplexes before Henare was finished with Pimp Juice.

Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma & Toru Yano def. Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens @ 10:24 via Makabe King Kong Knee Drop on Owens – **3/4
More from ‘Good Guy’ Tama Tonga. He shook hands with Honma before the bell and encouraged him to keep fighting throughout the match. His teammates on the other hand were more concerned with winning. Tama’s new found attitude again put him team at a disadvantage so Jado got involved by not only using the Singapore cane, but also getting inside the ring for an attempted draping DDT on Honma. Makabe put a stop to the madness and won the match for his team with the King Kong Knee Drop. ‘Good Guy’ Tama is a lot of fun in these undercard matches.

Jay White & Bad Luck Fale def. Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI @ 11:52 via Fale Grenade on Y-H – ***
Bullet Club got the jump before the bell and took the match to the outside where they used the rails to their advantage. Y-H was isolated for the beginning portion, every attempted flurry being cut off by the third strike. He eventually would land a mule kick to get him separation to get the tag to Okada. Together, Okada and Y-H were able to get the advantage over their opponents. Y-H even managed to turn a Grenade to a Codebreaker but he wasn’t able to avoid Fale’s grasp long enough to keep his momentum going, soon being finished with an afordementioned Grenade. Afterards, Fale looked to continue the attack so Okada came back in for the save and took a Grenade for his troubles. The young lions put a stop on further punishment to Okada which would earn Uemura a Grenade of his own.

Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI def. Taichi, Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado @ 16:42 via EVIL EVIL on Kanemaru – ***1/4
Taichi once again holds the ropes for Naito’s entrance but Naito sees the attack coming and beats Taichi to the punch. It’s LIJ that start the brawl to the outside. Inside, EVIL goads Sabre into going strike for strike with him. This doesn’t work in Sabre’s favor as he meets the mat after a shoulder tackle. SANADA again tries the Paradise Lock on Suzuki to no avail. Suzuki is one step ahead of SANADA the whole way and locks in the armbreaker over the top rope. Suzuki-Gun take turns both inside and outside the ring, everyone targetting the arm of SANADA. Naito and Taichi do their best to get under each other’s skin, hitting poses and shooting smug looks at one another. This time it was Naito who got the best of Taichi by hitting Destino and opening up the match for his team. Shingo leveled Kanemaru with a Pumping Bomber and EVIL put him down for good with EVIL. After the match Naito comes to Taichi’s aid and mockingly helps ice him down before throwing him to the rails.

Hiroshi Tanahashi def. KUSHIDA @ 24:35 via Texas Cloverleaf – ***1/2
KUSHIDA’s sendoff match couldn’t be against a better opponent. Both Tanahashi and KUSHIDA share a mutual respect for one another so for his final match to be against Tanahashi, this was perfect. The first ten minutes saw the two trading holds back and forth before KUSHIDA opened the match up with slaps across the face of Tanahashi. In response, Tanahashi took KUSHIDA down and repeatedly slammed his against the ring post. The focus of the match become KUSHIDA’s attempts at overcoming the knee. He worked his way into posirion for the Hoverboard Lock only for Tanahashi to work that back into the Texan Cloverleaf. Everything KUSHIDA tried, Tanahashi had an answer for, including a transition from a Back to the Future into a Twist & Shout. On Tanahashi’s way down with a High Fly Flow, KUSHIDA sacrificed his knees, quickly rolled into a Back to the Future which Tanahashi kicked out of but immediately found himself back in the Hoverboard after KUSHIDA sidestepped the Slingblade. Tanahashi powered his way back up, locked KUSHIDA’s arms for a Straightjacket German and sat down in the Texan Cloverleaf to take the win. The two embraced obly for White to come out and ruin the celebration. He went after the knee of Tanahashi before making his way to the back. When Tanahashi got back to his feet, he hugged KUSHIDA and let him have his moment. KUSHIDA told the crowd this wasn’t ‘goodbye’ but instead a ‘see you later’. Korakuen chanted his name as he walked along ringside shaking hands and celebrating with everyone and that’s how we end the night.

Emotional sendoff for KUSHIDA as he’s out to begin the next chapter of his career. He closed out this era on a high note with a strong match against Tanahashi. Certainly not a night that’ll be forgotten anytime soon. That’s the match to watch as is the match between LIJ and Suzuki-Gun.

Recommended Matches
Tanahashi vs KUSHIDA
LIJ vs Suzuki-Gun

Robert McCauley hasn't missed 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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