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NJPW ‘Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2018’ 4.13.18 Results & Review

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The absence of Tetsuya Naito from tonight’s show leads to a weak draw from Korakuen Hall tonight. Not the most eye-popping card on paper but there are sure to be some fun moments along the way as New Japan builds to their next eight title matches. Let’s get this going!

Tetsuhiro Yagi def. Yuya Uemura @ 9:18 via Boston Crab – *3/4
Uemura had his second impressive outing this week in only his second ever televised match. He brought out some serious fire from Yagi who looked determined to not be outdone by the relative rookie. The one negative note I have on Uemura is that he rushed his rope breaks rather than milking the crowd reaction. Other than that his presence and skills were impressive. Only two matches into his career and I’m already behind Uemura.

Manabu Nakanishi def. Tomoyuki Oka @ 8:09 via Argentine Backbreaker – *1/2
Rather than use technique, Ok decided he wanted to out-muscle Nakanishi. He hit a couple of big moves, including a Judo throw and belly-to-belly suplex. For what this was it was good enough and the crowd got behind the young lion. Oka has a lot of technical skill but doesn’t receive the best reactions and I’m not exactly sure why. Whatever the reason, this was a fine match.

Nagata, Tiger & Umino def. Makabe, Taguchi & Narita @ 8:52 via Tiger Driver on Narita **1/4
Matches involving Makabe can be a lot of fun when he’s motivated and this is a perfect case. Taguchi goofing on Nagata is always good for a laugh and the young lions showed good fire. Not a match you should rush to see but if you watch these house shows you’ll find that this was better than average.

Taichi, TAKA & Iizuka def. Rocky, SHO & YOH @ 11:09 via Taichi-shiki Last Ride – *3/4
Seeing TAKA mix it up with YOH got me excited for BOSJ next month. Hot tag Rocky was hitting Hurricanranas left and right. Overall this was some good fun. Taichi used his new heavyweight power to his advantage to pick up the win and after the match continued to be a bully. Perfectly fine for a match involving Iizuka.

Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Toa Henare @ 11:01 via Ishii Brainbuster on Henare – *1/2
Ishii came out sporting his new prize, the RPW British Heavyweight Championship. He won the title from Zack Sabre Jr. during the WrestleMania weekend. The little feud between Henare and Ishii continues and each time it gets a lesser reaction. I’m not sure what it is but Henare doesn’t seem to be connecting right now. The heat segment of Yano and Ishii beating down Henare didn’t work at all. Everyone got into the finishing sequence but this didn’t hit all the marks it was set out to hit.

Bone Soldier package reveals he is returning soon. If you’ve never seen Bone Soldier before, I envy you.

EVIL, SANADA, Hiromu & BUSHI def. Archer, Davey, Desperado & Kanemaru @ 13:51 via BUSHI Inside Cradle on Kanemaru – **
The big moment of the match was BUSHI kicking out of Kanemaru’s Deep Impact finish then cradling him for the win. The chemistry between Himoru and Desperado was highlighted as was Davey Boy’s with EVIL. Everything worked well here as the four teams challenging for their respective division’s tag titles faced off. An angry Archer delivered a chokeslam to Narita after the match.

Elimination Match
Tanahashi, Juice, Finlay, KUSHIDA & Elgin def. Okada, Goto, White, Ospreay & YOSHI-HASHI @ 26:47 via Finlay eliminating White – **3/4

Order of Eliminations:
Ospreay eliminated @ 14:45 via Over the Top
KUSHIDA eliminated @ 14:46 via Over the Top
Y-H eliminated @ 16:46 via Over the Top by Elgin
Elgin eliminated @ 17:57 via Over the Top by Goto
Goto eliminated @ 20:17 via Over the Top by Juice
Juice eliminated @ 20:29 via Over the Top by Okada
Okada eliminated @ 22:45 via Over the Top by Finlay
Tanahashi eliminated @ 22:45 via Over the Top by White
White eliminated @ 26:47 via Over the Top by Finlay

This was a really fun and chaotic match. Everyone looked strong in the ring and then looked like a goofball in elimination. Ospreay sacrificed himself in order to eliminate KUSHIDA. Both teams looked on, neither side interjecting themselves and instead let the two battle it out for a cool moment. After a great lariat battle, Juice came out looking strong on top over Goto. Okada and Tanahashi looked to battle on the apron but both Finlay and White bumped them off and took the spotlight for themselves. The closing battle between White and Finlay was fun and Finlay surprisingly came out on top. Post-match he explained he may not be the strongest or most experienced by he has fighting spirit. The crowd applauded him as he stated he will defeat Jay White next weekend.

This wasn’t the most stacked card and the low attendance numbers showed that to be the consensus among local fans. Still, this was a fun show. No huge match of the year moments but the main event had plenty of nice moments to close out the show. I’ll recommend the main but that’s about all. Other than a couple of underwhelming matches involving lack of crowd support for Henare and Oka, there wasn’t much to dislike but not much to like either. Taguchi goofing on Nagata and the chemistry showcased between various juniors were the only other highlights.

Recommended Matches
Chaos vs New Japan Army – Elimination Match

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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