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NJPW ‘Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2019’ (4.23.19) Results & Review

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The second of three nights at Korakuen Hall draws 1,577 fans on the Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2019. Today we see this year’s Best of the Super Juniors lineup announced. No titles on the line but two big tag matches close out the show as the LIJ vs Chaos 10-man tags are split into two matches. In one, Kota Ibushi teams with Tomohiro Ishii and SHO to take on Tetsuya Naito, EVIL and Shingo Takagi. The other sees the main event spot as Kazuchika Okada and YOH take on SANADA and BUSHI. Let’s get started!

Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima & Toa Henare def. Shota Umino, Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura @ 9:44 via Henare TOA Bottom on Uemura – **3/4
Tsuji fire forearms at Kojima before the bell and dropkicks Kojima to the mat at the bell. He clears the apron and shoulders the veteran to the mat. Kojima returns the shoulder, clears the young lions off the apron and goes to work on Tsuji. Nagata continues the work with boots in the corner and a kick across the back. Umino breaks a Boston Crab which leads to a forearm exchange with Nagata on the floor. Kojima allows Tsuji to fire three overhands before again flooring the young lion. He sends him to the corner for the machine gun chops and lands the elbow drop but Uemura breaks the count. Uemura is sent out and they continue on Tsuji. Nagata comes in for a corner knee lift but Tsuji charges in with a spear and tags in Umino. The young lion surges on all three, dropkicks Kojima out of the ring and after some effort lands a brainbuster on Nagata. They trade forearms, Nagata ducks a lariat and turns it into an exploder. Henare and Uemura are in next and the young lion grounds Henare with a running forearm. Tsuji does in for help, they land a combination in the corner, punctuated by a dropkick from Uemura. His Boston Crab is broken up but Umino helps Uemura get a belly-to-belly. It’s not enough though as Henare is quick to rebound with a headbutt and TOA Bottom for the win.

Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado def. Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger, Tiger Mask IV & Ren Narita @ 9:31 via Desperado Pinche Loco on Narita – **1/2
Suzuki and Liger shove each other before the bell and Narita comes in at Suzuki with a forearm. They dump Suzuki-Gun and isolate Suzuki in the corner. Liger looks for a Romero Special but Desperado is there to break it up and takes the spinning backbreaker for his troubles. Desperado bails out and Liger looks to follow but Suzuki sweeps the leg and brings him to the floor. Suzuki-Gun attack with chairs and Suzuki grabs a pen from the commentary table to jab into Liger’s eye. They meet back in the ring and exchange overhands. Suzuki collapses Liger and applies a knee bar while Suzuki-Gun clear the apron. All three give Liger the boots but one winds up finding Desperado and Liger delivers a shotei to Kanemaru and tags Tiger. Dropkick, followed by a diving headbutt from Tiger. Desperado cuts off the Tiger Driver and Kanemaru begins targeting the knee. Tiger brings in Narita and the young lion lands an early belly-to-belly on Desperado but Suzuki-Gun charge the ring to end his flurry. Still, he manages another belly-to-belly, this time bridging. Suzuki breaks the pin applies the sleeper and Desperado spears Narita while in the hold. Narita is then finished by Desperado’s Pinche Loco. Suzuki walks off to the back without acknowledging Liger.

Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & TAKA Michinoku def. YOSHI-HASHI, Tomoaki Honma & Rockey Romero @ 11:08 via Taichi Holy Emperor’s Crucifix Tomb on Romero – **1/2
Y-H dishes out a flurry on Sabre, puncuated by headhunter. Suzuki-Gun try rushing in but Y-H takes care of them too. This allows Sabre time to recover as he applies a kimura before following his stablemates to the floor to continue the attack. He brings Y-H back in and tags TAKA who further brings focus to the arm. Taichi stomps the arm, Y-H fires up but Taichi quickly goes back on the attack. Sabre applies an armbreaker through the ropes while TAKA distracts the referee. Y-H digs deeps and hoists TAKA up for a suplex and tags in Honma. Honma clears the apron and lands a DDT on TAKA. He follows with heavy chops and a lariat but misses the kokeshi. Romero comes in to help Honma, hitting the forever clotheslines and the two simultaneously kokeshi TAKA. More heavy chops from Honma, this time on Taichi, followed up by a kokeshi rocket. He tags in Romero who fires off a flurry of ranas on each member of Suzuki-Gun. They run a train on Taichi, ending in a swinging DDT from Romero. Taichi turns Sliced Bread into position for Last Ride but Romero escapes. Taichi sends him to the corner and hits the enziguri and buzzsaw kick, Y-H breaks the pin. Romero ranas out of a Last Ride, catches Taichi in a pin but Taichi escapes and drops him with an Ax Bomber, superkick and finishes with Holy Emperor’s Crucifix Tomb. Y-H attempts an attack on Sabre post-match but Sabre sniffs it out and catches him in an armbreaker.

Juice Robinson, Togi Makabe, Toru Yano & Mikey Nicholls def. Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens @ 8:11 via Mikey Bomb on Owens – **
Tama brings Jado in and tells him to lose the cane. Jado refuses and gives each Yano, Makabe, Juice and Nicholls a shot. Jado and Tama hug as the bell sounds. Yano unties the turnbuckle pad, Tama goes flying into the exposed buckle but Loa is there to cut off further attack from Yano. Makabe comes in with a double lariat on G.O.D. and both he and Yano unload corner punches until Jado comes in with the cane. Bullet Club isolate Makabe in their corner, Fale unloads some shots but Makabe asks for more. He evades a splash from Fale and tags in Juice. Nicholls follows Juice in and the two clean house. Juice lands the cannonball but his back connects with one of the expose buckles. He points at Yano who shrugs. Fale is able to fire back and tags in Owens. Juice takes down Owens with ease and tags Nicholls who lands the sliding lariat but G.O.D. come in for the save. They get cleared out by Makabe lariats and a pair from Juice and Nicholls take Fale to the floor. Owens looks for the package piledriver but Nicholls escapes and Juice comes in with the Left Hand of God followed by a Mikey Bomb for the win. Yano once again takes off with the tag belts. Juice reapplies the turnbuckle pad to the corner.

Best of the Super Juniors 26
Ryusuke Taguchi
Tiger Mask IV
Rocky Romero
SHO
YOH
Will Ospreay
Taiji Ishimori
El Desperado
TAKA Michinoku
Yoshinobu Kanemaru
BUSHI
Flip Gordon
Titan
Marty Scurll
Dragon Lee
Robbie Eagles
Jonathan Gresham
Bandido
Shingo Takagi
El Phantasmo

Hirooki Goto, Ryusuke Taguchi & Dragon Lee def. Jay White, Hikuleo & Taiji Ishimori @ 10:45 via Goto GTR on Hikuleo – **3/4
Goto comes in with forearms before the bell. White and Hikuleo unload on Goto with heavy chops in the corner. Goto returns with a flurry of forearms and Taguchi has to pull Goto away to bring him out of his trance. Taguchi delivers a series of hip attacks on White but he manages to sidestep one and Taguchi goes falling to the floor. Bullet Club go on the attack as Ishimori unties Lee’s mask while White slams young lions on Goto. Hikuleo delivers a chop to Taguchi who immedately pleads for him to stop. Hikuleo gives him another followed by a suplex and tags in Ishimori. Taguchi wants a hip attack but Ishimori turns two into an atomic drop before finally landing one. White stops the Taguchi tag, eats an enziguri for his troubles, Goto sends White to the rails and Taguchi tags Lee. A quick exchange between Lee and Ishimori ends in a low dropkick from Lee followed by a handspring enziguri from Ishimori. Hikuleo pie faces Lee and tells him to bring it. Lee charges but Hikuleo drops him with a boot. He charges at Lee, eats a boot of his own followed by a dropkick. Everyone rushes the ring, White connects with a Saito suplex on Goto followed by a spinning brainbuster. Taguchi hits a springboard hip attack on Hikuleo but White sends him out. Goto catches White with an Ushigoroshi and has a lariat exchange with Hikuleo. He picks Hikuleo up for Ushigorishi and finishes with GTR.

Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & Shingo Takagi def. Kota Ibushi, Tomohiro Ishii & SHO @ 14:30 via Naito Destino on SHO – ***1/2
Ishii and EVIL stare holes into each other, Shingo turns his back to SHO and Naito can’t be bothered to make it to his feet. Ishii has to be pulled to his corner before SHO and Shingo can start. They shove each other and lock up. Shingo takes him to the corner and delivers a chop. SHO makes him eat a boot and they trade shoulder tackles. Shingo is taken down with a knee lift and SHO gives him a kick across the back. They trade forearms, SHO is rocked and tries a dropkick but Shingo bounces off the ropes and comes in hot with a shoulder tackle and both tag out. Ibushi catches Naito’s boot, dishes some forearms, Naito eye gouges and they trade armdrags for ranas. Ibushi gives out back elbows in the corner, sends Naito over the top and covers for the impending slingshot dropkick but Naito lands on his feet and waits for Ibushi to uncover before connecting.

LIJ clear the apron and go to work on Ibushi. Shingo and Ibushi trade forearms for chops and boots for boots before Shingo wins with a forearms followed by a suplex. EVIL grinds Ibushi down with a chinlock and Ishii comes in from behind with a kick to the back. He makes his way back to the apron but EVIL follows and they trade forearms. Naito lands a single-leg dropkick on Ibushi and boots his face into the mat. Ibushi fires up, ducks a back elbow and takes Naito down with a dropkick. LIJ clear the apron, Ibushi connects with a double overhead kick and tag Ishii. He charges at EVIL and they trade shoulder tackles. EVIL wins the exchage and attempts the Scorpion Death Lock but Ishii slaps free. EVIL unloads forearms, Ishii asks for more before giving one of his own as well as a suplex. He eats a boot from EVIL but quickly comes back with a powerslam. EVIL responds with a German and the two tag out. Shingo and SHO battle with lariats.

SHO goes for a spear but Shingo puts on the breaks and they battle for a suplex, won by SHO. Shingo backdrops out of a powerbomb, connects with a back elbow and lariat. Naito dropkicks Ibushi to the floor and lands a second rope frankensteiner on SHO. He ducks a springboard dropkick from Ibushi but can’t dodge a lariat. EVIL hits Ibushi with a spinebuster but Ishii clears EVIL. SHO hits Naito with a bridging German, Naito kicks out and Shingo drops SHO with a Pumping Bomber followed by Destino for the win. Ishii pulls EVIL out of the ring and the two trade forearms into the crowd before being separated. Ibushi poses with the IC title on the apron and Naito army crawls to the belt for a closer look.

Kazuchika Okada & YOH def. SANADA & BUSHI @ 16:15 via Okada Rainmaker on BUSHI – ***1/4
BUSHI and YOH start off trading overhands until a YOH hiptoss and dropkick. He rips off BUSHI’s shirt and the two go back to trading overhands. A double overhand takes YOH down and SANADA rushes the ring to push Okada off the apron. Okada charges in and is caught in a backdrop suplex. SANADA dishes out overhands on YOH that send him crashing to the mat. BUSHI comes in with more, YOH begins firing off forearms and BUSHI again takes him down. SANADA back in and drops Okada off the apron. YOH finally drops BUSHI but Okada isn’t there for the tag. YOH is able to fight off the double team with a pair of dragon screws and makes the tag to Okada. SANADA ducks one back elbow but Okada connects with the second and follows with another in the corner and a DDT. He goes to the top for an elbow drop but SANADA evades and catches Okada in the Paradise Lock. Okada pushes out of the TKO, looks Rainmaker, SANADA escapes, Okada rolls into a pin which SANADA kicks out of but is caught with a reverse neckbreaker.

BUSHI and YOH are in, YOH drops BUSHI with a flying forearm and follows with uppercuts in the corner. Pendulum kick, springboard dropkick and Bushiruni from BUSHI. The two trade forearms before BUSHI runs in with a dropkick, sending YOH to the floor and follows him out with a tope suicida. Okada helps out YOH on the floor by booting both BUSHI and SANADA over the rails. YOH climbs up the platform and dives off on all three. He brings in BUSHI for a falcon arrow. The crowd rallies for BUSHI. He fights out of the dragon suplex, both trade enziguris and YOH connects with a superkick. Okada comes in with a John Woo, sets up for the tombstone but SANADA breaks it up and lands the double leapfrog dropkick. YOH sends SANADA over the top and both he and BUSHI trade slaps. YOH stumbles out of the ring, grabs the ropes and comes in with a superkick. Okada applies the Cobra Clutch and swings BUSHI into the Rainmaker for the win. SANADA and Okada meet face to face before SANADA bails outside.

Okada says SANADA is still as cool as ever but there’s still time to heat things up. He says they’ve ended the run LIJ have been on all tour. He hands the mic to YOH who says the good vibes are back in Korakuen and the winds are at their back. In Hiroshima they will defend their tag titles.

Another solid show from Korakuen Hall. Again, the matches you expected to be the highlights turned out to be the highlights. The members of BOSJ were announced but the blocks are yet to be set. YOH was the standout star of the night. He took a great amount of abuse from BUSHI and kept getting back up, not allowing his team to take another loss.

Recommended Matches
Ibushi, Ishii, SHO vs Naito, EVIL, Shingo
Okada & YOH vs SANADA & BUSHI

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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