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NJPW ‘Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2019’ (4.24.19) Results & Review

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The third and final night of the three day run at Korakuen Hall sees 1,660 in attendance for the 30th anniversary of Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger. Known to put the company first, Liger insisted not to be in the main event so instead we’re headlined by the team of Kazuchika Okada and SHO taking on SANADA and Shingo Takagi. Let’s get started!

Satoshi Kojima, Shota Umino & Ren Narita def. Yuji Nagata Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura @ 10:54 via Narita Belly-to-Belly Suplex on Uemura – **3/4
Narita and Uemura meet forehead to forehead before the bell. They push their teammates aside and start the match. They have a short grappling exchange and tag out. Umino and Tsuji are in next but Tsuji goes after Kojima on the apron before grabbing the headlock on Umino. He sends Umino does with a shoulder tackle, does the same with Narita and again with Kojima. Umino eats some forearms but puts an end to Tsuji’s flurry with a back elbow followed by a low dropkick. Umino charges after Nagata on the apron and drops him. Nagata charges the ring but Umino sends him right back out. They bring in Kojima who lays in the boot on Tsuji before going in for the machine gun chops. Tsuji reverses the Irish whip and sends Kojima into the corner but Kojima comes right back and lands a DDT. Umino back in, clears the apron of Nagata and lays in the boot on Tsuji. He hits the ropes after some forearms but Tsuji is there to cut him off with a dropkick and tags in Nagata.

Nagata clears the apron and begins a forearm exchange with Umino. The young lion collapses but sneaks out of a suplex, gives Nagata a boot and delivers a dropkick off the second. Kojima gets the tag and he uploads the machine gun chops on Nagata. Nagata gets a knee lift, looks for an exploder, Kojima connects with a kojicutter instead, hits the ropes but is dropped with an exploder. Narita and Uemura get the tag. Uemura drops Narita with forearms and his teammates help him clear the apron. They charge in on Narita in the corner, punctuated by a running dropkick by Uemura. He apples the Boston Crab, Narita finds the ropes and Uemura is quick to go for the belly-to-belly. Tsuji breaks the pin, gets dumped for his troubles and when Uemura turns his attention back to Narita, finds himself trapped in a bridging belly-to-belly for a Narita win.

Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & TAKA Michinoku def. YOSHI-HASHI, Tomoaki Honma & Rocky Romero @ 10:38 via Taichi-style Last Ride on Romero – **1/2
Honma catches the referee Taichi shoves his way and backs his teamates to the corner but Taichi wants no part, TAKA starts instead. They have a shoulder tackle exchange, Honma flexes and gets poked in the eye. He drops TAKA with another but misses the kokeshi and a Suzuki-Gun brawl begins. Taichi tries to prohibit Honma from getting back in the ring but he makes his way in at nineteen. They stand on and choke Honma in their corner. A series of up-kicks from Taichi, sends in Sabre who keeps on the attack but eats a couple of forearms. He tries to keep Honma contained with an abdominal stretch but Honma hip tosses his way free and gives a headbutt before tagging Y-H.

Y-H gives a boot, lands a draping dropkick goes for kumagoroshi but Sabre pulls him down and looks for and armbreaker, Y-H makes it to the ropes. Sabre kicks at the arm, Y-H fires off a lariat, his team clears the apron and both Honma and Romero land a double kokeshi. Sabre rebounds with a flurry of kicks on Y-H and they tag out. Romero and Taichi are in, Romero lands a rana on both Taichi and TAKA and sets up for the forever clothesles. They duck, hit forever clothes of their own, buzzsaw kick from Taichi followed by holy emperor’s tomb but Y-H breaks it up. Romero escapes the last ride and manages two flash pins but Taichi escapes the sliced bread, hits an enziguri and finishes Romero with a last ride. Taichi continues on Romero after the match, Y-H tries stepping up to Sabre but gets laughed off.

Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger 30 Year Anniversary Match
Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado def. Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger, Tiger Mask IV & Ryusuke Taguchi @ 9:36 via Kanemaru Small Package on Tiger – ***

Suzuki takes the mic before the match and mentions a time back in Pancrase where he and Liger were in talks of having a fight. He asks how long must he wait and if he’s scared. He drops a pair of MMA gloves at Liger’s feet, Liger kicks them away and attacks Suzuki. His teams sends the rest of Suzuki-Gun out and flurry on Suzuki himself. They run a train on Suzuki in the corner and follow with a triple hip attack. Taguchi gives more hip attacks, Suzuki dodges a third and sends Liger off the apron and into the crowd. He attacks Liger with chairs, applying an armbar through a chair. Desperado and Taguchi are the legal men but the referee is concentrated on dealing with Suzuki and Liger on the outside who are coming at each other with chairs. Suzuki-Gun turn their attention to Taguchi and triple team him outside. Taguchi fires off a hip attack on Suzuki back in the ring and brings in Liger. He dishes out a shotei and the two trade strikes.

Liger double legs Suzuki and stomps his head repeatedly. Suzuki double legs Liger and rains down a series of punches. Desperado tries to pull Suzuki away but Suzuki shoves him aside. Liger uses the space to get a spinning wheel kick on Suzuki. They bring in Tiger and Kanemaru. Tiger looks for the top rope butterfly suplex, settling for an armdrag instead. Kanemaru fights out of a Tiger Suplex, lands an enzi, Tiger gets the Tiger Driver but the referee is distracted by Desperado. Suzuki applies a sleeper on Liger, Kanemaru mists Tiger and Desperado removes Tiger’s mask. Kanemaru rolls up the exposed Tiger and takes the win. Suzuki goes after Liger with a chair. Young lions try to protect Liger but wind up taking the chair shots themselves before Suzuki gets the target he was looking for and walks off with an MMA glove in his mouth. Liger takes the mic and says if he’s looking for a fight, they do it in the ring. Suzuki charges in with a chair, Liger bails out for a chair of his own, comes back in and they start swinging. The two are pulled apart and Suzuki stomps off to the back. Liger takes the mic again and says they do this in the ring or Suzuki should leave New Japan.

Juice Robinson, Mikey Nicholls & Dragon Lee def. Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori @ 10:03 via Mikey Bomb on Owens – **1/2
Juice and Owens lock up, Owens gives a boot, Juice sends him off and catches a boot. He gives out some punches and drops Owens with a lariat. Fale attacks from behins and Bullet Club clear the apron. Juice drops Owens with a corner lariat followed by a cannonball. He heads to the top, Fale looks to interfere but takes a double sledge for his troubles. Owens uses the time to get in a kick and dump Juice out. Fale throws Juice to the rails, brings him back in and stands on the back. Ishimori attempts to Irish whip Juice but he puts the breaks on, catches an ariel attack from Ishimori and tags in Lee. They run the ropes, Lee catches Ishimori with the slingshot dropkick and running corner dropkick. Ishimori breaks free of Lee’s hold, they trade forearms and knees. Ishimori blocks one suplex, can’t block a second and they tag in Owens and Nicholls. Big spinebuster from Nicholls, Owens ducks a lariat and sends Nicholls into the corner. Bullet Club run a train on Nicholls in the corner but he counters the package piledriver into a roll up, Owens escapes the DVD, runs in and is caught in the Mikey Bomb for a Nicholls win. Dragon Lee gives the junior title a smooch as all three celebrate their win.

Hirooki Goto, Togi Makabe, Toru Yano & Toa Henare def. Jay White, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Hikuleo @ 10:38 via Yano Schoolboy on Hikuleo – **1/4
Bullet Club attack before the bell but Goto is ready for it. He sends White out and into the crowd. Henare and Hikuleo are in the ring. Henare tries to pick up Hikuleo but fails. Hikuleo hoists Henare up but Henare breaks free and gets Hikuleo up, dropping him with a slam. Henare lays in some chops, hits the ropes where Jado cuts him off with a cane shot. Everyone but the two are brawling outside. Hikuleo lays in some chops in his corner and tags in Tama. He gives Henare a suplex, tags in Tanga and the two land double dropkick. They taunt Makabe to come in, Jado sweeps his leg and sends Makabe to the floor. White goes after Goto on the apron before grinding Henare down with a chinlock. Henare powers free but eats a chop. White looks for a suplex, Henare counters into his own and tags in Goto. Goto clears the apron and rains down forearms in the corner. White gets a boot up but Goto is quick to return with a lariat and suplex. He takes White down with another lariat, White ducks a third and turns it into a uranage. Yano and Hikuleo are in, Yano is shouldered to the mat and G.O.D. are in to run a train on Yano. Makabe runs in for the save, takes them down with a double lariat. White dumps Makabe, eats a lariat from Goto, bails out and Goto follows with a plancha. Yano gets Hikuleo low, shoves him into Jado on the apron and rolls Hikuleo up for the win. He again runs off with the tag titles.

Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & BUSHI def. Kota Ibushi, Tomohiro Ishii & YOH @ 13:02 via EVIL Scorpion Deathlock on YOH – ***1/4
YOH and BUSHI start off trading forearms. YOH ducks a lariat and lands a flying forearm. They tag out to EVIL and Ishii. They run at each other with shoulder tackles, neither collapsing and meet forehead to forehead before going for more. Each take turns ducking lariats and meet again with shoulders. Ishii is staggered and EVIL uses that to his advantage, quickly shouldering Ishii to the mat. LIJ clear the apron and brawl outside while EVIL lays in some chops on Ishii. All three take turns laying the boots to Ishii and Naito drags him back to his feet for a neckbreaker + low dropkick combo before tagging out to BUSHI. BUSHI removes his shirt and uses it to choke Ishii before hitting a neckbreaker and tagging EVIL back in. EVIL shrugs off three Ishii chops and takes him down, looks for a Scorpion Deathlock but Ishii slaps free. He ducks a lariat and drops EVIL with a German.

Naito stops Ishii before he can make the tag and spits at Ibushi. Ishii drops Naito with a suplex and tags Ibushi who comes in with a springboard dropkick, clears BUSHI off the apron and lands a plancha on him and Naito. Ibushi sends Naito in, hits a Cancun Tornado, Naito sends YOH off the apron and lands the slingshot DDT on Ibushi. He hammers away on Ibushi but Ibushi avoids the slingshot dropkick, flips out of a German and drops Naito with a headkick. YOH and BUSHI are back in. YOH lands a series of dropkicks runs in with a corner elbow, BUSHI rips at the eyes but YOH still hits the falcon arrow. BUSHI catches him with an enziguri and swinging neckbreaker. EVIL dumps Ishii off the apron, a discuss lariat on YOH in the corner followed by Darkness Falls. Ishii breaks up the STO, Ibushi in with an overhead kick, YOH a superkick on Naito and final cut on EVIL. BUSHI comes in with a lungblower on YOH followed by a lariat from EVIL and he finishes YOH with the Scorpion Deathlock.

SANADA & Shingo Takagi def. Kazuchika Okada & SHO @ 19:38 via SANADA Skull End on SHO – ***3/4
Okada and SANADA start off. Dueling chants from the crowd, the referee surveys who is louder. They trade wristlocks, Okada takes both arms, sends SANADA over, the trade leg sweeps and stalemate. The dueling chants continue. SHO and Shingo are tagged in. Shingo takes a headlock, SHO sends him off and they battle shoulder tackles. Shingo puts the breaks on a hip toss, SHO avoids a senton and shoulders Shingo to the mat. He kicks Shingo across the back and gives him light boots. Shingo asks for more, catches a boot and drops SHO with a lariat. SANADA clears the apron of Okada and sends him into the rails. Shingo does the same to SHO and lays in the boots. SANADA and Shingo take turns slamming SHO back in the ring. SHO puts the breaks on an Irish whip, Shingo catches another boot and gives out a lariat.

SHO fires off overhands and Shingo returns, catches SHO’s spear, bounces off the ropes and is dropped with a second spear. Okada gets the tag and delivers a running baxk elbow to Shingo before clearing SANADA off the apron. Okada and Shingo trade forearms, Shingo ducks one and looks for Blood Fall but settles for a DDT. SANADA catches an Okada boot, looks for Paradise Lock, Okada kicks free of the first but gets caught the second time. Okada flips out of a suplex and lands a flapjack. SANADA escapes the tombstone and goes for Skull End. Okada breakes free and connects with a reverse neckbreaker and tag in the juniors. SHO is quick wih a dropkick and lariat in the corner. They charge at each other with lariats before trading forearms. SHO wins the exchange so Shingo hits headbutt. Shingo eats lariats but stays standing. SHO finally drives him to the mat twice with a pair of lariats, follows with a lungblower and applies an armbreaker. SANADA breaks the hold and takes care of Okada on the outside. SHO looks German, Shingo grabs the ropes and charges in with a pair of lariats.

SANADA looks for Skull End but SHO turns it into a suplex, lands a bridging German, looks for Shock Arrow, Shingo breaks it up but SHO drops him with a lariat. Okada comes in with a dropkick on SANADA, SHO again looks for Shock Arrow, SANADA turns it into Skull End but Okada breaks it up. SANADA gets a springboard dropkick on Okada, hits SHO with a tombstone and finishes SHO with Skull End. Shingo takes the mic and says this is the most SHO has ever brought but the result was the same as always. He says SHO is obsessed with him and gives SHO advice to pay attention to the titles rather than beating him because it can’t be done. SANADA takes the mic next and says that the tombstone he gave SHO was a gift to Okada. He tells the crowd that Korakuen is his favorite place in Tokyo. See you next time.

Solid show from Korakuen as always. The matches you were excited for are the ones that delivered. The Liger match needs to be seen for the pre and post match segments and the top two matches furthered the progression in each of the rivalries. EVIL with the Scorpion Deathlock is a shout to Ishii’s mentor, Riki Choshu, who is retiring later this year. SANADA using the tombstone as a way to get under Okada’s skin is a nice way to cap off the three day run at Korakuen Hall. As always, solid show.

Recommended Matches
SANADA & Shingo vs Okada & SHO
Naito, EVIL & BUSHI vs Ibushi, Ishii & YOH
Liger 30th Anniversay (Pre & Post 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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