The Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2019 begins in front of 2,020 fans at Tsukuba Capio. The main event sees Chaos versus LIJ in a ten man tag, teasing at two title matches to come later on during the tour. Let’s get started!
Yota Tsuji def. Yuya Uemura @ 9:08 via Boston Crab – **1/2
The big takeaway here is this is the first singles match between these two young lions that didn’t end in a time limit draw. Uemura dominated Tsuji on the mat. He’s become incredibly proficient in the submission game. At one point he caught Tsuji in an Indian Death Lock and later on would apply a knee bar. The strength advantage went to Tsuji, using his power to hit a slam and finish Uemura with a Boston Crab.
Toa Henare def. Ren Narita @ 6:38 via Toa Bottom – **1/4
Next was Narita’s chance to throw down with heavyweight Henare. He showed good technical prowess by bridging out of a headscissors and smarts by breaking free of two full nelsons. Henare would block the belly-to-belly but Narita responded by arm dragging his way out of a Toa Bottom and into a pin. His attempts would be for not as he was soon after finished with a Toa Bottom but it was a good effort from Narita.
Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado def. Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima & Shota Umino @ 11:23 via Suzuki Gotch-style Piledriver on Umino – **1/2
The major takeaway here was Umino going toe-to-toe with Suzuki and shrugging off all of the Suzuki-Gun shenanigans. He traded blows with Suzuki, even managing to take him to the mat with a running forearm. His team would help hold Suzuki or Umino to land a dropkick off the top and followed with the Fisherman’s Buster but Suzuki blocked it and transitioned into an armbar. Umino showed heart by not tapping to the hold but would instead be finished with the piledriver.
Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Taiji Ishimori def. Togi Makabe, Toru Yano & Tomoaki Honma @ 9:18 via Loa Apeshit on Honma – *1/2
There wasn’t much to see here. Bullet Club isolated Yano until he pulled Ishimori down by his hair. Makabe got the corner punches followed by a Honma Kokeshi and Kokeshi Rocket. Jado cut Honma off with the cane and Loa finished with Apeshit. This wouldn’t stop Yano from again taking the titles and running to the back.
Juice Robinson, Hirooki Goto, Mikey Nicholls & Ryusuke Taguchi def. Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Hikuleo @ 11:42 via Juice Pulp Friction on Hikuleo – *3/4
Again, not much to see here. They followed the same mold as the last match by isolating the comedy guy for five minutes until a hot tag, this time being Goto who hit an Ushigoroshi on Owens. Goto and Hikuleo would trade shoulders until a Goto lariat put the big man down. Juice looked to finish Hikuleo with Pulp Friction but Fale cut it off, took a lariat over the top for his troubles but it gave Hikuleo time to hit a flatliner. Juice fought back with the Left Hand of God and Pulp Friction for the win.
Kota Ibushi, YOSHI-HASHI & Jushin ‘Thunder’ Liger def. Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi & TAKA Michinoku @ 10:08 via Y-H Kuma Goroshi on TAKA – **1/4
Taichi spent the first two minutes refusing to lock up with Y-H until SZKG attacked from behind. Y-H was able to shrug off their attacks and bring in Liger. Sabre cut off the Romero Special and cuts off Ibushi with an Abdominal Stretch. We get Taichi go home chant when he tries unmaking Liger, Liger cuts TAKA off on top and lands a brainbuster and Ibushi connects with a flurry of kicks followed by a standing moonsault on Sabre. He dropkicks Sabre from the top, follows with a plancha and Y-H lands the Kuma Goroshi to take the match. Afterwards SZKG would continue the fight and Sabre hits Ibushi with the Zack Driver then posed with the IC title.
Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, EVIL, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI def. Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, YOH, SHO & Rocky Romero @ 15:32 via Naito Destino on Romero – **1/4
Okada and SANADA started off by going back and forth with holds for a couple of minutes before bringing in Ishii and EVIL. The two powerhouses ran at each other with shoulder tackles. EVIL came out on top of the exchange. LIJ would isolate YOH until he caught BUSHI’s boot and turned it into a dragon screw. SHO speared Shingo to the mat and took BUSHI off his feet with a lariat. SANADA tried the Paradise Lock on Okada, avoided the Tombstone and landed the double leap drop dropkick. Naito caught Okada with an elbow and enziguri but okada responded quickly with a flapjack. Romero came in hot with a couple of hurricanranas and forever clotheslines on Naito. He blocked the slingshot DDT and 3K hit triple knees on Naito but he blocked the sliced bread. EVIL secured the Scorpion Death Lock on Ishii and Naito finished Romero with Destino. Naito gives his speech, SANADA is Okada’s next challenger, LIJ hit their poses and that’s how we end the night.
This wasn’t a show that a casual fan would get much out of but there were some cool moments. The tie between young lions Tsuji and Uemura has come to an end, Umino squared up with Suzuki and Naito ruined Okada’s return to Japan as IWGP Heavyweight Champion. EVIL applying the Scorpion Death Lock on Ishii is a great little moment because Ishii’s trainer, Riki Choshu, invented the move. Not a show to rush out and see but there were some nice moments sprinkled throughout.
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