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New Japan Road results: IWGP Junior Tag tournament finals

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New Japan's final show before the G1 Climax tournament was held in Korakuen Hall and headlined by the two title matches, as Hiromu Takahashi and BUSHI faced El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru to crown the vacant IWGP Junior Heavyweight tag team championships.

Report --

Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata, & Tomoaki Honma defeated Yota Tsuji, Yuya Uemura, & Gabriel Kidd (8:53)

Uemura and Nagata started off hot right out of the blocks, battling with stiff strikes before Nagata took advantage with a knee lift. Kojima and Honma each tagged in and continued the beatdown.

After a few failed comeback attempts, Uemura hit a dropkick on Honma to buy enough time for a tag to Tsuji, who ran wild and hit a running splash for a near fall. He couldn't apply the Boston crab though, and Honma hit a diving Kokeshi.

With Kojima and Kidd in now, Kojima hit machine gun chops on all three Young Lions in the corner. The three fought back with stereo dropkicks and Kidd locked on the crab before Kojima reached the ropes.

Kidd attempted a butterfly suplex, but Kojima turned it into the Koji Cutter, followed by the lariat for the pin.

Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, & DOUKI defeated Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Master Wato, & Ryusuke Taguchi (11:23)

Suzuki-gun attacked before the bell and brawled. After the smoke cleared, Wato and DOUKI remained the legal competitors and they performed a nice sequence of lucha libre before Wato was sent into the barricade.

Outside, Suzuki-gun all beat down Wato, capped off with DOUKI choking Wato with his pipe. Ibushi and Suzuki tagged in, but when Ibushi attempted his striking combination, Suzuki stood right up out of the moonsault attempt. 

The two absolutely killed each other with strikes. Suzuki locked on the rear naked choke, but Ibushi powered out of the Gotch piledriver before both men hit big strikes for a double down. 

Sabre and Tanahashi tagged in and both went for cobra twists followed by a cradle battle. Tanahashi attempted the slingblade, but Sabre turned it into an octopus hold. The two then performed each other's moves, as Tanahashi attempted an octopus of his own and Sabre hit a dragon screw which allowed him to tag Taichi.

Tanahashi escaped to tag Taguchi, who hit bum-aye and applied the ankle lock. Taichi escaped from the Dodon attempt and hit a buzzsaw kick, but Taguchi fought out of the Last Ride.

Taguchi went for a hip attack, but Taichi ended it with a backdrop driver and the stretch muffler.

Post-match, Suzuki and Taichi faced off, as they're in the same block for the G1. This was a better-than-usual Suzuki-gun tag match, as they previewed the various G1 matchups well.

Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, & SANADA defeated EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, & Dick Togo (10:03)

This match was meant to be a showcase for Yujiro ahead of his appearance in the G1. Bullet Club attacked before the bell. Naito took the fight to EVIL, but Togo interfered and they all brawled outside.

Back in, there was a long heat segment on Naito as all three Bullet Club members beat him down. Eventually, a jumping forearm bought Naito enough time to tag in Shingo.

Shingo performed a striking sequence on Yujiro, who fought out of a suplex attempt with a bite. The tables were turned when Shingo did the same thing, but Yujiro hit a fisherman's suplex for a near fall.

Yujiro set up for Pimp Juice, but Shingo escaped and hit a Pumping Bomber followed by the tag to SANADA. Yujiro distracted the referee as EVIL and Togo attempted a Magic Killer, EVIL and SANADA's old finisher, onto a chair, but Shingo broke it up.

LIJ took turns beating down Togo, concluding with SANADA's TKO and Skull End for the submission victory.

**********

G1 Climax card announcement

Each show will have the five block matches and just one undercard match. Here are the main events for each show:

  • Day 1 – Kazuchika Okada vs. Kota Ibushi
  • Day 2 – Tetsuya Naito vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
  • Day 3 – Kota Ibushi vs. Jay White
  • Day 4 – Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
  • Day 5 – Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White
  • Day 6 – Tetsuya Naito vs. Hirooki Goto
  • Day 7 – Shingo Takagi vs. Tomohiro Ishii
  • Day 8 – Tetsuya Naito vs. SANADA
  • Day 9 – Kota Ibushi vs. Will Ospreay
  • Day 10 – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. KENTA
  • Day 11 – Kota Ibushi vs. Shingo Takagi
  • Day 12 – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. EVIL
  • Day 13 – Kazuchika Okada vs. Shingo Takagi
  • Day 14 – Tetsuya Naito vs. EVIL
  • Day 15 – Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomohiro Ishii
  • Day 16 – Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. SANADA

As usual, the match order for the final nights of block action wasn't announced. 

Day 17 (Block A Final):

  • Kota Ibushi vs. Taichi
  • Jeff Cobb vs. Yujiro Takahashi
  • Kazuchika Okada vs. Will Ospreay
  • Jay White vs. Tomohiro Ishii
  • Minoru Suzuki vs. Shingo Takagi

Day 18 (Block B Final):

  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
  • Hirooki Goto vs. Juice Robinson
  • Toru Yano vs. YOSHI-HASHI
  • Tetsuya Naito vs. KENTA
  • EVIL vs. SANADA

*****Intermission*****

NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championships: Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto, & YOSHI-HASHI (c) defeated Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, & SHO (19:30)

Ishii attacked SHO before the bell, but SHO fought back into the ground mount. Goto and Yano tagged in, and the latter immediately attempted to tear off a turnbuckle pad. Yano tried to stand up to Goto, but eventually decided that was the wrong decision and went back for the turnbuckle.

Okada and YOSHI-HASHI tagged in. They locked up before Okada performed his "clean break" spot. YOSHI-HASHI fought out of a headlock and hit some chops followed by the Headhunter. 

SHO came in to assist Okada, but was distracted by Ishii as they brawled outside. Okada sent YOSHI-HASHI into the barricade. Back in, Okada tagged SHO, and the challengers isolated YOSHI-HASHI in the corner. SHO and Ishii would brawl when SHO wasn't actively involved in the match.

An enzuigiri allowed YOSHI-HASHI to reach Goto for the hot tag. He hit a corner clothesline and a bulldog before sending Yano into the exposed turnbuckle. Yano tagged in Okada.

Goto attempted a lariat, but Okada turned into his modified cobra clutch. Goto fought out and hit a lariat before tagging in Ishii, who beat down Okada with chops and forearms. An Okada flapjack provided enough time to tag in SHO.

SHO attacked with strikes, before Ishii fired up and they had a forearm battle. SHO turned a brainbuster attempt into a kimura and hit a brainbuster of his own. Ishii snapped and forced SHO into the corner with throat chops. SHO fought out, but Ishii hit a pounce and a powerbomb for a near fall.

Yano attempted to assist SHO, but Ishii moved out of the way and SHO hit his partner. There was a parade of moves, and Goto and YOSHI-HASHI hit a ushigoroshi meteora combination before Okada came in to hit his drop kick. SHO hit a deadlift German suplex for two and locked on the cross armbreaker.

Ishii made it to the ropes, but SHO hit the Shock Arrow for a great near fall. A second Shock Arrow attempt was broken up by YOSHI-HASHI, and he and Goto hit the GYR (an assisted GTR). Ishii went for a lariat, but SHO hit another German suplex.

Ishii went for the brainbuster, but SHO turned it into the armbar before transitioning into a triangle. Ishii fought out of the Shock Arrow once again with a clunking headbutt followed by the sliding lariat. From there, the vertical drop brainbuster finished off SHO and the champions retained.

This was a very good championship match. It wasn't quite on the level of their excellent first match to crown the vacant titles, but the final 6-7 minutes were fast-paced and hard-hitting. As expected, SHO stood out as a star.

Post-match, Ishii helped up SHO, and the challengers held up the champions' hands in victory. CHAOS remains united.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI (16:59)

Hiromu and BUSHI hit a double team move right away. BUSHI choked Kanemaru with his shirt and tagged in Hiromu. Suzuki-gun took advantage when Hiromu was sent to the floor, where Kanemaru hit a running dropkick.

Back inside, Suzuki-gun performed frequent tags and double team moves on Hiromu during a heat segment that lasted well over five minutes. After a lengthy beatdown, Hiromu eventually hit a dragon screw and escaped to tag in BUSHI.

BUSHI hit a diving dropkick on both of his opponents, but his suicide dive attempt was stopped by Desperado, who tagged in. BUSHI fought out of a beatdown with a hurricanrana and reached Hiromu for the tag.

Hiromu ran wild on Desperado with lariats and a shotgun dropkick. Another lariat attempt was stopped by Kanemaru, and Desperado took advantage with a spear. He went for Pinche Loco but BUSHI stopped it with a reverse enzuigiri. Hiromu and BUSHI then hit a combination sunset flip and German suplex.

Kanemaru attempted to get involved, but he was sent outside and met with a suicide dive from BUSHI. Desperado rolled Hiromu up with his El Es Culero cradle, but Hiromu kicked out in a good near fall. The dynamite plunger and a combination suplex and powerbomb each got two.

Hiromu and BUSHI hit their tag finisher, but Kanemaru pulled the official out of the ring and hit Hiromu with the whiskey bottle. Desperado hit Hiromu with the Pinche Loco, but BUSHI broke up the pin. Desperado hit his closed-fist punch and a second Pinche Loco to win the championships.

This was a good main event. In fact, it was probably the best match of the short tournament, but I feel like they could have done even better. When half the match is a long heat segment and there's a ref bump at the finish, it limits the match's ceiling.

Final Thoughts

New Japan's final show before the G1 Climax was a success. The main goals of the show were sorting out the undercard title pictures and hyping the G1, and both of those goals were accomplished. If you're strapped for time, the two championship matches are worth checking out.