The Big Takeaway --
The build towards the New Japan Cup continued as those who were scheduled to face off against one another in the opening rounds competed in a series of mystery tag team matches. The situation over the NEVER title became clearer, as Zack Sabre Jr. looks to add a fourth belt to his growing collection.
Gedo & Jado have become the favorites to get the next Junior tag team title match against new champions Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru. KUSHIDA scored a pin over Hiromu Takahashi, further building a showdown between the two.
Show Recap --
Manabu Nakanishi, Hirai Kawato, Ryusuke Taguchi & David Finlay defeated Jushin Thunder Liger, Tomoyuki Oka, and IWGP Tag Team Champions Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima
Kawato jumped Liger at the bell and really gave him a beating, stomping him in the corner viciously. This was a standard, pretty solid opener with Nakanishi scoring the win with the torture rack on Oka.
Kawato and Liger stared down one another after the match, but nothing came out of it.
Yuji Nagata, Juice Robinson & Michael Elgin defeated Yujiro Takahashi, Bad Luck Fale & Tanga Loa
Juice and Yujiro, who are facing each other in the opening round of the NJPW Cup, squared off against one another, as did Elgin and Fale. It boiled down to Nagata and Loa, with Nagata drilling his NJ Cup opponent with an exploder suplex for the win. This was a nice match with some good action.
RPW British Heavyweight Champion Zack Sabre Jr., El Desperado, and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto, Jado, Gedo & Trent Baretta
This was a solid match, but it was more about building programs for the NEVER and Jr. tag team titles. The heels beat up on Gedo for a while. They were building a future junior tag title bout between the new champs and Gedo & Jado.
Goto and Sabre Jr. were paired together and went at it for a bit, exchanging near falls before Sabre Jr. caught Goto in a bridge pin hold. This probably signals a future match between Goto and Sabre Jr. for the NEVER title.
Tiger Mask, Katsuyori Shibata & Togi Makabe defeated Minoru Suzuki, Taka Michinoku & Davey Boy Smith Jr.
Suzuki and Shibata brawled into the crowd early, with Suzuki getting the better of it and whacking Shibata with a steel chair. Suzuki and Shibata eventually came back in. Both teased their finishers but took each other down with multiple big boots. The crowd was really into that, and helped the match pick up over time.
Makabe and Taka Michinoku were in, and from there it didn’t last long as Makabe quickly took him down and pinned him with the King Kong Knee Drop.
Shibata and Suzuki continued to brawl as they eventually had to be separated. Suzuki pelted one of the young boys (Kitamiya) with a steel chair, causing another brawl between the two.
Kenny Omega & Tama Tonga defeated Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii
Yano had a near fall with a low blow on Tonga, but Omega pulled the ref out. Omega went for the knee strike, but Yano dodged and Omega fell to the floor. Tonga gave Yano a low blow of his own, then pinned him with the Gun Stun in another solid match.
KUSHIDA & Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated EVIL & IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi
Tanahashi jumped EVIL at the bell, which was retaliation for EVIL’s assault earlier in the day at the New Japan Cup press conference. Hiromu Takahashi and KUSHIDA worked together a lot as well, since they are the next Junior title match. They have excellent chemistry with one another and made this a good match.
EVIL laid out Tanahashi, then KUSHIDA sent EVIL packing. KUSHIDA then caught the surprise win over Takahashi with a backslide into a bridging pin.
IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI & SANADA defeated YOSHI-HASHI, Rocky Romero & IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada
Not a spectacular main event by any means, but the action was fine and the crowd was pretty hot for everything, which helps.
BUSHI wiped out YH on the outside, leaving it between SANADA and Romero. The latter pulled off some great near falls that people got into, but the size difference was too much and Romero tapped out to the Skull End when SANADA sunk it in.
Naito cut the end of the show promo.
Final Thoughts --
There’s nothing on this show that you need to see, though everything was solid and nothing was awful.