This morning’s Kizuna Road show, live in Iwate on New Japan World, is highlighted by two title matches and an eight man elimination tag team match.
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The main event has Katsuyori Shibata, who just won back the NEVER title a few weeks ago at Dominion, defending his championship against Tomoaki Honma, the perennial underdog. It’ll be interesting to see who wins here as they are also scheduled to meet again later this summer in the G1. In another title match, NEVER Openweight Six Man champs The Elite (Young Bucks and Kenny Omega) defend against veteran Satoshi Kojima and former Junior tag champs Ricochet and Matt Sydal.
In between those two matches we have a big eight man elimination match as Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Will Ospreay and Yoshi-Hashi take on Los Ingoberables de Japon - Evil, Bushi, Tetsuya Naito and Sanada.
CHASE OWENS VS. DAVID FINLAY
Owens won a short, solid match after a package piledriver. Finlay is good, and also getting popular. Owens was animated, sold well, but comes across as just a guy.
KAZUSHI SAKURABA & TOMOHIRO ISHII & ROCKY ROMERO & BARETTA VS. HIROYOSHI TENZAN & TIGER MASK & JUSHIN LIGER & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI
Better than usual for this slot. Baretta survived some near falls with Tenzan. It ended with Taguchi using a plancah on Ishii, Tiger Mask did a tope on Romero, Liger did a plancha on Sakuraba and in the ring, Tenzan pinned Baretta after a moonsault. The crowd was pretty hot seeing Tenzan deliver the move. Match kept moving, was good.
Tenzan did a promo after the match. He's mad he's not in G-1 this year, and the crowd wants him in.
YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & HANGMAN PAGE VS. YOSHITATSU & CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN
Fans were into chanting for the Hunter Club. Match was okay with Page actually the best of the four. Captain got some near falls on Page before Page put him away with the Omori driver. Whenever Page does that move, it looks like the guy is going to get hurt because he drops them on their head.
Page hung Captain over the top rope after the match. Page cut a promo announcing that in August the tag titles come back to Bullet Club. That means that tag title match with Briscoes vs. Page & Takahashi is likely on the final day of G-1 at Sumo Hall.
TOGI MAKABE & JUICE ROBINSON VS. YUJI NAGATA & MANABU NAKANISHI
As you would expect, Nagata pinned Robinson with a bridging back suplex for the win. Robinson worked most of the way and sold. Nakanishi did more than usual including a top rope superplex and a crossbody off the top. Best stuff was Nagata vs. Makabe. Right before the finish, Nagata & Nakanishi did a double-team on Robinson with Nagata doing a high kick and Nakanishi coming off the top rope wth a chop.
It's intermission time. They ran through the entire undercard in barely an hour.
YOUNG BUCKS & KENNY OMEGA VS. SATOSHI KOJIMA & RICOCHET & MATT SYDAL FOR NEVER TRIOS TITLES
Young Bucks & Omega were all wearing New Day T-shirts. Nick still has his ribs taped up. He was also doing the Big E pelvic thrusts.
Super match, great from start to finish with the belts changing hands. With the Bucks as tag champs, losing the trios belts makes sense but they bounce these belts around too much. The finish saw Kojima hit Omega with a lariat and then, he lariated both Bucks at the same time. Sydal hit the shooting star press on Matt, and Ricochet hit the shooting star press at the same time on Nick with Sydal pinning Matt.
Nonstop action and moves, but at times, it was the Ricochet highlight show. Everyone was at their best here. The Bucks twice tried the Meltzer driver but both times it was stopped. Lots of dives. The Bucks & Omega also did a "The Elite" chant to the cadence of New Day sucks.
Kojima called out Tenzan. He talked about Tenzan not being in G-1, and then offered Tenzan his spot. He really didn't do much here so maybe he's hurt, but on paper, that's a backward move for the tournament.
KAZUCHIKA OKADA & HIROOKI GOTO & YOSHI-HASHI & WILL OSPREAY VS. TETSUYA NAITO & SEIYA SANADA & EVIL & BUSHI IN AN ELIMINATION MATCH
Another excellent match. It came down to Ospreay and Bushi and they were great. Bushi blew the mist but Ospreay moved and it went into Sanada's eyes. Ospreay won after a standing Spanish fly and the Oscutter, a diamond cutter off the ropes. Pretty heated match. Naito and Okada did their big spots early to make it clear they were going over the top together. Evil clotheslined Goto off the apron to eliminate him. Yoshi-Hashi superkicked Evil off the apron to eliminate him. Sanada revesed a cradle by Yoshi-Hashi to pin him. This left Ospreay with Bushi and Sanada. Ospreay dropkicked Sanada off the apron to eliminate him. Ospreay was booked to be, and was, the star of the match.
KATSUYORI SHIBATA VS. TOMOAKI HONMA FOR THE NEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE
Another excellent match but a little predictable. I think everyone pretty much knew how the match would go and the ending. Honma got a lot of offense but nobody ever bought him winning. Everything was laid in hard. A highlight was Honma coming off the top rope to the floor with a diving headbutt and escaping a guillotine by turning it into a brainbuster. Lots of hard elbows. Honma did his headbutts.
The finish saw Honma do a Mascaras style headbutt and Shibata caught him with a choke. He choked him almost all the way out, let go and hit the penalty kick for the pin. It just felt from the start that this is a showcase win for Shibata. Because of that, it wasn't as good as the match they had a few years ago in G-1 which was a match of the year candidate. Last three bouts were all totally different and all delivered.
Shibata helped Honma to his feet and then threw Honma out of the ring and raised the belt.