The first of three Kizuna Road shows will feature a high profile NEVER Openweight title match.
New champion Michael Elgin will defend his title against the former champion, Hirooki Goto. Considering that he never took the pin in the triple threat match at Dominion, Goto has a valid reason for getting such a quick rematch. It’ll be up to him to regain the title that he never lost.
NJPW is also set to announce the entrants for this year’s G1 Climax tournament, which is set to kick off next month. We’ll only get a list of names on tonight’s show -- block and match announcements won’t be announced until the 6/18 and 6/19 shows, respectively. One has to wonder who will make the cut this year and who may be entering as a surprise.
Join us for live coverage tonight at 5:30 a.m. EST. The show will not have English commentary.
Yuya Uemura went to a time limit draw with Yota Tsuji
They began with a crisp chain wrestling sequence. Uemura moved to working the left arm, using a hammerlock. He went for a cross armbreaker, but could not get it, and Tsuji capitalized. Tsuji used a kneebar and a heel hook, attacking the left leg.
Tsuji continued working the leg, with stomps on the ground, and in the corner. Uemura made a comeback, hitting a shoulder block and a scoop slam. He used an armbar and a wristlock, until Tsuji made the ropes. Tsuji hit a dropkick and a pair of scoop slams, as Uemura really sold the damage to his leg.
Tsuji applied a single leg crab, but Uemura was able to reach the ropes. Tsuji tried to irish whip Uemura, but Uemura went down, selling the leg. Uemura hit a dropkick, then went for the cross armbreaker. Tsuji transitioned to a crab, but Uemura finally got the armbreaker. Tsuji reached the ropes.
After the rope break, Uemura went for a cover, but the bell sounded, as they reached the ten minute time limit. A fundamentally sound opener, with good selling from both guys.
Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi defeated Tomoyuki Oka & Shota Umino
Oka and Nakanishi traded strikes to a stalemate, until Nakanishi hit a shoulder block, dropping Oka. Nagata and Umino tagged in, and Umino got some early offense on Nagata, hitting a dropkick, and picking up a nearfall.
Nagata came back with strikes. Oka came in to aid his partner, and Nagata sent him to the floor. Nakanishi went for the backbreaker rack on Umino but Oka jumped in for the save. Nakanishi hit a stiff forearm shot, but Umino countered with a dropkick, and made the tag to Oka.
Oka hit Nakanishi with a pair of avalanches in the corner, and used a double underhook suplex for a nearfall, as the Korakuen crowd got behind him. Oka hit a vertical suplex for a nearfall, but Nakanishi countered with a spear, and made the tag to Nagata.
Nagata hit Oka with strikes, but ate a hip toss, and Umino tagged in. Umino ran wild with back elbow strikes, and a front dropkick off the top. He went for an armbar, but Nakanishi made the save. While Oka and Nakanishi brawled to the floor, Nagata hit a kick and a knee lift.
Nagata hit an exploder, and used a Nagata Lock, forcing Umino to tap. This was a standard Young Lions vs. Veterans tag match, with Umino and Oka getting a touch more offense than usual.
Yujiro Takahashi & Taiji Ishimori defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Ren Narita
Tenzan and Yujiro started off. Korakuen loves Tenzan. Tenzan hit some chops, and both guys tagged out.
Taiji hit a seated senton, and a low dropkick, before tagging Yujiro. Yujiro used shoulder blocks, a slam, and a crab, until Tenzan lumbered in to break the hold. Yujiro hit a yakuza kick on Narita, who came back with a dropkick, and tagged Tenzan.
Tenzan hit some chops in the corner, and called for a brainbuster, but hit more of a vertical suplex. Yujiro came back with a low kick and a fishermans suplex. He hit a yakuza kick in the corner, but Tenzan hit a leg lariat, and they tagged their partners.
Narita got a nearfall off a back elbow, and went to the crab, but Taiji reached the ropes. Taiji hit his handspring into a kick, then hit a lungblower for a nearfall. He followed up with a Lebell Lock, and Narita tapped.
This was good when Narita and Taiji were in, and below average when Tenzan and Yujiro were.
KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi, Toa Henare, Jeff Cobb & Togi Makabe defeated Rocky Romero, SHO, YOH, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI
SHO and KUSHIDA started out, and it was awesome. They exchanged holds on the ground, armbar attempts, and went at a crazy pace. YOH and Taguchi tagged in and did some comedy. Taguchi ran the ropes until he dropped. YOSHI-HASHI tagged in and ate a hip attack, leading to Taguchi's corner train spot.
Henare tagged in and the Chaos team cut him off. Taguchi and Rocky brawled into the crowd, while Yano and Henare worked in the ring. Makabe got a tag, and he worked over YOSHI and Yano with clotheslines. Taguchi and Makabe hit a series of hip attacks on Yano, and Makabe hit a suplex for a nearfall.
Yano hit his inverted atomic drop, and Rocky and Cobb tagged in. Rocky went for a springboard rana, but Cobb caught him. Rocky went for an avalanche, but Cobb caught him and hit an overhead belly to belly and a standing shooting star. Cobb followed up with a Tour of the Islands, and got the pin.
They announced the G1 Field:
Kenny Omega, Michael Elgin, Jay White, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Juice Robinson, Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, YOSHI-HASHI, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Hangman Page, Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA, Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Kota Ibushi.
Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi defeated TAKA Michinoku, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi & Takashi Iizuka
Suzuki-gun jumped LIJ at the bell. While the other seven guys brawled on the floor, EVIL ran wild on TAKA and Kanemaru in the ring. LIJ overcame the odds, and Naito and Hiromu jumped in. Taichi hit Naito with the mic stand from the apron, and another brawl broke out.
Desperado sent Hiromu into the crowd, and attacked his left leg with a chair. Iizuka kind of just wandered around the building. Taichi worked over Naito, who just beat the count back inside. Iizuka bit Naito while Taichi took the ref, but Taichi and Naito were still the legal men.
Naito hit an enziguri and a neckbreaker, and SANADA got a tag. He tied up an interfering Kanemaru with the paradise lock, and ran wild with dropkicks. Taichi and Iizuka cut him off, raking his eyes and biting him.
Desperado and Hiromu tagged in, and they did a cool criss-cross sequence. Desperado hit a spear, but Hiromu came back with his overhead throw into the corner. TAKA and BUSHI tagged in, and Suzuki-gun quickly cut BUSHI off.
TAKA got a couple of nearfalls, while the other eight guys brawled on the floor. Naito recovered and hit TAKA withh a corner dropkick. BUSHI hit a codebreaker for a nearfall, then hit TAKA with an MX for the pin.
This was mostly a showcase for the popular LIJ faction, and an appetizer for Desperado vs. Hiromu, which takes place tomorrow.
Kazuchika Okada, Jay White & Tomohiro Ishii defeated Juice Robinson, Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay
Juice and White started out. White used underhanded tactics to gain the advantage on Juice. Okada and Tana tagged in, and the place started buzzing. Okada hit a slingshot senton, and took Tana to the corner, where he tagged in Ishii. Ishii no-sold Tana's chops, and hit a suplex for a nearfall. White tagged in and used a crossface.
Okada tagged back in, but got nailed with a dragon screw. White and Juice tagged back in. Juice hit a dropkick and a sit-out lariat. He followed with his jabs, a clothesline in the corner, and went to the top. Juice missed a high cross, and White shit a suplex, before tagging Ishii. White and Ishii attempted a double team, but Juice hit a crossbody on both, and tagged in Finlay.
Finlay ran wild on Ishii. He hit a back elbow off the turnbuckle. He survived Ishii blocking a dropkick. Tana tagged in and hit sling blade on Ishii, and intercepted an interfering Okada, hitting a dragon screw.
Juice hit White with a cannonball in the corner. Finlay went for a cutter, but Ishii blocked. Finlay used a series of cradles for nearfalls. Ishii went for the brainbuster, but Finlay slid out. Ishii hit a german and a lariat for a nearfall, then hit the brainbuster, getting the win.
White teased leaving, then came back out and attacked Juice as he was walking to the opposite locker room. White sent Juice into the post, then whipped him into the barricade twice. He hit a suplex on the floor, then grabbed a chair, and attacked the Young Lions that tried to restrain him.
He tossed Juice into the ring, and teased a con-chair-to on Juice's arm, but Juice escaped at the last minute, and punched the chair into White's face.
A good match, all action, and a hot angle after to set up White vs. Juice for the US title next month.
Hirooki Goto defeated Michael Elgin to win the NEVER Openweight Championship
They traded shoulder blocks and power stuff early, establishing that neither had a significant strength advantage.
Elgin hit a suplex, Goto rolled to the floor, and Elgin hit a footstomp from the apron to the floor. He followed up with a slingshot footstomp back inside.
Elgin hit a buckle bomb and teased going for the quick win with an Elgin Bomb, but got blocked it, and took over. Goto used a sleeper, but Elgin powered out and hit a german. He went for another, but Goto blocked it with his foot, and Elgin had to transition to an exploder, securing a nearfall.
They exchanged chops and palm strikes to the chest, then Elgin connected with a dropkick. Elgin hit a delayed vertical suplex for a nearfall, then hit an avalanche and a middle rope senton for another. Goto came back with strikes, and hit a big lariat, leading to a double down.
Goto hit a corner lariat, then a running leg lariat in the opposite corner. Elgin came back with a series of strikes to the chest, before hitting a powerslam for a nearfall. Elgin hit a series of clubbing blows to the chest and back, but Goto cut him off with an ushigoroshi.
Goto went for a DDT, but Elgin backed him into Red Shoes in the corner, and the ref took a bump, and rolled to the floor. Elgin hit a falcon arrow, then teased the Elgin Bomb, but Taichi ran in and nailed both with his mic stand. Jeff Cobb ran down and suplexed Taichi, before chasing him to the back.
Goto and Elgin traded forearms on the mat, then both got to their feet and continued to trade. Goto hit a suplex, but ate a pair of enziguris off a charge into the corner. Elgin hit a scoop slam and went up top, but Goto cut him off, and knocked him to the apron.
Goto tried to suplex Elgin into the ring, but Elgin blocked, and pulled him to the apron. Goto knocked Elgin to the floor with strikes, and Elgin countered, pulling Goto to the floor and hitting a fishermans suplex on the floor.
Elgin tossed Goto back inside and went to the top rope. He hit a splash off the top for a nearfall. He went for an Elgin Bomb, but Goto backdropped out. They traded forearms, and Elgin pulled off his elbow pad and hit a huge strike, then a modified chokeslam for a nearfall.
Elgin put Goto on the top rope, and teased a crucifix bomb, but Goto blocked. Elgin stepped to the apron and hit a clothesline, knocking Goto to the mat. Elgin put Goto back on the top and teased the crucifix bomb again, but Goto blocked. Elgin hit an enziguri, then fought for a superplex, but Goto countered, hitting a powerbomb off the top for a nearfall.
Goto went for the GTR, but Elgin blocked it. Goto hit a Shouten Kai for a nearfall, which the crowd really bought as a potential finish. Goto measured out a kick, but Elgin caught it, and hit a huge forearm. Goto used a sleeper, but Elgin hulked up and broke the hold with a throw.
Elgin hit a massive forearm, then a lariat, which Goto took a flip bump off. Elgin hit the Elgin Bomb, but Goto kicked out at two. Elgin hit a buckle bomb, but Goto fired out of the corner with a lariat. Goto hit a lariat and this time Elgin took a flip bump, and Goto got a two count.
Goto went for the GTR, but Elgin slippe dout. He went for the Elgin Bomb, then maybe a torture rack bomb, but Goto slipped out and hit a lariat. Goto then hit two GTRs, and got the pin, winning the title.
Cobb came back out after the match and went face-to-face with Goto. He grabbed a mic and challenged Goto for the title, so that looks to be a future direction.
This was a great main event, and they worked at a pretty crazy pace for 31 minutes, especially for two bigger guys.