New Japan brought us the third Kizuna Road show of the month at Korakuen Hall this morning, complete with a big IWGP Junior Heavyweight title match as KUSHIDA looked to successfully defend his title against former champion BUSHI.
We also got a look at all the big matches lined up for the G1 Climax, with dates included.
Tetsuhiro Yagi and Shota Umino went to a time limit draw
This was a nice match to kick off the show. They did a bit more than usual and looked pretty good. Yagi was in control for a lot of the match and looked good when on offense; same with Umino when it came to selling. Umino eventually cut him off and had the Boston crab in when the time limit expired.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taka Michinoku defeated Tiger Mask IV & Hirai Kawato
A solid match, with Kawato being the highlight with his intensity. They built up Kawato’s near falls very well as the crowd got into all of them. Michinoku eventually took him down and applied the crossface for the submission.
Tiger Mask and Kanemaru got into it after the match.
Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Tomoyuki Oka, Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata
Oka took a lot of the match and was worked over by everyone, including Liger. Kojima picked up the win for his team with a lariat.
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano defeated Katsuya Kitamura & Togi Makabe
It was Kitamura’s time to shine, working mostly with Ishii. Kitamura, as far as star quality goes, probably could be the biggest star in the promotion in a few years. They’d need to do it soon though as he’s 31 years old already. He took the pinfall after eating a lariat from Ishii.
Here are the big matches taking place in this year’s G1, along with the dates for them --
- July 17th: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Kota Ibushi vs. Tetsuya Naito
- July 20th: SANADA vs. EVIL, Minoru Suzuki vs. Kenny Omega
- July 21st: Kota Ibushi vs. Zack Sabre Jr., YOSHI-HASHI vs. Tetsuya Naito
- July 22nd: Kenny Omega vs. Tama Tonga, Minoru Suzuki vs. SANADA
- July 23rd: Kota Ibushi vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Togi Makabe vs. Hirooki Goto
- July 25th: Toru Yano vs. Kenny Omega, Kazuchika Okada vs. SANADA
- July 26th: Togi Makabe vs. Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Hirooki Goto
- July 27th: Minoru Suzuki vs. EVIL, Michael Elgin vs. Kenny Omega
- July 29th: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito
- July 30th: Satoshi Kojima vs. Kenny Omega, Juice Robinson vs. Kazuchika Okada
- August 1st: Yuji Nagata vs. Tomohiro Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kota Ibushi
- August 2nd: Satoshi Kojima vs. Minoru Suzuki, Kenny Omega vs. EVIL
- August 4th: Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Togi Makabe
- August 5th: Satoshi Kojima vs. SANADA, Kazuchika Okada vs. EVIL
- August 6th: Togi Makabe vs. Tetsuya Naito, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii
- August 8th: Kenny Omega vs. SANADA, Kazuchika Okada vs. Minoru Suzuki
- August 11th: Kota Ibushi vs. Hirooki Goto, Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Tetsuya Naito
- August 12th: Toru Yano vs. Minoru Suzuki, Kazuchika Okada vs. Kenny Omega
Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA & Hiromu Takahashi defeated David Finlay, Ryusuke Taguchi, Juice Robinson & Hiroshi Tanahashi
This time everyone tried to wrap SANADA up in the ball, but they all failed and in stereo all looked ashamed that they couldn’t get it done. That was funny. This turned into a pretty good match with a lot of heat towards the end. Everyone worked well against one another. Finlay made a good comeback before eventually submitting to SANADA’s Skull End.
I think Taguchi wanted SANADA to join Taguchi Japan, or at least give him his towel, after the match. SANADA acted like he was going to grab it, but then jumped him and sent him out of the ring.
Minoru Suzuki, Davey Boy Smith Jr., Taichi & El Desperado defeated Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Gedo
This was another good back-and-forth match between CHAOS and Suzuki-gun, with everyone coming in and getting some shine. Suzuki got Gedo in the sleeper, then shoved him to Desperado, who got the win with his new finisher, the Angel’s Wings.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA defeated BUSHI to retain his title
This was a good, but not great match. There was nothing particularly wrong about it, but it never truly felt heated. Hiromu Takahashi coming in to do spots was kind of annoying, as it was similar to the way the NEVER title match went on this tour, but it wasn’t as pronounced and may at least be a prelude to another showdown between him and KUSHIDA.
BUSHI went for a handshake; KUSHIDA obliged but immediately hit him into the ropes for a hot back and forth. BUSHI gained control and ground down KUSHIDA with some submission work.
BUSHI went to do something off the top rope, but KUSHIDA latched on and took him down to the floor, looking for a Kimura lock. Hiromu Takahashi, with his stuffed cat Darryl, came in to interfere, but KUSHIDA quickly took him out, then followed with a tope con hilo. His feet landed on top of the rail, hurting his leg.
KUSHIDA came back to the ring and hit the Back to the Future, but Takahashi came in instead and pretended to be the ref, counting to three. KUSHIDA got up, allowing Takahashi to superkick him, then followed with the sunset flip bomb before exiting.
BUSHI came around and took over on offense. He went to hit the MX, but KUSHIDA countered and laid him out. He misted KUSHIDA (while the ref was distracted, of course), then went for a bridge, but KUSHIDA kicked out. BUSHI went to jump off the top rope for the MX, but KUSHIDA caught him and landed the Back to the Future for the win.
Desperado came out after the match and hit KUSHIDA with his guitar, channeling Jeff Jarrett. He does have a win over KUSHIDA from the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, so he has his reason for challenging. The G1 finals would make the most sense for that match.
Desperado cut a promo to end the show.