The first of three Kizuna Road shows aired earlier this morning at Korakuen Hall. The show had a big main event as Los Ingobernables de Japon defended their NEVER Six-Man tag titles against KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi & Juice Robinson. We also found out who will be in this year’s G1 Climax.
Korakuen Hall looked particularly empty this morning -- some visible empty seats could be seen in wide shots.
Tomoyuki Oka defeated Tetsuhiro Yagi
Oka worked over Yagi a ton of the match. Yagi did a good job in playing the babyface in peril. He kicked out of a running powerslam, but Oka immediately locked in the Boston crab and submitted him.
El Desperado, Taka Michinoku & Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Shota Umino, Tiger Mask IV & Jushin Thunder Liger
Umino worked a lot of this match and looked pretty good -- the crowd got into him and he was great in his selling and execution of moves. Really good performance from him. Desperado submitted him with the stretch muffler.
Liger and Tiger Mask posed for fans after the match.
Yuji Nagata & David Finlay defeated Katsuya Kitamura & Manabu Nakanishi
This was just there. Kitamura is very green, but he's perfectly decent for his experience level. Nakanishi seems to move slower and do less the more I see him in the ring. Nagata controlled Kitamura for a lot of the match and ended up pinning him with the backdrop driver.
Togi Makabe, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima defeated Jado, Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii
This was a solid six-man bout. There was a lot of brawling outside of the ring and through the crowd early. Ishii worked a lot of the match and looked good, so did everyone else here really.
Kojima and Tenzan hit the 3D on Jado, then Makabe followed with the King Kong knee drop for the win.
The participants in this year's G1 Climax tournament were then announced. The field is:
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin, Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, YOSHI-HASHI, Kenny Omega, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, EVIL, Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata, Juice Robinson, Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., and Kota Ibushi.
The blocks will be announced on June 26th, with matches revealed the next day.
Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi & Hirai Kawato
Takahashi came to the ring with a stuffed cat doll. He treated it like it was a living thing. Naito even fist-bumped it. His name is Darryl, if you were wondering.
This was Kawato’s big test, being in a more higher profile match than usual and he ended up scoring pretty well. He did great in his selling and has such great natural intensity that it resonated with the fans, so they got into him early, especially when he ran out and jumped Naito before the bell.
He still lost the match for the team, with Takahashi submitting him with the Boston crab.
A female interviewer talked with Taguchi Japan before their title match. Taguchi talked about the team and their match tonight for a bit.
YOSHI-HASHI, Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto defeated Minoru Suzuki, Taichi & Davey Boy Smith Jr.
YOSHI-HASHI jumped Suzuki right at the bell and kept hammering at him until the ref had to pull them apart. It then turned into a solid back-and-forth match. I think this is Smith's first time on a tour in ages and he looked really good both physically and in the ring.
Suzuki and YH had a great back and forth towards the end of the match. Suzuki laid him out as Taichi went to get a chair, but Okada broke it up. YH came back and locked in the butterfly lock for the submission.
Suzuki-gun tried to clear house after the match, but Okada and YH fought back, enabling YH to apply the butterfly lock on Suzuki for a long time until Okada finally broke it up.
The interviewer tried to talk to the NEVER Six-Man tag champs, but none of them seemed all that chatty. BUSHI did end up saying a few words.
NEVER Six-Man Tag Team Champions SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI defeated Ryusuke Taguchi, KUSHIDA & Juice Robinson to retain their titles
This was good, and it was easily the best match on the show. It wasn’t out of this world, but for a Korakuen Hall house show main event it delivered.
BUSHI and KUSHIDA started the match. They looked really good against one another, a positive sign for their match on the 27th. There was a cool spot where KUSHIDA struggled to get the armbar on BUSHI, so Robinson responded by headbutting BUSHI to execute it properly.
Everyone cleared each other out of the ring as Robinson cleared house. Taguchi did a Doomsday hip attack from the top rope. Robinson then went for the Pulp Friction, but when SANADA countered he hit a powerbomb instead. He went for it again, though SANADA kept escaping.
SANADA tripped him on the rope, which allowed EVIL on the outside to wallop him with a steel chair shot. SANADA threw him into BUSHI, who hit the MX, with SANADA following with his Skull End submission and leaving Robinson no real alternative but to tap.