The Big Takeaway --
Suzuki-gun returned to New Japan, laying waste to Chaos and made clear they wanted all of their titles, with Suzuki gunning for the top title. Juice Robinson scored a big upset win over Goto, making himself next in line for the NEVER title. Elgin scored a win over Naito, looking to take the Intercontinental title back down the line. Dragon Lee made his return, laying out Hiromu Takahashi and challenged for the IWGP Jr. title, much to the chagrin of KUSHIDA, who also wants another crack.
Ricochet, Kyle O’Reilly & David Finlay defeated Tiger Mask, Jushin Thunder Liger & Henare
Good opener. Ricochet is excellent, in case you didn’t know. Not just him doing great spots, but how he does it in execution, it’s virtually flawless at times. The match boiled down to Henare fighting for his team, but as like with other young lions, took the pin here. Finlay did the rolling senton, Ricochet hit a shooting star press and Finlay covered for the win.
Finlay went into the crowd and hugged his mom after the match in a nice moment.
Yujiro Takahashi & Hangman Page defeated Yoshitatsu & Billy Gunn
This wasn’t that good. The crowd wasn’t into it aside from a few faint Billy Gunn chants. Yujiro laid out Yoshitatsu on the outside with the pimp juice DDT. Page laid out Gunn with a lariat then pinned Yoshitatsu with the Rite of Passage (Omori Driver).
YOSHI-HASHI & Roppongi Vice defeated The Young Bucks & Adam Cole
Bucks (and even Cole) tried to do the Meltzer Driver but were taken out by Baretta. Bullet Club made their comeback. Cole gave the Last Shot to Romero and Nick followed with a knee strike but Romero kicked out. YOSHI-HASHI made a good comeback but Cole cut him off. He was going for the Last Shot but YOSHI-HASHI cradled him and got a flash win.
Cole and the Bucks laid out YOSHI-HASHI after the match, drilling him with a double superkick/Last Shot combo. That seems to indicate YOSHI-HASHI getting an ROH title shot down the line.
Team 2000 (Scott Norton, Hiro Saito, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Cheeseburger) defeated Bullet Club (Kenny Omega, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier)
All of Team 2000 posed for a picture and Tiger Hattori pulled Cheeseburger away in a funny spot. Both teams did the Wolfpac sign before the match. Omega tried to get Norton to join the Bullet Club, but he wasn’t interested.
There was a hilarious spot where Norton laid everyone out, then Cheeseburger came in to do the Wolfpac sign again, but instead Norton opted to Gorilla Press Cheeseburger out of the ring. He was supposed to wipe out all the Bullet Club members on the outside, but instead they grabbed him and just threw him back in the ring. Cheeseburger tried to do Kojima’s chops in the corner on Fale but it didn’t exactly work. Kojima laid out Bone Soldier, allowing Cheeseburger and Saito to land a couple of sentons, then Kojima pinned him with the lariat.
Michael Elgin & KUSHIDA defeated Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi
Good action. KUSHIDA focused on Takahashi and Elgin set his sights on Naito. Good back and forth action by everyone involved. Elgin took Naito and gave him a German suplex into the turnbuckle, then smooshed Takahashi on top of Naito after a running Death Valley Driver. Naito low blowed Elgin but all of a sudden Dragon Lee ran out and took out Naito, then wiped out Takahashi on the outside with a dive. Elgin proceeded to score the win with a running Death Valley Driver.
Dragon Lee posed with the title after the match, shaking hand with Elgin. He and KUSHIDA had a staredown as well, with KUSHIDA making his intentions known.
Katsuyori Shibata, Juice Robinson, Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe & Yuji Nagata defeated Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Will Ospreay
Shibata and Ospreay started things off. Ospreay motioned that he wanted the RPW British Heavyweight Championship. He and Shibata had a nice early exchange. It ended up becoming a brawl on the outside with Ishii taking Makabe and throwing him into a sign in the crowd. All good, solid action throughout. It continues to be clear that Robinson has improved tons since joining New Japan. Everyone came in and were trading spots. Goto and Robinson went at it. Goto pelted him with clotheslines but Robinson responded with one of his own. Shibata flew in and hit the penalty kick. Robinson hit the unprettier and pinned Goto in a big upset.
Juice Robinson was holding the NEVER title, making clear he was challenging next when all of a sudden, Suzuki-gun ran in for the big return and started to clear house on Chaos. Davey Boy Smith Jr, Lance Archer, Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi, Takashi Iizuka & Taka Michinoku all came in and destroyed whoever was in their path. Taichi and Taka Michinoku laid out Roppongi Vice and Killer Elite Squad laid out Yano. Okada came in and tried to clear house, but the boss himself Minoru Suzuki came in and laid him out with the Gotch piledriver. Suzuki said he wants to rule this ring again and all the belts will be theirs. This got really great heat.
Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi defeated EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI for the NEVER Six-Man tag titles
A solid main event with some good action. Crowd was into this and treated it like a big deal. Nakanishi worked in here longer than you’d think. A big cluster went down during the final moments of the match. Nakanishi scored the win with the Hercules cutter, winning the titles for his team. These titles are quickly becoming redundant, but they were never that interesting to begin with so it doesn’t matter much.
Nakanishi closed the show off with a promo.
Final Thoughts --
A good show to set up events leading to the New Beginning shows next month. The return of Suzuki-gun has its plusses and minuses (Iizuka, Taichi) but it does set up an exciting future main event in Okada vs. Suzuki. Nothing blow away here, but a fun show that did what was needed to start New Japan’s year with a bang.