NJPW's Road to Wrestling Dontaku tour continued today in Hiroshima.
The top three matches on the show saved a somewhat sleepy undercard.
One focus of the opening matches on this tour has been the issues between Minoru Suzuki and Jushin Liger. With Liger not scheduled on this show, we had to wait until the fourth match before we had anything that felt like it was building towards something of consequence.
Business picked up later in the card, and both the semi-main and the Junior Heavyweight Tag Team title match were excellent.
Full match recaps and results are below:
SHOTA UMINO & REN NARITA DEFEATED YOTA TSUJI & YUYA UEMURA
This was not at the level of most Young Lion openers of late.
Narita's right shoulder was heavily taped. On commentary, Kevin Kelly said it was slightly separated. Tsuji and Uemura worked on the shoulder early.
Narita was able to make a tag to Umino. Uemura and Tsuji hit Umino with dropkicks. Tsuji used a crab, and Narita came in for the save. Umino hit a spinebuster on Tsuji for a near fall, then used a full crab. After a long fight, he reached the ropes.
Umino then hit a fisherman's suplex on Tsuji for the pin.
MINORU SUZUKI, EL DESPERADO & YOSHINOBU KANEMARU DEFEATED TIGER MASK IV, YOSHI-HASHI & TOA HENARE
The Suzuki-gun team used their traditional jumpstart, attacking before the opening bell. Tiger Mask started off as the legal man for his team. Suzuki used an armbar on him over the ropes, then brawled with YOSHI-HASHI in the crowd.
Back inside, Desperado went for Tiger's mask. Tiger fought back with some kicks, then went for Desperado's mask. Desperado used an eye rake, then tagged Suzuki. Suzuki used a chinlock and an armbar. YOSHI-HASHI jumped in for the save and traded strikes with Suzuki.
Kanemaru tagged in and ate a wheel kick. Desperado entered and ate a backbreaker, enabling Tiger to tag YOSHI-HASHI.
YOSHI-HASHI and Kanemaru fought to a stalemate, then Henare and Suzuki got tags.
Henare hit a Samoan drop for a near fall. He used a tackle for another near fall. Suzuki used a misdirection spot, then hit the Gotch piledriver on Henare for the pin.
TOGI MAKABE, JUICE ROBINSON, TOMOAKI HONMA, TORU YANO & MIKEY NICHOLLS DEFEATED TAMA TONGA, TANGA LOA, BAD LUCK FALE, CHASE OWENS & JADO
This was a let's get everyone on the show 10-man tag. There wasn't enough comedy to be a good comedy match, and there wasn't enough wrestling to be a good wrestling match.
This match saw Bullet Club use the jumpstart before the bell. Yano and Tonga ended up the legal men. Yano untied a corner pad and used it as a weapon against Tonga. Tonga reciprocated. Loa got a tag and whipped Yano into the exposed buckle, twice.
Fale tagged in, and he took a turn sending Yano into the buckle. Tonga got a tag and used a kokeshi, mocking Honma. Yano sent Tonga into the buckle and both tagged out.
Juice and Owens were the legal men. Fale and Nicholls jumped in, and Nicholls and Juice gained the advantage. Juice hit a cannonball and a senton, while Nicholls hit a sliding lariat. Owens escaped Pulp Friction and used a roll-up for a two count. Owens hit a lariat and tagged Loa.
Juice sent Loa into the buckle, then tagged Makabe. Makabe hit ten punches and a lariat, but Loa followed with his own lariat. The match broke down as everyone jumped in. Jado tried to use a kendo stick, but Yano hit him with a low blow.
After the low blow, Makabe hit Jado with the King Kong knee drop for the pin.
JEFF COBB & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI DEFEATED TAICHI & TAKA MICHINOKU
Not much to the match. This was about establishing Taichi as Cobb's challenger for the NEVER title, and the post-match angle did that.
Taguchi has a new haircut and shaved his facial hair. He looks ten years older somehow.
Taguchi and Cobb did some comedy spots with TAKA. They fought into the crowd, where Taichi used a chair on Cobb. Back inside, Taichi and TAKA doubled up on Taguchi.
Cobb finally got a tag and ran wild. He hit a standing moonsault on Taichi, but missed a splash in the corner. Taichi hit a jumping kick, and tagged TAKA. TAKA hit a running knee for a near fall.
Taguchi flew in with a hip attack on Taichi. Cobb hit TAKA with a lariat and followed with Tour of the Islands for the victory.
After the bell, Taichi attacked Cobb and posed with the NEVER title.
HIROOKI GOTO, WILL OSPREAY & DRAGON LEE DEFEATED JAY WHITE, TAIJI ISHIMORI & HIKULEO
This was a good six-man.
Bullet Club attacked before the bell. White went after Goto, and they fought around ringside. Ospreay came out firing. He teased a dive, but Hikuleo cut him off and Bullet Club went to work on Ospreay.
Hikuleo used a delayed vertical suplex for a two count. Ishimori and Ospreay traded back handsprings. Ishimori missed on his, while Ospreay connected with a kick. Lee got a tag and hit a dropkick in the corner.
Ishimori and Lee traded strikes. Lee hit a jumping knee strike, while Ishimori hit a Canadian Destroyer. Goto and White tagged in. Goto ran wild with clotheslines, then hit a Saito suplex for a two count.
White blocked an ushigoroshi, then suplexed Goto into the turnbuckle. Hikuleo tagged in and hit a swinging neckbreaker. He made a cover, but Ospreay broke up the pin. Hikuleo hit a double lariat on Goto and Lee. Ospreay went for pip pip cheerio, but Hikuleo caught him and slammed him.
Goto recovered and went for a GTR on Hikuleo. White saved, but Goto hit him with a lariat. Goto hit Hikuleo with an inverted GTR, then hit a standard GTR for the pin.
TETSUYA NAITO, EVIL & SANADA DEFEATED KAZUCHIKA OKADA, TOMOHIRO ISHII & KOTA IBUSHI
This was great. EVIL and Ishii continue to tear the house down when they're in together.
Naito and Ibushi started off. They only did a little bit, but they got a great reaction. EVIL and Ishii tagged in and did their trading strikes spot. Okada and SANADA got tags, and the pace slowed a bit. EVIL tripped Okada from the floor and LIJ took over.
EVIL hit Okada with a neckbreaker. EVIL covered, but Ishii broke up the pin. Okada and SANADA went at it again. SANADA teased his leapfrog dropkick, but Okada hit an air raid crash into a double down.
Ibushi and Naito tagged in. Ibushi hit a springboard dropkick and a plancha. Ibushi hit a powerslam into a second rope moonsault for a near fall. Naito slipped out of a dragon suplex attempt, and hit a reverse rana off the top for a two count.
Ibushi hit a suplex, but Naito no-sold and hit a one-legged dropkick. EVIL tagged in. Ibushi hit him with a dropkick, then tagged Ishii. They did an awesome sequence of reversals, and Ishii hit a suplex.
EVIL hit a corner lariat, then used a fisherman's suplex. LIJ triple-teamed Ishii. EVIL hit a big lariat for a near fall. EVIL applied the scorpion deathlock, but Ibushi broke it up.
Naito hit Ibushi with a DDT. Okada hit a flapjack on Naito. SANADA hit Okada with a dropkick to the knee. EVIL and SANADA went for the Magic Killer, but Okada saved Ishii with a dropkick to SANADA. Ishii hit EVIL with a lariat for a two count.
Ishii hit a suplex, but missed a sliding lariat. EVIL hit a headbutt, then hit Everything is EVIL for the pin.
IWGP JUNIOR HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH: SHO & YOH DEFEATED BUSHI & SHINGO TAKAGI TO RETAIN THE TITLES (25:10)
SHO and Shingo began, locking up. They traded shoulder tackles. SHO finally dropped Shingo. YOH got a tag. BUSHI jumped in and ate a double dropkick. SHO and YOH teased stereo dives, but Shingo and BUSHI cut them off and took the fight to the floor.
SHO and YOH were both sent into the barricade. Back inside, Shingo hit a double stomp on YOH. BUSHI choked YOH with his T-shirt. They exchanged chops and palm strikes to the chest. Shingo and BUSHI continued working over YOH.
While BUSHI used an STF on YOH, Shingo and SHO fought on the floor. BUSHI used a neckbreaker for a near fall. YOH missed on one dropkick, but hit a second. He went for a tag, but Shingo knocked SHO off the apron.
YOH made his own comeback, hitting dragon screws on both Shingo and BUSHI. SHO got a tag. He hit a spear on both Shingo and BUSHI. After a fight, SHO hit a vertical suplex on Shingo. SHO hit a dropkick, ducked a Pumping Bomber, and hit a spear. He used a cross armbreaker, but BUSHI made the save.
SHO continued to attack Shingo's Pumping Bomber arm. Shingo hit a powerbomb and used a jackknife cover for a near fall. BUSHI hit a backstabber, then Shingo hit a sliding lariat for a near fall.
Everyone jumped in. SHO and YOH hit stereo knees, but Shingo decked them both with a double lariat. YOH and BUSHI rolled to the floor, while SHO and Shingo stood in the center of the ring, trading. Shingo hit a lariat with the left arm, but SHO refused to go down.
They traded short lariats. SHO hit a knee, then dropped Shingo with a lariat. He followed with his own Pumping Bomber for a two count. SHO hit a deadlift German into a bridge for a two count.
SHO went for the Shock Arrow, but Shingo hit a backdrop. SHO hit a mid kick, ducked a Pumping Bomber, and hit a dragon suplex. Shingo no-sold it. He went for a Pumping Bomber, but SHO countered with a clothesline of his own.
BUSHI and YOH tagged in. YOH hit a flying forearm and used a neckbreaker for a two count. BUSHI blocked a falcon arrow. YOH hit some uppercuts, and BUSHI followed with a missile dropkick.
SHO and YOH doubled up on BUSHI. They used an elevated neckbreaker, and YOH got a near fall. BUSHI blocked a 3K attempt and hit a double rana. Shingo jumped back in and sent SHO to the floor. BUSHI hit a suicide dive.
Shingo hit YOH with a Pumping Bomber, and BUSHI hit a Codebreaker for a near fall. BUSHI went for an MX, but YOH caught him with a superkick. Shingo tried to hit YOH with a Pumping Bomber, but SHO jumped in and took the blow for him.
SHO and YOH hit stereo knees on Shingo, sending him to the floor. They went for the 3K on BUSHI, but BUSHI blocked and sent SHO into Red Shoes, who took a bump.
BUSHI hit a low blow and used a backslide for a near fall. SHO and Shingo fought to the floor. BUSHI went for the MX, but SHO jumped in for the save. SHO and YOH hit the 3K on BUSHI, but Shingo made the save.
While SHO held Shingo on the floor, YOH hit a dragon suplex on BUSHI for the pin. An awesome main event.