NJPW ran a New Japan Road show today in Korakuen Hall in front of an announced 482 people, roughly one-third capacity.
Recommended matches --
I can't recommend anything as must-see in the ring, but you should watch the main event to stay current on storylines.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima defeated Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura (10:28)
This was a solid opener and Uemura was the star of the match.
Kojima and Tsuji began and traded a few power moves. Tenzan and Uemura tagged in and they did some mat wrestling. They traded strikes until Tenzan cut Uemura off with Mongolian chops.
Kojima and Tenzan worked Uemura over. Kojima used a neckbreaker for three near falls as Uemura did a great job selling his neck. Tenzan and Kojima took turns chopping Uemura in the corner.
Tenzan used a brainbuster for a near fall. Uemura managed to tag Tsuji who gut cut off after a mountain bomb from Tenzan. Kojima tagged in for machine gun chops but Tsuji cut him off before he could hit the follow-up elbow.
Uemura hit Kojima with chops. He hit both Tenzan and Kojima with a double dropkick. He used a crab on Kojima. Tenzan tried to break it up but got hit by a Tsuji spear. Kojima finally forced a break.
The finishing sequence saw Kojima kick out of a double underhook suplex from Uemura. Uemura hit the ropes but ran right into a lariat for the pin.
Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, YOSHI-HASHI & SHO defeated Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Ryusuke Taguchi & Gabriel Kidd (12:00)
The highlights of this one were the exchanges between Honma and Ishii. Ishii went out of his way to make Honma look good and the crowd really got into their spots. Kidd also looked good here.
Honma got some early offense on YOSHI-HASHI. YH was slightly favoring his right knee which he injured during the New Japan Cup.
Honma and Ishii traded a bunch of chops which got the crowd into the match. Honma missed a kokeshi. Taguchi hit an illegal elbow drop on Ishii to cut him off. Taguchi Japan went four-on-one against Ishii before Ishii escaped.
Yano and Taguchi did some comedy spots. Makabe and SHO traded a series of forearm shots. Yano exposed a buckle which led to the finish. Kidd hit a dropkick on Yano and used a crab but Ishii broke it up.
The finish saw everyone jump in for a big move. Kidd rolled Yano up for a near fall before transitioning to a crab. Yano reached the ropes, hit a slingshot into an exposed buckle and used a schoolboy for the pin.
SANADA & Shingo Takagi defeated El Desperado & DOUKI (12:41)
The action in this one was weak for a Shingo match but this was all about setting up his match at Sengoku Lord.
Shingo and SANADA attacked before the opening bell. Shingo went right for Desperado, his opponent in the NEVER title match on Saturday.
Suzuki-gun turned the tide and turned it into a brawl around ringside. This was notable as it was the first crowd brawl in the COVID era that required fans to move.
DOUKI used a chair on Shingo's left leg, so it looks as though he will go into the match Saturday selling a knee injury. DOUKI and Desperado worked over SANADA in the ring before SANADA managed a tag.
Desperado continued working on Shingo's left knee. He used a stretch muffler and Shingo sold for a long time before finally forcing a rope break. Shingo hit a back elbow, jab and lariat before tagging out to set up the closing sequence.
DOUKI hit a neckbreaker and his Day Breaker slingshot DDT for near falls. Shingo and Desperado brawled to the floor. SANADA tried for Skull End but DOUKI cradled him for a near fall.
SANADA then lifted DOUKI for a TKO before transitioning to Skull End instead. He locked in the dragon sleeper and body scissors and DOUKI tapped.
Desperado attacked Shingo after the bell and stole his NEVER Openweight title belt as well.
There was an intermission for cleaning the ring.
Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto defeated Yujiro Takahashi & Gedo (11:51)
I was willing to give this Yujiro vs. Okada program a shot but it was clear in this match that they need to get out of this as soon as possible. Yujiro's work is just nowhere near Okada's level and the people don't care about the feud.
Okada wanted to start off with Yujiro but Yujiro begged off. Okada hit Gedo with a dropkick. Gedo tried to run to the back but Goto went after him and brought him back to the ring. Goto tagged in and worked on Gedo with stomps.
Gedo cut Goto off with a thumb to the eye. Yujiro interfered and aided in attacking Goto before turning his attention to Okada. The crowd was completely silent as Yujiro posted Okada and nailed him with punches on the floor.
Gedo exposed a buckle and sent Goto into it. Gedo and Yujiro spent several minutes working on Goto before he finally managed a hot tag to Okada.
Okada hit his trademark back elbow, back elbow in the corner and DDT sequence on Yujiro. He teased an air raid crash but Yujiro blocked. They worked back to the air raid crash and Okada hit it before both tagged out.
The closing sequence saw Goto hit a wheel kick and a Saito suplex for a near fall, then hit the GTR for the pin.
Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr., Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata & Master Wato (12:07)
Suzuki-gun attacked before the opening bell. Taichi used his mic stand to attack Tanahashi. Suzuki and Nagata began with an exchange that left you wanting to see a rematch of their New Japan Cup classic.
Tanahashi and Sabre tagged in and the story they told was cool as Tanahashi was able to get the upper hand on the mat at first and had a counter for every hold Sabre tried. Sabre used interference from Taichi to target Tana's right knee and take over.
After a few minutes of continuing to work on the knee, Tana managed a dragon screw on Taichi and tagged Ibushi. Ibushi hit a standing moonsault for a near fall. Ibushi and Taichi traded kicks before Wato and Kanemaru tagged in.
Wato hit a standing moonsault for a two count. He went to the top rope but Suzuki jumped in and cut him off. Kanemaru recovered and hit a one-legged dropkick and inverted DDT for a near fall.
Kanemaru hit Deep Impact and had Wato pinned but pulled him up after the count of two. Kanemaru then hit Touch Out (spinning brainbuster) for the pin.
Nagata and Suzuki went at it after the bell and had to be pulled apart. Sabre and Taichi talked trash to Tanahashi and Ibushi.
Suzuki and Nagata had a second pull-apart and traded slaps to the face so they definitely look to be running that back soon.
EVIL, Dick Togo & Taiji Ishimori defeated Hiromu Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI (14:03)
This had a unique start as Hiromu came to the ring acting very heelish. He kept his ring jacket on while everyone else was getting ready for the match.
Hiromu stared at EVIL before taking his jacket off and revealing a Bullet Club shirt. He pointed a finger gun at EVIL before turning it on Naito and BUSHI. Naito and BUSHI acted confused. Hiromu then attacked EVIL and revealed that this was all a ruse and he was still LIJ.
Bullet Club tripled up on Naito as the match began. Togo used a fist drop before slapping a chinlock on Naito. Naito blocked a DDT and used a crab on Togo before EVIL jumped in to cut him off with an eye gouge.
Hiromu and EVIL got tags. Hiromu hit a low dropkick on EVIL. Togo and Ishimori tried to cut him off but Hiromu fought them off. Hiromu hit a shotgun dropkick off the apron onto all three Bullet Club members.
Back inside, Hiromu hit EVIL with a falcon arrow for a near fall. The crowd got into the match at this point. EVIL blocked Time Bomb and took the referee, allowing Togo and Ishimori to expose a buckle and double up on Hiromu.
EVIL repeatedly sent Hiromu into the exposed buckle. Hiromu came back with a superkick and a lariat into a double down.
BUSHI tagged in and hit an enzuigiri and a missile dropkick on EVIL. He fought off attacks from Ishimori and Togo and hit a tope suicida on EVIL. BUSHI and Naito held EVIL up while Hiromu hit a doomsday device missile dropkick. BUSHI covered for a two count.
The match broke down as everyone jumped in at the finish. EVIL hit Hiromu with a lariat. Togo choked BUSHI with a ligature while Ishimori took the ref.
EVIL then hit BUSHI with Everything is EVIL for the pin.
After the match, Togo choked Hiromu out with the ligature. EVIL teased hitting EVIL on Hiromu but chose not to.
EVIL cut a brief promo before standing over the fallen LIJ to close the show.