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NJPW Road to Tokyo Dome results: Okada & Eagles vs. LIJ

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Chase Owens and Bad Luck Fale defeated Yuji Nagata and Yuto Nakashima

This was fine enough for what it was, I suppose -- about what one would expect from this match on paper. 

Nagata and Nakashima started the match by isolating Fale, Owens entered the fray, creating enough separation for Fale to get the upper hand on Nakashima. Fale and Chase then traded tags, slowly picking apart Nakashima far from his corner. Owens and Fale crushed Nakashima, forcing Nagata to save his desperate partner. Eventually, Nakashima escaped a corner splash, allowing Nagata to tag in finally. 

Nagata had a short rally but soon fell to Fale’s power; Nagata continued to slip after Owens tagged back into the match. Nakashima tagged back into the match after recovering on the apron. He gained a quick lead over Owens, locking in a Boston crab that Fale broke up. Fale’s distraction allowed Owens to land a lariat for a near fall and a C Trigger for the actual fall to bring this match to a close. 

DOUKI and Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Toru Yano and Kosei Fujita

This was not great. 

Kanemaru and DOUKI started the match by jumping their opponents. Kanemaru doused Yano with his alcohol before launching an innovative offensive sequence outside the ring. The match returned to the mat but soon devolved into an outside scrap once more. 

After the outside fighting, Kanemaru and DOUKI isolated Fujita. Eventually, Fujita scored the hot tag, prompting Yano to remove the turnbuckle pad; this immediately backfired as Yano flew back first into the turnbuckles, but this really didn’t matter. Kanemaru tried to hit Yano with his bottle, but Yano ducked. Yano teased hitting Kanemaru with his own bottle, but instead, the match went back outside the ring. Yano then fetched a bottle of alcohol of his own that he used to drench Kanemaru. Kanemaru lay on the outside for some time. Once he returned to the ring, he sprayed Yano with a mouth full of liquor. Both men then tagged out.

Fujita forced DOUKI into the ropes with a deep Boston crab. After surviving the hold, DOUKI immediately took advantage, scoring a near fall. Fujita was not done fighting, however; he tried for two quick roll-ups, both of which DOUKI escaped. DOUKI then caught Fujita with the Italian Stretch No.32, leading to the submission victory. 

Yujiro Takahashi, SHO, and EVIL defeated Ryohei Oiwa, YOH, and Tomohiro Ishii

I can’t imagine this match succeeded in any of its goals. If the EVIL vs Ishii, SHO vs YOH, or NEVER 6-Man matches look anything like this come the 4th, that would be a disappointment. 

House of Torture jumped their opponents as the match started. In the chaos, SHO and YOH were left alone in the ring. SHO tried working the fingers of YOH, but YOH fought through, delivering a dropkick before tagging out of the match; after the tag, the match fell into chaos again. 

After the dust settled, EVIL and Ishii were alone in the ring. The pair took turns throwing one another into an exposed corner. Oiwa tagged in, having moderate success before succumbing to the numbers. House of Torture isolated Oiwa, leaving him desperate for a tag. The tag never came. After an extended period of domination, Takahashi had a pin on Oiwa, but instead of taking it, he pulled Oiwa from the mat. EVIL then hit Oiwa with the singles NEVER belt, then Takahashi pinned Oiwa. 

Tiger Mask, YOSHI-HASHI, and Hirooki Goto defeated TAKA Michinoku, Zack Sabre Jr, and Taichi

Anything with Tiger Mask or YH will be fun, so this had its moments.

YH and ZSJ opened the match with a wonderful sequence that soon involved every other competitor. ZSJ and Tiger Mask were soon alone in the ring, and after some ZSJ targeting, Tiger Mask was in deep trouble. As Taichi entered the match, things only grew direr for Tiger Mask. 

A tiger driver allowed Goto to tag into the match and take momentum for his team; YH tagged back into the match, and Suzuki-Gun regained control. TAKA locked in a deep choke that forced YH into the ropes. Moments later, the match broke down into a 6-way brawl. YH and Goto hit TAKA with Shoto, leading to the pin. 

Master Wato, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated El Phantasmo, Taiji Ishimori, and Gedo 

For a match structured on Taguchi’s hindquarters, this was decent. 

ELP and Taguchi started the match by playing chicken; this evolved into a silly sequence that ended with Wato being slammed into Taguchi’s rear. The distraction this caused allowed Bullet Club to gain control by isolating Taguchi. After raking his back for minutes, ELP slapped Taguchi’s buttocks that Gedo and Taji exposed; Taguchi seemed ashamed. 

Taguchi, with his pants around his thighs, finally landed a hip attack before tagging Wato into the match. Wato had a short sequence before tagging in Tanahashi. Tanahashi, unfortunately, fell victim to a referee distraction and kick from ELP’s loaded boot. Before Bullet Club could put away Tanahashi, Taguchi hit the ring, his butt still out. After Taguchi landed a hip attack to clear the ring, Tanahashi locked in the cloverleaf and tapped out Gedo. 

Aaron Henare, Great-O-Khan, and Jeff Cobb defeated BUSHI, SANADA, and Tetsuya Naito 

This match was a little bloated, but it was the first match of the night that actually made me more excited for a Tokyo Dome match; every Cobb/Naito interaction left me wanting more. 

Cobb wanted Naito from the opening bell, but Naito denied him; instead, O-Khan and SANADA opened the match. O-Khan was sure to show off his wrestling that earned him a technique award early in his exchange. SANADA, on the other hand, grabbed O-Khan’s braid, pulling him across the ring by his lone lock. 

SANADA tied O-Khan up in the paradise lock, causing The United Empire to hit the ring. O-Khan gained control over SANADA on the inside, and on the outside, Cobb flattened Naito. The United Empire then picked apart SANADA as Naito watched on. 

SANADA eventually tagged out, allowing Naito and Cobb to interact in the ring. Naito led the first sequence inside the ropes by targeting Cobb’s leg. Cobb was only slightly phased, however, as his power soon overwhelmed Naito. What followed was a fantastic back and forth exchange that left both men laid out. 

The match broke down, and everyone traded moves for some time. Eventually, O-Khan hit BUSHI with an Eliminator to close the match.

Hiromu Takahashi and Shingo Takagi defeated Kazuchika Okada and Robbie Eagles

This is precisely what you would expect from a preview tag with these guys—tons of interaction without over-delivering before the Dome show. 

Okada and Shingo opened the match with some chain wrestling to establish equality between the two. Then Eagles and Hiromu tagged in, having a lightning-quick sequence that broke down into a brawl on the outside. Eagles emerged with advantage before Okada tagged back in and cemented his teams lead. Eagles and Okada then took turns keeping Hiromu from tagging out. 

Hiromu eventually got the hot tag, allowing for a significant Shingo offensive sequence. Though, Shingo’s offense was cut short as Okada caught him in the money clip, forcing a rope break and a momentum reversal. After an air-raid crash neckbreaker, Okada tried for the money clip once more, but Shingo escaped, landing a lariat to reset the match. 

The juniors tagged back in, and Eagles immediately tied up the legs of Hiromu. Hiromu barely escaped but managed to find the ropes. The pair then struggled for control, with Hiromu eventually driving Eagles into the turnbuckle pad. Eagles answered some light offense but was thrown back into the corner with even more intention. 

Shingo tagged in to keep Eagles from Okada. Okada saved Eagles from a pin following the pumping bomber, but he could not make the save following last of the dragon. Shingo pinned Eagles to close the match. 

Shingo closed the show with a promo.