Night seven of the Road to Wrestling Dontaku tour took place today at Korakuen Hall.
The top three matches featured the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champions facing members of Bullet Club in singles matches, with YOSHI-HASHI vs. KENTA, Hirooki Goto vs. Taiji Ishimori and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Yujiro Takahashi.
KENTA, Takahashi and Ishimori will challenge Goto, Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI for those NEVER Six-Man titles on tomorrow's Road to Wrestling Dontaku event, a 5:30 a.m. Eastern time show on NJPW World.
Here are full results and a report on today's show:
Recommended matches --
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. Yujiro Takahashi
- Hirooki Goto vs. Taiji Ishimori
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano & Tomoaki Honma defeated EVIL, Dick Togo & Gedo (8:54)
This was a fun little comedy opener with some bad wrestling.
I love the spot where Gedo boos Tanahashi's abs when he takes his ring jacket off.
Bullet Club attacked before the opening bell. Honma and Togo paired off in the ring as the other four brawled on the floor. Honma missed a kokeshi, and Bullet Club cut him off and worked him over.
Honma came back on Gedo with a hip toss and a kokeshi, then dispatched an interfering Togo and EVIL. Tanahashi got a tag and went to work on Gedo. Gedo used a thumb to the eye. Togo tagged in, but Tana hit him with a dragon screw.
Yano tagged in for the finish. He exposed a buckle. He produced a hood from his tights. Togo grabbed the hood and put it on Yano, then rolled him up for a two count.
Yano hit a double low blow on EVIL and Togo, then used a schoolboy on Togo for the pin.
Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare defeated Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI (7:43)
This was fine for what it was, but they hardly got any time.
We had our second match and our second jumpstart attack by the heels. Ospreay and Shingo started out as the legal men. They had a nice strike exchange. Ospreay avoided a sliding lariat and stomped away at Shingo's head.
Henare tagged in for some double team offense. Shingo hit a double vertical suplex, then tagged SANADA. Henare has pinned SANADA twice on this tour. Henare cut SANADA off, then tagged O-Khan. O-Khan used a wacky hold on SANADA. He tried for a Dominator, but SANADA kicked hm away and tagged Naito.
Naito fought off a double team from O-Khan and Cobb. BUSHI jumped in for some tandem offense. O-Khan used Mongolian chops on Naito. Naito hit an enzuigiri into a double down.
BUSHI and Cobb tagged in. BUSHI rolled Cobb up for a near fall. Cobb hit a spin cycle for a near fall. Everyone jumped in for a big move before the finish.
Cobb hit BUSHI with a Tour of the Islands for the pin.
O-Khan cut his roll call promo after the match.
Tomohiro Ishii defeated Yujiro Takahashi (15:17)
This was the best Yujiro match in years.
Yujiro fired off some kicks at the outset, then sent Ishii outside. Yujiro whipped Ishii into the barricade and hit him with his pimp cane.
Back inside, Ishii no-sold some forearm shots. Yujiro hit some elbow drops and a drive-by kick with Ishii hung up in the ropes. Ishii hit a shoulder block, then a series of chops in the corner. Yujiro halted the momentum by biting Ishii's hand, then hit a slam and a low dropkick.
They had a striking battle in the center of the ring. Yujiro whipped Ishii into the buckle, then ht a German suplex into the buckle. He followed with a fisherman buster for a near fall.
Ishii fired up and hit a powerslam. Yujiro hit a back suplex into a double down. Ishii hit a superplex for a two count. They teased a ref bump. Ishii hit a headbutt, but Yujiro answered with an Alabama slam, a lariat and an Angle slam for a near fall.
A series of misdirection spots ended with Yujiro hitting a lariat. Ishii avoided Miami Shine and hit an enzuigiri into another double down.
Another exchange of strikes ended with an Ishii lariat. Ishii hit a powerbomb and used a stack cover for one near fall, then hit a sliding lariat for another. Yujiro hit a DDT, then a reverse DDT. Yujiro hit Miami Shine for a two count.
Ishii blocked Pimp Juice and hit a headbutt and a lariat for a near fall, then used a Vertical Drop Brainbuster to pick up the pin.
Taiji Ishimori defeated Hirooki Goto (w/Tomohiro Ishii) (12:08)
From a ring psychology standpoint this was probably the best thing on the show.
They established this right away as your classic big man vs. little man match where the heel is the little guy, as Goto won a striking battle. Ishimori then used his agility to avoid a series of strike attempts. Ishimori bailed to the outside and ran away from Goto.
Ishimori beat Goto back into the ring and cut him off, focusing his attack on Goto's left arm. Ishimori took the fight back outside and worked Goto's arm over the edge of the barricade.
Back in, Ishimori continued to attack the left arm. Ishimori missed with double knees in the corner. Goto hit a vertical suplex, a wheel kick in the corner, then a bulldog. Ishimori used an eye rake to avoid an ushigoroshi, then hit a handspring kick.
Ishii came to ringside to second Goto.
Ishimori used a Yes Lock, but Goto reached the ropes. Ishimori dropped Goto face-first into the turnbuckle. Goto hit a hangman's neckbreaker. They traded strikes. Goto got a near fall off a lariat, then hit an ushigoroshi for a two count.
Goto hit a PK. Ishimori blocked a GTR attempt and turned it into a backslide for the flash pin.
KENTA defeated YOSHI-HASHI (w/Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto) (26:06)
These guys were working in slow motion. KENTA picks and chooses his spots to work hard, and YH needs a lot of help to have a great match. This did not make for a winning formula.
Throw in the ref bumps and the fact that both wrestlers ended up with bloody mouths after the match, and this was even worse.
KENTA did his customary stalling for the first few minutes. YH hit a baseball slide and dragged him back inside. YH hit a headhunter. YH went after KENTA's left arm with elbow strikes. YH hit a chop. KENTA rolled back outside.
YH sent KENTA into the barricade. KENTA reversed a whip into the barricade and hit a DDT on the arena floor. KENTA continued his offensive on the outside. Ishii came over to menace him, so KENTA rolled YH back inside.
KENTA hit a series of kicks. YH fired up. They traded forearm strikes. KENTA used a drop toehold to ground YH again. KENTA hit a kitchen sink, then exposed a turnbuckle. KENTA and Ishii jawed at each other. YH got whipped into the exposed buckle.
KENTA continued to work YH over, using a neckbreaker, a chinlock, then some kicks. YH came back with strikes, a dragon screw and a delayed vertical suplex. KENTA hit another kitchen sink to stop YH's momentum.
KENTA hit a tornado DDT, then a top rope clothesline for a near fall. KENTA used an STF, but YH made the ropes. KENTA hit a draping DDT for a two count. He followed with a running boot in the corner and a Shibata dropkick.
KENTA missed with a double stomp off the top, but hit a powerslam. He hit the double stomp on his second attempt for a two count. YH fought off a Go 2 Sleep attempt. They traded strikes. YH hit a dragon suplex, but KENTA rolled to the apron for safety.
YH hit a slingshot into the exposed buckle, then connected with a lariat for a two count. YH used the Butterfly Lock, then rolled through into a Kharma attempt. KENTA blocked. YH hit a back stabber and a meteora. YH hit a fisherman buster, but KENTA kicked out.
KENTA blocked Kharma. They teased a ref bump, and KENTA used the distraction to hit a DDT for a two count. As YH kicked out, he threw KENTA into the ref, who took a bump.
KENTA produced YH's bo staff from under the ring. KENTA missed with a bo swing. YH grabbed the staff. The ref was revived and saw YH with the staff. As YH took the ref, KENTA splashed them both in the corner for another ref bump.
KENTA used the bo on YH, then revived the ref. YH trapped KENTA in a cradle for a good near fall. YH hit a superkick and used a schoolboy for a two count. YH blocked a kick and hit a slap. He tried for Kharma, but KENTA threw him into the buckle.
KENTA hit a series of palm strikes, a busaiku knee for a near fall, then used the Go 2 Sleep for the pin.
KENTA closed the show with a promo, introducing the crowd to his girlfriend -- the bo staff.
Here is the lineup for Tomorrow's show:
NJPW Road to Wrestling Dontaku night eight, Tuesday, April 20, 5:30 a.m. Eastern time on NJPW World --
- NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship: Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI (c) vs. KENTA, Yujiro Takahashi & Taiji Ishimori
- Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare vs. Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI
- Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano vs. EVIL & Gedo
- Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & DOUKI vs. Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Jado
- Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Tomoaki Honma, SHO & YOH