The NJPW Summer Struggle tour continued today with the second of two straight nights in Osaka and the second of four consecutive days with major NJPW shows.
Before they face off for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship on Sunday at Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome, Tetsuya Naito faced Zack Sabre Jr. in the main event of today's show, while their partners SANADA and Taichi squared off in the semi-main.
Sabre and SANADA went to a draw yesterday following a double pin, while Taichi beat Naito in Thursday's main event.
Below are results and a report on today's show.
Recommended matches --
- Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo & Jado defeated Hirooki Goto, Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero (10:10)
Lots of butt comedy here in this opener.
Taguchi threatened to drop his pants a lot early on. He pinned Ishimori while sitting on his face with hit tights pulled down last week. Goto brought a whistle into the ring to serve as Taguchi and Romero's coach.
First Taguchi, then Romero were cut off and worked over. This built to a Goto hot tag. Everyone hopped in for a big move.
Taguchi and Jado ended up legal for the closing stretch. Taguchi had Jado in the ankle lock. ELP jumped in and hit Taguchi with Sudden Death, then Jado covered and pinned Taguchi.
ELP hit Romero with Sudden Death after the match.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano defeated KENTA, EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi (w/Dick Togo) (12:29)
The post-match was significantly better than the match. KENTA and Tanahashi's exchanges here were excellent, though.
KENTA teased starting off with Tanahashi, then immediately tagged out.
Yujiro and Yano tagged in. Yano produced a pair of handcuffs and tried to cuff Yujiro to the ropes. The ref was shoved down and kind of rolled around on the mat for a while, not sure whether to sell this as a long ref bump or not. Bullet Club turned this into a ringside brawl and cut Yano off.
Togo interfered and threw Yano into the barricade. EVIL made a cover, but Ishii and Tana saved. Bullet Club did their human centipede cobra twist spot. EVIL covered again, Tana and Ishii saved again. EVIL sent Yano into an exposed buckle.
Yano came back with an inverted atomic drop on KENTA and tagged Tana. Tana hit a baseball slide to Togo. Tana hit a somersault senton. Tana and KENTA traded strikes. KENTA blocked a slingblade with a kitchen sink. EVIL tagged in and tried a mid kick. Tana caught the kick and hit a dragon screw.
Ishii tagged in. Togo and Yano got involved, tripping Ishii and EVIL from the floor. EVIL got whipped into the exposed buckle and tagged out. Bullet Club tripled up on Ishii. Tana and Yano made the save after Yujiro fisherman buster.
KENTA took the referee. Yujiro tried a cane strike, but Yano saved. KENTA took out Yano. Tana took KENTA out. EVIL took Tana out. Ishii took EVIL out with a backdrop suplex.
Tanahashi hit Yujiro with slingblade, then Ishii followed up with the Vertical Drop Brainbuster for the pin.
After the match, Ishii went after EVIL on the floor. Togo attacked Ishii with a ligature and choked him out. EVIL then used a chair on Ishii's right knee. Tana saved Ishii from more chair shots, but KENTA attacked from behind and Ishii and Tanahashi were left laying.
Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan defeated Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI (12:02)
Okada attacked Cobb before the bell yesterday, so Cobb returned the favor here. Okada reversed a whip and hit a back elbow, then hit a DDT. YH tagged in and soon found himself beaten down by Cobb and O-Khan.
YH came back with a heel kick to O-Khan. Okada tagged in and hit O-Khan with a back elbow and a flapjack. O-Khan countered with a backbreaker and tagged out. Cobb hit Okada with a running powerslam for a two count.
Cobb hit a massive dropkick to Okada, then mocked the Rainmaker pose. Okada blocked a splash in the corner and hit an air raid crash neckbreaker. YH tagged in and hit a headhunter to Cobb. He hit a second headhunter off the top for a near fall.
Cobb hit spin cycle for a two count. O-Khan entered for a double team and a pump kick into a Cobb vertical suplex to YH. Okada ran in and tried a dropkick, but Cobb plucked him out of the air. Okada blocked Tour of the Islands, but Cobb hit a throw to Okada.
YH hit a lariat for a near fall on Cobb. He tried Kharma, but Cobb blocked, then hit Tour of the Islands and pinned YH.
Shingo Takagi & BUSHI defeated Tomoaki Honma & Master Wato (12:35)
This was one of Honma's better outings in recent years.
Honma and Shingo began. Honma and Wato used an effective double team to score a shoulder tackle takedown. Wato tagged in and got a one count on Shingo after a kick.
Wato fell victim to a double team as LIJ went to work on him. Wato came back with a crucifix bomb and a dreamcast to Shingo, then tagged Honma. Honma hit Shingo with a kokeshi. Honma fought for a suplex and finally got it for a two count on Shingo.
Shingo answered with a sliding lariat for a two count. Honma fought off Last of the Dragon. Wato entered for a high kick. Honma hit a lariat for a two count. Honma pulled his knee pad down and teased a Kamigoye, but hit a kokeshi instead for another near fall on the champion.
Honma went up top. BUSHI stopped him before a diving kokeshi attempt. Shingo hit a superplex. BUSHI came in for an assisted backstabber. Shingo covered, Wato saved. Wato and BUSHI fought to the floor.
Honma and Shingo exchanged strikes. Honma hit two headbutts. Shingo no-sold a kokeshi and hit a Pumping Bomber for a two count.
Shingo then hit Last of the Dragon and scored the pin.
SANADA defeated Taichi (23:19)
There's a way to slowly build a match when you're going to go for a long time that doesn't involve not doing anything for the first ten minutes. This was the problem I had with the main event of yesterday's show as well. Good closing stretch, very dull until that point.
They spent the first three-plus minutes of the match just flexing their pecs. Referee Red Shoes eventually declared SANADA the winner of the pec pop challenge based on fan response.
Taichi was enraged and choked SANADA. Taichi locked SANADA over the bottom rope with his own paradise lock, then broke it with a dropkick to the floor. Taichi sent SANADA into the barricade and choked him with a camera cable. Back inside, Taichi continued with illegal chokes.
Taichi used a cobra twist. SANADA blocked a last ride and hit a backdrop and a dropkick to the leg. SANADA hit a leapfrog dropkick at the 10 minute call. Taichi avoided a plancha and a springboard dropkick. SANADA used the paradise lock and broke it with a dropkick.
Taichi hit a gamengiri out of a standing switch. He maintained the advantage with clotheslines. SANADA blocked two axe bomber attempts. Taichi hit a high kick. SANADA answered with a TKO for a two count.
They traded Kawada kicks. They exchanged strikes. SANADA used forearms, while Taichi used leg kicks. SANADA hit a rolling elbow and a tiger driver. Taichi kicked out at one. Taichi hit a backdrop suplex. Both popped up, then both dropped to the mat to sell in a double down.
Taichi was first up. He removed his trousers. SANADA blocked a high kick and hit a dropkick. Taichi hit a chokeslam for a two count. SANADA blocked a high kick and used a moonsault to set up Skull End. Taichi slid out immediately. SANADA got back to the hold. Taichi escaped again.
SANADA got Skull End on for a third time, this time with a body scissors on the mat at the 20 minute mark. SANADA gave up the hold and hit a moonsault to the back. He flipped Taichi over and tried another moonsault, but Taichi got his knees up.
They traded kicks. Taichi hit an axe bomber and a gamengiri, then hit last ride for a two count.
SANADA escaped Black Mephisto and tried an O'Connor roll. Taichi reversed the roll into a Koji Clutch for two, then SANADA reversed that into an O'Connor bridge for the pin.
Tetsuya Naito defeated Zack Sabre Jr. (25:01)
This was an excellent match. Naito took the bulk of the offense and looked dominant in victory, the story being that Sabre's leg was injured yesterday against SANADA and will still be injured Sunday at the Tokyo Dome.
Naito would tease locking up with Sabre, then kick him and send him to the floor. This happened several times. Naito then led Sabre on a chase around the ring as he was in full Naito mode tonight.
Naito went after Sabre's taped left leg with kicks and a deathlock. Sabre avoided a basement dropkick to the bad leg and used a neck twist. Sabre stood on Naito's back and neck. Naito fired off a big overhand chop. They exchanged strikes. Naito hit an inverted atomic drop and a dropkick to the leg at the 10 minute mark.
The pace picked up as Naito continued going after Sabre's left leg. Naito's attack became two-pronged as he also began to soften up Sabre's neck with back elbows. Naito got caught in a body scissors as he tried to bar Sabre's knee. Sabre forced a break.
Sabre used a neck twist and a full nelson. A nice exchange saw Naito hit another dropkick to the leg and use a cross kneelock. Sabre blocked a flying forearm and used a guillotine. Naito backed him into the corner to break the hold.
Sabre hit a swing DDT out of the corner and went back to the guillotine. He switched to a triangle choke, but Naito forced a break. They traded strikes to the chest, but Naito went right back to kicking at the leg. Naito hit a swing DDT and a top rope frankensteiner. Naito hit a step-up enzuigiri. Sabre used a sleeper. Naito quickly escaped the hold. Sabre used another neck twist 20 minutes in.
Sabre used a dragon sleeper and trapped the arms as well. Naito got back to his feet as Sabre kept the dragon sleeper applied. Naito avoided a Zack Driver and kicked the leg again. Naito hit a sliding dropkick to the leg. Naito hit Esperanza for a near fall.
Naito hit Destino, but Sabre kicked out. Naito went for a Michinoku driver, but Sabre blocked and hit a dragon suplex. Naito hit an enzuigiri. Sabre answered with an immediate PK into a double down.
Naito hit Valentia, then hit another Destino for the victory.
SANADA and Taichi came to the ring after the match. Taichi helped Sabre to the back.
Naito cut a promo to send the fans home happy.
Here are the lineups for the next two days:
NJPW Summer Struggle in Nagoya, Saturday, July 24, 4 a.m. Eastern time on NJPW World --
- Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. KENTA
- Tomohiro Ishii vs. EVIL
- Tomoaki Honma & Master Wato vs. Shingo Takagi & BUSHI
- Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano vs. Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan
- Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo & Jado
- Robbie Eagles, SHO & YOH vs. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & DOUKI
NJPW Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome, Sunday, July 25, 3 a.m. Eastern time on NJPW World --
- IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Shingo Takagi (c) vs. Kota Ibushi
- IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Tetsuya Naito & SANADA (c) vs. Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Jeff Cobb
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: El Desperado (c) vs. Robbie Eagles
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo (c) vs. Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi
- Pre-show New Japan Ranbo for the provisional KOPW 2021