NJPW Summer Struggle continued today with a show from the Yokohama Budokan.
Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI and Tomohiro Ishii defended the NEVER Six-Man titles against Tetsuya Naito, SANADA and BUSHI in the main event.
In the semi-main event of the show, IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Shingo Takagi faced Bullet Club's Yujiro Takahashi in a non-title match.
Three tag matches rounded out the undercard.
The Summer Struggle tour continues with untelevised events on Saturday and Sunday.
Summer Struggle tour coverage on NJPW World resumes as the Super Junior Tag League continues on Monday, August 16.
Below are results and a report from today's show.
Recommended matches --
- NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship: Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI
Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated Tomoaki Honma, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato (10:24)
This was a fine little opener that didn't overstay its welcome.
Suzuki-gun attacked before the opening bell. Coach Taguchi tried to call some plays, but Suzuki-gun cut him off and spent the first half of the match working him over.
Wato got a hot tag and had a solid sequence with Desperado. Desperado hit a spinebuster and tagged out. Suzuki ate a flying kick from Wato. Wato tagged Honma for the closing stretch.
Suzuki avoided a kokeshi. Honma hit a second kokeshi, but Kanemaru and Desperado saved Suzuki.
Suzuki used a misdirection spot to set up a rear naked choke and a Gotch-style Piledriver on Honma for the pin.
Chase Owens, Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo defeated Toru Yano, Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask (10:03)
Eagles and ELP started off and had a crazy sequence of drop-downs and kip-ups and dropkick feints. This was cool.
Tiger and Ishimori got tags. Tiger was only in for a few spots, then it was back to Eagles. Eagles was cut off and worked over by Bullet club.
Yano and Owens got tags and did some comedy with the turnbuckle pads. Yano made a tag to Tiger. Tiger hit a tiger driver for a near fall. Ishimori and ELP cut Tiger off as he teased a dive off the top.
Owens hit a jewel heist, a pump knee and a package piledriver to pin Tiger.
After the match, Owens hit a low blow on Yano, then pulled a strap from under the ring and beat Yano with it.
Owens then announced that the KOPW 2021 match with Yano at Wrestle Grand Slam will be a Texas strap match.
This will be the second Owens vs. Yano strap match of the year.
EVIL, Gedo & Dick Togo defeated Togi Makabe, SHO & YOH (10:56)
The only way I can explain this SHO and YOH losing streak story is that they have a lack of depth on the junior heavyweight side and are going to turn one on the other.
EVIL is a good heel in that there is nothing redeeming or entertaining about his matches. Togo is actually a heck of a worker in small doses. Gedo is a fun comedy heel or a heel manager. Put them all together? No. Dull, formulaic, uninspired, stale.
EVIL tripped SHO from the floor to turn the tide in Bullet Club's favor early. EVIL bumped SHO into the barricade and the ring announcer. Gedo and Togo worked SHO over forever. SHO finally came back and hit a double spear.
Makabe was in briefly with EVIL and hit his ten punches in the corner. YOH got a tag and hit EVIL with a flying forearm.
EVIL cut YOH off and used a scorpion deathlock for the submission.
Shingo Takagi defeated Yujiro Takahashi by DQ (15:06)
Bad match, worse finish.
This was the worst Shingo match I've ever seen. Yujiro is just too slow at this stage of his career to keep up with Shingo's agility, plus he isn't a good enough worker to compensate in other ways. Shingo had to work at a fraction of his normal pace.
Shingo overcame an attack before the opening bell and controlled the first couple of minutes. After the fight went outside, Yujiro sent Shingo into the barricade for the heat. Back in, Yujiro used his plodding offense.
Yujiro hit a Miami Shine for a two count. Shingo stole Yujiro's hand biting spot. Shingo tried a Pumping Bomber, but Yujiro kicked his arm away. Shingo hit noshigami and a sliding lariat for a pair of near falls.
EVIL and Togo ran in after two ref bumps. Shingo fought them off and avoided a cane shot from Yujiro. Shingo hit Yujiro with a Pumping Bomber.
Shingo hit Yujiro with Last of the Dragon. EVIL pulled the ref out of the ring at two. Shingo lifted EVIL for Last of the Dragon, but Togo saved with a low blow. EVIL hit Shingo with the IWGP title.
NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Championship: Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii defeated Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI to retain the titles (36:56)
This was super long. As always in these NEVER Six-Man matches, there was a great closing stretch, but I think you could have cut the first 20 minutes of the match and told the same story.
The condensed version of the first 20 minutes goes like this -- LIJ worked over Ishii. CHAOS worked over Naito. YH blocked a Destino. LIJ worked over Ishii.
Ishii blocked an O'Connor roll. SANADA used Skull End. SANADA gave up the hold like he always does and got hit by a YH thrust kick. YH and Goto hit stereo planchas to BUSHI and Naito.
BUSHI got a tag. From here, this was basically an excellent BUSHI vs. Ishii singles match with some double and triple-team spots from both sides.
BUSHI threatened a ref bump. Ishii avoided black mist from BUSHI. BUSHI used a crucifix for a two count. LIJ went three-on-one on Ishii. Naito hit Ishii with Destino. BUSHI hit the MX, but Goto saved for Ishii.
Ishii avoided a top rope MX attempt. Goto hopped in. BUSHI fell victim to a thrust kick into an ushigoroshi. BUSHI fought out of a GYW. Goto hit lariats on Naito and SANADA. Goto and YH hit the GYW on BUSHI. Ishii followed with a sliding lariat for a near fall.
Ishii then hit the Vertical Drop Brainbuster for the pin.
Here are the lineups for next week's shows
NJPW Summer Struggle, Monday, August 16, 5:30 a.m. Eastern time on NJPW World --
- Super Jr. Tag League: Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo vs. Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask
- Super Jr. Tag League: El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. SHO & YOH
- Super Jr. Tag League: Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs. Gedo & Dick Togo
- Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI vs. EVIL, Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Jado
- Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr., Minoru Suzuki & DOUKI
NJPW Summer Struggle, Tuesday, August 17, 5:30 a.m. Eastern time on NJPW World --
- Super Jr. Tag League: Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo vs. El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
- Super Jr. Tag League: Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs. Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask
- Super Jr. Tag League: SHO & YOH vs. Gedo & Dick Togo
- Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI
- Toru Yano, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Jado