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Mitchell’s NJPW AXS TV Report: Road to Wrestling Dontaku!

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NJPW’s “Main unit”, Taguchi Japan, puts up two rising stars seeking their first championships! Juice Robinson gets another go at Hirooki Goto for the NEVER Openweight Championship, will the second time be better than the first? And David Finlay goes after an old friend in the Switchblade and the IWGP US Championship!

 

This review of Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2018 will be as broadcast by AXS TV.
Therefore, all images are courtesy of AXS TV.

 

OFFICIAL RESULTS

  • IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Jay White VS David Finlay; White wins and retains the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship.
  • NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto VS Juice Robinson; Goto wins and retains the NEVER Openweight Championship.

PLAY BY PLAY

AXS TV and NJPW review the build to tonight’s matches.

The Flamboyant One of the “main unit”, Taguchi Japan, challenged for both the NEVER Openweight and IWGP US Championships before, failing to defeat either the Fierce Warrior of Chaos or The Cleaner. He made quite the impression in the New Japan Cup, and tries once more against Hirooki Goto. Will Juice finally get his first taste of gold? Meanwhile, David Finlay targeted The Switchblade at Strong Style Evolved, and made it clear he wants the IWGP US Championship on top of revenge. These former friends face off to see who is truly the better man!

 

IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship: Jay White VS David Finlay!

We jump into this match partway as Finlay has White down. Finlay stands up and gets to a corner. He takes aim at White, but White stays down. Finlay kicks White in the back, then goes back to the corner again. White still can’t stand, so Finlay stands him up for a hard right. Finlay takes aim again, but White glares up at him from the mat. Finlay stands White up for a European Uppercut, then a chop. White staggers and Finlay fires up, but White falls to his knees. Finlay grows frustrated, so he just clobbers White in the back of the head! White finally stands up on his own, and Finlay runs out for a SPEAR!

Cover, TWO! Finlay grows frustrated but the fans rally. Finlay goes to the corner again, but White spits in his face. White laughs, but Finlay steals the Blade Runner! Cover, TWO!! White survives his own move and Finlay is again frustrated. Finlay drags himself out of the ring to walk it off. He peels away the apron skirt, to then retrieve a table. Finlay sets up the table, positioning it between ring and railing. He hears the fans rallying as he drags White up. He brings White over, and hoists him up onto the top of a corner. Finlay climbs up from the outside, and Red Shoes grows concerned. White resists as Finlay tries to lift him. White elbows Finlay down and they both go to the apron. Finlay fireman carries White, but White clings to the rope.

White slips down and hits Finlay back with kicks and clubbing forearms. White goes to lift Finlay but Finlay resists. Finlay lifts and back drops White onto the apron. White slumps down, but then suddenly grabs Finlay in powerbomb position, and bombs Finlay onto the table!

The table cracks but does not break. White wants to finish it, so he sets Finlay on the table and climbs back onto the apron. White drops an elbow!

Both men are in pain from the impact, but White stands up first. White gets into the ring while Finlay crawls from the wreckage. The 20 count reaches 10 before Finally drags himself up. It reaches 15, but Finlay flounders, to beat it at 19.5! White is on him right away, with a double underhook dominator! Cover, TWO!? White can’t believe it, but fans are rallying for Finlay. Finlay stirs, grabbing at White. White drags Finlay up, and reels him in for the Black Dragon brainbuster! Cover, TWO! White decides to finish this, and drags Finlay up for his Blade Runner, but Finlay counters with a stunner! Finlay flounders to a cover, TWO, but by the slimmest of margins. Finlay thinks he’s won, but is crushed when he hears it isn’t so. Fans continue to rally while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as both Finlay and White glare while slowly sitting up. Finlay throws a forearm, White throws one back. Finlay throws another, and White leans back. White comes back with a harder forearm, and Finlay leans. Finlay hits White, and again, and again. They stand up and White chops Finlay, and again, and again. Finlay falls back into a corner, but EuroUppers out at White. He gives another, and another. White staggers but Finlay gives him a sharp slap to the face. Finlay fires up but White grabs his hair to turn him around, for a clubbing clothesline! Finlay gets up but walks into Blade Runner, but slips out for a lumbar check! He’s all fired up now, as are the fans.

Finlay suplexes White up, for the last shot brainbuster! Cover, TWO!! And Finlay still can’t believe it. He gets up and calls to end it. But White blocks that cutter to hit his Blade Runner!!

Cover, White wins!

Winner: White, by pinfall; still IWGP US Heavyweight Champion

The second-ever IWGP USHC continues his reign on the Road to Wrestling Dontaku. He downs his former friend turned bitter rival, who will be next to be cut down by The Switchblade?

White speaks.

“David Finlay. David Finlay. Quite the valiant effort.” White knew Finlay was tough, but even he was surprised. Finlay proves he belongs in the main events of NJPW. “But more importantly, you showed that you certainly do NOT belong in the ring with me.” Ten wins for White, only one for Finlay, way back in 2015. White has and will always be better than Finlay, “get that piece of shit outta here!” Finlay is the past, we are looking at the future. The future of Chaos, and the future of Jay White. “Who is next?” White doesn’t know, but he’ll keep an eye on Hirooki, Tanahashi and Okada. “But whoever is next, they will be left lying in this ring” while White is still champion. “Everybody will breathe with the Switchblade.”

 

NEVER Openweight Championship: Hirooki Goto VS Juice Robinson!

The Fierce Warrior defeated the Flamboyant One before, and Juice has learned much since then. Will Juice’s growth since their first match be enough to finally remove Goto from his NEVER throne?

Red Shoes shows Juice the belt he fights for, then signals for the bell. Fans duel already as the two circle. They tie up, and are even in strength as neither man budges. Juice pushes but Goto pushes him back. Juice kneels but stands back up. Goto gets around Juice, but Juice reaches back for the headlock. Goto reverses to a wristlock, but Juice turns that back into the headlock. Juice holds on as Goto tries to power out. Juice shifts to a wristlock, but Goto rolls and escapes. The two back off and fans applaud. They tie up again, and Goto gets the headlock now. Juice works his way out, but Goto puts the hold back on. Juice powers out, things speed up and Goto reverses the hip toss into a hip toss. Goto runs but Juice stays solid with him as they collide shoulder to shoulder.

They glare at each other, and Goto kicks low. Goto puts Juice in a corner, then throws forearm after forearm. Juice turns it around and gives off his own left haymakers. Goto punches Juice, so Juice slaps back. Juice throws Goto out, then slingshots out onto him!

Juice wipes Goto out and stands back up as fans applaud. He rains hands on Goto, then drags Goto up. He has the media clear out, to then whip Goto into the railings. Juice runs in, but Goto back drops Juice up and over. Juice lands on his feet, but Goto rocks him with a right hand. Goto grabs Juice’s dreads, and yanks him backwards into the railing! Juice goes down while Goto catches his breath. Red Shoes checks on Juice, Juice is okay to continue. Goto gets up to fetch Juice, and the 20 count climbs up to 10. Goto puts Juice back in the ring, then keeps on him with stomps. He drags Juice up and around, to then hoist him onto the top rope. Goto grabs the head again, for a draping neckbreaker!

Juice slumps out of the ring and to the floor. Goto lets the 20 count start. Juice drags himself up at 9, but that neck bothers him. Juice manages to get in at 17, but then goes back out for more recovery time. The count starts over, so Goto goes to fetch Juice this time. Goto puts Juice back in, then drags Juice up for a neck wrench. He bends Juice left, then right, but Juice resists, so Goto puts him in a headscissors. Juice endures the squeeze, and works to escape. Goto keeps up the squeeze and the wrenching, but Juice uses his long legs for the ropebreak. Goto lets Juice go, then elbows Juice in the back of the neck. He puts Juice in a corner, then throws forearms.

Goto whips Juice corner to corner, and runs in for the clothesline. He rolls Juice out of the corner, then climbs up. Fans fire up as Goto drops the elbow. Cover, TWO, but Goto keeps his cool. Goto positions Juice for a normal elbow drop to the chest, then gives on to Juice’s back. Cover, TWO! Goto sits Juice up for the chinlock, digging a knee into Juice’s back. Juice flails, then pries his way out of the hold, only for Goto to bring it back on. Fans rally as Juice blocks the elbow to his face! Juice stands up with Goto, blocks the kick, to give the leg lariat! The challenger is back in the fight while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns to fans rallying for both men. Juice sits up first, then stands. Juice fires himself up with fist pumps. Fans chant “Juice! Juice!” with each one. Juice jabs Goto over and over, but Goto ducks the big punch only to get a big chop. Juice whips Goto but Goto reverses, and they collide with clotheslines. They go again for another collision, and Goto fires up. Juice dodges but Goto follows, only to miss again, and Juice knocks him down with a clothesline! Goto gets to a corner while fans applaud.

Juice fires up and runs corner to corner, for another big clothesline. Juice runs but Goto follows to give Juice a clothesline. Goto fires up and runs, but Juice follows to give another clothesline! Juice runs, but Goto follows, only for Juice to dodge his heel kick! Goto hits buckles, and Juice runs in for the cannonball! Cover, TWO! Juice keeps his cool, then gets himself to a corner. He climbs up with fans rallying. Juice takes aim, but Goto slips out. Juice still jumps!!

They both go down from that insane flying attack. Juice drags himself up first, and the 20 count begins again. Juice drags Goto up at 13, and puts him in the ring at 15. He keeps going, climbing back up to the top. Goto stirs, and Juice leaps for the flying crossbody! Cover, TWO! Now Juice grows a bit frustrated with Goto. He stands up and says it’s time to go around. Juice brings Goto up, double chicken wing, but Goto shoves out of the Unprettier to then fireman’s carry. Juice slips out, shoves Goto, then follows, but Goto gets around behind. Goto lifts, but Juice slips out, and Juice grabs Goto for the German Suplex! But Goto springs up to clobber Juice! But Juice springs up, too! Only to run into Ushigoroshi!

Both men are down, too sore to cover or escape. Fans are thunderous as they duel. Goto slowly stands up while Juice stirs. Goto goes to Juice and throws a forearm. Juice comes back to headbutt Goto. Goto grits his teeth to hit Juice again. Juice stands up, and rocks Goto with a left. Goto throws a haymaker, but Juice responds with his own. They go back and forth with heavy forearms. Juice kicks low, then chops. Juice runs, but into the kick. Goto runs, but into a dropkick. Goto still hits Juice with a kick in the chest! Both men fall again, and the fans rally. Red Shoes checks on them, but they’re okay to continue.

Goto drags himself to ropes while Juice crawls his way to a corner. They both slowly stand, and Goto runs in to heel kick Juice in the back of the head! Then he drives Juice down with a big saido suplex! Juice writhes and clutches his neck, but Goto doesn’t cover. Goto stands back up, and drags Juice to his feet, for a second saido suplex! Goto wants more but Red Shoes keeps him back. Red Shoes checks Juice, but Goto doesn’t care. Goto drags Juice up and calls to finish it. He lifts Juice up for another fireman’s carry, and another Ushigoroshi! Cover, TWO!! Goto is shocked while we go to break.

NJPW on AXS returns as Goto brings Juice up one more time. He hoists Juice up to the top rope, then climbs up to join him. Goto clubs away, then positions Juice for a fireman’s carry. Juice revives and slips out to then go after Goto. Goto resists the powerbomb with a rain of rights. Juice clubs Goto back in the back, then headbutts the lower back. Juice gets Goto in the torture rack, for the inverted Ushigoroshi! He then calls for the end, demanding Goto stand up. Goto staggers to his feet, Juice runs, and clobbers Goto with the clothesline! Cover, TWO!! Juice clutches his neck but gets back up. He wants to end this, so he drags Goto up. Juice suplexes Goto up for the brainbuster!

Cover, TWO!? Juice is losing hope but the fans are thunderous. Juice fires himself back up and the fans rally with him. He brings Goto back up, and turns him with the chicken wings, but Goto grabs Juice in a sleeper hold! Goto holds on tight, but Juice backs him into a corner. Juice is still caught, and now fades to a knee. He pries at Goto’s arms, but Goto locks the hold back on. Juice uses the corner pad for leverage, but Goto drags him away. Fans rally while Red Shoes checks Juice. Goto won’t go easy, he shifts into a Dragon Sleeper! He wrenches back, but Juice throws him off with a snapmare. Goto catches his own breath, then drags Juice up. Juice revives, but Goto uses a headbutt to block the punch! Then a headbutt to rock Juice. And from there, Goto hits a front facing GTR.

But that’s not enough for Goto, as he drags Juice back up. Juice catches him into a cradle! TWO!! Juice was close and everyone knows it. Goto rushes Juice but Juice gets the full nelson. Goto breaks free and around to a hammerlock, then dragon sleeper, but Juice switches it around onto Goto! Juice goes from sleeper to chicken wings, but Goto shoves out of the Unprettier again. Juice headbutts Goto, and they both stagger, but Juice still hits a stiff left forearm! He fires up, as do the fans, and he hits another stiff left. Juice drags Goto up, he wants to finish this. He turns Goto, but Goto dumps him off! Goto catches Juice into the Shotenkai, the suplex slam!

Cover, TWO!? Everyone is thunderous again as both men are down. Goto seems at a loss as to what to do. He drags himself up on the ropes, then staggers around. Goto hears the fans, and calls for one more move. Juice sits up, and Goto kicks him back down. Goto then drags Juice up, for a true GTR!!

Cover, Goto wins!

Winner: Goto, by pinfall; still NEVER Openweight Champion

Juice pushed Goto to his limits, but Goto’s limits were too much for Juice. While the young lions attend to Goto and Juice, Mike Elgin appears.

Big Mike checks on Juice. Goto stands, his title in hand. Elgin helps Juice up, then turns his attention to Goto. Elgin points at Goto’s belt, then to himself. Goto locks eyes with The Unbreakable Elgin, who might be his next challenger. Elgin picks up a mic to speak.

“Goto, you have something I want.” Elgin wants the NEVER Openweight Championship. But then Taichi appears and picks up the mic, too.

“Hey hey hey. How dare you throw out challenges, baldy?” Taichi tells Goto that the belt he’s “always clutching tightly” will be more useful to Taichi. “So hand it over.” As for the “third wheel” Elgin, Taichi says, “Piss off, fat ass.” Taichi drops the mic, then drops Goto using his mic stand!

Elgin grabs Taichi, and lifts him high over head! Taichi slips out and runs away, having completed his mission. Elgin picks up the belt, and refuses to give it to Red Shoes. He returns it to Goto himself. Will one or both challengers get a match with Goto for the NEVER Openweight title?

 

Backstage interviews.

Elgin says it’s simple. “It’s been too long since Big Mike could call himself champion in NJPW.” As for Taichi, he hasn’t learned not to stick his nose in people’s business.

Meanwhile, Taichi says that everyone is sick of seeing Goto “clinging to the belt”. “It’s just another tool to me. So hand it over.” Taichi will put it to good use. As for “that bald, bearded fatty: stay out of this.”

Goto says his belt is “a sight for sore eyes.” Elgin and Taichi showing up at the end, Goto will take either of them on. Or even both at the same time. That’s all he has to say, and he takes his leave. Will Goto be able to break the Unbreakable? Will he be able to deny the World’s Sliest Wrestler? Or will one of them be the man to finally take that NEVER Openweight Championship from him?

 


 

My Thoughts:

A solid night of action, and with only two matches. We get part of White VS Finlay but even part was really great. The story was there, with Finlay being 1-9 against White, and that was perhaps in his head the entire time. White won to build his reign, and he ups the ante by name dropping some great champions. Seeing him against any of those would be a great match, and if he wins against even just one, it really ups his stock. The main event was great, that match raises Juice’s stock as well. Juice is almost there, he just needs a little more time. Goto VS Elgin VS Taichi sounds like a great idea, especially with how rare NJPW uses multi-man matches like that. Plus, it is the one way to keep Goto strong while taking the title off him and putting it on someone else.

My Score: 8.5/10


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