Okay, so I’m not sure how much meat is left on these bones. SHO is trying to cut his teeth on Ishii, Yano is a question mark, Ibushi and Tanahahsi are still jawing with Suzuki-Gun and the Junior Tag Finals should be today’s main event part 2.
I’d like to see a wrinkle somewhere, but I feel like they’re on cruise control until Friday’s show. Low expectations sometimes gives birth to something great, so here’s to hoping!
- Yota Tsuji vs Satoshi Kojima: Kojima wins via Cozy Lariat – ** ½
- CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & SHO) & Gabriel Kidd vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto) & Yuya Uemura: SHO wins via Cross Armbreaker – ** ¾
- Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomoaki Honma & Yuji Nagata vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, ZSJ, Taichi & DOUKI): Ibushi wins via Kamigoye – ***
- Darkness Club (EVIL, Dick Togo & Yujiro Takahashi) vs LIJ (SANADA, Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi): Naito wins via Destino – ***
- Ass Masters (Master Wato & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori & Gedo): Taiji wins via Chickenwing Over the Shoulder Crossface – ***
- LIJ (Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado): Despy wins via El Es Culero – *** ½
Yota Tsuji vs Satoshi Kojima
This was similar to their meeting last week, but Kojima wasn’t nearly as frustrated and Tsuji showed some growth. Kojima gave Tsuji a good amount of time to shine, Tsuji even broke out the Machine Gun chops to send a message.
Yes, that message just pissed off Kojima, but Tsuji didn’t back down. Tsuji had his closest near fall after connecting with a Spear, Standing Senton and Running Splash, but Young Lion must lose of course. Koji Cutter and Cozy Lariat got the job done, but it was still a solid Young Lion match.
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & SHO) & Gabriel Kidd vs CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto) & Yuya Uemura
This match had a much more streamlined story. We only got SHO bowing up to Ishii at every chance he could. I’m not sure if that means we lost the Yano wrinkle, or maybe I was looking too hard, or if that’s gonna return as a twist for the title match. But the fact that there wasn’t as much to enjoy, did make this a little more of a flat basic match.
Hell there were even sloppy spots between YOSHI-HASHI and Okada not being on the same page for some moves and SHO slipping out of Ishii’s grip on a Powerbomb. This just didn’t have the same level of story and quality.
After the match we did see SHO snap and Okada clear the ring for his young protégé. When SHO snatches Ishii’s arm during the stare down and locks in the Armbreaker. That shows how serious SHO is about proving himself against Heavyweights, but it’s prolly a bad look moving toward the title match.
Here’s to assuming the YOSHI-HASHI team retains because Okada’s team has looked too good during this small tour.
Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomoaki Honma & Yuji Nagata vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, ZSJ, Taichi & DOUKI)
So this is very similar to what I’ve said about each iteration of this previously, solid 8 man, but not a lot to glean. I do enjoy Taichi and Ibushi going right after each other and Taichi doesn’t take many shortcuts with Ibushi, he just wants to prove he’s better. ZSJ and Taichi tried to do the repeating Dragon Screw spot on Ibushi, but Nagata put a stop to it. Suzuki and Nagata keep going at one another, but since Suzuki had Nagata in a Armbreaker, Honma was able to Kokeshi Suzuki.
Tanahashi and Ibushi hit the Golden Blade on DOUKI, then kills him with a Kamigoye.
I am personally very over this languishing Golden Ace story. I’d personally like to see Ibushi get the win over Taichi in G1 and get a new partner. Can only really tolerate so many of these “does Tanahashi still have it” stories they’ve done over the last 3 years.
Darkness Club (EVIL, Dick Togo & Yujiro Takahashi) vs LIJ (SANADA, Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi)
Ahh the worthless…WAIT, Dick Togo instead of Jado? SO you’re telling me we’re gonna finally utilize one of the best wrestlers on the roster instead of a shell of a wrestler? Concepts man. Okay…I’m more interested than I have been in this 6 man.
Well this was a much better match than the previous ones with Jado, so there’s that. Dick Togo proved to make a bit of a difference, but things still fall apart for Darkness Club because of Shingo and SANADA. The story so far was that they ganged up on Naito forcing SANADA and Shingo to figure it out without the “leader”.
The way this was different was that Togo went after Naito at the end, to make a statement with G1 just being announced, forcing SANADA and Shingo to make the save for Naito. Unity is abound after the Destino is hit, meaning that each LIJ member picked up the victory for the team at different points during this tour.
There’s an old thread the LIJ boys pull on after the match. Where SANADA and Naito have a bit of a staring contest, while Shingo steps back with a smirk. Blocks were announced, meaning SANADA will face Naito in the G1. Last time this happened in 2018, SANADA distanced himself and wouldn’t fist bump until after his match with Naito. This time, Naito throws it up, Shingo gives him a look like “well”, and SANADA does the fist bump. So there’s more unity going into the G1 this year, than ever before for LIJ.
Ass Masters (Master Wato & Ryusuke Taguchi) vs Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori & Gedo)
As fun as Ass Masters has been, I saw this one coming in the last article. This match really didn’t do itself any favors for a while though.
Gedo starts off cheating, taking off his belt and whipping Wato while Taiji distracts the referee and he wipes out Taguchi. So the beginning was slow, heel stuff and cutting Wato off from Taguchi, which was admittedly boring as hell.
Taguchi gets frustrated and takes the belt to Gedo and Taiji, giving Wato an opening to get him in. The match picks up a little, but never gets interesting, probably because I saw the writing on the wall ahead of time. Taguchi gets in decent offense, Wato has great spots, but every time Ass Masters try something big, they get cut off or the pin gets interrupted.
Taiji gets the Bloody Cross blocked, so he takes a little bit of a page from Kotaro Suzuki and goes for a few locomotion Cradles, which he turns the Crucifix pin into the Yes Lock, so things look bleak. Wato almost fights to the rope, but Taiji repositions the Yes Lock, then since Wato still isn’t tapping, transitions that to the Garga-NO Escape. So the Bullet Club team doesn’t get shut out in this little tournament.
LIJ (Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado)
So this started hot with Hiromu trying to hit the Sunset Bomb, but it broke down in a fun way. Despy got his hands on BUSHI, hit him with the ring bell and the story of this was really just beating mostly on BUSHI.
BUSHI got his mask nearly taken off, was isolated through actual tag team tactics and heel distractions; it was well done by the Suzuki-Gun team. When Hiromu came in, you saw the change of pace he brought. The LIJ guys didn’t really get much of their offense in. The LAT was teased, but Kanemaru broke it up.
BUSHI went for the MX as a last ditch effort, but Kanemaru distracted the referee, Despy hits the low blow and then rolls him up with his leg trap Crucifix called El Es Culero. If you speak Spanish…that’s a great name for a move.
Overall Score: 5.5/10
The predictability and lack of a real punctuation on the stories left this show…missing something. Matches were alright, the story was easy to follow if you missed the first two shows and only saw this one…but God was it a very long 2 hours.
Junior Tag tournament ended how I’m pretty sure most of us saw it. So we’re going to run back the LIJ versus Suzuki-Gun match, most likely a little better, but not sure if I’ll care anymore. As much as I’ve been saying the NEVER 6 man has me surprisingly invested, today’s match did nothing to help that. SHO’s growth is cute but we need more than SHO looking for more tough guys to challenge.
As I said in the review, I’m over the Golden Ace angle unless one of them turns on the other. Ibushi and Tanahashi were given faith from fans before Quarantine that this could expand a Heavyweight Tag Division that’s been…lame for the most part in the past few years. But due to whatever, this feels like WWE levels of over extending something.
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