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Andrew’s NJPW King of Pro Wrestling Ratings & Analysis: 10/14/2019

King of Pro Wrestling has a few big stories coming to a head! SANADA/Okada, Liger/Suzuki and Moxley/Robinson! Can SANADA dethrone Okada?



King of Pro Wrestling has a few big stories coming to a head! SANADA/Okada, Liger/Suzuki and Moxley/Robinson! Can SANADA dethrone Okada?

So they announced before the show that Zack Sabre Jr and Jon Moxley couldn’t make the show because of Typhoon Hagibis. Card subject to change shows up with a vengeance! Sucks a little for Moxley since he had to vacate the title, but it’s probably not the last we see of him in New Japan.

Now let’s get to the show and find out how everything shakes out!


  • El Desperado & Yoshonobu Kanemaru vs Roppongi 3k (SHO & YOH): Despy wins via Pinche Loco @10:45 – ** 3/4
  • Most Violent Players (Toru Yano & Togi Makabe) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomoaki Honma: Tanahashi wins via High Fly Flow @9:45 – ** 1/2
  • Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito vs Taichi w/Miho Abe & DOUKI: LIJ wins via DQ @9:00 – ** 3/4
  • Jyushin Thunder Liger vs Minoru Suzuki: Suzuki wins via Gotch Style Piledriver @17:40 – ****
  • IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion: Will Ospreay (c) vs El Phantasmo: Ospreay retains via Stormbreaker @28:00 – **** 1/4
  • Jay White, KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi w/Pieter vs YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto: Goto wins via GTR @12:25 – *** 1/4
  • VACANT IWGP United States Championship NoDQ Match: Lance Archer vs Juice Robinson: Lance Archer wins via EBD Claw Hold @15:00 – *** 1/4 – TITLE CHANGE!!!
  • Wrestle Kingdom Rights Holder Contract: Kota Ibushi (c) vs EVIL: Ibushi retains via Kamigoye @24:05 – ****
  • IWGP Heavyweight Championship: SANADA vs Kazuchika Okada (c): Okada retains via Rainmaker @36:20 – *** 3/4



El Desperado & Yoshonobu Kanemaru vs Roppongi 3k (SHO & YOH) – Despy was out for 6 months after suffering a broken jaw outside of New Japan. So this is his return match, and it’s a prelude to the Junior Tag League. Sadly, this started off very flat, Despy feigned his broken jaw, typical heel stuff, slow build and the crowd wasn’t really into it. Can’t blame the crowd, since the match wasn’t really at an expected pace. The last minute or so was pretty solid, but nothing surprising. It was a decent opener, and nice to see Despy get a win in his first match back.

Most Violent Players (Toru Yano & Togi Makabe) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomoaki Honma – This match is to commemorate Tanahashi’s 20th anniversary in wrestling. Makabe was one of his opponents in the debut match and even Wataru Inoue came out to be in Tanahashi’s corner as a callback to that first match. This was the type of match you’d expect from all four, but it had a little more heart and built in story because of the 20th anniversary. Good stuff all around, the happy finish and we even saw a few Kokeshi’s hit pay dirt. So a generally enjoyable match.

Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito vs Taichi w/Miho Abe & DOUKI – Getting adjusted because of the card changes, we see a straight forward tag match between Taichi, who’s been on the rise, and two members of LIJ who aren’t doing great at the moment. We got some really good work from all four men. Taichi got his hands on Naito as often as possible and it looked like Shingo was going to hit Last of the Dragon on DOUKI, but Taichi hit him with the microphone stand. Suzuki-Gun gets obviously disqualified, but then they beat the hell out of LIJ and Taichi made a bold statement.

Jyushin Thunder Liger vs Minoru Suzuki – Liger comes out in his “Battle Liger” outfit, which we only see during serious rivalries. The first few minutes of the match referenced their Pancrase match quite heavily. Liger showing his mat/submission technique was better than it was 17 years ago and even surprised Suzuki with a Triangle Choke at one point. We got a bit of brawling outside with weapons, which was right up Suzuki’s alley, but this whole match was like a clip show of their history. Suzuki kept imploring Liger to hit him harder, get up stronger, keep trying, and it was just a match with a lot of heart and story. Suzuki clearing out the Young Lions with a chair just to take a moment to bow to Liger and show a small moment of respect helped to get over what this match meant. To the random observer, they may find this to be a slow match with old veterans, but for fans with any clue of what went on between them…it was very fitting and sentimental.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion: Will Ospreay (c) vs El Phantasmo – So this was a great match. Of course being a Junior match with Ospreay it was heavy on spots. But many spots were callbacks or really helped to elevate the story of how much these two disliked one another. Phantasmo hit a few Bullet Club leader classics like Styles Clash, V-Trigger and nearly pulled off the One Winged Angel. Ospreay on the other hand went for a lot of high impact moves like a Shooting Star Press, Sasuke Special and Avalanche Liger Bomb. Eventually Taiji Ishimori interferes and looks like he’ll cost Ospreay the match, but Robbie Eagles makes the save and we get a clean finish to the great match. Also yes, I appreciated the nod to Arisa Hoshiki.

If you followed the Stardom 5 Star Grand Prix coverage, you’d know that Hoshiki bet Ospreay on Twitter that if she beat his girlfriend (Bea Priestley), she could have one of his moves. Apparently it worked both ways, cause she debuted her version of the Oscutter the same day Will uses the Brazilian Kick to set up for the finish. Fun wrinkle for those of us who follow way too much. Aside from an overly coordinated Apron Cutter, this was great without many spots to complain. Just fun and fantastic to watch.

Jay White, KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi w/Pieter vs YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto – Battle lines were drawn pretty well here. Goto and Jay have issues since Jay doesn’t want to give him the shot, so Goto needs the momentum. It also looks like Ishii is pushing after KENTA, so Ishii is probably the next contender for the NEVER. The match told the feuds well, the work was solid and it was enjoyable. Feel a little bad that Yujiro was only in this match to eat the pin, but it wasn’t bad.

VACANT IWGP United States Championship NoDQ Match: Lance Archer vs Juice Robinson – Since Jon Moxley couldn’t make it to the show because of the Typhoon, he was stripped. Anyone claiming that’s wrong, doesn’t realize that’s how New Japan works. We’ve seen it before, first one that comes to mind is when Togi Makabe had the flu and couldn’t defend the NEVER Openweight in 2015 so it was Ishii vs Honma for the Championship. If you can’t make a scheduled defense, you can’t be champion. There may be a clause where you have to defend within 6 months, this has nothing to do with it. It’s purely “If you can’t make a scheduled title defense, the belt is vacated”.

We still got a hell of a spectacle match, that Archer was calling the Murderhawk Mansion. Tables, Chairs, and general hard hitting destruction. It looked like Juice dislocated or broke a finger about halfway through the match, but that didn’t stop him from giving a spirited fight. Juice slips on chairs when going for Pulp Friction, so that gives Archer the opening to set up Blackout on the stack of chairs, and then eventually winning with the Everybody Dies Claw Hold.

-David Finlay came to make the save when Archer was continuing the beat down to…well, a polite reaction. Given the Finlay return, I’m guessing Moxley would’ve won anyway, so maybe we see Moxley versus Archer at Wrestle Kingdom once he dispatches of Finlay cause…come on, it’s David Finlay.

Wrestle Kingdom Rights Holder Contract: Kota Ibushi (c) vs EVIL – What can really be said? This was a great match where EVIL wrestled his style of match, and even though Kota looked a bit more fluid between his moves, EVIL kept up with him nicely. However, even though the matches preceding this did a good job at building EVIL up, he’s still not a big enough name to headline Wrestle Kingdom. So the suspension of disbelief wasn’t really there, even for the live crowd.

Great transitions and ring work in general. Kota hit the Springboard Frakensteiner and it took 2 Kamigoye’s but EVIL eventually went down. The Golden Star is finally getting his time to shine at Wrestle Kingdom.

IWGP Heavyweight Championship: SANADA vs Kazuchika Okada (c) –  This was a little too much like SANADA’s challenge after Okada regained the belt from Jay White. The story of the match was to show that they are equals, and even though he doesn’t have much success against Okada (1-6 going into this match), SANADA is on Okada’s level. Okada is also having difficulty hitting his Million Dollar Dropkick on SANADA. So SANADA’s proving himself and Okada is showing a few more flaws than usual.

The pacing was very slow in this match, and I feel like that hurt it a lot. SANADA absorbed a bunch of offense including the Diving Crossbody over the barricade, and when he finally strung together his Dropkick and Plancha, the crowd popped hard. Some of the exchanges were awkwardly long and this match went over 35 minutes, and you felt most of it. The crowd started trying to will SANADA toward the victory, especially the two occasions when Okada was in Skull End for a few minutes each. SANADA is known to be the type of wrestler to go with the flow, and Okada tends to like to wrestle to his opponents strengths. It’s just amusing that they have their best matches, away from the actual title matches.

As the match went long, Okada was able to land the Million Dollar Dropkick, and that helped bring him back into the match. Also during the usual locomotion Tombstone Piledriver counters, Okada stopped SANADA mid counter and dropped him in a Fire/Thunder style driver (which I’ve never seen him do). That set up the Rainmaker and another successful defense for Okada.


Overall Score: 7/10

We had a pretty good show, however, I feel the main events fell a little short with Liger/Suzuki and Ospreay/ELP earlier in the card. It was also a little curious that New Japan really placed a few cool down matches after the two matches I mentioned. We also saw a bit of a story telling hiccup with New Japan. That being, even when you try to elevate someone like SANADA to Okada’s level, it’s not really bought. Okada has had a stranglehold on the main event for the last 7 years, and I appreciated that Ibushi even made mention of it when he came out at the end of the show to make the Wrestle Kingdom challenge official.

With how everything is being built up, and the stories of Suzuki wanting out, next year could be a year of change for New Japan. Ibushi could usher in a new era, we could get a new leader of Suzuki-Gun and someone may finally cash in on this double champion dream. So again, the show was quality matches top to bottom, it just didn’t end as strongly as one has come to expect.

Should be interesting to see if Power Struggle mixes things up at all.

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Mitchell’s NJPW Road to Destruction Results & Report! (9/9/23)

Another step down the road!



Will the Dream Trio keep the dream alive?

Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomohiro Ishii put their NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships on the line on the Road to Destruction! Will they still make it rain together?


  • YOH & Ryusuke Taguchi VS DOUKI & Taka Michinoku; Yoh & Taguchi win.
  • 8 Man Tag: Yuji Nagata, Master Wato, Shota Umino & Tomoaki Honma VS Team Strong Style & Yuto Nakashima; Nagata, Wato, Shota & Honma win.
  • 8 Man Tag: Chaos & Boltin Oleg VS TMDK; Chaos wins.
  • Six Man Tag: Just5Guys VS The House of Torture; The House of Torture wins.
  • NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships: Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomohiro Ishii VS Tiger Mask, Togi Makabe & Hiroyoshi Tenzan; Okada, Tanahashi & Ishii win.
  • 10 Man Elimination Match: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire; The United Empire wins.


NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships: Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomohiro Ishii VS Tiger Mask, Togi Makabe & Hiroyoshi Tenzan!

The Rainmaker, The Ace of the Universe and the Stone Pitbull, the Dream Trio, may have run into a trio that has equal star power! Will Okada, Tanahashi & Ishii hold onto the gold? Or will the legendary Super Junior, the Unchained Gorilla and the Fierce Bull prove the old guard still has some fight left in ’em?

The introductions are made, the belts are raised, and we see who is really THE dream team of NJPW!

The trios sort out and fans rally up already as Tenzan starts. He calls out Ishii, Ishii obliges, and the bell rings. The tow tie up, are in a deadlock, and they go around. Ishii puts Tenzan on ropes, the ref counts, and Ishii lets off slowly, to then CHOP! And CHOP! Tenzan growls, then Mongolian Chops! And Mongolian Chops! Ishii CHOPS, but Tenzan Mongolian CHOPS! They go back and forth, Tenzan gets the edge, then he HEADBUTTS! Tenzan whips Ishii to a corner but Ishii comes back to run Tenzan over! Ishii drags Tenzan up while fans rally, and Ishii bumps Tenzan off buckles. Tag to Okada but the whole team gets in to stomp Tenzan!

Fans boo and Ishii talks some trash to Makabe while Okada kicks Tenzan around. Okada toys with Tenzan, but Tenzan HEADBUTTS! And Mongolian CHOPS! And again! And again! Okada falls over, Tenzan tags in Tiger Mask. Tiger SOBATS, then whips, but Okada reverses. Tiger goes up and CROSSBODIES, then sweeps the legs! Tiger kicks, Okada blocks but Tiger SPIN BACK KICKS! Okada ducks the buzzsaw, waistlocks, but Tiger elbows free. Okada grabs Tiger’s arms but Tiger SOMERSAULT KICKS Okada away! Fans rally and Tiger runs, but into a FLAPJACK! Ishii & Tanahashi BLAST Tenzan & Makabe!

The Dream Trio watches Tiger get up, they double dropkick the legs out, then Okada BOOTS him down! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as Tiger hangs in there, but Okada brings him around. Tag to Tanahashi and they mug Tiger. Tanahashi bumps Tiger off buckles, then scoops and SLAMS him into the drop zone! Tanahashi goes up and fans rally for the SOMERSAULT SENTON! Cover, TWO! Tanahashi drags Tiger over by a leg, he tags Ishii, and they SPLIT THE WISHBONE! Tiger clutches his legs and fans rally up. Ishii stands Tiger up to CHOP! And CHOP! And then he talks some trash, so Tiger hits back!

Tiger fires forearms but Ishii just eggs him on. Tiger throws another but Ishii ROCKS Tiger in return! Tiger comes back with more forearms, but Ishii DECKS Tiger this time! Ishii talks some trash to Tenzan, he drags Tiger up and bumps him off buckles, then tags in Okada. Okada stomps Tiger, drags him up and scoops, to SLAM him down! Okada then BLASTS Makabe! Okada goes out after him, and whips Makabe into railing! Ishii stomps Tiger, as does Tanahashi, while Okada takes his time returning. Okada then tags Tanahashi in and Tanahashi drags Tiger up. Tiger throws body shots! Tanahashi fires fast hands!

Tiger goes to a corner, Tanahashi runs in and blocks a boot. But Tiger UPPERCUTS free! Tanahashi kicks, but Tiger blocks to DRAGON SCREW! Fans fire up as both men are down, but Ishii runs in to hit Tenzan! Tenzan hits back, Ishii DECKS him! Ishii goes out to CLUB Tenzan, but Tenzan RAMS Ishii into railing! Okada tags in, CLUBS Tiger, but Tiger fires body shots and a CHOP! Okada knees low, turns Tiger and hits a NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO! Fans rally as Tiger stays in this. Fans duel between “TIGER!” “O-KA-DA!” Okada scoops to SLAM Tiger again, then he paces around. Okada goes up the corner, but Tiger ROCKS him first!

Tiger fires off hands, climbs up after Okada, and reels Okada in! Tiger underhooks, the fans fire up, but Okada fights the lift! Okada fires forearms in return, but Tiger HEADBUTTS Okada! Tiger then stands up, for a SUPER ARM-DRAG! Fans fire up as Okada goes floundering away! Tiger and Okada crawl, hot tags to Makabe and Tanahashi! Fans fire up as the Gorilla rallies on The Ace! Makabe sends Tanahashi to a corner, clotheslines, then climbs up to rain down fists! Fans cheer along as Makabe goes to TEN, then laughs. Makabe reels Tanahashi in but Tanahashi fights free! Tanahasih runs, into a LARAIT! Cover, TWO!

Makabe brings Tanahashi up but Tanahashi fires forearms! TWIST ‘N’ SHOUT! Fans rally up, Tanahashi tags in Ishii. Ishii BLASTS Tenzan, then he goes back for Makabe. Ishii has Makabe in a corner, and CHOPS! And forearms! And CHOPS! And forearms! Ishii repeats, then tops it off with a CHOP! Ishii whips Makabe corner to corner but Makabe reverses and clotheslines! Ishii is right in his face! And gets around to suplex Makabe up and over! But Makabe rises! Fans fire up while Ishii runs, into a POWERSLAM! We pass 10 minutes and Makabe tags in Tenzan! Fans fire up as Tenzan hits a WHEEL KICK!

Tenzan fires up and fires off Mongolian CHOPS! Then a HEADBUTT! Tenzan whips Ishii corner to corner, runs in and clotheslines! Tenzan calls his shot, reels Ishii in, TENZAN BRAINBUSTER! Cover, TWO! Tenzan kicks Ishii around, drags him up, and HEADBUTTS! And then clinches, but Ishii fights! Ishii throws elbows to get free, but Tiger runs in to SOBAT! Ishii staggers back, Tiger ROUNDHOUSES! Tiger reels Ishii in but Okada returns, to Tiger kicks him low. Tiger whips Okada to ropes, but Okada ELBOWS back! Okada runs in to ELBOW Tenzan, then kick and DDT! Okada BLASTS Makabe for good measure!

Okada, Tanahashi & Ishii surround Tenzan now! Okada BOOTS, Tenzan SHOTEIS and Ishii LARIATS! Then they get Tenzan up, ASSISTED DDT!! Cover, Makabe breaks it! Fans fire up while Okada tosses Makabe out! Okada and Tanahashi keep Tiger and Makabe down while Ishii runs, but into a HEADBUTT! Tenzan fires HEADBUTT after HEADBUTT, then runs, into a LARIAT! Fans fire up as Tenzan rises!! But Ishii LARIATS Tenzan down again! But Tenzan rises!! Ishii just winds up and runs in again, LARIAT! But Tenzan stays up! So Ishii ENZIGURIS! Tenzan stays up!! Ishii runs yet again, to LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!!

Fans are thunderous for Tenzan but Ishii roars! Ishii drags Tenzan up, Makabe fights Okada, and Ishii suplexes! Tenzan fights it off! Makabe slips in, he LARIATS Ishii! Okada kicks Makabe, Tanahashi returns, they double whip Makabe but he breaks through the clotheslines! So they DOUBLE ELBOW instead! But Tiger attacks! Tanahashi chicken wings Tiger but Tiger BOOTS Okada! Makabe runs in to LARIAT Tanahashi! Tiger scoops Okada for a BACKBREAKER! Fans are thunderous for the old guard as they get Ishii up! Ishii fights back but Tenzan HEADBUTTS! Tiger ROUNDHOUSES!

Ishii drops to his knees, Tiger calls to Makabe and he storms over as we reach 15 minutes. Makabe ROCKS Ishii, Tiger ROUNDHOUSES, but Ishii roars! Tiger kicks low and underhooks, TIGER DRIVER!! Makabe is up top, KING KONG KNEE DROP!! Tenzan FALLING HEADBUTTS!! Tiger DIVES out onto Okada! Tenzan gets Ishii up, IMPALER!! Cover, TANAHASHI BREAKS IT!! The Ace saves the match for his team! But Makabe drags Tanahashi out, and Tenzan stands Ishii up. Ishii HEADBUTTS! And swings, into an URENAGE! Cover, TWO!?!? Ishii escapes and Tenzan can’t believe it!

Tenzan calls for his shot! Fans are thunderous as Tenzan climbs the corner! But Okada anchors Tenzan! Fans boo as Okada drags Tenzan down to GERMAN SUPLEX him! Tiger fires hands on Okada! Tiger runs, into a SLINGBLADE from Tanahashi! Okada and Tanahashi haul Tenzan up but he fights back! Mongolian CHOPS for everyone! Okada UPPERCUTS! Tanahashi SHOTEIS! Okada scoops for a LANDSLIDE! SLIDING LARIAT!! Cover, TWO!?!? Fans are thunderous again as Tenzan survives! Ishii suplexes, and hits the BRAINBUSTER!! Cover, The Dream Trio wins!

Winners: Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomohiro Ishii, by pinfall (still NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions)

Tenzan and his team put up a great fight, but it just wasn’t enough against the current generation’s greatest! Will Okada, Tanahashi & Ishii continue to make it rain together?


10 Man Elimination Match: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire!

Before Shingo Takagi settles things with Great-O-Khan, Tetsuya Naito settles things with Jeff Cobb and Yota Tsuji challenges Will Ospreay for the new IWGP United Kingdom Championship, they join Hiromu Takahashi and Bushi in battling Khan, Cobb, Ospreay, Henare and Callum Newman until there is only one side standing! Who builds momentum down the Road to Destruction in Kobe?

The teams sort out, and Ospreay calls Tsuji out. Tsuji smiles and LIJ fist bumps, and then United Empire puts the crowns up. Fans rally as Tsuji and Ospreay start to give us a preview of their title match. Fans rally and duel, “YO~TA!” “OS~PREAY!” The two circle, tie up, and Ospreay wrenches to wristlock. Tsuji spins, wrenches, and he has the wristlock. Ospreay uses the ropes to flip through, then he wrenches and hammerlocks, but Tsuji switches that onto Ospreay. Ospreay switches back, they go around, and Tsuji wrenches, spins, and facelocks, only for Ospreay to put him on ropes. Red Shoes calls the break, and Ospreay lets off slowly.

Tsuji CHOPS Ospreay! Fans cheer while Ospreya is stinging. Tsuji whips, Ospreay RANAS, but Tsuji handsprings through! And RANAS back, but Ospreay h andsprings through! Ospreay kicks and whips but Tsuji ducks ‘n’ dodges to tilt-o-whirl ARM-DRAG! And then he rusn Ospreay over! Fans fire up while Tsuji stands over Ospreay with a big grin. Tsuji brings Ospreay over, tags Takagi, and they mug Ospreay. Takagi knees Ospreay low, and again. Takagi is no stranger to Ospreay as he whips and KNEES Ospreay, to then suplex high and hard! Takagi runs Khan off, then he snapmares Ospreay to wrench the arm.

Takagi YANKS the arm, YANKS it again, wrenches and wristlocks, and Naito steps in to CLUB the arm! Red Shoes reprimands, there was no tag. Bushi goes up to AX HANDLE Ospreay’s arm! Hiromu actually tags in and he goes up to AX HANDLE Ospreay’s arm! Fans cheer as The Timebomb meets his old rival again. Hiromu CLUBS Ospreay, calls Tsuji in, and they double whip to DOUBLE BOOT! Tsuji then gives Hiromu a boost, scoop and SPLASH! Cover, ONE!! Ospreay is hanging tough but Hiromu keeps on him. Hiromu CHOPS Ospreay, CHOPS again, and then whips corner to corner. Hiromu runs in to clotheslines, snapmare and-

NO, Ospreay fireman’s carries! SNAKE EYES to a BOOT! The Empire rushes in to BLAST LIJ! The Empire goes out, and they send LIJ into railing! They stomp and brawl and Cobb TOSSES Naito over railing! Ospreay keeps on Hiromu with a big forearm. Hiromu goes to ropes, Ospreay wrenches and wraps him up in a modified octopus hold! Hiromu endures but Ospreay YANKS his arm! The Empire keeps beating up on LIJ but Ospreay tags in Henare. Ospreay sets Hiromu up for a PENALTY KICK! The Face of Fury scowls and he KICKS Hiromu down again! Cover, TWO! Henare drags Hiromu up to HEADBUTT!

Tag to Cobb, they DOUBLE HEADBUTT Hiromu down! Cocky cover, TWO! Cobb keeps close, and he deadlift suplexes Hiromu! And holds him up with one arm! Cobb then runs around to do laps, before RAMMING into a corner! Cobb then just drops Hiromu, and pretends like he had no idea. Cobb stands on Hiromu’s arm then tags in Callum. The new man stomps Hiromu, then CHOPS him! Ospreay gives Callum a hug, that was a good one! Callum then snapmares Hiromu to KICK him in the back! Callum pushes Hiromu to a cover, TWO! Callum clamps on with a chinlock, and he puts all his weight on the hold.

Hiromu endures but Callum KNEES him in the back! Tag to Khan and Khan Mongolian Chops Hiromu on the back! Khan Mongolian Chops again, then he sits up on his throne! Fans cheer while the Empire plays defense against LIJ. Henare DECKS Naito! Red Shoes reprimands everyone but Ospreay rallies the fans. Ospreay whips Callum in to SHOTGUN Hiromu’s butt! Then Ospreay & Henare double whip Cobb in so he can HEADBUTT Hiromu’s butt! Ospreay CHOPS Hiromu’s butt! Henare winds up and runs in, to UPPERCUT Hiromu’s butt!! So much butt damage! Khan then hops off to hit a BIG back suplex! Cover, but LIJ breaks it!

The Empire TOSSES LIJ back out, and they all surround Hiromu. Hiromu sits up and sees them all. Hiromu sighs, then fires off CHOP after CHOP after CHOP! None of the Empire flinches! Ospreay mockingly applauds the fire, though. Then the Empire mugs Hiromu! Red Shoes reprimands but the Empire get Hiromu up! They head for ropes but LIJ hurries to save Hiromu! Khan DECKS Takagi, they all TOSS the others out, and then Khan stomps Hiromu. Khan has a double underhook stretch, and he tags in Henare. They mug Hiromu, then Henare snapmares and KICKS! And SENTONS!

Fans rally but Henare stands Hiromu up. Hiromu CHOPS and CHOPS but Henare ROCKS him with a forearm! Henare whips to POP-UP, but Hiromu SATELLITE DDTS! Fans fire up while both men are down! Hiromu crawls, Henare crawls, they hot tag Naito and Cobb! Naito blocks a kick to shove Cobb, then drops down to atomic drop! Naito runs to dropkick the legs out! Cobb scrambles to a corner but Naito runs in, JUMP KICK! LEG SWEEP! But Cobb catches Naito on the swing! Cobb brings Naito out but Naito sunset flips! Cobb breaks free, but Naito avoids the leg drop! NECKBREAKER! Naito covers, TWO!

Naito brings Cobb around to hammerlock, half nelson, but Cobb fights free to short arm LARIAT! Cobb then GACHIMUCHI- FLOP! Basement dropkick! Tag to Takagi and fans fire up! The Rampaging Dragon runs to BLAST the Empire, then he fires the fans up. Takagi runs, blocks a boot and clotheslines! Takagi fires off forearm after forearm, then he whips corner to corner. Cobb reverses, Takagi reverses but Cobb blocks! Cobb reels Takagi in for a BIG OVERHEAD BELLY2BELLY! Callum tags in, lines up a shot, springboards but Takagi gets under! ELBOW and whip, but Callum ducks ‘n’ dodges and RANAS!

Fans fire up for Callum’s incredible speed, and he runs in at the corner, but Takagi puts him on the apron! Callum counter punches, springboards and FLYING LARIATS! Cover, TWO! Ospreay coaches Callum, Callum whips Khan to BLAST the LIJ corner! Khan & Callum drag Takagi up, mug him, then double whip. Takagi breaks through, shoves Khan into Callum then spins Khan to a DDT! Callum BOOTS! Takagi returns, but Callum spins him around, SCREW HIGH KICK! Cover, TWO!! Fans rally, Callum runs and tiger feints but Takagi ducks the heel kick! Takagi GERMAN SUPLEXES, but Callum lands on his feet!

Takagi blocks a kick, CLUBS Callum, but Callum rewinds to HEEL KICK! But Takagi rebounds to PUMPING BOMBER!! Cover, Takagi ELIMINATES Callum! Callum is the first to fall, but Khan CLOBBERS Takagi! Waistlock and bridging cover, TWO! Khan trips Takagi to a jackknife! TWO, but Khan clamps on with an ARM ‘N’ HEAD TRIANGLE!! Khan squeezes tight, leans all his weight on Takagi, but Takagi endures. Takagi CLUBS at Khan, but Khan kneels on Takagi. Takagi reaches out to the ROPEBREAK! Khan holds on but lets off at 4. Khan backs Naito and Tsuji off, then brings Takagi up.

Khan scoops but Takagi holds the ropes! Takagi fights Khan off and chokes him with his own ponytail! Khan CLUBS Takagi down! Khan sputters, then he pushes Takagi’s face down! Takagi refuses to kiss Khan’s boot! Takagi breaks free and shoves Khan. Takagi throws a forearm but Khan eggs him on. Takagi throws more shots, but Khan stays up! Takagi throws another forearm, but Khan retaliates with Mongolian Chops! But Takagi blocks to steal Mongolian Chops! Then ELBOW! JAB! But Khan UPPERCUTS! Khan runs, but into a clothesline! SAIDO! Khan is up to BOOT! Takagi is up, DOUBLE LARIATS collide!

Khan swings, Takagi SWATS it, JAB! STRAIGHT RIGHT from Khan!! Fans fire up and Khan roars with monster rage! Khan clamps on with the IRON CLAW! But Takagi fights the lift! Khan RAMS Takagi into a corner, puts him up top, but Takagi fights free! Khan UPPERCUTS Takagi! Takagi falls to the apron but he holds onto ropes! Khan clamps onto Takagi, but Takagi HOTSHOTS the arm! Khan runs back in but Takagi dumps him out! Henare stops Khan from falling, and Callum returns to grab at Takagi! Takagi KICKS Callum away, but now Khan clinches! Takagi throws elbow after elbow to hammer Khan down!

Takagi fires up, runs in, but Khan clamps onto his face! APRON ELIMINATOR!! Khan falls first, he ELIMINATES himself!! But wait, Takagi slumps down to the floor, Khan ELIMINATES Takagi, too! Two for the price of one, but the Empire is still at a disadvantage! Henare rushes in but Bushi dropkicks the legs out! Bushi hooks a leg but Henare powers out to TOSS Bushi up and over! Bushi holds on, Henare storms up to ROCK him! Bushi holds on, RAMS into Henare, then steps in. Bushi dodges to kick but Henare ducks, only for Bushi’s REWIND HEEL to hit! Bushi runs, but Henare fireman’s carries!

Henare heads for ropes but Bushi slips free! Busih throws a forearm, but Henare hits a BODY BLOW! Henare runs in at the corner, but Bushi dodges! Bushi DUMPS Henare out and ELIMINATES him!! Henare is raging as the Empire is down to two, but Ospreay springboards in! PIP PIP CHEERIO for Bushi! BOOT for Naito! ELBOW for Tsuji! Ospreay drags Bushi up, reels him in, underhooks and- NO, Bushi slips free to backslide! Ospreay rolls through to HIDDEN BLADE!! Cover, Ospreay ELIMINATES Bushi! LIJ is down to three but Tsuji grins as he slingshots back into the ring.

Tsuji and Ospreay go forehead to forehead, then they go forearm for forearm! Fans rally up as Ospreay and Tsuji keep going, and Ospreay feeds off the energy! Ospreay fires forearms, Tsuji eggs him on, so Ospreay ROCKS Tsuji! Tsuji just grins back! Fans fire up as Tsuji steps up, and Ospreay even puts his hands behind his back. Tsuji ROCKS him right away! Ospreay comes back, so Tsuji ROCKS him again! Tsuji fires off forearm after forearm, but Ospreay CHOPS! And then fires Kawada Kicks! But Tsuji blocks Ospreay’s superkick to then BACKBREAKER, COMPLETE SHOT and STOMP!

Fans fire up with Tsuji as he paces around. Tsuji drags Ospreay up to suplex but Ospreay slips free. Tsuji runs in, the splash misses, and Ospreay CHOPS! Ospreay whips corner to corner, runs in but Tsuji puts him outside! Ospreay ROCKS Tsuji, goes up, but Tsuji hits ropes to trip him up! Tsuji SUPERKICKS Ospreay! Ospreay wobbles, Tsuji goes up after him and to the very top! But Ospreay fights with HEADBUTTS! Tsuji steps down, Ospreay slips under and tucks Tsuji in, CHEEKY NANDOS! Then SIT-OUT POWERBOMB!! Cover, Naito & Hiromu break it! Cobb TOSSES Naito and TOSSES Hiromu!

Ospreay fires up, he springboards, but Tsuji SHOVES up and over! Ospreay holds onto the ropes and keeps his feet off the ground!! Tsuji runs up to go after Ospreay, but Ospreay skins the cat to headscissor Tsuji up and over! Tsuji also holds onto the ropes, with feet just above the ground! Tsuji then CHOPS Ospreay while still holding on! Ospreay returns the favor! They both stand on the apron but Ospreay underhooks Tsuji. Tsuji resists so Ospreay fires more Kawada Kicks! Underhooks and- NO, Tsuji TOSSES Ospreay up and over! But Ospreay POSTS Tsuji, HOOK KICKS, and then uses the corner to APRON OS-

NO, Tsuji blocks the cutter! Tsuji shoves and KNEES Ospreay but Ospreay SUPERKICKS! Tsuji HEADBUTTS! Both men wobble, but Tsuji comes back to CURB STOMP Ospreay to the floor!! Tsuji ELIMINATES Ospreay and himself!! This leaves just Cobb against Naito and Hiromu! Cobb hurries in and fans fire up. Cobb storms after Naito but Hiromu rolls Cobb up! TWO, but Naito basement dropkicks! Naito & Hiromu double whip, then Hiromu clotheslines! Naito ELBOWS! Hiromu SUPERKICKS! Atomic drop and a SHOTGUN! Naito brings Cobb around, Hiromu gives him a boost, but Cobb still blocks the Tornado DDT to TOSS Naito!

Hiromu RANAS but Cobb blocks! Cobb brings Hiromu up but Hiromu sunset flips through! Cobb stays up and he YANKS Hiromu to his feet! Hiromu dodges, runs, and RANAS, but is still blocked!! Cobb brings Hiromu up again to POWERBOMB outside onto everyone else!! Cobb ELIMINATES Hiromu, and has Naito all to himself! Fans are thunderous as Cobb and Naito meet ahead of their Kobe grudge match. Cobb runs in, into BOOTS! Naito then dodges to ENZIGURI! Naito hurries up the corner, he reels Cobb in, but Cobb blocks Esperanza! Naito slips off to try again, TORNADO SMALL PACKAGE! TWO!!

Cobb escapes, runs in, but into an ELBOW! Cobb throat chops! Naito ELBOWS! Tilt-o-whirl, but Cobb stops the momentum! Naito slips off, he SHOVES Cobb, and Cobb is stuck on the top rope! Naito fights to push Cobb over but Cobb fights to stay in! Cobb gets around Naito, Naito throws elbows, but Cobb runs in! Naito dumps him out! Cobb lands on the apron, Naito runs up to ROCK Cobb! Naito fires off shots but Cobb stays up! Naito ROLLING KICKS but Cobb stays up! LIJ and Empire keep each other honest here as Naito fires shots on Cobb! Cobb ROCKS Naito back! Cobb drags Naito back in!? Cobb suplexes!!

Naito fights and lands safe on the apron, to throw ELBOW after ELBOW! Naito and Cobb both wobble, but Cobb SUPERKICKS! Naito goes all the way to the corner! Cobb runs in to JUMP KICK and leg sweep, a la Naito! Naito sits on the apron but holds on with one hand! Naito stands, Cobb DROPKICKS him down, The Empire wins!!

Winners: The United Empire, by ring-out

The Imperial Unit is the lone survivor! The Empire has conquered LIJ this night, but this is just one battle in the war! Will Naito get even with Cobb in Kobe? Will Takagi be the one to dominate the Dominator? Will Tsuji take the IWGP US/UK Championship from the Aerial Assassin? Or will NJPW no longer be tranquilo?

As for the Empire, Cobb gets the mic to say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Hey! NJPW, where’s the camera? Hey, cameraman, NJPW, pay attention! Two days in a row in Korakuen Hall! Yesterday, what happened? A lot of people showed up dressed as orange chairs. But tonight, you put the United Empire in the main event, this mofo is sold out!” Fans cheer that. Cobb says no longer can NJPW silence the Empire! Now hold on here. Cobb holds up the paper Naito has been using to represent his Right to Challenge contract, the one he earned by winning the G1 Climax! Cobb RIPS IT UP!!

Cobb says Naito’s G1 Climax briefcase, contract, whatever it is, it won’t matter! In just a few weeks, Cobb RUNS THROUGH Naito to punch his own ticket to WrestleKingdom and the Tokyo Dome! Naito, you can’t open your eyes wide enough to see what is in front of you, and that is Jeff Cobb, the United Empire and CHANGE! Cobb says he will end this the way it should. That is to say, he’s copying Naito’s roll call! Ospreay! Khan! Henare! TJP! Aussie Open! Akira! Gideon! Newman! Y Cobb! NOSOTROS! EL UNITED EM! PI! ER!!

Ospreay tosses the pieces of the “contract” like confetti, and Cobb even copies Naito’s tranquilo. But will the Empire be celebrating all the way to the New Year? Or can Naito and LIJ tear them down brick by brick?

My Thoughts:

Another fun event for NJPW, but yeah again I skipped some of the more filler build matches. No surprise that House of Torture won again, though, because as I just said yesterday, this is them building up just so it’ll be bigger when they lose the title matches. Great NEVER Openweight Six Man title match, good animosity between the teams and the fans ended up more on the old legends’ side because of the somewhat disrespectful nature Okada and Ishii were taking. But of course Okada’s team won, because they’re able to wrestle more regularly than the older guys.

And the main event was a lot of fun because NJPW makes elimination matches a lot of fun with the rule of eliminations being by pinfall, submission or battle royal style over-the-top-rope. And on top of that, these two teams did great work being creative about the eliminations happened. I loved that there were two instances of double eliminations, those helped keep the math even between match-ups like Takagi VS Khan and Tsuji VS Ospreay. Cobb looked the strongest coming out of this, of course, with him eliminating Hiromu and Naito all on his own. However, Cobb standing tall, I feel like Naito finds a way to win to keep his Right to Challenge contract. I also think Ospreay retains his title, it feels too soon for Tsuji to get what is essentially the best of the midcard titles.

My Score: 8.7/10

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Mitchell’s NJPW Road to Destruction Results & Report! (9/8/23)

On the road again!



Will The Front Man keep “season one” going?

NJPW is on the Road to Destruction in Kobe, but Zack Sabre Jr. defends his NJPW World TV title against Young Lion, Ryohei Oiwa!


  • YOH & Ryusuke Taguchi VS DOUKI & Yoshinobu Kanemaru; Douki & Kanemaru win.
  • 8 Man Tag: Shota Umino, Yuji Nagata, Master Wato & Oskar Leube VS Tomoaki Honma & Team Strong Style; Honma & Team Strong Style win.
  • Six Man Tag: Chaos VS TMDK; TMDK wins.
  • 8 Man Tag: Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii & Yuto Nakashima VS Tiger Mask, Togi Makabe, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan; Double Disqualification.
  • 8 Man Tag: Los Ingobernables de Japon VS The United Empire; LIJ wins.
  • NJPW World Television Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. VS Boltin Oleg Ryohei Oiwa w/ Kaito Kiyomiya; ZSJ wins and retains the title.
  • SANADA & Taichi VS EVIL & SHO; Evil & Sho win.


NJPW World Television Championship: Zack Sabre Jr. VS Ryohei Oiwa w/ Kaito Kiyomiya!

The Front Man of TMDK was meant to face Oleg Boltin, but a wrist injury changed all that. However, the Young Lion on excursion in Pro-Wrestling Noah is here! New look, new attitude, but will Oiwa become the NEW star of NJPW World? Or will “season one” make it past “episode 13?”

The introductions are made, the belt is raised, and we see if 13 turns out to be a lucky number!

The bell rings and we’re on the clock! The two rush in and ZSJ BOOTS Oiwa! Oiwa fires forearms in return, but ZSJ UPPERCUTS! ZSJ headlocks, Oiwa powers out and they RAM shoulders! Oiwa eggs ZSJ on, ZSJ runs and they RAM shoulders again! ZSJ wobbles, Oiwa runs, but into a BOOT! Oiwa rebounds to run ZSJ over! ZSJ bails out and fans rally up. Oiwa goes out after ZSJ, kicks low and then brings him around to whip into the railing! ZSJ hobbles and drops to his knees, but Oiwa is on him again. Oiwa CLUBS ZSJ, brings him around the way, and then whips him into more railing! ZSJ drops to his knees again as Oiwa storms up.

The ref reprimands and wants this in the ring but Oiwa stomps ZSJ. Oiwa stands ZSJ up to whip him again, but ZSJ reverses and now Oiwa hits railing! Oiwa comes back to run ZSJ over! Fans fire up and Oiwa scowls as he storms back up to ZSJ. ZSJ sits up but Oiwa puts him in the ring. Fans rally, Oiwa stalks ZSJ and drags him up to scoop and SLAM! Cover, ONE and ZSJ goes to ropes. Oiwa stomps ZSJ, drags him up, and ROCKS him with a forearm! ZSJ eggs Oiwa on so Oiwa throws more shots! Oiwa ROCKS ZSJ, stomps him in the corner, then whips him corner to corner. Oiwa runs in to DROPKICK! Cover, TWO!

Fans rally as Oiwa drags ZSJ up with a gut wrench! ZSj fights free and scrambles to the apron. Oiwa runs up to ROCK ZSJ again! And again! And again! Oiwa then stands ZSJ up to suplex, but ZSJ fights! ZSJ has the arm over the ropes! The ref counts but ZSJ drags Oiwa over to have an APRON ARMBAR! The ref counts, ZSJ lets go and Oiwa scrambles away. ZSJ gets space, runs and PENALTY KICKS from the apron! Down goes Oiwa and fans fire up! ZSJ catches his breath while Oiwa flounders to railing. The ring count starts, ZSJ drags Oiwa up and wraps the arm around railing. ZSJ BOOTS the railing to jam up the arm!

The ring count is 8 of 20, but ZSJ wrenches the arm to an ELBOW BREAKER! ZSJ then brings Oiwa around, wraps the arm around railing, and BOOTS! ZSJ slides in at 14 of 20, Oiwa gets his arm free and hurries over, to slide in at 18! Fans cheer but ZSJ kneels on Oiwa, TWO! ZSJ twists Oiwa’s arm, isolates it, and STOMPS the elbow! Oiwa writhes but ZSJ clamps on with a hammerlock using his legs, and TWISTS the arm! We’re at the five minute mark already, and ZSJ KICKS Oiwa! ZSJ eggs Oiwa on, KICKS him again, and then KICKS him again! Oiwa snarls, pushes ZSJ, but ZSJ SLAPS him!

Oiwa forearms, ZSJ SLAPS! Oiwa SLAPS! ZSJ wobbles but he still eggs Oiwa on! Oiwa SLAPS and SLAPS, but ZSJ blocks to ELBOW BREAKER, and then PELE the arm! Fans cheer as ZSJ catches his breath. ZSJ drags Oiwa up, bends the fingers, and bends the elbow! Another wrench, but Oiwa fires a forearm! ZSJ eggs Oiwa on more, so Oiwa throws another shot! And another! ZSJ wrenches, Oiwa slips through to SPINEBUSTER! The fans fire up while ZSJ goes to ropes. Oiwa storms up and fires off forearms! Oiwa ROCKS ZSJ, whips him, and ELBOWS him down, to then run and SPLASH! Oiwa nods as he gut wrenches and lifts ZSJ for the SUPLEX!

Fans fire up and Oiwa stays on ZSJ with another deadlift GUT WRENCH SUPLEX! Bridging cover?! TWO!! ZSJ escapes and fans rally up for Oiwa. Oiwa storms over to ZSJ, waistlocks and deadlifts, but ZSJ pries free to UPPERCUT the bad arm! ZSJ runs but into an arm-drag! Oiwa waistlocks again, GERMAN SUPLEX! Bridging cover, TWO!! ZSJ escapes again and Oiwa grows a bit frustrated. Oiwa hauls ZSJ up, ZSJ fights the lift and wrenches an arm to UPPERCUT! Oiwa comes back, but ZSj catches him to spin him and PELE the arm! And then ZSJ jumps on, KIMURA! Oiwa is caught in the body scissors but ZSJ shifts! CLARKY CAT!

Oiwa endures and fans rally up! Kaito coaches Oiwa but ZSJ pulls that arm way back! Oiwa kicks around, reaches out, ROPEBREAK! The ref counts and ZSJ lets off, and fans cheer as Oiwa survives by a literal foot. ZSJ taunts Kaito and then drags Oiwa up. ZSJ wrenches the arm, but Oiwa blocks the scoop! Oiwa scoops but ZSJ slips out, to get a  SLEEPER! Oiwa throws ZSJ away and CHOPS! Oiwa roars, runs, but ZSJ KICKS the lariat away! GERMAN SUPLEX! Oiwa rises!? Oiwa block the boot into a DRAGON SCREW! Step through, FIGURE FOUR!! Fans fire up as ZSJ now endures a hold Kaito loves to use!

ZSJ SLAPS away on Oiwa’s face but Oiwa SLAPS ZSJ down! We pass 10 minutes but that means time is still on ZSJ’s side! ZSJ SLAPS Oiwa again and again, but Oiwa just puts on the pressure! ZSJ scrambles tot he ROPEBREAK! Oiwa lets ZSJ go, then he drags ZSJ up, SINGLE LEG SUPLEX! Cover, TWO! ZSJ is still in this but Oiwa SMASHES a knee! And then steps through again, btu ZSJ kicks with the other leg! Oiwa staggers away, but blocks another kick to DRAGON- NO, ZSJ steps through to have the ARMBAR! Oiwa fights up to stack ZSJ, pops fere, but ZSJ trips Oiwa up into a TRIANGLE HOLD! #CheckTheseLegs!

But then ZSJ shifts around, DISARMER!! ZSJ gets both arms, JIM BREAKS SPECIAL!! Oiwa taps, ZSJ wins!!

Winner: Zack Sabre Jr, by submission (still NJPW World Television Champion)

Defense number 13 is in the books for The Front Man! The Mighty Don’t Kneel, but he does show Oiwa respect. However, Kaito gets in ZSJ’s face. Is the Noah Supernova gonna try ZSJ next?


SANADA & Taichi w/ Taka Michinoku VS EVIL & SHO w/ Dick Togo!

The IWGP World Heavyweight Champion and the 2023 KOPW Champion are the front men of Just5Guys, and are working together against the House of Torture that’s coming for them! Will the Cold Skull and Holy Emperor put the House in its place? Or will the King of Darkness and his Murder Machine prove they can beat the best to become the best?

The House shows off the belts they literally stole, they don’t actually own the world or KOPW titles just yet. The teams sort out and Sanada starts against Evil. Fans cheer and rally up for “SA-NA-DA!” as he circles with Evil. But then Evil tags out to Sho. Fans boo and Sho eggs Taichi on. Sanada drops back and he tags Taichi in, but then Sho bails out. Fans boo as Sho goes to the railing and then the entryway. Taihci stays in the ring, so Sho has no choice but to return. They circle, but then Sho scrambles right back out and goes to the other corner of the railing. Taichi goes out after Sho but Sho scurries around to slide back into the ring.

Sho eggs Taichi on, but Taichi takes his time going around the way. Taichi storms up into the ring, but then Sho slides right back out. Fans boo but Sho grins. But then Sho sees Sanada is there and is wary. The ring count starts, Sho checks the stop watch for how long this match has gone. Taichi storms out after Sho, and catches him! To then whip him hard into railing! Fans fire up as Taichi drags Sho up and around to whip hard into more railing! Sho goes down in a heap while fans rally for “TA-I-CHI!” Taichi puts Sho in, drags him up, and snapmares to KICK him in the back! Sho writhes but Taichi stalks him to ropes.

Taichi stands on Sho at the ropes, Red Shoes reprimands and counts, and Taichi lets off. Taichi stomps Sho again, tags Sanada, and Sanada drags Sho up to whip him to ropes. Sanada ELBOWS Sho down, covers, TWO! Sanada keeps cool while fans rally up for him again. Sanada brings Sho around, reels him in, but Sho bends the fingers! Sho whips Sanada to the corner, and surprise! Evil pulls the buckle pad away! Sanada hits bare steel as the Bullet Club Special is in play! Taichi runs in but Sho sends him into the bare buckles! Fans boo as Evil drags Taichi out to whip into railing! And then out into the crowd!

Fans move aside as Evil drags Taichi up to the back row, to SMACK him off the east sign! Sho drags Sanada out the other side, but Sanada fights back! Sanada CLUBS Sho, but Sho bends fingers! Sho goes up the bleachers to wrap Sanada’s arm around railing! Sho then brings Sanada around to SMACK off the bench seat! Sho grins as he goes back to the ring and the count starts. The count passes 10 of 20 but neither Taichi or Sanada is up! Sanada hurries up at 15 and slides in at 17! Fans cheer, we pass five minutes, and Sho looms over Sanada. Sho wrenches the arm, and whips Sanada back into bare buckles!

Red Shoes reprimands but the damage is done. Evil tags in, distracts Red Shoes by angering Taka, and then Evil TOSSES Sanada out! Dick is there to sucker punch Sanada! Dick puts Sanada back in and Evil covers, but Red Shoes is still busy with the shirt Evil threw. Evil gets upset so he drags Sanada up. Sanada CHOPS Evil! And CHOPS again! And CHOPS again! Evil whips, and Sanada again hits bare buckles! Sanada falls and Evil laughs as he tags in Sho. But Taichi storms up with a chair! Red Shoes stops Taichi but this allows the House to CHOKE Sanada! Taichi has no choice but to stand down and Red Shoes sees Sho standing on Sanada’s neck.

Red Shoes reprimands and counts, Sho steps off at 4. Sho stomps Sanada around, then clamps on a chinlock. Sho claws at Sanada’s eyes, then covers, TWO! Fans rally for Sanada but Sho and Evil talk trash. Sho scuffs Sanada while fans boo. Sanada stands to CHOP Sho! Sho eggs Sanada on so Sanada CHOPS again! And again! Sho rakes the eyes! Sho has Sanada in a corner, Red Shoes counts, and Sho lets off at 4. Sho whips corner to corner, runs in, but Sanada dodges! Sanada reels Sho in for a BIG back suplex! Fans rally as both men crawl, hot tag to Taichi! Taichi gives Sho some Kawada Kicks!

Sho goes to a corner, Taichi runs in to BOOT him down! Taichi reels Sho in but Sho fights the saido! So Taichi wrenches to DANGEROUS HOOK KICK! Evil runs in, but Taichi dodges! Taichi waistlocks, Evil switches, but Taichi fights the lift to PELE! Fans fire up as OFF COME THE PANTS! Taichi throws them at Sho, but Sho wants mercy! Taichi scuffs Sho and kicks him some more. Sho staggers up and Taichi KICKS him back down! Taichi reels Sho in, but Sho fights the lift! Sho bends the fingers, CLUBS the arm, runs, but Taichi blocks the spear! Sho bends the fingers again! Taichi kicks free, runs, but Sho uses Red Shoes as a shield!

Sho runs to SPEAR Taichi down! Tag to Evil as we pass ten minutes, and the House boys stomp away on Taichi! Red Shoes reprimands, but the House double whips Taichi. Taichi holds ropes, to then come back and DOUBLE AX BOMBER! Fans fire up as Taichi heads for his corner, hot tag to Sanada! Sanada whips Evil, Evil reverses but Sanada ducks ‘n’ dodges and dropkicks a leg out! Then he DROPKCIKS Evil outta the ring! Sanada aims to PLANCHA! Down goes Evil and fans fire up! Sanada gets them even louder, then he drags Evil up and into the ring. Sanadaa covers, TWO! Evil is still in this but Sanada looms over him.

Sanada fireman’s carries Evil but Evil claws eyes to get free! Red Shoes reprimands, but Evil blocks a kick, hands it to Red Shoes, and then mule kicks Sanada down! Sho swipes at Taka as he storms in, and Sho helps Evil put Sanada in a corner, They double whip corner to corner, then Sho runs in to forearm smash! Evil runs in to clothesline! FISHERMAN BUSTER! Cover, TWO! Sanada’s tougher than that but Evil drags him up. Evil fireman’s carries but Sanada fights free! Feed to Taichi’s SOBAT! KICK! KICK! ROLLING ELBOW! ENZIGURI! Fans fire up and Sanada fireman’s carries! T K O!! Cover, Sho breaks it!

Sho stomps Sanada again but Taichi drags him out of the ring! Sanada drags Evil up into the dragon sleeper! Evil flails, Dick creeps up but Taka trips him up! So Evil grabs at Red Shoes! They go to ropes and Dick suplexes Taka into Sanada! Evil is free, he fireman’s carries for DARKNESS FALLS! Cover, TWO!! Sanada survives and Evil is furious! Fans rally while both men are down, but Evil sits up first. Evil slashes his throat, determined to end this. Evil drags Sanada up, spins him around, but Sanada fights the STO! Sanada is free, he spins Evil around, STANDING CLICED BREAD into the dragon sleeper! SKULL END!!

Sho runs in but Taichi catches him! SEITEI JUJIRO! Dick gets on the apron but Taka again drags him down! Sho and Evil endure submissions, but Evil is fading! Evil reaches out but Sanada thrashes him around! Evil still fights his way to the ROPEBREAK! Sanada lets Evil go and Taichi frees Sho. Sanada drags Evil up as we pass 15 minutes, and Sanada puts Evil on ropes, MAGIC SCREW! Both men are down and fans rally. Sanada kips up! Sanada aims as Evil sits up, SHINING WIZARD! Sanada isn’t done there, he hauls Evil up, but Evil slips free! Evil waistlocks, Sanada elbows free, and then runs in, but Evil puts Red Shoes in the way! Down goes Red Shoes!

Dick has a chair! He CHUCKS it at Sanada’s head! Fans boo but Dick plays dumb. Dick then slides Evil the world title belt! Evil aims at Sanada with a sinister grin. But Taichi attacks Evil first! Taichi takes the belt, but Sho has his “Murder Tool!” Taichi turns around to back Sho down, but Evil LOW BLOWS! Then WRENCH SHOT!! Sho drags Sanada up for Evil to BELT SHOT!! Fans boo as the House still gets away with all their tricks! Dick gets Red Shoes up, Evil stands Sanada up, EVERYTHING IS EVIL!! Cover, The House wins!

Winners: Evil & Sho, by pinfall

The King of Darkness pins the world champion, but they’re not done! Sho drags Taichi up, tucks him in, SHOCK ARROW!! Then Evil CHOKES Sanada with a chair! Dick uses the SPOILER CHOKER on Tatka! Douki runs in to fight them but Evil JAMS him with a chair! Kanemaru has his whiskey! The House backs off now, they don’t wanna fight the Heel Master when he’s all liquored up. Kanemaru gets his guys outta there, but Evil still holds the world title like it’s his own. Evil takes a seat in the chair he was just using as a weapon, but fans tell him to go away. Evil has the mic to tell them to shut up.

Evil then says, “Oi, Sanada. Nobody thinks of you as the world champion. Look at me, look at you, and look at who has the belt. This belt belongs to me, this makes ME the champion and YOU the challenger!” Taichi is furious but the Young Lions keep him back. Evil says weaklings and scum don’t deserve to be champions! And we will all see the House’s power soon enough! There’s one month left until Evil actually challenges for the title in Ryogoku. Will he use every trick in the House to truly become champion again? Or will Sanada bring a Skull End to this farce?

My Thoughts:

Another good event for NJPW, but all Road to whatever events are mostly filler, so I skipped most of this stuff. Skimmed it, though, so we got good stuff from those other matches to add heat to what’s coming. Especially with that 8 Man Tag featuring the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag champions turning into just a brawl between Ishii and Tenzan before their title matches tomorrow. And there are a lot of singles grudge matches for Destruction in Kobe between LIJ and United Empire so great 8 Man Tag there, too. That Callum Newman kid is great, he moves so fast and without messing up the timing, he could be somebody in a few years.

A shame for Boltin, he hasn’t really gotten much for the bit of hype he came in with. But stepping up to have a great 10 minute match with ZSJ was a great opportunity for Oiwa. ZSJ of course won here, it’s still gonna be some time before someone takes this title off ZSJ. At this rate, ZSJ might make it to a one year anniversary, having this belt all the way to WrestleKingdom, the same event he won the belt at the end of the tournament. And WrestleKingdom would be a proper event big enough for taking this title off ZSJ, if they’re going to do that at all.

The main event was good, but I figured The House would cheat to win. Evil & Sho have momentum starting off this Road To series, they probably go back and forth with Sanada & Taichi or even go on a streak of sorts, but I would think Sanada beats Evil in the end. Sho is more likely to take the KOPW belt than Evil is the top belt, depending on what odd stipulation Sho can come up with, but even then I still favor Taichi. A little disappointed Douki & Kanemaru didn’t rush out there sooner, but maybe they’ll be more on guard next time.

My Score: 8.6/10

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