When you get down to it, the final taped Road To show for New Beginning was a remix of the one from the day before. However, it’s topped off with a big main event as Goto and Okada go after the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles. This was what Sanada and Evil had to put up to get a shot at their belts, and it creates an exciting dynamic a few days before those matches. Let’s dish out some stars.
Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask and KUSHIDA defeated Shota Umino, Ren Narita and Tetsuhiro Yagi
Taguchi out, KUSHIDA in.
We repeated the formula from the day before by getting a bit heated at the start with Liger slapping Young Lions around. He beat-up Umino a bit before Tiger Mask kicked Yagi. Wrestling school was in session.
Honestly, I could copy and paste my review from yesterday. It was a Young Lions run out; you know what you’re going to get. They’re always entertaining, but they don’t need in-depth analysis.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
The Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi and HIKULEO) defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Tomoyuki Oka
Nakanishi out, Tenzan in.
Again, poor Oka has to carry an old man against two of the weakest wrestlers in the company. He did at least learn from yesterday’s action as he avoided The Bullet Club sneak attack at the start.
Another fine match. Much like the night before, Oka carried the action although we did get some impressive power spots from HIKULEO. He’s getting better – although he started at such a low base that he’s still at the bottom of the pack.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Manabu Nakanishi defeated Katsuya Kitamura
I said yesterday that Young Kit would have to carry his match with Tenzan. Those words ring true here too. Nakanishi might be the only man on the roster who moves at a slower pace than old Hiroyoshi.
Kitamura provided all the movement, while also doing the more impressive power moves too. Getting Nakanishi up for a suplex is no small feat, although that spear did not look great.
They followed the same template as the Tenzan outing. You could suggest that was laziness but with wrestlers like Tenzan and Nakanishi what else are you going to do? It was fine.
Verdict: Two Stars
Roppongi 3K (SHO, YOH and Rocky Romero) defeated Suzuki-gun (Taka Michinoku, El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Taichi out, Kanemaru in.
I thought for a second that we weren’t going to get a Suzuki-gun sneak attack. Then Roppongi 3K did their pose thing, and we got one. They can’t resist.
I hope you all appreciate that I’ve been trying to write something new about matches that are nearly identical to ones I wrote about yesterday. It’s quite hard. When you throw in that I’ve reviewed what feels like a few thousand Suzuki-gun tags, I reckon I deserve an award.
The story was that Kanemaru and Despy were so intent on hurting SHO and YOH that they missed Rocky getting the win. It’s an intriguing way to build a tag title shot. Roppongi 3K have won both matches, but Suzuki-gun seems intent on winning the war.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Jay White and Toru Yano) defeated Juice Robinson, David Finlay and Toa Henare
Jay White and David Finlay in.
The focus here was Ishii vs Henare and White vs Finlay.
I’ve waxed lyrical about Ishii and Henare since their first meeting at World Tag League, and I’ll do so again. These two big boys beating each other up is one of my favourite things. I hope New Japan notice how good it is and give Henare a chance to shine in some singles matches.
White, meanwhile, continues to act very much as someone part of CHAOS but not committed to CHAOS. He came out separately and wrestled like someone in there for himself. It’s also clear he gets the best out of Finlay whose newfound aggression is fantastic. The final touch was him getting the victory with the MMA style elbows while David watched, a lovely brutal edge to his ever-improving character.
This was the best showing of the night so far with the younger wrestlers being the ones who got to shine.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Taguchi Japan (Rysuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe and a piece of shit) defeated Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka and Taichi)
KUSHIDA and Kanemaru out. Taguchi and Taichi in.
Makabe and Suzuki weren’t bothered with sticking to the ring. They were off to have a rumble in the crowd. That might have been more impactful if it didn’t happen in every Suzuki-gun match.
Nothing here was good. There was a distinct waft of shit in the air, and it was more focused on Suzuki and Makabe beating each other up than great wrestling.
Unless you count Iizuka biting Taguchi on the ass as hilarious entertainment, you can skip this.
Verdict: Fuck Michael Elgin
CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Will Ospreay and Gedo) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi and Bushi)
I can probably stop the in and out gimmick now.
Gedo came out with Bushi’s mask while YOSHI-HASHI went straight after Naito. CHAOS is leaning into its heel side at the moment.
This was continuing all the themes from the various feuds involved. In saying that, a lot of it was wrestled by YOSHI-HASHI and Bushi. They seem to be pushing YOSHI hard. I wonder if there’s a plan for him after the Naito feud? Is it just to make Naito look good? Will he at least convince Naito to give a shit? So many questions.
Anyway, we got more Gedo and Bushi shenanigans, which seem to be leading to mask vs beard. Takahashi and Ospreay continue to be amazing while YOSHI-HASHI’s developing a personality.
The match wasn’t incredible, but it did what it had to do.
Verdict: Three Stars
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Evil and Sanada) defeated CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada and Hirooki Goto)
There is a hell of a lot to unpick which I shall attempt to do because that’s my job.
Firstly, Okada and Sanada. Okada has had the better of Sanada throughout this feud. Despite that, he’s almost seemed obsessed with forcing Sanada out of his shell. Of getting the best version of Sanada that he could. Well, he might regret that decision. The main event didn’t only end with Sanada getting the better of Okada, he got the better of him with a Rainmaker of his own. That was quite the statement.
While Evil and Goto’s story isn’t quite as complicated, it’s just as fun. They are two big fuckers who like beating each other up. Evil has controlled the feud so far which doesn’t mean much because, well, it’s Goto, he’s an expert at getting beaten up. Their match is going to be great.
Next up, the commentary team. They are going in heavy on the idea of other members of CHAOS challenging Okada. With all the Bullet Club strife, is it possible New Japan has something planned with CHAOS too? Jay White’s inclusion suggests that’s the case.
Then we get to the wrestling which was very good. Which shouldn’t be a surprise, look at who was involved. I never bought the idea that CHAOS would get the win, but the various angles being worked kept my interest anyway. Even if you skip the rest of the show, check this one out.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
If you watched the undercard from yesterday’s show, you don’t need to do so here. Slight changes aside, they are almost identical. The Jay White six-man tag and the main event are well worth your time, though. The Osaka show is gearing up to be special, and I’m going to put a little prediction out there right now. I think Sanada beats Okada. If I’m right, you’ll never hear the end of it. If I’m wrong, we’ll never talk of it again.