In an attempt to stretch the Road to Power Struggle tour out for the rest of recorded history (which is roughly six months at my estiamate), New Japan is only putting one Super Junior Tag match on certain shows. Honestly, writing a review of a single tag feels a bit silly, so I’m going to do them in groups meaning that these matches come from Akita, Iwate and Fukushima.
Roppongi 3K (SHO and YOH) (2-1) defeated Clark Connors and TJP (0-3)
I love Clark Connors. That guy does not give a fuck and is happy to get into with anyone. He opened this match by engaging in a chop battle with SHO, which is idiotic, but certainly earned my respect.
Roppongi 3K then did an impressive job of isolating the rookie, keeping TJP out of the match and controlling the action. That, unsurprisingly, built to the Perkins hot tag, and if he could stop being brilliant, it would make it a lot easier to dislike him. He looks in great shape, is wrestling fantastically and has strong chemistry with Connors. With New Japan’s American branch about to start, they’d be daft not to make the prick a regular.
Of course, SHO and YOH took home the points, Connors getting the usual defiant last stand before YOH tapped him out with the Stargazer. They delivered an entertaining match on route to getting there, but that wasn’t enough for Connors, who was still up for a fight post-match. That kid is going to have made an enemy of most of the division by the time this tournament is over.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
Super Coach (Ryusuke Taguchi and Rocky Romero) (3-0) defeated Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (2-1)
In a shocking turn of events, Uncle Nobu and Despy decided they didn’t want to wait for everyone to be introduced to start the match. How could anyone have seen that coming?
What we had here was a clash of ideologies. Rocky and Taguchi believe in the power of being silly, doing their coach based comedy and engaging in general nonsense. Kanemaru and Despy are wee cunts who want to fuck you up, generally with the help of a steel chair. It was a battle of comedy vs cuntery.
On this day, comedy won out, Taguchi booting the whiskey out of Nobu’s mouth before grabbing hold of the bottle. Except, rather than using it to his advantage, he just decided to have a drink or two. Thankfully, he’s got a head for booze and it fired him up to hit the Bumaye followed by a Dodon for the three.
Everything you’d expect to happen in a match between these two teams happened here, and it was a lot of fun.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
The Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo) (3-1) defeated Super Coach (Ryusuke Taguchi and Rocky Romero) (3-1)
Inadvertently, we might have figured out what heel El Phantasmo’s role should be. He’s a comedy wrestler. In there with Taguchi, all his shtick suddenly makes sense. He can accidentally back rake Ishimori or get his thumb stuck up Taguchi’s iron rectum because it’s a comedy match and in that world it makes sense.
And, as with most comedy matches, some of you will have already realised this isn’t for you. If you are a fan of that style, though, there is a decent amount to enjoy here. Taguchi and Rocky are funny guys, but also good wrestlers and the combination works well. I was able to enjoy them pissing about, but also got a thrill out of seeing Rocky and Ishimori go back and forth.
All of which isn’t to say it was an excellent match for it wasn’t. It felt like something you’d deliver on a house show, a solid slab of action, but with enough silliness to make sure no-one is waking up the next day feeling too beat-up. I guess that’s just a long way of saying that it follows the trend these matches have set so far, fun, but not essential.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
As this wasn’t a single show, it feels weird to lump everything together, but there was a theme here. They all delivered, but with a ceiling of good rather than great. I’m not necessarily complaining about that either, ain’t nobody expecting these guys to kill themselves for this tour, and I think they’re doing what they need to do.
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