SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
RADICAN’S NJPW “KIZUNA ROAD” BLOG
JULY 3, 2016
AIRED LIVE ON NJPWWORLD.COM
This show did not air with any commentary, but it was shot with multiple cameras.
(1) Chase Owens vs. David Finlay. Chase Owens doesn’t do a lot for me in the ring. He’s in Bullet Club, but other than that, there’s not a lot to his act other than he’s a solid wrestler. Finlay on the other hand appears to have a lot of potential. He pulled off a gorgeous standing dropkick at one point during the match that wowed the crowd and later after a nice chain of counters when Owens was going for a package piledriver, he caught him with a nice pinning combination. Owens ultimately won the opener with a package piledriver.
WINNER: Chase Owens
Star rating: (**1/2)
(2) Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask IV & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & Sakuraba & Rocky Romero & Trent Baretta) in an eight-man tag match. This was an enjoyable multi-man tag match for this spot on the card. The match built up nicely to a confrontation between Ishii and Tenzan that fired up the crowd. Tenzan ultimately submitted Beretta with the anaconda vice. After the match, Tenzan cut a promo stating he wanted to be in the G1 tournament this year.
WINNERS: Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask IV & Ryusuke Taguchi
Star rating: (**3/4)
(3) Hangman Page & Yuji Takahashi vs. Capt. New Japan & Yoshitatsu. This was a fairly basic match designed to get more heat on Page and Takahashi as they march towards a shot at the NJPW Hvt. Tag Team Titles. Late in the match, Page hit a dude buster variation on Captain New Japan for the win. Page then hung Captain New Japan with his noose over the top rope. He then cut a promo saying Bullet Club would take the Briscoes tag titles in August. This would seem to confirm a Briscoes vs. Page & Takahashi match for the tag titles at the G1 Climax finale this year.
WINNERS: Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi.
Star rating: (**1/2)
(4) Yuji Nagata & Nakanishi vs. Juice Robinson & Togi Makabe. The fans fired up after Robinson and Nakanishi had a back and forth exchange that ended with Robinson hitting a suplex. They battled up top a short time later and Nakanishi hit a superplex that caused the fans to gasp. He made the cover, but only got a 2 count. Robinson and Nakanishi went back and forth a short time later and Robinson ended the exchange with a big diving clothesline. Makabe got the tag and ran wild on Nakanishi and Nagata. Nagata and Makabe had a big exchange and Makabe eventually caught him with a diving clothesline off the ropes. Nakanishi and Nagata eventually isolated Robinson and Nagata finished him off with the bridging backdrop driver for the win. This was a solid undercard tag.
WINNERS: Yuji Nagata & Nakanishi
Star rating: (**)
(5) NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champions The Elite (Kenny Omega & IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Champions Matt & Nick Jackson) vs. Matt Sydal & Ricochet & Satoshi Kojima. The Elite came out wearing New Day gear. They were each wearing a different New Day shirt. They danced down the aisle like New Day. This is amazing! Only in 2016 does this happen! The Elite got sent packing to the floor and teased charging back into the ring, but then quickly bailed. Matt got caught by Kojima. Sydal, Ricochet, and Tenzan took turns dishing out punches on him. Sydal and Ricochet then hit him with a standing moonsault and a standing SSP at the same time for a 2 count! Matt ducked under a top rope hurricanrana attempt from Sydal, who crashed and burned.
The Elite set up for their Terminator dive a short time later and connected, which some of the fans fired up for. Sydal got isolated as The Elite worked him over. Sydal took a sustained beating until he finally cut Nick off with a leg lariat as he came off the ropes. The fans fired up and Sydal tagged in Ricochet, who ran wild. He hit an insane sequence of moves to counter a double team attempt from the Young Bucks including having Nick make Matt hit a modified code red face buster on Nick. He then hit a huge suplex on Matt to end the sequence. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?
Nick fired back on Ricochet and tagged in Omega. They traded blows and Omega ended up getting caught with a back breaker as he went for a leap frog. Kojima got the tag and hit his signature machine-gun chops on all three members of The Elite in the corner as he stacked them up one-by-one. Kojima went up top, but Nick cut him off. Matt then wiped out everyone else with superkicks. The Elite then went to work on Kojima in the corner with a hip attack from Omega and a double superkick from The YB. This is an insane match so far!
Omega went to work on Kojima. He lifted him on to his shoulders for the one-winged angel, but Kojima fought out of it. Sydal and Ricochet both got the tag from Kojima. They cleared the apron of The YB and went to work on Omega. Sydal went for a meteora off the top, but Omega caught him and tossed him into the turnbuckles. The Young Bucks accidentally sprayed omega in the eyes when Sydal ducked with their spray cans. Sydal then went up top, but Omega got out of the way of a SSP. The YB then immediately hit him with a double superkick. OMG!
Omega caught Ricochet with a huge running knee to the head. He got him up on his shoulders, but Ricochet slipped out of the one-winged angel and hit an inverted hurricanrana. He then wiped out The YB with a huge flip dive over the top to the floor. Kojima held Omega for a meteora off the top, but Omega kicked out at the last second! Omega fired back on Sydal with a snap German. The YB then dragged him to the corner and Matt tagged himself in. The YB hit a series of double team maneuvers on Sydal capped by a big senton from Nick as Sydal was draped over the ropes! This is crazy.
The Elite hit a triple superkick on Sydal, but he kicked out at the very last second! The YB set up Sydal for the IndyTaker, but Ricochet made the save. The Elite had a double IndyTaker set up, but Kojima made the save by dragging Nick to the floor. OMG. Sydal and Ricochet went up top, but Omega and Matt popped up and cut the off. Kojima wiped out Omega with a huge lariat. He no-sold a double superkick from The YB and wiped them out with a double clothesline. Sydal and Ricochet then came off the top with stereo SSPs on Matt and Nick. Sydal then pinned Matt for the win. My god!
WINNERS: Satoshi Kojima & Matt Sydal & Ricochet to become the new NEVER Openweight Champions.
Star rating: (****3/4) – Ricochet was incredible in this match. He hit an insane combination of the moves on The YB after getting a hot tag mid-way through the match. He was great down the stretch as well hitting a giant flip dive to the floor to wipe out The YB. The finishing sequence was amazing with Kojima no-selling a double superkick from The YB and wiping them out with a double clothesline. Everyone was really good in this match. Put down whatever you’re doing and watch this match now!
Kojima, Ricochet, and Sydal celebrated with the belts after the match. Kojima thanked the fans and Ricochet and Sydal. He shook their hands. He called Tenzan down to the ring after Sydal and Ricochet. The fans chanted for Tenzan, who didn’t come out initially. He finally made his way down to the ring. Kojima referenced G1 when talking to Tenzan. He handed him the mic and Tenzan seemed to agree to accept his offer to take his spot in G1. Both men hugged and shook hands. That was a great moment after the match. Tenzan will now take Kojima’s place in G1.
(6) L.I.J. (EVIL & Tetsuya Naito & Sanada & BUSHI) vs. CHAOS (IWGP Hvt. Champion Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto & Will Ospreay & YOSHI-HASHI (w/Gedo) in a eight-man elimination match. Okada and Naito started the match off. Okada got the majority of the chants from the fans. BUSHI jumped Okada from behind and Naito tossed him over the ropes, but Okada held on. He ended up fending off BUSHI on the apron before nailing Naito with a slingshot senton.
Sanada was isolated and took a beating from CHAOS until EVIL tripped Ospreay from the outside. The action broke down as various members of both teams paired off on the floor while Sanada choked Ospreay against the ropes inside the ring. Ospreay took a beating from L.I.J. as they tagged in and out to work him over. Ospreay finally mounted a comeback and tagged in Okada, who ran wild. He got red ink on BUSHI as his partners kept L.I.J. at bay on the floor. EVIL got into the ring, but Okada let go of the hold and sent him packing. Naito and Okada went at it and the crowd fired up. Naito blocked the dropkick in the corner and hit a tornado DDT
The action broke down again, as EVIL and Naito went to work on Okada with a combination of maneuvers. Naito got his running pinning combination for a near fall to end the sequence. Okada went to town on Naito and signaled for the rainmaker, but Naito ducked it and went for Destino. Okada shook Naito off and they ended up on the apron. Naito and Okada went over the top together and Naito nailed him with an inverted DDT on the floor. I believe that eliminates both men.
Goto and EVIL went at it inside the ring. Goto and EVIL eventually went at it up top. Sanada ended up cutting Goto off when he got the upper hand. EVIL nailed him with a clothesline, but Goto managed to stay on the arpon. EVIL eventually clotheslined Goto over the top to eliminate him. EVIL and HASHI went at it on the apron and HASHI managed to eliminate him with a superkick. Sanada rolled up HASHI a short time later to eliminate him. Ospreay was left alone to go at it against Sanada and BUSHI. Ospreay eliminated him with a dropkick that sent Sanada off the apron to the floor. It’s not down to Ospreay and BUSHI.
BUSHI hit a running double knee strike in the corner, but Ospreay managed to kick out at 2. He caught BUSHI with a spinning kick as he came off the top a short time later and both men were down. Sanada tried to hold Ospreay on the apron. Ospreay ducked and BUSHI blew green mist in BUSHI’s face. There was a brawl in the ring between both teams. CHAOS cleared the ring and Ospreay signaled for the rainmaker and hit his one man Spanish fly, but BUSHI kicked out at the last second. Ospreay then hit a springboard ace crusher for the win.
CHAOS posed together in the middle of the ring after the match.
WINNERS: William Ospreay & IWGP Hvt. Champion Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto.
Star rating: (***1/2) – This was a really fun elimination tag with some good back and forth sequences between the feuding factions building to a nice finish between Ospreay and BUSHI.
A video package for the Shibata vs. Honma NEVER Openweight Title match aired.
(7) NEVER Openweight champion Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tomoaki Honma. These two had an incredible match during G1 Climax in 2014. Both men went head-to-head before the ref separated them. Honma missed a diving kokeshi and Shibata went for a penalty kick, but Honma ducked and they came to a stalemate. The fans chanted for Honma. Shibata got the upper hand and locked in a figure-four leglock. Honma struggled, but eventually managed to get to the ropes. Shibata invited Honma to trade with him, but ended up nailing him with several blows.
Honma fired back and eventually took Shibata out with a big running clothesline. Honma went for another kokeshi off the ropes, but Shibata got out of the way once again. Honma fired back once again after taking a sustained beating. They traded blows and Honma took him down with a clothesline and landed a diving kokeshi off the ropes. The fans fired up and Honma went on the attack. Honma hit several chops and Shibata told him to bring it. Honma nailed Shibata with several chops and he finally went down after a chop to the throat! Wow! Honma took a chop to the throat, but hit a leaping Kokeshi off the ropes. He sent Shibata to the floor and went up top for a top rope kokeshi to the floor! Holy s—!
Both men were down on the floor and didn’t stir as the ref began his count. Honma suddenly got up and tossed Shibata in the ring. He then dove into the ring and made the cover for 2 count. Another Honma chant began as Honma went back on the attack. Honma took a German from Shibata and got right up only to take a clothesline a short time later that left both men down.
Both men got up and traded from their knees. Honma told Shibata to hit him, butt cut him off with a forearm every time he went for a strike. Shibata fired back out of the corner and jumped at Honma and went for a guillotine from the standing position, but Honma turned it into a big vertical suplex and both men were down. Wow! Honma set up Shibata and hit a leaping kokeshi off the ropes. He followed up with a big piledriver a short time later, but only got a 2 count. Honma went up top for the kokeshi, but Shibata got out of the way at the last second.
Shibata fired up and grabbed a choke. Honma got up and went to the ropes. He got to the ropes and then blocked a kick from Shibata. Shibata hit several slaps, but Honma fired back with a slap of his own. Honma went for a jumping kokeshi, but Shibata countered with an uppercut. He then hit a big running kick to Honma’s chest. Honma suddenly got up and hit a headbutt. He went for a leaping kokeshi, but Shibata caught him and applied a choke. Honma tried to break it, but Shibata held on to his grip. He then hit the PK for the win. This was really good, but the fans didn’t seem to expect Honma to win.
After the match, Shibata lifted Honma up like he was going to show him some respect, but then he tossed him to the floor and held up his title. Shibata then celebrated as red confetti filled the ring. Shibata seemed to not want any part of the confetti, as he charged up the ramp to the back to end the show before pausing to acknowledge the crowd.
WINNER: Katsuyori Shibata to retain the NEVER Openweight Championship
Star rating: (***3/4) – This was a really good match. The counter that Shibata had late for Honma’s leaping Kokeshi was great. They had some really good exchanges during the match as well. The only thing that hurt the match was the crowd seemed to give up on Honma down the stretch.
Overall Score: (7.0) – The first half of the show wasn’t very exciting, but the last three matches made this a show worth checking out. The NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag match was crazy as everyone was on fire during the match, especially Ricochet, who was out of this world. This was one of my favorite matches of the year and if you only see one match from this show, make sure you check this one out.
The semi-main event was a fun continuation of the CHAOS-L.I.J. match as this time they wrestled under elimination rules, which included pin, submission, and going over the top rope. The match was paced nicely and built up to a nice final exchange with Ospreay and BUSHI.
The main event was really good. It wasn’t close to the Shibata-Honma match at G1 from a couple of years ago, as the fans in Iwate didn’t seem to believe that Honma had any chance of winning during the second half of the match. They had some really good exchanges and fighting spirit spots down the stretch. I really enjoyed Shibata catching a diving headbutt and turning it into a choke before hitting the PK for the win.
Overall, the undercard was skippable, but solid. If you have time, the last three matches are all worth checking out, especially the Six-Man Tag.
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