NJPW Road To New Beginnings 2018
February 6, 2018
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
KUSHIDA, Jyushin 'Thunder' Liger, & Tiger Mask vs Shota Umino, Tetsuhiro Yagi, & Ren Narita - 6.5/10
Let's just say these Young Lions were at one point hoping they were fighting Suzuki instead of Tiger Mask, him and Liger were stiff as fuck tonight. Match saw the veterans control any of the young lions by themselves, but when the rookies all teamed up on KUSHIDA, it was a bit too much and they got a small chance at winning. KUSHIDA won via submission on Narita. Pretty good opener. I love Young Lions. After the match the Young Lions got in the vet's face and once again wished Suzuki was here.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Tomoyuki Oka vs Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi & Hikuleo) - 4/10
Match was built around Oka surviving Hikuleo and getting a hot tag to Tenzan who fought off Hikuleo. Yujiro really just mattered at the end when he came in to pin Oka.
Seven Match Trial, Fifth Match
Manabu Nakanishi vs Katsuya Kitamura - 5/10
I'm not gonna lie, after watching Tenzan, i'm somewhat interested and excited about a Nakanishi single's match. This was an old school hoss fight, two behemots chopping and shoulder blocking each other a lot. This match was obviously really slow considering the other trial matches, but it's a big testament to Kitamura's trial that for the first time he was the one that had to work around Nakanishi's deficiencies. Kitamura submitted to the Torture Rack. Given the limitations this match had, this exceeded my expectations.
Roppongi 3K & Rocky Romero vs Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado, Taka Michinoku, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) - 6.5/10
SHO came in with medical tape all over his lower back, so he was easy to take out and get heat on YOH for a while. SHO did sell his back during his hot tag and it did come to play for SZKG to regain control and force SHO to tag Rocky Romero in, where he got a bit of a fluke win because Kanemaru and Desperado, while torturing SHO and YOH, didn't pay attention to Romero rolling up Taka. This was a far better match that I expected too, Kanemaru was great here.
Post-match - Kanemaru and Desperado attack RPG3K, Kanemaru goes for SHO's back, Desperado for YOH's leg. They make an obvious display that they're coming for the titles soon. I think given a chance, RPG3K vs Desperado/Kanemaru could be great, assuming the shenanigans are kept to a minimum.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, & Jay White) vs Juice Robinson, David Finlay, & Henare - 6.5/10
Fun part was seeing Henare stupidly piss off Ishii and getting killed for it. Finlay and White eventually did get their chance to do their thing, right before tagging Henare back, who got some slight payback on everyone, but only to lose to White via ref stoppage because of White's barrage of shoulder strikes to Henare's neck, all this while looking straight at Finlay's face who was trying to save Henare. Color me surprised, this actually made me care for Finlay for once.
Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, & Taichi) vs Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin, & Ryusuke Taguchi - 4.5/10
This match had really contrasting elements to it that made it weird for me. One one side Makabe and Suzuki are getting into a heated brawl around the arena, on the other Iizuka, Taguchi, and Elgin are all doing comedy; so at the end, as much as I liked Makabe and Suzuki going at it, I wasn't a fan of the other three's biting. I did enjoy Taguchi tapping out to Suzuki's new knee-bar submission.
Post-match - Suzuki held the submission for a while, the rest of Suzuki-Gun came in and ganged up on Elgin until Iizuka took him out (are we getting Iizuka vs Elgin?) and then Makabe, trying to save everyone, ended up eating a Gotch Piledriver for his efforts.
CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Will Ospreay, & Gedo) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, & BUSHI) - 6.5/10
Everyone in LIJ got their own entrance, everyone in CHAOS came out to Ospreay's. YOSHI is such a geek. CHAOS jumped LIJ to begin the match, like the heels they are, and guess who it was that LIJ turned the momentum around and cut the ring on!? YES! Fucking YOSHI-geek-HASHI!
Ospreay, on the other hand, when he got the hot tag was great and had a quick good run with Takahashi. BUSHI and Gedo also had a small run with each other, before guess what, yeah, YOSHI got his ass kicked again, at least he did pin BUSHI at the end. Gedo once again stole BUSHI's mask, that's two masks that he steals. Total heel.
Post-match - YOSHI again attacked Naito, and Naito ignored him, got into Tranquilo pose and spat on him. Naito is killing YOSHI-HASHI.
IWGP Tag Team Championship Match
Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) (C) vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto) - 9/10
I don't think anyone coming in to this match expected the titles to change, or for Okada to be pinned, especially in a Road To show, so the match went as expected, but I did like that this match added a little extra story to the incoming SANADA/Okada match, as we now have the question whether SANADA can humiliate Okada with the nudo?
Match saw LIJ get heat on Goto for a while, quick tags from the champs, and a good chance for SANADA to show off some skill, at one point SANADA had the whole Hall chanting his name while he took out Okada. The second part of the match was great, with all four men hitting their greatest hits and both feuds going at it a lot. I really loved seeing Okada and Goto work as a proper tag team with a big stake in winning, it's really rare seeing Okada trying to work on his team skills. Finish saw LIJ hit the Magic Killer on Goto, followed by EVIL hitting the STO for the win.
Post-match - Once again, SANADA took the mic and used his beautiful voice. And then EVIL told us that EVERYTHING IS EVIL.
Pretty good show for a Road To show where the only big match was really predictable. This was 100% a one match show and even then, unless you're religiously following this LIJ vs CHAOS feud, you can skip this show.
NJPW, PROGRESS, RevPro, CMLL, etc
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