SHOTA UMINO vs. TETSUHIRO YAGI - 6.75/10
A good young-boys' ten-minute draw.
KATSUYA KITAMURA & MANABU NAKANISHI vs. YUJI NAGATA & TOMOYUKI OKA - 5.75/10
Shocking as it sounds, this was not only good for the time it got, but actually made me really want to see Nagata vs. Nakanishi in a singles match. I'm sure I'll regret saying this once the match actually happens, but for now I actually want to see it.
TOGI MAKABE, RICOCHET, RYUSUKE TAGUCHI, HIRAI KAWATO, & DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Killer Elite Squad, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, TAKA Michinoku, & Taichi) - 4/10
LIJ jump the babyfaces, because G-d forbid we maybe start an LIJ match in a slightly different way. Stuff happened. LIJ cheated to get the pin on a freakin' young boy. This is Minoru Suzuki's personal stable! Why are they making them do dog and pony show heel stuff? This is TAKA Michinoku and Yoshinobu Kanemaru! They should be badasses!
Post-match LIJ beat-down, too, just because.
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, & Trent Beretta) vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale, & Yujiro Takahashi) - 6.75/10
A good, solid, clean win for the heels, with Yujiro pinning Beretta in Beretta's first match as a heavyweight. After the match, Yujiro pretty much told Beretta that he has no business wrestling in the heavyweight division, so now they've given Trent something to accomplish, and thus given me a reason to care about him. Perfect booking.
JUICE ROBINSON & WAR MACHINE vs. BULLET CLUB (Leo Tonga & the Guerrillas of Destiny) - 6.75/10
The match started off as a big brawl... and the moment after that brawl started, the director decided to cut to Yuji Nagata sitting there calmly on commentary, and left the camera on him for a solid fifteen seconds. Cutting away from the action to show us a guy sitting around doing nothing is literally the exact opposite of what you are supposed to do. If this director was not immediately fired, then there is something terribly wrong with New Japan. Leo Tonga is extremely large and seems perfectly competent. They should call him "Better Luck Fale."
The match was very good. The babyfaces won, but I really thought they should have lost. Leo Tonga is big enough that pinning him in his first match will definitely hurt him, and the Guerrillas are getting three different title shots on this tour, so why not have them get a pin on one of the champs? (Juice shouldn't be pinned going into his US Title match against Omega on the twenty-fourth. Geez! This tour is ridiculously long!)
HIROSHI TANAHASHI, MICHAEL ELGIN, & KUSHIDA vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, & El Desperado) (w/Suzuki-Gun) - 6.5/10
Short-haired Tanahashi is an abomination. Suzuki-Gun jump the babyfaces to start things off. Just copy and paste my above complaint about every Suzuki-Gun match starting off this way. Speaking of repetitive sh*t in Suzuki-Gun matches, these guys then brawled all over the arena. Suzuki once again hit is opponent in the upper body with a foreign object. It was an umbrella this time (two, actually) so at least that was new.
They had a good match for a while, even though other Suzuki-Gun members interfered throughout, including pulling the ref out of the ring. They attacked the babyfaces with chairs. Elgin finally got a chair and beat all of the heels up with it, but Kanemaru got the bumped ref back into the ring. He told Elgin not to use the chair but Elgin pushed him. They repeated this process, then Elgin hit Suzuki with the chair and the ref called for the DQ, even though every other time we see someone cheat in New Japan, it's not a DQ. Combine this with the fact that Elgin got DQed just because Yano pretended that Elgin hit him low when the referee didn't even see it, and I've come to the conclusion, based on empirical evidence, that there must be a rule somewhere in the New Japan rulebook that flat out states that "disqualifications may only be called on Michael Elgin, and you can call a disqualification on Michael Elgin even if you merely suspect that he broke the rules. If I'm Michael Elgin then after I get my shot at the NEVER Openweight Title I'm going to Sekiguchi and telling him that when my contract expires in a few months, I'm going to All Japan unless New Japan gets a whole new crew of referees and changes this bullsh*t.
After the match, Suzuki suggested to Elgin that they make their NEVER Openweight Title match on Sunday into a Lumberjack Match.
ELIMINATION TAG TEAM MATCH:
Los Ingobernables de Japon vs. CHAOS (Will Ospreay, Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii, Rocky Romero, & Kazuchika Okada) (w/Gedo)
This was a pretty awesome match, with the eliminations both booked and paced out very well, and a very wild, "anything can happen" feel. The only thing about this that I didn't like was Yano being Yano. I have yet to have anyone give me a satisfactory explanation as to why his presence is tolerated.
A very good show from New Japan. It is definitely buoyed by an awesome main event, but they did some stuff on the undercards to set up stories and stipulations for the rest of the tour as well, making this a rare "Road to..." show that is actually matters to the storylines.