YUJI NAGATA, TOMOYUKI OKA, & HIRAI KAWATO vs. MANABU NAKANISHI, SHOTA UMINO, & KATSUYA KITAMURA - 6/10
Now I've seen two straight undercard matches featuring them on opposite sides and now I REALLY want to see Nagata vs. Nakanishi. In 2017. For real. And the fact that they came to blows after the match makes me think I'm going to get it!
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Trent Beretta, YOSHI-HASHI, & Jado) vs. BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, & the Guerrillas of Destiny) - 6/10
YOSHI-HASHI was the babyface in peril. The big news here is that Trent got his first win as a heavyweight, reversing the DDT that pinned him at the last show and picking up a flash pin on Yujiro. Bullet Club attacked him from behind after the match to steal his moment, but if I were booking, I would have saved this scenario for their first singles match (and, to be honest, there is absolutely no excuse for not finding these guy a spot for a singles match on this tour with THREE major shows).
TOGI MAKABE & WAR MACHINE vs. SUZUKI-GUN (The Killer Elite Squad & TAKA Michinoku) - 5.75/10
Suzuki-Gun jump their opponents to start off the match. Just like every Suzuki-Gun match. This was a decent brawl.
CHAOS (Rocky Romero & Will Ospreay) vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) - 7.25/10
Will Ospreay has his face painted up like a cat because apparently he and Hiromu are having an argument on Twitter about whether or not Ospreay is a cat. And people think WWE angles are too stupid?
So yeah. They did their good Jr. Heavyweight stuff, but they would occasionally interrupt it for cat sh*t. WHY?! Will Ospreay and Hiromu Takahashi in the ring together should not make me wish they would just tag out so I can see Rocky Romero vs. BUSHI! Other than the stupid sh*t, this was pretty great.
DAVID FINLAY JR. & JUICE ROBINSON vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Leo Tonga) - 6.25/10
Juice was the babyface in peril. I think the idea on the finish was that Tonga had things well in hand but Owens insisted on "tagging in" (although there was no tag and no change of who the legal man was) and screwed it up for him. Whether that was the idea or not (and especially if it was), I think it would have been a lot better for Juice to pin Owens than to have him pin Tonga.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, & Sanada) vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, & Kazuchika Okada) (w/Gedo) - 6.75/10
This was one of those times that I really, truly, don't understand why they let Yano be in such a high place on the card. Anyone else in CHAOS would have made this match SOOOOO much better. This match made me want to see Naito vs. Ishii, want to see Okada vs. EVIL, and then lose all faith that Gedo won't somehow screw those matches up because he managed to make this one worse by sticking Yano in it.
ELIMINATION TAG TEAM MATCH:
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin, KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Ricochet vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Takashi Iizuka, El Desperado, & Taichi) - 8.25/10
Suzuki-Gun jumped their opponents to start things off. After that we transitioned to the usual "comedy" we get with a Taguchi-led team all doing Taguchi's butt-based offense to some poor heel. In this case it was Suzuki. Personally, the thing I found the funniest was how this wound up with Taguchi being stuck in the ring with Suzuki and Suzuki mauled him for these indignities. He tried to toss him out and they actually turned this into a clever spot where Taguchi's teammates had to save him from the outside.
All of the heels take a turn working over Tanahashi's injured arm. Then Taichi stuck the ringbell hammer up Tanahashi's nose. Tanahashi tried to make a one-armed comeback but got beaten down again. G-d damn that Tanahashi is an excellent babyface.
Kanemaru eliminated Ricochet via small package, presumably to set himself and Taichi up for a shot Ricochet and Taguchi's IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Titles. Then Taguchi pretty much undid that by pinning Kanemaru. Even worse, he pinned him with this atrocious looking roll-up that started off by reversing some sort of top rope move by using his butt. Then Taichi eliminated Taguchi (via a Delfin Clutch after stabbing him in ass with the ringbell hammer)... so why did they feel the need to have Taguchi eliminate Kanemaru?
KUSHIDA eliminated Taichi, then got eliminated when El Desperado rolled him up after Iizuka hit him with the Iron Fingers. I would have preferred for the elimination to be clean, both because I think that if you want to make El Desperado into someone fans can buy has a chance of beating KUSHIDA he needs to win clean, and also because a clean fall wouldn't have involved Iizuka at all, and Iizuka is terrible. The only other thing he has done this match that wasn't a punch or a kick was when he was BITING Tanahashi's arm.
They did a cool bit where Tanahashi and El Desperado were both hanging from the ropes and Tanahashi pulled himself up and managed to kick El Desperado down and El Desperado took an awesome, spinning bump for it (don't worry, the physics made sense). Then f*king Iizuka got to be the one to eliminate Tanahashi. This left Elgin alone against the two remaining heels for a bit before he eliminated Iizuka to bring it down to one-on-one before finally overcoming Suzuki to get the win.
A decent show from New Japan. It was pretty much a one-match show, but there was nothing dull, either, and that's a rarity for a "Road to..." show.