NJPW Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2018: Day 10





NJPW Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2018: Day 10

By Big Red Machine
From April 24, 2018

NJPW Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2018: Day 10

JUSHIN "THUNDER" LIGER, YUJI NAGATA, & TOMOYUKI OKA vs. HIROYOSHI TENZAN, SHOTA UMINO, & REN NARITA - 4.75/10



CHAOS (Rocky Romero & Roppongi 3K) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Taka Michinoku, Takashi Iizuka, & Taichi) - DUD!


CHAOS jumped the bell on Suzuki-Gun. I know I'm expected to stand for total babyface behavior, but this is Suzuki-Gun we're talking about. I've only seen the first night of this tour, but if I had to guess, these guys have jumped the bell on Roppongi Vice on the eight nights I haven't seen just like they did on night one, and they have been jumping the bell on their opponents in virtually every match for well over a year at this point. As far as I'm concerned, Suzuki-Gun are a sort of hostis humani generis, and any wrestler, even one they haven't wronged before, is well within their moral rights to jump the bell on Suzuki-Gun because if you don't jump the bell on them, they will surely do so to you.

This was better than usual from this pointless feud. If this was a No DQs match, this might have even been decent. But it's not, so it's just more dumb, pointless Suzuki-Gun bullsh*t where the heels physically abuse the referee in any way they want and they use weapons on the babyfaces and ignore counts and don't get disqualified... except now they've found a new level of stupidity to add onto it because someone decided that good finish would be for the heels to win by DQ when they pull an Eddie Guerrero so that the ref thinks that it was a babyface who hit him. Apparently just this one time where the ref thinks- but can't be sure- that it was the babyface who conked him, was enough to get the babyfaces DQed even though the heels have been spending the entire match doing to both the referee and the babyfaces that should get them disqualified but never do. How in the hell does Gedo think this is better for his show than to not have this match, book Taichi, Rocky, and Roppongi 3K out to some other promotion, let TAKA manage Suzuki-Gun, and just not use (and therefore not have to waste money paying) Iizuka?

TOGI MAKABE, MICHAEL ELGIN, & KUSHIDA vs. CHAOS (Will Ospreay, Toru Yano, & YOSHI-HASHI) - 7/10


An excellent match for the time it got, with wonderful segments full of Ospreay vs. KUSHIDA, a very good segment between Elgin and YOSHI-HASHI, and a much-needed variation on the usual Yano shtick that not only freshened things up but also actually told a story in which the douchebag cheater was constantly foiled in his attempts to cheat, with the heroes picking up the victory in the end via my favorite finisher in all of New Japan, the King Kong Knee Drop.

TOMOHIRO ISHII vs. TOA HENARE - 7.5/10


This was a pretty great brawl. I'm sure the strong style fans will go nuts over this one and I won't dispute that Henare has proved that he is one tough kid, but I'd like to see him show that he can do more than what amounts to an (admittedly very stiff) punch-kick match.

LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, & the Killer Elite Squad) - 6.75/10


LIJ jumped the bell on Suzuki-Gun. The match was fine for a while, but only really picked up when Naito and Suzuki got in their together. They definitely succeeded in getting me hyped up for their match. LIJ vs. K.E.S., on the other hand, I couldn't care less about right now.

HIROSHI TANAHASHI, JUICE ROBINSON, & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI vs. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, & Gedo) - 7/10


Tanahashi got worked over quite hard by Okada and Goto. The big spot in the match wound up being Okada giving Tanahashi a Tombstone Piledriver on the outside shortly before he made Taguchi tap out to the Cobra Clutch.

IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE MATCH:
Jay White(c) vs. David Finlay Jr. - 9/10


Finlay is being treated as the babyface even though he has been the heel in this feud. Odd. White did step into the slightly bullying, disrespectful heel role pretty well, though, constantly insisting that Finlay was still a young-boy. (Although, in White's defense, Finlay hasn't actually been on an excursion yet, which seems pretty uncommon... although Henare, Kitamura, and Hikuleo seem to be treated more like full members of the roster and have managed to avoid going on excursion as well).

These two were but in a big spot and they completely justified New Japan's faith in them with a phenomenal match. There wasn't really so much a working of body parts as there was just hitting whatever you can, which coincidentally wound up with both guys getting their heads, necks, and midsections worked over.

They had one spot I really loved where Finlay was setting up for his spear but White kept stumbling down to his knees. After two or three times where Finlay would punch him to stagger him to set the move up and White would stumble down to his knees you saw White start to smile and you realized that he was doing it on purpose so that he couldn't be speared... so Finlay just nailed him in the back of the head with a BRUTAL lariat that managed to knock White so loopy that he couldn't remember that he was trying to stay down the next time he stumbled up and White hit the spear.

There was one of genius little spot in this match on a false finish that I won't spoil, but you'll know it as soon as you see it, and the last few minutes were AMAZING. Other than the fact that White should have been DQed for powerbombing Finlay through the table (and for the follow-up elbow drop when the table didn't break the whole way) and the pointless fighting in the crowd early on, I can't think of anything bad to say about this match. A tremendous step up for both men. I'd love to see White be the one to get Nagata's spot in this year's G1, but I fear they're going to give it to Cody.

Final Thoughts
A pretty great show from New Japan, with an outstanding main event supported by several great undercard matches. More than anything, though, I think this show will be looked at as a coming out part for Henare, White, and Finlay. Go see the history for yourself.

CLICK HERE to Leave Your Comments at the Discussion Board.