NJPW Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2018: Day 12
By Big Red Machine
From April 27, 2018
REN NARITA vs. YUYA UEMURA - 4/10
A really great match for the time it got. Very hard-hitting.
YUJI NAGATA, SHOTA UMINO, & TOMOYUK OKA vs. JUSHIN "THUNDER" LIGER, TIGER MASK IV, & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI- 4.5/10
CHAOS (Roppongi 3K & Rocky Romero) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Takashi Iizuka, TAKA Michinoku, & Taichi) (w/Miho Abe) - 0.25/10
CHAOS charged into the ring at Suzuki-Gun, not giving them the opportunity to jump the bell on them. Suzuki-Gun did their usual cheating. Iizuka bit people. Stuff happened. Iizuka is just walking around with the Iron Fingers on and the referee isn't doing sh*t. Babyfaces avoid the heels gimmicks. The referee gets bumped, but who cares because it's not like he was doing anything anyway. Iizuka gets hit with the Iron Fingers, TAKA gets hit with a 3K and suddenly the referee is revived to count the pin. The babyfaces win, but we know it doesn't matter because the result the matches between these trios have been totally irrelevant THE PREVIOUS TEN TIMES THESE SAME TRIOS HAVE FACED OFF THIS TOUR, so why should this one be any different.
MICHAEL ELGIN, TOA HENARE, TOGI MAKABE, & DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. CHAOS (Jay White, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, & Toru Yano) - 5.5/10
We start off with Makabe vs. Yano... and Yano immediately runs over to untie a turnbuckle pad... and is thus immediately attacked from behind by the opponent he his ignoring. What a moron.
From that point on, there was stuff that happened. With the exception of Elgin powerbombing YOSHI-HASHI on the apron and a good little sequence between White and Finlay, none of it stood out in any way, but it wasn't bad in any way, either.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, & the Killer Elite Squad) - 7/10
Okay... Lance Archer's "spraying water on the crowd" entrance gimmick became self-parody tonight. We can be done with this now.
Suzuki-Gun jumped the bell on their opponents. The match eventually got pretty great and it got me excited for the Suzuki vs. Naito singles matches, but at this point I am completely sick and tired of seeing these faction against each other and I just want this f*cling feud to end.
NEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Hirooki Goto(c) vs. Juice Robinson - 8/10
They did some armlocks, then wound up on the outside where Goto hit Juice with a GTR ON THE GUARDRAIL! This was the beginning of the story of both guys working on each other's heads. Juice's selling was excellent, and the match was awesome.
POST-MATCH SEGMENT - Good. Michael Elgin came out to challenge the winner. So did Taichi. Taichi clobbered the winner with his microphone stand. He then tried to do the same to Elgin but Elgin was ready for hit and got him up for a Press Slam but Taichi slipped free and retreated.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI & KUSHIDA vs. CHAOS (Will Ospreay & Kazuchika Okada) (w/Gedo) - 8.25/10
There was lots of great working over of various body parts and it seemed like this was on its way to being a pretty epic match... and then it ended. It wasn't quite out of nowhere, but it did feel kind of abrupt. The finish they used (KUSHIDA had Ospreay in the Hoverboard Lock and pulled him to a spot where Tanahashi could hit the High Fly Flow, with KUSHIDA getting out of the way) was a cool spot that would have been a great finish for just about any other situation. In this match, however, it was a mistake. How does it benefit any of the stories for Tanahashi to pin the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion with the High Fly Flow here? Tanahashi isn't a junior so nothing will come of this. The right finish (assuming they don't want to pin Okada) would have been for KUSHIDA- the #1 contender for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title- to use the Back to the Future- a move which targets the head and neck- to pin IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Will Ospreay, who is heading into their match with an injured neck. Either do that, have Tanahashi pin Okada, or go to a draw.
A slightly better "Road to..." show than usual, but all you really need to watch is the top two matches. I've hit the point where I'm beginning to wonder why New Japan puts out these entire shows rather than just the top matches like they did for BOSJ last year.