NJPW New Japan Road: Takashi Iizuka Retirement Show





NJPW New Japan Road: Takashi Iizuka Retirement Show

By GARZA
From February 21, 2019

NJPW New Japan Road: Takashi Iizuka Retirement Show

Bullet Club ("Bone Soldier" Taiji Ishimori & Robbie Eagles) vs Jyushin "Thunder" Liger & Yuya Uemura - 7/10


I really liked this match, Liger vs Ishimori was great, but Eagles vs Uemura was even better. Uemura now that he has some hair, really gives me a feeling of watching a young Inoki, Uemura will have a bright future. Eagles sold a lot of Uemura, but at the end, won with a 450 on Uemura.

Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi, Yota Tsuji, & Ren Narita vs Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tiger Mask, & Toa Henare - 6.5/10


Just like Uemura gave me Inoki vibes, there is something about Tsuji that reminds me of Takayama or someone that size. Most of the match was team Makabe working over Narita until Kojima came in with the hot tag. All the young guys looked great, Tsuji taking on Makabe especially. Henare won with a huge clothesline and a Uranage on Tsuji.

CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI) vs Yuji Nagata & Shota Umino - 7/10


Kevin Kelly sold that Ishii is not happy with CHAOS teaming with the NJPW home team. After missing their New Beginnings match in the US, Nagata and Ishii pretty much brought their feud back to life. When Ishii and Nagata were not in the ring beating the shit out of each other, it was likely Ishii torturing Umino in front of Nagata, pushing him to do something about it. YOSHI-HASHI was a total heel if you ask me, he was just being a dick to Umino, he probably had some Young Lion PTSD. The match was great regardless who was in the ring. YH submitted Shota with the Butterfly Lock.

Post-match - Ishii attacked Nagata, but YH pulled Ishii apart. Nagata slapped YH and went at it again. They got into a small pull apart. The feud is alive and well.

Roppongi 3K vs Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) - 6.5/10


Rocky Romero apparently isn't here because he got married. I've seen these teams wrestle about 500 times, so I can't say it was the best, nor worst really. Commentary was selling this match as a big test for SHO and YOH since they had failed to capture the titles from SZKG, so now that they're challenging LIJ, Despy and Kanemaru could defeat them again and either get in line for a title shot if R3K won, or straight up replaced them a the anniversary show.
SZKG worked over SHO most of the match. Last few minutes were great, I thought SZKG looked a lot better than SHO and YOH at points. SHO pinned Kanemaru after hitting the 3K.

Post-match - Shingo and BUSHI came out to congratulate SHO and YOH, who cut a promo saying they're coming for the titles, but Shingo and BUSHI respond by getting in the ring adn taking out SHO and YOH. Shingo then cut a promo saying they're not a match for them. BUSHI then said his En Serio catchphrase. LIJ looked like rockstars.

Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr & TAKA Michinoku) vs Ryusuke Taguchi & Hirooki Goto - 6/10


Arguably the worst match of the show based on expectations, Taguchi and TAKA really brought it down. I was excited for Sabre and Taguchi doing stuff, even submission comedy like with Yano, but I just didn't get into it. Favorite spot was seeing Sabre lock in an abdominal stretch on Goto and a sleeper on Taguchi at the same time. Finish saw Taguchi countered TAKA's roll-through into one of his own for the pin.

Killer Elite Squad vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & Will Ospreay - 8/10


Great match, I wasn't all in on the Tanahashi/Ospreay pairing, but I LOVED Ospreay taking on both giants. Match saw KES cut off Ospreay and work on his leg, which he sold masterfully. Tanahashi mostly played saver here and there. Os Cutter on Davey Boy for the win. I don't know where these pairing leads to, but I need a singles between Davey Boy and Ospreay for the NEVER title.

Shinpei Nogami came out for Iizuka's retirement match. They have a long torture story together.

Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, & Takashi Iizuka) vs Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, & Hiroyoshi Tenzan - 5/10


Iizuka obviously attacked Nogami during his entrance, tearing off his shirt and Blue Justice t-shirt. The logic for Tenzan's team is that Iizuka tagged with Tenzan a long time ago, and then turned on him to join GBH with Yano; he later turned on Yano, to join Suzuki-Gun. And as for Okada, Iizuka was one of his trainers when Okada was a young lion, arguably his biggest success story. Before the match, Tenzan tried to wake up Iizuka one last time.

The match was built around Iizuka and Tenzan, so it wasn't this ten star workrate match, but it wasn't supposed to be, it was about honoring Iizuka once last time. Taichi and Yano did comedy, Okada and Suzuki had a great run together. Towards the end of the match, Okada and Iizuka went at it, with Okada doing everything in his power to make Iizuka look like gold, even a near submission tease when Iizuka caught Okada in a knee bar.

Post-match - Tenzan tries to get Iizuka to wear their tag team t-shirt, the crowd chants for Iizuka, and thanks to the ovation, Iizuka gives in and shakes Tenzan's hand, but this turn lasts about 5 seconds when Iizuka then bites Tenzan. All of Suzuki-Gun came out to celebrate with Iizuka, but Iizuka just went on one of his rampages around the crowd.

After everyone took off. Taichi took Iizuka's Iron hand and teased putting it on.

OVERALL THOUGHTS


For a one match show, retiring an old timer, this was a really good show. The undercard was really fun and it delivered like it rarely does, especially since they're not really building to anything since the next dates are the Honor Rising shows.

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