NJPW Road to Wrestling Dontaku, April 23 – Review

NJPW Road to Wrestling Dontaku, Korakuen Hall, April 23rd:

Manabu Nakanishi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Tiger Mask IV defeated Gedo, Rocky Romero & Beretta

This was a really fun opener.  Lots of comedy in this one with RPG Vice refusing to tag in, leaving Gedo to handle Nakanishi. Gedo swore A LOT! CHAOS worked over Taguchi, trying to one up each other until Tiger Mask got the tag. Taguchi managed to convince Nakanishi to do a hip attack. Nakanishi made Gedo submit to the Argentine Backbreaker

Tomaoki Honma & Togi Makabe defeated David Finlay & Jay White

This was really good and really physical. This was an excellent showing from the young lions against an established heavyweight team.  Finally had the hell beat out of him. He ate some really stiff chops from Honma. White got the tag and look excellent against Makabe.  He hit a huge suplex and a dropkick off the top.  Finlay got in a good run of attack on Honma until Makabe took them both out of it.  Finlay kicked out of a couple of Kokeshi’s, but fell to a Honma piledriver.

Tama Tonga & Tanaga Loa defeated Captain New Japan & Juice Robinson

Captain had “Bullet Club Hunter” written on his shirt.  The crowd weren’t into this at all until Robinson got in and worked his ass off.  This was a really impressive showing from him. This was a really decisive win for the new tag champs.  Tonga pinned Captain after they hit him with the elevated double arm DDT.  After the match GOD continued the beatdown until Makabe & Honma ran them off.  They meet at Wrestling Dontaku.

Jushin Thunder Liger & Yuji Nagata defeated KUSHIDA & Katsuyori Shibata

This was an incredible preview of two big title matches coming up at Dontaku.  Shibata & KUSHIDA worked over the arm of Liger.  While this was happening Shibata & Nagata would take turns hitting each other with stiff cheap shots. Nagata & Shibata then went at it and exchanged strikes and suplexes with neither really getting the upper hand. Liger & KUSHIDA then ended up in the ring together. Liger caught KUSHIDA in the Hoverboard Lock.  KUSHIDA then went in and out of different arm submissions while Nagata & Shibata brawled on the floor. Liger caught KUSHIDA with a backslide to pin the IWGP Jr champion.  After the match Nagata & Shibata beat the hell out of each other and had to be dragged apart.  The hype for the two title matches after this was excellent.  

NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship

Michael Elgin, Hiroshi Tanahahi & Yoshitatsu defeated Yujiro Takahashi, Bad Luck Fale & Kenny Omega

This was a pretty good match.  A step below the six man matches involving The Young Bucks.  Yoshitatsu is now dressed in trunks and does a Triple H water spray entrance. He has also been using a Pedigree on house shows. Tatsu looked a step off when he was in the ring with Yujiro.  He looked better later on when he was against Omega. Bullet Club worked over Tanahashi after a hard chair shot from Yujiro. Elgin looked like a monster again here. There was some fun back and forth at the end.  Yujiro low blowed Elgin, but Elgin managed to pin Yujiro after an Elgin Bomb.  There were huge chants for Elgin after the match as he gets set to challenge Omega for the IC title on April 27th.

Special Elimination Match:

SANADA, BUSHI, EVIL & Tetsuya Naito defeated YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada

This was Naito’s first TV appearance as champion and he was more popular than Okada and Ishii, which is incredible.  This was also the SANADA’s NJPW Korakuen debut.  SANADA looked great here against Okada. He’s big, athletic and is gonna be a star in NJPW. Naito & Ishii brawled until they ended up on the apron. Naito eliminated himself, allowing EVIL to boot Ishii off the apron

Back in the ring Goto & EVIL had a really fast paced, hard hitting exchange. It ended with Goto hitting the Ushigoroshi then tossing EVIL over the top rope to eliminate him.  

BUSHI then got Goto onto the apron. SANADA provided the distraction, allowing BUSHI to mist Goto taking him off the apron and out of the match.

Then it came down to Okada & YOSHI vs BUSHI & SANADA.  Okada & BUSHI had a good exchange. They ended up on the apron, until SANADA dropkicked Okada out of the match. 

YOSHI amazing fought off both guys and managed to make BUSHI submit to a butterfly lock. SANADA hit a beautiful Tiger Suplex and missed a moonsault.  YOSHI mounted an attack with a lariat and powerbomb.  EVIL caused a distraction, which allowed SANADA to superplex YOSHI. YOSHI got in another huge near fall with a roll up and kicked out of a spinning cutter, before SANADA finished it with a Dragon Sleeper. This last stretch was awesome

After the match Los Ingbernables laid out CHAOS.  BUSHI misted everyone.  SANADA kept Okada in the Dragon Sleeper. This was an incredible beatdown and another dominant performance from LIJ.  

Naito spoke and the crowd said Los Ingobernables De Japon along with him before they laid out Gedo before Naito threw the title at Ishii

This was a great main event and another great angle.

NJPW are back in Korakuen Hall again tomorrow morning (April 24) with this card:

Jay White vs. David Finlay

YOSHI-HASHI, Rocky Romero & Beretta vs. Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi & Captain New Japan

Katsuyori Shibata, KUSHIDA & Juice Robinson vs. Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi & Jushin Thunder Liger

Special Tag Match: SANADA & BUSHI vs. Kazuchika Okada & Gedo

Special Tag Match: Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto vs. Tetsuya Naito & EVIL

Special Elimination Match: Michael Elgin, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma & Yoshitatsu vs. Kenny Omega, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tama Loa & Yujiro Takahashi


Not a boxer but a pro wrestling fan. If there’s a ring I’ll watch it, so naturally I have a lot of opinions (complaints).

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