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Csonka’s NJPW Road to SAKURA GENESIS 2017 Review 4.04.17

April 4, 2017 | Posted by Larry Csonka
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Csonka’s NJPW Road to SAKURA GENESIS 2017 Review 4.04.17  

Csonka’s NJPW Road to SAKURA GENESIS 2017 Review 4.04.17

– Suzuki-gun defeated Manabu Nakanishi, Jushin Liger & Hirai Kawato @ 10:00 via pin [***½]
– Bullet Club defeated Yuji Nagata & Tomoyuki Oka @ 7:30 via pin [**]
– War Machine & David Finlay defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Tiger Mask @ 8:40 via pin [***]
– CHAOS defeated Suzuki-gun @ 10:25 via pin [***]
– Kenny Omega & Bad Luck Fale defeated Tomohiro Ishii & Baretta @ 6:50 via pin [**½]
– Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi defeated Juice Robinson & KUSHIDA @ 8:20 via pin [***½]
– Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI defeated Katsuyori Shibata & Togi Makabe @ 11:20 via pin [***¼]
NEVER Openweight Six-Man Title Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet defeated Champions SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI @ 18:13 via pin [****]

Manabu Nakanishi, Jushin Liger & Hirai Kawato vs. Takashi Iizuka, Desperado & TAKA: Kawato was fired the fuck up, charged the ring and looked to take the fight to Suzuki-gun; he immediately got his ass kicked and we got some usual floor brawling to start a Suzuki-gun match as Iizuka threw chairs around. Back in the ring and Suzuki-gun worked the heat on Kawato. Kawato sell really well and continues to show great babyface fire. Old man Liger got pissed off at one point, and rushed into the ring and laid the boots to Kawato to properly fire him back up. Iizuka bit him several times, he was apparently hungry; Kawato avoids a charge, hits the dropkick and gets the tag to Nakanishi. He fired up with chops on Iizuka, and then hit the big spear and cleared TAKA and Desperado to the floor. The Nakanishi wacky dance followed, worked the torture rack on Iizuka, but TAKA arrived to help and Iizuka cut him off. Hoy tag to Liger, Romero special on Desperado as Nakanishi had the rack on TAKA. It broke down into another floor brawl and Liger whacked Desperado with a chair shot. Back in and Liger yelled at Kawato to fire him up and tagged him in. Iizuka cut him off from the floor, but back in he hit dropkicks and got a near fall on TAKA. The crowd responds so well to Kawato’s comebacks and near falls. Kawato came close o many times, but fell to TAKA and the crossface. Suzuki-gun defeated Manabu Nakanishi, Jushin Liger & Hirai Kawato @ 10:00 via pin [***½] Very good opening match, worked at a good pace and everyone playing their roles well. They have done a great job of making Kawato the lovable underdog; when he does pick up a win, they are going to lose their shit.

Yuji Nagata & Tomoyuki Oka vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens: Yujiro and Oka to begin, with Yujiro being a dick and slapping him around. Oka got pissed and started to fight back, Owens cut him off and tossed him to the floor, where Yujiro attacked with his pimp cane. Owens worked the heat, easily cutting off Oka. Nagata made a save and slapped Oka to fire him up; the Dads are in a surly mood tonight. Oka then hit the spinebuster, and got the tag to blue justice, who ran wild with kicks and XPLODER on Yujiro for 2. Yujiro raked the eyes and hit a fisherman’s buster and then tagged in Owens; the Nagata arm bar immediately cut him off. Nagata and Owens worked over Owens, Oka scored a near fall and then locked in the crab. Yujiro made the save, allowing Owens to get a near fall off of a superkick. He then put Oka away with the package piledriver. Bullet Club defeated Yuji Nagata & Tomoyuki Oka @ 7:30 via pin [**] Solid stuff here, Oka is coming along nicely, making small improvements all the time. It’s good to see the good brother Chase Owens on the tour, his stints in NJPW have led to noticeable improvements over the past two-years.

Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Tiger Mask vs. War Machine & David Finlay: This is here to build to Sunday’s tag title match between champions TenKoji and War Machine. The teams did the big stand off early, shoved each other and then brawled. The champions got the better of things, leading to Tiger Mask and Finlay working a fun little stretch until Tiger Mask was cut off, and triple teamed. Tiger Mask managed to make a comeback, hitting the tiger driver on Finlay and tagging in Tenzan. Tenzan delivered chops to anyone that moved, but Finlay hit a desperation spinning elbow and then tagged out and we got the big breakdown spot. Hanson ran wild with running clotheslines on TenKoji. He then caught Tiger Mask on the high cross and Finlay returned only to eat the TenKoji cutter. Rowe walked into a Koji cutter, but countered the lariat and War Machine hit fallout to pick up the huge win War Machine & David Finlay defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Tiger Mask @ 8:40 via pin [***] Good match, War machine and TenKoji worked well together and they made War machine look like beasts ahead of Sunday’s title match.

– Post match, War Machine heeled it up and beat down their opponents some more before poring with the titles.

Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano, Gedo & Jado vs. Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi: This is here to build to the NEVER title & Junior tag title matches. Dear Gedo, you don’t have to start every Suzuki-gun match with a pre-bell attack and floor brawl, sincerely your pal, Larry. The appropriate partied paired off, Yano ran for his life because he was left with Suzuki. Suzuk-gun isolated Gedo and worked him over in the corner, he tried to fight back, but Suzuki laughed in his face and tried to rip off his leg. Taichi used the bell hammer and beat on Gedo. Gedo managed to fight back, but Kanemaru cut him off and stopped the potential tag. Kanemaru went for his DDT off the ropes, but Gedo caught him with a kick in the balls n the way down. Goto and Zack tagged in and brought some much needed fire to the match, with a spirited and hard hitting back and forth. Zack worked the octopus hold, but Goto escaped into the ushigoroshi. They worked so well together that I am officially fired up for Sunday’s title match. Yano and Suzuki then tagged in, they did some amusing stuff until Suzuki brought in the team to properly try and end Yano’s life. CHAOS made the save and it broke down. Yano voided the Taichi kick and, Jado saved him from Suzuki’s Gotch piledriver and Gedo superkicked Taichi and Yano got the low blow and roll up for the win. CHAOS defeated Suzuki-gun @ 10:25 via pin [***] This was another good match, building to two title matches on Sunday; it had some fun and lighthearted parts with Yano, and then an absolutely great stretch with Goto & Zack to get you excited for their match on Sunday. Their stuff was so good, and that match should kick ass.

Tomohiro Ishii & Baretta vs. Kenny Omega & Bad Luck Fale: Baretta stared off with Fale, and got tossed around with ease. Fale quickly send Ishii to the floor, so he and Omega could double team Baretta. Good control by Bullet Club, with Baretta bumping and selling like a champ before getting the tag to Ishii. Ishii slammed Fale and Omega together and then sent Fale to the floor, leading to a fun stretch with Omega and Baretta hitting a dive to Fale. Ishii then folded up Omega with a Saito suplex, and followed with an overhead toss. Baretta back in with a missile dropkick, but Omega cut him off with a knee strike and tagged Fale back in. Baretta tried to fight them both off, Ishii then returned to help. Fale fought off Baretta, hit a running splash and covered for 2. the grenade followed and that was that. Kenny Omega & Bad Luck Fale defeated Tomohiro Ishii & Baretta @ 6:50 via pin [**½] This was a short and perfectly solid match.

Juice Robinson & KUSHIDA vs. Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi: This is here to build to KUSHIDA vs. Takahashi and to continue the tease of Naito vs. Juice. KUSHIDA wipes out Takahashi with a dive before the bell, and then everyone brawls on the floor. Naito is particularly pissy tonight and is trying to end Juice’s existence with some great brutality. Takahashi tags in and continues the assault. Naito tries to rip out Juice’s hair, but he finally fires up and drops Naito with a big right. Takahashi sends KUSHIDA to the floor, Juice makes a comeback and tags on KUSHIDA who runs wild and gets the flying arm bar on Takahashi, who desperately fights for and gets the ropes. He tries to bail to the floor, but KUSHIDA keeps attacking and gets another arm bar; they trade kicks. Juice then takes out Naito with a spinebuster and cannonball. Takahashi trips up Juice, allowing LIJ to take control and double-team him. Naito runs wild, but KUSHIDA saves Juice from destino and it breaks down. Juice fights off destino and powerbombs Naito for the near fall. Juice looks for pulp friction, Takahshi cuts him off, low blow and destino by Naito and that is all. Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi defeated Juice Robinson & KUSHIDA @ 8:20 via pin [***½] This was a very good sprint here, worked at a really fun pace and with a great sense of urgency.

– Post match, Naito beats down Juice as Takahashi wipes out KUSHIDA on the floor.

Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Togi Makabe: Shibata attacked Okada right away, Okada tried to fight back, but this was a poor plan because Shibata just got pissed and beat him down. HASHI tagged in to try and save big brother, but Shibata fought him off and kicked Okada to the floor. Makabe in and he worked over HASHI in the corner. Okada pulled Shibata to the floor, posted him and HASHI then dropkicked Makabe to the floor. After a brief floor brawl, Okada worked over Makabe, hitting the slingshot senton and then slamming Shibata to the barricade to keep him on the floor. HASHI worked the heat on Makabe, until Makabe managed to level him with a lariat. Tag to Shibata, he sent Okada to the floor and worked over HASHI with corner dropkicks and a suplex for 2. Shibata again sent Okada to the floor, allowing HASHI to hit a neck breaker and tag in a pissed off Okada, he DDT’d Shibata, who popped right up and hit a snap German suplex. They went face to face, traded strikes and then Makabe tagged in. he ran wild on Okada with corner clotheslines, and then a lariat. Okada cut him off with the neck breaker, and then he and HASHI double-teamed Makabe. Okada hit the top rope elbow drop but Shibata returned, only to eat a neck breaker. Makabe hit another lariat on Okada, hit the Samoan drop and looked for a tiger suplex, HASHI made the save leading to the Okada dropkick and then sending Shibata to the floor, rainmaker on Makabe and Okada picks up the win. Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI defeated Katsuyori Shibata & Togi Makabe @ 11:20 via pin [***¼] This was a good match, with Okada picking up some momentum ahead of his title defense; the interactions between he and Shibata were really great.

– Post match, Shibata attacked, but Okada cut him off and laid him out with the tombstone to stand tall.

NEVER Openweight Six-Man Title Match: Champions SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet: Headlining a B-show like this is a great use of the trios titles, and with LIJ & Tanahashi involved, makes it feel important. It’s nice to have Ricochet back in the mix. SANADA and Tanahashi to begin, they went back and forth, leading to the EVIL sneak attack. Taguchi the tagged in, working with BUSHI, and they kicked each other in the ass, before Taguchi hit the flying ass attack. Tanahashi back in, he hit as ass attack and then we got rapid fire asses to BUSHI’s face. Ricochet in, he does a dance and then an ass attack; it’s stupid but the crowd loved it. Ricochet sends BUSHI to the floor, and does the superhero pose and it breaks down into a floor brawl and BUSHI shirt choke spot. LIJ took the heat, with SANADA working over Ricochet. EVIL tagged in as LIJ worked double teams and he then grounded Ricochet for a bit. Ricochet avoided a charge, hit a 619 and then a springboard dropkick; SANADA stopped the tag attempt, but Ricochet then hit a running cutter and got the hot tag to Taguchi. He looked to fire up, but everyone was down and he looked confused and then landed ass attacks on SANADA. The rolling suplexes followed, and the cover got 2. He tried to tie SANADA into a ball for some revenge, couldn’t figure it out, so SANADA then tied him into a ball and kicked him in the ass. EVIL in, countered the ass attacks a few times until Taguchi finally hit one. Tanahashi got the hot tag and went after EVIL, but ate a German for his troubles. They traded counters, Tanahashi attacked the knee and then worked the cloverleaf but the rest of LIJ rushed him and broke it up. Tanahashi then hit sling blade, and the high fly flow but BUSHI and SANADA made the save. EVIL fought off the dragon suplex and hit the STO. Tanahashi gets the hot tag to Ricochet; he runs wild and works over BUSHI and SANADA before wiping out LIJ with a big dive to the floor. Back in and BUSHI cuts him off. SANADA in and they double-team Ricochet. BUSHI to the ropes, looks for the code breaker but Ricochet avoids and Taguchi returns to make the save. BUSHI hits Ricochet with the code breaker, EVIL grabs the ref as Ricochet fights off BUSHI and SANADA, hitting the northern lights into the dead lift suplex for 2. BUSHO hits the rebound kick, Taguchi flies in to make the save, flying knee by ricochet and then hits the benadryller but BUSHI kicks out. Ricochet lays in a series of kicks, and then hits the flatliner for the win. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi & Ricochet defeated Champions SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI @ 18:13 via pin [****] The nature of these titles is that they are going to be traded frequently, and I can live with that as long as we have good matches and interesting people involve with them. This was a great match, with everyone getting some time to shine, but Ricochet really coming across as the star; this was a strong welcome back/re-introduction for him. Tanahashi was very much on the back burner here, and that isn’t a bad thing.

– End scene.

– Thanks for reading.

 photo fe36ffd0-0da4-4e3b-a2d3-b026b341dd87_zps41ef5d61.jpg
“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”

The final score: review Good
The 411
This was a surprisingly strong “Road to” show, with a lot of good wrestling and build to Sunday’s big show.