New Japan Pro Wrestling held Day 3 of its Road To New Beginning Tour on January 31, 2017.
The event drew an announced crowd of 1,279 and featured the continued built to New Beginning In Sapporo this Sunday.
Suzuki-Gun continued to be the focal point with several of its members challenging for the IWGP Heavyweight, Heavyweight Tag Team, and Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships respectively.
1st Match: Yuji Nagata defeated Tomoyuki Oka via submission in 5:26
Good action while it lasted.
Oka is someone NJPW President Takaai Kidani personally recruited as a young lion and was seen heavily cheering him on at the Wrestle Kingdom fan festival held prior to the big Tokyo Dome show.
He is very green but has loads of potential. Nagata is his mentor/trainer so it made sense to pair them together for his early matches.
Early on Oka tried to stand with Nagata in a striking duel to no avail. Nagata nearly caved in his nose with an open palm strike then sent him across the ring with an exploder suplex.
Nagata took Oka to the mat with an armbar and landed a few elbow strikes to set up the Nagata Lock. Oka finally got an advantage with a leg sweep and covered for a one count.
Oka sent Nagata into the corner and followed in with a vicious chop. Oka delivered a well executed backbreaker for a nearfall. Nagata blocked a suplex and hit one of his own, then dropped a knee across the arm he’d began working over.
He went for the Nagata Lock but Oka escaped and hit a pair of dropkicks. Oka delivered a headbutt then rolled Nagata onto his stomach for a flipping senton to the back.
Oka locked in the Young Lion crab in the center of the ring which got a buzz from the crowd. Nagata powered out and turned Oka inside out with a lariat.
Nagata dropped Oka on his head with a backdrop driver before locking in the Nagata Lock II with his eyes rolling in the back of his head as usual. Oka tried to get to the ropes but Nagata tightened his grip and he was forced to submit.
2nd Match: Yohitatsu pinned Henare in 6:50
A pretty impressive outing for Henare who is another young lion with promise.
Fans are pretty much indifferent to Tatsu anymore, partially due to the fact his Bullet Club Hunter gimmick always fails and mostly because he left for WWE just as he was in line for a push.
Henare hit a running dropkick as soon as the bell rang to a great response. He covered but Tatsu was out at one. So he hit a suplex for another one count, then a crossbody from the middle turnbuckle for a nearfall.
Tatsu double underhooked Henare’s arms and headbutted him twice which left him dazed for a swinging neckbreaker. Tatsu got a nearfall with a snapmare/sliding elbow combination.
Late in the match Henare rallied and took Tatsu to the canvas with a german suplex for a close nearfall. He went for the Young Lion Crab but Tatsu used momentum to spin him off.
Undaunted Henare laid into Tatsu with several chops and sent him into the ropes where he followed in with another dropkick.
Henare came off the middle rope into a boot to the midsection and Tatsu followed with the Pedigree for the pinfall.
3rd Match: Suzuki-Gun (TAKA Michinoku & Taichi & El Desperado) defeated CHAOS (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Roppongi Vice & Gedo) in 9:20
This was mainly a preview of RPG Vice defending against TAKA & Taichi in Sopporo and a very good match, albeit a short one.
TAKA and Taichi did their usual routine of Taichi low blowing Rocky Romero and TAKA counting their own pinfall. As they celebrated, Romero and Barreta dropkicked them from the ring and wiped them out with stereo plancha dives.
Gedo and Desperado worked mainly together and had some good exchanges.
Gedo did the Flair flip over the turnbuckle onto the apron off a whip and TAKA dropkicked him to the floor. Desperado hit a no ropes flipping plancha then rolled Gedo back into the ring for a springboard splash that got a nearfall.
Gedo was isolated for several minutes as SZG kept skipping past the tag rule and triple teaming him. He slipped out of an attempted Michinoku Driver and dropped TAKA with an enzugiri. He went to make a tag but Taichi and Desperado knocked RPG Vice off the apron and drug him back to their side of the ring.
Finally Desperado missed a springboard 450 and Romero got the hot tag. He sent SZG into three different corners and ran around delivering Forever Clotheslines. Baretta hit a missile dropkick to take out TAKA.
RPG Vice went for Strong Zero on Taichi but Desperado broke it up and tackled Baretta through the ropes. Romero came off the apron with a Foreign Devil onto Desperado before tagging Gedo back in.
Gedo went for the Gedo Clutch but Taichi reversed it and pinned him with the Taichi style Gedo clutch.
4th Match: Suzuki-Gun (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) defeated TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) & Tiger Mask IV in 8:50
Tiger replaced the injured David Finlay (shoulder)
Another short but solid bout. A semi-preview of KES vs TenCozy vs Yano & Ishii for both nights of New Beginning in Sopporo and Osaka.
Archer and Kojima had several fun exchanges. They chopped each other to death with Kojima actually backing Archer into the corner to deliver his rapid fire Kojima chops.
He went to roll Archer out of the corner to set up his elbow drop but Archer wouldn’t budge and instead hurled him over the top rope like a sack of spuds. SZG took to using chairs to lay out their opponents at ringside.
Smith hoisted Tenzan up for a delayed suplex and planted him in the center of the Smith hit a slingshot suplex on Tezan for a nearfall.
Kanemaru tagged in and dropped Tenzan with a flying shoulder tackle followed by a rake of the eyes using the tip of his boots.
EventuallyTiger got the hot tag and he rocketed into Kanemaru with European Uppercuts. A springboard DDT garnered a nearfall with Archer dropping an elbow to make the save.
TenCozy and KES brawled mid-ring, Tenzan getting one up on Smith with the Mongolian Chops and Archer flattening Kojima with a big boot off the ropes. All four eventually brawled around the ring and headed towards the back.
That left Kanemaru and Tiger. Tiger got a nearfall with a sunset flip and a roll up. Kanemaru avoided a corner dropkick and delivered the Deep Impact for the pinfall.
5th Match: CHAOS (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Chamoions Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii & Never Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto & Will Ospreay & Jado) defeated Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) & REV Pro Champion Katsuyori Shibata & Juice Robinson & Jushin Liger in 10:36
This was a preview for GBH vs CHAOS vs KES, Robinson vs Goto, and Ospreay vs Shibata in Sopporo and Osaka respectively.
An all action match from start to finish, a lot crammed into ten minutes.
Yano spewed his water at Makabe who went after him but was met with a lariat from Ishii.
Ishii and Makabe picked up where they last left off and butted heads like rams. The sickening sound of their heads thudding together made even the other competitors visibly grimace.
Ishii slammed Makabe and Ospreay springboarded in with an elbow to the chest.
Jado got the quick tag to do his Ric Flair tribute. Makabe threw elbows to the side of the head followed by chops. Jado took forever to do his face flop which is always a humorous moment.
Yano pulled off the turnbuckle padding which allowed Jado to send Makabe into the exposed steel. Goto draped Makabe across the ropes for a neckbreaker, good for a nearfall.
Robinson tagged in but was immediately met with a running knee to the side of the head.
The real highlight came when Shibata and Ospreay went at it. They may have the best match of either PPV on the 11th. Ospreay avoided Shibata’s kicks and flipped him off. Ospreay hit a twisting springboard blockbuster followed by a standing Red Arrow for a nearfall.
Shibata eventually grabbed him and busted his mouth open with palm strikes. Ospreay ducked a Penalty Kick and rolled Shibiata up for a nearfall.
Eventually the action broke down with signature moves flying galore.
Robinson caught Goto with Pulp Friction, Ishii nailed Robinson with a brainbuster, Shibata caught Ishii with a roundhouse kick, and so on.
At the end, Liger hit a rolling Liger Kick on Jado but didn’t notice Yano make a blind tag. Yano low blowed Liger out of the referee’s sight and rolled him up for the pinfall.
6th Match: Los Ingobernables de Japon (IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito & IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi & SANADA & BUSHI & EVIL) defeated Never Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions Hiroshi Tanahashi & Rysuke Taguchi & Manabu Nakanishi & Michael Elgin & KUSHIDA in 13:55
Another great match. They continue to build Elgin up as a beast and he hasn’t missed a step since returning from his jaw injury.
Early on Taguchi went into his standard ass attack mode and took down BUSHI and SANADA but Naito wasn’t having any of it and he slapped the taste out of his mouth. LIJ worked him over in the corner with glee.
SANADA delivered kicks to the ass and back of his left leg before planting him with a release front face suplex.
There were several impressive displays of power.
EVIL and Naito tried to suplex Nakanishi who stood firm and suplexed them both.
Elgin hit a Samoan Drop/Fall away slam on both BUSHI and Takahashi. He crushed BUSHI in the corner with a splash and hit another splash off the ropes for a nearfall.
Tanahashi, whose back is still bothering him, didn’t do much but did come off the tope rope with a High Fly Crossbody to Naito who was on the floor.
Takahashi and Kushida went at it as well. Kushida did a headscissors into a nice Fujiwara armbar but Takahashi was able to roll free.
Takhashi delivered snake eyes then a wheel barrow neckbeaker for a nearfall. Kushida ducked a kick and hit a powerslam.
BUSHI caught Kushida off guard with the MX and nearly won it but Elgin broke it up.
Elgin finally got his hands on Naito who had been avoiding him, delivering a nicely executed Doctor Bomb.
As in the previous matches, there was a brawl around ringside. Notably SANADA took Tanahashi down and put him out with the Skull End.
Bushi misted Taguchi in the eyes allowing Naito to hit the OUT OF CONTROL for the pinfall.
Main Event: Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka) defeated CHAOS (IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazucika Okada & Yoshi-Hashi)
This was really good when Okada and Suzuki were in and not so much when Iizuka tried to do anything.
His best contribution remains his obsession with lead announcer Shinpei Nogami.
On this show he tore off his jacket and shirt so he could spray paint a pink bikini top on him. He then slapped him upside the head for good measure.
Suzuki worked mostly with Yoshi-Hashi who crowds continue to really get behind. Yoshi took it to Suzuki with chops and forearms to the jaw before Suzuki had enough and trapped him in a sugar choke, dragging him to the corner.
Iizuka sent Yoshi to the floor and beat on him with a chair. He rolled him back into the ring for an extended nerve hold that Yoshi eventually broke free of. He stunned Iizuka with a dropkick allowing him to tag in Okada.
Okada slammed Iizuka and hit a flying knee drop to the chest then sent him into his corner motioning for Suzuki to tag in. Suzuki obliged and they shared an intense staredown.
Okada won a forearm exchange but ate a boot as he came off the ropes. Suzuki kept trapping Okada in the rear naked choke but couldn’t execute the Gotch Piledriver. In return he was able to counter every attempt of a Rainmaker.
Crowd came alive when Yoshi took Suzuki off his feet with a missile dropkick for a nearfall. He went for a Swanton Bomb but Suzuki got the knees up.
Iizuka pulled Okada to the floor and hit him in the throat with a chair. Suzuki eventually caught Yoshi in the choke and followed with the Gotch Piledriver for the pinfall.
A fairly good show with two particularly really good matches.
It’s a brisk show with much of the undercard not hitting the 15 minute mark.
If you are strapped for time I highly recommend watching LIJ vs. Team Elgin and Team Shibata vs. CHAOS