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New Japan Road Recap & Review – Night 1

NJPW – New Japan Road
Event Date: February 20, 2020 (18:30 JST)
aired live on NJPW World

City: Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan
Venue: Korakuen Hall
Attendance: 1,353
Tour: New Japan Road

Commentary (English): Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton
Commentary (Japanese): Haruo Murata, Milano Colelction AT, Jushin Thunder Liger, Togi Makabe(6 – 7)
Ring Announcer: Kimihiko Ozaki (1 – 4), Makoto Abe (5 – 7)


The opening video previews tonight’s title matches for the Jr. Heavyweight Tag Title and the NEVER Openweight Title.


Match 1
Gabriel Kidd vs Yota Tsuji
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Yota Tsuji wins via submission with a Boston crab
Time: 7:09

Match Thoughts
Good match. Tsuji’s right shoulder was still weak from the beating he took a few nights ago, so Kidd was able to take advantage of that. Kidd looked good, but Tsuji showed a bit more experience and was able to turn things around in his favor.


Match 2
Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado & Taichi & Minoru Suzuki vs Yuya Uemura & YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto & Will Ospreay (RPW British Heavyweight Champ)
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Yoshinobu Kanemaru pins Yuya Uemura after Deep Impact
Time: 11:17

Match Thoughts
Very good match. Uemura was the star of this one. Suzuki Gun came to the ring first, then, as young lions usually do, Uemura came out first for the Chaos team. Uemura ran to the ring, but instead of waiting for the ring announcements and opening bell, he went straight for Minoru Suzuki. Suzuki was surprised, and Uemura continued to attack Suzuki as a brawl erupted around them. Uemura stayed on his hot streak against Suzuki until YOSHI-HASHI finally tagged in to slow things down. Suzuki got a measure of revenge during the course of the match, but Uemura continued to go after Suzuki the entire time. This was a great match for Yuya Uemura (even though he’ll probably be hurting tomorrow).


Ring Area
After the match, Minoru Suzuki kicks Yuya Uemura. Suzuki sets Uemura up in the Gotch-style piledriver, but he just drops him to the mat rather than hit him with the move. Suzuki walks away as Chaos checks on Uemura.


Match 3
Toa Henare & Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe vs Colt Cabana & Toru Yano & Kazuchika Okada
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Colt Cabana pins Tomoaki Honma with Superman (after a low blow by Toru Yano)
Time: 9:00

Match Thoughts
This was fun. Yano and Cabana’s personalities dominated this match, and it was fun to see Okada take a light-hearted approach to his ring time. This was a bit of a way to build up Yano and Cabana’s upcoming NEVER Openweight 6-Man Title match (alongside Ryusuke Taguchi), so their teamwork and ability to take advantage of any situation was highlighted.


Match 4
Tiger Mask & Yuji Nagata & Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Manabu Nakanishi vs BUSHI (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Champ) & Hiromu Takahashi (Jr. Heavyweight Champ) & SANADA & EVIL (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Champ) & Tetsuya Naito (IWGP IC & Heavyweight Champ)
(referee: Marty Asami)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Satoshi Kojima pins EVIL after a running lariat
Time: 10:38

Match Thoughts
This was another really fun match on Nakanishi’s road to retirement. LIJ started off by disrespecting Nakanishi by leaving the ring and refusing to start the match. After a little while, Naito got in and started with Nakanishi. With the match finally underway, there were a lot of fun sequences. LIJ’s usually superb teamwork was tested by the motivation Nakanishi’s retirement had given to his teammates. The legends in the ring definitely wanted to make things memorable, and they did just that. Nakanishi even dove over the top rope (sort of)!


Match 5
David Finlay & Juice Robinson & Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Bad Luck Fale & Jay White w/ Gedo & Guerrillas of Destiny (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champs) w/ Jado
(referee: Marty Asami)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Tanga Loa pins Juice Robinson after Tama Tonga hits Juice with a title belt
Time: 11:20

Match Thoughts
Good match. The match was pretty even for a while, but Bullet Club got the last word in tonight. Bullet Club, of course, didn’t fight fair, but they fought smart. If they can use distractions and underhanded tactics tomorrow night as well as they did tonight, then the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles won’t be trading hands.


Ring Area
After the match, Bullet Club attacks their opponents, focusing on Ibushi and Tanahashi. They’re looking to make a statement while softening their challengers for the tag titles tomorrow night.


Match 6
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match
Mega Coaches vs Roppongi 3K (IWGP Jr. Tag Champs)
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Sho pins Rocky Romero after Strong X to retain the titles in their second defense
Time: 26:47

Match Thoughts
Great match! There was a little fun to be had here and there with the Mega Coaches (especially Taguchi), but for the most part this was a serious match. I feel like Romero was the star of this match. Taguchi seemed to provide more of a supportive role as Romero battled Sho and Yoh as the match went longer. The drama was definitely there between Sho, Yoh, and Romero, and I think the match worked very well dramatically as well as for the fast and fun action. I don’t think many people expected the Mega Coaches to win, but this was still a very good match to build the momentum of Roppongi 3K as the champs.


Ring Area
After the match, Sho and Yoh help Rocky Romero get to his feet. Taguchi joins them, and all four men hold their hands up in the air together.


Match 7
NEVER Openweight Title Match
Tomohiro Ishii vs Shingo Takagi (NEVER Openweight 6-Man & NEVER Openweight Champ)
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Shingo Takagi wins via pinfall after Last of the Dragon and defends his title in his first defense
Time: 27:04

Match Thoughts
Great match! This was a straight-forward battle of increasingly harder and harder strikes. There were a few slams here and there, but really, Ishii and Takagi just tried to absolutely run through each other. It’s always highly entertaining when these two get into the ring together, and this match was no exception to that rule.


Ring Area
After the match, Ishii wants to continue fighting (or maybe he thinks the match is still going on). Regardless, Ishii is guided away from the ring, and he slowly staggers to the backstage area. In the ring, Shingo closes the show with a few words.


Show Impressions
This was a good show. It was over two and a half hours, but it felt like a very compact show. The opening tag matches got good right away, and the two title matches were a great way to end the night. Very entertaining.

Match of the Night
Ishii vs Takagi
I wasn’t disappointed by this at all. I think the Jr. Tag Title match had more drama, but the NEVER Title match had more hard-hitting, competitive action from bell to bell. The two matches are really difficult to compare since they’re so different from each other, but personally, I liked the NEVER match a but more


Official Results (Japanese): https://www.njpw.co.jp/tornament/228335?showResult=1



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