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New Japan Road (7/20) Recap & Review

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

City: Bunkyo, Tokyo, Japan
Venue: Korakuen Hall
Attendance: 482

Commentary (English): Kevin Kelly (recorded remotely)
Commentary (Japanese): Haruo Murata, Milano Collection AT, Jado (6)
Ring Announcer: Kimihiko Ozaki 
(1 – 3), Makoto Abe (4 – 3)


The opening video shows us some of the events over the last month that have led to matches tonight at at the upcoming Sengoku Lord show.


Match 1
Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Satoshi Kojima pins Yuya Uemura after a lariat
Time: 10:26

Match Thoughts
Good match. This was a nice young lion opener with Tencozy dominating early, but Uemura and Tsuji coming together and doing well towards the end. Uemura got a nice spotlight towards the end of the match by going up against Kojima for a good amount of time.


Match 2
Sho (IWGP Jr. Tag Champ) & YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii vs Gabriel Kidd & Ryusuke Taguchi & Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Toru Yano pins Gabriel Kidd with a schoolboy (after a low blow)
Time: 11:59

Match Thoughts
Good match. It started and ended with some pretty silly segments, but I think that’s expected when you have both Taguchi and Yano in the same match. The antics weren’t anything we haven’t seen before, but they were fun. The middle part of the match had some nice back and forth, though ultimately it did feel like a low-stakes exhibition. I liked it fine though.


Match 3
Douki & El Desperado vs SANADA & Shingo Takagi (NEVER 6-Man & Openweight Champ)
(referee: Marty Asami)

Show/Hide Results

Result: SANADA submits Douki with Skull End
Time: 12:40

Match Thoughts
Very good match. This was a nice preview for the upcoming NEVER Openweight Title match between Shingo and El Desperado. Shingo came into the match angry after El Desperado’s attack at Dominion, so Shingo started the attack before the opening bell. Shingo and SANADA did well for a little while, but Douki and Desperado worked together really well tonight. Douki kept SANADA occupied while Desperado attacked Shingo’s knee out on the floor. That hurt Shingo bad, and he was limping for the rest of the match. It also set up a possible weakness for Shingo in the title match. If Desperado can do then what he did tonight, Shingo will be set up for a possible submission. When Shingo and Desperado traded strikes in this match, Shingo was much stronger, but Desperado kept going after the knee which kept him at a good advantage. This match was probably better as a preview than it was as a match just on its own though, because the finish was completely unsurprising. SANADA and Douki finished the match, but the attention was always on Shingo and Desperado.


Match 4
Gedo & Yujiro Takahashi vs Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada
(referee: Marty Asami)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Hirooki Goto pins Gedo after GTR
Time: 11:47

Match Thoughts
Good match. Like the previous match tonight, this was a preview for an upcoming match (Okada versus Yujiro Takahashi). I think the previous match did a better job of building intrigue though. This watch was good and I enjoyed it, but Gedo and Yujiro definitely seemed outmatched. I think Yujiro is going to have to do a lot of cheating, and he’s going to need a lot of help from the Bullet Club if he hopes to beat Okada at Sengoku Lord. Gedo and Yujiro tried to cheat a little tonight, but it didn’t work for them. Like, at all. The interest here was just waiting to see if Okada would beat up Gedo or Yujiro more. Goto ended up finishing the match against Gedo, thus saving and real fighting between Okada and Yujiro for Sengoku Lord, so it really felt like not much happened here. Again, I liked the match fine, but as a preview it felt underwhelming. Yujiro will probably have a good showing in their one on one match, and he might even shock everyone with a win, but this match didn’t give any indication of that. But I suppose that would make a surprise that much more surprising, right?


Match 5
Master Wato & Yuji Nagata & Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr. (IWGP Tag Champ) & Taichi (IWGP Tag Champ)
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Yoshinobu Kanemaru pins Master Wato after Deep Impact and a brainbuster
Time: 12:05

Match Thoughts
Good match. There was nothing to really build up to in this match, so instead this was a continuation of three feuds. Ibushi and Tanahashi lost the IWGP Tag Titles to ZSJ and Taichi at Dominion, Nagata and Suzuki had a slug-fest during the New Japan Cup, and Kanemaru attacked Wato after Wato beat Douki during the final night of the New Japan Cup. All of these feuds were fully on display in this match, and that helped keep things fun. Near the beginning of the match, Dangerous Tekkers started going after Tanahashi’s knees again, and once again it worked out really well for them. Ibushi got angry and got into a kicking match with Taichi, then Wato and Kanemaru battled to end the match. Nagata and Suzuki fought during and after the bell, so that feud is clearly not over yet either. There was a lot going on in this match, and I liked it.


Match 6
BUSHI (NEVER 6-Man Champ) & Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champ) vs Taiji Ishimori & Dick Togo & EVIL (NEVER 6-Man, IWGP IC & Heavyweight Champ)
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)

Show/Hide Results

Result: EVIL pins BUSHI after EVIL (and some choking from Dick Togo)
Time: 14:02

Match Thoughts
Very good match. In a lot of ways EVIL paid as much attention to Naito as he did to the current challenger for his double-titles, Hiromu Takahashi. There was a lot of anger and resentment from the LIJ side of this match, but Bullet Club looked stronger as a team tonight. Ishimori and Togo supported the new champ well, and even though they didn’t dominate the entire match, Bullet Club pretty much always felt like they were in control. This was a nice preview of the upcoming double-title match.


Show Impressions
As I mentioned for nearly all of the matches, this show was basically a preview for Sengoku Lord. For that reason, the matches tonight were very low-stakes, but they were still entertaining. There were no big revelations or anything, but it was a solid show that worked well in its spot between Dominion and Sengoku Lord.

Match of the Night
LIJ vs Bullet Club (main event)
I think this tag match had the best build and the best breakdown of the night. EVIL took the air out of the room with the finish, but that’s what he was trying to do. He’s a sufficiently jerky and frustrating bad guy.


Official Results (Japanese): https://www.njpw.co.jp/tornament/249109?showResult=1



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