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NJPW Summer Struggle 2020 (Night 1) Recap & Review

Night 1
Event Date: July 26, 2020 (18:30 JST)
aired live on NJPW World

City: Bukyo, Tokyo, Japan
Venue: Korakuen Hall
Attendance: 482
Series: Summer Struggle 2020

Commentary (English): Kevin Kelly (recorded remotely)
Commentary (Japanese): Yusuke Okamoto, Haruo Murata, Shingo Takagi (6)
Ring Announcer: Kimihiko Ozaki (1 – 3), Makoto Abe (4 – 6)


The opening video recaps the results from Sengoku Lord and hypes up the road to NJPW’s big show at Jingu Stadium at the end of August.


Match 1
Gabriel Kidd & Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii vs Ryusuke Taguchi & Satoshi Kojima & Togi Makabe
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Satoshi Kojima pins Gabriel Kidd after a lariat
Time: 9:14

Match Thoughts
Good match. Just like the last tag match Kidd and Makabe were in, Gabriel Kidd went after Togi Makabe as much as he could. Kidd wants a singles match with Makabe, and I think Kidd’s performance here tonight is a good step in that direction. Kidd looked really good, and he tended to hold his own against whomever he was fighting against. Ryusuke Taguchi also looked really good tonight. Taguchi wanted to fight Ishii, and Taguchi tended to get the upper hand in their fight. The wacky shenanigans we usually see from Yano and Taguchi were kept to a minimum, and the focus really seemed to be on building up Kidd and just having a good fight from everyone.


Match 2
YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs SANADA & Shingo Takagi (NEVER 6-Man & Openweight Champ)
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Shingo Takagi pins YOSHI-HASHI after Made in Japan
Time: 9:00

Match Thoughts
Good match. It looked like both YOSHI-HASHI and Goto wanted to take down Takagi and get a NEVER Openweight Title match. Even though Takagi was still visibly limping after his match with El Desperado last night, Takagi looked very strong tonight. YOSHI-HASHI looked good though. YOSHI-HASHI stood up to Takagi and fought him face to face. They traded strikes for a while, and YOSHI-HASHI gave and received pretty equally with Takagi. At least for a while. With everyone paying attention to Takagi, SANADA was able to be the biggest difference-maker in the match. SANADA and Takagi had great teamwork, and even though Takagi took the glory tonight, SANADA was a huge part of LIJ’s performance in this match.


Match 3
Douki & Minoru Suzuki vs Yuya Uemura & Yuji Nagata
(referee: Marty Asami)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Minoru Suzuki pins Yuya Uemura after a Gotch-style piledriver
Time: 11:16

Match Thoughts
Very good match. Nagata and Uemura both wanted to fight Suzuki, and a lot of this match consisted of Nagata and Uemura taking turns doing just that. Nagata fought Suzuki a lot more than Uemura did though. Suzuki and Nagata started the match against each other, and when Douki and Uemura tagged in, Suzuki and Nagata just continued their fight to the floor. Eventually they both both get into the their respective corners, and the match had a semblance of tag team action. Nagata and Suzuki ended up in the ring against each other again later in the match, and Uemura had to make a blind tag because Nagata refused to tag out (he just wanted to keep hitting Suzuki). That led to a really good sequence that had Uemura fight hard and actually take Suzuki down to one knee. Nagata, Suzuki, and Uemura all looked great in this match, and Douki was fine in his supporting role.


Ring Area
After the match, Nagata and Suzuki continue to hit each other. They fight all the way to the backstage area.

The ring is cleaned and disinfected during a brief intermission.


Match 4
Master Wato & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado & Zack Sabre Jr. (IWGP Tag Champ) & Taichi (IWGP Tag Champ)
(referee: Marty Asami)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Zack Sabre Jr. submits Hiroyoshi Tenzan with a headscissors choke (after Kanemaru hits Tenzan in the head with a whiskey bottle)
Time: 13:35

Match Thoughts
Good match. As has been the case lately, Suzuki Gun (led by the tag champs Dangerous Tekkers) were looking to hurt and demoralize their opponents. Tanahashi mostly avoided having his knees focused on and destroyed tonight, but everyone else on Tanahashi’s team seemed to get beat up more as a result. Suzuki Gun largely dominated this match with superior teamwork, and this was another strong night for them.


Match 5
Gedo & Yujiro Takahashi vs SHO (IWGP Jr. Tag Champ) & Kazuchika Okada
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Kazuchika Okada submits Gedo with the Money Clip
Time: 10:27

Match Thoughts
Good match. The action was entertaining, but I wonder where they’re trying to go from here. Okada already beat Yujiro Takahashi at Sengoku Lord, and Bullet Club didn’t do terribly well tonight, so why pair these teams up tonight? I mean, there’s enough history with Okada, Gedo, and Takahashi to make any match they’re in interesting. So yeah, I enjoyed the match.


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

Show/Hide Results

Result: Taiji Ishimori pins BUSHI after the Bloody Cross
Time: 13:01

Match Thoughts
Good match. Naito just wanted to fight EVIL, and he got what he wanted for a lot of this match. It felt like Bullet Club were on the defensive for a lot of this match, but ultimately Bullet Club as able to split up LIJ and take advantage of them late in the match. Ishimori is making a strong push for a Jr. Heavyweight Title shot, and that seemed to be the focus of the action late in the match. EVIL just seems like he’s avoiding Naito, so Naito is going to have to aggressively pursue EVIL if he wants a double-title rematch.


Ring Area
After the match, Taiji Ishimori hits Hiromu Takahashi with the Bloody Cross and challenges him to a Jr. Heavyweight Title match.


Show Impressions
This was a nice start to the Summer Struggle tour. The match-ups were kind of expected overall, and lot of them just seemed to be continuations of what we’ve seen before. That’s not a bad thing. NJPW has just over a month to build up their big Jingu Stadium show, and this was just the first step on that road.

Match of the Night
Douki & Minoru Suzuki vs Yuya Uemura & Yuji Nagata
This was the most memorable match for me tonight. Sure, we’ve seen Nagata and Suzuki beat each other up a few times over the past few weeks, but it never gets old for me. I really enjoyed everything about this match, and I loved that Uemura tried to get some of Suzuki as well.


Official Results (Japanese): https://www.njpw.co.jp/tornament/249540?showResult=1



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