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NJPW Summer Struggle (Night 2) Recap & Review

Night 2
Event Date: July 27, 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
Commentary (Japanese): Shigeki Kiyono, Jushin Thunder Liger
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 & Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto vs Ryusuke Taguchi & Satoshi Kojima & Togi Makabe
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Ryusuke Taguchi pins Gabriel Kidd after Dodon
Time: 9:33

Match Thoughts
Good match. Once again, Gabrie Kidd wanted to fight Togi Makabe, and once again he did very well. Kidd tempted fate by slapping Makabe and shoving Makabe with his foot, but Kidd was able to avoid too many of Makabe’s heavy strikes throughout the match. Ryusuke Taguchi also looked really good again tonight. Taguchi wanted Ishii, and even though Taguchi had a little fun, he also took the fight seriously. There was a moment in this match when Kojima spiked Ishii on his head with a DDT that looked kind of scary. Ishii was slow to get up, and he tagged out quickly. He didn’t do much for the rest of the match, and he and Kojima were shoving each other after the bell. I wonder if something really happened there or if they’re maybe just plating some seeds for a future match. Either way, it was interesting.


Match 2
YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano vs BUSHI (NEVER 6-Man Champ) & Shingo Takagi (NEVER 6-Man & Openweight Champ)
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: BUSHI pins Toru Yano with a roll-up
Time: 7:44

Match Thoughts
Good match. YOSHI-HASHI wanted to fight Takagi (presumably in hopes of getting a NEVER Openweight Title shot), and Takagi was happy to oblige. Takagi fought YOSHI-HASHI and Toru Yano to start the match, and that allowed BUSHI to rest up for the later stages of the match. LIJ was very smart here tonight, and they didn’t have too many problems with this Chaos team. It didn’t hurt LIJ’s chances that referee Kenta Sato was wise to some of Yano’s favorite tricks and did his best to prevent any cheating.


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

Show/Hide Results

Result: El Desperado wins via pinfall after Pinche Loco
Time: 11:28

Match Thoughts
Good match. This was more of the same that we’ve been seeing between Suzuki and Nagata, but it’s very entertaining every time, so I don’t mind. Suzuki and Nagata started the match by swinging at each other’s heads, but Uemura tagged in early and got to fight Suzuki for a while. Uemura spent most of the rest of the match legal for his team, and he ended up fcing El Desperado for an extended period of time. Suzuki was always looming though, so Uemura had a rough night. Nagata was a good partner though, and this match was fought pretty evenly up until the last couple of minutes.


Ring Area
The ring is sanitized during a brief intermission.


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

Show/Hide Results

Result: Kota Ibushi pins Douki ater Kamigoye
Time: 12:08

Match Thoughts
Good match. Tanahashi’s team seemed to be somewhat better prepared to face Suzuki Gun tonight, and Tenzan proved to be a difference-maker throughout the match. Wato was very aggressive against Kanemaru, and really, everyone on Tanahashi’s team took the fight to their Suzuki Gun counterparts. We’ve seen all of these guys fight each other lot, and even though not much changes from match to match, Suzuki Gun seems to be becoming slightly less dominant every night. There’s still no announcement of a tag title rematch though, and I don’t think Taichi and ZSJ are in any hurry to offer one up.


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

Show/Hide Results

Result: Yujiro Takahashi pins SHO after Pimp Juice (and a kendo stick to the head from Jado)
Time: 10:15

Match Thoughts
Good match. This exact same match-up happened last night, and I was wondering where they were going with the feud and story. Tonight’s match did end up being a little different than what we’ve seen recently, and Bullet Club was finally able to find a way to get an advantage. I still think there’s only one way this feud can end (with Okada on top), but SHO definitely took a hit tonight (literally and figuratively) in order for this feud to continue.


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

Show/Hide Results

Result: Taiji Ishimori submits Hiromu Takahashi with the Yes Lock
Time: 10:40

Match Thoughts
Good match. This was another match-up that we’ve pretty much seen before, but the results ended up being very different. Ishimori and Takahashi started the match, and Ishimori almost immediately put Takahashi out of the match. Takahashi’s shoulder was taped up, and when Ishimori took him down into a Fujiwara arm bar, Takahashi rolled out of the ring in extreme pain. Doctors came over to attend to Takahashi and the match ended up being basically a two-on-three handicap match. SANADA looked great at first, but the numbers of Bullet Club caught up to him. Naito fared about the same, and Bullet Club dominated LIJ for pretty much the entire duration. Takahashi got back into the ring late in the match, but Ishimori was ruthless in going after his shoulder. This match definitely set up Ishimori as a believable contender for Takahashi’s Jr. Heavyweight Title.


Show Impressions
Even though tonight’s card was almost exactly the same as last night’s card, I still enjoyed this show. A good match is a good match, and all of these matches were good. Plus, outcomes tonight were different, and stories were pushed forward tonight while they weren’t really last night.

Match of the Night
LIJ vs Bullet Club (main event)
This really has more to do with the story than the actual match. The action was good, but teasing a possible injury to Hiromu Takahashi made this match engaging and memorable.


Official Results (Japanese): https://www.njpw.co.jp/tornament/249111?showResult=1



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