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NJPW Summer Struggle (Night 4) Recap & Review

Night 4
Event Date: July 31, 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): Haruo Murata, Jushin Thunder Liger
Ring Announcer: Kimihiko Ozaki (1 – 3), Makoto Abe (4 – 6)


The opening video recaps the results from Sengoku Lord, hypes up the road to NJPW’s big show at Jingu Stadium at the end of August, mentions the new KOPW 2020 Title, and highlights tonight’s main event.


Match 1
YOSHI-HASHI & Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto vs Gabriel Kidd & Yota Tsuji & Ryusuke Taguchi & Satoshi Kojima
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Toru Yano pins Yota Tsuji with a schoolboy (and a low blow)
Time: 9:59

Match Thoughts
Good match. This was a nice, fun opening match. It had fast-paced action, a few chaotic breakdowns, and some levity with Taguchi and Yano. Yota Tsuji was back in action for the first time since being quarantined for possible exposure to COVID-19, and he seemed the most energetic out of everyone in the match.


Match 2
Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe vs SANADA & Shingo Takagi (NEVER Openweight Champ)
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: SANADA submits Tomoaki Honma with Skull End
Time: 10:57

Match Thoughts
Good match. GBH (Makabe and Homna) can be a fun team to watch, but SANADA and Takagi are very strong together. Seeing them tag lately, Takagi always seems to take the lead while SANADA sneaks in later on, picking his spots and surprising opponents late in the match. By that point, Takagi has done a lot of damage already, and he’s occupying half of the other team while SANADA fiishes the job. It’s great teamwork, and it works very well. If they decide to have Takagi be SANADA’s regular tag partner now that EVIL is out, I’m totally fine with that.


Match 3
Yuya Uemura & Master Wato & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Douki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado & Zack Sabre Jr. (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champ) & Taichi (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champ)
(referee: Marty Asami)

Show/Hide Results

Result: El Desperado pins Yuya Uemura after Pinche Loco
Time: 14:11

Match Thoughts
Very good match. The action was a lot of fun, but the bigger point here was the ongoing story with Ibushi, Tanahashi, ZSJ, and Taichi. After a few matches where Tanahashi was able to avoid getting beaten up too much by Dangerous Tekkers, Tanahashi struggled tonight. At one point Tanahashi was failing to gain any traction against the Suzuki Gun team, and young lion Yuya Uemura had to help Tanahashi get to the corner to make a tag. Ibushi looked great tonight, but that really served to illustrate how far apart Ibushi and Tanahashi are right now (physically and possibly mentally). After the match, ZSJ and Taichi were talking to Ibushi, and it looked like they were putting ideas in his head about dropping Tanahashi (and maybe joining Suzuki Gun). Ibushi didn’t really respond, but he left the ring area on his own while Tanahashi was face down and being attended to at ringside.


The ring is sanitized during a brief intermission.


Match 4
Gedo & Yujiro Takahashi w/ Jado vs SHO (IWGP Jr. Tag Champ) & Kazuchika Okada
(referee: Marty Asami)

Show/Hide Results

Result: SHO submits Gedo with a cross armbreaker (after a low blow by Toru Yano)
Time: 10:38

Match Thoughts
This was fun. This was the fourth show in a row (three aired on NJPW World and one house show) with the exact same tag team match-up, but there were a few differences tonight. The biggest difference was apparent right from the start. Jado came out to the ring with Takahashi and Gedo instead of waiting in the back and sneaking up to attack people like he usually does. Most of the action was about what you’d expect, but the cheating from Bullet Club was a lot more blatant. They’ve apparently gotten bold enough to barely even attempt to hide their cheating. Although, it should be noted that the previous matches were refereed by Red Shoes Unno. Red Shoes won’t count pinfalls if he knows cheating happened just prior to a pin attempt, but Marty Asami will pretty much count anything. That could’ve had something to do with why Bullet Club was so confident tonight. But, Chaos has some tricks of their own tonight, and that made the finish a lot of fun.


Match 5
BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito vs Taiji Ishimori & EVIL (IWGP IC & Heavyweight Champ) w/ Dick Togo
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)

Show/Hide Results

Result: EVIL submits BUSHI with a scorpion deathlock
Time: 9:53

Match Thoughts
Good match. With Hiromu Takahashi out with a shoulder injury, that left LIJ outnumbered in this match. Sure, Dick Togo wasn’t technically part of the match, but he was able to do a lot to neutralize half of the LIJ team while the other half got double-teamed by EVIL and Ishimori. That happened a lot, even though LIJ did do well throughout the match. This was another way for Bullet Club to show what they do best, which is to be good enough while using superior numbers to wear their opponents down.


Match 6
Minoru Suzuki vs Yuji Nagata
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Minoru Suzuki wins via pinfall after a Gotch-style piledriver
Time: 20:36

Match Thoughts
Great match. I love watching these two guys fight, but if this is the end of their feud for now, I’m totally happy with what they’ve done this summer. This was another battle where they stood toe to toe and just kept hitting each other over and over. There were some slams and ringside brawling here and there, but for the most part this match consisted of trading strikes until someone fell down. Then they’d get up and do it again. Both guys were staggered and in trouble at different times, and by the end of the match it was a wonder either of them were still upright. Late in the match they even revisited the finish of their battle in the first round of the New Japan Cup that started this whole thing. This was a great fight from two legends.


Show Impressions
I’m glad this show looked and felt a little different from the previous Summer Struggle show uploaded to New Japan World. Most of the match-ups were different enough, and having a singles match be the main event helped make this a show easily worth watching. In the bigger picture this show was just another step on the road to Jingu Stadium, and nothing that happened tonight really changed that, but I still enjoyed the matches.

Match of the Night
Minoru Suzuki vs Yuji Nagata
Again, this was great. Nagata and Suzuki could still go for one more singles match to break their recent win/loss tie though.


Official Results (Japanese): https://www.njpw.co.jp/tornament/249112?showResult=1



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