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NJPW Summer Struggle (Night 5) Recap & Review

Night 5
Event Date: August 6, 2020 (18:30 JST)
aired live on NJPW World

City: Bukyo, Tokyo, Japan
Venue: Korakuen Hall
Attendance: 698
Series: Summer Struggle 2020

Commentary (English): Kevin Kelly
Commentary (Japanese): Daisuke Takahashi, Milano Collection AT, Jushin Thunder Liger
Ring Announcer: Kimihiko Ozaki (1 – 3), Makoto Abe (4 – 6)


The opening video hypes up the SUMMER STRUGGLE tour and previews the upcoming double title match between EVIL and Tetsuya Naito, and the Jr. Heavyweight Title match between Hiromu Takahashi and Taiji Ishimori. It also highlights Kazuchika Okada’s recent announcement about the KOPW 2020 championship which will be decided later in August in a series of matches with stipulations voted on by fans. And finally the video shoes the brackets for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Title tournament which starts tonight!


Match 1
Gabriel Kidd vs Yuji Nagata
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Yuji Nagata wins via submission with the Nagata Lock II
Time: 8:12

Match Thoughts
Good match. It was interesting seeing Nagata go from his main event match with Minoru Suzuki on the last match to an opening match with a young lion on this show. I don’t think that’s any comment on Nagata and his place in the company though. In fact, I think it shows how valuable Nagata is for the future of New Japan. Nagata gave Kidd a good match, and Kidd showed a lot of heart as he tried to battle Nagata with strikes an submissions. Nagata has taken more strikes from Suzuki in the last month or so than anyone should have to, so I think he was pretty hardened to Kidd’s striking efforts tonight. The finish was unsurprising, but the match was good.


Match 2
Yota Tsuji & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Master Wato & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
(referee: Kenta Sato)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Master Wato pins Yota Tsuji after RPP (corkscrew senton bomb)
Time: 9:54

Match Thoughts
Good match. This was a nice match where both members of both teams had good sequences against both of their opponents. It made for a well-rounded match even if there wasn’t a whole lot of double-teaming to excessive teamwork. Wato and Tsuji were given the space to shine in this match, and they both looked really good. Tsuji was pulling off some surprisingly good agile moves (like a running front-flip senton followed immediately by a big splash), and Wato showed off some of his flying abilities as the match neared its end. This was a nice showcase for the younger talent.


Match 3
YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto vs Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe
(referee: Marty Asami)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Hirooki Goto pins Togi Makabe with a crucifix pin
Time: 9:12

Match Thoughts
Good match. This was a preview for the first round of the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Title tournament. That match will happen tomorrow night, and it will be almost exactly like this one as far as the match-up goes with the only difference being that Ryusuke Taguchi will replace Satoshi Kojima. Since Kojima was the odd man out in this match I fully expected him to take the fall tonight, but the match didn’t quite go as I expected. This was a fun match with a lot of heavy strikes.


Match 4
Yuya Uemura & Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr. (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champ) & Taichi (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champ)
(referee: Marty Asami)

Show/Hide Results

Result: Yoshinobu Kanemaru pins Yuya Uemura after Deep Impact
Time: 9:27

Match Thoughts
Good match. The main story here was once again Hiroshi Tanahashi and his troublesome knees. The problem is getting bigger, and it’s creating visible tension in the ring. Tanahashi wanted to start the match, but Yuya Uemura insisted on starting instead. Their conversation led to Suzuki Gun getting the jump on them in the match. Later, Tanahashi insisted that Uemura tag him, but when he did, Tanahashi immediately got into trouble with Taichi and ZSJ ripping his knees apart. Suzuki Gun tended to dominate this match, even though Ibushi did get some good offense for a little while. This was a preview for tomorrow night’s tournament match between these teams (with Master Wato replacing Uemura), and tonight did not set up Ibushi and Tanahashi’s team to have a big disadvantage with the mistakes Tanahashi is making and the tension it’s causing with Ibushi.


Ring Area
After the match, Suzuki Gun stomps Tanahashi, but Ibushi is very slow to help his tag partner. Ibushi finally enters the ring, and when he does, Taichi and ZSJ set up Tanahashi for Ibushi to deliver a knee strike to him. Ibushi doesn’t hit Tanahashi, but he doesn’t help him either. Suzuki Gun throw Ibushi out of the ring, then the hit Tanahashi a few more times before leaving the ring as well.


Match 5
NEVER Openweight 6-Man Title Tournament Quarter Final Match
Jado & Gedo & Yujiro Takahashi vs SHO (IWGP Jr. Tag Champ) & Toru Yano & Kazuchika Okada
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)

Show/Hide Results

Result: SHO submits Jado with a double wrist lock, SHO, Yano & Okada advance to the semifinals
Time: 12:03

Match Thoughts
Very good match. Bullet Club got off to a quick start when they were able to isolate Kazuchika Okada and use their numbers (and a lot of cheating) to beat him down. Toru Yano get tagged in after a while though, and his prowess at cheating seemed to stall most of Bullet Club’s efforts. Then SHO came in to use his speed and power and the match started breaking down. This was a fun match with some very clear strategies running through it. The Chaos team knew what they needed to do to be successful, and they executed their plan well. Bullet Club is always in the fight though, because it can be difficult to predict a winner with so much cheating. This was a very nice way to start off this short tournament for the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Titles.


Ring Area
After the match, Okada gets on the mic and suggests a stipulation for his match in the KOPW 2020 tournament: a three on one handicap match against the three members of Bullet Club that he just fought.


Match 6
NEVER Openweight 6-Man Title Tournament Quarter Final Match
Douki & El Desperado & Minoru Suzuki vs BUSHI & SANADA & Shingo Takagi (NEVER Openweight Champ)
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)

Show/Hide Results

Result: SANADA submits Douki with Skull End, BUSHI, SANADA, & Shingo Takagi advance to the semifinals
Time: 13:37

Match Thoughts
Very good match. This match started with a chaotic brawl, and when things started to settle down, BUSHI was in trouble in the ring. Suzuki Gun had a clear advantage early in the match with brawling and some cheating, but as the match went on, the individual strengths of LIJ began to take over. The most exciting part of the match was probably seeing Takagi and Suzuki fight. They squared off in the center of the ring, and it was clear after a few seconds that their battle was probably going to build up to something beyond just this match. Suzuki tends to get tunnel vision when he finds someone he wants to fight, and it looks like he now has his sites set on Shingo. SANADA also looked really strong in this match, and overall LIJ pulled their team together better than Suzuki Gun did tonight.


Ring Area
After the match, Minoru Suzuki and Shingo Takagi continue to exchange strikes at ringside. After a few seconds Takagi rolls into the ring. On the floor, Suzuki takes Shingo’s NEVER Openweight Title and set it down on the floor. It looks like a challenge has been made.


Show Impressions
This was a fun show. I always like a tournament, and if tonight is any indication, the 6-Man tournament will be good. A probable match between Shingo and Suzuki is the best thing to come out of this show in my opinion though.

Match of the Night
Suzuki Gun vs LIJ
I think both tournament matches were good, but I enjoyed the main event a bit more.


Official Results (Japanese): https://www.njpw.co.jp/tornament/249851?showResult=1



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