NJPW SUMMER STRUGGLE 2020
Event Date: August 27, 2020 (18:30 JST)
aired live on NJPW World
Commentary (English): Kevin Kelly (recorded remotely)
Commentary (Japanese): Jushin Thunder Liger, Hiroki Mikami (1, 3), Yuichi Tabata (2, 5), Shinji Yoshino (4, 6)
Ring Announcer: Kimihiko Ozaki (1 – 3), Makoto Abe (4 – 6)
The opening video highlights the matches announced for the Jingu Stadium show coming up this weekend including Master Wato vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru, the KOPW 2020 4-Way (Okada vs Yano vs El Desperado vs SANADA), the NEVER Openweight Title match between Shingo Takagi and Minoru Suzuki, the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title match between Hiromu Takahashi and Taiji Ishimori, the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Title match between Golden Ace and Dangerous Tekkers, and the double title match between EVIL and Tetsuya Naito.
Yuya Uemura vs Yota Tsuji
(referee: Kenta Sato)
Result: Yota Tsuji wins via submission with a Boston Crab
Very good match. Kevin Kelly was saing ths was the 34th one-on-one meeting between Tsuji and Uemura. Tsuji has a slight lead in that series, and he had a pretty good lead in most of this match. Tsuji dominated Uemura for the first few minutes with a lot of power moves. Tsuji mounted a comeback, but his comeback was cut short with another round of offense from Tsuji. This was a fast-paced, rather hard-hitting affair, especially for a young lions match. It was also a great way to start the show.
Tomoaki Honma & Yuji Nagata & Satoshi Kojima vs YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto (NEVER 6-Man Champs)
(referee: Kenta Sato)
Result: YOSHI-HASHI submits Tomoaki Honma with the Butterfly Lock
A good, fun match. Last night was kind of an exhibition for the new NEVER 6-Man Tag Champs, but their opponents tonight gave them a lot more competition. With Honma in the mix there was a bit of fun thrown in, but there was also a fair amount of good teamwork from both teams. One of the things that really stood out to me in this match was the animosity between Yuji Nagata and Tomohiro Ishii. At one point Nagata was legal in the ring, and Ishii was taking cheap shots at him from the apron. Ishii tagged in, and he and Nagata traded some heavy shots, at least one of which staggered Ishii. They didn’t fight for a long time, but their issues with each other carried over to the post-match where they started trading a few kicks (with Kojima getting a few shots in on Ishii as well). Also, YOSHI-HASHI is still being placed as kind of the heart of the team. He tends to finish these matches for his side, and I think that simultaneously builds YOSHI-HASHI’s strength while adding tension to the match since he’s the most likely guy to take a loss for his team.
Jado & Gedo & Yujiro Takahashi vs SHO (IWGP Jr. Tag Champ) & Toru Yano & Kazuchika Okada
(referee: Marty Asami)
Result: SHO submits Gedo with a cross arm breaker
Very good match, even though it seemed clear before the bell ever even rang which team would be winning tonight. I mean, Okada beat this exact same Bullet Club team by himself last night, so having SHO and Yano join Okada seems like overkill. There were no surprises, but the match was still fun. The best part for me was seeing SHO get a bit of revenge on Gedo. Gedo attacked SHO with his belt a few times throughout the match, and SHO finally got his hands on Gedo towards the end. I also enjoyed the fact that Yano did pretty much nothing during this match, at least, he did almost nothing in the ring. Yano spent most of the time on the floor watching the match, though he did pick a few spots to help out his teammates. By cheating of course.
The ring is cleaned and sanitized during a brief intermission.
Douki & El Desperado & Minoru Suzuki vs BUSHI & SANADA & Shingo Takagi (NEVER Openweight Champ)
(referee: Marty Asami)
Result: SANADA submits Douki with Skull End
Very good match. Suzuki Gun wanted get a head start with one of their pre-match attacks/brawls, but the LIJ team was ready for them. LIJ’s teamwork and individual efforts were strong tonight, and they didn’t have too much trouble with Suzuki Gun tonight. I think things will be different in Shingo Takagi’s title defense against Minoru Suzuki at Jingu Stadium. If anything, this match will fire up Suzuki even more for that match.
Master Wato w/ Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Kota Ibushi & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr. (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champ) & Taichi (IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champ)
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)
Result: Hiroshi Tanahashi pins Yoshinobu Kanemaru after High Fly Flow
Very good match. Suzuki Gun started this match with a very early pre-match attack. They rushed to the ring during Master Wato’s entrance before anyone else had come out. That started the match in a chaotic way, and the match remained in chaos for a few minutes. Tanahashi’s team had to build back up, but the Suzuki Gun team was all over the place with their attacks tonight. Eventually, the teamwork of Wato and Golden Ace started to come together, and that led to a very nice finish that once again had Tanahashi standing tall and avoiding many of the worst attacks from Dangerous Tekkers.
Hiromu Takahashi (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champ) & Tetsuya Naito vs Taiji Ishimori & EVIL (IWGP IC & Heavyweight Double Champ) w/ Dick Togo
(referee: Red Shoes Unno)
Result: EVIL pins Hiromu Takahashi after EVIL (and a chair shot to Takahashi’s injured shoulder)
Very good match. The fight went back and forth, but LIJ seemed to be the aggressors for much of the match. Takahashi got maybe a little too aggressive though, and he ended up getting tricked into hitting Naito at one point late in the match. That ushered in the final sequence of the match where Takahashi’s shoulder was heavily targeted by Ishimori and EVIL. This was a good preview for title matches these guys are involved in, and it really put Tahashi at a severe disadvantage going into Saturday.
Tonight’s event was focused on giving previews for the Jungu Stadium show, and I thought it did a really good job of that. There were no new developments tonight, but I think every match for the Jingu Stadium show had some good interactions between opponents tonight. I’m already looking forward to that show, and tonight’s event was a good warm-up.
Match of the Night
Honma & Nagata & Kojima vs YOSHI-HASHI & Ishii & Goto
I think I had the most fun with this match tonight. It was the only one besides the young lions match that didn’t have a preview built into it for the Jingu Stadium show, and I think that allowed it to feel a bit more free and open. All the matches that took place after this one were probably just as good, but they also went about like you might expect. They were solid previews, but that also meant things would be left more or less open-ended with the results. This six man tag match had some levity to it, and it felt like a nice step forward for the NEVER 6-Man Champs.