By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)
New Japan Pro Wrestling “New Japan Road”
July 5, 2022 in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World
This is their third consecutive night in this venue. It is also the last event before the 20-show G1 Climax tournament gets underway later in July.
1. Ryusuke Taguchi and Master Wato defeated Ryohei Oiwa and Kosei Fujita at 10:43. The babyfaces beat up Fujita extensively, with Wato applying a Camel Clutch, then a half-crab. Taguchi hit his flying butt attacks. Wato hit a springboard forearm shot, then he hooked both arms and got a rollup pin on Fujita. Basic match.
2. Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Togi Makabe and Homoaki Honma at 10:22. (What is the average age of these four? 45?) Kojima leveled Honma with a shoulder tackle. Togi made the hot tag at 4:30. Tenzan hit his Mongolian Chops and a Samoan Drop. Honma missed his Kokeshi falling headbutt at 6:30. Kojima hit his series of chops in the corner, then a top-rope elbow drop for a nearfall. Kojima hit a stunner for a nearfall. Kojima and Tenzan hit the 3D team stunner move on Togi. Kojima nailed a clothesline on Honma, but Honma hit a headbutt. Kojima hit another clothesline and got the pin. Subpar match that stayed in first gear.
3. Alex Zayne, Tomohiro Ishii, and Kazuchika Okada defeated Clark Connors, The DKC, and Yuji Nagata at 11:01. So cool to see Zayne teaming up with the top NJPW stars. Ishii and DKC immediately traded hard forearms, and they brawled to the floor. Okada got in, and he is significantly taller than DKC, and he no-sold DKC’s chops. DKC hit a spin kick on Okada and finally made the hot tag to Nagata at 3:30. Nagata hit a Helluva Kick on Okada. Zayne entered and he brawled with Connors. Connors nailed his top-rope elbow drop for a nearfall at 6:00.
Ishii re-entered the match, but Connors caught him with a powerslam, and they were both down. DKC tagged back in and traded more blows with Ishii, which always seems like a bad idea. Ishii unloaded several hard blows. DKC nailed a missile dropkick for a nearfall at 8:30. Ishii fired back with a German Suplex on DKC. Ishii hit a high belly-to-back suplex for a nearfall. DKC got a Crucifix Takedown for a nearfall, then an enzuigiri. Ishii nailed a clothesline and a brainbuster for the pin. While the winning team was never in doubt, that was more fun than I expected.
4. Kushida, Jado, and Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Kenta, Taiji Ishimori, and Gedo at 10:42. All six brawled at the bell, with Kushida applying a Fujiwara Armbar on Ishimori on the floor. Jado and Gedo squared off in the ring as the others continued to brawl on the floor. The heels began working over Jado. Kushida made the hot tag at 6:00 and traded quicker offense with Ishimori. Kushida hit a basement dropkick to the face. Ishimori fired back with a handspring-back-spin kick. Kushida nailed a handspring-back-elbow on Kenta.
Tanahashi entered for the first time at 8:00. Kenta got a crutch, but Tanahashi avoided it. Tanahashi hit his Sling Blade clothesline on Gedo. Tanahashi applied a Texas Cloverleaf leg lock, and Gedo tapped out. Tanahashi and Kenta continued to argue after the match.
5. Shingo Takagi, Bushi, Tetsuya Naito, Sanada, and Hiromu Takahashi defeated Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and Taka Michinoku at 14:56. Taichi and Sanada started but basically stalled a lot. Hiromu and Kanemaru traded offense; you may recall that Kanemaru attacked Hiromu during the BOSJ tournament and absolutely destroyed him. Hiromu hit a shotgun dropkick at 4:00. Suddenly all ten guys were brawing on the floor. Back in the ring, the heels were taking turns beating up Bushi. Suzuki applied an ankle lock at 9:00.
Shingo finally made the hot tag and traded blows with Suzuki. Minoru applied a sleeper and went for a Gotch-style piledriver, but Shingo escaped. Sanada tagged back in and traded kicks with Taichi. Sanada nailed a dropkick at 12:00. Hiromu tagged back in and hit a basement dropkick on Taichi. Taka got in and the heels were teaming up on Hiromu. Taka applied a crossface move on Hiromu. However, Hiromu applied his modified Triangle Choke, and Taka tapped out. Solid match that probably should have been a bit better. I don’t think Naito, who was still wearing a T-shirt, ever tagged in. Not sure if he’s nursing an injury but outside of the brawl on the floor early in the match, he had a day off.
6. Toru Yano defeated Dick Togo in a Dog Kennel match at 7:15. The referee showed off a lock. He placed the key on a string around his head, and he locked the dog kennel, which is located at ringside. I have zero expectations this will be passable. They brawled on the floor. Togo hid under the ring and grabbed Yano’s ankles. Yep, this is as bad as I feared. The lights went out; when they came back on, Togo was choking Yano in the ring with his wire. EVIL, Sho and Yujiro came to ringside to aid Togo, but that brought out the babyface challengers. Yano gave Togo a monkey flip into the cage, and he locked the door to score the win. Just awful, top to bottom.
* Being as everyone is at ringside, the next match began immediately!
7. Yoh, Hirooki Goto, and Yoshi-Hoshi defeated Sho, EVIL, and Yujiro Takahashi to win the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Titles at 19:19. Yoh has missed the last two shows because of COVID protocols. He squared off with his longtime partner and now nemesis Sho to start the match. The heels quickly took control of the match and beating down Yoh. Yoshi-Hoshi got in and traded offense with Yujiro. Yujiro nailed a Mafia Kick on Goto at 8:00.
The heels now began working over Goto. Yoh hit a plancha on Sho. In the ring, EVIL hit a low blow on Goto at 9:30. Yujiro got a key and freed Togo from the kennel. EVIL hit his DVD sit-out powerbomb on Goto for a nearfall. However, Goto nailed his neckbreaker over his knee on EVIL. Sho and Yoh re-entered at 12:00 and traded faster-paced offense. Yoh nailed a diving forearm to Sho’s back for a nearfall. Sho nailed a German Release Suplex at 13:30.
All six brawled in the ring. Yoh nailed a superkick on Sho, but the referee got yanked from the ring. The heels threw several babyfaces in the kennel at 16:00, and they locked it! This left just Yoh in the ring. Evil hit the Magic Killer team slam on Yoh. However, Yano had a key to the kennel, and he freed his teammates. Suddenly, all the heels except for Sho were locked in the kennel. Goto and Yoshi-Hoshi hit their team slam on Sho. Yoh hit a double-underhook suplex on Sho, with help from his partners, on Sho for the pin.
* Yoh spoke on the mic, and the babyfaces posed with their newly-won titles.
Final Thoughts: The six-man tag with Okada, Ishii and Zayne was best match of the show. The main event was solid and above-average, even though I could do without the kennel silliness.
Some wrestlers seemingly vanish after being released by WWE. (What happened to Tucker, or Kona Reeves?) Others, like Blake Christian and Alex Zayne, absolutely thrive. It is just amazing to see Zayne in this position, and he has earned it.
There were some negatives here, though. The second match was slow and really dull. The Yano-Togo match was really bad. And the opener never got rolling. The show clocked in at 2-and-a-half hours. New Japan takes a short break now before the 20-show, 28-man G1 Climax tournament begins.