4/3 NJPW “Road to Sakura Genesis” results: Vetter’s review of Minoru Suzuki, Ren Narita, and El Desperado vs. Sho, Yujiro Takahashi, and Evil for the Never Openweight Six-Man Titles, Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Sanada and Taichi, Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, and Shingo Takagi vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Robbie Eagles, and Kosei Fujita

By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Road to Sakura Genesis”
April 3, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall
Streamed on New Japan World

There was Japanese-only commentary.

1. “The United Empire” Great-O-Khan and Aaron Henare defeated Tomohiro Ishii and Oskar Leube at 11:12. O-Khan and Ishii started and they immediately traded stiff forearm shots. Leube tagged in at 1:00 and hit a hard back elbow that dropped O-Khan. Henare, who lost a 38-minute match a night earlier, tagged in at 4:00 and hit several punches to Leube’s gut, and the UE worked Oskar over. Ishii made the hot tag and he hit a shoulder tackle on Henare, then a Saito Suplex on O-Khan at 6:00.

Henare and Ishii traded mid-ring forearm shots. O-Khan entered and hit his Mongolian Chops on Ishii. Ishii hit a vertical suplex. Leube tagged back in at 8:30 and he also hit a suplex on O-Khan for a nearfall, and he applied a Boston Crab. O-Khan fired back with a gutwrench suplex; he then slapped on the Sheepkiller submission hold, and Leube passed out. Really good opener.

2. Tiger Mask, Yoh, and Master Wato defeated “Just Five Guys” Douki, Taka Michinoku, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru at 8:47. Douki and Tiger Mask started. Pretty soon, all six were brawling on the floor. Back in the ring J5G kept working over Tiger Mask. Kanemaru hit a DDT for a nearfall at 3:00. TM finally hit a Tiger Bomb on Douki, and he made the hot tag to Yoh at 5:00. Yoh hit a Vader Bomb elbowdrop on Kanemaru. Yoh hit a dragon screw leg whip on Taka.

Wato tagged in at 7:00, but J5G immediately worked him over and hit triple superkicks. Taka applied an STF, and he cranked back on Wato’s head. Taka nailed a Michinoku Driver. Wato applied his submission lock around Taka’s head, and Taka tapped out. Meh; a lot of guys here who really aren’t over.

3. Shota Umino, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Toru Yano defeated “Bullet Club” Taiji Ishimori, El Phantasmo, and Gedo at 7:48. Once again, Shota channeled his inner Jon Moxley and entered through the crowd. Taguchi and Ishimori started, with Taguchi hitting his flying buttbump. Yano entered and immediately removed a corner pad, and we have the usual antics from Yano. ELP punted it over the ropes and Yano looked devastated. Phantasmo pulled up Yano’s shirt so he could rake the back at 3:00, and the BC worked Yano over in their corner.

Shota entered at 5:00 and hit a diving forearm. He hit a head-scissors takedown on Phantasmo, then a fisherman’s suplex on ELP for a nearfall. Phantasmo fired back with an enzuigiri, and they were both down. Gedo and Taguchi tagged in for their respective teams. Gedo avoided much of Taguchi’s butt-related offense. Taguchi slapped on an anklelock, and Gedo tapped out. Relatively painless; only good when Shota and Phantasmo were battling.

4. Jeff Cobb and “Aussie Open” Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis defeated Tomoaki Honma and “Bishamon” Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi at 11:31. Goto and Fletcher started and traded shoulder tackles. Honma entered and missed the Kokeshi falling headbutt on Cobb. The AO began working over Yoshi-Hashi in their corner. Davis hit a senton at 3:30. Cobb held YH upside-down and ran two circles inside the ring before slamming Yoshi-Hashi to the mat. Cobb then hit a standing moonsault for a nearfall, and he ‘surfed’ on Yoshi-Hashi’s back.

Goto finally made the hot tag at 6:00 and he traded blows with Fletcher. Fletcher hit a suplex and both were down. Honma tagged back in and he hit some chops on Davis, but they barely had an impact. Davis fired back with a much harder chop. Honma again missed a Kokeshi at 9:00. Davis nailed a high bak suplex for a nearfall. Honma hit a headbutt to Davis’ chin; that could have hurt. However, Aussie Open hit the Koryallis team flipping slam, with Davis pinning Honma. Exactly as you’d expect here.

5. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Hiromu Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito, and Shingo Takagi defeated “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Robbie Eagles, Zack Sabre Jr., and Kosei Fujita at 14:01. Eagles and Hiromu, who will meet later this week for Hiromu’s title, opened against each other. Sabre entered at 2:00 and immediately twisted Hiromu’s left leg, and Sabre ‘taught’ Fujita the proper way to apply the hold. (I am enjoying this teacher-student storyline. It is fun and simple.) Eagles applied the Ron Miller Special leglock, but Hiromu reached the ropes at 6:30. Hiromu finally hit a Falcon Arrow, and both men were down.

Shingo entered for the first time and he battled Sabre. Shingo missed a sliding clothesline. Naito tagged in for the first time. Sabre hit a flying European Uppercut on Naito. Fujita tagged in at 10:00 and hit several forearms on Naito in the corner and he tried to work over Naito’s left arm. Eagles entered and powerslammed Shingo. Fujita hit a German Suplex with a high brige on Naito for a believable nearfall. Naito applied a Boston Crab and sat down on Fujita’s back; Naito pulled Kosei to the center of the ring, where he tapped out.

6. Kazuchika Okada and Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Sanada and Taichi at 8:17. Okada and Sanada started with mat reversals and a feeling-out process. The rest of Just Five Guys are at ringside with Sanada and Taichi. Okada applied the Money Clip submission hold at 3:00. Tanahashi entered and applied a full nelson, but Sanada powered out. Sanada placed Hiroshi’s feet on the top rope and hit a swinging neckbreaker at 5:30.

Taichi entered and hit some Kawada Kicks to Hiroshi’s face. Tanahashi hit a dragon screw leg whip on Taichi. Taichi countered with a back suplex for a nearfall. On the floor, Sanada pulled back the thin mat, and he hit a piledriver on Okada on the hard floor at 8:00, and he applied a Skull End dragon sleeper on the floor. Taichi was standing in the ring, watching Sanada beat up Okada on the floor… when Tanahashi snuck up from behind, rolled up Taichi and scored the pin out of nowhere! So, while Okada’s team won, Okada took the devastating blow to his head and neck.

* Sanada got on the mic and stood next to the ropes, looking down on the fallen Okada on the floor. Okada already had an ice pack applied to his neck.

7. Minoru Suzuki, Ren Narita, and El Desperado defeated “House of Torture” EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, and Sho (w/Dick Togo) to retain the Never Openweight Six-Man Tag Titles at 24:42. The HoT recently stole the title belts; they are in possession of them but aren’t the champs. Desperado and Yujiro started. Minoru tagged in at 1:00 and hit some stiff forearm shots on Takahashi. Yujiro tossed Minoru to the floor, where EVIL and Sho pounced on him, and suddenly all six were fighting on the floor. EVIL spray-painted “HOT” on Yoh’s shirt as he sat at ringside. Meanwhile, the brawling went up into the bleachers.

Finally back in the ring, Yujiro hit some stomps on Minoru at 8:00, as the HoT kept Suzuki in their corner; Ren tried to make the save but the ref pulled him away and sent him back to his corner. EVIL hit some hard chops at 10:00. Ren finally made the hot tag at 12:30. He beat up Dick Togo, who was still wearing an El Desperado mask. Meanwhile, Desperado (the real one!) was fighting up in the bleachers with EVIL. Ren walked over and he put EVIL in an Octopus at 14:30.

Back in the ring, Ren hit a Northern Lights Suplex for a nearfall on EVIL. Desperado made the hot tag at 16:30 and he hit a side slam on Sho, and he was fired up. Yujiro hit a Yakuza Kick on Desperado. Desperado applied the Stretch Muffler leglock behind his neck on Sho at 19:00. The HoT worked over Desperado some more. Sho hit a Lungblower over his knees for a nearfall at 20:30. However, Minoru got back in the ring, and the babyfaces regained control. Desperado again applied a Stretch Muffler on Sho, while Ren had EVIL in an Octopus. Sho reached the ropes at 22:30.

Desperado hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall on Sho. Sho hit a low blow with the ref out of position, then a piledriver for a believable nearfall. Sho got his wrench, but Narita blocked him from using it. Desperado hit his Angel’s Wings/spinning double-arm faceplant to pin Sho. Decent match. Desperado grabbed Togo and reclaimed his mask from Togo’s head.

Final Thoughts: Even with all the cheating, I never once thought the House of Torture were going to regain the six-man titles, so that hampered the main event. I like Suzuk’s team and this is a great use for him.

I really enjoyed the Okada tag match for best of the show, even though it was short. I like that the finish came out of nowhere, but yet, Sanada got in a devastating blow that I’m sure Okada will be selling the rest of the week.


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