NJPW “Road to Strong” results (6/17): Vetter’s review of Sanada and Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Hiromu Takahashi and Yota Tsuji, Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito vs. Taka Michinoku and Taichi, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Yoh vs. Shoto Umino, Tiger Mask, Ren Narita, and El Desperado

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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Road to Strong”
June 17, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan at Esforta Arena Hachioji
Streamed on New Japan World

This is a small arena with most of the fans seated on the floor, with a sparse crowd in the upper deck. Attendance is perhaps 600-800. There is Japanese-only commentary.

1) Master Wato defeated Kosei Fujita at 6:43. Wato again carried his BoSJ tournament to the ring. Basic offense early, with Fujita applying a Boston Crab at 4:30, but Wato reached the ropes. Wato hit his Mousetrap doublearm slam for the pin. Basic.

2) Tomoaki Honma and Boltin Oleg defeated Ryusuke Taguchi and Yuto Nakashima at 8:51. Taguchi and Oleg started, and it is startling how Oleg is so much thicker and more muscular; I have compared him to Lars Sullivan for his overall size. Honma missed a Kokeshi falling headbutt on Yuto at 2:30, and Yuto’s team worked Honma over. Taguchi tried a Kokeshi on Honma, but it only hurt himself. Funny spot. Honma then hit his own Kokeshi. Taguchi hit his mid-ring buttbumps on Oleg. Yuto and Honma traded forearm shots, with Yuto hitting some Yes Kicks to the chest. Honma hit a DDT and a clothesline on Yuto for a nearfall, then a leaping headbutt. Honma applied a Boston Crab, and Yuto tapped out.

3. “The House of Torture” EVIL, Sho, Yujiro Takashi, and Dick Togo defeated Toru Yano, Hirooki Goto, Togi Makabe, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan at 11:24. The HoT attacked at the bell. EVIL beat up Togi on the floor, and the heels worked over Togi in the ring. EVIL choked Togi with a towel. Goto made the hot tag at 7:30 and hit a double bulldog. Goto’s team took turns hitting moves on EVIL. Tenzan applied a Koji Clutch on the mat. However, with the ref distracted, Sho hit Tenzan wih his wrench. EVIL immediately hit the Everything is Evil uranage to pin Tenzan. Basic.

4. “The United Empire” TJP, Francesco Akira, and Great-O-Khan defeated “The Bullet Club” Drilla Moloney, Clark Connors, and Gedo at 11:52. TJP and Moloney started. Connors and Akira entered and they brawled. Akira hit his Doomsday Senton at 1:30. Moloney hit a doublestomp on O-Khan’s chest, and the heels worked over O-Khan. TJP made the hot tag and he hit a top-rope flying forearm and a dropkick at 7:30. TJP hit facewashes on each of the heels. Moloney and Connors hit a high-low combo on TJP for a nearfall, but O-Khan made the save. TJP hit a Tornado DDT on Moloney.

Akira and Connors tagged in at 9:30, with Akira hitting a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall. O-Khan hit his Mongolian Chops on Gedo and got a nearfall. Akira then hit a twisting neckbreaker to pin Gedo. The heels kept up the attack after the bell. Moloney got on the mic and said, “This (tag title) reign is not going to last long.” He vowed that the team of Akira and TJP is dead.

5. “Bullet Club War Dogs” Alex Coughlin and Gabe Kidd defeated Yoshi-Hashi and Oskar Leube at 11:50. They all brawled on the floor before entering the ring. In the ring, the heels worked over Leube. Kidd slammed a barricade onto Yoshi-Hashi on the floor at 3:30. Coughlin hit some stiff forearm shots on Leube in the ring and they remained in charge. Leube hit a Mafia Kick, and they were both down at 7:00. Yoshi-Hashi finally made the hot tag and he hit a Rude Awakening standing neckbreaker on Kidd.

Yoshi-Hashi hit a dropkick on Kidd, who was in the ropes, for a nearfall. He hit his Headhunter flipping neckbreaker. Leube hit a Hogan Legdrop for a nearfall at 10:00. Leube applied a Boston Crab on Coughlin and sat down for added pressure. The heels hit a team suplex on Leube for a nearfall. They then hit a team piledriver move to pin Leube. They kept beating up the faces until Hirooki Goto ran to the ring and made the save.

6. Yoh, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, and Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated Shoto Umino and Tiger Mask and “Strong Style” Ren Narita and El Desperado at 11:07. Ishii and Desperado opened and immediately hit shoulder tackles and forearm shots. Tanahashi hit a flip senton Shota. Desperado hit a side slam on Okada at 3:00. Tiger Mask applied a Figure Four on Okada. Teammates Ren Narita and Shota argued; they clearly have not been getting along in recent shows. Okada hit a flapjack. Tanahashi made the hot tag at 5:30 and he hit some forearm shots on Ren, then a dragon screw leg whip. Shota made a blind tag; he hit a basement dropkick on Tanahashi and a diving European Uppercut.

Tanahashi hit a dragon screw leg whip on Shota. Yoh entered and hit a flying forearm on Umino at 8:30. Umino hit a dropkick. Tiger Mask entered and hit a series of kicks on Yoh. Ishii and Desperado hopped in and traded more stiff offense, with Desperado hitting a spinebuster. Tiger Mask hit a Tiger Bomb for a nearfall on Yoh at 10:00. Okada hit a dropkick on Ren. Yoh hit a Falcon Arrow on Tiger Mask for a nearfall. Yoh then hit a superkick on Tiger Mask for the pin. Best match of the show.

7. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Shingo Takagi and Tetsuya Naito defeated “Just 5 Guys” Taka Michinoku and Taichi at 14:00. Shingo and Taichi, who apparently will fight each other until one of them dies, opened against each other. Taka and Naito entered at 4:00 and Taka hit a Mafia Kick. The heels worked over Naito extensively. Shingo entered and hit a suplex on Taichi at 10:00. Taka got back in and hit an enzuigiri on Shingo. Shingo hit a sliding clothesline on Taka for a nearfall. Shingo then nailed the Pumping Bomber decapitating clothesline to score the pin on Taka. Solid.

8. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Yota Tsuji and Hiromu Takahashi defeated “Just 5 Guys” Sanada and Yoshinobu Kanemaru at 20:22. Tsuji and Sanada started with some intense mat reversals. Kanemaru and Hiromu entered at 4:00. They fought to the floor, where Kanemaru whipped Hiromu into the guardrails. In the ring, Kanemaru hit a dropkick on Hiromu’s knee at 10:00, and they went right back to the floor. Tsuji finally made the hot tag at 12:00 and he hit a Mafia Kick on Sanada.

Sanada fired back with some dropkicks, then a plancha to the floor on Tsuji. In the ring, Tsuji hit a kneelift to the jaw. Sanada placed Tsuji’s feet on the top rope and hit a twisting neckbreaker at 14:30. Hiromu got back in and hit a basement dropkick on Kanemaru’s face. Sanada hit a dragon screw leg whip on Hiromu as Takahashi was tied in the ropes, and Kanemaru immediately applied a Figure Four on Hiromu, who finally reached the ropes at 18:00. Kanemaru immediately hit an inverted DDT for a nearfall.

Sanada put Tsuji in the Skull End dragon sleeper, but Tsuji quickly escaped, and he hit a dropkick on Sanada. Tsuji hit a Stinger Splash on Kanemaru, then a Bulldog Powerslam and a spear. Hiromu put Kanemaru on his shoulders and hit the Time Bomb slam for the pin. Good match.

Final Thoughts: Like the last televised show a week ago, NJPW is in a holding pattern, as many stars are headed to Canada for Forbidden Door next week, ahead of the G1 Climax tournament.


Be the first to comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.