NJPW “Road to Tokyo Dome” results (12/21): Vetter’s review of Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Tomohiro Ishii vs. United Empire for the Never Openweight Six-Man Tag Titles, Taichi vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru for the KOPW Title

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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Road to Tokyo Dome”
December 21, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World

Walker Stewart and Chris Charlton provided commentary.

1. Masked Horse and Masked Boltin defeated Tiger Mask and Toru Yano at 4:25. Walker and Chris pretended we couldn’t figure out that Masked Horse is Ryusuke Taguchi. Yano and MH used the corner pads. Boltin Oleg flipped Yano around in his arms, showing off his impressive strength. Taguchi hit his butt bumps (erasing any doubt who is under the mask.) He rolled up Tiger Mask for the pin. Forgettable.

2. “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Kosei Fujita and Zack Sabre Jr. defeated Oskar Leube and Yuto Nakashima at 9:41. Sabre wore his TV Title. Yuto and Kosei opened and immediately traded forearm strikes. Sabre got in and TMDK kept Yuto in their corner. Leube got in and hit a bodyslam. Sabre hit some European Uppercuts on Leube. Leube hit a Bulldog Powerslam on Sabre at 8:00. Sabre applied a sleeper on Leube; as they fell to the mat, Sabre turned it into a Dragon Sleeper, and Leube tapped out. Nice finish.

3. “United Empire” Callum Newman, TJP, and Francesco Akira defeated “Bullet Club” Dan Moloney, Clark Connors, and Gedo at 9:47. TJP and Akira carried their Super Junior Tag League trophies to ringside. Moloney and Connors wheeled a casket to ringside. The UE rollled to the floor and all six brawled at ringside to open. Moloney and Newman traded forearm strikes in the ring, and Calum hit some roundhouse kicks to the chest. Gedo choked Newman in the corner, and the BC worked Callum over. Newman finally hit his running boot on Moloney at 6:30. TJP entered and hit a top-rope crossbody block on two opponents.TJP hit his Facewash in the corner on Moloney. Connors popped up and hit a powerslam on TJP at 9:00. TJP and Akira hit their front-and-back kicks on Gedo, and TJP made the cover. The Bullet Club beat up Akira and TJP after the bell.

4. “House of Torture” EVIL, Sho, and Ren Narita defeated Shota Umino, Master Wato, and Tomoaki Honma at 8:41. The entire HoT came to ringside, with Ren wearing a robe that makes him look like the Emporer from Star Wars, and he was introduced as “Souled Out” Ren Narita. Nice. All six brawled at the bell. Ren beat up Shota on the floor. In the ring, Sho was working over Wato. Shota hit an Exploder Suplex on EVIL at 4:30, then a tornado DDT on EVIL, and they were both down. Honma entered for the first time at 6:30 and he hit some chops on EVIL, then his Kokeshi falling headbutt for a nearfall. Honma hit a flying headbutt on EVIL for a nearfall. EVIL set up for Everything is Evil but Honma blocked it. Ren hit Honma in the back with a weapon while the ref was distracted. EVIL immediately hit the Everything is Evil uranage for the pin on Honma.

Kaito Kiyomiya and Ryohei Oiwa hit the ring and attacked the House of Torture! Shota finally got Ren Narita alone in the ring and got in some blows. The House of Torture scampered to the back. Shota shook hands with both Kaito and Oiwa and I’m liking this team-up.

5. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Hiromu Takahashi and Shingo Takagi defeated El Desperado and Satoshi Kojima at 7:43. Hiromu and Desperado opened and they traded forearm strikes. Desperado hit a Spinebuster at 4:30. Kojima and Shingo entered, and Satoshi dropped him with a shoulder tackle, and he hit his rapid-fire chops in the corner. Shingo hit his sliding clothesline on Kojima for a nearfall at 6:00. He then nailed a Pumping Bomber clothesline, but Desperado made the save. Kojima hit a clothesline, but Shingo hit one more Pumping Bomber for the pin. Good action.

6. “Just 5 Guys” Sanada, Douki, and Yuya Uemura (w/Taka Michinoku) defeated Los Ingobernobles de Japon Tetsuya Naito, Bushi, and Yota Tsuji at 10:26. Yota and Yuya opened. Everyone brawled to the floor, with Taichi whipping Sanada into the guardrail at 2:30. In the ring, LIJ worked over Douki. Douki hit a handspring-back-elbow on Naito. Sanda got the hot tag at 5:00 and hit some dropkicks, then a plancha to the floor on Naito. Sanada hit a huracanrana on Yota. Uemura got back in at 7:30 and hit chops on Yota, and they traded rollups. Bushi got in and hit a missile dropkick. Douki nailed a dive to the floor at 9:30. In the ring, Sanada tied Naito in the Paradise Lock. Uemura hit a top-rope crossbody block on Bushi, then a head-caputre suplex to pin Bushi. The camera panned over to Naito, who was still tied in the Paradise Lock, unable to free himself and save Bushi from the pinfall. Yota and Uemura argued some more after the bell.

7. Taichi defeated Yoshinobu Kanemaru to retain the KOPW Title at 25:20. A whiskey bottle was hung above the ring; anyone who grabs it can use it as a weapon. They brawled on the floor, and Kanemaru immediately got a ladder and tried to climb it, but Taichi cut him off. They brawled in the ring, and Kanemaru jabbed a ladder into Taichi’s knee at 6:00. Kanemaru climbed the ladder and got the bottle of whiskey; he took a swig and sprayed it on Taichi’s face. He poured it into Taichi’s mouth. Kanemaru applied a half-crab on the damaged knee at 9:30. Kanemaru applied a Figure Four at 12:30, and he hit a basement dropkick on the damaged knee, keeping Taichi grounded.

Taichi got the whiskey bottle at 16:30 but he tossed it to the floor rather than hitting Kanemaru with hit. He hit a Saito Suplex and set up for a powerbomb. The lights went out! When the lights came back on, EVIL and Sho were in the ring and helping to beat down Taichi. Dick Togo leapt off the ladder and hit a knife-edge chop to the groin of an upside-down Taichi. The heels poured several bottles of alcohol into a big bucket, and they shoved Taichi head-first into the bucket. Taichi fired up and hit a clothesline on Kanemaru, then a Saito Suplex for a nearfall at 20:30.

Kanemaru hit a low blow and a brainbuster for a nearfall. Kanemaru hit a top-rope moonsault for a neaerfall at 23:00. Kanemaru came off the ropes but Taichi caught him with a knee to the groin. Kanemaru hit an inverted DDT for a nearfall. Kanemaru picked up the bucket, but Taichi kicked the bucket into Yoshinobu’s face, splashing it everywhere. Taichi immediately hit the Black Mephisto/Air Raid Crash for the pin. Acceptable but it didn’t need to be this long.

* A LONG break to clean up the ring because alcohol did go everywhere at the end of that match.

8. Tomohiro Ishii, Kazuchika Okada, and Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated “United Empire” Jeff Cobb, Henare, and Great-O-Khan to retain the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Titles at 30:29. TJP, Newman and Akira joined UE at ringside. Okada and Cobb opened, and Cobb didn’t budge on shoulder tackle attempts, and he easily bodyslammed Okada. Ishii tagged in and hit some shoulder tackles on Cobb at 4:30. O-Khan hit his Mongolian Chops on Ishii. Tanahashi made the hot tag and entered for the first time at 8:30. He hit a swinging neckbreaker on O-Khan. Okada entered and hit a DDT on O-Khan for a nearfall at 11:00.

Cobb hit a standing moonsault on Tanahashi. O-Khan applied a Claw on Okada, and he bent Okada backward across the back. Okada hit a team faceplant move on O-Khan for a nearfall at 16:00. Okada hit a top-rope elbow drop on O-Khan and signaled for the Rainmaker, but O-Khan ducked it. Okada hit a clothesline and they were both down. Ishii re-entered, but O-Khan hit a gutbuster over his knee, then a fallaway slam. Henare hit a Berzerker Bomb on Ishii for a nearfall at 19:00. Ishii fired back with a back suplex and they were both down. Henare hit a Samoan Drop and a spinning kick to the head.

Okada hit a dropkick on Cobb. Ishii hit a Gernan Suplex on Henare, then a Dragon Suplex on O-Khan, and suddenly all six were down at 22:00. Ishii hi a standing powerbomb for a nearfall on Henare. Henare hit a sit-out powerbomb for a nearfall on Ishii at 24:30. Tanahashi accidentally hit Ishii! O-Khan hit a back suplex on Tanahashi. Henare hit a uranage on Ishii for a believable nearfall; I thought that was it. Cobb went for Tour of the Islands on Okada, but Okada escaped and hit a tombstone piledriver. Ishii hit a hard clothesline on Henare for a nearfall at 28:00. Henare hit a uranage for another believable nearfall. This crowd was hot! They traded headbutts. Ishii hit a sliding clothesline for a nearfall at 30:00. Ishii hit a brainbuster for the pin. That was really, really good.

Final Thoughts: A solid show. with a really good main event. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the titles changed hands, but I’m glad the NJPW all-stars retained. It’s great to have Francesco Akira and TJP back in Japan. The LIJ-J5G feud has been good and earned second-best match of the night. I just don’t get into comedy title belts, and I’d be fine if the KOPW Title just went away. I don’t need to see that much of Kanemaru in a singles match, either.


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