It’s been a while since the last major New Japan Pro Wrestling event, but we’re at Wrestling Dontaku! This two night event will see plenty of major title matches, but first we need to see what is happening in the undercard! Let’s waste no time, and get into what should be some fun undercard tag team action!
Tiger Mask, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Master Wato & Toru Yano vs BULLET CLUB (EVIL, Taiji Ishimori, Yujiro Takahashi & Dick Togo)
Starting the night is an eight man tag team match. EVIL & Toru Yano recently clashed over the King Of Pro Wrestling championship, with Yano winning out. Now, they team with allies to try to get back on track, especially with Wrestle Grand Slam on the horizon.
After hitting the Too Sweet, Bullet Club got a sneak attack on their opponents. EVIL & Yano remained in the ring, and Yano exposed a corner post. Tenzan & Takahashi tagged in, and Tenzan dropped him with a brainbuster for a two count. Takahashi came back with the sliding dropkick, before throwing Tenzan outside the ring. Choking Tenzan with his cane to do extra damage, Takahashi welcomed Dick Togo to take some cheap shots.
Back in the ring, Ishimori tagged in and worked over the neck of Tenzan, before EVIL tagged in and applied the Abdominal Stretch. The rest of Bullet Club helped add leverage, before Dick Togo tagged in and lost control. Master Wato tagged in and hit some well timed kicks to stun Togo, before a swan-dive uppercut. The Crucifix Driver wasn’t successful, but a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker got a two count. Ishimori tagged in and hit a German Suplex for a two count. Bloody Cross was countered, but so was Wato’s counter attack.
Tiger Mask managed to get a tag and set up the Tiger Driver on Ishimori, but was unable to hit it. His partners came in as they rushed Ishomori in the corner with strikes, before Tiger Mask hit a top rope Butterfly Suplex, with Takahashi barely breaking the pin up. Ishimori countered Tiger Suplex and hit Bloody Cross for the win.
Solid action, especially during the finishing stretch with Ishimori & Tiger Mask. There were no matches to build for tomorrow in this one, but a win for Bullet Club coming eight years to the day after their creation and hearing their classic theme song again was all worth it. Unremarkable, but fun. Match Rating: 2.75/5 (** 3/4)
CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & YOH) vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
Tomorrow night, we are seeing YOH take on El Desperado for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship, but tonight he teams with SHO & a returning Kazuchika Okada to take on his opponent, his tag team partner in Yoshinobu Kanemaru and the sadistic Minoru Suzuki in a six man tag team match.
YOH would rush in early to attack Desperado, stomping him down in the Suzuki-Gun corner. They’d trade blows in the middle of the ring, with Desperado taking a front dropkick. SHO tagged in as everything turned into an outside brawl, with Suzuki stretching Okada on the floor. Back in the ring, Desperado slammed SHO and tagged Kanemaru to keep control. Suzuki got a tag, and SHO could do little to even stun the veteran until he got a lucky suplex.
Okada got the tag, and would run Suzuki down with a back elbow. Another back elbow in the corner was followed by a DDT for a two count, as he’d look to wake the crowd up. Suzuki had a kick countered and Okada asked the MMA legend to hit him. A flurry of forearms in the middle of the ring followed, and Okada stayed in the fight to hit a dropkick.
Desperado & YOH tagged in and picked up where they left in, with YOH hitting a swinging neckbreaker. A spinebuster followed from Desperado, who tried to apply Numero Dos but YOH dashed to the ropes. Kanemaru tagged in and got the Figure Four Leg Lock, and SHO made the save. Roppongi 3K would hit their finisher, but Suzuki broke the pinfall up. YOH hit a jumping facebuster and the double underhook swinging DDT for the win.
This one was better than expected, with YOH really showing that he’s becoming a star much like SHO. His match with El Desperado should be great, and it’s always fun seeing Okada & Suzuki clash. Fast paced action from the start, and another strong opening tag. Match Rating: 3.25/5 (*** 1/4)
Los Ingobernables De Japón (Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI) vs United Empire (Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb & Aaron Henare)
Much like how YOH got a chance to test El Desperado ahead of his title match tomorrow night, Shingo Takgai has that chance with Will Ospreay as well. Tomorrow, Shingo gets his first chance to become the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion. It won’t be easy, but he’s won one out of their three matches, so he knows it’s possible. A chance to have an edge going into the match won’t be taken lightly.
Shingo & Ospreay would start this match with a strike off in the middle of the ring. They’d trade forearm strikes and shoulder tackles before Shingo dropped Ospreay. Ospreay sprung back to his feet, and went for Oscutter, only to be countered into a side headlock. Shingo went for a tag, but Ospreay cut him off and tagged in Cobb. BUSHI & SANADA helped to take Cobb down, and Henare trying to get into help distracted the referee.
Cobb was met by BUSHI in the ring after a tag, and took a big dropkick off the middle rope. Outside the ring, Shingo was thrown into the ring post shoulder first by Ospreay. BUSHI would be hit with a delayed vertical suplex in the middle of the ring, before Cobb hit a standing moonsault. Henare got a tag and hit a double headbutt alongside Cobb.
Ospreay tagged in as Henare hit a PK, and he’d try to choke BUSHI out in the middle of the ring. BUSHI fought free only to be attacked by O-Khan. A hurricanrana allowed him to tag Naito, who nailed a neckbreaker for a two count. He’d look to choke O-Khan with his braid, but the referee didn’t allow this.
SANADA got a tag, but O-Khan used Naito as a weapon to swat him away. Henare tagged in and punched away at SANADA in the corner before hitting a rising knee strike and a PK. SANADA would get planted with a huge sidewalk slam, before being sent into the Spin-Cycle of Cobb. Outside the ring, Ospreay & Shingo were brawling again, with Shingo sent into the steel.
In the ring, SANADA got the Dragon Sleeper on Henare before Cobb ran him over with a lariat. All hell broke loose as members of both team rushed in one after another, hitting signature moves. Henare stood tall in the end with the Rampage, before nearly getting SANADA with the Fisherman Buster. SANADA quickly countered and applied the European Clutch for the win.
L.IJ have always been incredible in multi-man tag team matches, and United Empire despite being a new group is almost able to match their chemistry. Their tag team encounters throughout the Road To tour have all been great, and that carried through to this show. Match Rating: 3.5/5 (*** 1/2)
What was your favorite match of the undercard? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.
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