New Japan Pro Wrestling
New Japan Road
February 20, 2020
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

YOTA TSUJI  DEF. GABRIEL KIDD

Gabriel Kidd has done some nice things since arriving as the latest Young Lion and this was a fairly decent showing here against the big beefy boys of the Tokyo Dojo. This being a quintessential Young Lions match there certainly was a ceiling on how good this actually could be. Not a lot of personality in this one. **1/2

MINORU SUZUKI, TAICHI, EL DESPERADO & YOSHINOBU KANEMARU DEF. WILL OSPREAY, HIROOKI GOTO, YOSHI-HASHI & YUYA UEMURA 

Now, if you want personality in a Young Lion, look no further than Yuya Uemura here. Ran into the ring and immediately began attacking the Suzuki-Gun quartet with an eye on Suzuki – somebody say death wish? It was this type of personality that pretty much made him the biggest star of an otherwise uneventful match. After the match Suzuki got Uemura up for the Gotch-Style Piledriver however dropped him in a show of ‘”not worth my energy” disrespect. **3/4

KAZUCHIKA OKADA, TORU YANO & COLT CABANA DEF. TOGI MAKABE, TOMOAKI HONMA & TOA HENARE

Okada and Henare were barely in it which left it up to the comedy duo and the old duo. Not really for me. **

YUJI NAGATA, SATOSHI KOJIMA, HIROYOSHI TENZAN, MANABU NAKANISHI & TIGER MASK DEF. TETSUYA NAITO, HIROMU TAKAHASHI, EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI

The second of four, yes four retirement matches for Manabu Nakanishi and I have to give him credit, he is trying very hard. This was easily the best match on the show up until this point. LIJ went full heel and was a great contrast to the warm dad energy the third-generation guys give off. Interestingly enough, Kojima pinned EVIL which the astute Andrew Rich pointed out could lead to a NEVER 6 man title match if the LIJ trio are to retain tomorrow. EVIL, BUSHI and Shingo vs. Kojima, Tenzan and Nagata? Yes please! as for this match? pretty fun. ***1/4

JAY WHITE, TAMA TONGA, TANGA LOA & BAD LUCK FALE DEF. HIROSHI TANAHASHI, KOTA IBUSHI, JUICE ROBINSON & DAVID FINLAY

This was good, this was fine but what this did was do build tomorrow’s tag title match incredibly well. For the second time, The Guerillas use a belt shot to beat Finjuice and then proceed to beat the shit out of Tanahashi and Ibushi: their opponents for their tag belts tomorrow. Their match was already interesting in just seeing if they would put the belts on the singles stars that are teaming but now theres some heat there and that will add to the match just that much more. ***



IWGP JR. TAG TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP
SHO & YOH (C) DEF. RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & ROCKY ROMERO

Taguchi and Romero in a big spot and they are guaranteed to kill it every time. This was so awesome and probably the best tag match all year so far. I’m getting deja vu writing this but I think Taguchi is one of the best hot tags in wrestling and for an older gentleman that has started to rely on his comedy, his offense is still always so smooth. Rocky has this weird loveable loser charisma about him which is weird since he has won these belts on eight previous occasions. I think it’s from when he stepped into a primarily managerial position the crowd just want to see him get one more big win and it just adds to every near fall he’s apart of whether it’s doing the pinning or the kicking out. Speaking of near falls, there was a fantastic call back from the Super Jr. Tag league match where Rocky rolled up SHO for the win which created an incredible near fall. Almost as good as tag wrestling can get between two over babyface teams. ****1/4

NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP
SHINGO TAKAGI (C) DEF. TOMOHIRO ISHII

HOLY SHIT! Put your big boy pants on folks because this was fucking big boy match.

It’s been said one million times before but Tomohiro Ishii is one of the greatest wrestlers on the planet and has been for nearly a decade and yet this would still probably crack his ‘Best of DVD’. These guys just killed each other but the match wasn’t just two of the best hosses in wrestling running into each other, oh no, the timing on their counters, the fire these men showed, I’m at a loss of how else to describe this. Looking at my #star ratings this year I think this is definitely in the top 3. However, I feel it falls just below a 4.75 but it’s better than a 4.5…****2/3 

FINAL THOUGHTS

A fine yet nothing show until it got to the semi main and my word did it take off. Go out of your way to watch the last two matches of NJPW’s New Japan Road, actually just go do it right now.