New Japan Pro Wrestling
Summer Struggle 2020 – Day 13
August 27, 2020
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

Yota Tsuji def. Yuya Uemura

Another great fiery Young Lion opener. Uemura is developing a nice style mixing technical wrestling as well as some brawling due to his new and improved egg-based body shape. Tsuji likewise has improved significantly though he is still somewhat lagging behind the other Young Lions. With that said he has the perfect frame to become a heavyweight straightaway and will likely fill the role taken up by the likes of Manabu Nakanishi. Though I am more than happy if he surprises me and ascends to a sphere higher than that post excursion. Then again, it is somewhat up in the air if New Japan will be able to send people on excursion in the near future and what that means for this current crop of Young Lions. Maybe we’ll see a couple more non-excursion graduations ala Karl Fredrick soon.

CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI) def. Tomoaki Honma, Satoshi Kojima & Yuji Nagata

This actually would have made a good first defense for the new champions. Most of the match was worked well but there were some rough sequences between Hashi and Honma at the finish that dragged the match down a bit. Nevertheless, he continues to keep getting wins for his team to solidify that he is an equal part of this team, which is nice. He obviously will never be a major player but its good that New Japan is willing to elevate him a little. Based on the post-match we might get Nagata going after the Never Six-Man titles in the future and it will be interesting to see who his partners will be for that.

CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & Toru Yano) def. BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi, Gedo & Jado)

After yesterday’s terrible match this can only be an improvement. New Japan needs to vacate the Jr Tag title as SHO looks like a geek still coming out with that belt. With the recent news that New Japan might allow foreign residents to return soon I hope that this is the end of Jado in the ring. He is completely immobile and is easily the worst wrestler in any major promotion right now. As this was just a normal six-man tag it was better than yesterday’s atrocity of a main even but it still wasn’t very good. Please no more Okada vs Yujiro.

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LIJ (BUSHI, SANDADA & Shingo Takagi) def. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Douki & El Desperado)

The focus of this match was the upcoming NEVER Openweight match between Shingo and Suzuki. Shingo’s title reign has been the best in the company so far this year and it’s not even close. That match should continue this trend as they build a lot of heat for it here. I was surprised about the lack of interaction between Despy and SANADA since they are in the KOPW four-way at Jingu but then again SANDA doesn’t seem to really about it anyway. The usual SANDA finishing sequence with Moonsault into Dragon Sleeper works so much better with someone significantly smaller than him like Douki here. This was a very good six-man tag a worked at a decent pace as most LIJ six-man tags are. That whole faction just has the best chemistry for multi-man matches.

Golden Ace (Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi) & Master Wato def. Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)

We go right into the match as Kanemaru launches a sneak attack on Wato before Golden Ace can even come out. Tanahashi ends up wrestling most of the match, which is interesting given that this was just a Road to six-man tag. They are teasing that Tanahashi has finally overcome his weakness though in reality he still needs Ibushi to bail him out. I fully expect them to break up and have a feud that will result in Ibushi becoming the “leader” of the New Japan home army. Though I will miss their post-match posing. I fully expect the tag title match to be very good but I am interested to see who Dangerous Tekkers will feud with after this.

BULLET CLUB (EVIL & Taiji Ishimori) def. LIJ (Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi)

New Japan ran with this match as the main event on most of these Road To shows and it has made me a lot more optimistic for the main event of Jingu. To put it mildly, I was not a fan of the Dominion main event but I have liked their interactions on this tour. Naito has been showing a lot more fire, which was desperately missing from the Dominion match. If we get this Naito on Saturday there is a chance that we will get a very good main event as long as they don’t go overboard on the interference.

Ishimori and Hiromu should have a very good match on Saturday as well but I’m not invested in their feud and neither seems Hiromu. Really, Ishimori feels more like an accessory on the actual feud which is still Hiromu and Naito vs EVIL. This played into the finish as well where EVIL took out Hiromu and Ishimori came in afterward to lazily drape the Junior title over Hiromu’s fallen body.

Final Thoughts

This show felt like it flew by. Nothing really dragged but there also wasn’t anything that will blow you away. If you have a couple of hours to spare and want to watch some wrestling you can’t go wrong with this show but you can also safely skip it as well.