New Japan Pro Wrestling
Summer Struggle 2021
August 7, 2021
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

Summer Struggle continues as the Super Junior Tag League 2021 begins. Three tournament matches top this five-match card, including today’s main event. Roppongi 3K lead El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori 3-1 in head-to-head matchups. The sole victory for the BULLET CLUB Junior duo was for the most recent match in the series and was for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship. Does R3K regain its dominance, or do ELP and Ishimori maintain their winning ways?

Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe, & Toru Yano def. BULLET CLUB (Jado, Yujiro Takahashi, & Chase Owens)

With the addition of Owens and Yano furthering their feud with Yano sticking a microphone in Owens’ face to make him say “I Quit” this match is what you expect. Everyone gets their spots in, Yano removes a turnbuckle, hilarity ensues(?), the referee misses Jado hitting people with the world’s loudest kendo stick, the usual. Yano hits Jado’s jewels and rolls him up for the pin. Short open, did what it needed to, New Japan template of a multi-man. **1/2

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi, BUSHI, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito) def. Tomoaki Honma, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, & Hirooki Goto

The majority of this match’s first half is YOSHI-HASHI in peril as everyone in LIJ gets a turn pushing the poor fellow. When that ended, Ishii and SANADA kick it into the next gear for a bit. Ishii tags in Honma, and the match is his and SANADA’s until he taps to the Skull End. The NEVER 6-Man feud gets heated a bit in the post-match. Saw some moments of fast-paced action and tag team combinations which I’ll always appreciate. Good match. ***1/4

Tiger Mask & Robbie Eagles def. BULLET CLUB (Dick Togo & Gedo)

There was too much stalling at the beginning of a match with Robbie Eagles in it. Togo and Gedo, doing old-school heelwork on Tiger Mask. Tiger tags in Eagles, and he’s practically taking both guys out by himself. GEDO DROPS EAGLES ON HIS HEAD! And it’s still a 2-count! Aside from a brief but crucial rescue by Tiger Mask after that spot and despite Gedo knocking down the ref, Robbie just dominated the rest of the match. Gedo tapped to the Ron Miller Special. A decent contest that was taken to another level when Eagles got the tag. ***3/4

Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado) def. Master Wato & Ryusuke Taguchi

Taguchi’s the third babyface in peril in the third match in a row. To his credit, El Desperado was entertaining in his role as Taguchi’s torturer. Master Wato tags in, and he and Despy go for stiff attacks. Both Taguchi and Kanemaru get their respective tags, and Kanemaru gets the surprise roll-up on Taguchi to win. The match got time with the brief Despy/Wato stuff being fun. Not enough serious Taguchi for my liking, but the action was solid. ***1/2

BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori) def. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH)

R3K comes out with their strange, vintage Virtua Fighter theme music. YOH is the lucky winner of being babyface in peril number four. ELP and Ishimori work him over for a while as they also do outside attacks and troll spots. SHO gets in the match with a short but energized burst of offense. With that, R3K brings out the BULLET CLUB’s serious side, and the action picks up. Ishimori takes out YOH with the Bloody Cross for the 3. Afterward, El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori rub their victory in their faces saying that SHO and YOH suck now and that they should quit. With those four, I was hoping for a little bit more meat to the match. It was pretty good work from both teams after SHO tagged in. ***3/4

Final Thoughts

A decent start to the Super Junior Tag League on a pretty standard Summer Struggle show otherwise.