A trio of consecutive Korakuen Hall nights comes to a close on Friday September 6 as the Road to Destruction sees its third night of action.
Main event: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Junior)
Third in a stretch of hot tag team main events this week is Hiroshi Tanahashi teaming with Ryusuke Taguchi to take on a Suzuki-Gun tandem of Zack Sabre Junior and Minoru Suzuki.
Tanahashi and ZSJ are heading to a British Heavyweight Championship match next Sunday in Beppu, but Minoru Suzuki is still yet to make his next move known after losing to Kazuchika Okada in London. For now, it’s Taguchi that’s born the brunt of his frustration, with the King punishing Taguchi in ring and out to start the Destruction tour. Does Taguchi have an answer as Ace and Arse team up?
7th Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (EVIL & Tetsuya Naito) vs BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Jay White)
Chase Owens had a good start to his Road to Destruction campaign, having polished off Toa Henare with a Package Piledriver on night one. Now in the more high pressured semi-main event spot, Owens has the intimidating prospect of EVIL and Naito, and the expectations from Jay White upon him to make sure BULLET CLUB leaves with the win. The Switchblade left London on August 31, and Korakuen on September 4 frustrated by LIJ. He’ll have to retain his cool and keep a solid gameplan if he’s to get an upper hand on Naito heading into their September 22 Intercontinental title match in Kobe.
6th Match: CHAOS (Rocky Romero, Hirooki Goto & Kazuchika Okada) vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (BUSHI, Shingo Takagi & SANADA)
SANADA got his Road to Destruction off to a solid start when he pinned Hirooki Goto on night one in Korakuen, and will be looking to push the advantage here. After night one, Shingo Takagi suggested that Goto lost because he was too focused on the Dragon and not on the match at hand; will that continue to be the case? Meanwhile, Rocky Romero gets another chance to lay hands on his nemesis BUSHI.
5th Match: Toa Henare, Robbie Eagles & Will Ospreay vs BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori)
The Birds of Prey, Eagles and Ospreay continue to look ahead to their Kagoshima IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team title match on September 16 in this six man match. Ishimori spoke (albeit disingenuously) of late about feeling ‘almost sad’ about taking on his former partner from last year’s Super Junior Tag League, but came to the conclusion that ELP is a superior partner.
Speaking of former partners, Fale and Henare’s connections in the Maori Warrior’s origins in New Zealand were strong, but Henare chose his own path in NJPW instead of taking an open door to BULLET CLUB. Henare is not one to take the easy path, and will always go after the biggest dog in any given fight; it’s a guarantee he will be charging at Fale in Korakuen.
4th Match: Tomoaki Honma, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii vs BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi, Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga)
The preview matches leading up to September 15 in Beppu and Guerrillas of Destiny versus Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI match have had a layer of spice added this week. After Ishii suplexed Loa out of his boots and YOSHI-HASHI landed Kumagoroshi on Tonga September 4, their non-title tag match became an official IWGP Tag Team Championship contest.
For all of GoD’s amoral tactics, they don’t back down from many fights. The Guerrillas will be looking to make a statement at the new number one contenders’ expense this Friday night.
3rd Match: Yuya Uemura, Shota Umino & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Yota Tsuji, Ren Narita & Satoshi Kojima
Tenzan and Kojima team up with Young Lions once more, as this six man tag match sees previews of Togane in Chiba.
Shota Umino and Yota Tsuji were handed painful early losses by LA Dojo opponents Wednesday. Coming up next, they have to take on their coutnrymen for the first time in the league. Will their gameplans change as they hunger for points?
2nd Match: Clark Connors (1-0) vs Karl Fredericks (0-1)
The first all LA Dojo bout of the Young Lion Cup should be a passionate battle indeed. Their only singles bout came earlier in the year as part of the New Beginning in USA tour, a match that went to a ten minute draw. The clock then, could become a factor in this bout between what many perceive as the top two LA prospects.
Katsuyori Shibata himself has dubbed Connors the ‘captain of the LA Dojo’, a sentiment that likely will not sit well with Fredericks. Expect the two to start fast and strong, and to maintain that pace for close to 15 minutes.
1st Match: Alex Coughlin (1-0) vs Michael Richards (1-0)
Alex Coughlin and Michael Richards may be coming to the Young Lion Cup from very different parts of the world, but they have a good deal in common. Not least of which is a chip on the shoulder. Due to ilness, Coughlin missed out on the chance to join the G1 Climax tour, and saw a lot of praise being heaped on his LA Dojo teammates from afar. Training with Josh Barnett in the States, he would come in with a lot of focus and aggression, instantly scoring an impressive win over Yota Tsuji.
Richards meanwhile has seen much of the conversation around the Young Lion Cup hone in on the New Japan and LA Dojo rivalry, and nothing said of the Fale Dojo. He will be looking to make his mark representing the antipodean crew Friday night and scooping his first two points of the tournament.