Live action returns to NJPW World this Monday night, October 7. New Japan Road will see the last statements made in-ring and out before King of Pro Wrestling on October 14 sets the stage for Wrestle Kingdom on January 4 & 5.
Main event: Kota Ibushi & Kazuchika Okada vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (EVIL & SANADA)
Direct tag record: 1-0 SANADA & EVIL
One week before SANADA challenges for Kazuchika Okada’s IWGP Heavyweight Championship at King of Pro Wrestling, and before EVIL takes on Ibushi the same night with Ibushi’s Tokyo Dome main event contract at stake, the second tag encounter between the golden team of Ibushi and Okada and two time IWGP Tag Team Champions.
As we have seen during the G1, any of these four men can beat any of the others. At the Hammerstein Ballroom on September 28, the shock was just how effectively EVIL shrouded New York in darkness. An emphatic EVIL folded Ibushi in half, and Ibushi’s legs as Tokyo Dome IWGP rights holder may be cut from under him just as effectively as they were for the pinfall at Fighting Spirit Unleashed. Ibushi, and Okada by extension, may be on the back foot. As Okada has found when teaming with Tanahashi, two of the best singles wrestlers in the world do not necessarily a winning tag team make, and this is a difficult match For even the Rainmaker and Golden Star to win.
6th Match- Hiroshi Tanahashi’s 20th Anniversary & NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match: Tomoaki Honma, YOSHI-HASHI & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Togi Makabe, Ryusuke Taguchi & Toru Yano
The New Japan Road will see Hiroshi Tanahashi celebrate 20 years wrestling in a New Japan ring. On October 10, 1999, Tanahashi stepped between the ropes for the first time opposite his Dojo senior, a junior heavyweight at the time called Shinya Makabe. Two decades on, Tanahashi and the since renamed Togi Makabe lead their own teams.
For Makabe, Toru Yano and Ryusuke Taguchi. This trio has held the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championships since January 3o, and back in June celebrated their record tying third successful defense of the hotly contested titles. After a non-title victory for team Tanahashi Friday night, the titles are up for grabs in Korakuen, and Tanahashi could lead a motivated trio to glory here. Especially motivated will be Honma, who will face off against his Great Bash Heel tag partner Makabe, and YOSHI-HASHI, who fell short in his attempt to capture NEVER singles gold in new York last week, but could end up finally earning his first New Japan championship as part of a team.
5th Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI) vs Suzuki-Gun (Taichi & DOUKI)
What is next for Tetsuya Naito? El Ingobernable seemed destined (destinoed?) for an opportunity at being the first ever IWGP double champion at Wrestle Kingdom, but lost out at winning the G1, and now doesn’t have the Intercontinental Championship around his waist, both thanks to Jay White. Now bereft of a single piece in his double gold puzzle, Naito will seek to regroup on the New Japan Road and into King of Pro Wrestling.
Taichi doubtless has his own extra slice of resentment for Naito. Having beaten the Los Ingobernables de Japon leader in Hokkaido during the G1, Taichi would have a strong claim to the IWGP Intercontinental Championship… if Naito still held it. With no white and gold to add a motivating factor to Taichi, the Holy Emperor may be particularly violent in an effort to prove that Naito belongs in his rear view mirror.
4th Match: CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, SHO & YOH) vs BULLET CLUB (Yujiro Takahashi, Taiji Ishimori, Jado & Gedo)
It’s not all to often of late that we see the legendary tag team of Jado and Gedo on the same BULLET CLUB combination. That’s what we have in Korakuen, but rather than being the focal points for CHAOS, they’re more than likely acting as surrogate recipients of the punishment they’d like to dole out.
For ever blow Hirooki Goto will mete out in this match, especially to Gedo, he’ll be thinking of his as of yet unaccepted challenge to Intercontinental Champion Jay White. Then there’s SHO and YOH, who after being Killshot out of IWGP Tag Team Championship contention in the US last week will be looking to refocus on the upcoming Super Junior Tag League, and IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Taiji Ishimori and the absent El Phantasmo.
3rd Match: Tiger Mask & Jyushin Thunder Liger vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
Jyushin Thunder Liger and Minoru Suzuki have been on a dangerous collision course for 17 years, and now it seems that on October 14 in Ryogoku Sumo Hall, they will finally converge and collide for the final violent time.
This is no mere preview tag bout, as Liger and Suzuki is no mere rivalry. Jyushin Thunder Liger returns just two weeks the events of Destruction in Kobe, and the reveal of Kishin Liger. In Kobe World Hall, Liger almost pierced Suzuki’s skull with a metal spike. What could possibly happen in Korakuen as a follow-up?
2nd Match: Toa Henare vs Shingo Takagi
First singles meeting.
It may be only the second match of the evening, but Toa Henare and Shingo Takagi’s singles bout may end up stealing the show in Korakuen Monday night. Paired with Young Lions through much of the G1 and Destruction tours, Henare is hungry for a big singles win that can take him to the next level, and his hard hitting style should make for a perfect match with the Dragon.
Takagi is not likely to be in the modd for sporting competition however. After possible overconfidence going into his match with Hirooki Goto in Kobe cost him a win, Takagi will be intent on getting back in the win column, and staking a claim to a big spot on the Tokyo Dome cards January 4 & 5.
1st Match: Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Yuya Uemura vs Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi & Yota Tsuji
In the opening match of the evening, Young Lions Yuya Uemura and Yota Tsuji continue their long standing rivalry as part of opposing trios with veterans; Uemura will team with Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima while Tsuji will be joined by Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi.
Tsuji and Uemura had disappointing Young Lion Cup campaigns from a purely points scoring standpoint, but built character in spades. Uemura gained intensity as the tournament went on, while Tsuji added new moves to his arsenal that reflected his desire to be a lucha libre influenced heavyweight going forward.
Adding to the growth they’ve undertaken is the fact that Tsuji and Uemura now stand as Noge Dojo seniors. With Ren Narita and Shota Umino now on excursion to LA and the UK respectively, Tsuji and Uemura are the Dojo’s prime representatives; they’ll be treated with sterner eyes and approaches from their seniors in this match to suit.
Okada and SANADA contract signing
Additionally, before New Japan Road gets underway, there’ll be a contract signing at 6PM for Kazuchika Okada and SANADA’s IWGP Heavyweight Championship match at King of Pro Wrestling! What statements will Okada and SANADA make in advance of their title match on October 14?