First of three nights in Korakuen bridges New Beginnings in Sapporo and Osaka
With fallout from Sapporo and future battles in Osaka surrounding Korakuen Hall, three midweek nights in Suidobashi will see some memorable elimination clashes and a title match to head toward on Thursday night.
Main event- Elimination match: CHAOS (SHO, YOH, Will Ospreay & Kazuchika Okada) vs Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taichi & Zack Sabre Junior)
Our main event elimination match sees one match in preview and two in review. ZSJ and Will Ospreay have their British Heavyweight Championship match in the rear view mirror, and Taichi and Okada’s Sunday Sapporo bout is similarly behind them, but ill will certainly still exists. Saturday in Sapporo, a vicious and brutal assault from Taichi and ZSJ led many to wonder whether Okada would make it to the main event of Sunday February 2, but it was the Rainmaker that emerged victorious. That win for Okada came moments after Ospreay was unable to respond to the referee while ZSJ had him in an excruciating ground cobra, a stoppage the end result leading to a British Heavyweight title retention.
Meanwhile Roppongi 3K and the combination of Desperado and Kanemaru are set to collide in Osaka Sunday. Suzuki-Gun typically approach elimination tag matches like these with reckless abandon, and top priority may be to prevent the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions from making it to February 9 in one piece.
6th Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (SANADA, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito) vs BULLET CLUB (KENTA, Jay White & El Phantasmo)
A pair of Osaka previews in our semi main event sees Tetsuya Naito tie up with KENTA and SANADA face off with Jay White before they clash on February 9. Saturday night in Sapporo, a chair based distraction from Gedo led to Jay White scoring a pinfall win over SANADA, while night two in Hokkaido saw
Then there’s BUSHI, who finds a junior heavyweight opposite number in El Phantasmo tonight. In separate blocks in last year’s Best of the Super Juniors, and with BUSHI not competing in last year’s Super Junior Tag League, he and ELP have rarely crossed paths. Could something be born out of their meeting in Korakuen Hall?
5th Match: CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto & Robbie Eagles) vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (Shingo Takagi, EVIL & Hiromu Takahashi)
Fallout from Saturday night in Sapporo will certainly play a big factor in this six man bout; Shingo Takagi ended Hirooki Goto’s fifth NEVER Openweight Championship with zero defences in Sapporo on Saturday night, but it wasn’t all LIJ’s evening. After EVIL couldn’t get past the wall that is Tomohiro Ishii, the King of Darkness will have tough questions to ask himself, and he hopes to find some answers tonight.
There’s also the future to think about. Thursday night’s main event will see the LIJ trio of Shingo, EVIL and BUSHI defend their NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Championships against Goto Ishii and Eagles for the first time, and this is a valuable chance for a formidable trio of challengers to make a statement. Then there’s the prospect for Eagles to score another win over the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu after he already effectively spoiled Takahashi’s return in Korakuen in December, and submitted Hiromu’s partner BUSHI twice in tag matches in Sapporo over the weekend.
4th Match: Manabu Nakanishi & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Minoru Suzuki & DOUKI
With less than three weeks until his February 22 retirement, Manabu Nakanishi’s remaining matches are in the single figures as he teams up with Hiroyoshi Tenzan for one of the last few times tonight. Yet one only has to recall Minoru Suzuki’s interactions with Jyushin Thunder Liger through 2019 to realize that the King is not about to hand Nakanishi a gold watch and shake him by the hand. No mere exhibition, things will get violent in Korakuen in our fourth match of the evening.
3rd Match: Great Bash Heel (Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe) vs Toa Henare & Yota Tsuji
Just 48 hours removed from their singles match kicking off night two of New Beginning in Sapporo, Yota Tsuji and Toa Henare have to team up to take on GBH. Honma and Makabe will make up their usual formidable team against the younger duo, but with Henare and Tsuji both eager to make a mark in 2020, there’s no time like the present for a major victory.
2nd Match: Yuya Uemura vs Taiji Ishimori
A pair of singles matches see Young Lions take on established stars to open the night’s proceedings. Yuya Uemura takes on Taiji Ishimori after Uemura and mentor Tiger Mask faced Ishimori and ELP in Sapporo. As Uemura continues to make progress and waves with the audience, can he make a mark on the former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champ Ishimori?
1st Match: Ryusuke Taguchi vs Gabriel Kidd
Our opening bout sees Gabriel Kidd’s second demanding singles contest in a row. After facing El Phantasmo in Sapporo Sunday, the young Briton now takes on the man who beat ELP during Best of the Super Juniors. Ryusuke Taguchi may coach some tough lessons to Kidd in Korakuen.