Uemura and Tsuji’s challenges continue against Ace and Rainmaker

Young Lions battle Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada in Korakuen

Yuya Uemura and Yota Tsuji continued their singles gauntlets in Korakuen Hall on June 16, Uemura facing Hiroshi Tanahashi while Tsuji took on Kazuchika Okada. 

Having already been pushed uncomfortably hard by Tsuji two days prior, Tanahashi was somewhat cagey in the opening moments with Uemura before a snug lock up saw the Ace steadily worked to the ropes. Uemura thought to go to the legs after the damage done by Tsuji, but Tanahashi responded in kind, taking a heel hook and keeping control with a headlock on the ground. 

Uemura would turn the tides and doggedly persisted with his own headlock, and as Tanahashi worked free and went for the arm of his foe, the young man uncorked some strong elbows. The Ace put a stop to the offensive flurry with an Indian Deathlock that dealt heavy damage to his young opponent’s knees; though Uemura got free, his follow up dropkicks were accompanied by a wince. 

Still, with a yell of fighting spirit, a running forearm took down Tanahashi, but Uemura would be stopped by a Dragon Screw and then the Texas Cloverleaf. After the Young Lion made the ropes, Tanahashi went on the run perhaps looking for Slingblade, but was countered with a Deadbolt Suplex, and then the Boston Crab , Tanahashi screaming in pain as he reached the ropes. 

A top rope cross body followed for Uemura, who wanted Tanahashi’s old Dragon Suplex finisher on the Ace. Tanahashi punished the attempt with a slap and Twist and Shout, but Uemura responded with a suplex. Still, Uemura was by now on borrowed time. A Slingblade was followed y the Texas Cloverleaf for the submission. 

Up next, Tsuji had the intimidating task of Kazuchika Okada in the second match of the night. Instantly exploding out the blocks, Tsuji scored a dropkick on the Rainmaker, and followed with a tackle that put Okada to the mat where he was met with mounted forearms. A boot from the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion instantly changed the match however, and Okada slowed the pace with slams and considered, punishing strikes. 

As Okada built steam, Tsuji closed distance to his foe with a dropkick and tried to make the most of his offense with tackles at the five minute mark before eventually muscling the Rainmaker over with a suplex. When Tsuji went for the three point stance spear though, he would be leapt over by Okada, who put the Young Lion in a Cobra Twist with an Inoki-ist chin for added humiliation; if the Rainmaker was having fun, a slam on the floor ensured that Tsuji wouldn’t. 

Nonetheless, Tsuji frantically worked free of a Tombstone event, and battled through Okada’s taunts to land a right open hand. As Tsuji went on the run however, he was quickly caught with a dropkick by Okada, who teased a Rainmaker, only to quickly cradle Tsuji instead for three. 

Next on the agenda for Tsuji and Uemura are Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi respectively on Tuesday June 22.