NJPW Road to Wrestling Dontaku 2017: Day 5
By Big Red Machine
From April 27, 2017
KATSUYA KITAMURA, SHOTA UMINO, & TIGER MASK IV vs. JUSHIN "THUNDER" LIGER, HIRAI KAWATO, & TOMOYUK OKA - 4.25/10
CHAOS (Toru Yano & Will Ospreay) vs. SUZUKI-GUN (El Desperado & TAKA Michinoku) - 3.75/10
Things were fine until Yano got the hot tag and started doing stupid Yano tricks.
HIROYOSHI TENZAN, SATOSHI KOJIMA, & DAVID FINLAY JR. vs. BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & The Guerrillas of Destiny) - 4.510
IWGP JR. HEAVYWEIGHT TAG TEAM TITLE MATCH:
Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi)(c) (w/Miho Abe & El Desperado) vs. Roppongi Vice- 7.5/10
This was an odd match for me because I liked most of the individual parts and it felt like a good pay-off to all of Suzuki-Gun's cheap victories over the past few months, and yet the match somehow felt like it was less than the sum of its parts. I am sick and tired of the overbooking taking place in New Japan and seeing mostly the same heel shenanigans in every match, and even though the story of this match was about the babyfaces overcoming those challenges, I just couldn't find myself getting that excited for it because I have absolutely no reason to believe that any of this will change anything. We're not suddenly going to get a rash of babyfaces coming out to stop outside heels from cheating like Jado & Gedo did here, and refs will continue to get pulled out of the ring right before the three count and Taichi is going to use the ring bell hammer in every single one of his matches and all of the other heels are going to press a chair or a guardrail or whatever into the babyfaces shoulder forever on the outside while the referee does absolutely nothing- not even count them out, never mind call for a DQ- and none of it will feel like it means anything because it happens all of the time... and as a result of none of it meaning anything, then the bayfaces overcoming it, like they did here, also doesn't feel like it means anything because I'm sure some other babyfaces will overcome this said thing in a few months, and then some different babyfaces will do the same thing a few months after that and so on and so forth until Gedo gets off his ass and does something about it. If you haven't been watching much New Japan over the past few years, you'll probably enjoy this more than I did, but I have tried to factor those feelings out of my rating as much as possible because the idea that nothing will change is pure speculation on my part, but I felt the need to mention it because it did greatly affect my enjoyment of the match.
LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON vs. HIROSHI TANAHASHI, JUICE ROBINSON, RYUSUKE TAGUCHI, RICOCHET, & YOSHITATSU - 7/10
Like the fun match these same two units had earlier this week except that while the action in this match was better, it was also brought down by the dumb comedy involving Taguchi.
BULLET CLUB (Kenny Omega, Bad Luck Fale, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, & Kazuchika Okada) (w/Gedo) - 6.75/10
I guess the Tombstone Piledriver is going to be Fale's new finisher. I like to think that he just recently started to work his way through all of the WrestleManias and is currently up to about WrestleMania XV and notice how often this "Undertaker" fellow seems to be winning with the move so Fale has decided to try it out for himself this week.
NEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE MATCH:
Hirooki Goto(c) vs. Minoru Suzuki (w/El Desperado) - 7.5/10
Listen up, referee: either he's not allowed to use the chair and you should disqualify him for doing so, or he is allowed to use the chair and you should stop bothering him.
As you can tell by the above comment, I hated the first part of this match. It's not just that bit of stupidity but the whole thing of the guys winding up in the crowd and heel choking the guy with the chair that seems to happen in just about every single New Japan match where one of their three big heel stables are involved and I'm sick and f*cking tired of it. If they had spent that time wrestling around in the ring and working over the body parts they would go on to work over later in the match then this would have been SOOOO much better.
Things vastly improved once they got into the ring and started to tell a story of Suzuki working on the arm while Goto worked the neck. Suzuki then switched to working the head and trying to win with the sleeper hold and it was all going great until someone decided to go back to the overbooked crap again. Goto was down in the middle of the ring and Suzuki was forearming the crap out of him when the referee decides to yell at him and then come over and pull him off no reason. Either Goto is unable to defend himself and thus the referee should stop the match and declare Suzuki the winner or Goto is able to defend himself and the referee should stay the f*ck out of the way!
To make matter worse, this was all done so that El Desperado could come in and smash Goto in the head with a chair, after which Suzuki hit the Cradle Piledriver to get the win... because G-d forbid that Hirooki "we all know he'll never win the big one" Goto should do a clean job for MINORU F*CKING SUZUKI.
A very disappointing show from New Japan. The undercard was mercifully short for a Road To...show, but big titles matches that the show was built around did not deliver on the level they really needed to.