IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Championship, AEW All Atlantic Qualifiers
The New Japan Road hits Korakuen Hall on Monday June 20. The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag team Championships will be at stake in the main event, while wrestlers seek to make statements on the road to G1 Climax 32, as well as Forbidden Door.
Main event: IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships: Six or Nine (Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato) vs United Empire (TJP & Francesco Akira)
Direct tag record: 1-0 United Empire
69th IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Team Six or Nine are determined to rack up 69 defences of their gold in the coming months and years with the titles; quite an impressive feat considering the current record reign for a junior tag team is seven; racke dup appropriately enough by Ryusuke Taguchi along with Prince Devitt as Apollo 55.
The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and that long pull for 69 defences has indeed begun. The champions are currently looking for retention number three, but face stiff competition in another veteran/newcomer combination in Francesco Akira and TJP. Under TJP’s guidance, Akira has quickly been able to tap into his killer instinct, and with the Leaning Tower double team, were able to polish off the champions in non title action back on June 3 at the Best of the Super Jr. finals. The challengers have proven they can get results; can they do so with the belts on the line?
6th Match: AEW All Atlantic Championship Qualifier: Tomohiro Ishii vs Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Tomohiro Ishii and Yoshinobu Kanemaru do openweight battle in Korakuen Hall as they fight for a spot in the four way match at Forbidden Door to crown the first AEW All Atlantic Champion. Ishii has had an impressive 2022 indeed when it comes to US competition, Eddie Kingston being the most recent victim of the Stone Pitbull in the US, who has also scored convincing wins over Big Damo, JONAH and Minoru Suzuki in America this year across NJPW and IMPACT. Yet do not discount Yoshinobu Kanemaru, who could throw mice in Ishii’s machinery. One of the most decorated junior heavyweights in Japanese wrestling history wants some international accolades to add to his collection, and will battle Ishii to the last for a chance.
5th Match: AEW All Atlantic Championship Qualifier: Tomoaki Honma vs Clark Connors
The other qualifying bout for AEW’s All Atlantic Championship sees Clark Connors represent the LA Dojo opposite unlikely contender Tomoaki Honma. Honma’s presence in this mini tournament comes some three weeks after he was scheduled to wrestle then IWGP United States Champion Juice Robinson in the Nippon Budokan; when appendicitis struck, a big singles opportunity fell by the wayside, but springs back up in Korakuen. Meanwhile Clark Connors, who ended his debut Best of the Super Jr. campaign strong with a win over Alex Zayne, and with a victory over fellow contender Kanemaru, looks to step up and be the only American representative in the internationally focused Forbidden Door four way.
The G1 block lineups will be revealed tonight in Korakuen! With four blocks in this year’s tournament, where will the 28 participants fall? Find out midway through proceedings Monday.
4th Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs BULLET CLUB (Taiji Ishimori & Gedo)
The final preview for Hiromu Takahashi and Taiji Ishimori before Tuesday’s main event IWGP Junior Heavyweight title match sees Ishimori paired with Gedo against Hiromu and BUSHI. Takahashi has declared that he wants to seize his fifth IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship from Ishimori in a jam packed Korakuen Hall on June 21. Perhaps some of those final tickets may be moved with a key statement made tonight.
3rd Match: Ryohei Oiwa, Yuto Nakashima & Kazuchika Okada vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (SANADA, Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi)
A major opportunity for Yuto Nakashima and Kosei Fujita sees them teaming with former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, as they take on Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi and SANADA of LIJ. Less than one month away from G1 Climax 32, four of the tournament favourites are all in this one six man match, while two Young Lions get a chance to show why they’ll be part of the tournament of tournaments soon enough.
2nd Match: CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano & YOH) vs HOUSE OF TORTURE (EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, SHO & Dick Togo)
2022 started with CHAOS embroiled in warfare with HOUSE OF TORTURE, and the year reaches its midway point with the two teams colliding once again. Thoughts are on G1 Climax 32 in just a few days, but first, CHAOS would certainly relish a win over the NEVER 6 Man Champions.
1st Match: Kosei Fujita vs Aaron Henare
Kosei Fujita takes on Aaron Henare one on one in the opening bout of the evening. With his debut G1 Climax 32 entry confirmed, Aaron Henare is fired up to participate in the tournament of tournaments, and as Six or Nine and Hiroyoshi Tenzan found out at Dominion, the Ultimate Weapon has been working even harder on some fearsome strikes. Fujita will be looking to escape relatively unharmed tonight, but may not have much say in the matter.