NJPW’s 2022 ends with Suzuki-Gun’s final bow

Suzuki-Gun call time in Korakuen

The main event of the final card of 2022 in NJPW was also the final match for Suzuki-Gun. An eight man tag would see all members pit against one another, as Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and DOUKI faced TAKA Michinoku, El Desperado, Lance Archer and Minoru Suzuki himself. 

Watch the replay now!

It would be Taichi and Suzuki starting the match, and threatening to end it, the King inviting Taichi to take a shot, which would see a drag out exchange of blows ensue. After a pair of knockdowns from both sides, it would be tag team partners Desperado and Kanemaru continuing the match, and a more scientific, if equally intense exchange ensued. Kanemaru would work for a headlock, and the Heel Master was superb in retaining it before tagging in DOUKI, but Desperado would keep his cool in the situation before bringing Japonese Del Mal to TAKA Michinoku.

TAKA turned aside the Italian Stretch to find Just Face Lock, and the veteran would stay ahead of DOUKI on the mat before tags both sides brought in the group’s international members. Archer bowled over Sabre, and overpowered his submission attempts, a cross body steamrolling ZSJ to bring Suzuki back inside in the plus position. As the King spat insults of ‘f**king young boy’ at Sabre, the fight was soon on, first to level European uppercuts and then Cobra Twists and ankle holds. Finally gaining an advantage in the exchange, Suzuki looked for a rear naked choke and the Gotch Style, but Taichi made an Ax Bomber save as the match broke down.

Bodies, and whiskey mist flew everywhere as all eight men threw their best shots at whoever happened to be in front of them at the time. In an appropriate gesture, the boss of the group was first to his feet, and stomped on both partners and opponents. Inviting the best shots from the rest of Suzuki-Gun, he barked at Taichi, ordering him to bring the presence of Takashi Iizuka’s spirit with an iron finger shot. Sabre would be the one to finish the bout with a ‘thank you Suzuki’ and the Zack Driver. 

After the three count, Suzuki found his feet once again, and called on each member to deliver a final address. DOUKI stated that though his three and a half years with the group made him the least tenured member, that it was a moment of growth. Kanemaru declared it a ‘good group with good drinks’, while TAKA Michinoku offered personal thanks to Suzuki. 

‘I came to Japan because I wanted to be in Suzuki-Gun,’ remarked El Desperado, continuing that he didn’t know what was next for him, but that he wanted to enjoy the moment to the fullest. Archer remarked that he spent half his career in Suzuki-Gun, adding that while it was ‘an honor to compete in Japan, it’s been a bigger honor to be with my brother forever’ in Suzuki. Zack Sabre Jr. would say that more than a team, Suzuki-Gun was a family, before Taichi continued the sentiment, stating ‘we might not have gotten the results other groups did, but we head something nobody else could hope to emulate’. 

Suzuki would end the speech by squashing retirement rumours, making it clear that ‘I made this group to help me take the IWGP Championship. While the form has changed, the plan is the same! Every champion had better watch their necks!’. As Takashi Iizuka made a surprise appearance to storm through the crowd and take back his iron fingers, Suzuki-Gun finally came to an end with tears in the smiling eyes of the Korakuen crowd.