Best of 7 series gets underway
After its opening two nights in Korakuen Hall, the Road to Destruction continues on September 10 in Yuji Nagata’s home turf of Togane, Chiba. Nagata is always proud of carrying the Togane standard into his self produced Blue Justice events every year, and this year the stakes are high when it comes to pride in himself and a generational trios team.
Main event: Best of Seven Series Match 1- Yuji Nagata, Shota Umino & Master Wato vs Strong Style (Minoru Suzuki, Ren Narita & El Desperado)
Generational rivals collide over a seven match series on the Road to Destruction, as the Strong Style team of Ren Narita, El Desperado and Minoru Suzuki take on Yuji Nagata , Shota Umino and Master Wato. Narita and Umino have been enemies and rivals ever since they debuted together. Narita’s frustration at not yet being able to beat Umino one on one stoked the flames, and when the two, together with Yota Tsuji, were labelled the Reiwa Three Musketeers, harkening back to the legendary trio that defined a 1990s boom period, gasoline was tipped on the fire. Their subsequent G1 contest ended in a thrilling, but unsatisfying conclusion of a time limit draw, but the two men were not going to leave things be.
Toward the end of the G1 tour, tag action would see Narita bring his Strong Style teammates to the mix. The former NEVER Openweight 6 man Tag team Champions, Narita and mentors Minoru Suzuki and El Desperado would soon be opposed by a fine choice of partners from the Roughneck Shota Umino. Yuji Nagata and Suzuki have been enemies bound by blood for 20 years, since the King returned to professional wrestling from the nascent MMA sphere back in 2003. El Desperado perhaps sees some of his younger self in Master Wato, a fact that has seen grudging respect born out of bitter hatred.
Every pairing of these six men has a history of hatred, and heated battles. Together they’re set for a roller coaster ride of a seven match series. Will this first meeting, in Nagata’s Togane backyard, see the Blue Justice team get off to a home win headstart? Or will Strong Style put Nagata in the losing column in his home town for only the third time in his 31 year career?
6th Match: Just Five Guys (SANADA, Taichi, DOUKI & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs HOUSE OF TORTURE (EVIL, SHO, Yujiro Takahashi & Dick Togo)
After tag team action on the Road to Destruction kick off, and trios warfare on night two, night three of the tour sees a dual title preview of September 24 in Kobe and October 9 in Ryogoku between Just Five Guys and HOUSE OF TORTURE in eight man action. With TAKA Michinoku available as an ally in the J5G corner, and HOUSE OF TORTURE having a notoriously small social circle, one would be forgiven for thinking that the numbers edge would give Just 5 Guys the advantage over their underhanded opponents. Such was not the case in Ryogoku at the G1 Climax final however, as the night ended with a wrench to the face from SHO to Taichi, and then SANADA being handcuffed to the top rope as EVIL made away with the IWGP World Heavyweight Championship belt. Can the balance be redressed in Togane tonight?
5th Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & Yota Tsuji) vs United Empire (Will Ospreay & Callum Newman)
September 24 will see the IWGP UK Championship on the line in Kobe as Will Ospreay puts the red leather and gold on the line against Yota Tsuji, all while Zack Sabre Jr. lingers in the distance, pledging that he has next for Royal Quest III. Tsuji has made a considerable impact in a short four month span since returning from excursion at Dontaku, but hasn’t secured a signature singles win yet. To Tsuji’s own admission, Ospreay is a prize richer than the belt that sits round his waist, and he’s determined to work toward the biggest win of his career in a fortnight’s time.
Callum Newman is making his own big career strides on this tour meanwhile, and teams with his mentor Ospreay tonight in the face of Tsuji and the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi. On October 9 in Ryogoku, Hiromu will have to defend the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship against both Speedball Mike Bailey and IMPACT’s X Division Champion Lio Rush. The Prince of Pace Newman should make an appropriate warmup for what will be a hectic junior title encounter, but should Newman shock the Time Bomb, maybe a Ryogoku three way could see a fourth seat made at the table.
4th Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI) vs United Empire (Jeff Cobb, Great-O-Khan & HENARE)
As well as Yota Tsuji versus Will Ospreay for the IWGP UK Championship on September 24, Kobe will see G1 Climax winner Tetsuya Naito and Jeff Cobb lock horns, while Great-O-Khan and Shingo Takagi will also do battle in singles action. Two weeks before these three singles encounters between the two factions, six man action tonight in Togane- who gets their hands raised?
3rd Match: CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii) vs TMDK (Zack Sabre Jr., Shane Haste, Mikey Nicholls & Bad Dude Tito)
As TMDK’s Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls have started to prepare for their September 24 clash with Bishamon over the IWGP Tag Team Championships, multiman action has gotten another dimension tonight. With Kazuchika Okada and Tomohiro Ishii putting their NEVER Six Man Tag Team Championship match on September 9 behind them, they’re now free to back up their CHAOS mates in what should be an intense battle in Togane.
2nd Match: Ryusuke Taguchi & YOH vs Be-Bop Tag (Toru Yano & Hiroshi Tanahashi)
As Super Junior Tag League fast approaches one has to wonder about the 2022 league winners YOH and Lio Rush. Rush’s recent attitude over in IMPACT Wrestling and actions as X Division Champion doesn’t seem to be something that would gel with YOH’s way of doing business, and certainly stands in stark contrast to the way his tag team partner at the outset of this tour in Ryusuke Taguchi does business. Still, that’s a conversation for another time- and in the meantime, Taguchi and YOH have their hands full with a heavyweight tandem Be-Bop tandem of Toru Yano and Hiroshi Tanahashi.
1st Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Togi Makabe, Tiger Mask & Boltin Oleg vs Satoshi Kojima, Tomoaki Honma, Yuto Nakashima & Oskar Leube
As action gets underway in Togane, we could get started with the new NJPW World TV Champion in Boltin Oleg and the new NEVER 6 Man champs in Tenzan, Makabe and Tiger Mask, if both are successful in their Korakuen Hall championship bouts. If that is the case, all four will be targets for the veteran Kojima and Honma and the young and hungry Leube and Nakashima tonight.