qThe Road to Wrestle Kingdom hits Korakuen Hall for three nights to end the year
The Road to Tokyo Dome tour hits Korakuen Hall on December 21, as a wild and unpredictable 2020 draws to a close for New Japan Pro-Wrestling. With plenty of statements to be made as January 4 & 5 2021 and Wrestle Kingdom approach, who comes out on top in Korakuen Monday night?
Main event: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA & BUSHI) vs BULLET CLUB (Jay White, EVIL & Dick Togo)
Tetsuya Naito: 54-23-1 (singles 11-4) SANADA: 61-22-1 (10-7) BUSHI: 38-39 (5-7)
Jay White: 22-24 (12-4) EVIL: 41-41 (13-6) Dick Togo: 4-16 (n/a)
LIJ tackle BULLET CLUB in a huge main event, as we see a preview of one grudge match for January 5 in the Tokyo Dome, and what could be the main event on Wrestle Kingdom 15 night two.
After SANADA and EVIL tore into one another at the Nippon Budokan on December 112, a grudge match was finally made official on January 5, as the two former tag team partners collide. Can SANADA make a mark on the King of Darkness, or will the ever present Spoiler Dick Togo conspire to ruin Cold Skull’s night?
Then there’s the matter of Tetsuya Naito and Jay White. When White declared that he would use his right to challenge briefcase for a title match on the second night of Wrestle Kingdom, he was initially happy to face a fresh Naito on night two at the Dome. Instead, circumstances worked out even better for the Switchblade, as even if Naito survives into night two at Wrestle Kingdom, it will be barely 24 hours removed from an all out war with Kota Ibushi. White will look to make his night on January 5 even easier tonight when he goes toe to toe with El Ingobernable.
5th Match: Kazuchika Okada, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Tomoaki Honma vs THE EMPIRE (Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
Okada: 38-35-1 (14-5) Tanahashi: 37-48 (5-8) Honma: 31-33 (0-1)
Ospreay: 33-9 (6-5) O-Khan: 21-5 (0-1) Cobb: 25-15 (12-7)
Just two weeks away from Kazuchika Okada taking on Will Ospreay, and Hiroshi Tanahashi facing Great-O-Khan, they team with Tomoaki Honma to face THE EMPIRE in Korakuen Hall. At the start of 2020, or indeed any year, it would be hard to believe that Hiroshi Tanahashi would have the worst win:loss record of his team at the end of it, but that is the position the Ace finds himself in after a difficult year indeed. With the damage incurred by great-O-Khan with a steel chair in the Budokan on December 11 still afflicting him, Tanahashi could well be standing face to face with the end of a golden era on January 4.
It was through a legendary rivalry with Kazuchika Okada that the current golden age of New Japan Pro-Wrestling was born. Now at Wrestle Kingdom 15 the Rainmaker and the Ace will battle in respective singles matches for the very integrity and spirit that the era represents, against an EMPIRE with nothing but conquest on the mind.
4th Match: Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, Zack Sabre Jr. & DOUKI) vs BULLET CLUB (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Chase Owens)
Taichi: 39-42 (6-7) ZSJ:36-40 (7-6) DOUKI: 15-51 (2-8)
Tonga: 17-19 (3-1) Loa: 15-20 (0-1) Owens: 17-20 (3-1)
With a fortnight to go until Dangerous Tekkers and Guerrillas of Destiny go head to head for the IWGP Tag Team Chamionships at Wrestle Kingdom, a six man preview. G.o.D’s continuation of their Tokyo Dome curse gave way to lost ground when the global pandemic put distance between them and the tag gold. Now back in the mix, and with the aid of KENTA, they are World Tag League winners for the very first time. Could we see signs of another curse being broken?
Or, after their World tag League match saw outside brawls and rules broken aplenty, will the tag champions have new tricks up their sleeve this Monday? We’ll find out!
3rd Match: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
Tenzan: 21-14 (0-1) Taguchi: 27-35 (6-6) Wato: 18-21 (5-6)
Suzuki:31-35 (5-9) Desperado: 42-28 (8-5) Kanemaru: 32-35(2-1)
Master Wato teams with a pair of mentors in the third match of the night, as he, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Ryusuke Taguchi square off against Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru.
Wato has hinted that after defeating El Desperado during Best of the Super Jr, he and Taguchi may look to take IWGP Jr. Tag gold from Desperado and the returning Kanamearu. Can a statement be made tonight? And what of Minoru Suzuki, who wants to take a spot in the Tokyo Dome by force in these last three events of the year?
2nd Match: Juice Robinson & Toa Henare vs BULLET CLUB (KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi)
Robinson:23-16 (4-6) Henare: 7-25 (1-0)
KENTA: 21-24 (11-6) Yujiro:18-45 (2-11)
In the second match of the evening, Juice Robinson will be fired up to get revenge on KENTA in tag team action. On December 11, it was KENTA’s interference in the Budokan, attacking Juice with his IWGP US briefcase, that granted G.o.D the World Tag League trophies, and that isn’t a sin Robinson is prepared to forgive. Meanwhile partner Henare is looking to end a difficult year by getting another win, potentially against Yujiro after pinning him for he and Tanahashi’s sole WTL win this year.
1st match: Tiger Mask, Togi Makabe & Satoshi Kojima vs Yota Tsuji, Yuya Uemura & Gabriel Kidd
Tiger:7-7 (1-0) Makabe: 16-20 (1-1) Kojima: 37-21 (3-4)
Tsuji: 19-56-2 (16-14-2) Uemura:14-67-1 (12-27-1) Kidd: 12-55-1 (8-22-1)
Kicking things off, a pair of big returns in Korakuen Hall. Tiger Mask has been out of action with a stomach illness since the spring, while Togi Makabe has been away shooting a movie these last few months, but now they team with Satoshi Kojima to take on three Young Lions. Uemura, Tsuji and Kidd have all been in consistent ring shape and constantly improving in their considerable in ring time this year. Could they surprise the old guard?