Roppongi 3K capture IWGP Jr. Tag glory
Returning YOH takes a Direct Drive to victory
Sakura Genesis’ semi main event saw the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championships at stake as YOH returned to join partner SHO in challenging El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. With new entrance music and a new look for the team, YOH wanted this bout to be a new start for Roppongi 3K. Volunteering to start the bout, he grappled with Desperado, testing his surgically repaired knee at the outset as he escaped the masked man’s clutches.
SHO and YOH would show they are every bit as effective a team as they always had been despite nine months apart; double teams a prelude to a tag to SHO who showed off his power. Yet when Desperado caught YOH’s boot in the corner, the flow of the match quickly changed. Desperado, an expert at torturing the knee, cranked away at YOH, who crawled to make a tag. SHO fired off kicks to double champ Desperado, but Kanemaru played perfect support with an apron trip.
That put the champions in charge of SHO, while punishment on the floor to YOH stopped him from getting involved. A kitchen sink from SHO wasn’t enough to see a tag, but a double spear did bring YOH inside. The returning YOH was nonetheless slightly hobbled, and the challenger paid the price for running on the bad knee, dropped awkwardly by Kanemaru and then having his base kicked away. Double team offense and a figure four from Kanemaru followed; YOH made the ropes but tasted a moonsault and then Deep Impact from Kanemaru, a move that would have ended the match but for SHO’s timely intervention.
A wild and desperate overhead kick didn’t lead to the tag as Desperado flew in with a spear, but double Nomisugi knees from the challengers made the difference. RPG3K targeted Kanemaru, but on Desperado’s interference, it was the masked man tasting 3K, as challengers attempted to hit Strong X.
Champions prevented the move, as YOH was on the wrong end of a super pled in return, but when Kanemaru went for Deep Impact again on YOH, SHO was there with a huge lariat. Strong X followed, but YOH chose not to make the cover, instead unleashing his new finish the Direct Drive to score the three. Post match, YOH indicated he wasn’t satisfied with just getting his fifth junior tag title reign but also wants to challenge El Desperado for singles gold; will his request be granted?