So with NJPWWorld becoming a thing, we now have access to a plethora of New Japan content. An example of this is the various “Road To….” Shows. These are basically New Japan House Shows, but are titled as such to held build up the upcoming major shows. In this case, I’ll be taking a look at two house shows from The Road To “New Beginning”. I’ll be reviewing Night 1 & Night 7, and if you’re wondering why just those two, it’s because New Japan doesn’t post all of their house shows on NJPWWorld. These were the only ones available, so that’s why I’m watching them.
A quick note on these reviews before I begin. I’m not going to be breaking down each match on these house shows individually. Instead, I’ll give my match ratings, and then discuss my thoughts on the show as a whole. I also won’t be reviewing entire shows, as I’ll be picking & choosing certain matches from each show. With this in mind, I’ll usually keep all of these house shows as one post on my blog.
NJPW Road To “New Beginning”: Night 1
Tokorozawa, Japan 1/30/15
1.) Alex Shelley vs. Jay White: **3/4
2.) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion & ROH World Tag Team Champion Kyle O’Reilly vs. Yohei Komatsu: ***1/4
3.) The Young Bucks vs. KUSHIDA & Mascara Dorada: **1/2
5.) Eight-Man Tag - NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tetsuya Naito & Yugi Nagata vs. CHAOS (IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Yoshi-Hashi): ***1/4
7.) Eight-Man Tag - Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi, & IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs. The Bullet Club (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega, Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows & Tama Tonga): ***1/4
This is pretty much the definition of a standard New Japan House Show. If you have any singles matches, they’re usually involving the ‘young lions’ of New Japan. In this case, we saw Jay White take on Alex Shelley, and Yohei Komatsu going up against Kyle O’Reilly. I would say the latter contest was the better of the two. I should note that Bobby Fish had flight issues, and missed the first part of the tour. The Young Bucks vs. KUSHIDA & Mascara Dorada was surprisingly average. Even with the random pairing of KUSHIDA & Mascara Dorada, I thought it would be a little better, but it was a fine match (and a short one as well). The remaining two matches I watched were Eight-Man Tags that were pretty much the same in most respects, as they both broke down into brawls (as they multan tags usually tend to do in New Japan). The positive, of course, is that they’re helping to build upcoming title matches, so in that respect, they do their job pretty well.
NJPW Road To “New Beginning”: Night 7
Shizukuishi, Japan 2/8/15
1.) Sho Tanaka vs. Jay White: **1/4
2.) IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions & ROH World Tag Team Champions reDRagon vs. Tiger Mask & Yohei Komatsu: **1/2
4.) Eight-Man Tag - The Time Splitters & IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Hirooki Goto & Katsuyori Shibata vs. The Bullet Club (The Young Bucks, Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows): ***1/2
6.) Eight-Man Tag - NEVER Openweight Champion Togi Makabe, Tetsuya Naito, Yugi Nagata & Captain New Japan vs. CHAOS (IWGP Intercontinental Champion Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano & Yoshi-Hashi): **3/4
7.) Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. The Bullet Club (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi): ***
This was definitely the better of the two house shows. That mainly had to do with an Eight Man Tag, featuring The Bullet Club going up against The Time Splitters, Goto & Shibata, that I thought was really good. It’s really fun to see heavyweights & juniors mix it up, and it ended up being very entertaining to watch. We also saw some solid action from the ‘young lions’, as Jay White & Sho Tanaka went at it, and Yohei Komatsu teamed up with Tiger Mask to take on reDRagon. We did get an Eight-Man Tag that was similar to a match from Night 1. The Main Event was another match that featured heavyweight & juniors mixing it up, as Tanahashi teamed with Ryusuke Taguchi to defeat The Bullet Club’s Kenny Omega & Yujiro Takahashi.