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NJPW Kizuna Road (6/16) Star Ratings & Recap

Juice Robinson
Photo Credit: Bill Pritchard

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FIRST MATCH: Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura

Tsuji and Uemura take every chance they have outside of Shota Umino’s shadow, and make it count. Uemura is going to be a valuable piece of NJPW’s backbone, while Tsuji is set to take over for the Ishiis & Gotos of the world. ***1/4

SECOND MATCH: Tomohiro Ishii, Tomoaki Honma & Ren Narita vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Douki)

Solid six-man tag match that has some brutal exchanges between Ishii & Taichi. Douki fits in nicely with Suzuki-gun and takes to torturing Young Lions like Narita, like a fish takes to water. ***

THIRD MATCH: Juice Robinson, Mikey Nicholls & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Jado)

Shenanigans aplenty in this tag contest. Nicholls & Robinson are a breath of fresh air in a barren tag division. Jado continues to make the best of his limitations, and entertains mightily in the process. ***

FOURTH MATCH: Kota Ibushi, Yuji Nagata, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask & Shota Umino vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI)

Ibushi and Naito wrestle each other for less than five minutes, and I’m 99% sure Naito lost a tooth during it. They cannot not maim each other. Fun tag match overall. ***1/2

FIFTH MATCH: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toru Yano & Togi Makabe vs. Bullet Club (Jay White, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens)

This match had the issue of following a monumental G1 Climax announcement, everyone did their job well, but there was not much to write home about outside of the finish. **3/4

SIXTH MATCH: Kazuchika Okada, Yoshi-Hashi & Toa Henare vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. & Lance Archer)

Stellar, hard hitting six-man tag. Archer returns to NJPW with a bang, while Suzuki & Sabre get to be the submission sharks that they love to be in these tag matches. Intense match that woke the crowd up considerably. ***3/4

MAIN EVENT: IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match: Roppongi 3K (Sho & Yoh) (c) vs. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori)

A brutal match, that is at times as hard to watch as anything Kota Ibushi did this year. Phantasmo & Ishimori aren’t the crispest tag team, but they’ve got moxie, and they are a surprisingly well-prepared foil to Roppongi 3K. Sho & Yoh continue to carry themselves as absolute mega stars and elevate the match considerably. ****1/4