New Japan Road Results 2/21

A video package began, which showed a younger Hiroyoshi Tenzan with Iizuka cutting promos. Longtime fans may recall that Iizuka wasn’t always a crazy maniac persona. It was developed over time as he took more and more damage from dangerous matches.

Highlights of attacks by Great Bash Heel, then a heel stable headed by Togi Makabe aired, interspersed with present day interviews by Tenzan and Makabe. The history package highlighted Iizuka’s turn on Tenzan to join GBH, and his eventual betrayal of GBH to join Suzuki-Gun. Over the last tour, Tenzan has been pleading with Iizuka to return to the man he was, and not the bloodthirsty madman he is now. They are definitely setting the stage for Iizuka to redeem himself, and retire with his head held high.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Taiji Isimori & Robbie Eagles of Bullet Club b. Jyushin Thunder Liger & Yuya Uemera when Eagles pinned Ishimori pinned Uemera with a 450 – This match was meant as a preview for the March 6th Anniversary event, where Liger will challenge Ishimori for a record 12th IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title. Liger an Ishimori started the match, with Liger getting the upper hand. A double tag out to Uemera & Eagles. This time, the heels got the advantage and worked over Uemera. Liger got a hot tag, and got the Romero Special surfboard on Ishimori. Ishimori escaped, leading to the double down and the tag out. In the ensuing brawl, Eagles hit a 450 to pin Uemera.

Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma), Tiger Mask IV, & Toa Henare b. Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi, Ren Narita, & Yota Tsuji when Henare pinned Tsuji with a Uranage – Honma was the recipient of Kojima’s Machine Gun Chops, though he was able to return the favor by hitting Kojima with a Kokeshi. The finish was Henare hitting the Uranage on Tsuji for the pin.

Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI of CHAOS b. Yuji Nagata & Shota Umino when Hashi submitted Umino with a Butterfly Lock – Right off the bat, Ishii and Nagata traded forearm shots. Ishii began no -selling Nagata’s strikes, and hit a Back Suplex. Nagata responded with an Exploder Suplex. Hashi broke up Nagata’s attempt at a Nagata Lock, much to the displeasure of the crowd. That still allowed enough time for a double tag out. Umino got a few near falls before putting Hashi in a Boston Crab. Ishii managed to break the submission, which fired up Umino. Nagata assisted Umino in hitting a Missile Dropkick. Ishii broke the count, and a multi-man brawl ensued. Hashi gained control of the match with a superkick, and got the submission with a Butterfly Lock.

After the match, Nagata and Ishii got into a pull-apart brawl.

Roppongi 3K (Sho & Yoh) b. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado of Suzuki-Gun when Sho pinned Kanemaru after a 3K – This was a battle of the two most recent former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Champions. R3K made the challenge to BUSHI & Takagi at the last show. As expected, it was filled with a lot of high energy spots. Sho got double teamed until Yoh got the hot tag., and ran wild until Desperado used a spinebuster and tagged out. Kanemaru hit a Deep Impact DDT on Sho only for Yoh to break the pin. The two tried to finish off Kanemaru when Desperado hit the ring. Sho ducked a spit of whiskey, and hit the 3K with Yoh for the pinfall victory.

After the match, BUSHI & Takagi came to ringside. Yoh took the mic and cut a promo, presumably about winning the titles again. That triggered a brawl between the champions and R3K, which quickly lead to R3K getting laid out. Both Takagi and Bushi cut brief promos over the fallen challengers.

Hirooki Goto & Ryusuke Taguchi b. Zack Sabre Jr. & Taka Michinoku of Suzuki-Gun when Taguchi pinned Michinoku with a rollup – I’m not sure Taguchi is teaming with Goto, as Goto is part of CHAOS and Taguchi is not. Things went well for the babyfaces until they both miscommunicated and knocked each other to the mat, which gave the heels the opportunity to cut off Taguchi. Sabre and Taka got the heat on Taguchi. Goto got the hot tag and went toe to toe with Sabre. The babyfaces made a rally, with Taguchi and Goto actually hitting some double team moves. The finish was Taguchi going for a Dodon, with Taka trying a reversal. However, Taguchi managed to counter that into a pinning combination for the win.

Hiroshi Tanahashi & NEVER Openweight Champion Will Ospreay b. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) when Ospreay pinned Smith with an Oscutter – Tanahashi, perhaps as a troll, made a Test Of Strength. When Archer accepted, and towered over him, Tanahashi attacked Archer’s knee. Smith overpowered Ospreay, and cut him off for the double team. Tanahashi made a brief comeback. Ospreay was heavily favoring his knee. Smith blocked an Oscutter, and Archer powerslammed Ospreay. Smith followed up with a Powerslam off the turnbuckles. Tanahashi broke up what likely would be a pin. The babyfaces rallied, with Ospreay finally hitting the Oscutter and getting the pin.

Suzuki-Gun made their way to the ring for the main event. When Iizuka made his entrance from the crowd, he got a good pop since it’s his retirement match. Iizuka attacked announcer Shimpei Nogami, tearing his suit and Nagat t-shirt.

Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, & Hiroyoshi Tenzan b. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, & Takashi Iizuka) when Tenzan pinned Iizuka with a Moonsault – It is fitting that Tenzan would be part of Iizuka’s retirement match, since the history between the two goes back many years. Before the match, Tenzan took the mic and called for Iizuka, saying this will be his awakening. Iizuka immediately attacked Tenzan to jumpstart the match. The babyfaces reqrouped and managed to fell Iizuka to one knee. Suzuki struck from behind, and the battle spilled to the floor. Tenzan got battered with a chair, and almost got counted out. Suzuki-Gun took turns beating on Tenzan. Taichi taunted Tenzan with Mongolian Chops. When Taichi tried his trademark of ripping off his own pants, Yano stopped him and then ripped them off for him. This somehow embarrassed Taichi enough to run off and tag Suzuki. Okada and Suzuki exchanged several forearms, with Suzuki getting the advantage. Suzuki went for the kill with a Gotch Piledriver, but Okada escaped. Iizuka tagged in and repeatedly bit Okada. Okada made a comeback and hit a top rope elbow. Iizuka evaded several of Okada’s moves, and put him in a submission. Suzuki kept Tenzan at bay with a Cross Armbreaker. Okada made the rope break and countered with a Death Valley Driver. Tenzan got the hot tag and took it to Iizuka. The heels triple teamed Tenzan, and Iizuka locked in a sleeper hold. This time it was Taichi holding Okada at bay. Yano made the save. As Tenzan thwarted off Suzuki, Iizuka went for his signature foreign object, the iron claw. For a moment, Iizuka hesitated, like he was regaining composure. Tenzan went up to him, but got met with a kick to the knee. Yano low blowed Iizuka, and Okada followed up with a Tombstone Piledriver. Tenzan fistdropped Iizuka off the top rope. Rather than make the cover, Tenzan again tried to communicate. When that failed, Tenzan draped one of their own tag team t-shirts, and hit a Moonsault for the pin.

After the match, Iizuka got to his feet as the crowd chanted his name. Strangely, the other Suzuki-Gun members seemingly disappeared. Tenzan offered a handshake that was eventually accepted. Of course, it was a ruse and Iizua bit into Tenzan’s forehead afterward. The rest of Suziki-Gun hit the ring, and held Tenzan so Iizuka could hit him with his iron claw. It certainly disappointed the crowd, who were hoping for Iizuka to come to his senses.

In what seemed like something out of a post-credits scene, Taichi picked up Iizuka’s iron claw and grinned.

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