A big tag team bout headlines tonight’s Road to Tokyo Dome event inside Korakuen Hall.
For the first time, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Will Ospreay will team up to take on the Golden Lovers, Kota Ibushi and Kenny Omega. Following Power Struggle, Tanahashi has aligned himself with CHAOS members, so this is a unique team. Of course, the real focus of the match will likely be Opsreay/Ibushi and Omega/Tanahashi, as those pairs are set to go against one another in key major title matches on 1/4.
Another match features the return of Teruaki Kanemitsu, who has been sidelined for over two years with a cervical spine injury. He will team up with Ren Narita to take on Shota Umino and Ayato Yoshida in the opener. His last match was back on November 27, 2016 when he lost to Toa Henare.
Join us for live coverage starting at 4:30 a.m. ET. There will be English commentary.
They aired a highlight video showcasing all the big angles and wins of the year, including the big tournament wins, Super Strong Machine’s retirement, Gedo turning on Kazuchika Okada, the introductions of Taiji Ishimori and Shingo Takagi, Tomoaki Honma’s return, the fracture and reformation of the Bullet Club and more. Nice highlight piece.
Ren Narita & Teruaki Kanemitsu and Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida went to a time limit draw
In the two years that he’s been gone, Kanemitsu has bulked up considerably and will likely be a heavyweight in the future. He’s 25, so still plenty of time to develop despite the long injury.
They worked a basic tag team match that was solid overall, built up really well by the end with a good crowd. Kanemitsu looked fine, and everyone looked good. Umino and Yoshida are already really good, and Narita really isn’t that far behind; he planted Yoshida with a really nice overhead belly to belly suplex.
Yoshida and Narita built to where they tagged in both of their partners. Kanemitsu got a big reaction for his hot tag and comeback. Umino had Kanemitsu deep in a Boston crab but the time limit expired.
Roppongi 3K & Rocky Romero defeated Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask and Toa Henare
This was pretty decent, a good back and forth match. Tiger Mask had Sho in a knee lock, with YOH coming in the for the save. Tiger Mask blocked a 3K ant went for a crucifix but didn’t get the shock win. They did wind up hitting the 3K for the win.
Tomohiro Ishii and Hirooki Goto defeated Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka
Hey, what do you know, this match started with Suzuki-gun jumping Ishii and Goto and taking them to the crowd immediately, whacking them with chairs. They eventually made it back to the ring, where Suzuki honed in on one of Goto’s legs.
Iizuka was unleashed as he started to bite on Goto’s leg. After Suzuki and Ishii went at it, Iizuka and Goto were in the ring. A double team by Suzuki-gun failed as Iizuka walked right into a ushigiroshi/sliding D combo. Ishii then pinned Iizuka with a brainbuster. Solid bout.
Suzuki wasn’t happy after the match, destroying young lions on his way out.
EVIL & SANADA defeated Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi
Chase kind of, sort of got a paradise lock in early, but SANADA got out of it like it was nothing and properly showed Chase how it was one. Milano Collection AT even applauded at ringside.
This was another match that was fine, but more of a build up match for SANADA and EVIL. A lot of comedy. EVIL hit the Darkness Falls on Owens . They actually hit an Indytaker on Yujiro, calling out the Young Bucks, then EVIL pinned Yujiro after the magic killer.
Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi and BUSHI defeated Taichi, El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
As with every Suzuki-gun match, it went into the crowd early. Kanemaru actually jumped on Shingo’s back and leg dropped him on the guardrail in what was a pretty cool spot. Shingo was busted open hardway as a result.
Suzuki-gun worked on Shingo for a good while until BUSHI was finally tagged in, followed by Naito. He and Taichi battled for a bit, then after a big lariat tagged out to Kanemaru.. BUSHI hit a giant suicide dive that took out Desperado while Naito pinned Kanemaru with the Destino. Another solid match.
A video message appeared on the screen, signaling that it may be from Chris Jericho. However, it was a ruse as Jericho appeared in the crowd with a chair and headed to the ring. Naito, despite the fans freaking out, did not see Jericho from behind. Jericho pelted he and the rest of his LIJ friend with chair shots then laid out Naito with the codebreaker.
Jericho took a camera and muttered something about Naito as he went into the crowd and yelled at fans with LIJ merch.
Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and Taiji Ishimori defeated Kazuchika Okada, Togi Makabe, Toru Yano, Tomoaki Honma and KUSHIDA
It was Okada who jumped Jay White right at the start of the match. They brawled around in the ring. KUSHIDA and Ishimori were in the ring for a bit before Jado hit KUSHIDA with the kendo stick and, for what felt like the 236th time on this show, the heels took the faces into the crowd. This gets tiring after a while.
Heels worked over KUSHIDA for a while, including Fale who dominated him easily. Fale missed a splash, leaving KUSHIDA a window to tag out, but White stopped it as the heels continued their onslaught. Okada was tagged in, as was White as they went at it. Honma came in and tried for the kokeshi on Loa, but wasn’t successful as GoD hit the Guerrilla Warfare.
Yano came in but was quickly dispatched. Everyone came in at one point. Jado hit Honma with the cane, but Honma kicked out. A sitout piledriver scored the win for Bullet Club. Your atypical house show tag match.
Bullet Club were posing in the ring when Kazuchika Okada ran in to jump Jay White. Considering everyone was in the ring when he did this, it did not work. He was laid out with the bladerunner as KUSHIDA, who tried to help, was laid out by Ishimori.
Golden Lovers defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and Will Ospreay
An incredible match by the end, right up there with some of the best matches of the year. And considering how 2018 was in great, epic matches that is saying a lot. Some of the spots in this match were absolutely bonkers and the crowd was with it the whole way.
Starts off with the usual fare: Ospreay works against Ibushi and Tanahashi works against Omega. Eventually, both Golden Lovers start working on Ospreay.
Tanahashi eventually gets tagged in, working on Omega’s leg. Ibushi makes the save and the Golden Lovers start their tandem offense. Ospreay goes for a crossbody, but the Golden Lovers catch him and dump him over the ropes to the outside. They follow with the Cross Slash, stereo moonsaults to the floor.
Ospreay cut off Omega on the top rope and powerbombed him off the ropes, landing on the square of Ibushi’s back. Omega comes back with snap dragon suplex on Tanahashi, but he roars back with a slingblade that keeps them both down. Ospreay went to springboard, but Ibushi stopped him. He cut off Ibushi and did his springboard, defying him.
Ospreay and Omega go off on one another as Omega hits a v-trigger, but Ospreay hits a spanish fly. He climbs to the top rope, but Ibushi stops him and tries for a super hurricanrana but Ospreay landed on his feet in a cool move. They exchanged some fierce kicks until Ibushi countered Ospreay with a strong lariat.
Omega hit the slingblade on Tanahashi as the Golden Lovers reconvene for the Golden Trigger on Ospreay but Tanahashi comes in. He’s taken out with the v-trigger as both Omega and Ibushi go for the Golden Shower. Ospreay gets up, grabs them both and hits a double spanish fly. Tanahashi goes for the high fly flow as Ospreay hits a shooting star press.
Ospreay looks for the stormbreaker on Omega but he escapes and hits a reverse hurricanrana. Ibushi connects with a last ride powerbomb on Tanahashi. Omega goes for the One Winged Angel but Ospreay reverses with a hurricanrana. Ospreay goes for the Oscutter but Omega grabs him.
Ibushi accidently strikes Omega with a kick as their opponents hit double German suplexes for a nearfall. Ospreay headbutts Ibushi but Omega grabs him and the Golden Lovers hit the Indytaker for another nearfall. They finally grab Ospreay and hit the Golden Trigger for the win.
Both men celebrate with their titles, posing for pictures. Omega then takes the microphone. He says he’s learned lately it is not about age but experience. He says he thought he was right and Tanahashi is wrong, but they may both be wrong. But he still doesn’t like Tanahashi.
At the Tokyo Dome, he says he may do one or two bad things. He then says he thought he heard Santa Claus. He says instead of his catchphrase he’ll sing a Christmas song. He does, in fact, sing ‘White Christmas’.
Snow actually does fall from the arena as Omega hands it to Ibushi. He says he and Ospreay will have a classic at Wrestle Kingdom, and on 1/5 he wants to tag with Omega. Omega then says his catchphrase to close out the show.