Bullet Club have recaptured IWGP gold.
In the main event of this morning’s NJPW Kizuna Road show Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) defended the IWGP junior tag team titles against Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo, a bout that saw the gold change hands after Ishimori and Phantasmo hit their signature Sudden Death finisher, beginning their third reign with the titles. NJPW has since released a full breakdown of the matchup, which you can check out below.
The main event of June 23’s Kizuna Road card saw the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships on the line as Roppongi 3K defended the gold against El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori.
Ishimori and YOH started the match legal, the two quickly going to ground as Ishimori tried to one up the champion. Coming up with the wrist, the early advantage fell to the Bone Soldier, but YOH had the better movement, a dropkick leading to the tag to SHO. The challengers tried to dictate the pace of the match as Ishimori refused to engage with SHO, and though SHO would catch Ishimori in the act, the BULLET CLUB side would take over and start some punishing work on SHO’s arm.
Quick tags would keep SHO in the wrong corner, and even as he tried to use trademark power, Phantasmo worked free of a gutwrench powerbomb. A lariat did do enough to bring YOH back inside however, and the pace quickened; at least until a springboard from YOH saw Ishimori pull the champion’s foot from the floor and send him crashing outside. Phantasmo would keep up the pressure on YOH, a chop and high velocity Irish whip bringing him crashing to the mat as the challengers showed a clear advantage.
A sliding German from Ishimori once again floored YOH as the match passed the ten minute mark, and a tandem ‘groin stretch’ would follow in the corner. The resourceful YOH would think fast to send Phantasmo crashing into his partner and create an opening, but Ihsimori proved more resourceful still to take SHO out on the floor and prevent a tag. A back body drop for ELP and enzuigiri for Ishimori though and YOH finally tagged out, as SHO brought the voltage.
SHO had a double spear in store for the champions, before trading heavy forearms with Ishimori, catching his follow up handspring with a straight armbar. Phantasmo would save Ishimori as he gouged the face of SHO, but didn’t prevent a lariat that floored the challenger and got two from the referee. Yet Ishimori would soon work his way into La Mistica, cranking the Yes and then the Bone Lock as ELP held YOH back, but the Stargazer would hip toss Phantasmo into Ishimori to break the hold. As SHO and Ishimori found their feet, Ishimori caught the champion with a rising knee before trying for Bloody Cross, but a series of innovative counters would eventually see SHO muscle the Bone Soldier into a Powerbreaker.
Phantasmo and YOH were waiting for the tags and welcomed one another in with heavy forearms and then stinging chops. As the match neared and passed twenty minutes, a German suplex would send YOH almost clear from the ring, but a rebound led to a superkick, and then a bridging German that got two for Roppongi 3K. As ELP resisted the Direct Drive from YOH, a jackknife pin almost scored a flash victory, but with Ishimori’s assistance, Phantasmo almost got a surprise victory of his own, the match continuing to prove impossible to predict.
Ishimori would land Cipher Utaki on YOH to open the door for ELP’s Thunder Kiss ’86, but the champion still refused to eat the pin. Yet a double team moonsault attempt saw Phantasmo hit his partner instead, and SHO made the assist as adrenaline began to flow. The match hitting the 25 minute mark, 3K connected on Ishimori while stereo Nomisugi knees landed on Phantasmo; Strong X followed but Ishimori just barely made the save as the match continued.
SHO manhandled Ishimori into a German suplex and punt down the apron as YOH was left alone with Phantasmo. A Direct Drive seemed to be in the books, but the loaded right boot would crush the foot of YOH, and Sudden Death followed, as Phantasmo and Ishimori secured their third IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.