New Japan "Road to the New Beginning"
A Casual Review by Kevin Wilson

Date:  January 30th, 2015
Location:  Tokorozawa Citizen Gymnasium Sub Arena, Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan
Announced Attendance:  1,200

New Japan's "Road to the New Beginning" is a smaller tour without any major matches that is mostly being used to build up to the "New Beginning" show on February 11th. Hence the clever name of the tour. Even though these are basically house shows, three of them were filmed and being shown on NJPW World. This is the first one, with the only thing of note being Jay White making his New Japan debut. Here is the full card:

- Alex Shelley vs. Jay White
- Kyle O'Reilly vs. Yohei Komatsu
- KUSHIDA and Máscara Dorada vs. Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, and Jushin Liger vs. Nakanishi, Captain New Japan, and Tiger Mask
- Shinsuke Nakamura, Toru Yano, Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI vs. Yuji Nagata, Togi Makabe, Tetsuya Naito, and Honma
- Bad Luck Fale and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada and Gedo
- Hiroshi Tanahashi, Goto, Shibata, and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Tama Tonga, and Omega

Let’s get straight to the matches.  There is just one hard camera for this event, definitely house-show quality here coming up.

Alex Shelley vs. Jay White
Tie-up to start but they break cleanly.  They jockey around for leverage until White hits a dropkick, side headlock by White, Shelley gets out of it but White puts it back on.  Shelley finally gets out of it with a backdrop suplex, he then hits a back bodydrop.  White regains the advantage in the corner but Shelley throws him hard into the opposite one and White collapses to the mat.  Shelley avoids a White dropkick and applies a crab hold.  Camel clutch by Shelley but White gets out of it and slams him to the mat.  Elbow drop by White but the cover gets two.  White goes up top and he delivers a missile dropkick.  White charges Shelley but Shelley kicks him in the face, he goes up top but White moves when he jumps off.  Release German by Shelley and he hits a superkick.  Automatic Midnight by Shelley and he gets the three count.  What you’d expect here, this was White’s debut match and Shelley was just being the veteran showing him around.  Both looked fine, nothing looked sloppy here, but not much to it.  Score:  5.0

Kyle O'Reilly vs. Yohei Komatsu
Wristlock by O’Reilly but Komatsu gets away.  Side headlock by O’Reilly and he shoulderblocks Komatsu.  Kicks by Komatsu but O’Reilly hits a knee to the stomach.  Knees to the ribs by O’Reilly and he applies an abdominal stretch.  O’Reilly slams Komatsu’s arm into the mat and kicks him in the chest.  Komatsu knocks O’Reilly into the corner and he hits a running elbow.  Single underhook suplex by Komatsu and he goes for O’Reilly’s arm, but O’Reilly gets in the ropes.  Knee to the stomach by O’Reilly and he slaps Komatsu in the face.  Inside cradle by Komatsu but it gets two.  Stomps and punches by O’Reilly and he hits a brainbuster.  O’Reilly Factor by O’Reilly and he gets the three count.  Another acceptable match, nothing earth shattering but solid throughout.  Komatsu is really coming along nicely, I think he shows a lot of potential.  Score:  6.0

KUSHIDA and Máscara Dorada vs. Matt Jackson and Nick Jackson
I know what Matt and Nick look like, but this far off camera is going to make this play by play a pain.  Nick and Dorada start off, Dorada flies around and armdrags Nick out of the ring.  Matt runs in and attacks him, but Dorada sails out of the ring onto both of them.  Nick is rolled in for KUSHIDA, I assume it is Nick, Matt wore a ponytail just to make it harder.  Matt pulls Dorada out of the ring and Nick kicks him from the apron.  They then double team KUSHIDA before taunting the crowd.  Dorada gets back in and Nick tags in Matt.  Matt and Nick double team Dorada at the corner, cover by Nick but KUSHIDA breaks it up.  Nick and Matt Irish whip Dorada but Dorada hits a double springboard elbow.  Dorada tags in KUSHIDA and KUSHIDA attacks both Matt and Nick.  Nick elbows KUSHIDA but KUSHIDA kicks him in the head.  Nick tags in Matt as KUSHIDA tags in Dorada.  Dorada rolls up Matt, kick by Dorada and he runs around in the corner before hitting a dropkick.  Matt slides away from Dorada, he sets him up and with Nick he hits the Indy Taker for the three count.  Well that match ended super quickly, felt like they were just getting warmed up.  A bit too short, would have liked to see these guys go a bit longer.  Score:  4.0

Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Kojima, and Liger vs. Nakanishi, Captain New Japan, and Tiger Mask
Tenzan and Nagata start off, and Nagata shoulderblocks Tenzan to the mat.  Tenzan regains the advantage but Nagata clubs him to the mat.  Tenzan tags in Liger and Nagata tags in Tiger Mask.  Side headlock by Tiger Mask but Liger gets out of it and hits a shoulderblock.  Jumping double chops by Liger but Tiger Mask hits a dropkick.  Tiger Mask then sails out of the ring with a tope suicida onto Liger.  They both get back in the ring and Tiger Mask hits a vertical suplex.  Tiger Mask tags in Captain New Japan, punches by Captain New Japan and he tags in Nagata.  Double Irish whip to Liger, Nagata goes off the ropes but he lariats Captain New Japan by accident.  Nagata clubs Liger but Liger avoids the knee drop and tags in Kojima.  Chops in the corner by Kojima and he hits a jumping elbow.  Diving elbow drop by Kojima and he gets a two.  Elbows by Kojima but Nagata hits a lariat.  Another lariat by Nagata but Kojima hits a lariat, he goes off the ropes but Nagata hits a spear.  Nagata tags in Captain New Japan, chops by Captain New Japan but Kojima hits a Cozy Cutter before tagging in Tenzan.  Nagata and Tiger Mask come in the ring and everyone attacks Tenzan.  Tenzan avoids Captain New Japan’s diving headbutt, which brings in Kojima and Liger to clear the ring.  Hirai End by Captain New Japan to Tenzan and he gets a two count.  Tenzan and Kojima hit the 3D on Nagata, they go for it on Captain New Japan but Captain New Japan chops them back.  Lariat by Kojima to Captain New Japan, Tenzan applies the Anaconda Vice and picks up submission victory.  This is exactly as you would expect, although I will give them credit for not coasting.  Everyone got to hit their big moves and get the crowd excited before going to the ending stretch.  Just a fun midcard match but nothing more than that.  Score:  6.0

Nakamura, Toru Yano, Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI vs. Nagata, Makabe, Tetsuya Naito, and Honma
Nagata starts off with Nakamura and they immediately start trading kicks and kick attempts.  Nakamura drives Nagata back and he tags in Naito.  Yano is tagged in too, Naito applies a wristlock but Yano gets out of it.  Elbow by Naito and he tags in Honma.  The fight goes out to the floor, with Yano and Honma eventually returning.  YOSHI-HASHI is tagged in and he drops Honma on the top rope.  Nakamura comes back in, snapmare by Nakamura and he applies a double kneedrop.  Ishii is next and he chops Honma, but Honma chops him back.  Ishii goes for a suplex but Honma reverses it into his own vertical suplex and tags in Makabe.  Makabe clears everyone off the apron and hits a powerslam to Ishii.  Lariat by Makabe in the corner and he hits mounted punches.  Irish whip by Ishii and he hits a lariat.  Makabe and Ishii trade elbows until Makabe hits a lariat onto Ishii.  Back bodydrop by Ishii and both wrestlers are knocked to the mat.  Nakamura and Nagata tag in and they trade elbows.  Nagata kicks Nakamura into the corner and then hits a big boot.  Knee by Nakamura but Nagata avoids his charge.  Running knee by Nakamura and he hits an inverted powerslam on Nagata.  Nakamura goes for a Boma Ye but Nagata kinda suplexes him, dropping Nakamura on his face.  Nakamura tags in YOSHI-HASHI and everyone hits running strikes on Nagata in the corner.  Cover by YOSHI-HASHI but the pin is broken up.  Lariat by YOSHI-HASHI, cover, but it still gets two.  Naito hits a missile dropkick on YOSHI-HASHI and everyone trades signature moves on each other.  Makabe lariats Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI , Nagata goes for a suplex but YOSHI-HASHI blocks it.  Kick by Nagata and he hits the backdrop Hold for the three count.   This was another fun but pretty standard match.  Notice a pattern?  These guys can put on good matches with their eyes closed but there isn’t much of a reason to care about the match on an emotional level.  But solid nonetheless.  Score:  6.5

Bad Luck Fale and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada and Gedo
Fale and Okada start off and Okada hits a sliding kick to Fale.  Okada goes off the ropes but Fale catches him with a shoulderblock.  Yujiro and Gedo are tagged in, Yujiro pushes Gedo in the ropes but Gedo applies a side headlock.  Stomps by Yujiro but Gedo punches Yujiro in the face.  Gedo kicks back Yujiro but Yujiro drops him throat-first on the top rope.  The action spills out of the ring as Fale and Yujiro continue to dominate.  Yujiro and Gedo return to the ring and Yujiro tags in Fale.  Fale stands on Gedo, snapmare, and he punches Gedo in the head.  Sliding kick by Yujiro, cover, but it gets two.  Yujiro tags in Fale, Yujiro tries to tag out but Fale cuts him off and tags in Yujiro.  Yujiro rakes Gedo in the eyes and tags in Fale.  By far the most boring event of the match so far.  Okada punches Fale from the apron, giving Gedo time to tag him in.  Okada knocks down both Fale and Yujiro, he goes for a bodyslam on Fale but Fale blocks it.  Lariat by Fale in the corner and he hits a body press for two.  Okada dropkicks Fale back but Fale tags in Yujiro.  Yujiro chops Okada into the corner, Irish whip, and he hits a big boot.  Okada makes the hot tag to Gedo after a moment, punches by Gedo but Yujiro rakes his eyes.  Gedo returns the favor and Okada comes in the ring to dropkick Yujiro.  Gedo Clutch to Yujiro, but it gets two.  Okada hits a pescado out of the ring onto Fale, Gedo punches Yujiro in the ring but Yujiro regains the advantage and hits a Fisherman Buster for two.  Yujiro picks up Gedo and hits the Miami Shine, and this time he gets the three count.  This one bored me to tears, Fale and Yujiro are just so not interesting on offense and that was 90% of the match.  This one needed a lot more of Okada since he was the only entertaining one in the ring, just a chore to watch.  Score:  3.0

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Katsuyori Shibata, and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Tama Tonga, and Kenny Omega
Bullet Club naturally attacks their opponents before the match starts and they brawl both in and out of the ring. Tanahashi is isolated in the ring and Anderson stays in it but Tanahashi hits a rebound crossbody and makes the hot tag to Goto. Goto and Anderson trade elbows and Goto hits a lariat. Shibata comes in the ring and they hit a double shoulderblock. Anderson rakes his eyes and tags in Gallows. Shibata and Gallows trade strikes and Shibata kicks Gallows to the mat. Shibata tags in Taguchi while Omega is also tagged in. Taguchi kicks around Omega and he hits a hip attack. Gallows runs in and Taguchi hip attacks him, but it has no impact. Omega stomps on Taguchi and the action spills to the floor again. Taguchi and Tonga get back in the ring and Tonga stomps down Taguchi in the corner. Body press by Tonga and he tags in Anderson. Anderson elbows Taguchi and tags in Gallows. Elbow drops by Gallows and he slams Taguchi to the mat. Gallows tags in Omega and Omega hits a backbreaker. Snap vertical suplex by Taguchi but Omega stops him from making the hot tag. Taguchi kicks back Anderson and Omega and hits a double DDT. He finally tags in Goto and Goto hits a lariat on Anderson. Shibata comes in the ring and they double team Anderson, German suplex by Shibata and Goto hits a backdrop suplex. Anderson hits a spinebuster to Goto and Goto tags in Tanahashi while Omega is also tagged in. Tanahashi hits a somersault senton on Omega and he gets a two count. Tanahashi is tripped from the floor but so is Omega when he goes off the ropes. Tanahashi is tripped again and is double teamed, powerbomb by Omega but it gets a two count. Omega picks up Tanahashi but Tanahashi gets away and hits a Sling Blade. Omega tags in Anderson as everyone runs into the ring and Tanahashi is attacked in the corner. Tonga stays in with Tanahashi and hits a slam for a two count. Tonga picks up Tanahashi but Taguchi runs in and hits a hip attack. This leads to all the wrestlers coming in one at a time and attacking each other. Tanahashi grabs Tonga and he hits the Styles Clash. Tanahashi goes up top and he hits a High Fly Flow for the three count victory. This was... maybe good, I guess, but some of the beatdown segments just went too long. Taguchi is not and never has been interesting and he spent too much time in this match when he was so clearly the least talented wrestler on his team. Some of the middle portions with Goto and Shibata were good but overall it was just average at best. Score: 5.5

Final Thoughts:

This was pretty bland. New Japan has some of the best wrestlers in the world so even when the matches have no purpose they are only going to be but so bad, but either way this event wasn't very exciting. The main event was definitely watchable and there were some highlights here and there, but for the most part not a whole lot happened. No hidden gems here, you can safely skip this event.

Grade: D+ 

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review completed on 2/5/15