Previously on NJPW: FinJuice became a real tag team and Kenta stalked his fake girlfriend.
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And now, the Best and Worst of the last three New Japan shows of 2019, the Road to the Tokyo Dome events from December 19-21 at Korakuen Hall. Sorry this is a little later than usual, but holiday hours clash with wrestling review writing and posting hours sometimes. (For those checking in looking mostly for a pre-Wrestle Kingdom, here’s a heads up that there will also be a WK14 preview article on UPROXX that breaks down the cards for those shows with way less editorializing.)
Just Hold On, We’re Going Home
Road to the Tokyo Dome is a series of go home shows for Wrestle Kingdom 14, and overall a really good streak of that type of wrestling TV. Its major lulls and weaknesses come from how much Wrestle Kingdom looms over the events. Filler matches feel even more like filler and the parts of preview matches that aren’t adding anything new to feuds also feel like filler, with the quality of the wrestling that isn’t attached to major drama easier to overlook than usual.
The Kenta vs. Goto stuff, for example, is more repetitive and less interesting than their world together on the World Tag League tour. But the wrestling isn’t bad wrestling or anything; it’s just wrestling between two people who should do some better and more definitive wrestling very soon. It doesn’t impact their feud aside from Goto finally bringing a desire to regain the tarnished NEVER Openweight Championship into it, something that probably should have been brought up earlier too.
There’s a lot of Chaos vs. Bullet Club on this tour, which peaks with a standout eight-man tag match on the 21st that pits the people in the upcoming NEVER and IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship matches against each other. FinJuice and the Guerillas of Destiny focusing on each other in these big tag matches has more novelty than the Goto vs. Kenta stuff, and these guys add something to their dynamic that will almost definitely come into play at the Tokyo Dome: the targeting of David Finlay’s injured shoulder. Finlay could previously be summed up as “the member of FinJuice who isn’t Juice,” so giving him …read more