(06/28) Tetsuya Natio, Kota Ibushi & El Desperado vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA

New Japan Pro Wrestling
Korakuen Hall (Tokyo, Japan) 

El Desperado’s on-again, off-again attitude problems flare up once again in this mixed junior and heavy trios match.

If there is a quintessential NJPW Korakuen Hall semi-main event, this it is.  It builds to a couple of near-future matches and puts guys together that normally do not get much of a chance to work with each other.  None of these six are likely to mail in a performance even on a mid-level show and they don’t here.  The action is fast paced and fun.  We get glimpses into fun but rare pairings such as Naito-Tanahashi, KUSHIDA-Naito, and Ibushi-Tanahashi.

They pack a lot of action into the 11-minute bout.  In a year where they has been more fun trios matches than can be counted, this one will get forgotten in the mix but it was nonetheless a good TV-style bout.  It set up both Shelley vs. Desperado and the junior title match of Ibushi vs. Kushuda on July 4th, as well as allowing Tanahashi and Naito to mix it up just several days before they are set to team in a straight tag on that same card.

The match is also noteworthy for El Desperado’s late-match and post-match actions.

Towards the end, Depserado – who has straddled the fence between good guy and rule breaker since his first day in the promotion – pushed Shelley towards the referee.  Shelley put on the breaks in order to save the official, but the distraction allowed Desperado to land a foul and get a cradle for the 3-count.  Just as was the case after his debut match back on January 5th, neither Desperado’s partners nor his opposition were happy with him after this one.  Desperado walked off, again teasing a full-fledged heel turn, while Ibushi and Kushida stared off prior to their big title confrontation.

Trios | Common | Angle & Quality

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