NJPW had a show this morning from Yamagata that was headlined by two championship matches. The main event was a KOPW2023 Provisional Match with SHO defending against Taichi and SHO’s friend in House of Torture, Yoshinobu Kanemaru was the special guest referee. Not only was there a guest referee stipulation for this match, but the loser was banned from wrestling in Yamagata again.

Right from the opening bell it was clear Kanemaru was there to help SHO. He allowed SHO to rake Taichi’s eyes and turned his back as the other members of the House of Torture beat Taichi down at ringside. SHO then followed to the outside of the ring to throw Taichi into the steel barricade and he then got back in the ring to allow Kanemaru to count. Kanemaru was counting to 20 at an unreal speed, but Taichi broke the count and when SHO went for a pin, Kanemaru practically counted to three in one second, but Taichi got the quick kick-out.

Even with Taichi fighting under these circumstances he continued to battle back and hit SHO with a superkick, but Kanemaru made a very slow count. Instead of getting upset he took SHO outside the ring and threw him into the barricade twice, but SHO then went into the crowd to recover and Kanemaru refused to count him out.

Kanemaru refusing to count to three. Credit: NJPW

Instead of waiting for Kanemaru to count, Taichi went to get SHO and brought him back to the ring himself. However, SHO raked Taichi’s eyes once again and Kanemaru removed the pad from the turnbuckle, so SHO could throw Taichi into the exposed steel. Taichi was then thrown back to the outside where EVIL whipped him with a belt and SHO then dragged him into the crowd. SHO threw Taichi into all the chairs in the crowd before choking him with one of the chairs and returning to the ring.

Once SHO was in the ring, Kanemaru began counting very quickly once again, but Taichi sprinted back to the ring. SHO threw Taichi into the exposed turnbuckle again and then locked in a chin-lock, but whenever Taichi would get his foot on the ropes Kanemaru would kick his foot off them. Luckily SHO did release the hold eventually and when Taichi got up he began chopping the hell out of SHO’s chest.

Taichi then kicked SHO right in the skull and followed that with another flurry of kicks, his educated feet were keeping him in this match. After more than a dozen kicks Taichi tore his pants off and wanted to end this match. He called for a superkick, but Kanemaru stood in front of SHO and SHO recovered to spear Taichi. SHO tried to stay on the attack, but Taichi was having none of it and he hit SHO with a brutal enzigiri.

Seitei Jujiro. Credit: NJPW

Taichi now locked in Seitei Jujiro and Kanemaru tried to break up the hold, but Taichi had it in tight and SHO began to tap out. However, Kanemaru turned around and pretended to not see SHO tap, so Taichi thought he won and released the hold, but the match continued. Taichi was outraged because he clearly won the match and he grabbed Kanemaru’s shirt. Kanemaru pretended that having his shirt grabbed took him out and he pretended to not see House of Torture get in the ring to beat down Taichi.

Just 5 Guys tried to make the save, but they were knocked to the floor and Taichi was stuck in a five-on-one attack. EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi held Taichi’s legs open so Dick Togo could leap from the second rope to punch Taichi below the belt. SHO took this advantage and wanted to hit Shock Arrow, but Taichi kept trying to reverse the move. Luckily for SHO, anytime Taichi would begin to reverse Kanemaru would help get him back into position for Shock Arrow.

Even with the help, SHO couldn’t hit the move and Taichi flipped him over. SHO then ran at Taichi, but he moved out of the way and SHO hit the exposed turnbuckle. Taichi now rolled SHO into the perfect pin combination and all Kanemaru had to do was count to three, but he refused to count and SHO kicked out well after three seconds. This was the second time Taichi had this match won, but thanks to Kanemaru he had still not been declared the winner. Taichi went after Kanemaru, but at the same time SHO was getting his wrench and he hit Taichi in the mid-section with it.

SHO now dragged Taichi to Togo who went to throw salt in Taichi’s eyes, however, Taichi ducked and the salt got SHO in the eyes. Taichi now booted Togo off the apron, but he turned around into a kick from the referee, Kanemaru. He then held Taichi up for SHO to hit him in the head with his wrench, but the blinded SHO hit Kanemaru with the wrench instead of Taichi. SHO did not even realize his mistake until he got the salt out of his eyes, but Takahashi and EVIL were now in the ring to help out SHO.

Last Ride. Credit: NJPW

EVIL held Taichi up and Takahashi hit him in the face with his cane, then EVIL and Togo hit him with a Magic Killer. However, that still was not enough for the win and EVIL went for Everything is Evil, but now Just 5 Guys jumped into the ring and took House of Torture out of the equation. Taichi hit SHO with a wicked forearm and then another brutal kick to the head. As Taichi was closing in on the victory everyone’s favourite referee, Red Shoes, slid into the ring. Taichi hit SHO with a Last Ride and Red Shoes counted to three, Taichi is the new KOPW2023 Provisional Champion!

New Japan Road 11/17/23 Results

Togi Makabe, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Boltin Oleg, Oskar Leube & Yuto Nakashima

Kojima made Nakashima look like the Young Lion he is as he beat him with a lariat.

Winners: Togi Makabe, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

Master Wato & Toru Yano vs. Bullet Club (Gedo & Taiji Ishimori)

Gedo continued to taunt the referee, so the ref retaliated by kicking Gedo, but instantly regretted his decision and began bowing to apologize. However, the very smart Yano grabbed Gedo’s hand and placed it on his groin as the referee was bowing down. So, when the ref got up and saw that he disqualified Gedo and declared Yano and Wato the winners.

Winners: Master Wato & Toru Yano

CHAOS (YOH, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto) vs. United Empire (Callum Newman, HENARE & Great-O-Khan)

YOH flew to the outside taking out HENARE and Khan while Goto and HASHI hit Newman with Shoto to get the victory.

Winners: CHAOS (YOH, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto)

Tiger Mask, Shota Umino, Minoru Suzuki & Yuji Nagata vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi, Yota Tsuji & Shingo Takagi)

Shota Umino sent a message to Will Ospreay with his victory today, he hit BUSHI with his own version of the Hidden Blade called the Blaze Blade.

Winners: Tiger Mask, Shota Umino, Minoru Suzuki & Yuji Nagata

Just 5 Guys (TAKA Michinoku, DOUKI, Yuya Uemura & SANADA) vs. House of Torture (Dick Togo, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL)

Unfortunately for Just 5 Guys, the match came down to Michinoku and Kanemaru, so the odds were in H.o.T.’s favour. Kanemaru got Michinoku into a sneaky roll-up and stole the win.

Winners: House of Torture (Dick Togo, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL)

Tomoaki Honma Homecoming/Never 6-Man Tag Team Championship Match: Tomohiro Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Ren Narita & Tomoaki Honma

A homecoming for Tomoaki Honma. Credit: NJPW

With this show taking place in Honma’s hometown, he was given this 6-man title shot in front of his fans. Honam did get to showcase some of his skills against Okada, specifically when he reversed a Rainmaker into a leaping headbutt. However, the two men to finish this match would be Narita and Tanahashi, it seemed like Narita had The Ace’s number and was closing in on the victory. Narita attempted to pull Tanahashi in for a suplex, but Tanahashi instead pulled Narita into an inside cradle to retain the titles for his team.

Winners: Still Never 6-Man Tag Team Champions, Tomohiro Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kazuchika Okada

Still the champs. Credit: NJPW

KOPW2023 Provisional Match/Yoshinobu Kanemaru Guess Referee: SHO (c) vs. Taichi

Winner: NEW KOPW2023 Provisional Champion, Taichi