#AndStill: Roppongi 3k Retain IWGP Tag Team Titles

In the midst of New Japan’s Dontaku tour, viewers are being treated to some amazing matches. Kota Ibushi retained his Intercontinental belt against Britain’s own vegan socialist Zack Sabre Jr and Evil defeated Ishii. However, one of the stand out matches already has to be the team of Sho and Yoh (Roppongi 3k) defending their IWGP Junior Heavyweight titles against Los Ingobernables de Japon’s Bushi and the unstoppable Shingo Takagi. Whilst both teams made their way to the ring, with Roppongi 3k being joined by Rocky Romero, the stakes were higher than ever.

After Sho got pinned by the newest member of LIJ Shingo Takagi at Wrestle Kingdom earlier this year, it seemed like the two team’s rivalry was hotter than ever. This was then made deeper after Sho and Yoh beat the LIJ duo at the NJPW anniversary to get the title back that had eluded them for almost a year. In this tour alone, we’ve seen the competitiveness between the four get even higher. Sho and Shingo have been having a battle of the dominant Jr heavyweights, with Sho attempting to be the first to pin Takagi. Yoh has also seemed to have this intense obsession with Bushi.

However, apart from this intense LIJ rivalry, Sho and Yoh already had a lot to prove. Currently, in their third reign as Jr tag champs, it’s not been lost on the fans that they’ve not managed to have one successful defense before this which paralleled that of Roppongi Vice. Both Sho and Yoh (and maybe even Rocky) had something to prove going into this match and the stakes were higher than ever.

The match started off with the two junior powerhouses as Sho and Shingo squared off in the ring. A lot of people may say that Shingo is the most powerful and strongest of the entire division, but Sho wasn’t going to take that. Both men started hot from the bell with a collar and elbow tie up leading into a series of spine-tingling chops, attempted tackles and clotheslines. Although it initially seemed like Takagi had the upper hand, Sho always had a response to whatever the Dragon pulled out. This was where Sho used his athleticism with some amazing dropkicks that startled Takagi.

You could see the change in pace once Yoh and Bushi were tagged in. Both men are a lot more agile and pride themselves on their high-risk moves compared to their partners. We saw amazing Yoh style dragon screws, dropkicks and some old fashioned superkicks galore.

No matter what combination was in the ring, it was pure magic and the crowd held their breath during each pinfall attempt. It seemed, halfway through the match, that Sho had the unbeatable Takagi at his mercy as he set up for a Shock Arrow. However, the Dragon found a way out. Then Bushi almost managed to hit his MX on Yoh and there was even a nice 3k to Shingo from both SHo and Yoh.

After 25 minutes, it felt as if these four could fight all night and, with the split crowd reactions, it seemed as if they wouldn’t have cared. With Rocky outside the ring shouting encouragement, Roppongi 3k gained that much-needed momentum. After Sho managed to keep Takagi at bay, Yoh hit the dragon suplex on Bushi and got the 1, 2, 3.

Despite the lead up where the LIJ pair had the upper hand, Sho and Yoh got their victory and hopefully, it’s the first in many defenses for the Chaos duo. Although Sho and Yoh are naturally an amazing team with great chemistry from experience, even with such a short time as a team, Bushi and Takagi worked effortlessly together.

In the post-match comments, you could see the happiness from Rocky and Yoh in bundles and it almost looked like Sho was so overwhelmed with emotion that he couldn’t put into words what he felt. It really shows how much this team wants to elevate the Jr division and show how good they actually are!

What’s next for both teams? With Takagi still not being pinned and, the Best of Super Jr tournament on its way, I can’t see this rivalry finishing any time soon. The 4 men will have to start thinking as singles competitors and the stakes are high for all 4 men. Sho and Yoh need to keep this momentum up because any pin in the tournament could bring a future title match. One of the biggest questions is, will Shingo Takagi remain unpinned? What’s next for Bushi? What does the road hold for the Jr heavyweight division?

Credit: NJPWWorld

The Best of Super Junior Tournament is the best place to find out all the answers and it will be streaming live on NJPWWorld all May.

To read our New Japan Pro Wrestling – Year in Review for 2018 click here.