Minoru Suzuki vs Rocky Kawamura
taped 08/14/2017, aired 08/24/2017
Korakuen Hall, Tokyo, Japan
(reviewed 08/28/2017) Awesome little match, the first match of the show to have more of an emotional narrative and a clear face/heel divide. Suzuki, coming off a disappointing end to the G1 Climax, is surly as ever here and punishes Rocky with some strikes early on. Rocky, though, as the name suggests, is no stranger to the strike game himself and is able to hold his own. Suzuki transitions to the mat to compensate but finds that Rocky is no slouch there either, which sets the veteran off and leads him to go at it with chokes, stomps, and headbutts, costing him a bunch of points. He’s down to one after Rocky floors him with a body shot and it looks as if Rocky might win this by weathering the storm, but a slow hook costs Rocky the match as Suzuki is able to grab it and bring him down in a fierce Fujiwara armbar for the flash finish. Great stuff here, the most fleshed-out match of the night thus far despite the limitations of a weary Suzuki.