NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING "ROAD TO POWER STRUGGLE"
Friday October 21st, 2016
The Korakuen Hall In Tokyo Japan
Airing On New Japan World
Just a quick background on this series of events leading into NJPW's Power Struggle on 11/5. The final major event for NJPW, before the annual January 4 Dome Show, New Japan's biggest event of the year. This year's Dome Show has Kazuchika Okada defending The NJPW World Championship against 2016 G1 winner, Kenny Omega. Power Struggle started in 2011. It was put in place to be the big bridge show to WrestleKingdom. Similar to what The Royal Rumble is to WrestleMania.
"Road To Power Struggle" is 9 events in total. The tour will kick off with The Super Junior Tag tournament. With the finals at Power Struggle on November 5th. The main event at Power Struggle is slated to be an IWGP Intercontinental Title Match with Tetsuya Naito defending against Jay Lethal. Road to Power struggle features some of the greatest wrestlers in the business from all over the world. With ROH, CMLL and NOAH involved. Talents like Will Ospreay and Ricochet are also featured on these events and will participate in the tournament. Ricochet was scheduled to wrestle on Friday's show but due to Visa issues, His 1st round Super Jr. tag match will take place on 10/25. Ricochet will team with David Finlay to take on Will Ospreay and Gedo.
Here are the results from today's show:
Nagata got the victory for his team with a boston crab on Kanemitsu. Teruaki and Hirai are NJPW Dojo trainees and this type of match is a proving ground for them against great vets like Tenzan and Nagata.
* Yoshi Tatsu & Manabu Nakanishi defeated Bone Soldier & Yujiro Takahashi by DQ in 8:26
Bone Soldier was disqualified when he wouldn't stop choking Yoshi Tatsu. New Japan has a great reputation for great workrate. This match was evidence that it isn't always the case. Even this highly acclaimed promotion has crappy matches from time to time. This was one of them. Soldier is the latest member of The Bullet Club. Just recently debuted. He is dressed in all black attire with a mask. For those who haven't been following the promotion, "Bone Soldier" is Captain New Japan. Who turned on Yoshi Tatsu and The Hunter Club. A faction designed to oppose The Bullet Club. Hence the new name and gear designed to fit The Bullet Club theme.
Yoshi Hashi gets the win for his team with the Karma finisher on Owens. This match is notable for The two WrestleKingdom main event participants in Okada and Omega. I am a proponent of keeping your mega event competitors away from each other until the big show. Their interaction was minimal in this match. Kenny Omega has the tendency to turn his intensity switch off during these multi-man matches. That was pretty much the case here.
* Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI defeated Juice Robinson, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Katsuyori Shibata in 10:44
Naito hits The Destino on Robinson for the victory. The match was mostly a set up for The Never Openweight Championship match scheduled between Shibata and Evil at Power Struggle.
* Will Ospreay defeated David Finlay in 10:22
Ospreay hits The OsCutter and gets the pinfall victory over Fit Finlay's son. Will Ospreay debuted a new look. He has dyed his hair blond and even debuted new gear. He kind of looks like a poor man's Okada. Nothing poor about his in ring ability though. This was a typical Ospreay match. Finlay has improved so much in the last year. The sky is the limit with him but he is not yet on Ospreay's level as a perfomer. Very few are, at least athletically.
SUPER JUNIOR TAG TEAM TOURNAMENT 1ST ROUND
* Roppongi Vice defeated Angel de Oro & Titan in 12:55
RPG Vice advance to the semi-finals on 10/30. The finish saw Barreta hit The Dude Buster on Angel for the win. The CMLL tandem of "The Golden Angel" and Titan were very impressive in defeat. The crowd's intensity picked up for all 3 Super Junior matches on this card. Angel De Oro is very impressive. He is nicknamed "The Master of Air" and for good reason. Rocky Romero and Trent Barreta have been teasing dissension in recent weeks but they managed to work well enough to get the victory and advance.
* Fuego & Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask in 9:55
Taguchi submits Liger with his "Oh My and Garankle" hold. Taguchi and Fuego advance to face RPG Vice in the semi-finals on 10/30. Fuego and Taguchi are a very charismatic duo. The CMLL star Fuego's character is a tribute to The Flash comic book character. Which has been portrayed in Mexico by several different wrestlers over the years in different variations and gimmicks.
* Taiji Ishimori & Super ACH defeated The Young Bucks in 17:40
Exciting match concludes when Ishimori and the newly dubbed "Super ACH" hit stereo 450 splashes on The Bucks. The official fall of record is ACH pinning Nick Jackson. Great action in this one. ACH continues to develop and is a human highlight reel. The NOAH star, Ishimori has impressed in the past and continues to do so. He and ACH will now advance to the semi-finals on 10/30 to face the winners of The Ricochet/Finlay vs Gedo/Ospreay match. That match takes place on 10/25.