NJPW Road to Power Struggle – Super Jr Tag Tournament – Review

Road to Power Struggle, Korakuen Hall, October 21:

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Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Hirai Kawato, Teruaki Kanemitsu & Tomoaki Honma

This was your typical young lion vs veterans opener. The young lions got to show lots of fighting spirit and put up a bit of a fight before being eventually put away. They both looked solid. Nagata won with the young lion special, the Boston Crab.

Manabu Nakanishi & Yoshitatsu defeated BONE SOLDIER & Yujiro Takahashi via DQ

My god was this bad. The silence when BONE SOLDIER was tagged in was deafening and uncomfortable. This was just atrocious. The whole thing was clumsy, no one cared and BONE SOLDIER is even worse as a heel than a babyface. He was completely lost. This ended in a DQ when BS (an appropriate abbreviation) choked Tatsu with a belt and that was that.  This made any Titus O’Neil vs Darren Young match look like Flair vs Steamboat.  You have been warned. Don’t watch this.

YOSHI-HASHI, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada defeated Chase Owens, Kenny Omega, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa

This was the first meeting of Okada & Omega since their Tokyo Dome title match was made official. They briefly met in the ring with Omega getting the advantage with some Bullet Club help.  Loa & Tonga brawled with Ishii & Goto. The finishing stretch saw YOSHI & Owens as the legal men. YOSHI pinned Owens after the Made in Japan to pick up the win for the CHAOS team.

Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI defeated Juice Robinson, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Katsuyori Shibata & Togi Makabe

This was pretty good. Makabe was controlled by LIJ.  We had some great stuff between Tanahashi & SANADA ahead of their meeting at Power Struggle. Shibata & EVIL brawled as a preview to their NEVER title match.  The finish saw a crazy burst of action until it boiled down to EVIL & Naito double teaming Juice before Naito put him away with Destino. Naito left the IC title belt at ringside as he walked to the back.

Will Ospreay defeated David Finlay

This was originally meant to be Ospreay & Gedo vs Ricochet & Finlay in the Tag Tournament, but with Ricochet off the show due to a visa issue, we got this singles match and it was great. Finlay was aggressive and arrogant here. He tossed Ospreay into the ringside seats and went after his shoulder. This was very hard hitting. There was a great uppercut exchange and Ospreay showed some of his quick striking combos. The finish saw Ospreay hit his spin kick before hitting the OsCutter. This was another really good performance from Finlay.

Super Jr Tag Tournament

Beretta & Rocky Romero defeated Angel De Oro & Titan

This was really good and there was a lot of good storytelling playing off the recent dissension between Romero & Beretta. Beretta is getting increasingly annoyed at Romero messing around and not playing his part in the team. Romero is no stranger to lucha, so he was comfortable flying around with Team CMLL. Titan is incredibly athletic and pulled out some spectacular moves. De Oro is slightly bigger, but can fly just as easily.  They hit a double cross body from the top to the floor and De Oro hit a nice Triangle Moonsault. Romero was out of place for some RPG Vice double team, which annoyed Beretta. Beretta ended up winning the match on his own when he pinned De Oro with the Dudebuster. Romero then celebrated like he had done all the work and eventually convinced Beretta to high five him. RPG Vice advance to the semi-finals.

Ryusuke Taguchi & Fuego defeated Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask IV

This was very good. The veterans Tiger & Liger always bring in when they need to and they did just that here. Fuego & Taguchi did a whole lot of dancing during their entrance. Lots of good back and forth action in this, Fuego flew around and Taguchi used his hip attacks. The finish was great. Taguchi kicked out of Ligers Brainbuster. Taguchi then put Liger in an ankle lock to get the submission win.  The crowd really wanted to see a Liger win here.

ACH & Taiji Ishimori defeated The Young Bucks

This was outstanding. In the main event slot, these guys were given the platform to show what they can do, and they did just that. ACH couldn’t have asked for a better NJPW Korakuen Hall debut. ACH & Ishimori recently won the NOAH Jr Tag Tournament and competed on the final day of the Super J Cup.  He has gained a lot of weight and was as explosive as hell here. He showed incredible agility and hit extremely hard. Ishimori is very like Neville in the way that he’s built and moves. There was far too much action to recap here. The Bucks were at their arrogant and boastful best. They hit so many great tag moves. Both ACH & Ishimori took to the air several times. The end saw lots of great false finishes.  ACH intercepted a Meltzer Driver in mid air, which set them up to hit stereo 450 splashes to win and advance. This was a huge win for ACH & Ishimori as they score a win over the IWGP Jr Tag champions.  This is the only match on this show you really need to see and it’s well worth your time.

The final first round match of Ospreay/Gedo vs Ricochet/Finlay takes place on October 25. The semi finals take place on October 30th and will see RPG Vice vs Taguchi/Fuego and ACH/Ishimori vs the winner of the 10/25 match.

Not a boxer but a pro wrestling fan. If there’s a ring I’ll watch it, so naturally I have a lot of opinions (complaints).