NJPW Power Struggle, Osaka, November 5th:
Juice Robinson, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Teruaki Kanemitsu, Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata
Right out of the blocks Kanemitsu went after Tenzan and had a very good showing for himself. He has improved a lot over the last few months. The epic Robinson vs Nakanishi feud continued here. Robinson has to be in the running for 2016’s most improved wrestler. He was as intense as hell here and got to score the win when he nailed Kanemitsu with a wicked lariat and an Unprettier. If he keeps this up, he could have a spot in the G1 next year.
David Finlay, Ricochet, Tiger Mask IV & Jushin Thunder Liger defeated Fuego, Titan, Angel De Oro & Ryusuke Taguchi
This was a really fun junior tag with a lot of international flare. The CMLL guys looked excellent, especially Titan. Ricochet had some amazing interactions with them. This wasn’t particularly long, but was a great show opener. Finlay & Ricochet hit the Finlay Roll/Shooting Star Press on Fuego with Finlay getting the pin as his push in New Japan continues.
Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & BONE SOLDIER defeated Yoshitatsu, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
Owens worked the majority of this match for his team, so it wasn’t awful. Owens has stepped up big time over the last few months and has been working hard to carry matches involving the likes of Yujiro. This was fine for what it was. BONE SOLDIER added nothing to the match as usual. He hasn’t a clue how to be a heel. He hit a full nelson slam on Tatsu that allowed Yujiro to hit his low DDT and score the win. That DDT is one of the least convincing finishers in wrestling. After the match Bullet Club choked Tatsu with a chain.
IWGP Tag Team Championship
Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa defeated YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii
This was excellent and by far the best performance The Guerrillas of Destiny have had as a team this far in NJPW. The crowd reacted to them, and in large part to how over Ishii & YOSHI are, the crowd were hot for the whole match. Loa was put over as a beast. He got the better of Ishii on several occasions and fought out of double team scenarios on his own. Tonga was impressive as he bolted around the ring. GOD put together lots of really slick double team moves. YOSHI is by far the best underdog in NJPW right now. The crowd popped every time he kicked out. Tonga kicked out of his senton bomb for a great near fall. There were lots of great false finishes with YOSHI fighting out of Guerrilla Warfare and Ishii making one last attempt at a save before Ishii was taken out. YOSHI mounted one last attack before Tonga hit an absurd move when he countered YOSHI’s finish, Karma into a Gun Stun. GOD then hot Guerrilla Warfare to retain the titles. This was great.
Super Jr Tag Tournament Final
Beretta & Rocky Romero defeated ACH & Taiji Ishimori
This was a great final to the junior tag tournament. It was give lots of time and as always when junior tag matches are given time, it was able to build into something really exciting. The story here was how would RPG Vice get along. They seemingly got on the same page when they won their semi final match. Early on we had Beretta getting mad when Romero was messing around and not taking things seriously. ACH & Ishimori are such an exciting team. This match had some superb action and saw the crowd get behind RPG Vice in a big way when either man was on the defensive. There were big dives from Beretta, ACH & Ishiori. One cool spot saw ACH sell his own foot when he punted Beretta off the apron. RPG Vice countered the double shooting star presses for a good near fall. Beretta was unable to get the Strong Zero locked in on a few occasions, so when he finally got the move and Romero came down to assist, the crowned popped for it. Beretta pinned ACH to win the tournament. There was lots of great stuff in this and is definitely worth watching. After the match RPG Vice called out The Young Bucks and challenged them to a title match at The Tokyo Dome, which The Bucks seemingly accepted. So for once, we might get a straight up two vs two title match at Wrestle Kingdom.
ACH was outstanding in this tournament, so it’s a pity that this may be the end of him in NJPW due to his impending departure from ROH. There’s a good chance that he and Ishimori were scheduled to win this if it wasn’t for the issues with ROH.
IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship
KUSHIDA defeated BUSHI
KUSHIDA regained the gold here in what was a much better match than their September meeting. KUSHIDA was out for revenge, and was boo’d when he launched an aggressive attack on BUSHI and piledrove him on the floor. BUSHI targeted the neck, the same neck he injured in October forcing KUSHIDA out of action for a month. This was a very different side to KUSHIDA and the match felt like a gritty fight. BUSHI hit several variations of the back stabber and Codebreaker. He hit an torpedo like suicide dive. A Canadian Destroyer wasn’t enough to get the win. KUSHIDA was boo’d heavily when he hit a straight punch on BUSHI. KUSHIDA got the win after he hit a Codebreaker and twisted the arm of BUSHI in the Hoverboard Lock. This felt like a completely pointless reign for BUSHI. All it did was break up what would have been a year long reign for KUSHIDA.
After the match the Time Bomb counted down to zero and it was revealed to be Hiromu Takahashi, formerly Kamaitachi, who makes his return to NJPW after excursion in both CMLL & ROH. It’s a pity he isn’t keeping the Kamaitachi name, because he had created a following under that moniker and we already have a Takahashi on the roster. He challenged KUSHIDA to a Jr title match at the Tokyo Dome. That match will be amazing.
Kenny Omega, Adam Cole & The Young Bucks defeated Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Will Ospreay & Gedo
This was so ridiculously entertaining. This Bullet Club team was so much fun and this was a hell of a match. There were a whole load of superkicks, a four way terminator dive and we had Gedo mock Adam Cole with a “Gedo Baybay!” taunt. There was a great shot of Cole doing the same taunt only for Ospreay to appear into frame and take him out with a flying forearm. Ospreay his some spectacular moves, including a handspring Pele kick taking out three men. Bullet Club hit a four way superkick on both Okada and Gedo. The finish saw an awesome back and forth between Okada & Omega before Omega hit the V-Trigger and One Winged Angel to score a monumental clean win over the IWGP champion ahead of their title match on January 4th.
NEVER Openweight Championship
EVIL defeated Katsuyori Shibata
What an incredibly hard hitting match this was as EVIL scores the biggest win of his career winning his first title in NJPW. EVIL went after the taped arm and shoulder of Shibata, just as he did in their G1 match. The striking in this was as stiff as hell. Shibata in particular was nailing EVIL with hard kicks and elbows. Shibata went for the sleeper, but EVIL fought out by wrenching at the bad arm. When he went for the ropes, Shibata caught the arm and suplexed EVIL right onto his head. Outside the ring EVIL was able to hit Shibata with the title belt behind the refs back and with the ref fallen on the floor, EVIL attacked Shibata with two chairs in the ring and hit him with a Fishermans buster onto the chair. He then hit the STO to take the NEVER title to Los Ingobernables de Japon. This was another excellent match. NJPW have done an incredible job of building EVIL over the course of the year.
Hiroshi Tanahashi defeated SANADA
This was another unbelievable Tanahashi performance. He’s going to go down as one of the greatest ever at this point. The story going into this was Tanahashi simply wanting to avenge his loss to SANADA in the G1. This built slowly around Tanahashi working over the knee. Tanahashi hit a sling blade on the apron and a High Fly Flow to the floor to kick the match into high gear. They played off the finish of their G1 match, but this time Tanahashi avoided the moonsault. Towards the end Tanahashi ravaged the knee of SANADA with all sorts of Dragon Screw variations and held him in the Texas Cloverleaf, but SANADA got the ropes. They exchanged suplexes and had a full on forearm battle. As always with a Tanahashi match, the excitement built at the end with Tanahashi going for the HFF, but SANADA got his knees up, but it also damaged the knee of SANADA further. The finish saw a Slingblade and two High Fly Flows, giving Tanahashi the win. This was excellent.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Tetsuya Naito defeated Jay Lethal
These guys were in a no win situation here. Lethal means very little in NJPW and was nowhere near ready for a main event title match on a major show. There wasn’t a single person in the crowd that believed Lethal had a chance, and on top of that he was playing the babyface against the ultra popular Naito. The last time Lethal was in NJPW he was a heel and the NJPW audience have very little knowledge of his turn in ROH. This was a pretty good match, but it was heatless. Lethal worked hard to win them over, but it just wasn’t happening. He hit a really nice inverted Finlay Roll into a crossface. They blocked each other’s attempts at finishers, until Naito hit Destino, seemingly out of nowhere to score the win.
After the match Hiroshi Tanahashi came out and challenged Naito to a championship match at Wrestle Kingdom.
This was a great show despite the main event giving it a flat ending. It is available now at NJPWWorld.com.