Wednesday October 30 sees action in Shizuoka as the Road to Power Struggle nears its conclusion
Main event: CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI, Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles) vs Kota Ibushi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Rocly Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi
With Korakuen Hall tour stops on the Road to Power Struggle being focused on the Super Jr. Tag League, this will be the first time in the tour that NJPW World viewers will see Okada, Ibushi, Tanahashi and YOSHI-HASHI. With just a couple of months to go until Okada and Ibushi face off in the first of two Tokyo Dome main events on January 4, all eyes will be on the Golden Star and the Rainmaker. This Sunday in Osaka, Power Struggle will see IWGP Heavyweight Champion and challenger in opposite sides of a tag match that also sees YOSHI-HASHI and Tanahashi involved; a preview in eight man format will be on display for the Shizuoka crowd.
Then there’s the Mega Coaches and Birds of Prey squaring off. Just 48 hours after they tore down the house at Korakuen Hall, tensions could only be higher between the two teams as they jockey for position and the critical top two spots of the Super Junior Tag League.
Before the main event, we’ll see the lone Super Junior Tag League match of the evening:
6th Match: Yuya Uemura & Tiger Mask (0-5) vs Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) (3-2)
Monday night in Korakuen Hall, SHO and YOH were in a must win situation against Titan and Volador Junior, and did what they had to do. Two valuable points set them at a still dangerous six, but with a crucial match in hand. That match is tonight against Tiger Mask and Uemura, a winnable bout, and one that, again, they have to win.
Should they do so, it’ll create a crowded scene at eight points, with four teams and some complicated mathematics involved as final matches in the league take place over Thursday and Friday. What two teams will make it to Sunday’s final at Power Struggle? Or could we see the same situation as last year, where a tie necessitated a three way final?
5th Match: Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii & Toa Henare vs BULLET CLUB (Jay White, KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi)
Time is ticking to two huge title matches on the slate in Osaka at Power Struggle. With NEVER Openweight Champion KENTA taking every opportunity to poke fun at the ‘dreamboat’ Tomohiro Ishii, the number one contender has called out KENTA. The Stone Pitbull has demanded KENTA carry himself like a confident champion so that he has a worthy opponent to beat for the belt on Sunday; no doubt the arrogant KENTA will have more than enough aggression to back up his sarcastic comments in the ring.
Then there’s Hirooki Goto who has seemingly succeeded in rattling Intercontinental Champion Jay White’s cage this week. Sunday night, Goto laid out both White and Gedo with GTRs on his way to victory; CHAOS momentum is strong against BULLET CLUB, and with Henare looking to move up in the pecking order, this team will be hungry for another declarative win in Shizuoka.
4th Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, Shingo Takagi & BUSHI) vs Suzuki-Gun (Taichi, Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Junior & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
LIJ and Suzuki-Gun collide once more in the fourth match of the evening. After seemingly breaking the spirit of Tetsuya Naito, El Ingobernable finally snapped on Taichi Sunday night in Korakuen, getting himself disqualified and assaulting the Holy Emperor with his own microphone stand. Taichi was, incredibly, apparently pleased by Naito’s assault, seeming to think that a match against a fired up Naito will get more attention and perhaps mean he can leverage a win into an opportunity at the winner of the Goto/White main event.
Taichi might well have opened a nasty can of worms in angering Naito. Naito’s rage only continued in Korakuen Monday night. Taichi though has his own montser, one that he carries around his neck. The maniacal laughter that sprung from Taichi as Naito laid down a brutal beating seemed to evoke the retired Takashi Iizuka, whose spirit resides in the iron glove that led to the Holy Emperor’s G1 victory. Could that departed evil soul re-emerge? We’ll find out what springs forth Wednesday in Shizuoka.
3rd Match: Clark Connors & Jyushin Thunder Liger vs BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori)
In the third match of the evening, Jyushin Thunder Liger returns to action, teaming with Clark Connors. Liger has prior connections with both his opponents that should make this tag match a thriller.
Back in March, Liger unsuccessfully challenged then IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Taiji Ishimori in what was a phenomenally hard fought match. The next day, Liger announced his retirement plans, but ever since its been Phantasmo snapping at the Living Legend. From his debut in May at Dontaku onward, Phantasmo hasn’t missed an opportunity to snipe at Liger. This peaked when Liger produced the Super J-Cup back in August; ELP’s shady tactics made a mockery of the tournament, and when he eventually won in controversial fashion by defeating Dragon Lee, Liger refused to put the golden winner’s jacket on Phantasmo, who punted the trophy in response.
It will be an angry Liger indeed in the ring in Shizuoka, and that rage may carry the aggressive and impressive Connors to the biggest upset of his young career. Could Liger and Connors pin the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions and set Liger up with a huge title opportunity to close out his career with a bang?
2nd Match: Titan & Volador Junior vs El Desperado & DOUKI
The team of El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru appeared in dominant form during the early matches of the Super Junior Tag League with two early victories, but the arrogance of the former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions cost them dearly on Saturday night. Then, after tearing at Titan’s mask for the majority of the match, an O’Connor roll into a Japanese leg roll clutch secured two points for Titan and Volador Jr., and sent Desperado and Kanemaru into a rage, removing the hood of the masked CMLL star. Now DOUKI teams up with the man he substituted for in Best of the Super Juniors to take on the pair of luchadores as both teams seek vengeance.
1st Match: Yota Tsuji & Tomoaki Honma vs TJP & Karl Fredericks
In the opening match of the night, Yota Tsuji and Tomoaki Honma team up to take on TJP and Young Lion Cup winner Karl Fredericks. Monday night in Korakuen, a Young Lion Cup rematch met the same result when Tsuji and Fredericks met won on one and Fredericks came out on top. How will each man fare with accomplished teammates in Honma and TJP?