NJPW King of Pro-Wrestling
Air Date: October 10, 2016
We Write Wrestling – @WeWriteWrestlin
The road to Wrestle Kingdom 11 marches on! Hello everyone, after a short, but very busy time, I am back to give all you New Japan fans a preview of the upcoming King Of Pro Wrestling show which takes comes to us from Ryogoku Sumo Hall in Tokyo on Monday October 10th (3 AM EST / 12 PM PST). I started watching NJPW full time around KOPW last year, in fact it was the first show I watched live on NJPWWorld.com and this year’s show is looking to be another solid show! With the three great Destruction shows behind us, let’s have a look to see what is coming up!
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Tiger Mask W vs Red Death Mask
This is a special pre show match, and is a cross over for the upcoming “Tiger Mask W” anime that is debuting soon. No official word as to who will be donning the Tiger Mask to play Tiger Mask W, or who Red Death Mask is for that matter. I have a feeling that it could be Sho Tanaka for W and Yohei Komatsu as RDM. Both guys have been on excursion with CMLL but are finishing up there on 08/26.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishiii, YOSHI-HASHI, & Will Ospreay vs Bullet Club (Adam Cole, Bad Luck Fale, & Yujiro Takahashi)
After his Destruction in Tokyo show with Kenny Omega, I am looking at YOSHI-HASHI in a new light. While I never expected him to win that match he did impress me by having a fucking great match against The Cleaner. The problem with this match, other than the inclusion of the relative new member in Adam Cole, is we have seen this match many times already. It seems like the Japanese audience is warming to Adam Cole, including calling out ADAM COLE BAYBAY with him (But my god, does he ever need better music…). I’m not sure which way this match will go but I can say it will be at least a solid 3 ½ * at least.
Bobby Fish, Ryusuke Taguchi, Togi Makabe &Tomoaki Honma vs Roppongi Vice, Jado, & Toru Yano
It will be nice to see Yano working with his CHAOS teammates rather than against them with NOAH! Expect comedy for most of this match and there is nothing wrong with that. Bobby Fish came pretty close to taking the NEVER Openweight title from Shibata in Tokyo, and it seems that both members of reDRagon will be making the move up to heavyweights, which is great since the Heavy Tag division needs to get some fresh match ups.
Go Shiozaki, Katsuhiko Nakajima, Masa Kitamiya, and Maybach Taniguchi vs Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Manabu Nakanishi, Satoshi Kojima, & Yuji Nagata
New Japan vs Pro Wrestling NOAH has been a pretty big letdown so far. This angle started off hot and fast at the end of the G1 but has pretty much fizzled down to nothing. I had hoped for more but it seems like the only reason they started this was for the IWPG Heavyweight title match with Okada vs Marufuji. I am hoping that this match is able to at least come close to the intensity of the NJ vs NOAH match at the end of the G1.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
The Young Bucks (c) vs Ricochet & David Finlay
So it seems that New Japan is not pleased with Ricochet normal partner Matt Sydal after his recent ‘passport problems’ that caused him to miss the Destruction tour completely. In fact, they stripped the NEVER 6 Man belts from Ricochet/Sydal/Kojima which made the match during Destruction in Kobe against the Bullet Club to crown new champs, which brings us to the sudden move up the card of former Young Lion David Finlay. At that show Finlay captured his first title in New Japan as part of the trio’s team with Kojima and Ricochet. Can he now become a double champ and hold one half of the IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag Champs? I have a feeling that is exactly what is going to happen. Even though the Jackson brothers were unsuccessful in winning the Heavyweight tag belts from the Briscoe Brothers I see them being moved up to the Heavy division now and getting the Jr belts off of them will lead to that. Going from Young Lion to double title holder in under 6 months? That is what I see happening and I couldn’t be happier about it.
IWGP Tag Team Championship
The Briscoe Brothers (c) vs GOD (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
As much as I hate to say it, I see the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles going back to the Bullet Club here. The Guerrillas of Destiny have just not clicked with the audience at all. Tama Tonga is getting back some of the shine he had during the G1 but Loa is not the worker his brother is. With the World Tag League coming up in November, New Japan will want the champs to be involved and that is where the problem arises. Mark and Jay Briscoe are both signed to Ring Of Honor, and right during Tag League ROH will be having Final Battle, and they will want to have two of their biggest stars there and not in Japan. The heavy tag scene will improve with teams like reDRagon and The Young Bucks being moved up but for now it’s still just an uninteresting mess.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, KUSHIDA, Michael Elgin, and Jay Lethal
The former ROH World Champ is looking for revenge against LIJ in this match, teaming with frequent foe Michael Elgin as well as the JR Ace KUSHIDA and Ace of the Universe Tanahashi. LIJ is still one of the most over acts in all of wrestling and with Naito now holding the IWGP IC title it makes for some interesting times ahead. Naito is already talking about having a vote for the main event of Wrestle Kingdom. For those that don’t know Naito won the 2013 G1 but due to a fan vote, his IWGP title match against Okada became the semi-main behind the IC title defense of Nakamura against Tanahashi, this lead to him leaving NJPW and going back to CMLL where he joined Rush and La Sombra in the original Los Ingobernables . In fact, he is making Los Ingobernables to be similar to Bullet Club in that it is a group that spread around the world to different companies. KUSHIDA lost the Jr title to BUSHI and will be going all out to get at the masked man. Elgin still has unfinished business with Naito as well over that IC belt as it was not a clean win. I am hoping both EVIL and SANADA get to do more than just be the background muscle for Naito and this match should show what they can do. This is going to be a wild match and I am calling for the mystery masked man to unmask and become the 5th member of Los Ingobernables de Japon in this match.
IWGP NEVER Openweight Championship
Katsuyori Shibata (c) vs Kyle O’Reilly
Shibata is currently dealing with a spinal injury, and there was talk about him being pulled from the match against Bobby Fish in Tokyo. Of course that match still took place and as expected Shibata and Fish tore the house down. That match was as hard-hitting as you would expect with Shibata and Fish, if you didn’t know he was injured before watching it you would have enjoyed the match, knowing he was injured made me cringe so many times. The suplexes and attacks to the neck and back by Fish were brutal. Shibata won that match following another patented thudding headbutt that again busted Shibata open, rear naked choke, and PK. I expect much of the same in this match against O’Reilly. Full disclosure, I would never get in the ring with O’Reilly even at 100%. I don’t see Shibata losing but I think he needs some time off to heal, if he doesn’t slow down a bit, allow some nagging injuries to heal he may not have much of a career left. If you enjoy watching two guys beat the ever-loving shit out of each other than you will love this match.
Kenny Omega vs Hirooki Goto
Winner gets IWGP Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom
This match is strange; normally the G1 winner would face anyone he lost to during the G1. I am thinking part of the reason for this match is the match they had in the finals was such an outstanding match that hopefully they will be able to replicate it. Just like with the match The Cleaner had against YOSHI-HASHI I don’t really see him losing the briefcase. If this match is even half as good as the G1 Final then we are in for a treat. Kenny has a way of pulling great matches out of people, as we saw with his match against YOSHI-HASHI and you can count on Goto have a great match as well so this match should be great. Since the Bucks will also be at this show I am sure we will have some interference from them as they help the Bullet Club leader cement his main even match at WrestleKingdom.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Naomichi Marufuji
This has MOTY written all over it; I can’t remember a match I have looked forward to more than this one. As is tradition the IWGP champ will give title matches to anyone who beat him during the G1, which is how ½ of the NOAH GHC Heavyweight Tag Champs earned this match with The Rainmaker. I expect this match to go at least 35 minutes, if not longer, and the last 10 minutes will be an edge of the seat, a nail biter, a.. well just insert whatever cliché you may have for what will prove to be nothing short of a magnificent back and forth, big move after big move, finisher and escape. This match cannot come fast enough for me, and could well end up as one of the matches I would use to introduce people to New Japan.
So that’s the 2016 King Of Pro Wrestling card, but before I go I have to talk about a bit of fallout from the Destruction show in Kobe. One of the worst gimmicks in New Japan has been The Hunter Club, YOSHITATSU and Captain New Japan; both of them have been looked at as jokes. During one of Road To shows on Sept 12, after losing to the Bullet Club team of Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi, Yoshitatsu started a twitter poll to see if the good Captain should stay in Hunter Club or if he should be kicked out. You could see that this bothered CNJ quite a bit, and of course he lost this poll. On the final night of the Destruction tour the results were announced and Captain New Japan was kicked out of Hunter Club, well that was how it was supposed to go down. As Yoshitatsu was talking about the vote before their match againt Yujiro and Owens he was jumped from behind by Captain New Japan, CNJ and Bullet Club then laid the boots (as my late father would say) to Yoshitatsu followed up by a #TooSweet from the three of them (which Cap of course managed to botch). It has now been announced that he is the newest member of Bullet Club and has been renamed, he is Captain New Japan no longer, now he is…Bone Soldier… Bone. Soldier. BONE FUCKING SOLDIER. I guess since The Young Bucks and Kenny Omega make up The Elite of BC, Yujiro, Chase, and Bone Solider can be the bottom 3, I really love how Chris Charlton (Twitter.com/reasonjp) put it, they are ‘The anti elite. The Skeleton Crew’. Currently there is no Bone Soldier vs Yoshitatsu match scheduled for KOPW but they will be facing each other at Wrestling World 2016 in Taiwan, hopefully that show will be up on NJPWworld so we can all witness that even New Japan has to have a bottom of the card!
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