Preview: NJPW Power Struggle 2017 (11-5-2017)

Another great offering from New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) on November 5th with most notably a Wrestle Kingdom worthy championship main event. Kota Ibushi had a fantastic run in this year’s G1 Climax tournament and would love nothing more than to become a champion again in NJPW. Ibushi has previously been the Junior Heavyweight champion but now he wrestles the main eventers as a heavyweight.  Manabu Nakanishi vs “Blue Justice” Yuji Nagata just took place for both of their 25th anniversaries in pro wrestling, they get Power Struggle off. Here is how that is shaping up before Power Struggle.

David Finlay Jr. vs Katsuya Kitamura

Photo: NJPW

Kitamura is 31 years old and only has around 100 matches under his belt but he is one of the most impressive Young Lions NJPW has ever had. With fangs as a mouthgaurd and a bodybuilders physique, he has a huge future. David Finlay Jr. has held tag team championships since graduating from Young Lion’s status a year ago and he gets better and better. The winner obviously has more faith from NJPW management but Kitamura’s inexperience will probably be the difference maker. This won’t be too long but it will be interesting to see both progress.

Dragon Lee and TITAN vs. The Young Bucks

Photo: NJPW

This is going to be the most fast paced match of the card with a team of Juniors taking on the most exciting tag team anywhere. Dragon Lee and TITAN come from CMLL but always steal the show when they come to NJPW. The Young Bucks have been in Ring Of Honor Wrestling lately and this is their return to NJPW after losing the IWGP Jr. tag team championships. Dragon Lee would be one to watch as he did exceptional in the Best Of The Super Juniors tournament this year but The Young Bucks could win in a variety of ways. Matt and Nick Jackson have showed great awareness by winning matches with Sharpshooter’s instead of high-flying this year.

CHAOS (Gedo, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, Yoshi-Hashi and Kazuchika Okada) vs. Los Ingobernobles De Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA and Tetsuya Naito)

Photo: NJPW

Before we head to Wrestle Kingdom on January 4, we need to set up the IWGP Heavyweight champion Kazuchika Okada vs Tetsuya Naito. What better way than putting their factions to war. Naito always seems to get the upper hand when it comes to these situations and that’s do to his cunning nature. Okada has had the best year of his career, reigning as the IWGP Heavyweight champion all year long and breaking the all-time record for number of days overall as champion. Okada has had trouble this year with SANADA and EVIL in singles matches and EVIL actually defeated Okada in the G1 Climax tournament. Okada has his friends, Ishii and Goto will not go down without a hard fight. Naito should get the win without nefarious means to set himself up as the rightful challenger to Okada.

Bullet Club (Cody, Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi) vs TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima and Togi Makabe)

Photo: NJPW

The veterans have been at odds with Bullet Club for years, the tide is turning towards the young stars to be established as future main eventers. Cody is the reigning Ring Of Honor world champion, this would be a huge win especially after retaining his championship against another veteran in Minoru Suzuki. Kojima is the one that is likely to bring the most fight. The Bullet Club are big money players and only growing, looks like another big win.

Juice Robinson, Hirai Kawato, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Tiger Mask lV and KUSHIDA vs Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Taka Michinoku, Taichi and El Desperado)

Photo: NJPW

A 10-Man tag that features the best young NJPW stars in Juice Robinson and Zack Sabre Jr. along with stalwarts of NJPW. Liger and Together Mask lV actually picked up a tag team win on The Road To Power Struggle so they still have lots left in the tank even late in their careers. The not-so sneaky tactics of Suzuki-Gun usually gets the job done, whether it’s interference or the illegal use of steel chairs. Sabre will be the deciding factor and should be the one picking up the win.

Jr. Tag Team Tournament Finals: Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yho) vs Super 69 (ACH and Taguchi)

Photo: NJPW

The team of Sho and Yho have been tremendous for years but are getting their just due after being Young Lions on excursion to Ring Of Honor Wrestling as The Tempura Boys. Sho and Yho became the IWGP Jr Heavyweight tag team champions on their return to NJPW and joined forces with Rocky Romero. ACH competed in Best Of The Super Juniors this year but he has yet to break through on NJPW cards and this is his chance. ACH and Taguchi make for a very fun team and ACH brings some of the most exciting offense today. It would be amazing for Roppongi 3K if they could win this tournament as champions and it looks like that’s what happens, setting up a match with The Young Bucks down the road.

IWGP US Championship: Kenny Omega (C) vs. Trent Beretta

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Heavyweight Trent has slid into his new role nicely, having very good matches with Yujiro Takahashi since leaving Rocky Romero as his tag team partner in search of singles glory. This has the possibility of being the best of the show, both are about the same height and weight with amazing high flying offense in their arsenals. Kenny Omega is the more well-rounded performer but take nothing away from Trent, he takes some of the craziest bumps in wrestling and can do it all. Both are very fun to watch but this is really Trent’s biggest opportunity of his entire career to date, all eyes will be on him. This could be a lengthy title defense for Omega, having only held the championship since July he is taking on all comers. Trent has some great knee strikes but it may not stand up to Omega’s V-Trigger’s. Expect a 5 star match and a big One Winged Angel in the end.

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship:  Will Ospreay (c) vs. “The Villain” Marty Scurll

Photo: NJPW

A rivalry that has spanned the globe, from the UK to America to Japan. The irony here is Ospreay helped bring in Scurll to NJPW by recommending him to NJPW officials, and now Scurll is challenging for Ospreay’s Junior Heavyweight championship. This will be the first ever IWGP Jr. heavyweight championship match between 2 British wrestlers. Ospreay is coming off a monumental victory over KUSHIDA whom Ospreay had never defeated after 4 attempts in singles matches. “The Arial Assassin” became the first British born IWGP Jr. Heavyweight champion. Ospreay entered NJPW last year and won the Best Of The Super Juniors tournament but it has taken him a while to pick up steam. Scurll on the other hand competed in his first Best Of The Super Juniors tournament and although he came up short, he impressed enough to earn a championship match. This has the possibility of being the best Junior’s match all year, with Scurll’s theatrics and Ospreay’s high-flying. If Ospreay gets caught flying he could land into “The Villain’s” trademark chicken wing submission. It is likely Ospreay escapes Scurll’s submissions and retains the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight championship.

NEVER Openweight Championship: Minoru Suzuki (c) vs. Toru Yano

Photo: NJPW

Suzuki has held a tight grasp on the NEVER Openweight championship since April 27 when he defeated Hirooki Goto. Here he has a very interesting challenger in a man he met in the G1 Climax tournament 3 months ago. The man with the worst personality in wrestling vs Japan’s king of comedy. Toru Yano has deceptively great mat-wrestling skills and he will need to do that and not just pull tricks out of his bag to win his first singles championship in NJPW. Minoru Suzuki would love to choke out Yano with his sleeper but if Yano starts taking of turnbuckle pads and cheating than Suzuki may not get the chance. It may not be a long match but it will be very entertaining. You can expect Suzuki-Gun and CHAOS interference and Suzuki retaining the NEVED Openweight championship in the end.


IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Kota Ibushi

Photo: NJPW

Ibushi started his career as a Junior Heavyweight and reached great success but has taken many detours since then, appearing in DDT in Japan and the WWE Cruiserweight Classic. Tanahashi and Ibushi have such a similar look and are some of the most athletic performers in the world. Both can take to the top rope but Kota Ibushi may have the edge there. It could be a High Fly Flow or a Pheonix Splash depending on who has the advantage. Tanahashi likes to target opponents legs and set up a Texas Cloverleaf that he really wrenches on, that won’t be good for Ibushi who has used a knee strike as a finisher lately. Tanahashi has years on Ibushi and that experience will be the difference maker even if Ibushi is more fired up. If Ibushi loses than don’t think his title aspirations are over, look for him to possibly challenge Kenny Omega for the IWGP U.S. championship at Wrestle Kingdom.

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