Wednesday, October 4, 2017

NJPW King of Pro Wrestling: The Last Big Stop to The Dome

That poster is beautiful...

Hope you're not burned out from the Destruction tour, cause we have the last big stop until The Tokyo Dome coming up. Four titles and a Title shot will be defended here, and the undercard seems unoffensive or even good. I'm coming back to Enuffa to run down the card with Justin, and let you know who the smart money's really on. Justin?

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi, and Leo Tonga) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA, BUSHI, and Hiromu Takahashi)

The strangest trio of LIJ to team up, just put together because of Naito and EVIL's place on the card. I expect nothing.

Landon: LIJ.
Justin: LIJ

CHAOS (Hirooki Goto and Toru Yano) vs. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki and Zack Sabre Jr.)

Why? I don't know. Again, because of the card's set up we need to put Minoru second down from the card. With a feud against Makabe hopefully coming up in January, he's just spinning his wheels until then.

Landon: Suzuki-Gun.
Justin: Yup

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship [2nd Title Defense]
Funky Future (Ryuske Taguchi and Ricochet) (c) vs. Roppongi 3K (???)

Who's Roppongi 3K? I have no idea. The question seems to be whether Rocky is in the match itself, a question no one seems keen to answer. I'm still under the impression it's an entirely different tag team, and still think it's The Tempura Boyz. I don't know who wins here, I like Taguchi too much to ever officially bet against him. Plus, if I'm planning out the Tokyo Dome Jr. Tag Team match, I'd rather have two well established Dome performers a sthe champs, versus a team that's possibly untested.

Landon: Funky Future.
Justin: Never bet against the mystery opponent.  It's almost as bad an idea as giving a debuting team a championship.  RPG 3K wins.

IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship [1st Title Defense]
Killer Elite Squadron (Killer Elite Squadron and Davey Boy Smith, Jr.) (c) vs. Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) vs. War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe)
Elimination Match

I hope this is the last time these three teams meet in the ring at the same time. After the trilogy during the Destruction shows, it's time for some good old two on two meetings. I think whoever walks out of here with the tag titles walks into the Tokyo Dome as the champions. Any of these three teams would be an okay choice to be the defending champs walking in, but I don't think any of these teams will be winning the world Tag League.

Landon: I'm biased, because I want a picture of me with KES with the titles in Buffalo. Champs retain.
Justin: KES retain

CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI, Baretta, and Jado) vs. Bullet Club (Kenny Omega, Cody, and Marty Scurll)

A build for YOSHI and Kenny's match in Chicago next week. Not as bad of spinning as the first two matches on the card, five of the six men involved are very good workers and have the potential to meld very well. And Jado isn't so bad himself. I'm curious to whether we'll see any kind of Baretta/Kenny or Baretta/Cody tease in this match.

Landon: Bullet Club.
Justin: Bullet Club

Hiroshi Tanahashi and Togi Makabe vs. Kota ibushi and Juice Robinson

We continue the build to Tanahashi/Ibushi at Power Struggle, and after the really good match in Kobe I'm excited to see what Makabe and Juice can bring to the table. I expect Makabe to look good here, probably killing Juice the way Elgin did Finlay last week, and for Champ and Challenger to get more out of each other was we get hyped for November.

Landon: Tanahashi and Makabe.
Justin: This is clearly to build toward Tana vs. Ibushi.  So Team Ibushi wins.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship [3rd title Defense]
Kushida (c) vs. Will Ospreay

A match I was hoping to be on Wrestle Kingdom, this will be the fifth time that Kushida and Will face off in a singles match, each time Kushida has come out on top. I think this is the time that Will gets the big win over his foe. He's been tenured in New Japan long enough, and proven himself athletically and charismatically enough, where I think it's time to see where he goes with the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title.

Landon: Ospreay to finally take the title.
Justin: This is gonna be goddamn incredible.  Ospreay finally does it.

Tokyo Dome Heavyweight Challenge Rights Match
Tetsuya Naito vs. Tomohiro Ishii

I'm salivating over this match. Their encounter at Wrestling Dontaku last year remains one of my favorite matches of all time, and their two other encounters since then were all very good. Unlike last year, where Naito needed a win to solidify his reign as champion, there's really nothing for either man to prove here. Tetsuya now is comfortably in the upper echelons of New Japans hierarchy, and Tomohiro will seemingly always be just below that. This will serve to be a good match that will serve to make Naito look good walking into Tokyo. Not needed ,but a formula that works and should be followed.

Landon: Naito.
Justin: Naito keeps the briefcase after a spectacular match.

IWGP Heavyweight Championship [8th Title Defense]
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs. EVIL

Christ, Okada's reign has been wonderful. Since winning the title back from Naito last year, he's beaten NOAH's Ace, helped a man finish his redemption story, pushed a foreigner to be the best he could possibly be, stopped a Takeover before it could begin, and got a good three and a half match out of Fale. Okada no longer has anything to prove to the fans or the critics. EVIL, however, has everything to prove in this match. After a surprisingly stellar G1, the second in command of Los Ingobernables can make this match a career-defining encounter. The match has had one of the best builds for a hungry, breakout challenger against the established champion I've seen in some time, and I love it. Definitely a match I wouldn't miss for a world of Eddie Edwards defenses.

Landon: Okada to retain, but it'll take 4 Rainmakers and a Tombstone.
Justin: Okada obviously retains, but this'll be Evil's star performance.

That's some good Puroresu coming up. Monday morning can't come fast enough for me. There may not be a lot of mystery what the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 12 is gonna be,but the matches leading up to it are gonna be delightful.The road to the Dome leads through Ryogoku!

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