Friday, November 4, 2016

NJPW Power Struggle 2016 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another round of PPV Predictions!  

This Saturday is NJPW's Power Struggle PPV, where things more or less take their final shape for the build to WrestleKingdom!  This year's card looks quite solid and makes use of a handful of guest stars from ROH, NOAH and CMLL.  As usual with Power Struggle there likely won't be any Earth-shattering developments, but it'll just be a good night of wrestling.

So let's get to the predictions....

Ryusuke Taguchi, Angel de Oro, Titan & Fuego vs. Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, Ricochet & David Finlay

This should be fast and furious, with the lucha style well-represented in some of the losing Super Jr. Tag teams.  It's little more than a showcase match but should get the crowd engaged early.  I find Liger's team generally wins matches like these so that's who I'll pick.

Justin's pick: Team Liger
Landon's pick: Team Liger

Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Bone Soldier vs. Togi Makabe, Tomake Honma & Yoshitatsu

I still find it so odd they turned Captain New Japan heel.  It's like WCW having Michael Wallstreet join the nWo.  He's an inconsequential character.  Anyway, since the Bullet Club C-team just got a new member I'll go with them to win.

Justin's pick: Bullet Club
Landon's pick: Bullet Club

IWGP Tag Team Championship: Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi

This should be alright.  GoD finally had a good match last month against The Briscoes, so we'll see how well they do against a totally different team.  I'm still holding out hope that Ishii & Goto will team up for a Title run.  New Japan, why must you tease me with this??

Justin's pick: GoD retains
Landon's pick: The logical part of me says that GoD wins this match. But that won't stop the fact I REALLY REALLY want YOSHI and Uncle Ishii to win. New tag champs, please?

2016 Super Jr. Tag Tournament Final: Roppongi Vice vs. ACH & Taiji Ishimori

Another fun contest, this will presumably determine the #1 contenders to the Young Bucks' Jr. Tag belts at WrestleKingdom (although last year's winners had to share that title shot with two other teams).  RPG Vice has been there a million times, plus they've teased dissension recently, so I have to go with the fresh meat here.

Justin's pick: ACH & Ishimori
Landon's pick: ACH & Ishimori

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship: Bushi vs. Kushida

The rematch from Destruction will be a potential Match of the Night.  Bushi has improved dramatically over the past year and Kushida is transcendent.  Heading into WK11 it seems like Kushida should be the champ, so I'll pick him.

Justin's pick: Kushida
Landon's pick: Long term vision for me sees Ospereay finally beating KUSHIDA at Wrestle Kingdom for the Jr Heavyweight Title. For that to happen, BUSHI must fall tonight.

Kenny Omega, Adam Cole & The Young Bucks vs. Kazuchika Okada, Will Ospreay, Hirooki Goto & Gedo

This'll be a fairly epic 8-man.  Too bad it isn't elimination rules, because that would really be something.  But it's a pretty stacked bout regardless.  Omega's team getting the win makes the most sense to put Okada's Tokyo Dome chances in jeopardy.

Justin's pick: Bullet Club
Landon's pick: CHAOS

NEVER Openweight Championship: Katsuyori Shibata vs. Evil

I like this match a lot.  Should be a brutal slugfest.  Shibata's match always threatens to steal the show and Evil is becoming more and more compelling in the ring.  I could see Evil taking the belt, setting up a Tokyo Dome rematch.

Justin's pick: Evil
Landon's pick: I have, and probably always will have, an extreme bias for EVIL. However I don't want him winning the belt here. I'm still hoping that he and SANADA can go on to the Tokyo Done for the Tag titles. Shibata to retain.

Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Sanada

Their G1 match was quite good and I expect this to be better.  This is clearly all about setting up Tanahashi to challenge Sanada's boss at WrestleKingdom, so there's no way he loses here.

Justin's pick: Tanahashi
Landon's pick: Tanahashi

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs. Jay Lethal

Lethal is subbing for the injured Michael Elgin, and I'm actually excited about that.  Naito-Elgin would've been a fine main event, but we just saw it at KOPW.  With Lethal having a falling out with LIJ in August and defeating Naito at All-Star Extravaganza there's more unresolved heat to this pairing.  Should be an excellent main event.  I do not expect Lethal to win however.

Justin's pick: Naito
Landon's pick: Good match, but Tanahashi needs something to do at Wrestle Kingdom. A match with Naito for the IC title is that thing.

That's our picks for Power Struggle.  Agree?  Don't?  Comment below!

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