Friday, November 3, 2017

NJPW Power Struggle 2017 Preview & Predictions

Power Struggle is, barring the World Tag League, the final stop to the Tokyo Dome. After this, there are no more matches for the Big Four titles of New Japan, all the title matches for the Domewill be decided here, or soon after. The undercard is underwhelming, but the second half promises to be a rockin' outing. It's only a few days away, and Justin and I are running down just what's gonna happen in Osaka.

David Finlay vs. Katsuya Kitamura

Landon: This might end up being Kitamura's first win over a non-Young Lion in New Japan. There's obviously a tremendous upside to the rookie, but history tells that Finlay will pick up the win here.

Justin: Gotta stick with the non-rookie.  Should be a nice little match though.

Nick Jackson and Matt Jackson vs Dragon Lee and Titan

Landon: "We have nothing for the Young Bucks really, and we have the CMLL guys here still. So..." Young Bucks to win here, possibly to face SHO and YOH at the Tokyo Dome.

Justin: Bucks of Youth have to win here.  YB vs. RPG3K at the Dome.

Juice Robinson, Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask IV, Kushida, and Hirai Kawato vs Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr., Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, and TAKA Michinoku)

Landon: Something for the Suzuki-Gun Junior Brigade to do, and something for the Seiki-Gun to do. Kawato probably eats the fall, maybe from El Desperado

Justin: Yes, SG wins, if for no other reason than to keep ZSJ strong heading into the Dome.

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

Landon: This entire Undercard for this show is really weird. I guess the only thing that could come of this is Makabe pinning Chase. Whether that sets up for the NEVER Openweight title match against Suzuki I've been demanding for months, or even an ROH World Championship match, I don't know. I don't expect much.

Justin: Bullet Club so Cody looks strong.

Super Jr. Tag Tournament Finals
Roppongi 3K (SHO and YOH) vs Ryuske Taguchi and ACH

Landon: SHO and YOH have been a house of fire since they've come back. Their tenure in ROH did a lot more to help me forget how good they can be instead of advertising their high points. Winning the Super Jr. Tag trophies here would cement them as a legitimate force in a tag scene that's been sorely lacking any native presence in a long time. Taguchi and ACH are too haphazardly thrown together for my taste, and I think the trophy goes to the champions.

Justin: Agreed.  RPG3K need to win here.

CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, and Gedo) vs Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA, BUSHI, and Hiromu Takahashi)

Landon: This might be the best quintet to have ever faced LIJ, and it sits on the eve of the biggest show of the year. Depending on how much time they get (read as: how much time the undercard gets), it could be awesome, and I'm really looking forward to it. Gedo is here to lose to BUSHI with the MX.

Justin: I often skip these multi-man filler matches but this one looks great and could be one of the best matches on the card.  Huge 10-man preview of the WrestleKingdom main event.  LIJ gets the win.

NEVER Openweight Championship [3rd Title Defense]
Minoru Suzuki (c) vs Toru Yano
Bull Rope Match

Landon: I don't know what the specifics of the match are, if it's pinfalls or four corners, but it doesn't matter. Yano should be nowhere near the NEVER title. I'm one of his biggest fans, but I also understand that his act should be nowhere near any titles, save maybe the 6-man titles. Suzuki needs to definitively murder Yano here, and move on to the Tokyo Dome.

Justin: If Yano wins, we riot.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship [1st title Defense]
Will Ospreay (c) vs Marty Scurll

Landon: A rivalry that might reach the level of the great ones of old. It would be a shame for Will to go from closing one door with Kushida and finally winning the title, to lose it here to Marty. I honestly don't want Will to lose here, setting up a defense against Hiromu at the Dome.

Justin: Will retains and either faces Hiromu, or Hiromu and Kushida in a triple threat at the Dome.  I wouldn't be mad if it were the latter.

IWGP United States Championship [3rd Title Defense]
Kenny Omega (c) vs. Baretta

Landon: A really weird defense, the build for this match has been approximately a week old. I figured this match was coming down the road, but not this soon. Maybe Baretta wins here and takes the US title, and they could be trying to strap a rocket to him. Whether Kenny loses or retains in this match, I think the result will be very telling of the main event's conclusion. Tentatively, I'll pick Kenny to retain.

Justin: Kenny retains.  Not sure if that means Ibushi fails in the main event so they can set up Kenny vs. Ibushi at the Dome or what.  But I can't see Baretta winning this belt with no buildup.

IWGP Intercontinental Championship [3rd title Defense]
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs Kota Ibushi 

Landon: we all know it'll be a good match, that it'll be dramatic and flashy. But the result here will set up one of  two possibilities for the Tokyo Dome. The more likely result is that Tanahashi defends here, defends the title at the Dome (some say Shibata, I say you're damned crazy), loses the belt, and goes to fix his arm. Please, someone, fix his arm. Or, we say Tanahashi loses here and Ibushi becomes the champion. This is where the US title match plays in, because if Kenny loses the US title we could have the Golden Lovers facing off at the Tokyo Dome. Which would be awesome, but I don't think Kenny is losing the US title to Baretta, so maybe it could even be a non-title exhibition? We'll find out. Ibushi is my pick to win here though.

Justin: I would say it's most definitely time for Ibushi to win some goddamn gold.  How does that set up Ibushi vs. Omega though?  Maybe, like you said, a Champion vs. Champion exhibition match?  Or just the I-C Title on the line?  I dunno.  And I also don't know who Tanahashi faces at the Dome if he wins here.  But I guess I'll stick with the champ here and assume his arm surgery will be put off until AFTER January 4th.

Looks like a goddamn helluva PPV actually.  Could potentially be the third-best overall show of the year, with an excellent-looking third act and a fun undercard.

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