NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
ROAD TO POWER STRUGGLE
OCTOBER 29, 2017
KORAKUEN HALL – TOKYO, JAPAN

New Japan returned to Korakuen Hall for the second of three shows in seven days. Thankfully, there’s no typhoon in the forecast for tomorrow.

JUICE ROBINSON & DAVID FINLAY DEF. YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & LEO TONGA

Juice Robinson’s Twitter and Instagram accounts mysteriously disappeared over the weekend, but Samurai TV, who produced this show still plugged his Twitter account during his entrance. Leo and Yujiro isolated Finlay, who worked up to a hot tag to Juice. Leo looked good, but credit may go to Finlay and Juice; two of the best at making their opponents look strong.

As I’ve mentioned, I’d really like to see Juice and Finlay get a run in the World Tag League. Juice and Finlay hit a double flapjack followed by Finlay’s Prima Nocta into Juice’s Pulp Friction for the win at 7:24. This was a solid tag match. **1/2

TORU YANO & HIROOKI GOTO DEF. MINORU SUZUKI & TAKASHI IIZUKA

This was a rematch from last week’s Korakuen show. Last week’s match ended with Goto pinning Iizuka. Tonight, Suzuki-gun attacked before the bell to kick off a brawl into the crowd. Minoru and Iizuka attacked Yano with their typical rule-breaking tactics.  Yano got a lukewarm tag to Goto who worked hard to get a short-lived chant. Minoru attacked Yano with the bull rope, which got him disqualified at 7:39. Minoru tried to tie up Yano, but Yano was able to tie the bull rope to Kitamura’s ankle. Kitamura got hung with the rope AND attacked with a chair. Wrong place, wrong time, I guess. This didn’t have as much crowd support as Monday’s version and basically just set up the post-match beat down. *3/4

YOSHI-HASHI, BERETTA & WILL OSPREAY DEF. KENNY OMEGA, CHASE OWENS & MARTY SCURLL

This was the first show of the tour for everyone except for YOSHI-HASHI. This was pretty heavy on the comedy and didn’t really create any excitement for the Ospreay/Scurll title match. Kenny and Chase hit a cool Complete Shot/Kotaro Crusher combo. Trent beat Owens with the Dudebuster in 10:40. Kenny and Beretta didn’t really touch, but this was seemingly deliberate. Trent challenged Kenny to a US title match at Power Struggle. **1/4

KOTA IBUSHI, DRAGON LEE & TITAN DEF. HIROSHI TANAHASHI, KUSHIDA & HIRAI KAWATO

This matchup combines the Power Struggle main event competitors and the two first-round losers from the opening night of the Jr. Tag Tournament. Kawato and Titan were two of the standouts on Monday, and they continued to impress here. Ibushi and Tanahashi are doing a great job of building up the tension heading into Osaka.

Titan showed off a bunch of cool submissions on top of his typical high-flying attack. Kawato got a small package near fall that the crowd loved. Unfortunately, he took a nasty bump on the finish, but seems OK. Titan won with the Immortal at 8:55. **3/4

TETSUYA NAITO, EVIL, SANADA, BUSHI & HIROMU TAKAHASHI DEF. KAZUCHIKA OKADA, TOMOHIRO ISHII, ROCKY ROMERO, YOH & SHO

This match serves as a preview for tomorrow night’s likely main event of Roppongi 3K and BUSHI/Hiromu. Hiromu came out carrying a makeshift contract to make tomorrow’s match a title bout. There was a cool dynamic between Hiromu/EVIL and Roppongi 3K, the latter entering the dojo immediately after their LIJ counterparts. This had a good balance of junior tag action and Okada/Naito interactions.

Rocky looked really good here too, particularly when he was in the ring with SANADA. SANADA beat Rocky with Skull End at 12:45. ***

SUPER JR. TAG TOURNAMENT – 1ST ROUND
YOSHINOBU KANEMARU & EL DESPERADO DEF. JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER & TIGER MASK

They did a great job of building heat for these tournament matches on Monday. Mask ripping never gets old. Suzuki-gun attacked the babyfaces as they entered, cutting off Ikari no Jushin! True heels! Tiger and Liger are pissed off! Liger used an exposed turnbuckle on Pe. Liger barked at Kanemaru, challenging him to come to Desperado’s rescue. Desperado did a great job of selling for Tiger Mask’s kicks. The heels turned things around as Kanemaru ripped at Tiger’s mask while Desperado beat Liger with a fan’s umbrella.

Suzuki-gun continued to attack Tiger until Liger made the hot tag. Liger’s offense was cut off with more mask ripping from Desperado. I had a feeling no one was going to finish the match with their mask intact. Tiger hit an avalanche-style, double-arm suplex followed by a Tiger driver for a near fall. Liger followed up with an avalanche-stle Frankensteiner and a Liger bomb. Kanemaru spit whisky in Liger’s face. Pe followed it up with the Pinche Loco for the win at 17:28. Suzuki-gun continued their attack after the bell. This was a very good match with more aggression from the babyfaces than we have seen in years. ***1/4 

SUPER JR. TAG TOURNAMENT – 1ST ROUND
RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & ACH DEF. TAICHI & TAKA MICHINOKU

This match had a lot to live up to after Monday’s 4-star closer. Tonight’s main event started off with Taichi targeting Taguchi’s butt, eventually ripping the seat of the Funky Weapon’s tights.

ACH has been a highlight of this tour for me. He’s becoming a favorite in Korakuen. Taguchi’s exchanges with TAKA were good and did a great job of getting the crowd behind Taguchi. There was a lot of flying down the stretch: ACH took a crazy spill on a plancha, TAKA hit an Asai moonsault and a doomsday flying kneel kick. ACH hit a beautiful firebird splash. Super 69 won with a dodon/facebuster combo at 18:42. ***1/4

FINAL THOUGHTS

Overall, this show didn’t match Monday’s outing, but the two tournament matches are worth your time.