FANN’S NJPW POWER STRUGGLE REPORT 11/5: Omega vs. Barreta, Tanahashi vs. Ibushi, plus Jericho announcement

By Rich Fann, PWTorch contributor

Kenny Omega (photo credit Ted London © PWTorch)


NOVEMBER 5, 2017


(A) David Finlay beat Katsuya Kitamura.

This was a by-the-numbers pre-show match, akin to something you’d see anywhere as a dark match. Kitamura, the beefiest of the current young lions crop used his considerable size and strength to work on the shoulder of Finlay, returning from a shoulder injury. After a Kitamura spear earned a near-fall, Finlay was able to rally and hit his Prima Nocta (a stunner) for the win. Post-match, Finlay helped Kitamura to his feet and showed Kitamura respect.


(1) The Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) beat Dragon Lee & Titan.

One of the matches I had circled prior to the show, this tag did not disappoint. Pre-match, Titan and Dragon Lee did the “Suck It” crotch chops at The Bucks, incensing them. All four men are excellent flyers, with Dragon Lee in particular stupefying the crowd with terrific moves. Dragon Lee gave Nick Jackson a frakensteiner from the apron to the floor, eliciting gasps from the crowd – as it was a counter to an Indytaker attempt by the Jacksons. Titan would follow this with a springboard moonsault onto the group. Back inside, Matt Jackson hit a dive on Titan, and after an Indytaker the Bucks won the match via a new tag submission – a crossface and sharpshooter combo they call “Cease and Desist.” Watch this match – it was a great showing for all four men and the finisher alone is worth it!

(2) Juice Robinson & Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask IV & KUSHIDA & Hirai Kawato beat Suzuki Gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi & El Desperado & TAKA Michinoku).

Suzuki-gun, being Suzuki-gun jumped Juice and co pre-match and it became a bit of a brawl. This match was essentially mayhem until Kawato hit a sweet dive to the outside crowd, allowing KUSHIDA to win via his Hoverboard Lock on Taka Michinoku. It was an okay match at the end, but most of it was Suzuki-gun shenanigans, which will vary mileage wise per viewer.

(3) Togi Makabe & Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima beat Bullet Club (ROH World Champion Cody Rhodes & Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens).

This was a by-the-numbers match that ended with Kojima pinning Chase Owens after a Kozy Lariat. It was forgettable and I would spend energy elsewhere if you are limited time-wise.

(4) Super Jr. Tag Tournament Finals: IWGP Jr. Hvt. Tag Team Champions Roppongi 3K (YOH & SHO) beat Ryusuke Taguchi & ACH. 

This match had two storylines that were at the heart of it – can Rappongi 3K become the first team to win the Junior Tag Tournament as champions, as well as can ACH’s ribs handle the abuse of Sho and Yoh.

Taguchi started the match with his funky weapon hip attacks on both members of RPG 3K, until Sho and Yoh got tired of his silliness and hit some dives on the outside of the ring. ACH then began getting his ribs worked on, to the point every other move was either to his ribs or setting up Sho or Yoh tagging themselves back in to attack the ribs whilst ACH was engaged.

A hot tag to Taguchi resulted in more hip attacks. Tagging back in ACH, Yoh took advantage of ACH’s inability to move due to his ribs. RPG 3K hit the 3K on both Taguchi and ACH to get the W.

Really, really good match. I’m usually Mr. Negative on Taguchi’s antics, but ACH being the face-in-peril throughout, coupled with some really good sequences sold me on Taguchi and ACH as a team.

So far, this has been a show featuring a smattering of young lions generations new and old, and the return of two of my favorite young lions in the last few years is welcome – especially tied to Rocky Romero.

After the match, The Young Bucks challenged Roppongi 3K to a title match and Rocky Romero accepted on their behalf.

Remember everything I said about the Taguchi antics? I have zero issues with the Bucks.

That’s hypocrisy, I’m well aware.

(5) CHAOS (IWGP Hvt. Champion Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI & Gedo beat L.I.J. (Tetsuya Naito & EVIL & SANADA & BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi.

This was a by-the-numbers 10 man tag. Out of all the action, the brawl outside resulting in Naito hitting body slams on Okada on the entrance way was superb. They kept away from each other for a good portion of the match – and when Okada and Naito did interact they went tooth and nail at one another.

LIJ towards the end attempted to gang up on Okada, until CHAOS got back in to even the odds. Naito tried another sneak attack, but ate a tombstone, allowing Okada to pin Bushi via the Rainmaker – USING NAITO’S EYE POSE.

My word I love spicy Okada a great deal. Between this and stepping on the briefcase last show, I’m all in on the main event of Wrestle Kingdom.

ANNOUNCEMENT: NJPW announced they will be returning to America on March 25, 2018 at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, Calif. and the show will be called “Strong Style Evolved.”

Because I’ll be in New Orleans for the Mania-related festivities, I’m especially gutted to miss this.

I will repeat this statement later in the recap.

(6) NEVER Openweight Championship Bull Rope Match: Minoru Suzuki beat Toru Yano with the Gotch piledriver.

The Bullrope was the biggest star in this match – as was the Suzuki-gun shenanigans. Suzuki got the win after a LOT of interference, choking the life out of Yano with the bull rope and spiking the king of junk shots with a Gotch-Style Piledriver.

If you like Yano-Suzuki matches, this match is the same, plus the bullrope. If you’re not a fan of their matches, skip to the next few matches and you’ll be a-okay.

(7) IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match: Marty Scurll beat Will Ospreay to become the new IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion.

This was an excellent match. If you have the ability to watch only a few of the Power Struggle matches, this is probably my fourth favorite match on the card. Like their prior contests, it was chock full of outstanding spots, including the ending – which was a tradition exchange of pinning predicaments that The Villain actually won!

After the match, KUSHIDA joined the argument between Scurll and Ospreay to declare he wanted a shot at Wrestle Kingdom, but was rebuffed by Ospreay. Hiromu came down after that to challenge for a match with Scurll, wearing a helmet (due to being knocked out two challenges ago) and gloves (due to having his fingers broken last challenge). Scurll declared that he would take all 3 men on, assumingly at Wrestle Kingdom.

I’m looking forward to this four-way, if only because Hiromu finally gets to show how crazy he can be again. Daryl should stay home for safety however.

(8) IWGP U.S. Heavyweight Championship Match: IWGP U.S Champion Kenny Omega beat Trent Barreta.

This was the 2nd best match of the show. Omega started strong, abusing Trent inside and outside of the ring. Barreta was assumed to be eating a quick loss, but rallied and spent the next 5 – 7 minutes or so fighting back and putting the hurt at times on Omega. After a failed splash to the outside by Trent, Omega hit several dragon suplexes in the ring. Omega then countered Barreta’s comebacks with V-Triggers, a reverse frankensteiner, and Omega’s One-Winged Angel did Trent in at the end.

After the match, Omega in Japanese and English declared this was the part of the show that his challenger for Wrestle Kingdom would appear. No one came out, so Omega went into his closing with the Bucks, when a video cut in, featuring CHRIS JERICHO declaring that he needs to prove the Alpha of Professional Wrestling was better than the Omega. Jericho tore a picture of Omega, challenging him to a match at Wrestle Kingdom, which Omega accepts.

Given that Jericho had mentioned on Killing the Town the difficulties he experienced trying to get NXT on his wrestling cruise, coupled with his feud on Twitter with Omega and his friendship with bookers Jado and Gedo, this was an amazing surprise, but makes sense.

Because I’ll be in New Orleans for the Mania-related festivities, I’m especially gutted to miss this.

(9) IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match: IWGP IC Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi beat Kota Ibushi with the high fly flow.

Best match of the show by far. The Ace of the Universe, with all of his injuries was a maestro with Kota Ibushi in this main event.

After an attempt by Ibushi to hit his newest finisher, Kamigoye, Tanahashi countered with a sling blade, a dragon suplex, a High Fly Flow to the back and then another High Fly Flow for the win. Afterwards, similar to the opener, Tana helped Ibushi to his feet, showing respect for the tear-filled man that had pushed him in his IC title pursuit. I cannot understate how well Ibushi sold the agony of defeat – he was a mess! After Ibushi limped away, Tanahashi treated the audience to two rock concerts with his air guitar. After his post-win confetti popped, a video played of The Switchblade character coming soon – with soon being right then! Switchblade, or Jay White as he’s been known – came out, challenged Tanahashi for the IC title at Wrestle Kingdom and laid Tanahashi out with a Shell shock, a move used on him by Alex Shelley in his first New Japan match.

The final big event prior to Wrestle Kingdom was chock full of notable news, both inside and out of the ring. If you’re looking for an alternative to North American Wrestling, New Japan Pro Wrestling will not disappoint.

NOW CHECK OUT SEAN RADICAN’S REPORT: NJPW 11/5 Power Struggle Results – Chris Jericho announced for Wrestle Kingdom, Switchblade revealed, Omega-Trent, Tanahashi-Ibushi (w/Radican’s Analysis)

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