SPOTLIGHTED PODCAST ALERT (YOUR ARTICLE BEGINS A FEW INCHES DOWN)...
NJPW POWER STRUGGLE PPV REPORT
NOV. 6, 2021
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD
(1) KOSEI FUJITA & RYOHEI OIWA vs. SUZUKI-GUN (YOSHINOBU KANEMARU & DOUKI)
The Young Lions started out well, but got dominated down the stretch, as Kanamaru got the tapout win with a Boston Crab.
WINNER: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Douki at 4:33.
(2) IWGP JR. HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPION TIGER MASK & TOGI MAKABE & TOMOAKI HONMA vs. BULLET CLUB (TANGA LOA & GEDO & JEDO)
Honma and Loa went at it alone late in the match. Loa countered Honma and hit Ape S–t for the win.
WINNERS: Tanga Loa & Gedo & Jedo at 5:07.
(3) L.I.J. (HIROMU TAKAHASHI & SANADA & BUSHI) vs. MASTER WATO & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & YUJI NAGATA
Taguchi hit the Buma-Ye on Sanada, who kicked out at two. He grabbed an ankle lock, but Sanada countered and won with a backwards bridging pinning combination for the pin.
WINNERS: Sanada & Hiromu Takahashi & Bushi 7:05. (**½)
(Radican’s Analysis: I enjoyed this match. I also like the new gear Takahashi is wearing with his usual pattern, but as board shorts and not tights.)
(4) NEVER OPENWEIGHT SIX MAN TAG TEAM CHAMPIONS CHAOS (HIROOKI GOTO & YOSHI-HASHI & TOMOHIRO ISHII) vs. HOUSE OF TORTURE (EVIL & SHO & YUJIRO TAKAHSHI w/ DICK TOGO)
Bullet Club charged at Chaos and they quickly brawled to the floor. Togo got isolated inside the ring and Chaos put a beating on him. Goto ended up taking a sustained beating, as House of Torture took every shortcut they could to mainstain the upper hand. Goto finally mounted a comeback and tagged in Ishii, who went to work on Sho. Sho choked Ishii in the corner, so Ishii fired back with some VICIOUS throat chops. Goto and Ishii hit stereo Ushigoroshis on Sho and Takahashi. Yoshi-Hashi had Evil in the ring alone. Dick Togo tried to choke him with the garrett, but Hashi fought him off. Chaos fended off several weapons attacks, but Hashi accidentally clotheslined Ishii. Evil took a combination of moves capped by the tandem GTR, but the ref got pulled.
Sho and Takahashi hit a double low blow on Goto and Ishii. Togo choked Ishii with the garrett. Sho hit Hashi in the head with a wrench. Evil stumbled back into the ring and hit Everything is Evil on Hashi for the win.
WINNERS: Evil & Yujiro Takahashi & Sho to become the new NEVER Openweight Champions at 13:46. (**)
(Radican’s Analysis: Chaos fought valiantly, but could not overcome all of House of Torture’s cheating. I liken putting House of Torture in the six man division to the police in The Wire moving all of the drug activity to one street. If they’re going to keep up with this sort of booking, keep it in the six man division. The crowd was really into Chaos overcoming all of the cheating until the end when it overwhelmed them.)
House of Torture held up Goto and Takahashi cut up a Chaos flag. Sho was about to hit Goto with a wrench, but Yoh ran down dressed in all white with black trim and cleaned house to a big ovation! He got on top of Sho and landed several punches before Bullet Club bailed.
Before the Toru Yano vs. Great-O-Khan amatuer rules match, Yuji Nagata came out and explained the point system. I’m not sure what’s going on, but there is a score board to keep track of the points.
Great-O-Khan came out first dressed in amateur wrestling gear. Toru Yano also came out dressed in a singlet. Both men shook hands before going at it.
(5) KOPW PROVISIONAL CHAMPION TORU YANO vs. GREAT-O-KHAN – Amatuer Rules match
There’s a scoreboard up on the screen to keep track of points. Yano got the advantage and was awarded a point to go up 1-0. Apparently they’re doing three minute periods. O-Khan ended the round up 4-1.
They had a break between periods. Both men went to their corners before going back at it. Toa Henare was in O-Khan’s corner. Yano had a Young Lion in his corner.
Both men picked up a point and it was 5-2 in favor of O-Khan with just over a minute left in the last period. Yano hit a combination of moves and a throw and they ended up in the ropes. Yano went up 6-5 after that string of points. The time expired with Yano on top of O-Khan and he won 6-5.
WINNER: Toru Yano at 6:00 to retain the KOPW Provisional Championship
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a lot of fun, but I think watching with Kevin Kelly explaining what was going on in English will help out when the English feed goes live in a day or two. This was certainly a departure from what we usually see in NJPW, but it worked and set up something else between Yano and O-Khan down the line.)
After the match, O-Khan jumped Yano and Henare helped him out as well. They nailed Yano with a double kick and he went down. O-Khan picked him up and hit The Eliminator. Yuji Nagata finally got into the ring and The United Empire backed down.
(6) IWGP JR. HVT. CHAMPION ROBBIE EAGLES vs. EL DESPERADO
They traded counters on the floor near the apron until Desperado caught Eagles with a flip dive through the ropes. Desperado worked over Eagles for a long period of time and targeted his leg. Eagles mounted a comeback and sent Desperado to the floor. He hit a flip dive through the ropes to wipe out Desperado and favored his knee. Eagles tossed Desperado into the ring and went right to work on his leg with a submission. Desperado really sold the heck out of it screaming in pain before getting to the ropes.
Desperado got the upper hand and got the Stretch Muffler, but Eagles got to the ropes. He went for Pinche Logo, but Eagles slipped out and hit Sliced Bread. Eagles went up top for a 450, but Desperado got his knees up. Desperado ended up hurting his already injured leg when he put his knees up. They went to a big strike exchange. Desperado decked Eagles with a kick to the leg. He went to go after him, but Eagles grounded him with a kick to the leg. Desperado got Eagles up on his shoulders, but Eagles turned it into a poisting rana. He then hit a Shining Wizard for a nearfall as the 15 minute mark came and went.
Eagles went for a leg submission, but Desperado kicked out his leg from under him. Desperado ducked a kick and went for a Stretch Muffle, but Eagles rolled him up for nearfall. Desperado fired back and hit a Gory Special for a near fall. The fans really fired up and he went for Pinche Loco, but Eagles turned it into a pinning combination for a near fall. Right after Desperado kicked out, Eagles dropped a knee on his injured leg. Desperado suddenly got a Stretch muffler. Eagles tried to get to the ropes and Desperado got one arm. Desperado rolled through on Eagles and got both arms while still maintaining the Stretch Muffler (Numero Dos). Eagles struggled and Desperado cranked on his arms and he verbally submitted.
WINNER: El Desperado at 18:20 to become the new IWGP Jr. Hvt. Champion. (****)
(Radican’s Analysis): This was a great match with some nice multi-layered storytelling woven in. Both men worked over each other’s legs throughout the match and they built up to a great finish with some tremendous counter and submission wrestling. The only thing lacking here was a crowd allowed to fully respond to the action, although the Japanese announce team brought the thunder here.)
(7) IWGP U.S. HVT. CHAMPION HIROSHI TANAHASHI vs. KENTA
The crowd fired up with claps as Kenta stalled on the floor during the early going. Tanahashi backed Kenta into the ropes and played his air guitar. He tossed his guitar to Kenta, who pretended to play air violin. Kenta tossed his air violin to Tanahashi and then kicked him low when he went to catch it. Tanahashi hit a slingshot splash to the floor. Kenta took the IWGP U.S. Hvt. Championship and began walking up the entrance ramp with it. Tanahashi went up the ramp after him and knocked him down. He charged at Kenta, but got caught with a powerslam. Kenta whipped Tanahashi into the corner once they got back into the ring. Tanahashi took a beating, but mounted a comeback and the fans fired up.
They went back and forth a short time later and Kenta caught Tanahashi with a powerslam to put a stop to his momentum. The action went to the floor and Kenta booted Tanahashi over the guardrail. Kenta set up a table and they brawled on the apron. Kenta ended up hitting a draping DDT inside the ring. He hit a stalling dropkick in the corner and came off the top and hit a double stomp for a near fall. Kenta signaled for the GTS, but then looked over at the table on the floor. He tossed Tanahashi to the floor and set him up on the table. He went up top, but Tanahashi rolled off the table. Kenta got down and hit a double stomp off the apron to the floor. He picked up Tanahashi, but he countered him and hit a Sling Blade. Tanahashi set up Kenta on the table and hit the High Fly Flow.
Tanahashi hit Aces High inside the ring and went for a High Fly Flow, but Kenta got his knees up. Kenta got Game Over, but Tanahashi got to the ropes. Kenta went for GTS and Tanahashi slipped out and hit a dragon screw. Tanahashi went after Kenta’s leg, but he used his legs to shove Tanahashi into the exposed corner. He then rolled him up for near fall. Kenta went to lift Tanahashi up, but he hit a Slingblade. A short time later, Kenta shoved Tanahashi head-first into the exposed corner and hit a GTS for the win.
WINNER: Kenta at 23:44 to become the new IWGP U.S. Hvt. Champion. (***¾)
(Radican’s Analysis: This match dragged a little bit at times, but they told a good story with Tanahashi overcoming Kenta’s tactics and using them against him. The High Fly Flow through the table was shocking to see Tanahashi pull off. Kenta has spent a lot of time in the U.S., so it’s not a surprise to see him get the title here.)
Kazuchika Okada came down to the ring with the Fourth Generation IWGP Hvt. Championship, which is symbolic of his G1 Climax 31 win and the debt he owes to Kota Ibushi for a rematch.
(8) G1 CLIMAX 31 WINNER KAZUCHIKA OKADA vs. TAMA TONGA (W/JADO) – Right to Challenge in Tokyo Dome Contract match
They went right after each other. Tonga ended up on the floor and Okada teased a dive before backing into the ring. The fans applauded the hot start. Tonga got the upper hand after backdropping Okada over the top to the floor. The fans fired up as Tonga worked over Okada back inside the ring a short time later. Tonga worked a choke and then a side headlock on the mat. Okada mounted a comeback just prior to the ten minute mark and caught Tonga with an elbow as he came off the ropes. Okada placed Tonga up top and dropkicked him to the floor. Okada hit a missile dropkick and worked the Money Clip submission a short time later.
Okada took Tonga to the floor, but Tonga countered him and hit an inverted DDT on the entrance ramp. Tonga hit a Tongan Twist back inside the ring for a nearfall. Okada got the MC and Tonga fought out. Okada got it again and Tonga was close to the ropes. Okada dragged him away from the ropes and wrenched back on the MC. Tonga finally surged forward and got his foot on the ropes as the fans fired up. Tonga hit a DVD and a big splash off the top for a nearfall after mounting a comeback.
The fans fired up as both men regrouped on the mat. Both men traded counters of their finishers until Tonga hit a big brainbuster. The fans fired up as Tonga set up for a Gun Stun, but Okada blocked it and nailed him with a dropick and both men were down on the mat. Both men missed charges into the corner. Okada shoved Tonga away and nailed him with a shotgun dropkick. Okada went for a Tombstone, but Tonga countered it and hit one of his own. Tonga caught Okada off the ropes with his own signature dropkick. He set up for the double arm DDT, but Okada sat down on him and grabbed a pinning combination for a near fall.
Okada blocked another Gun Stun attempt and caught Tonga with a dropkick as he came off the ropes. Tonga blocked a Rainmaker. They traded counters and Okada hit a backdrop. Tonga ran at Okada, but Okada caught him and hit a sit-out Tombstone. He then hit a Rainmaker for the win. What a war!
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada at 25:13 to retain the Right to Challenge at Tokyo Dome Contract. (****1/4)
(Radican’s Analysis: These two have amazing chemistry. They took what they did in their singles match during G1 and made it so much better in many ways. The counter wrestling was fantastic here, as the story was both men would work each other over and then go to their finish only for their opponent to counter it. The counters down the stretch were fantastic and the crowd got into this as much as they could.)
After the match, Okada posed with the fourth generation IWGP Hvt. Championship.
(9) IWGP WORLD HVT. CHAMPION SHINGO TAKAGI vs. IWGP HVT. TAG TEAM CHAMPION ZACK SABRE JR.
They started slow and then both men sped up and traded counters on the mat and Sabre walked right into a shoulder tackle from Shingo and the fans fired up. That was a great exchange. Shingo controlled the action and Sabre finally escaped and rolled to the floor. They battled on the apron and Sabre got a choke. Takagi escaped, but Sabre got it again around the ropes with Shingo on the outside on the apron and Sabre inside the ring. The ref counted and Sabre let go of the choke. Takagi collapsed and fell to the floor. Sabre hit a PK from the apron to the floor. He then began working over Takagi inside the ring. Takagi fired back and the fans got behind him, but Sabre hit a counter and used his legs to snap Takagi’s arm to put an end to his momentum.
Sabre targeted Takagi’s arm and hit a big jumping stomp. Both men just kept no-selling big moves until Takagi hit a clothesline, but Sabre got right up and hit a PK and both men were down as the fans fired up. What an incredible sequence! WOW! Sabre ended up in the ropes and Takagi hit a dragon screw. Takagi blocked Sabre and paid him back with a neck crank of his own using his legs and the fans fired up. They traded moves and Sabre hit a Zack Driver out of nowhere, but he couldn’t make the cover.
Both men were down as the fans fired up. Sabre went for his backwards bridging pin, but Takagi grabbed a choke. Sabre flipped out of it and went for a kick, but Shingo blocked it and turned it into Made in Japan for a two count. Takagi put Sabre on his shoulders and climbed the ropes. Sabre countered him and eventually hit a flying arm bar off the top, but the crowd didn’t really react. Sabre transitioned to a triangle and then an arm bar, but Shingo managed to fall right into the ropes to break the hold.
The fans fired up with claps once again as both men were slow to get up. Takagi told Sabre to bring it and he hit a PK and a spinning ZACK DRIVER FOR A GREAT NEARFALL. WOW! That was incredible! Sabre got on top of Shingo and hit several elbows. Sabre got on Takagi’s back with a choke, so Takaki climbed the ropes and jumped backwards to break the hold. Sabre grabbed his arm and tried to get another arm submission. He got a triangle and hit some elbows from his back. Takagi suddenly powered up and put Sabre on his shoulders and hit Last of the Dragon, but he could not capitalize due to exhaustion. WOW!
The fans really fired up with both men down. They went to a strike exchange. Both men began changing slaps and Takagi ended the exchange by grounding Sabre and hitting a diving forearm to the back of his head. Sabre got the European Clutch a short time later for a near fall. WOW! Sabre went for a backslide, but Takagi countered and hit Noshigami. Sabre got his legs in the ropes and Takagi turned it into a modified GTR. He measured Sabre and wiped him out with a clothesline. Takagi went for Last of the Dragon again and connected. What a match.
Taichi got into the ring after the match and argued with the ref.
WINNER: Shingo Takagi at 30:27 to retain the IWGP World Hvt. Championship. (****½)
(Radican’s Analysis: This was a tremendous match. Both men were really good here. The only thing holding this match back from reaching greater heights was the lack of crowd atmosphere. The crowd did their best here though.
The match built and built to some great moments late like Sabre’s flying arm bar off the top and his spinning Zack Driver out of nowhere for a great near fall.)
After the match, Okada came out with the fourth generation IWGP Hvt. Championship. He had a back and forth exchange with Shingo. NJPW World’s Twitter account provided the following translation of Okada’s promo to Shingo. “Takagi, congratulations on your defence. And thanks for the hard work. From here on out, it’s time for the G1 Champion to take over from the world champ and carry this company.”
Contact Sean at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Sean on Twitter @sr_torch