Road to Power Struggle/Super Jr. tag League night 1 (October 21) Preview

Tag tournament gets underway in Saitama


October 21 begins the road to Power Struggle in Osaka November 4, and along with it the Super Jr. Tag League. Ten teams begin their intense two week journey to the trophies, while other matches give a taste of things to come over the next series. 

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Main event: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Titan & BUSHI) vs HOUSE OF TORTURE (SHO & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)

The first main event of the league will pit LIJ’s Titan and BUSHI in their second campaign against the new H.O.T tandem of SHO and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. With fluid offense and phenomenal communication, Titan and BUSHI came achingly close last November to capturing the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships, and though they fell short of the gold and the SJTL trophies last year, they look to right that wrong in 2023. Meanwhile, after his defection from Just 5 Guys in Kobe this past September, Kanemaru now finds himself on the same side with a man he’s opposed many a time in the past over the years in SHO. Between them, these men have held junior tag gold 11 times- will this match be a dark portent of a trophy, and 12th reigns to come?

7th Match: YOH & MUSASHI vs BULLET CLUB War Dogs (Drilla Moloney & Clark Connors)


With a partner to be determined, 2022 SJTL winner YOH is going to have an uphill climb separated from his tournament winning partner Lio Rush, and presumably in a completely fresh combination with MUSASHI against the current IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Champions Moloney and Connors. Yet YOH and Rush were a completely fresh combination last year, and after a shaky start become an unstoppable force. In MUSASHI, a teenage friend of YOH’s, the trendsetter has a sense of innate trust right from the jump that some teams take years to cultivate. Can YOH work magic for the second year in a row?

6th Match: DKC & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Master Wato & El Desperado

A picture paints a thousand words, and the image of El Desperado begrudgingly shaking Master Wato’s finger after their Best of Seven Trios series that ended in a tie tells you all you need to know heading into this unique pairing for the tournament. Desperado actively dislikes Wato, with their randomly drawn odd couple pairing at Power Struggle last year seeing tags play out with slaps across the face. Yet with Wato having won Best of the Super Jr., and then the Best of Seven series through the Detsurction tour, grudging respect has to be owed by Despe. Now we’ll see whether grudging respect turns to great results when they face The DKC and Taguchi.

5th Match: Intergalactic Jet Setters (Kevin Knight & KUSHIDA) vs Just Five Guys (DOUKI & TAKA Michinoku)

The Intergalactic Jet Setters will look to bounce back from a hard fought defeat at the hands of BULLET CLUB’s War Dogs in Ryogoku and restart their ascent to contention. Super Junior Tag League last year saw them make tremendous strides, with Kevin Knight in particular undergoing huge personal growth in one tour. Now this combination of star on the rise and veteran hand face another, as DOUKI and TAKA Michinoku look to strike for Just Five Guys.

4th Match: Ichiban Sweet Boys (Robbie Eagles & Kosei Fujita) vs Catch 2/2 (TJP & Francesco Akira)


Since Kosei Fujita embarked on his world tour a couple of months ago, he’s come into his own in Australia alongside TMDK partner Robbie Eagles. The Ichiban Sweet Boy team of Eagles and Fujita have already picked off the likes of the Natural Classics Down Under, and now look to pick off the competition in Super Jr. Tag League. It’s a hard match from the outset though as they take on the former IWGP Jr. Tag Champions Catch 2/2. TJP and Francesco Akira are a tough test for any team- is it one the Ichiban Sweet Boys can pass?

3rd Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi) vs BULLET CLUB (Taiji Ishimori & Gedo)

Taiji Ishimori’s first match back in Japan after his neck injury back in May sees a first preview of November 4’s IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship bout between the Bone Soldier and Hiromu Takahashi. Ishimori’s return bout against Robbie X in London this past weekend showed that he has not slowed down any- nor has he lost any of his trademark viciousness. Can he stay on a roll as he focuses on EDION Arena and Power Struggle November 4?

2nd Match: Just Five Guys (SANADA & Yuya Uemura) vs Boltin Oleg & Oskar Leube

For the first time since joining Just Five Guys, Yuya Uemura tags with IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA when the two face Boltin Oleg and Oskar Leube. In the wake of SANADA’s retention of the world title at Ryogoku Sumo Hall, Uemura clarified his condition for entering the J5G group would be to have singles matches with the other members, SANADA one day included. For now though, they’re partners and looking to show what they can do in the face of Young Lion competition.

1st Match: Yuto Nakashima, Ren Narita & Shota Umino vs United Empire (Callum Newman, HENARE & Great-O-Khan)

Shota Umino and Ren Narita might have a relationship of grudging respect but it’s one that produced results this past weekend at Royal Quest. Narita and Umino scooped the win Saturday over Great-O-Khan and Francesco Akira, and O-Khan wants revenge tonight on Umino while he prepares to face Shooter’s mentor Jon Moxley on November 4 at Power Struggle. Meanwhile, what show of force will HENARE make one week before he faces Eddie Kingston in Las Vegas for the NJPW STRONG Openweight Championship?