Final card and match order set for Osaka Prefectural Gymnasium on November 3.
After the events of November 1’s Osaka event, the final card has been set for Power Struggle on November 3. This includes the final of the Super Jr. Tag League, as Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado will face SHO and YOH.
During the last Super Jr. Tag League matches, BUSHI came to ringside and sprayed mist in the face of Will Ospreay, directly leading to the finish, and Birds of Prey’s elimination. Ospreay yelled that BUSHI had made a ‘big mistake’ after the bout, and agreed to face BUSHI for the Junior Heavyweight Championship! Match makers have OKd the decision, and the fans in Osaka will indeed see another title defended on November 3.
Main event- IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White vs Hirooki Goto
Singles record: 1-1
With all the talk surrounding Wrestle Kingdom 14 at the moment, and the potential existing for someone to leave the Tokyo Dome after January 5 with both the IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight Championships, it’s easy to forget that the first to float such an idea all the way back in 2012 was Hirooki Goto.
It was a suggestion made by then New Japan Cup winner and Intercontinental Champion Goto on the way to a title match with Okada that he would lose. That was one of many disappointments Goto has had in his career when trying to win ‘the big one’; a series of disappointments that Jay White has taken great pleasure in pointing out to the Fierce Warrior.
At Wrestling Hi no Kuni, White delivered an ignominious defeat to Goto, calling him a disappointment to ‘fans and family’. Yet Goto would say that the defeat sparked something new within him, and sent him on a journey to the LA Dojo. Having found himself once more, Goto was driven, focused and determined, beating White in Tokyo in his first G1 Climax match.
As the ‘Double Gold Dash’ continues, Goto might be a dark horse in the race. Darker still in fact, after being viciously beaten with a chair by the Intercontinental Champion on November 1. Yet he has earned his way into the running, and will put all he has into winning. Could the ‘G’ in ‘Goto’ stand for ‘Gold’ in Osaka?
8th Match- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay vs BUSHI
Singles record: 2-1 Ospreay
This is a late addition to the card, with Ospreay’s challenger being a late addition to the Power Struggle tour. Perhaps, had EVIL not suffered an ankle injury bringing BUSHI onto the road, then this match would not be taking place, but he did, and it is. BUSHI proved extremely effective against Suzuki-Gun trios and quartets through the second half of the Road to Power Struggle tour, eventually asking Ospreay for a championship opportunity. Ospreay consented, but, explaining his schedule was a busy one, said that BUSHI would have to wait until after the Super Jr. tag League.
Not one to wait too long, BUSHI decided to bring matters into his own hands. Interfering in Birds of Prey’s match with El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru, BUSHI sprayed mist in the face of Ospreay, leading to the finish of the match and B.O.P’s elimination. Ospreay would grant BUSHI his title shot for Osaka, and may not be thinking straight with only two days to prepare; BUSHI meanwhile will look to balance a 1-2 record with the champion, and some painful memories at Power Struggle; it was, after all, at Power Struggle 2016 that his first IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship reign ended at the hands of KUSHIDA.
7th Match- NEVER Openweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii vs KENTA
Singles record: 1-0 KENTA
The NEVER Championship has been in a state of flux for a long time at this point. With an average defense rate of just 1.27 per champion, KENTA is the first since Will Ospreay in January to record a successful defense of the title. The last reign to reach and pass V2 was Hirooki Goto’s in the summer of 2018. It’s a belt that’s constantly changing owners, and with it, image; a situation that neatly parallels the personal issues between champion and challenger.
At the heart of Tomohiro Ishii versus KENTA is a battle of perception and reality, and two men seeking to make the world see what they see (or want to be seen) of their opponent. In KENTA, Ishii wants to see the NEVER Openweight Champion’s former friend Katsuyori Shibata, a man who brought Ishii to the forefront of NJPW with a 2013 G1 clash in the very same building as Power Struggle on November 3. He wants to see the straight forward, never say die fighter, not the man who called on GoD to help him through his title victory and subsequent defence in New York against YOSHI-HASHI.
That KENTA has come out at points over the last few months, but it’s been accompanied with an arrogant character, one that has decided to shun fans rather than attempt to work for their respect. KENTA would like the world at large to take the edge off the Stone Pitbull, to reduce him through his #TOMO campaign to a comedic figure, to take the crowd completely out of the match and no longer see the five time champion as an effective contender.
Whose perception will turn to championship reality November 3?
6th Match- Super Junior Tag League Final: Suzuki-Gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH)
Direct record: 4-2 Suzuki-Gun; 2-1 in three way matches
Whether they made the final on their own steam, or whether it was through the luck of BUSHI’s intervention, Suzuki-Gun made it to the finals against the current reigning Tag League champions.
It’s a matter of threes in a row. Roppongi 3K will be looking to secure their third autumn trophy in a row, while Suzuki-gun will be hunting for their own third consecutive victory over Roppongi 3K, after beating them not only in a pre-league exhibition at King of Pro Wrestling, but in the first match of the league itself. Both of those wins accounted for a 4-2 advantage for Desperado and Kanemaru over RPG3K, something for the black clad team to be perfectly proud of. One might think that the former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions should believe this to be a perfectly winnable match, but that didn’t prevent ‘Despe’ and ‘Nobu’ from bringing steel chair insurance policies after the main event on Friday night. It seems the damage may already be done here, and that SHO and YOH have a tough, tough hill to climb on the way to a third victory, over both this specific opposition and the league as a whole.
5th Match: Tetsuya Naito vs Taichi
Singles record: 4-3 Taichi
Tetsuya Naito always seems to have a plan up his sleeve. When in victory, he’s planning his next move. In defeat, we have often seen the wry smile of a man that knows exactly how to get back into the mix. Always calculated, always cool, always tranquilo.
That has gone out of the window these last few weeks. His hopes of double IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight glory fainter than ever, Naito reached a low ebb after losing the IWGP Intercontinental Championship to Jay White in Kobe in September. Taichi then declared that he ‘would do what you couldn’t’, attacking Naito in Ryogoku and vowing to bring Naito back to his humble Young Lion days, a period that coincided with Taichi’s entry into the company.
Taichi continued to wear Naito down, until he snapped. In Korakuen on October 27, Naito attacked Taichi and the referee to draw a disqualification, and would continue brutal attacks on the Holy Emperor. With violent fists and cold eyes, this was not the tranquilo Naito fans know, a fact Taichi was all too aware of. As he laughed off Naito’s attacks, Taichi began to promise more than simply defeat Naito, promising blood as another DQ and a wild brawl followed on Halloween night.
Whether officially acknowledged as one or not, it seems as if this could become a defacto Intercontinental Championship Number one Contender’s match. With the possibility of making history still faintly visible, Naito will fight tooth and nail to retain his dream, while Taichi will fight equally hard to steal it from him.
4th Match- Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi vs YOSHI-HASHI & Kazuchika Okada
The main event has been set for night one of Wrestle Kingdom, with Kota Ibushi taking on Kazuchika Okada. This tag match is one of several previews we might be getting over the next couple of months between Ibushi and Okada, but it’s not just going to be an exciting glimpse into the future on January 4. YOSHI-HASHI and Hiroshi Tanahashi are yet to carve their own destinies going into the Tokyo Dome and will need to make something big happen as time ticks down to the biggest weekend in wrestling.
3rd Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Shingo Takagi, SANADA & EVIL) vs Suzuki-Gun (Lance Archer, Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Junior)
The third match of the night sees EVIL return after a brief hiatus to take on Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Junior and the new IWGP United States Champion Lance Archer. This is the first time we’re seeing Archer since he won the United States Championship in his chaotic no DQ match at King of Pro Wrestling. He will once again vow that ‘everybody dies’ and first on his victim list may be an EVIL still carrying an ankle injury. Meanwhile SANADA and ZSJ have been needling one another throughout the tour, and Takagi seems to be eager to pick a major fight with Suzuki.
2nd Match- CHAOS (Robbie Eagles & Rocky Romero) vs BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori)
With Will Ospreay occupied with BUSHI later in the evening, his B.O.P partner Robbie Eagles teams with Rocky Romero to take on Phantasmo and Ishimori in the second match of the evening. After the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions scooped wins on both the Mega Coaches and B.O.P during the tag league with some dubious tactics, can the CHAOS members get some measure of revenge?
1st Match: Yuya Uemura, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask & Jyushin Thunder Liger vs Clark Connors, TJP, Titan & Volador Jr.
In what should be a hot opener in Osaka, and after a month of immense heart and passion, can Yuya Uemura finally secure a win on this tour with Tiger Mask, Taguchi and Liger on his side? They have tough competition in Connors, TJP, and a CMLL duo who have had an impressive tag run this tour.