Summer Struggle night 1 preview

Six Korakuen matches kick off summer tour 


After the drama of Sengoku Lord in Nagoya on July 25, the Summer Struggle tour gets underway in Korakuen Hall tonight. There’s plenty of fallout from Saturday’s event to come, and key figures will be looking to make plays as we get started on the road to a huge finale in the open air at Jingu Stadium on August 29!

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Main event: Los Ingobernables De Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito) vs BULLET CLUB (Dick Togo, Taiji Ishimori & EVIL)

A rematch from last week’s New Japan Road card in Korakuen headlines the first night of Summer Struggle. Much can change in a week, however, and the background to this trios match has been significantly shaped by the events of Sengoku Lord. 

In Nagoya, Hiromu Takahashi proved he is not only the equal of any heavyweight champion, but the clear better of EVIL. A visual pinfall with Time Bomb II over the double IWGP champion should by rights see Hiromu walk into Korakuen Hall with three belts tonight, but Dick Togo saw to it that the King of Darkness retained. 

Post match, Taiji Ishimori appeared to pick the bones of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, and it seems clear that the Bone Soldier is moving to challenge for the title for the first time since last May. Takahashi not only seeks to reassert his superiority over EVIL, but to also get some revenge on Dick Togo for last night’s interference and Ishimori for his post match attack. 

For former champion Naito meanwhile, the chance to make a case for a Dominion rematch. It was this that was on El Ingobernables mind more than rescuing teammate Takahashi last night in Nagoya, as he stared down the King of Darkness and stated that the ‘IWGP rental period is over’. After EVIL responded that revenge would be his, Naito will have to make actions speak louder than words, and state his case physically tonight. 

5th Match: CHAOS (SHO & Kazuchika Okada) vs BULLET CLUB (Gedo & Yujiro Takahashi)

After their combined efforts were foiled by Kazuchika Okada in singles action in Nagoya, Yujiro Takahashi and Gedo now formally team up to take on Okada and SHO. On paper, and on current form, this should be a breeze for the CHAOS tandem, but one never knows just what BULLET CLUB have up their sleeves. Meanwhile Okada and SHO seem to have their eyes on bigger things. SHO wants a singles contest with SANADA after a submission loss last night, but will need to prove himself in action tonight. As for Okada, will we learn more about his ‘controversial’ idea for NJPW? Maybe a win will put him in a sharing mood. 

4th Match: Master Wato, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi vs Suzuki-Gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru, El Desperado, Taichi & Zack Sabre Junior)

Eight man tag action is third on the Korakuen agenda.  Golden☆Ace seek to continue build their case for an IWGP Tag Team Championship rematch against Dangerous Tekkers, while Master Wato will continue his issues with Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Kanemaru finds himself reunited with regular partner El Desperado tonight; how will Suzuki-Gun’s masked master react after his loss to NEVER Openweight Champion Shingo Takagi last night?

3rd Match: Yuji Nagata & Yuya Uemura vs Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & DOUKI)

Ever since a hard fought victory for Yuji Nagata over Minoru Suzuki in the New Japan Cup, Suzuki has been hell bent on a rematch, going as far as calling for the ‘public execution’ of Blue Justice in the form of a singles contest. Their issue will continue to erupt tonight, but the addition of Yuya Uemura in Nagata’s corner adds some interesting spice. Since back in February, Uemura has been targeting the King, and will no doubt seek to test himself in similar form tonight, whether or not that’s the smartest gameplan to bring into this tag team bout. 

2nd Match: CHAOS (YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto) vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (SANADA & Shingo Takagi)

It’s been a busy few weeks for Shingo Takagui, as the fighting NEVER Openweight Champion successfully rebuffed both SHO and El Desperado in a two week span. Now finally back in possession of his championship gold, it seems hard to imagine that The Dragon won’t be looking for his next challenger, especially with the big stage of Jingu Stadium looming large at the end of August. The other three men in this tag team encounter are all seeking to create their own narratives as a busy Summer Struggle tour gets underway; possibilities in Korakuen are plentiful. 

1st Match: Ryusuke Taguchi, Satoshi Kojima & Togi Makabe vs Gabriel Kidd, Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii

Action in the Summer Struggle series kicks off with a rematch from last night in Nagoya, Gabriel Kidd teaming with CHAOS’ Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii to face Ryusuke Taguchi, Satoshi Kojima & Togi Makabe. For some time now, Gabriel Kidd has been asking for a singles contest with Makabe, as he seeks to battle the vicious ‘Unchained Gorilla’ of yore. Makabe has some respect for the young Briton’s style, but won’t be taken lightly, and will be teaching some violent lessons tonight in Korakuen.