NJPW Power Struggle Preview

The road to Wrestle Kingdom 15 is about to kick into the next gear, and the drivers sat in pole position could find their favourable fortune falling. Power Struggle might result in the entire complexion of Wrestle Kingdom being turned upside down. A rivalry that has been the hallmark of New Japan this year will have its newest instalment, and King Switch will take his best shot at a Golden God.

Credit: NJPW

IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Double Championship
Tetsuya Naito (C) vs EVIL

Once brothers but now enemies, the bitter feud between Naito and EVIL continues with the pair set to clash in their fourth singles meeting in as many months.

EVIL’s shocking defection to Bullet Club has paid dividends, the group helping EVIL to win the New Japan Cup and defeat Naito at Dominion to claim both the titles. But at the first time of asking, Naito regained the titles from EVIL and went on to have a tremendous run in the G1 Climax, coming up just short of winning the B block. He was the iron man of this year’s G1, but a loss in the tournament to EVIL stained his record.

So far this year EVIL has had the better of Naito, winning two of their three matches. The matches have been anything but fair, EVIL constantly having his newest ally, Dick Togo, interfere whenever possible, using a steel wire to choke out his opponents. Naito will be acutely aware that he’ll be at a numbers disadvantage against the pair.

The winner here will more than likely head into the main event of Wrestle Kingdom as the double champion. For Naito, it will be his triumphant return to the grand stage where he made history as the first man to win the double gold. For EVIL, it’s a chance at something that would have seemed impossible a few short months ago, a goal now entirely in his devilish reach.

Credit: NJPW

IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Double Championship
“Right To Challenge” Contract
Kota Ibushi (C) vs Jay White

G1 Climax 30 ended with the Golden Star Kota Ibushi resplendent as the Golden God, but now the sinister Switchblade seeks to take the shine away from Ibushi.

The grand prize for Ibushi winning the G1 Climax is his “right to challenge” contract, guaranteeing his shot at both the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental titles in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 15. Never before has the G1 winner lost that contract in the months leading up to the Tokyo Dome… but if anybody was to steal that contract away for the first time, it ominously befits Jay White.

Thus far, White has a 2-1 lead over Ibushi in singles matches, with both of White’s victories coming this year. Switchblade has been a prick in Ibushi’s armour that he cannot seem to patch up. White and Ibushi are two of the most talented wrestlers in the world today and often make trivial matches something worth talking about. Given the occasion and the stakes in this match, expect something special.

Between this match and the main event, Wrestle Kingdom 15 may become an all Bullet Club affair, a very real possibility of EVIL vs Jay White for the double titles.

Credit: NJPW

IWGP US Heavyweight Championship “Right To Challenge” Contract
KENTA (C) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

By winning the New Japan Cup USA, KENTA earned the right to challenge Jon Moxley for his IWGP US Heavyweight Championship. However, a loss to Tanahashi in the G1 Climax has led to this match, with KENTA being forced to defend his “right to challenge” contract.

KENTA has been displeased with the damage Tanahashi has caused to the briefcase holding the contract. In the G1, KENTA smashed it over Tanahashi’s head, resulting in a large crack protruding across the briefcase. It only worsened in Korakuen Hall when KENTA used the briefcase again and it almost obliterated the briefcase entirely! Of course that’s all Tanahashi’s thought, not KENTA’s…

Moxley versus either KENTA or Tanahashi is one of those matches that would have sounded absurd in 2019, but coming to the close of 2020, we know its guaranteed.

Credit: NJPW

Special Singles Match
Kazuchika Okada vs Great O-Khan

A surprise return from excursion for Great O-Khan during the A block finals led to Will Ospreay defeating Okada for the first time. The very murky circumstances surrounding Ospreay’s victory where made clearer when he ambushed Okada post-match, confirming his departure from Chaos and the creation of The Empire.

This will be a proving ground for O-Khan, who has been limited to tag-team action so far and will be looking to conquer the greatest IWGP Heavyweight Champion in history. He has been dominant in his few appearances since his return, but stepping into the ring to go one-on-one with Okada is something different entirely.

As for Okada, it’s a smidge of revenge but more so it’s a step towards getting his hands on Ospreay. A win over O-Khan will likely lead to a match against Ospreay in the future, perhaps at Wrestle Kingdom.

Credit: NJPW

NEVER Openweight Championship
Minoru Suzuki (C) vs Shingo Takagi

Suzuki’s first defence of his newly won title comes against the man he defeated to claim it. A rematch in the G1 ended with Shingo defeating the current champion, earning him this match and levelling the score with one win a piece.

This will easily be the most hard hitting match on the card. Suzuki is having a “wrestler of the year” worthy 2020, remarkable that at the age of 52 he is still capable of delivering high calibre matches that standout for their brutality and violence.

Suzuki had been without a title for over two years, and as the King he will not part with his hard-earned gold easily. Unfortunately he’s facing Shingo, and dragons are known for their desire of gold.

Credit: NJPW

Provisional KOPW2020 – No Corner Pads Match
Toru Yano (C) vs Zack Sabre Jr.

NJPW’s newest concept is the bizarre KOPW, a trophy that has to be defended in stipulation only matches, and as the current holder of the trophy, Yano has picked a “no corner pads” match. Much to his bitter frustration, every time Yano has tried to take off a corner pad (in typical Yano fashion), ZSJ has been there to stop him and tie the pad back onto the corner. Now without the pads there from the get-go, Yano has his wish. Yano the trickster versus ZSJ the wizard will make for a hilarious, and perhaps surprisingly technical, start to Power Struggle.

Full Card

Provisional KOPW2020: Toru Yano (C) vs Zack Sabre Jr.

NEVER Openweight Championship: Minoru Suzuki (C) vs Shingo Takagi

Special Singles Match: Kazuchika Okada vs Great O-Khan

IWGP US Heavyweight Championship “Right to Challenge” Contract:
KENTA (C) vs Hiroshi Tanahashi

IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Double Championship
“Right to Challenge” Contract:
Kota Ibushi (C) vs Jay White

IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Double Championship
Tetsuya Naito (C) vs EVIL

Show Details
When: Saturday 7th November @ 5pm JST (8am GMT, 3am EST, midnight PDT)
How to Watch: Available live on New Japan World for only 999¥ per month (roughly £7.50/$9.30)
Notes: English and Japanese commentary will be available live!