Sunday, October 30, 2016

NJPW Road to Power Struggle 10/30/16 Review

NJPW Road to Power Struggle
October 30th, 2016 | Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Dome

The final show to air on NJPW World before Power Struggle. It features the semi-finals of the Super Jr. Tag Tournament and several multi-matches to build towards the show.

Teruaki Kanemitsu def. Hirai Kawato in 6:03
This was typical young lions stuff. These guys are relatively new, so it’s unfair to expect the Jay White/David Finlay/Yohei Komatsu levels of awesome that the most recent young lions were. They had some good back and forth before Kanemitsu survived a Boston crab. Kanemitsu rallied and ended up winning with that very same Boston crab, which is pretty much the young lion special. Basic stuff, but not bad. **¼

Juice Robinson and YOSHITATSU def. Bone Soldier and Yujiro Takahashi via disqualification in 7:12
Everything about this feud sucks. Soldier, Takahashi and Tatsu are all uninteresting, the Tatsu Triple H cosplay is trash and Yujiro doesn’t even use his dope theme song. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO CARE ABOUT HERE? I mean, Juice is alright at least. Juice saved this from being a total dud. He brought fire and pulled a Gedo by shouting profanity in English to get a pop. None of it mattered though since it ended with a Bone Soldier low blow for the DQ. Again. This feud is terrible. ¼*

Jushin Thunder Liger, TenKoji and Tiger Mask IV def. Angel de Oro, Manabu Nakanishi, Titan and Yuji Nagata in 8:43
So they fused the NEW JAPAN DADS with some CMLL juniors. I enjoyed Oro and Titan in their match with Roppongi Vice last time out. Again, they were a blast here, starring alongside TenKoji. I just love something about TenKoji. Kojima and Nagata had a really fun back and forth at one point. Eventually, Tiger Mask scored with a tiger suplex to get the win for his team. A good, fun multi-man tag featuring several guys who actually worked hard. I with the CMLL guys got the win though. Tiger Mask doesn’t need it and I’d like to see them return. **¾

CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI) def. The Bullet Club (Chase Owens and IWGP Tag Team Champions The Guerillas of Destiny) in 10:26
This is just a massively uninteresting rivalry. This was less enthusiastic than the previous match. It’s as if the guys involved are just as tired of Bullet Club vs. Chaos as I am. To be fair, it did start and end rather well. The middle parts were pretty dull though. The problem is that the heel team is just so lame. They did some uninspired stuff before Chaos rallied. Owens took the pin for his guys after eating a brainbuster by Ishii. Standard stuff here without much hard work from the guys involved. **¼

The FantasticaMania shows were hyped next and we got a Time Bomb promo.

The Elite (Kenny Omega and the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks) def. Chaos (Gedo, IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay) in 16:14
The Elite were dressed as Ghostbusters and a ghost. I didn’t hate it. The comedy bits spilled to the actual match and it felt odd for Omega to do so much when he’s about to headline the biggest show of the year. Also, I thought Gedo yelling random shit was much funnier than the Elite’s stuff. Once the match got serious, it picked up a bit. The Bucks were what you’d expect, Gedo was funny, Ospreay flew all over the place and Omega and Okada’s interactions were just enough to wet the whistle of the people clamoring for that match. I for one am not. I was surprised to see Ospreay take the pin after falling to the One Winged Angel. I fully expected Gedo to do so. I know it’s a heavyweight but Ospreay probably shouldn’t take the pins when a guy like Gedo is around. Anyway, this was rather enjoyable but nothing special. ***

Los Ingobernables de Japon (IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion BUSHI, EVIL, SANADA and IWGP Intercontinental Champion Tetsuya Naito) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, NEVER Openweight Champion Katsuyori Shibata, Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma in 11:20
The cool factor of LIDJ knows no boundaries. They did the right thing by building towards Tanahashi/SANADA and EVIL/Shibata, which are coming up at Power Struggle. BUSHI is set to face KUSHIDA, but KUSHIDA is on the shelf right now. I enjoyed seeing BUSHI interact with guys like Shibata and Makabe. After things ended up breaking down, Honma was alone with Naito. BUSHI ran in and spit the mist, which Honma sold hilariously again. Naito kicked him low and EVIL nailed a lariat. Naito used a jackknife pin to win for his guys. This was good, paint by numbers stuff. It built to the matches it needed to (and a possible one with GBH in the World Tag League), while being entertaining. I dig it. EVIL knocked out Shibata with the NEVER Title after the bell. ***

Super Jr. Tag Team Tournament Semi-Finals: Roppongi Vice def. Fuego and Ryusuke Taguchi in 15:26
I wish the music for Fuego and Taguchi played because their entrance looked like fun again. The tension between RPG Vice continued, even when they were in control. They argued and tried to one up each other. Fuego and Taguchi were on the same page and ready to have a good time. Neither team gained a clear advantage. Again, Romero against the CMLL guy was good. Romero straight up shouted “FUCK YOU” instead of tagging in Beretta near the end. It backfired when Taguchi went on the offensive. Beretta eventually ran wild and got the tag. As the match went on, it got better. Beretta survived a twisted ankle, several ankle lock attempts and Dodon. RPG Vice won with strong zero. Good match that advanced the angle it needed to. RPG Vice had to get past their issues and Beretta being banged up to win, which I liked. I suspect they lose in the finals and split. ***¼

Super Jr. Tag Team Tournament Semi-Finals: ACH and Taiji Ishimori def. David Finlay and Ricochet in 15:57
I absolutely love that Finlay got a chance to main event in Korakuen Hall here. We were treated to the expected fast paced stuff between these four guys. Finlay, being the least experienced, was targeted and isolated by ACH and Ishimori. Ricochet got a hot tag and was all over the place. From high flying offense to making Ishimori hit ACH with a face buster, he was everywhere. ACH had the highlight of the match with a fosbury flop. A really strong final few minutes saw the teams trade big blows and near falls. In the end, Ishimori and ACH won with stereo 450 splashes. The main event was the best match on the show but didn’t quite reach great levels. Lots of fun, athletic spots and the teams played to their strengths. ***¾

Overall: 6/10. A relatively enjoyable “Road to” show. It hit most of the points that it needed to in terms of building to Power Struggle, though some things were hard to get into. The Bullet Club/Chaos matches just don’t really bring anything new to the table. The Super Jr. Tag Tournament matches were both good, with the main event being slightly better than the ACH & Ishimori/Young Bucks match from round one.