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NJPW Power Struggle - 7th Nov 2020


sevendaughters
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Back to Osaka for another minimal-looking card with a bit of interest scattered

NJPW "POWER STRUGGLE 2020", 07.11.2020
EDION Arena Osaka


1. KOPW 2020: Toru Yano (c) vs. Zack Saber Jr.
2. NEVER Openweight Title: Minoru Suzuki (c) vs. Shingo Takagi
3. Special Singles Match: Kazuchika Okada vs. Great-O-Khan
4. IWGP US Heavyweight Title Contendership: KENTA (c) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi
5. Tokyo Dome IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Double Title Contendership: Kota Ibushi (c) vs. Jay White
6. IWGP Heavyweight & IWGP Intercontinental Title: Tetsuya Naito (c) vs. "King of Darkness" EVIL
 

(from purolove.com)

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Worried for Great O-Khan here if Okada is going to continue to his Cobra Clutch/money clip vs Khan's offense we saw at the G-1 Final. 

Also worried for Kenta-Tanahashi and EVIL-Naito, hopefully they work much better paces. 

Was hoping for a Jr singles or tag titles match here. But with BOTSJ coming up, I get it. Shingo-Suzuki should be good times. 

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Yeah...it'll probably be interference-ridden, but I think I may be most interested in KENTA/Tanahashi. 

One of the few benefits of 2020 is that I've had extra time to go back and watch old matches. For whatever reason (maybe because this year sucks and I wanted to be able to actually cheer for the good guy...), something with Tanahashi finally clicked for me. Part of it is also probably seeing how much it meant to him to be wrestling again - whatever it is, I'm invested in him about ten years too late. I'd like to see him win this.

On one hand, you have a guy in KENTA who probably has more US name recognition thanks to his WWE stint, and one who conceivably could go back and forth to the US more easily than Tanahashi. On the other...if Moxley loves the 2012 Tanahashi/Suzuki match as much as he claims, I'd have to imagine that he wants to work a big match with Tanahashi before the curtain falls. Tana also showed up on an AEW broadcast and both sides have been teasing working with each other ever since. 

Looking beyond that, either guy beating Moxley gets you a Japanese wrestler holding the US belt, something I've felt NJPW would have to do eventually. It shouldn't just be the "gaijin belt." If (big if, given our pandemic-blighted future), American fans want true NJPW shows in the US then eventually they're going to need to open up the US title challenger pool to all of the heavyweight roster. 

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I'm in similar boat with Tanahashi. Back when he was the man he was never as annoying as Cena, but I definitely wanted him to step aside and give some shine to other guys as well. And for last few years he has definitely stepped back, yet now I desperately want him to stay. His "old ace" run to me has been fantastic and even forced me to re-evaluate some of his earlier stuff that I wasn't as fond of.

As for the card, am I only one thinking that White could beat Ibushi?

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Someone needs to lose the breifcase eventually, but I think this is the time to show Jay fighting clean, and coming up just short. Assuming we are headed towards a face turn, he needs to face some adversity on that path, and commit anyway.

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someone does need to lose the briefcase but it will be such a blow to anyone who does, a perceptible loss of confidence in someone who wins a gruelling tournament. they've painted themselves into a corner with the G1 winner = Dome main event. There's less time between now and then so might not seem like as much of the year is pointless.

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I think someone like Tanahashi or Okada could lose the briefcase and be ok but it would be a big setback for most guys. 

I don't think Kota is in danger here, I've thought Naito/Ibushi was a very likely WK main event since Naito won last January. 

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5 hours ago, sevendaughters said:

someone does need to lose the briefcase but it will be such a blow to anyone who does, a perceptible loss of confidence in someone who wins a gruelling tournament. they've painted themselves into a corner with the G1 winner = Dome main event. There's less time between now and then so might not seem like as much of the year is pointless.

Question is do they want Ibushi losing second WK main event in a row? Maybe losing briefcase and winning, lets say, WK semi-main is better for him?

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I think Ibushi is winning at Wrestle Kingdom also, though I'll be pulling for Naito. It's a tough spot, as Ibushi badly needs to win the big one, but Naito has never had a chance to get a great title run due to the pandemic and the dubious decision to have Evil beat him at Dominion. I wonder with Kota explicitly mentioning just the heavyweight title, if he just challenges for that title and that's how the IC title splits off again (which is badly needed, especially with the U.S. title also in flux due to Moxley not being able to travel to Japan).

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2 hours ago, John E. Dynamite said:

This is the only time losing the briefcase makes sense. EVIL over Naito. Jay vs. EVIL for control of Bullet Club. Everyone hates it but me.

That is the only way that I would ignore Wrestle Kingdom, and I like the Switchblade. Bullet Club Evil does absolutely nothing for me, as it's Jay White cosplay without the charisma to pull off the chickenshit heel (plus, one act like that is enough, especially in New Japan). Evil's heel turn needed to be with Suzuki-Gun (who also have stronger history battling LIJ) as the brawler heel that still has some redeeming characteristics while openly and blatantly flaunting the rules.

I actually think it may be Jay White-Evil at Wrestle Kingdom, but in the same spot as Ospreay-Okada on the other night (like third-fourth from the top), but not the main event.

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45 minutes ago, Big Z said:

That is the only way that I would ignore Wrestle Kingdom, and I like the Switchblade. Bullet Club Evil does absolutely nothing for me, as it's Jay White cosplay without the charisma to pull off the chickenshit heel (plus, one act like that is enough, especially in New Japan). Evil's heel turn needed to be with Suzuki-Gun (who also have stronger history battling LIJ) as the brawler heel that still has some redeeming characteristics while openly and blatantly flaunting the rules.

I actually think it may be Jay White-Evil at Wrestle Kingdom, but in the same spot as Ospreay-Okada on the other night (like third-fourth from the top), but not the main event.

Complete agreement with the Suzuki-gun thing. I've tried to figure out why they didn't play it like that, and the only theories I keep coming back to are A) A Jay White face turn necessitates a new BC leader, and  A2) A Jay White face turn that necessitates a new BC leader has been compromised by the inability to slot in a new foreigner in the role. I like the second theory more because it means they considered Will Ospreay and said "no way, fuck that".

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1 hour ago, John E. Dynamite said:

Complete agreement with the Suzuki-gun thing. I've tried to figure out why they didn't play it like that, and the only theories I keep coming back to are A) A Jay White face turn necessitates a new BC leader, and  A2) A Jay White face turn that necessitates a new BC leader has been compromised by the inability to slot in a new foreigner in the role. I like the second theory more because it means they considered Will Ospreay and said "no way, fuck that".

I'd guess that big part of moving Evil to Bullet Club was the fear that the foreign guys would not be back in Japan for awhile, and needing to prop up Bullet Club. Honestly though, I would have been fine with Bullet Club sort of folding. They've had one last decent run with Jay as the leader, but while not quite NWO in 1999 level of stale, it is not the same as the past eras (not super familiar with the Devitt/A.J. eras as I started following closely right as World and English commentary grew, but thought that the Elite era was a natural progression of the Bullet Club and their split with Sons of Haku and Fale could have been a natural end).

I am looking forward to see how Ospreay's stable takes off, and think it could be the next evolution of heel stables (and sort of replace Bullet Club). However, it should be its own, newish thing, and not become Bullet Club version 5/6.

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Yes, that match completely overdelivered.  They essentially gave Douki and Yoshi-Hashi the main event, with the four other pros more or less providing back-up if something went awry.  But it never did, and Douki and Yoshi-Hashi both came through with a tremendous, main event level performance.  The match was chock full of fun moments.   Very enjoyable and easy to watch.  

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Gedo will have lost his mind if he has Ibushi lose. 

As noted, the losses last year, the struggle to win this year and the storyline of Tana passing the torch and telling him to go become God - this is the layup main event win. 

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