New Japan Professional Wrestling continues to expand into the United States, returning to the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach California. The show will air Sunday Sept. 30 on NJPWWorld.com, and re-airing on AXS. TV this Friday, October 5.
Coming off of a great ‘Destruction’ tour, NJPW is on the road to WrestleKingdom (New Japan’s biggest show of the year) and this is a packed card filled with the best NJPW has to offer, 2 title matches and some serious personal beef.
Please note: this preview is not indicative of match order
Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi, & ACH vs. Roppongi 3K (Sho, Yoh, & Rocky Romero)
This should be a very fun match. Liger is a legit LEGEND, not just in Japan but the world over, Taguchi is a respected veteran who has been winding down his in-ring career, and ACH is one of the international and independent scenes most exciting wrestlers.
Sho and Yoh had a fairly solid performance in the G1 as singles competitors and Rocky Romero is not only a great manager and wrestler, and not too bad as a commentator.
Expect a match that will go from medium to fast to faster to near ludicrous speed if everyone is feeling good.
SoCal Uncensored/The Addiction (Chris Daniels & Frankie Kazarian) vs. Bullet Club (Chase Owens & “Hangman” Adam Page)
SCU has had a heck of a year, formerly known as “The Addiction”, Daniels and Kazarian have reformed and rebooted their team and haven’t missed a step and it’s basically a home game for team in Long Beach.
Adam Page has had as good a year as a performer can have. Known as one of the workhorses of the BC, Adam Page was the MVP of the G1 Climax for many people. This looks to be a great match as both teams have tons of chemistry and personality to spare.
The Best Friends (Chuckie T & Trent Barreta) & Hiroki Goto vs. Chris Sabin, Flip Gordon, & Jeff Cobb
This might be a good, but not as good as it could be match. Barreta is just getting back from an injury, Goto might be pre-occupied with contenders for his NEVER Open Weight title. Flip Gordon might just be the hottest up and comer across all wrestling and he’s working with a performer in Sabin who compliments his style. Jeff Cobb is on a hot streak, lots of good wins lately and is the current BOLA champion – one of the few heavyweights to win that tournament.
Los Ingobernables De Japon (EVIL, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr, Lance Archer) & Zack Sabre Jr.
LIJ is easily the most popular group in New Japan and pretty much everywhere else that the NJPW stars may perform, and they just don’t have bad or lackluster matches. The KES are big, mean, and are getting momentum heading into the upcoming World Tag League Tournament in November, and watching ZSJ perform is required viewing for wrestlers, fans, or basically anyone who enjoys professional wrestling in any form.
“Switchblade” Jay White & Gedo vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kushida
Easily the dominating storyline for the next few months will be the betrayal of Kazuchika Okada by his longtime compatriot Gedo and the upstart former IWGP US Champ Jay White. Okada vs White will happen eventually but first they will have to face The ACE of New Japan and a former Junior Heavyweight Champ and all around 5 star performer KUSHIDA.
Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll – IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semi-Final Match
As good as the Aerial Assassin is, as amazing as his feats in the ring are, he can’t get a W over The Villain when it counts. This is a tournament match for the vacant Jr. Heavyweight title vacated by Takahashi due to neck injury. Expect Scurll to try and keep the pace of this match as slow as he can, he is relying on his methodology to keep Ospreay grounded and move on. Ospreay seems to have a bugaboo about beating Scurll and hopes he can shake that loose this time around.
Cody vs. Juice Robinson (C) – IWGP U.S. Championship
Juice Robinson is having a great year. The former NXT talent, then known as C.J. Parker, finally broke through this year, defeating Jay White and becoming the first US born IWGP US Champion. Juice’s story is fairly singular, because upon requesting his release, he started in NJPW as a Young Lion, from the bottom up. He is a solid performer with multitudes of charisma and the crowd behind him…but now he’s facing one of wrestling’s best. The current NWA World Heavyweight Champion in Cody. Cody declared his desire for the US Title at the G1 Climax Final this summer and he might just walk out of Long Beach with both championships.
G.O.D (Tama Tonga & Tonga Loa) vs. The Young Bucks (C) – IWGP Tag Team Championship
The Tongan contingent of the Bullet Club spent their G1 getting involved in pretty much every match they could, and it kind of cheapened the G1 in the eyes of many fans. The Young Bucks are multi time tag champs here and coming off of “ALL IN”, running the largest independent show in the United States. The match that can steal the show, the G.O.D. have been dying for a shot at the Bucks and are looking to solidify their supremacy in New Japan as the dominant faction.
Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi vs. Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii
A match with amazing competitors and the two best performers this company has. Kenny Omega, the current IWGP Heavyweight Champion is easily the #1 professional wrestler walking the planet. Reuniting with his tag team partner, Kota Ibushi, from the beginning of his career, the Golden Lovers look to notch a signature win over The Rainmaker and the Stone Pitbull. Okada and Ishii are also looking to get back in contention for a shot at Omega’s title down the road.
Fighting Spirit Unleashed will stream live on NJPWWorld.com on September 30th at 8pm EST and be aired on AXS.TV on October 5th.