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NEW JAPAN'S KING OF PRO WRESTLING 2017 PREVIEW

By Matthew Macklin on 2017-10-06 09:01:00

This Monday, October 9th, NJPW present one of their biggest cards of the year. King of Pro Wrestling from Sumo Hall, which will set a lot of things in motion for Wrestle Kingdom this coming January. This show will have English commentary and is live on NJPWWorld.com at 4AM Est/9AM UK.

Bad Luck Fale, Yujiro Takahashi & Leo Tonga vs SANADA, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi

Bullet Club & Los Ingobernables de Japon have rarely clashed in NJPW, so this will be interesting to see if it starts something between the factions. Leo Tonga is still very green, but he has shown some real promise, so we'll see how he goes against three of the faster paced guys in LIJ.

Hirooki Goto & Toru Yano vs Minoru Suzuki & Zack Sabre Jr

With the World Tag League approaching, this could be somewhat of a warm up for two potential teams.  Suzuki is NEVER champion, so this could very well set up Yano as a title challenger, as Yano holds a G1 win over Suzuki.  Suzuki vs Goto has been done, so it's unlikely that we're going back to that. ZSJ vs Yano is something to look out for.

IWGP Jr Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Roppongi 3K

Rocky Romero has promised the arrival of his new team, Roppongi 3K, so we will see who they are. Taguchi & Ricochet have been a revelation as a team and they shouldn't lose the titles already. But NJPW have a habit of hot shotting these titles onto new teams, so a switch wouldn't be a surprise.

IWGP Tag Team Championship: Tornado Elimination Match - Killer Elite Squad vs War Machine vs Guerrillas of Destiny

NJPWs booking is generally outstanding. Except when it comes to the tag title division. We seen this match three times on the last two, which made absolutely no sense, and we have it yet again, in elimination form.  KES vs either of these teams in singles scenarios would be somewhat fresh and interesting, but the 3 way has been done to death and doesn't really help anyone. The World Tag League is approaching, so I'd like to think NJPW have some plans to shake up the division. But they most likely don't.  Who's wins this is anyone's guess.

Kenny Omega, Cody & Marty Scurll vs YOSHI-HASHI, Beretta & Jado

Kenny Omega defends the IWGP US title against YOSHI-HASHI next weekend at ROH, so that match will be previewed here. This is a fun looking match on paper, with Jado potentially dragging it down. Beretta could have some great interactions with the Bullet Club team to help establish him as a viable heavyweight.

Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe vs Kota Ibushi & Juice Robinson

Ibushi, after scoring a win over Tanahashi in the G1 is the next in line for an IWGP Intercontinental Championship match. That match will likely be the headline attraction for Power Struggle in November. Tanahashi colliding with his former tag team partner Juice for the first time could make for some really good stuff.

IWGP Jr Heavyweight Championship: KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay

We have had four Ospreay vs KUSHIDA matches, and four KUSHIDA wins.  Ospreay has failed in two championship opportunities, the BOSJ final and the WCPW World Cup final in the UK.  Ospreay made his NJPW debut against KUSHIDA at Sumo Hall, so if Ospreay can score the win it will be a great full circle moment. These two have had some of the best matches in NJPW over the last couple of years. Especially their outstanding BOSJ final match. Looking ahead to Wrestle Kingdom, it is likely that Hiromu Takahashi will be involved there, so him vs Ospreay would be a very fresh match. It's also possible that there will be a three way there, saving a potential Ospreay win for the big show.

Wrestle Kingdom Championship Opportunity: Tetsuya Naito vs Tomohiro Ishii

What an incredible rivalry these men have had over the last three years. Their battles in 2014 really put Ishii on the map and elevated him into a top star in NJPW.  This year, Ishii has had Naito's number. He was responsible for eliminating him from the US title tournament and scores a big win over him in the G1. Naito, of course won the G1 and looks to get his win back over Ishii as he puts his Tokyo Dome title shot on the line. The result of this isn't in any doubt. Naito will win, but I fully expect this to be another amazing entry into their series of matches in front of a very hot pro-Naito, Sumo Hall crowd.

IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL

If any wrestling promotion wants to know how to elevate someone into a main event star, study what New Japan have done with EVIL over the last year. He has gone from a guy with a goofy name and outfit, to a guy that people are buying as a legitimate top guy and a threat to Okada. NJPW showed huge faith in EVIL when he scored a major clean win over the champion in the G1. Since then, EVIL has had Okada's number. He has dropped him in various tags, and taken him out after matches, injuring his neck recently after dropping him onto a stack of chairs. I fully expect this to be nothing short of a classic. EVIL can cement himself as a big time player even in defeat if he comes close to dethroning The Rainmaker. Once this match concludes, the main event for Wrestle Kingdom will be official.

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