The road to Power Struggle begins tonight with opening matches for this year’s Super Jr. Tag League.
This year’s tournament is a bit different. Instead of a single elimination tournament, eight teams will face each other in a round-robin style tournament. The two teams with the most points by the end of the tour will face one another at Power Struggle to determine the winner.
Tonight’s matches have Tiger Mask & Jushin Thunder Liger taking on Taiji Ishimori & Robbie Eagles, ACH & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Soberano Jr. & Volador Jr. from CMLL, KUSHIDA & Chris Sabin vs. El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Roppongi 3K will battle BUSHI & Shingo Takagi in the main event. These eight teams will wrestle one another over the next few weeks until November 1, where the top two teams will be decided.
Join us for live coverage this morning starting at 5:30 a.m. EDT. There will be English commentary for the event.
TOA HENARE, SHOTA UMINO & REN NARITA DEFEATED YUYA UEMURA, YOTA TSUJI & AYATO YOSHIDA (11:32)
A good opener. It looked as though Henare might have tweaked his left pec. It’s clear when he’s in there with the dojo guys that Henare just isn’t as good as they are.
Narita and Uemura kicked things off, grappling to a stalemate. Tsuji and Henare tagged in, trading headlocks and shoulder tackles. Tsuji cleared the apron of Henare’s partners, but ran into another tackle.
Narita got a tag and Umino jumped in. Everyone hit a big move, and Narita got a nearfall off an elbow drop. Umino got a tag and used a scoop slam for a nearfall. Henare tagged in and also hit a slam for a nearfall.
Tsuji hit a sweet dropkick on Henare, and tagged Yoshida. Yoshida hit a knee lift in the corner, a bulldog, and a running knee for a two count. Henare caught a kick and hit a lariat, then tagged Umino.
Umino and Yoshida traded forearm smashes. Umino hit a back elbow in the corner, and a dropkick off the second rope for a two count. Umino went for a german, but Yoshida hit a uranage and a pair of penalty kicks. He made a jackknife cover for a nearfall on Umino.
Umino no-sold a kick, caught another, and hit a spinebuster. Both men crawled to their corners and made tags. Narita and Uemura got in. They collided as they both went for running forearms. Narita used a crab, but Tsuji broke it up with a kick.
Uemura used a crab, but Narita reached the bottom rope. Narita hit a picture perfect dropkick, then used a belly-to-belly for a two count. Narita locked on a crab, while Henare and Umino held Yoshida and Tsuji on the floor. Uemura tapped out.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI, TOGI MAKABE & TOMOAKI HONME DEFEATED KOTA IBUSHI, YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & CHASE OWENS (12:49)
This was great when Tanahashi and Ibushi were in, and not so great when they weren’t.
Ibushi and Tanahashi started out with a beautiful sequence, but quickly tagged out to Owens and Honma. Honma hit a slam and teased the kokshi, but Yujiro kicked him from the apron, then dragged him to the floor. Yujiro hit Honma with his pimp cane, then tossed him back inside. Owens covered for a two count.
Ibushi tagged in and blasted Honma with three mid kicks. Yujiro got a tag and hit a low dropkick for two, then tagged Owens. Owens teased a package piledriver on Honma, but gave it up and hit a knee strike. Yujiro tagged in as the Bullet Club continued working over Honma.
Honma managed a deadlift brainbuster on Yujiro, and tagged Makabe. Makabe hit his corner punches on Yujiro for a nearfall. He went for a brainbuster, but Yujiro bit his hand, and tagged Ibushi. Ibushi hit a mid kick and a standing moonsault for two.
Ibushi ducked a lariat, but ran into another, and Makabe tagged Tana. Tana hit a dropkick to the knee, and a somersault senton off the second rope for a nearfall. Tana went for slingblade twice, but Ibushi ducked one, and countered with a Pele kick on the second.
Owens tagged in, and Tana was again thwarted when going for sling blade, as Owens hit a backbreaker. Owens went for a package driver, but Tana slipped out and hit twist and shout.
The match broke down. Ibushi hit a springboard dropkick. Makabe and Tana took out Ibushi. Tana finally hit sling blade, and Honma hit a kokeshi. Tana hit a high fly flow on Owens for the pin.
After the match, Tanahashi asked Ibushi to join him, but Ibushi begged off. The story they’re telling is that Ibushi is conflicted, torn between his loyalty to Omega and his ambition.
JAY WHITE, BAD LUCK FALE, TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA DEFEATED KAZUCHIKA OKADA, TORU YANO, BERETTA & CHUCKIE T (10:34)
This was good. It was obviously centered around the new Bullet Club OG faction with White at the helm. Okada wants to get his hands on White. White wants to stay away from Okada unless his henchmen have laid him out first.
Okada and Tonga started off. Okada got the dge briefly, knocking Wite off the apron. Jado hit Okada with a kendo stick from the floor, and used it Yano as well, allowing Tonga to take over. White got a tag and repeatedly rammed Okada’s back into the apron. Back inside, he hit a Saito suplex for a two count.
The Bullet Club OGs used quick tags, and continued working over Okada. Loa hit a powerslam. Tonga hit a stinger splash. Loa hit a legdrop, but Okada was able to hit a flapjack, and tagged Beretta.
Beretta hit a sunset flip off the second rope, and a step-up enziguri. He followed with a crazy tope, and slid into the front row. Back inside, he hit a tornado DDT for a nearfall on Loa. He went for a running knee, but Loa hit a side suplex and tagged The Switchblade.
Beretta took his Ray Stevens bump, but was able to tag Chuck. Taylor hit a plancha. He used a falcon arrow for a two count on White. As if.
Everyone jumped in and hit a big move. Fale went for the grenade on Okada, but Okada dropkicked out of it. Okada then hit a dropkick on White. Chuck was still legal. He teased a piledriver, but Jado jumped in the ring and took the ref. With his back turned, White hit a low blow, then a blade runner, and got the pin.
SUPER JR. TAG LEAGUE MATCH: TAIJI ISHIMORI & ROBBIE EAGLES DEFEATED JUSHIN LIGER & TIGER MASK (11:04)
A nice match to kick off the tournament. Tiger and Liger are a great team, Ishimori is spectacular, and Eagles looked good here.
Liger and Ishimori started off, and had a nice little sequence. Liger hit a baseball slide to Eagles. Liger teased the Romero special on Eagles, but Ishimori broke it up, and Ishimori and Eagles went to work on Liger’s left leg. Ishimori hit a splash to the leg. Liger hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker, but on the bad leg, forcing a tag to Tiger.
Tiger hit a gorgeous high cross off the top to Ishimori. He teased a tiger suplex off the top. Eagles broke it up, but accidentally nailed Ishimori with a dropkick. Tiger hit an armdrag off the top, then continued to work on Ishimori’s arms.
Ishimori hit a handspring enziguri, then tagged Eagles. Tiger side-stepped a charge in the corner and tagged Liger. Liger hit a shotei, then used a fancy cradle for a nearfall. Liger hit another shotei for two. Ishimori jumped in with a seated senton, then hit double knees in the corner.
Eagles hit a running knee in the corner on Liger. Ishimori took out Tiger with a plancha. Eagles hit a backpack driver for two, then hit a 450 to Liger’s bad leg. Eagles used an inverted figure four for the tapout.
SUPER JR. TAG LEAGUE MATCH: SOBERANO JR. & VOLADOR JR. DEFEATED RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & ACH (10:34)
This was mostly comedy, but the last two minutes featured some great action.
Volador and ACH started out. Volador wore a mask, but took it off after the opening sequence. Taguchi came in and did some comedy, and ACH did a plancha to Soberano. Taguchi and ACH made a series of tags, with their offense consisting exclusively of various hip attacks.
At the six minute mark, Volador hit an atomic drop and tagged Soberano. Soberano hit a corkscrew splash off the top. Soberano hit a handspring into an atomic drop by Taguchi, but Soberano returned the favor. They did a comedy double down.
Volador and ACH got tags. Volador blasted ACH with a kick to the face. ACH did a double stomp, but ate a dropkick from Soberano, who then hit Taguchi with a ridiculous dive to the floor.
ACH and Volador traded superkicks, and ACH hit a deadlift german for a two count. ACH went up top for a 450, but Volador hit an enziguri, then a beautiful super frankensteiner, and got the pin.
SUPER JR. TAG LEAGUE MATCH: YOSHINOBU KANEMARU & EL DESPERADO DEFEATED KUSHIDA & CHRIS SABIN (14:40)
Given the parameters of a typical Suzuki-gun match, this was excellent. Sabin and KUSHIDA are great together. I really enjoy Sabin’s work, and I actually think KUSHIDA is better suited to working tags at this stage of the game. He can do more of his spectacular offense when working in short bursts, rather than carrying a long singles match.
Sabin and KUSHIDA got jumped before the bell, but quickly recovered. They hit stereo superkicks, and KUSHIDA hit a flip dive from the apron to the floor. They continued on offense with some tandem moves, targeting Desperado’s left arm. Kanemaru pulled Sabin to the floor, and the match broke down into a standard Suzuki-gun brawl.
Desperado and Kanemaru focused their attack on Sabin’s head. They used boots to the head, forearms to the head, and stomps. Sabin hit a desperation dropkick and managed to tag KUSHIDA. KUSHIDA ran wild, hitting a springboard chop, and then Sabin jumped back in for some more tandem offense.
Desperado made a comeback, and Suzuki-gun took the fight to the floor. They sent Sabin into the crowd, then used a con-chair-to on his left leg. Kanemaru slammed the Young Lion Umino onto KUSHIDA on the floor. Back inside, Kanemaru worked over KUSHIDA’s back, using a slam, a backdrop, and a crab.
KUSHIDA hot tagged Sabin. KUSHIDA slammed Kanemaru on the floor, while Sabin ran wild on Desperado. He hit a dive, then a springboard crossbody. Sabin and KUSHIDA hit some more doube team moves, including an inverted atomic drop into a cartwheel dropkick.
KUSHIDA went for a moonsault, but Kanemaru shoved him off the top and posted him. Desperado used a stretch muffler, but Sabin escaped, hitting a lariat, an enziguri, and hail Saban. He made a cover, but Kanemaru pulled the ref out of the ring.
Kanemaru spit whiskey in Sabin’s eyes. Desperado used a low blow, then the pinche loco, and got the underhanded pin.
SUPER JR. TAG LEAGUE MATCH: BUSHI & SHINGO TAKAGI DEFEATED SHO & YOH (21:18)
A crazy great match with an incredible climax.
SHO and BUSHI started off. SHO took a swing at Takagi, and Takagi tagged in. They traded strikes. SHO hit a knee lift. Shingo hit one as well, but SHO dropped him with a back elbow. Advantage SHO on this exchange, and both tagged out.
YOH and BUSHI traded palm strikes to the chest. YOH hit a corkscrew forearm, then knocked Shingo off the apron for good measure. SHO jumped in for the double team, and got a one count. SHO used an abdominal stretch to set up a schoolboy, but BUSHI again kicked out at one, then tagged Shingo.
Shingo started to get the better of SHO on their second exchange, so YOH jumped in. Shingo fought him off, then hit corner clotheslines on both, and dropped YOH with a tackle. BUSHI and Shingo took the fight into the crowd, and Shingo dragged SHO back inside at the count of 17.
BUSHI got a tag, and focused on SHO’s abdomen. BUSHI and Shingo cut the ring in half. BUSHI hit a legdrop while Shingo hit a senton at the same time. BUSHI used an STF on SHO, while Shingo kept YOH at bay, knocking him off the apron.
Shingo got a tag and hit a brainbuster for two. SHO tried to fight back with palm strikes to the chest, and created enough space with them to allow him to hit a spear, and tag YOH.
YOH ran wild with dropkicks and dragon screws. He hit a slingshot foot stomp for a two count on Shingo. Shingo countered a dragon screw attempt and hit one of his own. BUSHI tagged in for a missile dropkick. SHO jumped in to cut him off, but BUSHI nailed both with a rana.
YOH hit a bulldog on BUSHI. SHO and YOH sent both outside, and hit stereo topes, which the crowd loved. The match broke down, and all four jumped in. Each hit big moves, and all four men ended up down on the mat. YOH and Shingo rolled to the apron, leaving BUSHI and SHO the legal men.
SHO and BUSHI traded hard slaps to the face. SHO hit a deadlift german for a double down, and tagged YOH. They hit the 3K, but Shingo jumped in to break up the pinfall, before falling to a tandem suplex. SHO and YOH hit stereo knee strikes, then a backstabber into a dropkick.
They teased a 3K, but BUSHI hit a double dropkick and a DDT on SHO, before tagging Shingo. YOH backdropped Shingo, and they traded forearms. Shingo ate three, then knocked YOH down with one shot. YOH went for a rana, but Shingo blocked, and BUSHI jumped in for a dropkick.
Shingo went for a gory bomb, but YOH backdropped out. BUSHI hit a codbreaker, but SHO broke it up. BUSHI dropped SHO with a DDT on the apron, and Shingo hit a yoshigami and a pumping bomber for two. He followed with the last falconry for the pin.
Tetsuya Naito, EVIL and SANADA came out after what would usually have been the show-closing promo to do the LIJ fist pose in the middle of the ring.