New Japan Pro-Wrestling held one of the last major events before the Tokyo Dome earlier today as Power Struggle was broadcast from the EDION Arena Osaka in Osaka, Japan. The show featured six matches and had major implications for Wrestle Kingdom 15.
In the opening contest, Toru Yano defended the Provisional KOPW 2020 Trophy against Zack Sabre Jr in a No Corner Pads Match. The exposed turnbuckles were used to good effect by ZSJ but this didn't hinder The Sublime Master Thief too much and he managed to pick up the count-out win after tying Sabre Jr.'s laces to the guard rail on the outside.
The rivalry between Minoru Suzuki and Shingo Takagi over the NEVER Openweight Title continued in the next bout. Both men hammered away at each other for 18 minutes but The Dragon eventually gained the upper hand after connecting with a Clothesline to the back of Suzuki's head. This sent the champion loopy and Takagi followed up with Last Of The Dragon for the 1-2-3.
The first match on the card with possible Wrestle Kingdom 15 implications followed as Kazuchika Okada faced off against Great-O-Khan. The Dominator was accompanied to the ring by a Charlie Hunnam-esque Will Ospreay, clad in glasses, an expensive suit and a £10,000 watch. The Empire's enforcer dominated much of the action with his Mongol Chops and he twice tried to put Okada away with the Iron Claw, but Okada countered every time and eventually caught Great-O-Khan with a Spinning Rainmaker. The five-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion then locked in the Money Clip and forced the former RevPro Tag Team Champion to pass out.
After the match, Will Ospreay entered the ring and declared he used Okada to make himself more popular. Their alliance had outlived its usefulness, though, as it prevented The Ariel Assassin from becoming the best wrestler in the world. Ospreay then told Okada he wanted to end his career and what better place to do it than at the Tokyo Dome. Okada immediately accepted the challenge and the match was set for Wrestle Kingdom 15.
Next, Hiroshi Tanahashi challenged KENTA for the IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship Right To Challenge Contract. The match featured some of the typical Bullet Club cheating but both men battled back and forth fairly for much of the contest. Shockingly, the former WWE Superstar picked up the win after locking Tanahashi in Game Over, causing The Ace to verbally submit.
The most shocking result of Power Struggle happened in the next match, though. No one in the history of New Japan Pro-Wrestling has lost their Right To Challenge Contract, until tonight. Kota Ibushi and Jay White fought in an even contest for much of the match and Ibushi appeared to have the match won as he prepared himself for the Kamigoye. Gedo suddenly hopped onto the apron, though, causing Ibushi to take him out with a kick to the head. This gave Jay White enough time to get back to his feet and after they both countered each other's finishing moves, White caught Ibushi with a Backslide and put his feet on the top rope to steal the victory and the contract.
In the main event, Tetsuya Naito and EVIL's long-running rivalry finally came to an end in a battle for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship & IWGP Intercontinental Championship. The match lasted over half an hour and EVIL dominated much of the opening 20 minutes. Dick Togo constantly interfered in the match by hitting Naito with a chair and exposing the turnbuckle. Naito was seemingly able to overcome the odd's stacked against him, however, as he hit two Destino's on EVIL. Red Shoes wasn't able to finish counting the pin, though, as Togo dragged him from the ring. A flurry of interference then followed as Dick Togo, Yujiro Takahashi, Jay White, SANADA and Kota Ibushi all got involved over the next 10 minutes and the official ended up taking another bump.
The match finally settled down for the closing stretch and EVIL almost picked up the win as he went for Everything Is Evil, but Naito was able to counter into Gloria and follow up with a third Destino to retain the Double Championships.
If White will challenge Naito for the titles at the Tokyo Dome remains to be seen. "Switchblade" made his way to the ring after the main event and promised to face the double champion on January 5. Ibushi soon followed and chased the Bullet Club member away. The Golden Star and White appear to be destined for a Right To Challenge Contract match on January 4.
Check out the results for Power Struggle below:
• Toru Yano def. Zack Sabre Jr. - Provisional KOPW 2020 Trophy
• Shingo Takagi def. Minoru Suzuki - NEVER Openweight Championship
• Kazuchika Okada def. Great-O-Khan
• KENTA def. Hiroshi Tanahashi - IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship Right To Challenge Contract
• Jay White def. Kota Ibushi - IWGP Heavyweight Championship & IWGP Intercontinental Championship Right To Challenge Contract
• Tetsuya Naito def. EVIL - IWGP Heavyweight Championship & IWGP Intercontinental Championship