Power Struggle took place on Saturday 7th November 2020, Osaka Prefectural Gym (Edion Arena Osaka) in Osaka. With six matches on the card, two of which are championship matches, two for the right to challenge for the IWGP US Heavyweight Championship and the IWGP Heavyweight & Intercontinental Championship, and one being for the KOPW2020 trophy, we were in for an incredible night of action and yet again New Japan Pro-Wrestling did not disappoint.
PROVISIONAL KOPW2020 – NO CORNER PAD MATCH
Zack Sabre Jr. Vs Toru Yano
Before the match starts we have a removal ceremony for the corner pads. A small fact that we learn via commentary is that Toru Yano can remove the corner pads in 18 seconds. But in this match Yano tries really hard to get the pads back on, after being thrown into the repeatedly by ZSJ. There is some really great technical wrestling from both men in this match, Zack Sabre Jr. Is the John Carpenter of wrestling due to his viciousness and quickness in the ring. The beauty of a No Corner Pad match is that all the action must remain in the middle of the ring or one the outside, to avoid the steal rings. Yano outsmarts ZSJ by tying his laces together while in a leg bar through the blue barricades.
WINNER: Toru Yano via count-out.
NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
Shingo Takagi vs Minoru Suzuki
This match is brutal affair between the Murder Grandpa, Minoru Suzuki, and Killer Daddy, Shingo Takagi, with the two of them exchanging hard shops, slaps and head butts. If Zack Sabre Jr. Is the John Carpenter of wrestling then Minoru Suzuki and Shingo Takagi’s matches are like watching one of his movies, full of suspense and horrific looking actions where neither one will give up until the other one is down and out. The chase is the most exciting thing about horror movies and in this case Suzuki/Takagi matches, each one rising full of adrenaline when knocked down to the mat, each wanting to prove who is the strongest and who can take the most punishment in the world.
WINNER: Shingo Takagi with a Last of the Dragon (pinfall)
SPECIAL SINGLE MATCH
Great-O-Kahn w/ Will Ospreay vs Kazuchika Okada
Will Osprey is out supporting the Great-O-Kahn as his second and valet, with his new attitude this is something we will have to watch out for in matches involving The Empire moving forward. The Great-O-Kahn dominates from the start during this match, punishing Okada for all the things Ospreay perceives to be the ways he was held down. Okada fights back, like a fallen hero with his eyes firmly set on the real villain of this piece, finally he locks in the Money Clip. After the match Ospreay takes the microphone and it looks like we are getting Will Ospreay vs Kazuchika Okada in the Tokyo Dome in January 2021.
WINNER: Kazuchika Okada via referee stoppage
IWGP US HEAVEYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP RIGHT TO CHALLENGE CONTRACT
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs KENTA
His is more of a classic style of match, the two of them the corner stones and saviours of two of the biggest wrestling companies in the Japan. Hiroshi Tanahashi as the ACE of New Japan and KENTA as one of the biggest starts to come out of Pro-Wrestling NOAH; the complete insider vs the total outsider, light vs dark, hero vs villain, it’s all here in this match. This is a battle for a chance at a championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 15 and as the match goes one the two of them become even more vicious and dangerous in their approach, becoming desperate for this chance.
WINNER: KENTA via a Game Over (verbal tap out)
IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT & INTERCONTINENTAL DOUBLE CHAMPIONSHIPS RIGHT TO CHALLENGE CONTRACT
Jay White vs Kota Ibushi
Jay White and Kota Ibushi have faced each other many time, but this time could be the most important match of their careers, a chance for a shot in the main event at Wrestle Kingdom in January against IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships. At Wrestle Kingdom 14, on day two, on 5th January Jay White beat Kota Ibushi and also beat him in this year’s G1 Climax 30, is today another day for Ibushi to finally beat White in a big match situation. Jay White starts off hard and fast, with the help of Gedo, getting the upper hand on Ibushi, stomping and focusing on his neck setting up for the Bladerunner and targeting his mid section to take away some of his power. This doesn’t work, as Ibushi is so well conditioned that he can still execute a Missile Drop Kick and Moonsault. This is a hard hitting match full of shops and kicks, steeped in years of rivalry between the two and a need to reach the top of the mountain again.
With Jay White now facing either Tetsuya Naito or EVIL at the Tokyo Dome, the only thing for Kota Ibushi to do is team up with Hiroshi Tanahashi and win World Tag League to guarantee a spot on the card at the Tokyo Dome.
WINNER: Jay White via Backslide, supported by the ropes (pinfall)
IWGP HEAVYWEIGHT & INTERCONTINENTAL DOUBLE CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
EVIL vs Tetsuya Naito
Since the betrayal of EVIL at the New Japan Cup final this summer, Naito has been on a collision course with EVIL trading the belts between them while Naito asserts his dominance and power over his former stable mate, friend and confident. This is their fourth meeting since the betrayal, with EVIL having a two match lead over Naito, but is tonight the night that the double champ levels the playing field. With Dick Togo in the mix, dragging Red Shoes out of the ring, it brings Yujiro Takahashi out to help EVIL, Possibly indicating who he’s siding with. SANADA has been angry at EVIL and by Naito’s side during Road to Power Struggle and this was the moment he came to help his L.I.J. leader, showing his loyalty and taking out the trash. Jay White also makes his way to the ring later, looking at EVIL and Naito, he attacks Naito before Ibushi comes to the ring before chasing him away. This is starting to feel like the road to the main event of Wrestle Kingdom won’t be as straight forward as we all thought.
WINNER: Tetsuya Naito via Destino (pinfall)
New Japan Pro-Wrestling returns for World Tag League and Best of the Super Jr.
From 15th November at 9 am BST, 6 pm JST, 4 am ET, 3 am CT and 1am PT, available on New Japan World.