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NJPW ‘King of Pro-Wrestling’ 10.9.17 Preview



In just a couple of days time will begin New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s sixth annual King of Pro-Wrestling. The show is considered one of the company’s biggest of the calendar year and the speedbump before the ultimate prize in all of wrestling, Wrestle Kingdom. Let’s break down the card with some facts and what to expect going into the show.

Sanada, Bushi & Hiromu vs Fale, Yujiro & Leo Tonga
– With two members of Los Ingobernables de Japon closing out the night we get the remaining members in the opener. This should receive a decent reaction due to those in LIJ but will most likely be inconsequential in the grand scheme.

Suzuki & Sabre vs Goto & Yano
– While possible that either Goto or Yano pick up a win on Suzuki and challenge for the NEVER Openweight Championship, what’s more likely is that this will be a showcase to keep Sabre looking strong after the defeat he took by Tanahashi.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Match
Funky Future (c) vs X & X

– Rocky Romero has promised to debut a new tag team to be the challengers for this match. There are rumors going around about who this might be but no one is certain yet. It’s very possible that this new team makes a splash by winning the titles on their first attempt. Funky Future are a lot of fun but unlikely to be a team that lasts too much longer so don’t be surprised if they drop the titles.

IWGP Tag Team Championship 3-Way Elimination Match
K.E.S. (c) vs War Machine vs G.O.D.

– These three teams have had so many matches over the last month that it’s very hard to be interested by this on paper. A change isn’t likely to happen seeing as K.E.S. have just won the titles a few weeks ago and have yet to defend them but New Japan doesn’t put much care into the tag division so anything is possible.

Omega, Cody & Scurll vs Yoshi-Hashi, Beretta & Jado
– A nice way to reintroduce both Cody and Scurll to the Japanese audience after being absent the last several months. Also serves as a purpose to give a taste to the upcoming IWGP US Heavyweight Championship Match later this month between Omega and Yoshi-Hashi that will take place in the US. Jado is the guy to take the falls for CHAOS teams and seems to be the most likely to be pinned or submitted here.

Tanahashi & Makabe vs Ibushi & Juice
– Next month will be the IWGP IC match between Tanahashi and Ibushi but we’ll get a taste of what’s to come in a tag match on this show. It seems absolutely insane that Makabe will be the guy to take the fall here but with Juice’s arrow pointing upwards I don’t see it being him surrendering the fall.

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Match
Kushida (c) vs Will Ospreay

– Four other times these two have met in singles matches, this being the third time Ospreay has challenged Kushida for this title. All four of their singles have led to victories by Kushida. The ace of the junior division can easily retain once more but I’m betting that Ospreay finally comes out on top and claims his first championship in New Japan. Don’t be shocked if these two end up stealing the show.

Match for the Right to Challenge for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at the Tokyo Dome
Tetsuya Naito (c) vs Tomohiro Ishii

– While it’s true that Naito won the G1 Climax and that granted him the Tokyo Dome main event, he lost to Ishii in the tournament. That means he must avenge his loss in order to prove that he is worthy. Over the last four years Naito and Ishii have had seven singles matches and the record is 4-3 in favor of Ishii. This year alone there as been two contests with Ishii winning both. Before that, in 2016, Naito beat Ishii twice, once as his lone defense of the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. In 2014 the two battled over the NEVER Openweight Championship, a battle which Ishii was victorious. Naito will be looking to get the monkey known as Ishii off his back and continue towards the Tokyo Dome. Don’t expect Ishii to pull off a third victory over Naito this year.

IWGP Heavyweight Championship Match
Kazuchika Okada (c) vs Evil

– This is an extremely important match. The last IWGP Heavyweight title match until the Tokyo Dome. Whoever wins will be in the main event of the biggest Japanese wrestling show of the year. There has only been one singles match between the two and Evil was the victor, hence why this match is happening. Okada hadn’t been pinned in over a year until Evil was able to shock the world with the absolute beat down of the New Japan ace. If Okada is able to avenge the loss he will become the longest reigning IWGP Heavyweight Champion of all time. King of Pro-Wrestling 2017 marks the two-year anniversary of Evil’s debut in the company. Already lined up for a shot at the company’s top title at one of the year’s biggest events, I think it’s safe to say that New Japan is very confident in Evil’s abilities to have a fantastic match with Okada. These two should absolutely deliver but don’t expect a title change here, the main event positioning of Evil is a great step forward in of itself.

So that’s it! This is what is on the line at the 2017 King of Pro-Wrestling. Be sure to watch LIVE on NJPW World at 1am PDT/4am EDT/9am BST October 9th. Don’t expect many title changes but if any happen it’ll be in the junior division. What should be expected is fantastic storytelling by the best pure wrestling company in the world.

Along with providing show reviews from across Japan, Robert McCauley is also an editor for FightboothPW.

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