NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling is almost upon us. The show will be airing live on NJPW World early Monday morning, hailing from Ryōgoku Kokugikan (Sumo Hall) in Tokyo. The show will kick off at 4:00 am EDT, and it will feature all of the major fallout from this year’s G1 Climax tournament.
We will be getting four championship matches, and two tag matches that will set up future championship bouts. Togi Makabe and Hiroshi Tanahashi will team up to face Juice Robinson and Kota Ibushi; this match will be all about Tana wanting to defend his IWGP Intercontinental Championship against Ibushi (a match we will probably see at next month’s Power Struggle). The CHOAS team of Jado, Beretta, and YOSHI-HASHI will vace off with the Bullet Club team of Marty Scurll, Cody, and Kenny Omega, and this one is setting up the IWGP US Championship bout between Tacos and Omega during next week’s ROH Global Wars tour.
Will Ospreay will take on KUSHIDA for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. These two have met several times before, and each time, Will has come up just shy of defeating KUSHIDA. KOPW might tell a different tale. It looks like NJPW is planning on a program between Hiromu Takahashi and Ospreay, and that only makes sense if Will has the title. I have a feeling that Ospreay will overcome KUSHIDA this time around.
The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Titles will be on the line at KOPW, as well. Champions Ricochet and Ryusuke Taguchi will take on the team of Roppongi 3K. Rocky Romero has decided he’s a coach now, and he’s bringing in a new version of Roppongi.
— Rocky Romero (@azucarRoc) October 7, 2017
I have no clue who this will be unless Sho Tanaka and Yohei Komatsu (The Tempura Boyz) are done with their excursion and returning to NJPW. That, to me, makes the most sense, but at this point, it’s anyone’s guess as to who the challengers will be.
The IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship will be on the line in a Triple Threat Elimination match. Killer Elite Squad won the titles from War Machine during the Destruction tour, and these three teams fought it out for the titles on all three big Destruction shows. We are getting the match one more time, this time with the elimination stipulation attached to it. While I’d prefer War Machine to regain the titles (because they are just great in NJPW), I am fine with KES retaining, too. GoD has has their turns, and they haven’t gone over too well. Let Tama venture into a meaningful singles run and maybe retire GoD for the time being.
The G1 Climax winner’s IWGP Heavyweight Title shot and Tokyo Dome main event will be on the line when Tomohiro Ishii and Tetsuya Naito square off. While I don’t expect Ishii to win, he could. He could slide right into that main event at the Tokyo Dome and be just fine (I mean, he still hasn’t gotten his title shot after beating Okada in LAST YEAR’S G1 tournament). He would work great with either Okada or EVIL. But, Naito won the G1 back in 2013, and he later lost his main event slot due to a fan vote. I don’t think that NJPW will take that main event from him two times. Naito is easily the most popular star in NJPW, and he can easily sell the tickets for WrestleKingdom that others may not be able to on their own. Ishii and Naito will put on a helluva match, though, and it will be great.
And, there’s the main event. EVIL defeated Okada during the G1 Climax tournament and had his number during every match they had during the Destruction tour. Do I think EVIL will beat Okada and win the IWGP Heavyweight Championship at KOPW? No. But, he’s shown that he has everything it takes to destroy Okada. This will be an incredible match, and I have a feeling that EVIL will dominate most of it. We’ve been witnessing the slow, steady downfall of Okada over the past two years; it’s been a subtle story, but we’ve seen his armor consistently chipped away during each title defense. He gets closer and closer to losing the championship each time. So, while I see him retaining at KOPW, this defense may just be his final successful one.
NJPW King Of Pro Wrestling Match Card
Leo Tonga, Yujiro Takahashi, & Bad Luck Fale vs Hiromu Takahashi, BUSHI, & SANADA.
Toru Yano & Hirooki Goto vs Zack Sabre Jr. & Minoru Suzuki.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title
Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi vs Roppongi 3K.
IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Title Elimination Match
Killer Elite Squad vs Guerrillas Of Destiny vs War Machine.
Jado, Beretta, & YOSHI-HASHI vs Marty Scurll, Cody, & Kenny Omega.
Togi Makabe & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs Juice Robinson & Kota Ibushi.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
KUSHIDA vs Will Ospreay.
G1 Tokyo Dome Main Event Match
Tetsuya Naito vs Tomohiro Ishii.
IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada vs EVIL.
You all can join me on Twitter (@AbbeyA) as I cover the show live beginning at 4:00 am EDT Monday morning.