August 6th Summer Struggle Preview, NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tournament Begins
The Tournament Has Received Buzz In Japan
Earlier this month, New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) announced the onset of a NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship Tournament to crown new champions after IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Intercontinental ‘Double Champion’ Evil turned on his former Los Ingobernables de Japon (LIJ) compatriots.
Upon the announcement of the tournament, the team of Evil, NEVER Openweight Champion Shingo Takagi, and Bushi vacated the title for it to be decided during the eight-team tournament.
Today’s event from Korakuen Hall sees the tournament being during the marquee and headline matches.
The marquee match sees the Suzuki-Gun team of Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, and Douki take on Shingo Takagi, Sanada, and Bushi. After Suzuki’s defeat of generation rival Yuji Nagata on July 31st, many suggest this match will build Suzuki as being the v4 challenger during the current NEVER Openweight Championship reign of Takagi.
However, with the KOPW (seemingly King of Pro Wrestling) Title Tournament looming later this month, Suzuki could have aspirations on winning that title to match his King of Professional Wrestling moniker.
The headline match features the Bullet Club team of former NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champion Yujiro Takahashi, Jado, and Gedo against the CHAOS team of former five-time IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, former three-time IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Champion and four-time NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Champion Toru Yano, and one-half of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Sho.
On paper the CHAOS team is the overwhelming favorites, however, Yujiro has become the thorn in the side of Okada over the past month. Combined with his elevated ring performance and the cunning of Gedo and Jado, Bullet Club could sneak a victory — at the very least they will make the match difficult for CHAOS.
The fourth match sees Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kota Ibushi, and NJPW Noge Dojo Young Lion Yuya Uemura team together to face Dangerous Tekkers (Zack Sabre Jr/Taichi) and Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Tanahashi and Ibushi have shown slight friction since the beginning of August, which could come into play during the NEVER 6-Man Championship Tournament, where they team with Master Wato.
The third match features the Hontai team of former IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship team Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe/Tomoaki Honma) and Satoshi Kojima against the CHAOS team of Hirooki Goto, Tomohiro Ishii, and Yoshi-Hashi.
The second match features Hiroyoshi Tenzan and his kohai Master Wato against Ryusuke Taguchi and NJPW Noge Dojo Young Lion Yota Tsuji.
The opening match features Yuji Nagata against NJPW Los Angeles (LA Dojo) Young Lion Gabriel Kidd.