With all three big Destruction shows in their rear view, New Japan Pro Wrestling have a quick jaunt to America in mind for next Sunday (Sept. 30) before returning to Japan for the last of their “big four” for the year, King of Pro-Wrestling (Oct. 8), and as a result have announced the full card for Fighting Spirit Unleashed. (A show that, as a reminder, will only air live on NJPW World regardless of where you are, with AXS’ first run on cable coming the Friday after) So without further ado, let’s list ‘em out and break ‘em down!
Fighting Spirit Unleashed (Sept. 30, 8PM Eastern / 5PM Pacific)
- ACH, Jushin Liger, & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Roppongi 3K (Rocky Romero, SHO, & YOH)
- Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Hangman Page) vs. SoCal Uncensored (Christopher Daniels & Frankie Kazarian)
- Chaos (Beretta, Chuckie T, & Hirooki Goto) vs. Chris Sabin, Flip Gordon, & Jeff Cobb
- Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Suzuki-gun (Davey Boy Smith, Jr., Lance Archer, & Zack Sabre, Jr.)
- Chaos (Gedo & “Switchblade” Jay White) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & KUSHIDA
- Marty Scurll vs. Will Ospreay (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semifinal Match)
- Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Young Bucks (Matt & Nick Jackson) (c) (IWGP Tag Team Championship)
- Cody Rhodes vs. Juice Robinson (c) (IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship)
- Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii) vs. Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi)
And so, joining our two previously announced title matches and one previously announced championship tournament match, we’ve got... a bunch of tags.
Not the most exciting thing on the surface of it, but let’s unwrap what we’ve got and look a little closer. The main event should be absolutely fantastic, pitting Okada and Ishii against the Golden Lovers in first time ever dream tag team match action. It’s a bit of a lame duck storyline-wise, since Kenny Omega’s issues with both men seem dead and buried right now, but as a match goes, it should be excellent and I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Our first look at Gedo’s new partnership with Jay White is a bit less pyrotechnically exciting, but Tanahashi and KUSHIDA are great and even if it ends up being just another undercard tag match in the execution, it’ll be interesting to see how this splinter of Chaos works in action.
The three opening matches are all very standard NJ fare but buoyed by the presence of a lot of American talent that don’t get that much exposure through New Japan— not terribly exciting, but I’m glad to see ACH, Daniels, Kazarian, Sabin, Gordon, and Cobb show up here and the results should be fun even if they’re not exactly screaming out “make time to watch me!”
No, it’s the LIJ/SZKG match that’s really got me put out. I’ve been enjoying EVIL and Zack Sabre, Jr.’s nascent feud in the tags over the course of the Destruction tour, but really, New Japan, you’re gonna pull ZSJ from Progress Chapter 76: Hello Wembley, where he was set to have a clash of the titans Progress World Championship match against WALTER for a standard undercard tag team match? And one that won’t even have any of the wild intense brawling between Naito and Minoru Suzuki that was the highlight of the Destruction versions of these matches?
I understand wanting to save a singles match between EVIL and ZSJ for King of Pro-Wrestling or even Power Struggle in November, but it’s a bummer to pull him from what woud have been an excellent singles match that would have played to all his strengths for another six-man tag team match that could be found on any Road to... show you might run. Although, on the bright side, I really enjoy whenever Zack teams with Davey Boy, Jr.— he brings out the grappler in DBS and they make a really fun unit, so I guess it’s not all bad.
There you have it, folks
Not the most exciting way to round out a card, but it should be a good one on the back of the top four matches in any case. Excited to check this one out, Cagesiders?