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New Japan Ranbo returns as full card is announced for Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome

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Plus full cards for the major shows of the Summer Struggle tour leading right up to Wrestle Grand Slam’s doorstep!

With this weekend’s Summer Struggle in Sapporo cards in the tank, New Japan has gone ahead and announced the next wave of major shows, up to and including the full card for Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome! So let’s list ‘em out and break ‘em down, shall we?

Summer Struggle at Korakuen Hall (July 17, 5:30 am ET / 2:30 am PT)

  1. Bullet Club (Dick Togo, EVIL, KENTA, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomohiro Ishii, Yota Tsuji, & Yuya Uemura
  2. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, & Zack Sabre, Jr.)
  3. Chaos (Robbie Eagles, SHO, & YOH) vs. Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, El Desperado, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
  4. Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Taiji Ishimori
  5. El Phantasmo vs. Rocky Romero

Summer Struggle in Osaka (July 22, 4 am ET / 1 am PT)

  1. Chaos (Robbie Eagles, SHO, & YOH) vs. Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, El Desperado, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
  2. Bullet Club (EVIL, KENTA, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI) & Hiroshi Tanahashi
  3. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & Hirooki Goto) vs. UNITED EMPIRE (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
  4. Kota Ibushi & Master Wato vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Shingo Takagi)
  5. SANADA vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.
  6. Taichi vs. Tetsuya Naito

Summer Struggle in Osaka (July 23, 1 am ET / 10 pm PT)

  1. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo, Jado, & Taiji Ishimori) vs. Chaos (Hirooki Goto & Rocky Romero) & Ryusuke Taguchi
  2. Bullet Club (EVIL, KENTA, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) & Hiroshi Tanahashi
  3. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. UNITED EMPIRE (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
  4. Kota Ibushi & Master Wato vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Shingo Takagi)
  5. SANADA vs. Taichi
  6. Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre, Jr.

Summer Struggle in Nagoya (July 24, 4 am ET / 1 am PT)

  1. Chaos (Robbie Eagles, SHO, & YOH) vs. Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, El Desperado, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
  2. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo, Jado, Taiji Ishimori, & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Hirooki Goto, Rocky Romero, & YOSHI-HASHI) & Ryusuke Taguchi
  3. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano) vs. UNITED EMPIRE (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
  4. Kota Ibushi & Master Wato vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Shingo Takagi)
  5. EVIL vs. Tomohiro Ishii
  6. Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. KENTA

Wrestle Grand Slam in Tokyo Dome (July 25, 3 am ET / 12 am PT)

  1. Toru Yano (c) vs. ??? (KOPW 2021 Provisional Championship New Japan Ranbo)
  2. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori) (c) vs. Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship)
  3. El Desperado (c) vs. Robbie Eagles (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship)
  4. Jeff Cobb vs. Kazuchika Okada
  5. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & Tetsuya Naito) (c) vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi & Zack Sabre, Jr.) (IWGP Tag Team Championship)
  6. Kota Ibushi vs. Shingo Takagi (c) (IWGP World Heavyweight Championship)

Okay wooo, that was a lot of typing! So, what’s interesting?

Let’s start at the top, shall we... THE RANBO IS BACK! Yes indeed, Toru Yano’s devious mind has adapted the KOPW title’s penchant for stipulations to that most exciting of New Japan’s opening matches, and he’s mooted two options for us, the fans, to vote on.

Both stipulations involve items being placed around the ring and use of those items to eliminate entrants from the match— but will it be handcuffs or blindfolds? Both options are tantalizing, but dear readers, I can’t help but think that handcuffs are much more in keeping with the Sublime Master Thief’s ways, and I mean, it’s hilarious to imagine a bunch of dudes laying around handcuffed while everybody else tries to wrestle around them.

Besides that glorious majesty, we’ve got a nice little series of matches in the wake of SANADA and Naito winning the IWGP Tag Team Championship from Taichi and Sabre, with the two teams meeting in every singles combination at Summer Struggle in Osaka before the title rematch at Wrestle Grand Slam.

The junior tags also get some preview singles that should be a lot of fun, vets and mainstays Romero and Taguchi teaming up to try and put these Bullet Club kids’ noses in the dirt. Plus some special singles matches pitting Tanahashi and Ishii against KENTA and EVIL, Despy defending the junior belt against Eagles, and the previously announced main event, and the standout matches from this set of cards, well... stand out.

It’s not all awesome, of course, there’s the usual New Japan treading water undercard tags filling time— do we really need three of the same Ibushi/Wato vs. LIJ tag, three days in a row? At least Okada gets to swap partners in against what’s left of UNITED EMPIRE for a little variety.

But such is the way of New Japan and it’s hard to be salty when the Ranbo is back.

There you have it, folks

Excited for these cards, Cagesiders?