NJPW Summer Struggle now has stakes!
With the huge announcement by Kazuchika Okada, Summer Struggle now has something on the line! Who will prove themselves worthy of KOPW 2020?
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Bullet Club; Bullet Club wins.
- Minoru Suzuki VS Yuji Nagata; Suzuki wins.
PLAY BY PLAY
Los Ingobernables de Japon VS Bullet Club!
Bushi is back but Hiromu Takahashi is out to rest that banged up shoulder before taking on Bone Soldier Reborn. As for Tetsuya Naito, he and EVIL still have time before their Double Champion rematch in Jingu! Will Naito avenge the Timebomb tonight?
The teams sort out, and after a Low Sweet and LIJ fist bump, it’s Evil and Naito! Again we revisit Dominion and the fans rally up. Evil and Naito stare down, circle, but Taiji gets a cheap shot in! Taiji then goes after Bushi while Evil stomps Naito down. Evil throws Naito out while Taiji sends Bushi into railing. Evil kicks Naito and CHOPS him against railing! Evil whips Naito but Naito reverses to send Evil into barriers! Naito whips and sends Evil into more railing! And more railing! Fans cheer as Naito chases Dick Togo off. Naito goes back to Evil, drags him up and RAMS him into railing! Naito kicks Evil around, puts him in the ring, then follows. Naito elbows Evil over and over, then cravats Evil into buckles.
Naito grinds Evil’s head in, Red Shoes counts, Naito stops at 3, but throws in more elbows! Bushi tags in and tells Taiji to back off. Bushi gives Evil a neckbreaker, covers, TWO! Bushi keeps on Evil, whips him but Evil reverses and Taiji gets a cheap shot in. Bushi swings on Taiji, kicks Evil, but Evil kicks back. Bushi kicks and runs but Dick trips him up! Evil hits Naito, throws Bushi out, and distracts Red Shoes so Dick can go after Bushi! Dick stomps away and Taiji goes after Naito while Red Shoes argues with Evil. Dick chokes Bushi, puts him back in for Evil, and Evil covers. Red Shoes knows better and that angers Evil. Evil stomps Bushi, tags in Taiji, and Taiji stomps Bushi more. Taiji cravats and snapmares to then go after Bushi’s mask! Red Shoes counts, Taiji stops, but then chokes Bushi!
Taiji stops at Red Shoes’ count, and fans rally up. Taiji brings Bushi up but Bushi CHOPS! Taiji knees back, snapmares and neck CRANKS! Tag to Evil and he toys with Bushi. Evil kicks Bushi to ropes, Bushi CHOPS back! Evil rakes Bushi’s eyes! Red Shoes reprimands but the damage is done. Evil drags Bushi up for a neckbreaker, but Bushi fights out! Bushi spins Evil for a DDT! Both men are down and the fans fire up! Bushi and Evil crawl, hot tag to Naito! Naito rallies, hitting Taiji for good measure. Naito boots and huricanranas Evil! And he baseball slides Taiji, too! Naito catches Evil into the backbreaker, then runs to basement dropkick! Cover, TWO! Naito keeps his eyes on Dick and Taiji before he stomps Evil down.
Naito stomps Evil to ropes, brings him up and throws back elbows over and over. Evil drops and Naito kicks at him. Naito drags Evil back up, throws more elbows, but Evil dodges one to pull Naito’s hair. Naito breaks free, but Evil blocks the kick and passes it to Red Shoes to mule kick Naito down! The fans rally as Naito goes to a corner. Evil runs in and corner clotheslines! Evil brings Naito out, fisherman but no buster as Naito slips out, atomic drop and enziguris! Naito scoops and POWERSLAMS, to KOJI KLUTCH! Evil endures and Taiji stomps away until Naito lets go! Taiji rains down rights but Red Shoes counts. Taiji lets off at 4 and goes back to his corner. Naito crawls and tags in Bushi! Bushi goes up top, leaps, missile dropkick! Evil goes rolling but Taiji attacks!
Taiji runs but is sent out by Bushi! Bushi whips Evil, Evil reverses but Bushi dodges and DIVES! DOwn goes Taiji! Naito whips Evil, kicks, Bushi sunset flips but Dick trips Naito! Evil goes after Bushi’s eyes as Dick drags Naito out and throws him into the post! Dick chokes Naito, Evil fireman’s carries Bushi. Bushi fights out to enziguri! Bushi reels Evil in, but no swinging neckbreaker! Taiji springboard seated sentons! Dick keeps choking Naito as Evil LARIATS Bushi! Cover, TWO!! Bushi survives and the fans cheer! Evil has the legs, steps in, SHARPSHOOTER! Bushi taps, Bullet Club wins!
Winner: Bullet Club, by submission
The Darkness Scorpion strikes and takes down Bushi! LIJ just can’t find a way to defeat Evil and Bullet Club! Evil stands on Bushi while staring Naito down. Naito gets on the apron and Evil eggs him on. Naito grabs Evil by the hair but Dick trips Naito again! Dick whips Naito into the railing! Evil and Taiji applaud, and Bullet Club Low Sweets in victory. Will this streak continue all the way to Jingu? Can Naito make a comeback and take back both belts?
Minoru Suzuki VS Yuji Nagata!
If the Man with the Worst Personality is to be believed, this will be Blue Justice’s “public execution!” Will Nagata defy the King of Pancrase and triumph again?
The bell rings and the two step face to face. The fans rally up as they stare down. Suzuki grins as he and Nagata slowly fire up. Suzuki boots, Nagata boots! Suzuki rebounds off ropes to boot, but Nagata also rebounds and boots! Now they throw forearms over and over! Neither man backs down as they just throw forearm after forearm after forearm, but they do slow down a bit. Only to pick up speed again! Suzuki wobbles, boots, but Nagata boots back. Suzuki rebounds and boots, Nagata rebounds and boots! Suzuki staggers and Nagata eggs him on as the fans cheer. Suzuki grins as he and Nagata circle. Suzuki kicks low, gets the arm, but Nagata fights it off to go after Suzuki’s arm! Nagata pulls on the wrist, elbows the shoulder, then grinds the bicep with his forearm.
Suzuki resists the wrenching, rolls and gets a leg. Suzuki drags Nagata to the apron for a HANGING HEEL HOOK! Red Shoes counts, Suzuki stops at 4, then brings Nagata up to whip. Nagata reverses, sends Suzuki into railing and boots! But Suzuki grabs the boot! Suzuki puts the leg through railing, then fetches a chair! Red Shoes stops Suzuki form using the chair so Suzuki shoves him down. Suzuki BOOTS Nagata’s leg! Suzuki looms over Nagata, drags him around, and puts the leg through railing again. Suzuki pulls on the ankle and foot at all kinds of angles! Nagata endures but Suzuki kicks the railing again! Red Shoes reprimands as Suzuki drags Nagata up. Suzuki throws body shots and knees but Nagata forearms in return. Suzuki kicks the bad leg out!
Suzuki puts the leg back through railing to grind his boot in! Red Shoes reprimands but starts the ring count. That gets Suzuki to let up. Suzuki walks away and Nagata sits up at 10 of 20. Suzuki is in at 12, Nagata stands at 15, then gets in at 17! Suzuki gives toying kicks and slaps then he knees Nagata into the corner. Suzuki throws forearms then puts the bad leg around the ropes. Red Shoes reprimands, Suzuki grins but Nagata grabs him around the head. Suzuki goes after the leg again, Red Shoes keeps telling him to stop, and counts. Suzuki stops at 3 and walks to the other corner. Suzuki runs back in to BOOT Nagata! Suzuki snapmares, runs and Penalty Kicks, but Nagata blocks! Nagata elbows Suzuki’s knee, then does it again.
Nagata glares at Suzuki as he elbows the knee a third time! Fans cheer as Suzuki staggers back. Nagata kicks away on Suzuki in the corner, then runs in to boot back! Nagata brings Suzuki up but Suzuki fights off the Exploder. Suzuki runs into the BOOT! Cover, ONE! Nagata keeps his cool while the fans rally up. Nagata kicks but Suzuki blocks! Suzuki elbows the leg in return and throws more forearms. Nagata throws forearms back, and Suzuki nods. Suzuki forearms and Nagata wobbles, but Nagata hits back. Suzuki laughs as he forearms again! Suzuki eggs Nagata on, Nagata forearms back. They pick up speed again and the fans rally behind them.
The old warriors keep throwing heavy shots, Nagata wobbles but swings again! Suzuki dodges, sleeper holds, but Nagata backs him into buckles. Nagata is free and just ROCKS Suzuki with forearm after forearm! Nagata dares Suzuki to get up and the fans rally again. Suzuki stands, steps to Nagata, and they talk trash while throwing more forearms. Nagata hits, Suzuki hits, and both old warriors seem to be enjoying themselves. Suzuki staggers a moment but comes back with a HARD forearm! Nagata stays up, the fans cheer and Nagata ROCKS Suzuki back! Suzuki shakes it off and grins as the fans rally harder. Suzuki throws a stiff shot! Nagata fires up and gives it back! Suzuki laughs even more as he throws another!
Nagata forearms again and Suzuki has to steady himself. Suzuki throws another hard shot, Nagata grits his teeth but comes back to hit Suzuki again. Nagata asks Suzuki, “Do shita?! (What’s the matter?!)” Suzuki fires up and ROCKS Nagata back! Nagata shakes it off, and throws another huge shot. Suzuki hits again, Nagata again, and they pick up speed! There’s still a lot in these old warriors! But then Nagata drops to a knee! Suzuki also wobbles and has to sit. But even so, they both egg the other on from the mat! Fans rally up as both men give short headbutts from the mat. Suzuki stands up to headbutt, but Nagata headbutts back! Suzuki just laughs and headbutts again! But Nagata headbutts back! Both men sit down and the fans fire up again!
Fans rally as Suzuki and Nagata just keep talking trash to each other. Nagata wobbles but he stands up. The forearm shots keep coming, both men fire up, and Suzuki ROCKS Nagata! Nagata comes back to ROCK Suzuki! Suzuki comes back to ROCK Nagata! Fans cheer as Nagata ROCKS Suzuki again. Suzuki hits, Nagata hits, Suzuki hits, Nagata HITS! Suzuki staggers but comes back for more and then Nagata runs! Suzuki follows, gets around, sleeper but Nagata suplexes! Suzuki slips off, sleepers again, but Nagata gets around to EXPLODER! Suzuki is furious but both he and Nagata are down on the mat. Fans rally up, Nagata sits up first but struggles to stand. Suzuki follows, Nagata KICKS him down! Suzuki coughs and sputters, did Nagata get him in a bad spot that time?
Nagata drags Suzuki around, not letting Suzuki quit on him. Nagata forces Suzuki up, but Suzuki blocks the suplex! Nagata KNEES hard and Suzuki drops again! Suzuki continues to clutch that spot but Nagata makes him stand again. Nagata wants the suplex again but Suzuki still blocks. Fans rally as the two struggle for control. Suzuki grinds on a headlock, but Nagata powers out the back to knee hard again! Suzuki blocks the suplex with a headlock again, so Nagata bearhugs. Suzuki headbutts over and over, and that last one was heavy! Both men are down but the fans fire up again. Suzuki staggers along ropes while Nagata slowly rises. The two head for each other again, and we’re back to throwing forearms! Nagata, then Suzuki. Suzuki eggs Nagata on, Nagata hits back!
Nagata eggs Suzuki on so Suzuki HITS him! Nagata takes a moment to steady himself. Suzuki dares Nagata to come back and even puts his arms back to give Nagata a shot. Nagata hits Suzuki but Suzuki comes back. They both egg each other on, Suzuki hits but Nagata shakes his head. Nagata hits Suzuki, Suzuki hits Nagata, and repeat! Suzuki takes a moment, but then it’s fast and furious all over again! Suzuki ROCKS Nagata, Nagata ROCKS Suzuki! Yet neither wants to stop! Fans cheer as things change to SLAPPING palm strikes! The sweat flies as hands make contact! It’s SLAP after SLAP but just as furious as the forearms! Suzuki grins again and fans cheer.
Nagata waits for Suzuki to return, and the slapping continues! As soon as one hits, the other comes back! They start hitting at the same time! Suzuki gets the edge, fires from all sides, a good 10 shots! Then another FOREARM! Nagata falls!! Suzuki drags Nagata up and into position, fans rally up as he goes for the Gotch lift! Suzuki lifts Nagata up, for the PILEDRIVER!! Cover, Suzuki wins!!
Winner: Minoru Suzuki, by pinfall
Blue Justice has been defeated! The Man with the Worst Personality grabs the mic to tell Korakuen Hall that their “incessant clapping is a pain in the ass. Just shut up and watch, idiots!” He shouts at Nagata and asks, “How long have we been doing this?” They’ve been tied together for 35 YEARS. And how many times have they done this? Suzuki will say this about Nagata, “Today, those strikes you unleashed on me…” Suzuki laughs as he says, “They didn’t hurt a bit! BAKA! (IDIOT!)” Suzuki tells the “piece of trash” to just leave already! And you fans need to stop with your damn clapping! But now that Suzuki has dealt with Nagata, he’s got something he has to take care of. “It’s a secret.” What is next for the King of Pancrase after conquering such an incredible opponent as Blue Justice?
A pretty great part of Summer Struggle for NJPW oddly skipping Wednesday’s event, as far as uploading it to NJPW World. For full event results for today, as well as star ratings, check out Andrew Balaz’s article.
LIJ VS Bullet Club going down from Six Man to a 2v2 was a good move in story. Hiromu’s arm is just a liability at this point, and he has to make it to his IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship defense against Taiji Ishimori. Bullet Club gets another big win for an incredible streak against LIJ, but that has to mean LIJ wins in the end, right? The math would normally dictate that, and it just seems to make sense. It’d be a bummer if LIJ lost so much and Bullet Club just kept dominating. It’s much more likely things break even, and I feel like Hiromu loses so that Naito can win.
Suzuki and Nagata had an amazing match, and it always surprises me how much fight they can both give and take. Nagata got the win in the New Japan Cup, so it just seemed fitting that Suzuki won here. And NJPW made sure these two were tied up in those huge 8 Man Tag matches so that nothing could really be settled until now. I feel like Suzuki’s next move is to be one of the eight men in the KOPW 2020 series. I feel like Suzuki could even move on to that Fatal 4 Way to crown the “provisional” Mr. KOPW 2020, and Suzuki could even take it to the end and get that trophy. At the very least, I could see Suzuki chasing the provisional champion and making it very hard for him to survive 2020.
My Score: 8.9/10