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NJPW Declaration of Power Review – 10.10.22

2 years ago

NJPW Declaration of Power Review – 10.10.22

By: Sonal Lad

When it comes to October in New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), it usually starts the road to Wrestle Kingdom. This year’s NJPW Declaration of Power show was that vital point that set a precedent ahead of the biggest show of the year. With title matches, special singles matches, and big surprises, it was truly the perfect way to get crowds ready for Wrestle Kingdom next year.

(1) The show started with the usual multi-man tag matches NJPW is known for. The members of Suzuki Gun (El Desperado, DOUKI, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) faced the members of CHAOS and Hontai. It was more significant as Robbie Eagles, and David Finlay teamed with Ren Narita, who made his comeback to New Japan after his excursion.

From the high flying of DOUKI and Robbie Eagles, the strength of El Desperado, and the submission skills of Kanemaru and Narita. On balance, Finlay was the strength and showed his determination despite being in the opening match. As expected, Narita showed his growth by beating DOUKI with his “Narita Special #4” move.

It has cemented the future of NJPW while emphasizing the strength of the junior division.

(2) The second match was Suzuki Gun’s TAICHI, and Zack Sabre Jr versus The Mighty Don’t Kneel’s Bad Dyde Tito and Shane Haste. Although there were no real implications, it might have given an insight into the future of the tag division. It was a match full of diversity and showcased how varied the roster is.

While the powerhouses of TAICHI and Bad Dude Tito faced off, Submission Specialist ZSJ met his opposite with the energetic Shane Haste. The Australian surprised fans with his diverse style combining speed, agility, and power.

It was a fun tag match that ended in under 10 minutes, with Zack winning with his patented European Clutch.

(3) After Hiku Leo turned on Bullet Club, it was his first time teaming with Tanahashi and Taguchi against his former faction mates. While a failed attempt to bring him back, Hiku Leo showcased his power and size advantage. With Dick Togo on the side, EVIL, SHO and Yujiro tried everything to get the win as quickly as possible.

Tanahashi and Taguchi countered this with pure heart and some hip attacks. As expected, the match was full of House of Torture shenanigans. Yet, with some help from former Bullet Club member Hiku Leo, Taguchi got the win on SHO.

Could the new and fresh Hontai team be the future of NEVER after earning a shot at the NEVER 6-Man Championships.

(4) World Tag League is the next big tournament and the final stop before Wrestle Kingdom.

The fourth match saw YOSHI HASHI and Hirooki Goto facing The Empire’s Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan. Before the match even started, fans saw YOSHI HASHI and his bo staff going against Great-O-Khan and his flag. It was a face-off between two strong teams.

The match had everything from speed, strength, and agility among the four diverse wrestlers. It seemed as if The Empire sought to isolate YOSHI HASHI from Goto. After a hard battle, Cobb eventually hit the Tour of the Islands on YOSHI HASHI. It will be interesting to see the two teams face off the rest of the year and whether either will make it to Wrestle Kingdom.

With World Tag League around the corner, these two teams are front runners when it comes to the tournament.

(5) The final tag match of the night came with the members of Los Ingobernables de Japon facing The Empire. The main focus of the match was the upcoming IWGP US title match in November between Will Ospreay and Tetsuya Naito.

The two played mind games from the very beginning. On the other side, Hiromu and BUSHI targeted IWGP tag champions TJP and Francesco Akira. With the extra strength and agility of Aaron Henare and SANADA, every form of wrestling was represented in the match.

Aside from Naito and Ospreay, the main focus of the match came at the end. With the referee down, a masked man came to the ring to help BUSHI get the win over IWGP Jr Tag champion Akira. After an awkward introduction, CMLL’s Titan became the newest member of LIJ.

Ryogoku has always been important for LIJ, and, aside from Naito facing Ospreay, the addition of Titan showcases that the faction’s future is bright. Yet, the whole reveal seemed unplanned and messy, worlds away from the previous pareja reveals.

(6) After KUSHIDA was forced out of his singles match against IWGP Jr Heavyweight champion Taiji Ishimori, Master Wato stepped up to an exceptional singles match. Although Ishimori had nothing to lose from this match, Wato had everything to gain with a possible title match at stake.

Yet, after a flurry of offense, a barrier hit to Wato seemingly weakened the young wrestler. From here, Ishimori had the firm advantage, and it almost seemed laughter worthy that the champion was facing Wato on such a huge show. Ishimori showcased his dominance and years of experience, varying his offense and dominating the less experienced Wato.

In the end, Wato’s lack of experience worked to his advantage. As expected, Ishimori seemed to underestimate the battered Wato, which allowed him to shock crowds by beating the champion with Receientemente II.

Although Wato isn’t probably ready for a Jr title reign, he held his own against Ishimori and proved he isn’t someone to be overlooked.

(7) Although people have had mixed views on the King of Pro Wrestling trophy, it has created some iconic feuds. Shingo Takagi and El Phantasmo’s “Who’s Your Daddy” match has to be one of the funniest. After ELP ripped off Shingo’s gimmick and merch, it continued an iconic feud that started after the Bullet Club member beat The Dragon in the G1.

Despite the gimmick title, the match was nothing short of a wrestling masterpiece. ELP and Shingo are more similar than expected, slowly transitioning to the heavyweight division and combining strength with agility. The start was all ELP, with Shingo struggling to get any offense for most of the match. Yet, Shingo quickly used his size advantage to get back into the match.

In the end, Shingo got the win, and after admitting that “Shingo was the daddy,” ELP seemingly drew a truce. That was until he hit Shingo with a low blow and broke the KOPW trophy.

The concept of the match might have been absurd, but the wrestling wasn’t. With ELP disrespecting Shingo and the KOPW title, this feud is far from over, and could see Wrestle Kingdom implications.

(8) Kazuchika Okada v Jonah

Kazuchika Okada had one of the strongest G1 tournaments this year. Yet, his only loss and blemish came from Jonah, who made a huge mark in his debut tournament with only two losses via countout. Although Okada won the G1, it was useless unless he could beat Jonah to cement his place in the Wrestle Kingdom main event.

Knowing he didn’t have the size advantage, Okada used his speed and agility to try and beat the much larger Jonah. From flying out of the ring and moving across the ring with effortless speed, two of the strongest NJPW wrestlers truly made the crowd gasp with their actions.

What truly stood out was the diversity seen from Okada and Jonah’s offense. With their size and stature, many would expect a certain style. Yet, Okada was utilizing his speed, strength, and submission skills. Similarly, for someone so big, Jonah was extremely light on his feet, hitting moonsaults along with blistering lariats.

The final few minutes were full of action and attempts at finishers from both men. After Okada managed to avoid Jonah’s finisher, The Rainmaker hit a beautiful Dropkick before a Landslide set up for the Rainmaker. Not only did it give Okada the win, but Jonah had his first loss via pinfall. A handshake at the end of the match showed mutual respect after a war between two phenomenal athletes.

Kazuchika Okada has cemented his position in the main event of Wrestle Kingdom. Yet, Jonah has captured the hearts of New Japan fans and is a firm favorite.

(9) IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Jay White (c) v Tama Tonga

The final match was worth the wait and was between Tama Tonga and IWGP World Heavyweight Champion Jay White. After Jay kicked Tama out of the Bullet Club, the two have had a rivalry that is the deepest of any in New Japan.

Going into the match, Jay had a sense of cockiness about him. As one of the best wrestlers in the world, Tama Tonga seemed to be an easy opponent. His former faction member proved it was not the case. After Jay eventually got into the ring, Tama showcased his speed and determination, using his speed and agility. With Jay and Tama being true defensive wrestlers, the bout was full of reversals from two men who know each other so well.

At one point, Tama’s new “good guy” persona was tested. After returning Jay’s low blow, a chair went into the ring, and it seemed like Tama would revert back to his old Bullet Club ways. Tama threw it away and the action started again.

As the match came to an end, Jay almost lost his title after his cockiness proved too much. With Tama down, Jay wanted to end it with Tama’s Gun Stun move, which was countered at the last minute. After a flurry of offense, Jay finally hit a Blade Runner for the win in another surprisingly clean match.

Although Tama might not have beaten Jay, the G.O.D member is truly worthy of main eventing a huge New Japan show. In a year, Tama will definitely be ready for IWGP gold, but this time, Jay White was just too good.

The Road to Wrestle Kingdom has begun.

After the main event, Kazuchika Okada came down and cemented his match with Jay White as the main event of Wrestle Kingdom next year. With World Tag League, Super Junior Tag League and the US title match set for the upcoming months, it is a vital time for the wrestlers. Their performance could determine their position on the Wrestle Kingdom card on January 4 2023.

Match Recommendations:

El Desperado, DOUKI & Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs Robbie Eagles, David Finlay & Ren Narita.

Master Wato vs Taiji Ishimori

Kazuchika Okada vs JONAH

Main Event: IWGP World Heavyweight Championship: Jay White (c) v Tama Tonga