Independent Report: NJPW Invades This Weekend, Plus ROH and EVOLVE News

Ken DrabekCorrespondent IIMay 11, 2011

IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi and the rest of the NJPW roster are coming to America this weekend.
IWGP Heavyweight Champion Hiroshi Tanahashi and the rest of the NJPW roster are coming to America this weekend.

The stars of New Japan Pro Wrestling will be invading the east coast this weekend.

NJPW and Jersey All Pro Wrestling have teamed up for three huge shows. The first night of the Invasion Tour, May 13 in Rahway, NJ will feature mostly first-round tournament matches, as this weekend features a tournament to crown the first ever IWGP Intercontinental Champion.

Here is a look at the complete announced card for night one:

  • Dream Tag Team Match - Low Ki and Homicide vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger and Tiger Mask IV
  • Eight-Man Tag Team - Giant Bernard, Karl Anderson, Prince Devitt and Ryuske Taguchi vs. Davey Richards, Shinsuke Nakamura, Gedo and Jado.
  • Kenny Omega vs. Satoshi Kojima
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi and Togi Makabe vs. Charlie Haas and Rhino
  • Intercontinental Title Tournament First Round - Tetsuya Naito vs. Tama Tonga
  • Intercontinental Title Tournament First Round - MVP vs. Kazuchika Okada
  • Intercontinental Title Tournament First Round - Toru Yano vs. Dan Maff
  • Intercontinental Title Tournament First Round - Hideo Saito vs. Yujiro Takahashi

The second night of the tour, May 14 in New York City will feature the IWGP World Heavyweight and Jr. Heavyweight titles on the line, as well as second round action from the Intercontinental title tournament. Here is a run down of the announced card for night two:

  • IWGP Heavyweight Championship - Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Charlie Haas
  • International Dream Match - IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Prince Devitt vs. Low Ki
  • Intercontinental Title Tournament Semi-Finals

The Invasion Tour ends on Sunday, May 15 in Philadelphia, PA. The finals of the Intercontinental title tournament will be taking place at the famed Asylum Arena, as well as a loaded card featuring the following matches:

  • South Philly Street Fight - Togi Makabe vs. Rhino
  • JAPW Light Heavyweight Championship - Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Kenny Omega
  • Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Davey Richards
  • Low Ki and Homicide vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Prince Devitt and Ryuske Taguchi

While all of the shows look to be quite good, the finale in Philly seems like a can’t-miss event. If Tanahashi retains his title against Haas in New York, it will be Davey Richards against the IWGP Heavyweight Champion on Sunday.

The team of Devitt and Taguchi, known collectively as Apollo 55, are one of the best tag teams in the world and their match against the Strong Style Thugz of Low Ki and Homicide should be one of the best of the entire weekend.

It will truly be a historic weekend of professional wrestling, as one of the most popular promotions in the world comes to the United States for the first time ever.

EVOLVE Wrestling announced plans for their next iPPV on WWNLive.com. It is called the Style Battle and it will be taking place on Friday, May 20 in Union City, NJ.

The Style Battle will be a single elimination tournament featuring eight wrestlers who each represent a different style of wrestling. The idea is to showcase numerous types of professional wrestlers from high flyers to super heavyweights, to determine who is the very best at their particular in-ring style.

Here is the field of eight for the debut Style Battle tournament:

  • AR Fox (High flyer)
  • Austin Aries (Hybrid)
  • Bobby Fish (Puroresu Jr. Heavyweight)
  • Sami Callihan (Hard hitting)
  • Brodie Lee (Super Heavyweight)
  • Tony Nese (Standing Combat)
  • Jon Davis (Power)
  • Rich Swann (Rich Swann Style)

Swann was voted in by the fans after originally being passed over as a high flyer in favor of AR Fox. He uploaded a video on YouTube telling the EVOLVE fans that he wanted in the Style Battle and if he couldn’t represent the high flying style, he’d represent Rich Swann style.

It will certainly be an interesting night of wrestling, with many potentially intriguing matchups. EVOLVE has put together a talented mix of veterans and newcomers but only one of them will be able to say that they won the very first Style Battle.

My money is on Bobby Fish, who in many ways has been the unsung hero of EVOLVE through seven shows.

His story of fighting through adversity and coming so close to reaching victory, only to fall short in his first several matches has been one of the most interesting storylines in the promotion. Fish finally picked up his first win at EVOLVE 6 when he defeated Kyle O’Reilly.

He is returning from several months in Japan where has been competing for Pro Wrestling NOAH. If Bobby Fish wants to cement himself as a major player in EVOLVE, a victory at the Style Battle would go a long way.

Lastly, Ring of Honor is fresh off their Revolution weekend and they have wasted little time setting the stage for their huge Supercard of Honor VI show on Saturday, May 21 in Chicago Ridge, IL.

For the second consecutive year, Roderick Strong will be challenging for the ROH World Heavyweight Championship in the main event at Supercard of Honor.

Last year, he was unsuccessful against Tyler Black before ultimately going on to defeat him for that title in September at Glory by Honor IX. His reign was surprisingly cut short when Eddie Edwards defeated him for the championship in March at Manhattan Mayhem IV.

This year, Strong gets his championship rematch. With ROH World TV Champion Christopher Daniels in the mix and the emergence of Michael Elgin, the House of Truth is looking stronger than ever before. Will Strong be able to bring even more prominence to the HoT by regaining his title?

Edwards has gained immeasurable confidence since becoming the ROH World Heavyweight Champion, but the belt has also driven a wedge directly into his friendship with Davey Richards. Can Edwards put those distractions aside in Chicago Ridge and defeat a hungry and determined former champion?

Speaking of Richards, he faces a stiff test of his own at Supercard of Honor VI.

The reigning ROH World Tag Team Champions, Shelton Benjamin and Charlie Haas, will be seeing their first singles action in an ROH ring on May 21.

Haas will go one-on-one with Richards in what will likely be an exciting showcase of wrestling ability. Richards is the top contender in ROH and one of the most intense wrestlers in the world today.

On the other hand, Haas has been on fire since joining the ROH roster and has become an accomplished singles wrestler on the independent scene over the past year.

Meanwhile, Shelton Benjamin has to face perhaps the most powerful man in ROH, one half of the Kings of Wrestling, Claudio Castagnoli.

The Kings rivalry with Haas and Benjamin has given us some of the best tag team matches of the past year in pro wrestling. Last month at the Honor Takes Center Stage weekend, Haas and Benjamin finally ended the Kings nearly year-long run as tag team champions in ROH.

Castagnoli will surely have revenge on his mind when he steps into the ring to face Benjamin at Supercard of Honor VI.

That wraps up this edition of news and notes from the independent scene. Check out the web sites of each promotion for more news and information and keep an eye out for future updates on the latest happenings from world of independent wrestling.


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