NJPW - Power Rankings - Post Summer Struggle
All is right again in New Japan? Bullet Club loses the big ones but gains the Junior title. Suzuki Gun on the rise? What next for NJPW Block?
1. Tetsuya Naito
After an incredible fall from grace at Dominion, Tetsuya Naito remained unfazed, bided his time and took his revenge when the time came. He is now the record holder for number of IWGP Intercontinental Championship reigns and holds double gold once again.
Tetsuya Naito is now 4-1 for the year holding wins over, now, 3 former IWGP Heavyweight Champions and the modern day legend KENTA. Not a bad record at all. The test for Naito will now be to keep hold of the mot prestigious championship in pro wrestling, in his previous 2 reigns he has only defended the IWGP Championship once before losing it.
Up 1 place.
9-2 in 2020 is a very respectable record however a double championship loss after them being your first major championship wins of your career is a crushing blow for any wrestler to take. What is next for EVIL is harder to determine.
EVIL finds himself still in second place due to the lack of challengers from beneath. However his position is very tenuous. A run of form from Ibushi or Okada will see him tumble down the rankings. That's without even examining what will happen when member of his own faction return to Japan.
What happens to EVIL when Jay White and KENTA return? Jay White is not going to take his place behind EVIL but is EVIL prepared to take a place behind Jay White?
Down 1 place
3. Kazuchika Okada
Kazuchika Okada lost in his own tournament. But these are strange times in New Japan and one of the company's most legendary figures can put together a run that will propel him to the top of the card at a moment's notice.
Okada will be one of the favourite's to win the G1, having won twice in the past, he hasn't won since 2014... Arguable he's overdue for a victory in the world's highest quality wrestling event.
4. Kota Ibushi
Another loss another place gained in the rankings, how can I remain a credible judge of who holds the power in New Japan while elevating those that lose matches? Well bare with me...
We're getting into G1 season meaning those that can win the tournament will end up holding the power in New Japan. Whilst losing the IWGP Tag Championship and failing to win them back Kota Ibushi has grown in stature and taken the place of Tanahashi in their alliance.
Ibushi won the G1 last year and was in the final the previous year. Trends would suggest that therefore the next step is to win the G1 and then win a Wrestle Kingdom.
Up 1 Place
5. Minoru Suzuki
Suzuki Gun now hold the NEVER Openweight Championship and the IWGP Tag Championships. The leader and namesake of the group has jumped back into prominence in New Japan by defeating the man that is arguable one of the 2 men that have carried New Japan through the Pandemic Era.
Suzuki was not in the G1 last year for reasons that are not clear. Surely he will be in it this year and will undoubtedly be a threat. The 52 year old is not done yet.
6. Hiromu Takahashi
Hiromu Takahashi had a Double Championship match at Sengoku Lord and has now lost the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. However, Hiromu has had some year. Going into the G1 with the current global situation, there is no reason he should not be in the tournament.
2020 could still be his breakout year, proper and this weekend does not derail that.
Down 2 places
7. Shingo Takagi
An unfortunate loss of the NEVER Openweight Championship after a very disappointing performance in the New Japan Cup has really derailed Shingo's 2020. He wanted to make the Openweight Championship more prestigious and he has but he hasn't taken it much farther than those that came before.
Going into the G1, he will be motivated to make an impact, can he go all the way in the remainder of 2020? Absolutely possible.
Down 1 place
'What a year for Taichi, entered in the G1, a match with Okada, a tremendous run in the NJ Cup and now he's taken the Tag Championships from Ibushi and Tanahashi, no less.'
The above was written in the Post-Dominion Power Rankings and remains relevent with the caveat that he cemented it with his and ZSJ's Dangerous Tekkers IWGP Championship defence against Golden Ace. Taichi's position in NJPW has skyrocketed since this time last year.
KENTA is in America so it is up in the air as to when he will be able to rejoin the fray in Japan. However he has refused to allow that to stop his momentum and has taken advantage of the opportunity presented by the New Japan Cup USA, winning the whole thing.
10. Jon Moxley
The IWGP US Championship and AEW World Championship would undoubtedly be higher up this list if it were not for the current global circumstance. When he will reappear in New Japan is anybodies guess.
Down 3 places
Faction Power Rankings
1. Los Ingobernables de Japon
Tetsuya Naito's Double Championship elevates LIJ back to the lofty position they held post Wrestle Kingdom. Admittedly they are not as fortified after the loss of the NEVER Openweight, IWGP Junior Heavyweight and NEVER 3-man Championships. The IWGP Heayyweight and IWGP Intercontinental Championships are back with the faction.
Going into the G1 Naito, Takagi, SANADA and Takahashi are all relevant to the favourites conversation.
Up 1 Position.
2. Suzuki Gun
Suzuki Gun now hold the IWGP Tag Championships after defeating NKPW icons Tanahashi and Ibushi and the NEVER Openweight Championship after defeating 2019 GRAPPL Wrestler of the year runner up, Shingo Takagi.
Again going into the G1, Suzuki, ZSJ and Taichi are very well positioned to go far in the tournament.
Up 1 Position.
Kazuchika Okada remains a living legend in New Japan Pro Wrestling however he is not in the twilight of his career, he is 32 and has around a decade left in the tank. Going into the G1 he is a huge favourite alongside Ishii and Goto who are fierce competitors that must not be dismissed.
Up 1 Position.
4. NJPW Main Unit
It has STILL not been a good year for NJPW Unit. A failed IWGP Tag Championship challenge from Ibushi and Tanahashi doesn't add to their prestigue.
However, Ibushi rose in prominence during the tag titles feud and as we get closer to G1 season he is primed and ready to go one step further than he did last year. Plus, with that being said, even at this low low ebb Tanahashi can't be discounted.
Up 1 Position
5. Bullet Club
What an absolute disaster for Bullet Club. A massive victory for them from Taiji Ishimori was over shadowed by a faction shattering loss of the IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championships by EVIL. Add that to the fact the spectre of inter-faction relationship unknowns looms large over Bullet Club.
Going into the G1 their strongest member is EVIL and he exposed himself against Naito. He didn't even manage to take 25% of the offence in that match.
Down 5 positions
Power Rankings Within Factions
1. Kazuchika Okada
2. Tomohiro Ishii
3. Hirooki Goto
4. Toro Yano (up 2)
5. SHO (Down 1)
6. Yoshi-Hashi (Down 1)
7. Robbie Eagles
8. Rocky Romero
Los Ingobernables de Japon
1. Tetsuya Naito
2. Hiromu Takahashi
3. Shingo Takagi
NJPW Main Unit
1. Kota Ibushi
2. Hiroshi Tanahashi
3. Juice Robinson
4. Rysuke Taguchi
5. Master Wato
6. David Findlay
7. Satoshi Kojima
8. Hiroyoshi Tenzan
2. Jay White
4. Taiji Ishimori
5. Yujiro Takahashi
6. El Phantasmo
7. Tama Tonga
8. Tanga Loa
9. Bad Luck Fale
1. Minoru Suzuki (Up 2)
2. Taichi (Down 1)
3. Zack Sabre Junior (Down 1)
4. El Desperado
5. Yoshinobu Kanemaru