NJPW Power Struggle 2018





NJPW Power Struggle 2018

By GARZA
From November 03, 2018

NJPW Power Struggle 2018

ACH, Ryusuke Taguchi, Toa Henare, & Chris Sabin vs Jyushin 'Thunder' Liger, Tiger Mask, Volador Jr. & Soberano Jr - 4.5/10


I don't know why, but seeing them come out pretending to be rugby players was really fun, maybe it's the combo with Taguchi's song. Match was the fun sportsmanship opener with all guys pairing up and showing and doing their spot. They did a cool alternate version of Taguchi controlling the action lariats, but then the match ended with one more move. I could have taken 5 more minutes of this, at least so they can get into second gear.

KUSHIDA & Great Bash Heel vs Bullet Club (Guerrillas of Destiny & Robbie Eagles) w/Taiji Ishimori & Jado - 6.5/10


Taiji is on crutches. Really early on in the match, Jado got involved hitting Honma with a Kendo Stick allowing Robbie to take control of the match and work over Honma while GoD had taken care of KUSHIDA and Makabe outside. They kept him away from his corner for a small time before he got the tag to Makabe who turned things around, but when KUSHIDA came in, everyone just got in there and started going all over the place.

We got KUSHIDA and Robbie going at it and it was cool, then Makabe cleaned house again leaving Tama Tonga vs KUSHIDA, which was also kinda cool. Jado would get involved again nailing KUSHIDA with the kendo stick, and as the ref gets rid of Jado, Ishimori comes in and straight up broke the crutch on KUSHIDA, leaving him open for a Gun Stun by Tama Tonga for the pin. This match had some cool parts, even though KUSHIDA vs Ishimori is the way to go, I'd really love to see a singles between KUSHIDA and Robbie, and vs Tama Tonga for that matter.

Post-match - Ishimori attacked KUSHIDA and took the belt, showing his intent to challenge for the title. The posed over the broken KUSHIDA until Makabe came in for the save.

Bullet Club ("Switchblade" Jay White *& Bad Luck Fale) w/Gedo vs CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Beretta) - 3/10, but a good segment.


Okada started the match literally jumping White, like jumping over the ropes and landing a plancha on White and took him to the crowd. When Okada returned to the corner, White straight up ran at him and attacked him again into the crowd. While Okada and White were brawling outside, Fale vs Beretta was going on inside. Then we just saw Gedo mess with Okada and hold his feet (quite weak) while Fale was taking out Beretta inside, so Okada couldn't make the save, but then out of desperation, Beretta managed to roll up Fale for the upset win. This wasn't much of a match, and if it had ended with the pin, it would had been a terrible segment too. It established that Okada and White are way to pissed off at each other to completely ignore what's going on in the ring and rather just attack each other, but then the weak way that Gedo held off Okada at the end made it look bad, however....

Post-match - Okada and White brawled and got into a pull apart. White finally made the challenge to a one-on-one match. Okada said he wanted it now, but White declined and walked away. Crowd got SUPER hyped for White vs Okada happening right there. They have managed to build Okada's first WK non-title match a really hyped match.

Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay vs Golden Lovers - 7.5/10


Tanahashi vs Golden Lovers! If only they had chosen someone else to tag with Tanahashi, this could had been far better, but unfortunately, KUSHIDA was busy getting the shit kicked out of him, and I have no idea where Juice is. And nothing against Finlay, he kept his own inside the ring, some of the stuff he did against Ibushi was great.

Match saw the Lovers cut off Finlay early on, they worked on him for a while. At one point Tanahashi broke up a pin that led to Omega throwing him out of the ring the hard way, and later in another spot, Omega would surprise him with a Plancha out of nowhere. Eventually, Tanahashi got the tag and we got a little preview of what Ace vs Best Bout Machine will be about. Omega did the 'You Can't Escape", but Tana rolled out of the moonsault that Omega landed on his feet, thing is, Tanahashi BARELY rolled out and Omega almost landed feet first into Tanahashi's rib cage, with no intention of rolling out of it a like a normal foot stomp.

Tanahashi worked over Omega's leg for a bit, while Omega focused on hurting Tanahashi's neck towards the One Winged Angel, but neither man could pull the trigger on their finishers. As they found themselves hurt, they both tagged in their partners, and while Finlay had some offense on Ibushi, getting a huge near fall, he just couldn't get away from the Golden Trigger. Last minute of this match was great, with Tanahashi trying to save Finlay. Great match.

Post-match - Omega mocked Tanahashi, they had a face off before Tanahashi walked away in defeat.

Super Jr. Tag League Finals, 3-way Match
Roppongi 3K w/Rocky Romero vs Suzuki-Gun vs Los Ingobernables de Japon - 8.5/10


I like that they went with a 3 way tie for the finals, we usually get teases in all the other leagues of a tie at the finals, and so pulling the trigger here just changes things up and reminds us that it is indeed possible. This match was 4-corner survival style, with only two men inside the ring, so at any point, there was a whole team out of action, at least until the end when matches tend to get chaotic.

Match started with R3K and LIJ going at it the most while SZKG stayed outside, picking their spots, but eventually, they managed to cut off YOH, get the tag and worked over him for a while, even when BUSHI tried to break things up, they kept control. Eventually, Shingo tagged himself in with a hot tag and took out not only SZKG, but SHO while he was at it. Shingo and Kanemaru are the legal guys, but we had BUSHI and R3K come in and out for double team moves.

SHO tagged himself in on Kanemaru, and we got a great exchange between Shingo and SHO. a lot of striking and power moves. R3K hit a few double team moves on him, getting ready for the kill, but BUSHI made the save only to get killed himself, but open it up for Despy to come and in take out SHO. Shingo, Despy, and SHO went at it, ending with Shingo dropping SHO with a Blood Fall and Lariat for a huge near fall. He set up the Last Falconry, but YOH made the save and got killed with the 3K, but Kanemaru pulled the ref to break the pin.

Despy took out Sho with a belt shot and tagged himself in on Shingo and got a near fall on SHO. He prepped for Pinche Loco, but YOH made the save, BUSHI hit the Green Mist on him. Kanemaru went for the Whisky Mist, but YOH dodged and took out both Kanemaru and BUSHI with a Tope con Giro over the top rope. Inside the ring, SHO got a near fall with a Last Ride Backbreaker, and followed with the Shock Arrow to pin Despy, not only becoming the winners of the 2018 Super Jr. Tag League, but deserving No. 1 contender's spot on all accounts. This was a pretty great match, the last few minutes were all over the place, awesome action. Be it Jr Heavyweight or not, I'm still waiting for big match Shingo to be unleashed.

Post-match - SHO cut a promo saying that tonight they won, and made the challenge for the titles. We saw YOH cut a promo during the tournament, and how SHO cut another. They got good charisma, one day they'll be great singles competitors.

NEVER Openweight Championship Match
Taichi (C) w/Miho Abe vs Hirooki Goto - 7/10


Build up promo was about how disrespectful Taichi is with the title and they acknowledged that Ospreay got injured and thus couldn't challenge, which gives me hopes that he'll still get his shot later, maybe even WK.

Taichi technically jumped Goto, but I'll completely blame it on Goto who plain right wasn't paying attention. Taichi dropped Goto with a Suplex right on his head and knocked him off, and instead of pinning him (he broke his own safe pin), decided to punish Goto, drag him to the crowd area, and I guess try to get a count out win. This is exactly how cocky heels lose their titles. Goto obviously made the count.

Back in the ring, Taichi kept the offense, but Goto made a hasty comeback and got some offense back on Taichi. This is about the time when we remind Taichi that he had the win but that dumbass let it go. They got into striking, and while Taichi kept control most of the time, Goto started to land significant moves on Taichi, slowly chipping away from him, and slowly gaining more momentum until Goto started getting near falls after the Ushigoroshi or the Shouten.

As the match started to slip away from Taichi, he pushed the ref, poked Goto's eye and hit a low blow for a near fall. Taichi landed a huge Last Ride for a near fall. Goto hit an inverted GTR, but couldn't follow up on it. Once again, Taichi looked for the shortcut and took the title belt, but Goto blocked him, hit another Ushigoroshi, and for the first time, he had proper control. He chased GTR, but after a counter, he hit Shouten Kai instead, GTR, and re-captured the championship. This was a faaar better match than their Destruction Tour one, and while I'm sad we won't get Ospreay vs Lord Taichi, I'm happy that we may get Goto vs Ibushi and Goto vs Ospreay, as Goto talked about backstage.

British Undisputed Championship Match
Minoru Suzuki vs Tomohiro Ishii (C) - 8/10


They waited for the bell, but they went into it as soon as it sounded, starting with about 20 forearms by Ishii, followed by 15 by Minoru. And then about 50 more back and forward, and eventually, Ishii hit the one that took out Suzuki from his game. Ishii attacked with chops, Suzuki with kicks, and at all time, they kept challenging each other to bring it. Suzuki at one point started to focus all his striking and work into Ishii's left arm, and while they never broke the back and forward, Ishii's arm was suffering. Ishii on the other hand, in one of his comebacks, focused some work on Suzuki's throat and neck, building towards the Brainbuster.

They got into more striking, the slower you, me, you, me spot, with really stiff sounding and good selling. After a few more strikes and kicks, Suzuki got the first near fall of the match, successfully waking up Ishii's fire. Ishii hit a powerbomb and as he went for the lariat, Suzuki turned it into the sleeper, but Ishii got out. They slapped each other, kicked each other, this is just porn for anyone that enjoys this type of wrestling. As they finish with their slapfest, Ishii manages to drop Suzuki with his Brainbuster, but Suzuki dodges the following Lariat and drops Ishii with a dropkick and they're both dead.

Suzuki started chasing the GSP, but Ishii blocked it. Ishii's response was hitting a Last Rite, or something similar to it, but again, he wants to finish it with a lariat, which he hit for a near fall. Finish saw Ishii go for the Brainbuster, but Suzuki gets out, and after escaping the Sleeper, Ishii kicks Suzuki, 2 Lariats, and one final Brainbuster for the win.

This got somewhat slow as the match went on, and I think that after the first Brainbuster, they could have started to head home, but they went on a bit too much IMO. This is the type of match that you'll either love or hate. Suzuki didn't even have enough power left to properly beat up Young Lions at the end. I love these guys fighting, but I think this feud, especially in RevPro, can take a break now.

Tetsuya Naito vs Zack Sabre Jr w/TAKA Michinoku - 9/10


Both men did their usual stuff. Sabre worked like an octopus all over Naito's limbs, switching between the arm and leg; meanwhile, Naito, tried to annoy Sabre until he got his ass kicked enough to actually do something about it. Worth noting that Naito annoying Sabre did not work the same as when he did it in the G1 Climax.

Match itself was mostly back and forward, Sabre got a good amount of control, but we constantly saw Naito get offense in to not make it feel like Sabre was always on top. Every one of those small flurries of offense by Naito, he focused on Sabre's head. As the match went on, we started seeing Naito get more and more aggressive with the submissions he was locking, some of the ones they did back in their G1 match, but Naito kept finding ways to escape. Naito eventually started chasing Destino, Sabre kicking out of the first one, Sabre escaping the second one and getting a near fall with the European Clutch. Finish saw Naito go for Destino, Sabre counter into Sabre Driver, and Naito reverse that into type of Brainbuster, and finally nailed Destino for the win. Not my favorite match of them, but still good nonetheless.

IWGP Intercontinental Championship Match
"King of Darkness" EVIL vs Chris Jericho (C) - 9.5/10


Jericho came out with a mask, underneath a mask, so I take it BUSHI vs Jericho is next, right?

Match started with EVIL attacking Jericho and going really hard on him, attacked him in the crowd area when Jericho tried to escape, and pulled a table out early in the match. Jericho got back into the match and they kept brawling outside, destroying the announcer's area, dropping EVIL with a DDT on one of their tables, looked terrible because EVIL really put everything into it. Jericho is jeopardizing cameramen, fans, announcers, blew his nose in the NJPW logo, just making sure everyone hates him legit. Yet I can still hear Y2J chants.

Back in the ring, Jericho worked over EVIL, focusing on his back, working towards the Liontamer. EVIL finally made a comeback and they started brawling again outside, this time with EVIL on top, reaching the point where EVIL did his Baseball shot with the chair, breaking the chair and finally slowing down Jericho. EVIL teased suplexing Jericho through the table, but it actually ended up being an STO from the apron to the table outside, even though it looked more like a chokeslam when both jumped.

Back in the ring, Jericho finally locked the Walls of Jericho for a near submission, but Jericho gets distracted with the ref when EVIL got the ropes, allowing EVIL to comeback with a big lariat. Jericho missed a Lionsault that EVIL turned it into a Darkness Falls for a near fall. They traded strikes, and out of nowhere Jericho landed a Codebreaker for a near fall. EVIL hit an STO for another huge near fall. EVIL went for a second Darkness Falls, but Jericho rolled it over into the Walls of Jericho, and after a struggle, EVIL tapped out. Pretty great brawl, Jericho definitely felt this one. This was my favorite Jericho match since his return.

Post-match - Jericho locked in the Walls again, and once again as with Sabre, Naito came in for the save and ran Jericho off. Fucking EVIL always needing someone to save his ass, even though commentary tried to twist it referencing EVIL saving Naito at Dominion. Naito cut a small promo saying he is the next challenger for Jericho's IC championship. Backstage, Jericho put over EVIL, but said that he will not give Naito his rematch. The whole backstage promo was pretty awesome actually.

OVERALL THOUGHTS


Great show by NJPW, even the undercard was really good. While a great show by itself, this also felt like the start of the Road To Wrestle Kingdom tour, as we now have several challenges set towards it.

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