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NJPW ‘Power Struggle 2018’ (11.3.18) Results & Review



Osaka favorites, Los Ingobernables de Japon, come into Power Struggle with three prominent matches, Chris Jericho has his first match since Dominion and the Super Jr. Tag League winners will be decided. Also, Kenny Omega makes his return, the RPW British Heavyweight Championship is featured and Taichi is set out for his first defense. Let’s get started!

Taguchi, ACH, Sabin & Henare def. Liger, Tiger, Volador & Soberano @ 6:08 via Taguchi & ACH Double Team Dodon on Soberano – **
Fun celebration match between the junior tag league competitors. Team Taguchi got goofy with their triple team corner spots, coached by Taguchi. Henare caught dives into suplexes and turned hurricanranas into powerbombs. They kept it short and sweet and all eight shook hands and took a bow after the match.

Tama, Tanga & Eagles def. Makabe, Honma & KUSHIDA @ 7:39 via Tama Gun Stun on KUSHIDA – **
The injured Ishimori came out with the assistance of crutches and corned the BCOG. BCOG jumped before the bell but Honma was able to regroup quickly so Jado cut him down with the Singapore cane. Makabe helped Honma gain his footing back to deliver two Kokeshi and a Kokeshi Rocket. KUSHIDA caught a Gun Stun, turned it into a Hoverboard Lock but was shoved into the ropes, hit with the cane and Ishimori’s crutch before being finished with the Gun Stun. Ishimori posed with the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship after the match.

Kazuchika Okada & Beretta def. Jay White & Bad Luck Fale @ 4:32 via Beretta Sunset Flip on Fale – *1/2
This wasn’t as much of a match as it was a brawl. Okada hit a plancha onto White before the bell and took him into the crowd. Beretta and Fale went back and forth in the ring as White charged across the ring to boot Okada back off the apron to continue the brawl. Fale looked to finish Beretta with the Bad Luck Fall but Beretta rolled through and picked up the surprise win. After the match, Okada and White had to be pulled a part. White told Okada he’ll have a singles match with him anytime, anywhere. Okada declares he wants the match now but White refuses and heads to the back.

Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi vs Hiroshi Tanahashi & David Finlay @ 9:47 via Omega & Ibushi Golden Trigger on Finlay – **3/4
Omega and Tana go on the attack before the bell, trading forearms back and forth but managing to avoid both a Slingblade and V-Trigger. They tag out and Ibushi encourages Finlay to give him all he’s got. Omega pays little mind to Finlay himself, instead landing a placha onto Tanahashi, a V-Trigger and Dragon suplex. Tanahashi escapes the One-Winged Angel and turns it into a Twist & Shout. Finlay catches Ibushi running in with a uranage but his follow up uppercut is caught into a straightjacket German. Finlay avoids the Kamigoye, Tanahashi lands a Slingblade, Omega a V-Trigger, Lovers a headkick + V-Trigger combo and finish Finlay with the Golden Trigger. Omega poses with both his title and Tanahashi’s briefcase before dropping the case at Tanahashi’s feet with a smirk on his face.

Super Jr. Tag League Finals
YOH & SHO def. BUSHI & Shingo, Kanemaru & Desperado @ 15:56 via SHO Shock Arrow on Desperado – ***1/2

Suzuki-Gun went on the attack before the bell and looked to isolate SHO but YOH was quick to fire back a series of dropkicks on all four opponents. Desperado rips at SHO’s eyes and makes the tag to Shingo. BUSHI comes in for an LIJ double team legdrop + senton, causing a desperation knee lift from SHO and getting the tag to YOH who flurries with a series of dragon screw leg whips. Suzuki-Gun use the numbers on YOH and dump LIJ out, Desperado following with a tope onto both members. Shingo isn’t having any of that nonsense. He comes back in with a combination DDT and drops Kanemaru with a pop-up DVD. BUSHI hits a plancha and Shingo looks to finish Kanemaru with the Pumping Bomber but his knee is kicked out. SHO is tagged in, takes Shingo down with a dropkick but Shingo fights out of the German, is caught by the 3K double knees. BUSHI cuts off the finish, takes a German but affords Shingo the time to drop SHO with Pumping Bomber for a two count. While setting up for Last of the Dragon, YOH superkicks SHO free and they hit 3K on Shingo but Suzuki-Gun pull the referee out of the ring. Desperado attempts Pinche Loco on SHO but BUSHI mists. YOH ducks Kanemaru’s mist, lands a tope and gives his partner enough time to finish Desperado with a Shock Arrow. After the match, Romero urges SHO to say something to the crowd. He declares that he and YOH will be the next challengers for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship.

NEVER Openweight Championship
Hirooki Goto def. Taichi (c) @ 15:02 via GTR – *1/2

Taichi attacked Goto with his back turned before the bell, dropping him with a Saito suplex. The referee starts the match but Goto isn’t moving so he tries to put distance between Goto and Taichi but Taichi isn’t accepting the call. He pins Goo with one arm but pulls him up before the three and takes Goto to the outside to continue the beatdown. Goto come to life and breaks the count at nineteen. Back in the ring, Goyo fire up, hitting the spin kick into the corner followed by a Saito suplex. They trade forearms for kicks untul Goto collapses again and Taichi stomps him into the mat. Goto catches a superkick, turns it into an Ushigoroshi. Taichi rips at the eyes, lands a lariat, Goto backdrops out of a powerbomb and hits a spinning facebuster before setting up for the GTR. Taichi shoves the referee, hits a low blow and Gedo Clutch for two, goes directly into an enziguri + Last Ride stack for another two count. Goto powers out of the Air Raid Crash, lands the reverse GTR, Taichi reaches for the belt only for Goto to capture the arm and pull him into a headbutt. Taichi slides out of the GTR so Goto transitions into the Shouten Kai and finishes with the GTR.

RPW British Heavyweight Championship
Tomohiro Ishii (c) def. Minoru Suzuki @ 19:22 via Vertical Drop Brainbuster – ****

Suzuki starts off by rushing in with a boot. Ishii responds wih a shoulder tackle and takes Suzuki to the corner, leveling him with a series of forearms. Suzuki switches position and returns the favor as the two scream at each other. Ishii ducks a sleeper, Suzuki ducks an enziguri, they trade more forearms and when Suzuki looks to take the match to the outside, Ishii throws him back in to the crowd’s approval. Suzuki kicks Ishii so hard he bails to the outside and instead of following, Suzuki sits down in the middle of the ring, waiting for Ishii to come back. Ishii comes in and repeatedly chops Suzuki in the throat until he crumples. Suzuki glares at Ishii and they begin a disgusting forearm exchange that leads to them both collapsing. Suzuki fires a PK to both the front and back of Ishii but neither put his shoulders on the matt. Ishii takes Suzuki to the top and when Suzuki fights him off, Ishii still has the wherewithal to pick him up off the top for a powerbomb. Suzuki ducks a lariat so they bring slapping each other until a headbutt from Ishii leads to a single leg dropkick from Suzuki. Ishii powers out of a sleeper but his lariats don’t take Suzuki down. Suzuki crumples him with a series of forearms and looks for the Gotch but Ishii stands and just drops Suzuki on top of his head but Suzuki manages to slide out of the brainbuster, land a slap and attempt another Gotch. Ishii spins out, hits an enziguri followed by two lariats and ending the match with a brainbuster. After the match, Ishii walks off without the title and is followed by a stumbling Suzuki.

Tetsuya Naito def. Zack Sabre Jr. @ 20:13 via Destino – ***1/2
Sabre takes Naito to the mat off the start and they trade hold for hold which inflates Naito’s ego so he hits his pose and Sabre captures his arm and transitions into a triangle choke. Naito bails and Sabre doesn’t allow him any space, tying him up in the ropes upon his attempt at reentering the ring. He catches Sabre running in and sends him over the top but Sabre sweeps the leg and takes Naito to the ramp, driving him down knee first. Naito breaks the count at nineteen but Sabre continues to target the knee. Again, Sabre is caught running in, this time with an atomic drop + hurricanrana. Naito ducks a lariat, lands a neckbreaker, catches a boot and delivers another neckbreaker followed by a reverse DDT. He takes Sabre up top, gets the hurricanrana but Sabre rolls through into an STF. Naito reaches the rope, misses a forearm but catches an uppercut into a satellite DDT + Gloria combo. Sabre ducks another forearm, applies an abdominal stretch and looks to transition into Orienteering With Napalm Death but his neck is too injured and Naito escapes to the ropes. Naito again misses a strikes and is caught in an ankle lock but fights his way into a German and Destino but only scores a two count. Sabre turns the second Destino into a pin but Naito sits on the pin into one of his own. Another Destino is countered but Naito escapes the Zack Driver and counters to a reverse DDT and immediately follows to the Destino for the win. Post-match, Naito throws his ice pack to Sabre and hits his LIJ pose before heading to the back.

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Chris Jericho (c) def. EVIL @ 21:40 via The Walls of Jericho – ***3/4

EVIL goes on the attack before the bell, laying in forearms, catching a boot and turning it into a discuss lariat. Jericho bails but EVIL follows and sends him into the crowd. EVIL sets up a table on the outside looking for a powerbomb but Jericho backdrops out of it and sends him first into, then over the rails. Jericho then DDTs EVIL onto the time keeper’s table and sends him back in the ring. EVIL fires back for a second but eats a superkick followed by a Lionsault and Jericho takes to the top, landing a back elbow. EVIL catches a second superkick, throws Jericho’s leg over the referee and returns a kick, followed up with a lariat and takes Jericho outside. He wraps a chair around Jericho’s head and slams him in the post, follows up by knocking the chair off his head with another chair, takes him back in the ring for a lariat and Fisherman’s suplex. Jericho catches a boot, attempts the Walls of Jericho but EVIL powers out, settles for a springboard dropkick to the apron and looks to take EVIL off the apron through the table. EVIL cuts it off and Uranages Jericho through the table, to the floor. He throws Jericho back in, flies off the top with a senton, looks for Darkness Fall but is caught in the Walls of Jericho. EVIL gets to the ropes, evades a second Lionsault and muscles him up for Darkness Falls for a two count and then poses. Jericho traps the arm and turns EVIL into a pin. EVIL kicks out but is caught by the Codebreaker for a nearfall. Jericho yells at him to stay down, jumps off the top and is caught with EVIL for a nearfall of his own. Jericho shoves the referee, goes for a low blow but is caught, brought up for Darkness Fall but transitions into the Walls of Jericho and EVIL is forced to tap. Jericho applies the hold again after the bell which brings Naito out to make the save. Naito invites Jericho to meet him face-to-face but Jericho decides to take off to the back. Naito declares himself the next challenger for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship to close out the show.

Overall this was a strong show. There were several really good matches (Jericho/EVIL, Naito/Sabre, Tag Finals) and Ishii/Suzuki was downright disgusting in places, but it was missing that blow away main event. The atmosphere was probably at its best during the junior tag. There were a couple of great nearfalls that the crowd bit on which was cool. The reset button has been hit on the NEVER title. This underdog Goto story is less than engaging at this point. The result couldn’t have been more predictable after Goto sold the Saito suplex like death for the first five minutes. The top three matches delivered but the energy from the crowd to take it to the next level was lacking. No top tier matches but several good ones that are worth the time.

Recommended Matches
Ishii vs Suzuki
Jericho vs EVIL
Junior 3-Way
Naito vs Sabre

Along with providing show reviews from across Japan, Robert McCauley is also an editor for FightboothPW.

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