Date: November 3rd, 2018
Location: Osaka, Japan
NJPW Power Struggle 2018 is a New Japan Pro Wrestling event that took place on November 3rd, 2018. It was held at the EDION Arena in Osaka, Japan. And had a great turn out, with over 5,400 in attendance. This event would feature the Super Junior Tag League Final, a NEVER Openweight Title defense, a RevPro Undisputed British Heavyweight Title defense, and a rare IWGP Intercontinental Title defense featuring Chris Jericho taking on EVIL.
Power Struggle was held during a time when there were rumblings about unhappiness in the NJPW locker room, and with commentator Don Callis. But it didn’t show. Each match was better than average. The wrestlers really showcased their best work and put on some crazy matches. The commentary was appropriate, professional, and entetaining.
El Soberano Jr., Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask & Volador Jr. vs. ACH, Chris Sabin, Ryusuke Taguchi & Toa Henare - Eight Man Tag Match (60%)
NJPW loves trying to get everyone on the roster in a match. So usually we get treated to these six, eight, and even ten-man tag matches. I hate ‘em. Everyone has to work so quickly, and almost no one gets time to showcase their work. But these guys did it. This opening eight-man could have easily been a match on RAW or Smackdown. It was fast-paced and well wrestled. Everyone got time, but it felt way too scripted. ACH, Chris Sabin, and El Soberano Jr. all worked their asses off. Good opener.
BULLET CLUB (Robbie Eagles, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) & KUSHIDA - Six-Man Tag Match (65%)
Good job of keeping the pace up from that last multi-man tag match. The OG Bullet Club had just added some new members, and it was cool seeing them. Robbie Eagles is really talented and he worked well with Tonga and Loa. KUSHIDA looked good too, but the OG Bullet Club was the main focus here.
BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale & Jay White) vs. CHAOS (Beretta & Kazuchika Okada) - Tag Team Match (70%)
Each match just gets better and better. Jay White is a beast! I couldn’t wait to see Okada and White clash. It was awesome. These guys took it all over the ringside area. Okada wanted to punish the Knife Pervert and he did just that. CHAOS was too much for the OG Bullet Club to handle.
Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) vs. David Finlay & Hiroshi Tanahashi - Tag Team Match (79%)
This was one of the best matches of the night. Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi work so well together. Their music and ambiance drag you in, and keep you interested. Both guys are incredibly talented and when you pair them against workers like Tanahashi and Finlay, you have one hell of a matchup. This was a great match that had a few loose ends.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Shingo Takagi) vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) - Super Junior Tag League Final - Three Way Match (80%)
Talk about fast-paced. This was an amazing effort by all of the teams involved. Roppongi 3K started as a joke for me, but I found myself standing and cheering on SHO and YOH. They kicked ass! Shingo is the newest member of Los Ingobernables de Japon, and he is going to go really far. Tremendous match!
Taichi vs. Hirooki Goto - NEVER Openweight Title Match (79%)
The most WWE match that New Japan could produce. It was hard-hitting and brutal. But far too scripted and overproduced. Taichi is a great heel. I love to hate that guy. But Goto could easily kick his ass. The heel tactics were so frustrating. So I guess that means Taichi did his job well. It goes on for a long time and just keeps hitting. I loved the ending, but nothing too amazing.
Tomohiro Ishii vs. Minoru Suzuki - RPW British Heavyweight Title Match (85%)
There was is so much intensity at the beginning of this match. Both guys were seething at the sight of each other. I hadn’t been familiar with Revolution Pro Wrestling and actually wasn’t aware of Ishii being their British Heavyweight Champion. That’s pretty neat. When the bell rang Suzuki shot-out at Ishii like a bullet! He laid in some really nasty looking shots and took some heavy looking blows. Safe to say, these guys were beating the holy hell out of each other. Ishii looked gassed halfway through. But after some more slugging it out with Suzuki, Tomohiro Ishii successfully defends the RPW British Heavyweight Title Match.
Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr. - Singles Match (90%)
Both guys are huge stars! Naito’s entrance was amazing. He had another awesome mask with a great suit. Zack Sabre Jr. was getting no love from the Osaka crowd. They disliked him. The match started off really well paced. Zack would go for submissions, and Naito would cooly get out of them. Tranquilo. They took it to the outside. Zack started working the knee, and Naito played defense. It looked super bad for the leader of Los Ingobernables de Japon, but he ended up hitting the Destino and winning after a tremendous match. I loved it.
Chris Jericho vs. EVIL - IWGP Intercontinental Title Match
Chris Jericho is the best wrestler performing in the world today. He gets it. His short time in New Japan so far has been full of mystery and intrigue. EVIL is a badass! He is one of the most deranged members of Los Ingobernables de Japon. These guys beat the hell out of each other all through the crowd. It was pretty great. Jericho really plays up the hardcore heel angle in Japan. At one point he shoved poor Red Shoes, flipped tables, insulted the commentators, flipped off the crowd, and tossed EVIL around like a bully. But EVIL got to dish out some punishment too. He broke a chair on Jericho’s face and then, at one point, put him through a table. EVIL tried his hardest but didn’t make it. He tapped to the Liontamer!
NJPW Power Struggle 2018 was a solid event. Not every match was amazing, but they were all entertaining and felt bigger than your average wrestling match. The multi-man tag matches each featured some new talent, and they moved at a reasonable pace. The tag matches were perfectly placed on the card. I liked both of them, but The Golden Lovers taking on Finlay & Tanahashi was the best of both. The three-way tag team match was a cluster%@#&. It was exciting and fast-paced, but it lacked something. I couldn’t place it. Roppongi 3K kicks ass. The singles matches are where it’s at. Taichi vs. Goto can be skipped, but do yourself a favor and watch Jericho vs. EVIL!