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New Japan Pro Wrestling Power Struggle 2018 match recommendations: All around is laid to waste

NJPW World

For full results for Power Struggle check here, otherwise, on with the show!

As always, I’ve got a very simple five point scale laid out where a 1 is total skip, 2 you can probably skip unless you love one of the folks in it, 3 is a match that’s worth watching but not necessarily worth making time for, a 4 is a solid recommendation to make time for if you can, and a 5 is a must-watch.

Mind you, these are not star ratings. They’re not meant to be absolute ratings in any sense, but rather a simple (and hopefully sensible) way to determine if a match is worth your time. A one is not necessarily a bad match, but rather just one I feel like you’re best off skipping. I have my biases, of course, but hopefully I can make it easy for you to adjust for them.

ACH, Chris Sabin, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Toa Henare vs. Jushin Liger, Soberano, Jr., Tiger Mask IV, & Volador, Jr. (2): ACH and Tiger to start, a bit of rugby, cycling through to Liger on Sabin and then Volador/Henare before the match breaks down and ends in short order. Not much to see here, folks, just the usual reasonably fun but completely inessential opening tag.

Bullet Club (Robbie Eagles, Tama Tonga, & Tanga Loa) vs. Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) & KUSHIDA (2): Bullet Club jump the babyface team from the bell and the dust settles with Eagles working Honma over. Biz Cliz continue to press the assault at length, Makabe makes the save, KUSHIDA comes in hot, he and Tama have a nice extended exchange with some cool counters, Jado runs interference and the match heads into its final stretch when he gets a kendo stick shot off.

All in all, your average undercard tag-- watch if you’re super into any of these guys, but if you’re just looking for the best, it’s a pass.

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & “Switchblade” Jay White) vs. Chaos (Beretta & Kazuchika Okada) (2): This whole match is essentially Okada and White brutalizing each other on the floor as Beretta fights from underneath against Fale, and that is a good thing. It doesn’t _quite_ rise to the level of any real recommendation because it ends kind of abruptly without anybody really being able to get into gear, but it’s a lot of fun all the same. Consider this a very strong 2, if you will.

David Finlay & Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) (3): Tanahashi and Omega going at it so hard in the feeling out that the feed glitches, cycling to Ibushi and Finlay for a bit of grappling and soon enough Golden Lovers have David isolated. He eventually tags the 1/100 Ace back in, and he and Kenny turn the violence right back up. Back to Kota and Finlay, they won’t be outdone, good hard-hitting action and things break down on our way to the finish.

Not quite essential, but worth tossing on the pile for a good preview of Omega/Tanahashi and for Ibushi doing Ibushi things.

Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Shingo Takagi) vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (Super Jr. Tag League 2018 Finals) (4): Suzuki-gun with the attack before the bell but when the dust settles it’s LIJ working RPG3K over. YOH continues to be in a bad way at length as SZKG switch back in and turn the pyrotechnics up when LIJ try coming in. YOH gets some separation off a Falcon Arrow, Shingo tags in and gets to show his strength off in a big way. SHO in, the two strong lads hitting hard, 3K running double-teams, the match breaks down and we head steadily off to the finish.

Hectic, and fast-paced, this one builds to a fever pitch and is very much worth watching.

Hirooki Goto vs. Taichi (c) (NEVER Openweight Championship) (3): Taichi with a sneak attack Saito suplex at the bell! Goto is out but the Suzuki-gun man is cocky and refuses to cover him for a full three-count, instead looking for the countout win. This, of course, proves to be a mistake because Hirooki is able to come back and mount increasingly long stretches of offense as the match progresses, and you can prettymuch tell how the rest of it goes from that.

This isn’t the most compelling or exciting match, but it tells a clear story and tells it well, building and escalating as it goes. Not enough for a strong recommendation, especially with the vibe I get that they just kinda shrugged and ran the exact same match they were going to run with Will Ospreay before he got hurt, but definitely one for the pile.

Minoru Suzuki vs. Tomohiro Ishii (c) (RPW British Heavyweight Championship) (5): Ishii hot out the gates and we’ve got a brawl! Suzuki turns the tide, targeting the ribs, but that doesn’t become a long-term focus because both of these men are just focused on beating the living crap out of each other!

Not a huge amount to say about this one, folks-- it’s violent, it’s visceral, it’s absolutely a match you should watch.

Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. (5): Sabre in control early, bringing his grappling prowess to bear, just absolutely torturing Naito. The Stardust Genius gradually mounts a comeback, a reversal here, a kick there, slowed by ZSJ’s submission work on his leg but still fighting hard. Eventually his rally proceeds to a point where he can start targeting Zack’s neck and now we got a party!

Injury for injury, both men’s bodies failing them as they struggle desperately against one another, and a fantastic match in the end. Watch it!

Chris Jericho (c) vs. EVIL (IWGP Intercontinental Championship) (5): EVIL hard out the gate, the action soon spilling to the floor as he beats Jericho down. The introduction of a table gives Y2J a chance to recover and he engages in a little amateur cinematography before carrying on the assault, including a wicked DDT on the announce table. EVIL fights back, ebb and flow, the horse collar spot with a chair on the floor is particularly sickening today, EVIL from the apron to the floor, just all sorts of wild stuff here.

Definitely a match worth watching for sure.

There you have it, folks

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to toss in your two cents below, Cagesiders.

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