Friday, November 2, 2018

NJPW Power Struggle 2018 Preview & Predictions

It's the last big stop on the way to the Dome!  Power Struggle is upon us, and on paper looks like a very solid show.  There's no monumental main event match but rather a host of very good uppercard bouts, including the New Japan return of Chris Jericho, defending his Intercontinental Title for the first time.  His presence alone should mean a sellout.

Anyway let's get to this WrestleKingdom 13-shaping show....

Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask IV, Soberano Jr. & Volador Jr. vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, ACH, Chris Sabin & Toa Henare

It's the leftover Jr guys from the tournament against each other.  Should be a fun opener that goes around 8 minutes.

Justin: Team Liger
Landon: Taguchi Japan

Kushida & GBH vs. Robbie Eagles & Guerrillas of Destiny

This is here to further build the BCOG guys I think.  Should be decent.

Justin: BCOG
Landon: BCOG

Super Jr. Tag League Finals: El Desperado & Kanemaru vs. RPG3K vs. Bushi & Shingo Takagi

We've got a very unusual scenario for this final match, a three-way tie with each team having beaten one of the other two teams.  The winners here (provided it's not Desperado & Kanemaru) will presumably get a title shot at the Dome.  Frankly I'd like to see Sho & Yoh vs. Bushi & Tagaki as the Dome Jr. Tag match.  But I have a feeling they'll set up another three-way somehow.  Anyway this should be fun.

Justin: Bushi & Takagi
Landon: LIJ

Kazuchika Okada & Beretta vs. Jay White & Bad Luck Fale

This one's all just to set up Okada vs. White in January, so we'll get a preview of that match.  Okada-White has potential to be one of the great feuds of 2019.  Beretta's gotta be here just to take the fall I think.

Justin: The New Original Bullet Club
Landon: White kills Beretta

Golden Lovers vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Finlay

This one should be pretty excellent actually.  It's all building to Omega vs. Tana, and anytime the Lovers team up it's an event.  Finlay will certainly benefit from being involved with the other three, aside from eating the pin.

Justin: Golden Lovers
Landon: Golden Lovers

NEVER Openweight Championship: Taichi vs. Hirooki Goto

I'm so pissed Ospreay is hurt and can't be there to win his first non-Junior belt.  Ospreay vs. Ibushi at the Dome for this belt would've been stellar.  I suppose that match could still happen if Will heals up in time.  Not sure what the plan is for Taichi's title run - I can't see him holding it long-term.

Justin: Goto regains the belt
Landon: Holy Emperor Taichi V1

RPW British Heavyweight Championship: Tomohiro Ishii vs. Minoru Suzuki

This could very well steal the show.  They've been building to this match for months and it's only happened recently in an RPW ring.  Anytime Ishii and Suzuki wanna slug the shit out of each other I'm a happy guy.

Justin: Ishii retains I guess
Landon: Ishii

Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

Sabre is a magician in the ring and Naito is almost always excellent.  This is another potential show stealer that'll further establish Sabre as a rising star while giving Naito a big win heading into his rematch with Jericho.  Should be swell.

Justin: Naito wins
Landon: Naito

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Chris Jericho vs. Evil

This match should be very good.  I won't say I'm expecting greatness, but it'll definitely be something different.  Jericho's been using the Terry Funk playbook for his matches of late, and Evil is a very accomplished brawler.  So it'll be stiff as fuck, if nothing else.  Evil obviously isn't winning here since Jericho-Naito II is a mortal lock for January.

Justin: Jericho
Landon: Evil-Naito would be awesome.  But Jericho retains.

Power Struggle is often the unsung classic of the NJPW calendar - last year's for me was their third-best show of 2017.  Hopefully this one will measure up to that one.  Enjoy the show, and thanks for reading!

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