NJPW Power Struggle Report: Chris Jericho vs. EVIL for the Intercontinental title

John Pollock runs through New Japan's Power Struggle event from Osaka featuring Chris Jericho versus EVIL for the Intercontinental title and Tomohiro Ishii versus Minoru Suzuki for the British heavyweight title.

Welcome to POST Wrestling’s coverage of Power Struggle from the sold-out Edion Arena in Osaka, Japan.

Wai Ting and I will have a Power Struggle POST Show Saturday afternoon on the POST Wrestling Café for all Patreon members.

Kevin Kelly and Chuckie T. are calling the show.

RYUSUKE TAGUCHI, CHRIS SABIN, ACH & TOA HENARE VS JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER, TIGER MASK, VOLADOR JR. & SOBERANO JR.

Kevin Kelly mentioned that Don Callis will likely be back for the end of the World Tag League in December.

ACH and Tiger Mask did comedy with the ball and tossing it back-and-forth while mixed with spots.

Soberano Jr. landed a tornillo from the top onto Taguchi. Taguchi directed traffic with the four opponents in the corners. They all landed hip attacks.

Taguchi and ACH double-teamed Soberano with a dual hip attack and wheelbarrow into the X Factor and Taguchi pinned him.

WINNERS: RYUSUKE TAGUCHI (pinned Soberano Jr.), ACH, CHRIS SABIN & TOA HENARE AT 6:09

This was an easy and fun opener. Taguchi’s charisma makes it impossible not to enjoy the guy.

All eight men hugged and shook hands after.


GUERRILLAS OF DESTINY & ROBBIE EAGLES VS KUSHIDA, TOGI MAKABE & TOMOAKI HONMA

Taiji Ishimori was on crutches ringside with an ankle injury.

Makabe took down the Guerrillas with a lariat and Honma landed a kokeshi to Loa, Tonga, and Eagles.

Tonga blocked the Hoverboard Lock, went for the Gun Stun and it was countered with KUSHIDA applying the Hoverboard Lock. He released the hold when Jado got on the apron. Jado hit KUSHIDA with a kendo stick and kicked out of a roll up.

With the referee distracted, Ishimori broke his crutch over KUSHIDA’s back and Tonga landed the Gun Stun and pinned him.

WINNERS: TAMA TONGA (pinned KUSHIDA), TANGA LOA & ROBBIE EAGLES AT 7:40

Ishimori grabbed the junior heavyweight title and posed over the fallen KUSHIDA until Togi Makabe chased them off. It clearly established Ishimori challenging for the title.

KAZUCHIKA OKADA & BERETTA VS JAY WHITE & BAD LUCK FALE

Okada went after White immediately with a pescado and fought into the crowd.

Chuckie laughed at White and called him a “knife pervert”.

Okada hit a draping DDT to White off the guardrail.

Fale landed a splash onto Beretta while Okada walked down Gedo on the floor. Fale hit the Grenade while Gedo held onto Okada’s leg. Beretta countered the Bad Luck Fall into a sunset flip roll up and caught Fale for the pin.

WINNERS: KAZUCHIKA OKADA & BERETTA (pinned Bad Luck Fale) AT 4:34

It was a quick match, but the highlight was the post-match. White returned and brawled with Okada with both showing their intensity. Both were knocking the Young Lions away to get at each other.

White challenged Okada to a singles match “anytime, anywhere” and Okada responded, “right now.” White walked down the aisle but closed the gate and walked out.


KENNY OMEGA & KOTA IBUSHI VS HIROSHI TANAHASHI & DAVID FINLAY

Omega and Tanahashi started the match with a striking exchange.

Kelly mentioned that Omega joined The Bullet Club at this event in 2014.

Omega sold his knee after Tanahashi hit a dragon screw leg whip. He hit a snap dragon suplex and lifted Tanahashi onto his shoulder, but that was stopped and Tanahashi hit the Twist & Shout.

Omega and Ibushi hit a version of the Indie Taker to Finlay and went for the Golden Trigger but were stopped by Tanahashi. Omega & Ibushi hit double flying knees to Tanahashi and followed with the Golden Trigger to Finlay with Ibushi getting the pin.

WINNERS: KENNY OMEGA & KOTA IBUSHI (pinned David Finlay) AT 9:48

It was a fine match with a good balance of delivering enough between Omega & Tanahashi without doing too much. It was a good tag match, but more driven for the future payoff at the Tokyo Dome.

Omega dangled the title in front of Tanahashi afterward.

Kevin Kelly did a great job throwing out the question of how Ibushi feels about this upcoming title match and being the odd man out. It’s a great backburner story they have.


EL DESPERADO & YOSHINOBU KANEMARU VS SHINGO TAKAGI & BUSHI VS ROPPONGI 3K IN THE FINALS OF THE SUPER JUNIOR TAG LEAGUE TOURNAMENT

Desperado hit an incredible dive through the ropes and landed on the announcer’s desk.

Takagi attacked Kanemaru and Desperado with big clotheslines displaying his power and generated a “Shingo” chant. He pressed Kanemaru into the air and landed a Death Valley Driver. Takagi lifted Kanemaru for Bushi to hit a back cracker, which is their double team Rebellion maneuver.

Bushi sprung to the floor with a ‘rana.

3K got the advantage on Takagi after a pair of flying knees. Bushi ran in to help his partner allowing Desperado to return as well.

Takagi hit the Noshigami to SHO and followed with the Pumping Bomber and SHO kicked out.

They came back hit the 3K onto Takagi and had the match won, but the referee was pulled to the floor.

Desperado nailed SHO with the title. Desperado went for Pinche Loco and was stopped with the mist from Bushi.

YOH took out Kanemaru and Bushi with a dive to the floor.

SHO hit the Last Ride with the double knees for a huge near fall on Desperado. SHO went for the Shock Arrow and pinned Desperado.

WINNERS: ROPPONGI 3K AT 14:56

This was a solid match and best on the show thus far. Shingo Takagi looked great and they seem to be cultivating a rivalry between Takagi and SHO as the two powerhouses of the junior heavyweight division.

3K received their trophies and Rocky Romero addressed the crowd. He handed it over to SHO, who never speaks. He said this isn’t the ultimate goal and will now challenge for the junior heavyweight tag titles.

TAICHI VS HIROOKI GOTO FOR THE NEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE

Chuckie called him a “Weird, theatre goth dork that learned karate”.

Taichi hit a suplex to Goto immediately and Goto couldn’t get up. Taichi went for the cover and held his shoulders up while Goto was motionless with the referee checking on him.

Taichi kept kicking away at him and sent him to the floor and up the aisle and attacked him with a chair.

Goto came back and it led to a leg kick exchange.

Goto caught him with the Ushigoroshi and began his comeback. The GTR was stopped with Taichi raking the eyes and getting a near fall the same way he won the title.

Taichi had the title, but Goto pulled it away and hit another Ushigoroshi and then hit the Shouten Kai. He lifted Taichi and hit the GTR to win the title.

WINNER: HIROOKI GOTO TO WIN THE NEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE AT 15:03

They immediately brought up what this means for Will Ospreay, who was supposed to face Taichi on this show.

This was much better than their match in September and trying to use the Saito suplex for maximum drama at the beginning with the story of Goto coming from behind and winning the title.


TOMOHIRO ISHII VS MINORU SUZUKI FOR THE BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE

Ishii hit repeated forearms in the corner, Suzuki reversed and did the same with each yelling in the other unphased.

Suzuki took over and drove his knees into the ribs. Ishii responded with a chop to the throat. They took turns drilling the other with forearms and each staggering from the strikes. Ishii fell onto the ropes. He tried to Irish whip Ishii and he collapsed.

Instead of a PK, Suzuki ran his boot into the face of the seated Ishii. He followed with a PK and Ishii gritted his teeth and got up. They traded slaps and Ishii connected with a headbutt. Ishii lifted him for the brainbuster and then Suzuki hit a big dropkick. Suzuki was bleeding from the mouth.

Ishii blocked the Gotch piledriver and was dropped with a forearm.

Ishii lifted Suzuki and hit an Omori Driver.

Ishii went for the brainbuster, it was stopped, and Suzuki applied the rear-naked choke. He spun him for the Gotch and was caught with an enzuigiri and Ishii hit the brainbuster to win.

WINNER: TOMOHIRO ISHII AT 19:23 TO RETAIN THE BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT TITLE

This was incredible and as hard-hitting & physical a match as you would expect from the two.

Ishii stormed to the back and didn’t even take the title with him. Suzuki staggered to the back and refused assistance.

TETSUYA NAITO VS ZACK SABRE JR.

Sabre Jr. used a flying triangle and Naito quickly got to the rope.

Sabre attacked the left arm and then worked on the left knee.

Naito hit a top rope Frankensteiner, but Sabre held onto the leg and transitioned into an STF and then hyperextended the arm with Naito rolling to the rope.

Naito landed a tornado DDT and hit Gloria for a two-count. Sabre side-stepped a flying forearm and applied the Octopus stretch. He attempted Orienteering with Napalm Death, but they explained his neck pain prohibited him from applying the hold.

Naito hit Destino and Sabre kicked out, but not to the reaction you would expect. Sabre used the European clutch and Naito kicked out at the last moment.

Sabre went for the Zack Driver, it was countered with an Emerald Flowsion as Naito pointed to the sky and hit a second Destino to win the match.

WINNER: TETSUYA NAITO AT 20:12

A very strong match from the two, not at the level of Ishii-Suzuki, but few matches are going to.

Naito gets a strong win, vanquishing the Achilles heel of LIJ throughout 2018 and avenges his losses from the New Japan Cup and this year’s G1.


CHRIS JERICHO VS EVIL FOR THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE

Jericho wore a black mask to the ring and had a separate white one underneath. EVIL attacked him before the bell.

A table was set up on the floor. Jericho took one of the cameras and filmed EVIL. They got on top of a table and Jericho hit a DDT. He took a New Japan banner and blew his nose with it as the audience booed.

Jericho landed the lionsault and the audience started chanting “Y2J”. Jericho’s back was red from the DDT spot on the table. Jericho gave them the finger.

They returned to the floor and EVIL threw Jericho into the guardrail hard. He put the chair around Jericho’s neck and ran him into the post and swung another chair at it.

They fought on the apron with the table still set up. EVIL sent Jericho off with an attempted STO and they crashed through the table. EVIL landed a senton off the top inside the ring.

Jericho recovered and applied the Walls of Jericho, but EVIL reached the rope. Jericho yelled and knocked down Red Shoes insisting EVIL tapped.

EVIL blocked the Codebreaker, but Jericho came back and hit it on the second attempt for a near fall.

EVIL stopped him off the top and hit Everything is EVIL for a big near fall. Jericho countered Darkness Fall with a huracanrana, he applied the Walls of Jericho again, EVIL tried to get to the rope, but Jericho arched back for the Lion Tamer version and EVIL had to tap.

WINNER: CHRIS JERICHO AT 21:40 TO RETAIN THE INTERCONTINENTAL TITLE

Jericho re-applied the Walls after the match leading to Tetsuya Naito running out and Jericho ran away. Naito dared him to come back and Jericho walked away.

Naito stated that would be the next challenger for Jericho’s title.

Backstage, Jericho said EVIL was a “tough son of a bitch”, but Naito is a coward and there will be no rematch at any arena in the world. He called Osaka a “shit hole”. He said he has never lost to a Japanese wrestler in New Japan, called his match with EVIL one of the best he has had in a long time. He repeated “no rematch, ever” for Naito.

About John Pollock 1124 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.