New Japan Pro Wrestling
Road to Power Struggle 2018
October 27, 2018
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

Ren Narita, Shota Umino & Tomoaki Honma def. Ayato Yoshida, Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura

Watching current Tomoaki Honma makes me sad. One the one hand I am happy that he was able to come back from that horrendous injury, on the other hand, he clearly is nowhere near the level he used to be. He was easily the worst wrestler in this match and he was in there with a bunch of guys that, except for Yoshida, have only had a handful of matches.

Then again the dojo keeps pumping out guys that come in at a very high level already. Its testament to New Japan’s growing popularity that there is a growing number of young lions. It wasn’t that long ago that Sho and Yoh were the only young lions around and now we almost have enough fill a six man tag match. Otherwise this was your standard fiery opening young lion tag match.

CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii) def. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & TAKA Michinoku)

This was essentially an Ishii vs Suzuki singles match also featuring Goto and Taka. Most of this match was a long strike exchange between the two and ended with them brawling to the back 80s style to continue their feud. Goto then had an easy time finishing off Taka. Afterward he challenged Taichi, who sat in on commentary looking cool as fuck, to a NEVER Title match. It’s unfortunate that Ospreay got injured and this was really their best choice as a credible challenger on short notice since there were a lot of shenanigans in their first match.

Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi & Kota Ibushi def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Toa Henare & Togi Makabe 

Chase Owens really has come into his own this past year. He seems so confident in his skin right now and I wouldn’t mind if he got a little push next year to challenge for the Never or the US belt. Ibushi meanwhile has been trending down a bit and now is only an accessory to the Tanahashi vs Omega feud, acting as a proxy while Kenny is on a boat tweeting nonsense. In fact, he has been an accessory most of the time since the reformation of the Golden Lovers. I’m not someone that believes that the Elite will leave for WWE next year, but it might the best for Kota’s career if they as he just doesn’t fit in with them at all. Pretty forgettable match overall, but we would see Tanahashi in a much bigger role later in the night. Owens pins Henare after the package piledriver.

BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Gedo, Jay White, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) def. CHAOS (Beretta, Kazuchika Okada, Rocky Romero & Toru Yano) & Chuckie T

Jay White is so good at being a prick. I’ve been a fan of his since his first match in New Japan, but I didn’t think he would be this good at being a heel. Him using the young lions that are ringside as weapons is a great touch.

The main part of the actual match portion, as there was tons of stuff going on the outside, was about building up the eventual Guerrillas Of Destiny vs Best Friends title match. Gedo is now back to being what he does best, which is being a heel. They worked a sequence with Chuckie T as the face in peril and he really doesn’t get enough credit for how good he is at it. Meanwhile, Okada was pacing on the apron like a tiger just waiting to pounce on Jay White.

Korakuen becomes unglued on the Okada hot tag. The eventual Okada vs White singles match, most likely the Dome, is going to have a red hot crowd with the way they have been building this match up. It’ll be interesting where they will position it on the card. It won’t main event of course, but I could see them being the semi-main over the IC title match.

Rocky has Gedo finished off with the Sliced Bread Number 2, but Jay White slithers back in the ring, hits him with the Blade Runner and then drags Gedo over him to get the win for his team. We lose no time as we immediately get post-match brawl with the Bullet Club beating down Okada while boos rain down from the crowd. But the boos turn into cheers as Tanahashi of all people is here to make the save for his rival. Together they run off Bullet Club and then Okada and Tanashi come face to face. Their rivalry spans six years and twelve singles matches with a record of 5-4-3 for Okada. But it ends on this night as the two of them shake hands to massive cheers from the crowd. Beautiful angle and they could have closed out the show with this. But this tour is for the juniors so we still have the tournament matches to go.

Super Junior Tag League 2018
ACH & Ryusuke Taguchi [6] def. Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask [4]

The whole ACH & Taguchi run in this tournament has just brought back bad memories of the Troll Boyz run in Evolve. Skip

Super Junior Tag League 2018
Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) [8] def. El Soberano Jr. & Volador Jr. [2] (11:55)

This wasn’t all that good. SHO and YOH tried their best but their opponents were either lazy (Volador) or sloppy (Soberano). Though I have to say Soberano looked better here than he has so far. Nevertheless, it still wasn’t a very inspiring performance. 3K finishes off Soberano and helps Roppongi 3k move closer to the final.

Super Junior Tag League 2018
Robbie Eagles & Taiji Ishimori [6] def. Chris Sabin & KUSHIDA [6]

This match is mostly just a preview of the junior title match at the dome, as KUSHIDA is most likely going to face off against Ishimori there. I’ve said it before but it is remarkable how easy Kushida and Sabin have clicked as a team. This ended up being a good match and Ishimori got the pin on Kushida to kick off their feud.

Super Junior Tag League 2018
Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) [8] defeat Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Shingo Takagi) [8]

We started off with a long crowd brawl before transitioning into some back and forth and then some power stuff from Shingo. We get some shenanigans at the finish as Despy low blows BUSHI before pulling off his mask and cradling him for the win.

Final Thoughts

This was a pretty skippable show. The highlight was the ten-man tag and angle afterward, but all the tournament matches are ok to bad. There was some hope at the start of the tournament that the new format would breathe some life into the normally very forgettable junior tag league but so far that hasn’t worked. Instead, we get a drawn-out tour with a ton of mediocre matches. Watch the Chaos vs Bullet Club ten man tag match for the angle afterward and skip the rest.