For full results for Power Struggle, check here, but in the meantime, 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.
Clark Connors, Titan, TJ Perkins, & Volador, Jr. vs. Jushin Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask IV, & Yuya Uemura (2): Pretty standard opening tag stuff here, elevated by strong performances from Volador and the young lions, but ultimately there’s just not enough here to recommend.
Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori) vs. Chaos (Robbie Eagles & Rocky Romero) (3): Rocky’s coaching makes a difference early, Bullet Club cheat, establishing a nice little back and forth vibe here. We get some fun escalations, it never becomes an outright classic but it’s a good solid match.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA, & Shingo Takagi) vs. Suzuki-gun (Lance Archer, Minoru Suzuki, & Zack Sabre, Jr.) (3): The usual Suzuki-gun chaos at the bell, brawling on the floor while Archer plays monster in the ring. Working EVIL over at length, Shingo turns the tide, and then SANADA and ZSJ take us down the final stretch and build up a title match for the RPW British Heavyweight Championship between them. Good stuff, not a strong recommendation, but an enjoyable pro wrestling match all the same.
Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kota Ibushi (3): This is shot through with slices of good Okada/Ibushi action as a preview of your Wrestle Kingdom main event but really, principally, it’s about Tanahashi trying to prove that he’s still good enough to take Tacos out behind the proverbial woodshed. And, as a result, overall, it’s a pretty good match, but in the midcard slurry it doesn’t stand out nearly enough to be worth a recommendation.
Taichi vs. Tetsuya Naito (4): I gotta admit, when I saw this made the card my main thought was “Really? Another one?!”, but this is just a good old-fashioned ass beating. Taichi dominates early, Naito comes back hard, it’s not the most innovative or escalatory match ever but it’s fun and for sure worth tossing onto your pile.
Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (Super Jr. Tag League 2019 Finals) (2): SZKG with the hot start, Chaos boys never too far from a comeback, and we get a solid little back and forth match. This is fine but it never quite grabs me and I find myself wishing it had a stronger throughline. Not bad but it feels like a disposable junior tag match of yesteryear and not RPG3K’s best.
KENTA (c) vs. Tomohiro Ishii (NEVER Openweight Championship) (5): Slugging it out from the bell, two bulls going hard, this is just excellent work start to finish. Ishii takes everything KENTA’s got, KENTA takes everything Tom’s got, neither man gives an inch, it might be a little too long for what it is but what it is is pretty great and worth watching, so... watch it!
BUSHI vs. Will Ospreay (c) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship) (5): Ospreay fired up and right on BUSHI out the gates, but of course the LIJ man turns the tide and takes poor Will to the woodshed. Slowing the pace, a target painted on Ospreay’s neck, Will has one of the most clever counters to mist I’ve ever seen when he literally steals it from BUSHI with a kiss, we get a ref bump and some chaos and a pretty great match in the final evaluation.
And of course, I rarely speak about post-match angles in these match rec posts, but... HIROMU!
Hirooki Goto vs. “Switchblade” Jay White (c) (IWGP Intercontinental Championship) (3): This is... well, it’s a Goto/White main event. Switchblade targets the back, Goto takes a lot of punishment and gets grumpy, we get escalations and... it’s just not super compelling. Like, it’s a solid match, to be sure. I can’t find any fault with the execution. It just didn’t connect with me on any level.
There you have it, folks
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to toss in your two cents below, Cagesiders.