Match Ratings For NJPW Power Struggle From Sean Ross Sapp Of Fightful.com

Taguchi Japan (Ryusuke Taguchi, Chris Sabin, ACH and Toa Henare) defeated Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, Volador Jr. and Soberano Jr.
5.25/10

ACH put on a rugby outfit for comedic value, and Jushin Thunder Liger got his shine. Volador is a star, but at 38 and without hair, looks different than everyone now and even more like a star than he did before! There is a wild abundance of talent in the ring for this, but is the standard show opener -- not that that's a bad thing. Wheelbarrow facebuster got the win.

IMPACT World Champion Moose Set For Debut TERMINUS Pro Wrestling Show

 

Bullet Club (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and Robbie Eagles w/ Taiji Ishimori & Jado) defeated Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma) and Kushida
5/10

A lot of American fans who don't keep up with NJPW outside of their major shows might be seeing Eagles for the first time. This is a highlight for him, and his fast paced offense. His addition to Bullet Club was good. It's a nice contrast. He doesn't look like anyone else in New Japan, either. Kushida reverses a Gun Stun into a Hoverboard Lock, but gets cracked with a Jado kendo stick and an Ishimori crutch. Tonga wins with a Gun Stun. The build for BCOG continues as they have to re-establish themselves.

CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Beretta) defeated Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & "Switchblade" Jay White w/ Gedo)

Okada and White are outside battling while Fale beats the snot out of Beretta in the ring. Even though Gedo distracts Okada, Beretta rolls up Fale to get the win. Fale attacks after, but White and Okada are going at it hard. This is a pretty good brawl. Switchblade challenges Okada to a one on one match anytime. Looks like we'll be getting this one at Wrestle Kingdom.

Golden Lovers (Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi) vs. David Finlay & Hiroshi Tanahashi
6/10

This was a nice preview of the Wrestle Kingdom main event, while keeping the Golden Lovers association fresh in the mind of fans, and seeing what Finlay can do with three top talents in NJPW. Finlay more than held his own. He was high-level in this match, and had a great performance. He ate a really rapid spiked Tombstone at one point, that a lot of wrestlers wouldn't have been able to take as well. Tanahashi is looking more than ready for Wrestle Kingdom from a performance perspective.

Super Jr. Tag Tournament Finals
Roppongi 3K (Sho and Yoh) defeated Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado) and Los Ingobernables de Japon (Bushi and Shingo Takagi)
6/10

R3K have become on of my favorite teams in the world to watch, but these teams weren't on the same page at the start. It got better as it went on, but it was a mess at the start and faced a tough recovery. Takagi was the focal point of this match, as they should be considering the push he's going to get. There were a few too many pins not worth buying in this match for my liking, but by the end it became entertaining, as there were several things that should have ended the match. For all of the issues I had at the start of the match, the participants worked their asses off and got the crowd into it. Roppongi 3K want to challenge for the titles. 

 

NEVER Openweight Championship
Hirooki Goto defeated Taichi (c) to win the title
3.75/10

Taichi Saito Suplexes Goto and Goto is "Knocked out" but Taichi won't pin him. This complete absence of logic doesn't help the amount I care about watching Taichi matches already. They run this angle for six minutes. Okay, dawg. Then when Goto is awake and gets kicked in the head, he kicks out. how does this make any sense? This completely took me out of the match and left me with a cynical view of virtually everything I saw at this point. If that wasn't enough, the ref slowing his counts to make sure that the nearfalls weren't botched makes it look worse. Shouten Kai wins it. This was an outright bad story. At least the title is off of Taichi.

RPW Championship
Tomohirio Ishii (c) defeated Minoru Suzuki
5.75/10

They hit each other. A lot. Really hard, usually in the face. Either this match is your type of thing or it's not, but you almost definitely know how it starts. Matches like this don't always make a lot of sense to me, but at the very least it's in line with how these two work and are booked at all times. Ishii gets the win with a vertical drop brainbuster. Suzuki has a great glazed over look on his face as he's pinned. CHAOS moves to 4-0 on the night after this win. 

Tetsuya Naito defeated Zack Sabre Jr
6.5/10

Sabre's skill set puts him so far away from what every other wrestler in New Japan does, to the point to where a guy his size and frame is dominating one of New Japan's most popular wrestlers in the ring, on the ramp. His offense is violent in a way that doesn't make me disbelieve when a guy like Naito makes a fired up comeback. Naito has some good, deep pins that a lot of wrestlers wouldn't be able to convincingly kick out of. The transitions and counters in and out of the Zack Driver and Destino were particularly awesome, especially Naito's knee to Sabre's head. Naito wins with a Destino.

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Chris Jericho (c) defeated EVIL
6.25/10

Jericho's get up in New Japan is so corny, but he finds a way to make it work. Jericho is fresh off of his cruise, too. They brawl at ringside, and Jericho hits a big DDT on one of the tables. This is the first time I've seen Jericho looking like he's slowed down in a while, but considering the aforementioned cruise he was on, that's certainly forgivable. Still, his Lionsault looked crisp. There's a chair spot outside that looked awesome. It's wrapped around Jericho's head and slammed into the ringpost, then, batted with another chair. Jericho sold it really well, almost as if something was really wrong.

It's weird for me to think that EVIL has been EVIL since before Fightful existed, as opposed to Takaaki Watanabe, a guy I really didn't want to watch in Ring of Honor. There's a nasty table spot, which then goes into one of the ugliest sentons I've ever seen. It's also wild to see Jericho taking Darkness Falls this late in his career. 

This is a main event quality match, and a great step for EVIL. Jericho submits EVIL and won't let go of the hold. Naito makes the save. 

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES:

  • Chuck Taylor was outstanding on commentary. I hope to hear more of him.
  • This felt a little weird with no Young Bucks, Juice Robinson, Cody Rhodes, Scurll.

10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor

Rating guide

10- Perfect, 9- MOTY Territory, 8- Excellent, 7- Great, 6- Good, 5- Average to above average, 4- Slightly below average, 3 or below: Poor

Each match starts at a 5 and slides up and down based on entertainment, execution, time, environment, reaction and stakes. The ratings are in no way an indication of a "star rating," which is a completely different system. A standard, non-offensive "TV match" lands at a 5.The gap between 5.75-6 is generally the largest, with anything reaching 6 being recommended viewing.
 

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