The Intercontinental championship is thrust back into the spotlight at this morning’s Power Struggle event in Osaka.
Chris Jericho will defend the Intercontinental championship for the first time as he faces EVIL. It was EVIL who saved Tetsuya Naito at Dominion after Jericho jumped him after their match. Jericho then resurfaced at King of Pro Wrestling, attacking EVIL in disguise.
The finals of this year’s Power Struggle tournament will also be decided. In a surprise, the tournament ended in a three way tie between champions El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Roppongi 3K and Shingo Takagi & BUSHI. It was ruled that the finals would be competed in a three way match.
Other title matches tonight include a RPW British Heavyweight title match with champion Tomohiro Ishii taking on Minoru Suzuki. Taichi will also defend the NEVER Openweight championship against Hirooki Goto, who is subbing for an injured Will Ospreay.
We’ll also see the continuation of the feud between Kazuchika Okada and Jay White, as they will square off in tag team action in the undercard. Same goes for the Wrestle Kingdom 13 main event as the Golden Lovers will face Hiroshi Tanahashi and David Finlay.
Join us for live coverage starting at 4:00 a.m. EDT. There will be English commentary, with Kevin Kelly and Chuckie T calling the action.
RYUSUKE TAGUCHI, ACH, CHRIS SABIN & TOA HENARE DEFEATED JUSHIN LIGER, TIGER MASK, VOLADOR JR. & SOBERANO JR. (6:08)
Not much to this. A little bit of comedy, and not a lot of time to do much else.
Taguchi's team came out wearing their rugby gear, and ACH and Tiger did some comedy spots with a rugby ball early. Liger hit a senton off the apron and used a Romero special on Sabin.
Volador and Sabin had a nice sequence, capped off by Sabin hitting a missile dropkick. Volador hit a superkick, forcing Sabin to tag Henare. Henare hit a vertical suplex for a two count. Volador went for a frankensteiner, but Henare blocked, then hit a clothesline.
Taguchi and Soberano tagged in. Soberano slipped going for a springboard, but hit a nice tornillo. Taguchi hit a hip attack on Tiger and Liger. They did a four corners hip attack spot involving all eight guys. Taguchi used a wheelbarrow on Soberano, ACH hit him with an x-factor, and Taguchi got the quick pin.
TAMA TONGA, TANGA LOA & ROBBIE EAGLES DEFEATED TOGI MAKABE, TOMOAKI HONMA & KUSHIDA (7:39)
This was more storyline than match. The deal is that Taiji Ishimori isn't really hurt, and will be challenging KUSHIDA for the Jr. Heavyweight title.
The OGs attacked before the bell. Jado used a kendo stick on Honma from the outside, cutting him off before he could hit Eagles with a kokeshi. Eagles and Loa worked over Honma with some basic offense. KUSHIDA broke up a pin attempt. Eagles hit double knees in the corner and KUSHIDA broke up another pin.
Tonga tagged in. Honma made a brief comeback, but missed a kokeshi. Honma hit a backdrop and tagged Makabe. Makabe hit corner lariats on Tonga and Loa, and hit a powerslam on Eagles. Makabe's team all hit ten punches in the corner. KUSHIDA got a tag and hit a cartwheel dropkick.
The match broke down and all six guys jumped in. Makabe hit a double lariat on Tonga and Loa. Honma hit a kokeshi on Loa, another on eagles, and a diving one to Tonga. Tonga went for a gun stun on KUSHIDA, but KUSHIDA turned it into a hoverboard lock. Jado jumped on the apron for a distraction.
Jado hit KUSHIDA with a kendo stick. Taiji Ishimori jumped in from the floor with a crutch, and hit KUSHIDA with it while Jado took the referee. Tonga hit a gun stun, and picked up the pinfall.
KAZUCHIKA OKADA & BERETTA DEFEATED SWITCHBLADE JAY WHITE & BAD LUCK FALE (4:33)
This also was more storyline than match, building for the inevitable White vs. Okada showdown.
Okada hit a pescado on Switchblade before the bell, and they brawled into the crowd. Okada posted White's left arm, and Beretta and Fale started off as the legal men in the ring. That lasted a few seconds, before White jumped in and went after Okada.
All four guys brawled around ringside. Okada hit a draping DDT on White from the security fence to the floor. Beretta hit a suicide dive to Fale, but Fale popped right up and posted him. Fale hit an avalanche and a big splash for a two count.
Okada was still busy on the floor.
Fale hit a grenade. Gedo grabbed Okada's ankle, and he was unable to make a save. Fale went for the bad luck fall, but Beretta turned it into a victory roll and got the upset win.
After the bell, Fale beat down Beretta, while White and Okada brawled all around ringside. The crowd was hot for this.
White grabbed a mic and challenged Okada to a one-on-one match without any seconds, anytime, anywhere. Okada said how about now, but White begged off.
KENNY OMEGA AND KOTA IBUSHI DEFEATED HIROSHI TANAHASHI & DAVID FINLAY (9:48)
This was exactly what it should have been. They did a slight tease for the Tokyo Dome with Tana and Omega. After the match, they continued to tease that Ibushi is slightly conflicted in hihs loyalties between Omega and Tana.
Tana and Omega started off, trading blows. Tana sidestepped a v-trigger, while Omega ducked two lariat attempts. This was a perfect tease.
Ibushi and Finlay tagged in. Ibushi and Omega used a series of quick tags, working over Finlay. Omega hit a kotaro krusher. Ibushi took a series of forearms from Finlay, then dropped him with one of his own. Omega dropped Finlay with a back elbow. Tana jumped in for a save, but Omega took him to the floor and whipped him into the security fence. Omega continued to work on Finlay, then hit a plancha on Tana.
Finlay was finally able to make a tag. Tana ran wild. He dropkicked Ibushi off the apron and hit a dragon screw on Omega. Omega hit you can't escape, but tweaked his right knee. Tana hit a dragon screw to the bad leg. Omega hit a snap dragon suplex, but continued selling the leg.
Omega went for a one-winged angel, but Tana countered it into a twist and shout. Both tagged out. Ibushi hit Finlay with a mid kick, then hit a standing moonsault. Finlay and Ibushi traded shots, and Finlay dropped Ibushi on his head with an uranage.
Ibushi hit a straight jacket german. Tana jumped in and hit him with a slingblade. Omega jumped in and blasted Tana with a v-trigger. Ibushi and Omega hit the golden trigger on Finlay, and pinned him.
SUPER JR. TAG LEAGUE 2018 FINAL: ROPPONGI 3K DEFEATED SHINGO TAKAGI & BUSHI, YOSHINOBU KANEMARU & EL DESPERADO TO WIN THE 2018 SUPER JR. TAG LEAGUE (15:56)
A good match with a crazy last couple of minutes, but not a blow away classic or anything. The rules here were interesting. Only two men were legal at any time. Anyone could tag anyone.
Suzuki-gun attacked before the bell, but Roppongi 3K quickly recovered and hit a series of dropkicks. SHO and Desperado ended up the legal men.
Shingo got a tag and hit SHO with a double sledge to the chest, a running knee, and a vertical suplex. Shingo hit a senton while BUSHI hit a legdrop. SHO was able to tag YOH, who ran wild with dropkicks and dragon screws. Kanemaru tagged in and hit YOH with a knee lift.
The pace slowed as Desperado tagged in and worked over YOH. Desperado hit a flip dive through the middle rope onto both members of LIJ, while Kanemaru continued working over YOH. Kanemaru hit a sloppy tornado DDT, and YOH countered with a falcon arrow, into a double down.
YOH made a tag to Shingo, and Shingo ran wild on Kanemaru. Shingo hit a pop-up death valley driver for two. Shingo held Kanemaru while BUSHI hit a backstabber, and Shingo got a two count. Kanemaru used a rollup for two. BUSHI hit a frankensteiner to the floor. SHO tagged himself in, leaving Shingo and SHO legal.
SHO hit a dropkick. He went for a deadlift german, but Shingo blocked. SHO and YOH hit stereo knees. They teased a 3K on Shingo, but BUSHI made the save. Desperado jumped in and hit a spear. Shingo hit the yoshigami and a pumping bomber, but SHO kicked out.
SHO and YOH hit the 3K on Shingo, but Desperado pulled the ref out of the ring. Desperado got a nearfall. He went for the pinche loco, but BUSHI jumped in and sprayed him with black mist. SHO ducked whiskey mist. Desperado kicked out of a lungblower from SHO, then SHO hit the shock arrow and got the pin.
SHO cut a promo after the match, and said that Roppongi 3K will challenge for the Jr. Heavyweight tag titles.
NEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE MATCH: HIROOKI GOTO DEFEATED TAICHI TO WIN THE NEVER OPENWEIGHT TITLE (15:03)
I think they intended to have a boring match as a change of pace or a buffer before the top matches on the card. At least I hope that was the plan. Goto's selling was excellent, but the match was slow, plodding, dull, and didn't have any heat.
Taichi jumped Goto before the match, and hit him with a suplex. Goto sold it as though he had been killed. Taichi made a cover, but pulled Goto up at two so he could beat him up some more. Taichi sent Goto outside and hit him with chairs, leaving him for dead. There were light pro and anti-Taichi chants.
Goto beat the count back in at 19, then kicked out at two. Goto threw a couple of weak palm strikes. Goto ducked a charge in the corner and hit a mid kick. Goto hit a leg lariat and a Saito suplex for a two count.
Goto went for an ushigoroshi, but Taichi raked the eyes. Taichi hit some kicks and stomps. Taichi got a nearfall off a buzzsaw kick, then took his pants off. Goto blocked a kick and hit an ushigoroshi.
They hit simultaneous lariats, then Taichi hit a thumb to the eye and dropped Goto with a lariat. Goto hit a backdrop. Goto hit a spinning facebuster for a two count. Taichi threw the ref down and hit a low blow, then used a gedo clutch for a two count.
Taichi hit a lariat to the back of the neck, a last ride, then used a jackknife cover for a two count. Goto hit a reverse GTR, but couldn't follow up. Taichi grabbed the title. Goto recovered, ducked a belt shot, and hit a headbutt. He hit an ushigoroshi and a mid kick for a nearfall.
Goto teased a GTR, then hit shoten kai. He followed with a GTR for the pin.
RPW BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: TOMOHIRO ISHII DEFEATED MINORU SUZUKI TO RETAIN THE RPW BRITISH HEAVYWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (19:22)
This was exactly what you would expect from these two. They hit each other hard. It was intense.
They charged at each other like two rams as the opening bell sounded. Ishii hit a ton of forearms in the corner, but Suzuki no-sold them. Suzuki went for a PK but Ishii ducked it. They stood in the center of the ring and blasted each other with short forearms.
Suzuki baited Ishii over to the ropes and went for a rope-assisted armbar, but Ishii pulled away. Suzuki rolled to the floor, but Ishii tossed him right back inside. Ishii hit a series of chops, but Suzuki demanded more. Suzuki hit three mid kicks and Ishii sold them big, rolling to the floor to collect himself.
Ishii came back in, but ate more kicks. Suzuki hit a series of knee strikes, then dropped Ishii with a kick. Suzuki hit some knees to the ribs on the mat. Ishii got to his knees and hit some right hands to Suzuki's mid section, but Suzuki came back with shhort forearm shots.
Suzuki taunted Ishii with short kicks to the head, and Ishii fired back with chops to the chest and throat, then hit some taunting kicks of his own. They exchanged hard forearm shots for a long time. Ishii finally dropped against the ropes.
Suzuki attempted to irish whip Ishii, but Ishii fell to the mat. Suzuki hit a series of kicks, and a running boot to the face for a two count. Suzuki hit a yakuza kick and a follow up series of PKs, but Ishii no-sold them and stood up. Suzuki hit some short strikes, but Ishii no-sold and hit a lariat in the corner.
Ishii placed Suzuki on the top rope, lifted him off, and hit a powerbomb. Suzuki ducked a lariat. He teased a rear naked choke, but Ishii slipped out and hit a vertical suplex, dropping Suzuki. They exchanged palm strikes to the face, and Suzuki hit another running boot.
They had a slap fight. Ishii hit a lariat. Suzuki went for a RNC, but Ishii slipped out. Ishii hit the ropes, and Suzuki hit a dropkick. Suzuki was bleeding from the mouth. Suzuki finally got the rear naked, and went for the Gotch. Ishii escaped and hit a lariat, but Suzuki no-sold it and dropped Ishii with a lariat.
Suzuki hit four short forearms, then went for the Gtoch, but Ishii dropped him on his head with an inverted spike piledriver. Ishii hit a lariat, then a headbutt. Ishii hit a sliding lariat for a nearfall. Suzuki got another RNC, went for the Gotch, but Ishii slid out, and dropped Suzuki with a clothesline.
Ishii hit a lariat, then hit a vertical drop brainbuster for the pin.
TETSUYA NAITO DEFEATED ZACK SABRE JR. (20:13)
A really good match. Naito is excellent at working the other guy's style, while fitting his trademark spots around whatever his opponent wants to do.
They started with some mat work and grappled to a stalemate. Naito rolled to the floor, stalling. Back inside, Sabre used a headlock takeover. Naito hit a pair of armdrags and dropkick to the back. While Naito posed, Sabre jumped in and applied a triangle, but Naito reached the ropes, then rolled to the floor.
Sabre worked Naito's left arm over the bottom rope as he rolled back inside, and continued to torque on it. Naito again escaped to the outside, but this time Sabre followed, and applied an ankle lock on the ramp. Naito was selling all of his limbs. Both knees were heavily taped, and Sabre worked over the arms. Back inside, Sabre used a single leg crab, then tied up the right arm as well, before Naito reached the ropes.
Sabre hit some uppercuts, then attacked the right leg with a kick, and Naito went down. Naito hit an inverted atomic drop, then a step-up frankensteiner. Naito hit an inverted DDT and a dropkick to the back of a seated Sabre.
Naito went for the swinging dropkick, but Sabre countered. Naito hit an inverted DDT for a nearfall. Naito hit a top rope reverse frankensteiner, but Sabre rolled through and turned it into a rings of saturn. He sold as though his neck was hurt from some back elbows earlier from Naito, and he didn't have enough feeling in his hands to lock it in tightly. Naito reached the ropes.
Sabre hit an uppercut, but Naito countered with a palm strike to the chest. Naito hit a series of forearms to the side of the neck in the corner, and followed with a sliding dropkick to the neck. Naito hit a tornado DDT, then hit gloria for two at the fifteen minute mark.
Sabre ducked the flying forearm and applied an octopus. Sabre rolled into a calf killer, then a kneebar. He went for napalm death, but couldn't lock it in because of the lost feeling in his hands. Sabre pulled off his wrist tape to try to increase blood flow to his hands.
Sabre hit a series of uppercuts, then hit a PK and got a nearfall. Sabre caught an enziguri and turned it into an ankle lock, but Naito slid out. He popped up and hit destino, but Sabre kicked out at two. They traded cradles for two close nearfalls.
Naito caught a kick and hit an enziguri. Naito countered a Zack driver and dropped Sabre on his head with a modified brainbuster. Naito followed with a second destino and got the pin.
IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: CHRIS JERICHO DEFEATED EVIL TO RETAIN THE IWGP INTERCONTINENTAL CHAMPIONSHIP (21:40)
A really good brawl. Not at the level of Jericho's Wrestle Kingdom match, but similar in style to Jericho's match with Naito.
Jericho entered wearing facepaint, a hat, a scarf, a jacket, leather pants, and two masks. As he went to remove the second mask, EVIL attacked. He dragged Jericho into the crowd, and posted him. EVIL hit a suplex on the floor. EVIL teased a powerbomb through a table, but Jericho backdropped him on the floor.
Jericho choked EVIL with his t-shirt, then sent EVIL over the first security fence. Jericho hit a DDT on an announce table. Jericho grabbed a New Japan banner off the table and used it to blow his nose. In the ring, Jericho hit a high cross off the top for a two count.
Jericho hit an enziguri for a two count. EVIL fired back with chops and kicks. EVIL hit the ropes, but ran into a superkick. Jericho hit a lionsault for another nearfall. Jericho went up top, but EVIL cut him off. Jericho headbutted him off the top, then hit a back elbow off the top for another two count. There were some light EVIL chants, but louder Y2J chants, so Jericho flipped off the crowd.
EVIL hit a kick to the gut, then clotheslined Jericho over the top to the floor. EVIL sent Jericho into the security fence, then grabbed a chair from under the ring. He hit Jericho with a chair, then Pillmanized Jericho's neck with a chair, sending him into the post. EVIL then swung a second chair and hit the chair around Jericho's neck.
Back inside, EVIL hit a lariat and a fisherman buster for a two count. EVIL went for a dropkick in the corner, but Jericho turned it into a lion tamer attempt. EVIL flipped out of it. Jericho low-bridged EVIL, who went to the apron. They fought on the apron, teasing a bump through the table on the floor. EVIL finally hit an STO off the apron, and they crashed through the table. There was a light "this is awesome" chant. EVIL tossed Jericho back inside, breaking the count at 16.
EVIL went for a senton off the top. He overshot it, but everyone sold it like he hit it. EVIL went for everything is EVIL, but Jericho slid off and grabbed the legs. Jericho applied the walls of Jericho, but EVIL reached the ropes. Jericho thought EVIL tapped out. The referee said no, he reached the ropes. Jericho shoved the ref. EVIL hit a lariat for two.
Jericho went for a second lionsault, but EVIL escaped and hit darkness falls. Jericho kicked out at two. Jericho used a cradle for two. EVIL blocked a codebreaker, then both hit lariats at the same time for a double down.
They did a misdirection spot, and Jericho hit a codebreaker off of it, but only got a two count. Jericho went for a double sledge off the top, but EVIL caught him, and hit an STO for a two count. EVIL hit a big lariat.
They teased everything is EVIL, then a low blow, then darkness falls, but Jericho rolled through into the walls. EVIL reached for the ropes, but Jericho switched to a lion tamer, trapping the arm, and EVIL tapped out.
Jericho applied the walls after the match, and Naito ran in for the save. He hit Jericho with a couple of shots, but Jericho bailed. Naito held the ropes open, but Jericho walked off with the title.
Naito cut a promo after the match and announced himself as Jericho's next challenger.
At the post-match press conference, Jericho said he already beat Naito, and there won't be a rematch at Wrestle Kingdom, at Madison Square Garden, or anywhere.