Wrestle Kingdom season has firmly begun. With Power Struggle being the final big show before the Tokyo Dome on January 4th, excluding the World Tag League tournament, this is an event you will not want to miss, and with the very exciting Super Junior Tag League taking place leading up to PS, we’re in for some good quality weeks of pro wrestling ahead. Here’s everything you need to know about both Power Struggle and the Super Junior Tag League.
Why You Should Watch These Shows
- For the first time ever, Super Junior Tag League will be a round-robin tournament rather than an elimination tournament, much like the G1 Climax.
- That means we will get to see more matches (with a higher chance of seeing some great ones) and every team will face each other at least once.
- Super Junior Tag League will be an opportunity to see new additions to the New Japan roster, such as Eagles and Takagi, as well as exciting members of other promotions that we don’t get to see too often.
- Power Struggle will be the last major show before Wrestle Kingdom. It will set up any remaining matches for that event (other than the heavyweight tag team match which will be decided through the World Tag League), so expect some interesting events to take place there.
- With so much happening with Jay White, Gedo and the rest of the BC OG at King of Pro Wrestling, it’ll be interesting to see how they work together going forward, and how their feud with Okada will blossom.
- In my opinion, when it comes to in-ring action, no promotion in the world can rival New Japan Pro Wrestling right now.
- NJPW has some of the best wrestlers in the world signed to its roster, and with fewer restrictions and more time for matches and builds than WWE, the quality of their matches is the best in the world. If you love professional wrestling, you owe it to yourself to at least attempt to watch this promotion once or twice.
Junior Tag League Teams
Taiji Ishimori and Robbie Eagles – BCOG’s
BC OG are currently on a hunt for new members, and they’ve recruited a great one for the Super Junior Tag League. Robbie Eagles is one of Australia’s biggest up-and-coming stars. His high-flying moves and reputation for having solid matches has allowed him to face some of the world’s biggest stars in 2018, and now he’s coming into New Japan as a member of the company’s newest faction.
From these two, you can expect some really quick, slick offence with plenty of flips and surprising strength. There’s a good chance you will be seeing these two finish in the top half of the table.
BUSHI and Shingo Takagi – LIJ
And now for another new addition to the NJPW roster. At King of Pro Wrestling, the paraja of LIJ, Shingo Takagi, was revealed to the world, and quickly made a big impression. So now, Takagi has a series of at least seven matches to show everyone just how good he is, and how important he is to his new faction. With Shingo and BUSHI bringing a lot of experience, popularity and momentum to this tourney, there’s a chance they will breeze their way into the finals.
Volador Jr. and Soberano Jr. – CMLL
You can thank New Japan’s relationship with the oldest active wrestling promotion in the world for this team.
If you’ve never seen either of these men perform before, you’re in for a treat. You are all guaranteed to be blown away by Soberano Jr.’s aerial skills, as well as how ridiculously smooth Volador Jr. is when flying through the air. Each match will be like a trapeze act at a circus, and I will love every minute of it.
Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask
The two veterans of Junior Tag League come together to try and get one last shot at the titles, and one last tournament win to add to their impressive collections. These two men are timeless anime creatures, so don’t expect their age to hold them back from putting on a great showing.
ACH and Rysuke Taguchi – Taguchi Japan
Butts and flips – what more could you want?
ACH is one of the best high flyers around today that manages to move around the ring in his own unique way. Whenever he journeys over to New Japan, he consistently delivers. Teaming with ACH is the captain of Taguchi Japan, who although loves to have fun most of the time, can be a seriously surprising athlete when he wants to be. Expect plenty of silliness yet also plenty of great pro wrestling from this pairing.
SHO and YOH – CHAOS
Here we have the reigning Super Junior Tag League champions, Roppongi 3K. Last year, they won the tournament whilst also being the reigning IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions. Although they aren’t holding gold into this year’s tourney, they’ll be hoping to be back-to-back winners in order to reclaim their titles at Wrestle Kingdom.
Chris Sabin and KUSHIDA
The now retired Alex Shelley was a part of two major tag teams during his great career – The Motor City Machine Guns, and The Time Splitters. With Shelley gone from active competition, there was no chance of MCMG in the Super Junior Tag League, or a Time Splitters reunion. But what do we have instead? A merging of two teams.
MCMG’s Chris Sabin and Time Splitters’ KUSHIDA will be teaming up for the first time ever for a chance to compete for the junior tag belts. Will they be able to replicate the chemistry of either of their former teams? Will they be reviving old tag team moves? Will this become more of a permanent pairing? I can’t wait to find out.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado
And finally, the reigning champions. Through sneaky tactics, cunning shenanigans, and a lot of whiskey spitting, Kanemaru and Desperado have managed to hold the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships throughout most of 2018. Can they use those same under-handed methods to cheat their way to winning this tournament?
Junior Tag League Schedule
Live events are in red, black text means the matches will be uploaded later as VOD. VOD content is typically added within 24 hours of the event (Junior Tag League matches only will be uploaded, not full shows)
Please note: ALL live shows will have English commentary, but VOD matches are unlikely to have any commentary at all
October 16th LIVE – 10:30am (UK), 2:30am (Pacific), 5:30am (Eastern), 6:30pm (Japan)
Liger and Tiger vs. Ishimori and Eagles
ACH and Taguchi vs. Volador Jr. and Soberano Jr.
Sabin and KUSHIDA vs. Kanemaru and Desperado
SHO and YOH vs. Shingo and BUSHI
October 17th LIVE – 10:30am (UK), 2:30am (Pacific), 5:30am (Eastern), 6:30pm (Japan)
Liger and Tiger vs. Volador Jr. and Soberano Jr.
ACH and Taguchi vs. Ishimori and Eagles
Sabin and KUSHIDA vs. Shingo and BUSHI
YOH and SHO vs. Kanemaru and Desperado
October 19 VOD
Liger and Tiger vs. Shingo and BUSHI
ACH and Taguchi vs. Kanemaru and Desperado
October 20 VOD
Sabin and KUSHIDA vs. Volador Jr. and Soberano Jr.
YOH and SHO vs. Ishimori and Eagles
October 22 VOD
Volador Jr. and Soberano Jr. vs. Shingo and BUSHI
Liger and Tiger vs. YOH and SHO
October 23 VOD
Ishimori and Eagles vs. Kanemaru and Desperado
Sabin and KUSHIDA vs. ACH and Taguchi
October 26 LIVE – 10:30am (UK), 2:30am (Pacific), 5:30am (Eastern), 6:30pm (Japan)
Liger and Tiger vs. Sabin and KUSHIDA
Volador Jr. and Soberano Jr. vs. Kanemaru and Desperado
Shingo and BUSHI vs. Ishimori and Eagles
ACH and Taguchi vs. YOH and SHO
October 27 LIVE – 10:30am (UK), 2:30am (Pacific), 5:30am (Eastern), 6:30pm (Japan)
Liger and Tiger vs. ACH and Taguchi
Volador Jr. and Soberano Jr. vs. YOH and SHO
Sabin and KUSHIDA vs. Ishimori and Eagles
Shingo and BUSHI vs. Kanemaru and Desperado
October 28 VOD
Liger and Tiger vs. Kanemaru and Desperado
October 29 VOD
ACH and Taguchi vs. Shingo and BUSHI
October 31 VOD
Volador Jr. and Soberano Jr. vs. Ishimori and Eagles
November 1 VOD
Sabin and KUSHIDA vs. YOH and SHO
The final will take place live at Power Struggle on November 3rd
Power Struggle Start Times
- 8am (UK), 1am (Pacific), 4am (Eastern), 5pm (Japan)
Power Struggle Matches
Chris Jericho (C) vs. EVIL – for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Finally, Jericho will be defending his Intercontinental Championship.
After winning the belt back at Dominion in dominating fashion against Tetsuya Naito, Jericho was confronted by EVIL after a post-match assault to the King of Darkness’ fellow stablemate. Following months of silence in New Japan, Y2J showed his face once again when he destroyed EVIL prior to a match against Zack Sabre Jr., to the point where he could not compete.
At Power Struggle, expect an all-out brawl when EVIL can finally get his hands on the man that has taken out two members of Los Ingobernables de Japon (and dressed as another in the crowd once). Jericho will be looking to make a major impression going into Wrestle Kingdom, so don’t be surprised if he takes his new-found vicious streak to unseen levels in this title defence.
Tetsuya Naito vs. Zack Sabre Jr.
On the final day of G1 Climax tournament competition, ZSJ defeated Tetsuya Naito, preventing him from going onto the finals. Ever since, Zack Sabre Jr. has been taunting Naito and the rest of LIJ with his own amazing brand of cockiness. When the Technical Wizard and the former IWGP World Heavyweight Champion clash once again, we’re bound for another technical masterpiece.
Taichi vs. Hirooki Goto – for the NEVER Openweight Championship
The NEVER Openweight Championship was created as a way of bridging New Japan’s weight limits together. Both the heavyweight and junior heavyweight wrestlers are eligible to compete for the belt, however, in the title’s history, no junior has ever held the belt.
…And it may be another month or so before that becomes a possibility as the original challenger for this match, Will Ospreay, is unfortunately injured and cannot compete. The injury isn’t too serious though and he should be back well in time for Wrestle Kingdom.
Instead, we’re getting the rematch between Taichi and Hirooki Goto. Expect some hard-hitting strong style, and some very tiny trunks in this bout.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Tomohiro Ishii – for the RevPro British Heavyweight Championship
Suzuki and Ishii have battled twice before for this belt over in England (I was lucky enough to see one of these bouts live), both of which were great, punishing affairs, but now they’re bringing their title feud over to Japan. This battle of strong style could potentially steal the show if either of their two encounters are anything to go by.
Hiroshi Tanahashi and David Finlay vs. The Golden Lovers
On the road to Wrestle Kingdom, we get a taste of the main event with this tag match. Omega and Ibushi face Tanahashi and Finlay in what could make for a very interesting bout.
Kazuchika Okada and Beretta vs. Jay White and Bad Luck Fale
Okada brought Jay White into CHAOS on January 6th this year, which divided opinion amongst fans and stable members alike. Well, Okada’s decision backfired on him when he was beaten by White during the G1, and when he turned his back on the rest of CHAOS after attacking Okada on September 23rd.
Since that appropriate backstabbing from Switchblade, this will be the first time Okada and White will be in the same match together after the crumbling of CHAOS. Also, this will be the first bout since White joined the BC OG, teaming with Bad Luck Fale, so it will be interesting to see the chemistry and the relationship between the two.
Junior Tag League Finals
The two teams with the highest number of points will square off once more to decide the tournament winner.
How to Watch
- The only way to watch all of these shows is through the company’s streaming service – NJPW World. – CLICK HERE FOR MY GUIDE ON USING AND GETTING THE MOST OUT OF NJPW WORLD
- NJPW World can be accessed through an official app on Amazon Fire Sticks, as well as through on PS4 and Xbox One browsers, laptops, phones and tablets with Chromecast support.
- Do not use the iOS/Android app. Just use your browser if watching on your phone or tablet.
- Not only does it work out at slightly cheaper than WWE Network every month, it offers regular live shows, as well as access to previous events from decades past, matches from select indie promotions such as Ring of Honor and RevPro, the full ALL IN show, and exclusive documentaries that follow the lives of both their Japanese and English speaking roster members.
- Please note that there is no free trial period available, so you will need to purchase the service in order to watch.
- Regardless of when you sign up, the billing date for NJPW World is the first day of every month for every user (so you could be charged 2 days in a row if you signed up on the last day of a month) – IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON SIGNING UP, DO IT AS CLOSE TO THE BEGINNING OF THE MONTH AS POSSIBLE.
- Once you cancel your subscription, you immediately cannot use your account, even if you have weeks left until your next billing date – IF YOU ARE PLANNING ON CANCELLING, DO IT AS CLOSE TO THE END OF THE MONTH AS POSSIBLE.
- Live shows are available to watch in full usually within thirty minutes after they’ve been broadcast.
- IF YOU HAVE AXS TV - The channel will be showing a selection of matches from the tournament and Power Struggle in the coming weeks following the events, so if you’re unsure of whether you want to subscribe or not, watching on AXS TV first could be a good way of testing the waters first.
- Personally I’d recommend watching on NJPW World in order to enjoy the excitement of the full show without having to wait or watching edited versions of matches (editing is bound to happen with longer matches).
- Also, the NJPW World English commentary team is almost universally considered to be superior to AXS TV’s, and will provide new fans with far more information to explain wrestler and story line backgrounds, so it could be a far better way to introduce yourself to the product.
How to Avoid Streaming Issues
- Although not many users experience these anymore, NJPW World has been known in the past for having some streaming issues
- Streaming issues are very uncommon these days
- BEST WAY TO AVOID ISSUES: NJPW World has two different servers for streaming – one for Fire TV and browsers, and one for mobile and tablet devices. The Fire TV and browser stream is the one that’s known to experience issues, so if you are having troubles, I would recommend switching to watching on a mobile or tablet device
What if I want to Sample Some NJPW Matches First for Free?
- Check out New Japan’s English language YouTube channel. They regularly upload past matches featuring full English commentary, including world title matches. They upload a new free match every Monday that has some sort of connection to an upcoming show.
- Also, they upload press conferences, interviews, promos and sometimes documentaries with English subtitles.
- If you have AXS TV, you can watch their New Japan highlight show every Friday night, however the shows aren’t covered until several weeks after they’ve aired live.
Where Do I Go From After Power Struggle?
- We are on the road to Wrestle Kingdom, so you will want to stick around.
- If you haven’t already, catch up on the fantastic G1 Climax tournament, the best matches of which you can find here.
- The winner of the Super Junior Tag League (unless it is the reigning champs) will face the champions at Wrestle Kingdom.
- November and December will include the World Tag League tournament, all leading up to the biggest show of the year, Wrestle Kingdom on January 4th, which is absolutely cannot miss.
Recommended Matches with Links and English Commentary
Junior Tag League Prep Matches
- ACH and Taguchi vs. SHO and YOH – Power Struggle 2017
- Shingo Takagi and Akira Tozawa vs. Eita and T-Hawk – Dragon Gate (Japanese commentary)
- BUSHI and Hiromu Takahashi vs. SHO and YOH – Junior Tag League 2017 (Japanese commentary)
- Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask vs. Kanemaru and El Desperado – Destruction in Kobe 2018
- Volador Jr., Soberano Jr. and Drone vs. Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi and BUSHI – Fantasticamania 2018
- KUSHIDA vs. Chris Sabin – BOSJ 2018
- Taiji Ishimori vs. Hiromu Takahashi – BOSJ Finals 2018 (One of the best matches of the year)
- Robbie Eagles vs. Will Ospreay – PWA Call to Arms 2017
Power Struggle Prep Matches
- Chris Jericho vs. Tetsuya Naito – Dominion 2018
- Zack Sabre Jr. vs. Tetsuya Naito – G1 Climax 2018
- EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada – G1 Climax 2018
- Kazuchika Okada vs. Jay White – G1 Climax 2018
- Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll – Fighting Spirit Unleashed
- Kenny Omega vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi – New Beginning 2016 (Japanese commentary)
- Minoru Suzuki vs. Tomohiro Ishii – Strong Style Evolved UK
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