Is the Cutthroat Era rising again?
With everyone chasing the same goal of becoming a dual champion, Jay White has a head start as THE IWGP Intercontinental Champion! But does Hirooki Goto end that tonight?
Coverage of Power Struggle 2019 will be as broadcast on AXS TV.
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White VS Hirooki Goto; White wins and retains the IWGP Intercontinental Championship.
PLAY BY PLAY
NJPW and AXS TV set the scene for Power Struggle’s beginning!
The freshly minted IWGP Intercontinental Champion looks to hijack Tetsuya Naito’s destiny by becoming the first dual champion in NJPW first. However, for The Switchblade to usher in the new era, he must get through the Fierce Warrior of Chaos! The 2019 record between them is tied, so this tiebreaker is golden! Who leaves Osaka leading the race towards history?
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White VS Hirooki Goto!
There’s no point in delaying the inevitable! Does White’s journey to history begin now? Or does Goto deny it outright?
Introductions are made, the belt is raised, and this tiebreaker on the road to destiny begins after the break.
NJPW on AXS returns and fans rally up for Goto already. White and Goto circle, but then White slips out of the ring. The classic strategy is in effect already, and Goto demands White gets in. White takes his time returning, and circles with Goto to actually tie up. Goto puts White on the ropes but lets up, only for White to pie face and slip away again. White wants Goto to stay back and the ref keeps Goto in the ring. White gets up and in again, dodges a clothesline and headlocks. Goto powers out, but White grabs ropes and slips out a third time. White laughs until Goto gives chase. They go into the ring, White runs but Goto is ready and they bump shoulders. Neither budges so White tries again. Still nothing, so he tries a third time. White bumps Goto, Goto staggers back, but White gets out of the ring before Goto can return.
Goto gives chase again but White slips back in the ring. White stomps Goto as he slides back in then fires off clubbing forearms. White runs but Goto runs him over! Fans cheer this bit of karma on White. But White puts Goto in a corner to CHOP! Goto turns it around to fire off furious forearms! The ref backs Goto off but Goto throws White into buckles! Goto drags White up and snapmares him to a swift kick to the back! White scrambles but Goto drags him back for another kick! White writhes and Goto brings him up for ropes. Goto whips, White holds ropes again but he boots this time. Goto clotheslines White out anyway! Goto goes out but Gedo gets a cheap shot in! The ref reprimands Gedo but Goto glares at the traitor. White attacks from behind but the forearms barely do a thing. Goto DECKS White with a right!
Goto tells the ref to keep Gedo back, which he does. But this all distracts Goto from seeing White pick up a chair! White JAMS the chair into Goto’s back! White tucks the chair back under the ring and then plays innocent. The ref wants them to get this back in the ring, but White brings Goto up to RAM into railing! And again! The ref reprimands White but he just takes Goto around the way. White says hi to Katsuyori Shibata on Japanese commentary, before snap suplexing Goto into the railing! Shibata stands and the ref has to keep him at bay now. White hurries off into the ring to rest, and the ring count begins. The count climbs to 5, then 10 of 20. Goto stirs at 11 and crawls at 14. Goto rises at 17 and hops in at 18! But White is on that battered back with knee drop after knee drop!
White grabs a leg and turns Goto over for a Half Crab! Goto endures as White sits down deep. Fans rally up while Gedo taunts Goto. Goto powers up and crawls, reaches, and gets the ropebreak! But White holds on until the count of 4! Goto winces but White keeps the ref’s attention. Gedo yanks the blue corner’s buckle pad in the distraction! White whips Goto that way, and Goto hits bare buckles hard! Goto goes down, White covers, TWO! The Fierce Warrior won’t fall so easily, and we go to break.
NJPW on AXS is back and White is back on Goto with a chinlock. White digs his knee into Goto’s back, but Goto endures. Goto works his way up to his feet and fights back with body shots. White clubs Goto’s back to then throw him down by his hair! White drags Goto up but Goto blocks the suplex. Goto hits back with body shots again, but now White blocks the suplex. White clubs Goto’s back over and over, and over and over! But Goto fires up! Only for White to rake his eyes, and throw him down by his hair again! White soaks up the heat but Osaka rallies for Goto. White drags Goto up, dodges Goto’s retaliation and rocks him with a right. Goto stays on his feet, and dares White to hit him harder! White throws a BIG right forearm, but Goto still wants more! White throws another, and starts growing annoyed with Goto’s fighting spirit.
White throws forearm after forearm after forearm after forearm after forearm, but none of them slow Goto down! So White just keeps throwing more, and then adds European Uppercuts! Goto comes back with ONE BIG forearm and floors White! Goto whips White but White reverses, but Goto blocks the hip toss to give a hip toss! Osaka comes alive for Goto ash e runs at White. But White catches and EXPLODER SUPLEXES Goto out of the ring! The ref checks on Goto after he crashes and burns, but White adds on by whipping Goto. Goto reverses to send White into railing! Goto clotheslines White over! White is down in the gap but Goto goes after him. Goto drags White back to ringside, to whip into railing on the far side! White writhes but Goto won’t stop, he whips White back the other way! White falls to his knees but Goto drags him up to put into the ring.
Fans rally up as Goto catches his breath. Goto runs in, windmill kick in the corner! SAIDO SUPLEX! Cover, TWO! White survives but Goto is not deterred. Goto drags White up again but White clamps onto a leg. Goto clubs White then drags him up into a fireman’s carry. But White rakes eyes! White gets to the apron and holds onto the ref as he “apologizes.” Goto staggers over, White shoves the ref at Goto! Goto pushes the ref out of the way but White hotshots Goto! White slides in, DDT drops Goto! White watches Goto crawl while also getting himself to a corner. White runs corner to corner, BIG EuroUpper! Fireman’s carry, Death Valley DDT! Cover, TWO! White is frustrated but Osaka rallies up again.
White gives toying kicks and slaps to Goto, and then brings Goto up. Goto blocks the suplex and suplexes back, but his back holds him back. Goto still resists White’s suplex, spins out, but White forearms away! White whips but Goto reverses to reel White in, but White dodges to CHOP! White runs but Goto follows, White dodges to run again but Goto still follows. White dodges again, but Goto keeps going, only for White to follow now. Goto dodges now, only to run into a Complete Shot! DEAD LIFT GERMAN! White grits his teeth, but Goto is up to German Suplex him back! Goto keeps moving, LARIAT! Both men are down as we go to break!
NJPW on AXS returns as White drags Goto up. Goto elbows out of the sleeper, but White forearms him in the lower back. White grabs Goto again but Goto standing switches to throw White down by his hair, across Goto’s knee! Turnabout’s fair play! White and Goto crawl to opposite ends. Gedo is on White’s side but Osaka is on Goto’s. Goto runs in but misses in the corner, snap saido from White! White staggers and drags Goto over at the 20 minute mark. White hoists Goto up top and throws a forearm. White climbs to join Goto, but Goto resists the superplex with body shots. Goto headbutts White a few times, then drags White in. Goto stands up but White claws at his face! White clubs away on Goto, positions himself on the very top, SUPERPLEX! White rises fast and drags Goto up, but Goto gets him into the fireman’s carry, USHIGOROSHI!
Both men are down, but Osaka is rallying up again. Goto drags White up and into the dragon sleeper, but White drops to snapmare free. White clubs away on Goto, Goto fireman’s carries to the dragon sleeper! But White fights out with wild hands, only for Goto to suplex him up! White fights free, but swings into the dragon sleeper! White slips out, but Goto denies Blade Runner by pulling hair! Goto powers White down into position, headbutts away, but Gedo distracts the ref! LOW BLOW UPPERCUT! White sneaks it in and Osaka boos! Gedo backs off and White drags Goto up into the sleeper hold, SLEEPER SUPLEX! But White isn’t done there, he drags Goto up, only for Goto to HEADBUTT! And now, Goto drags White up, reels him in, fireman’s carry, but White elbows free. So Goto headbutts again! Goto has White up, for Reverse GTR!
But Goto is not done! He drags White up, suplexes, SHOTENKAI! Cover, TWO!? White survives and shocks Goto, but does not discourage him. Goto drags himself up as Osaka rallies again. Gedo distracts but gets DECKED! Goto has to catch his breath, but he fires up as he focuses his power. White ducks the kick, but walks into a fireman’s carry. White slips out again, has Goto in a dragon sleeper but flips him around, in position, but still no Blade Runner as Goto slips out! Goto has dragon sleeper, but White slips out, spins Goto around, SLEEPER SUPLEX! But Goto is up!? BUZZSAW! Fireman’s carry, G T W!! The fusion of Ushigoroshi and GTR! Cover, TWO!?! White survives?! But that only fires Goto up more! Dragon sleeper, TRUE GTR!! Cover, but Gedo YANKS the referee out!! Goto had this won and Gedo knew it!
Gedo laughs as he gets in the ring. He stalks Goto, but here comes SHIBATA! Shibata may not be an active competitor, but he can be an enforcer! Shibata gets rid of Gedo and tells Goto to finish this! Then he puts Gedo in a sleeper! Goto drags White up, but KENTA attacks!! The Bullet Club’s Fang Revived strikes while there’s no authority! He drags Goto up, fireman’s carry, GO TO SLEEP! Then he BOOTS Shibata on the way out! Fans boo but Bullet Club gets away with more shenanigans! The referee returns, and Kenta whips Shibata into railing! And then fires off vicious kicks! White drags Goto up despite being dead weight, for BLADE RUNNER! Cover, White wins!!
Winner: Jay White, by pinfall; still IWGP Intercontinental Champion
Or rather, Bullet Club won this match. Shibata risked a lot getting involved and paid for it at the hands of Kenta. White benefits the most by keeping his half of history going. Will White fight his way from here to another chance at the IWGP Heavyweight Championship? We will hear from The Switchblade after the break.
NJPW returns as Jay White speaks.
“Osaka~…!” The fans boo as White says he’ll keep this short. “I did what I said I was going to do, and Goto is done. Finished! Career over!” White promised this would happen. Goto lived up to be the embarrassment he always was. But White is the one who “single-handedly” sold out Madison Square Garden! White is the Last Rock ‘n’ Rolla, “and that’s rrrreeal!” White is still your IWGP Intercontinental Champion! “But wait, there’s more!” White again vows to be the first-ever dual Intercontinental AND Heavyweight Champion! And not the first night of Wrestle Kingdom, no, no. He vows to be on the second night of Wrestle Kingdom 14 to go right up against the winner of Kota Ibushi VS Kazuchika Okada! Which means Ibushi and Okada should “come on down!”
White waits, and wonders where the top two guys have gone. But wait, it isn’t Ibushi or Okada that comes out, it’s NAITO! Fans cheer as Tetsuya Naito walks to the ring. White thinks Naito is here to congratulate White on winning tonight and soon becoming the first-ever- Naito stops White right there by snatching the mic. Naito says, “Holding the IWGP Intercontinental and Heavyweight titles at the same time. The first man to accomplish this tremendous feat… Will be me.” So sorry about this, but Naito will need the Intercontinental Championship back. White understands what Naito’s up to and wants the mic back. But Naito isn’t giving it over. And now Ibushi heads out! The G1 Climax 29 winner, the Right to Challenge holder, and yet another man who declared himself the future historic dual champion, enters the ring!
Ibushi takes the mic to tell Naito and Jay that it’s been a while since he’s been in the ring with them. And Ibushi agrees about the double champion. Last January, Ibushi choose NJPW, “looking to change my life.” But there is someone out there who doesn’t agree with them. That is OKADA! Ibushi and Naito wait, but White “begs” Okada as an “old friend from Chaos” to appear. Well maybe Gedo should ask, he’s an older friend than White. Gedo doesn’t want to. But even so, Okada does appear! The Rainmaker makes his way to the ring, joining the three men who want his title as part of their mission. Okada gets on the mic to ask, “What did you say?” Ibushi wants to be a double champion, Naito wants to be a double champion and White wants to be a double champion. “What the hell are you thinking!?”
Okada holds up his belt, because he is proud to fight for THE IWGP title! THE title in NJPW! An IWGP Heavyweight Championship match, or a double title match? Okada repeats this question. Fans like the former, and aren’t so sure about the latter. So Okada asks again! IWGP Heayvweight Championship match? YAY~! Double Title Match? Boo~! Well, that’s still more than Okada expected. “So, on the subject of the Tokyo Dome… Naito, there was an election recently, wasn’t there?” Should they let the people vote for what they want to see? Naito considers it, and there’s a bit of a stand off. White takes up the mic and says, “That’s enough. All of you **** off, I want my confetti, this is my night!” Okada takes his leave, as does Ibushi. White refuses to accept Naito’s challenge. Naito reluctantly leaves and White says he wants to be announced as both the Intercontinental and soon to be FIRST-EVER DOUBLE CHAMPION! And then get the confetti!
But Naito stops on stage as Gedo explains to the ring announcer. The announcer does as White says, and White gets his confetti. Naito watches on, still aiming for his part of history. However, will that poll Okada mentioned go a way White doesn’t want? Is there going to be an even more historic match on the horizon?
A pretty good episode to start NJPW Power Struggle on AXS, though perhaps not the most exciting. Osaka wasn’t as loud as I would’ve expected, but as the usual order of AXS encores, the last part is usually first just to get the vies and ratings. Osaka might’ve been tired from action earlier in the night, but at the same time, the usual pace of a Goto and/or White match isn’t usually what excites. The story was all there, though. White is good at trolling and playing the long game, but things did liven up for the fans as the match reached the end. However, White beating Goto because of Bullet Club should’ve been obvious. It’s good ol’ fashioned Heel tactics, but perhaps too typical. Shibata getting involved was surprising, too. Is this them testing the waters to see if he’s getting better? It would be quite the amazing moment in wrestling if he came back from the head injury that took him out.
What was really intriguing was White being confronted by Naito but also getting the two men he wanted in Ibushi and Okada. Wrestle Kingdom 14 being two nights this year, there’s a chance we get both Naito VS White for the Intercontinental and Ibushi VS Okada for the Heavyweight title, and then each winner moves on to night two for THE historic match. Okada trying to get Osaka to respond to his question clearly took a couple times to get fans to respond, but I was really surprised NJPW fans weren’t as enthusiastic about a double championship match. I almost thought there’d be a Fatal 4 Way Winner Takes All, but NJPW doesn’t like matches that are more than 1v1 like that. The two separate title matches leading to the dual champion match is more likely, and would make for a good reason as to why WK14 is a two day event.
My Score: 8.3/10