NJPW's two Destruction Events: Fukushima and Hiroshima are now in the history books.
I've watched both shows and we got lots of ups and downs, so here I am posting to share my thoughts on each match of the card, because that matters dammit!
So yes without further ado, let's just get right on to the review!
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD, obviously.
DESTRUCTION in FUKUSHIMA
Yuji Nagata & Hirai Kawato def. Manabu Nakanishi & Shota Umino
Nothing special here, just your standard tag match featuring two legends who are former IWGP Champs and two good Young Lions. Pretty cool opportunity for Kawato & Umino to team up with the legends.
Nagata ended up making Red Shoe's son tap out to the ol' Nagata Lock to finish the match.
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI def. Tomoyuki Oka & Katsuya Kitamura
Poor Hiroki Goto, from being the G1 Finalist last year to being downgraded to the second match of the card and now he's possibly gonna be teaming up with YOSHI-HASHI at the Tag League. Both of them are great wrestlers and all but boy are they bland as hell, you know you're bland when the Young Lions tag-team of Kitamura & Oka has more personality than you.
But yeah just similar to the opening bout, nothing too spectacular here, Goto wins by beating Oka. Hoping to see more tag-team action with Kitamura & Oka though!
Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens def. Beretta & Jado
Speaking of CHAOS, we got another pairing of them this time with Jado and the Beretta, who recently just moved up to the Heavyweight Division. They surprisingly got defeated by the Bullet Club duo of Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens, with the Tokyo Pimp pinning Jado.
Not a great start for Beretta in the Heavyweights but as they've mentioned in the New Japan Purocast, it will be a slow run to the top for him.
As for the match itself, again nothing special. Just a match to build up the upcoming feud between Beretta & Yujiro which we will get more into later once we get to the Hiroshima show.
Juice Robinson & David Finlay def. Bad Luck Fale & Leo Tonga
For the 4th time in a row we get another tag-team match, Juice Robinson, the challenger for Omega's US Title teams up with 3rd generation star David Finlay. They took on the Bullet Club duo of Bad Luck Fale and the rookie Leo Tonga, Haku's youngest son which is ironic because he is such a big boy, towering over his GoD Brothers and even Fale!
Leo is a replacement for Kenny Omega who underwent surgery and is rehabbing his injured shoulder, he's still a young guy so there's always room for improvement but at the moment he could very well be the worst wrestler in the roster right now. Juice won with the Pulp Friction on Leo, bad match, completely skippable.
Taguchi Japan,Makabe,& KUSHIDA def. SUZUKI-GUN
Tired of the usual tag-team matches? How about a 10 Man Tag-Team Match PLAYA! Tanahashi,Taguchi,and Ricochet representing Taguchi Japan teamed up with Togi Makabe and KUSHIDA to take on SUZUKI-GUN members: Iizuka,Desperado,TAKA,Kanemaru,and Taichi.
There is only one word to describe this match and that is: CLUSTERFUCK! As expected from a 10 Man Tag. It did not do it's job of hyping up future matches for the next Destruction show, nothing memorable really came out of this match. Taguchi won by pinning TAKA, let's move on.
IWGP Tag-Team Championships:
War Machine def. GoD & K.E.S.
So the first out of three IWGP Tag-Team Championship title defense for War Machine took place in Fukushima and they successfully defeated Guerillas of Destiny and Killer Elite Squad. It's worth it to note that before the match we saw a vignette and fans have speculated it could be Sami Callihan! The same vignette aired for the Tag Title match ups at the Hiroshima show.
Anyways this is Killer Elite Squad's first match in their return, Lance Archer is back from injury and now Davey Boy Smith Jr. finally has something to do! As for the match itself, I never found anything interesting on this first bout to be honest. Raymond Rowe kept the belts for his duo by pinning Tanga Loa.
Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi def. Tomohiro Ishii & Will Ospreay
You would think a tag-team match featuring these two would be amazing but in my opinion, it was disappointing. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad match by all means, but these four guys could have done more but alas all we got was a filler tag-team match that should have gotten us hyped for their respective feuds. Oh well, Naito got the win by pinning Ospreay.
NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag-Team Championships:
EVIL,SANADA,BUSHI def. Okada,Yano,Romero
More LIJ vs CHAOS action coming your way with EVIL,SANADA,and BUSHI defending the NEVER Openweight 6 Man Tag-Team Titles against Kazuchika Okada,Toru Yano,and Rocky Romero. I'm not really a big fan of the 6 Man Tag-Team Championships, never interested about it. And the titles themselves were more of an afterthought in this match and the main focus was the feud between Okada and EVIL as they're going to face each other at King of Pro Wrestling for the IWGP Title.
Looks like we're also getting a feud between Yano and SANADA, and look I love Yano but SANADA deserves better than this! Anyway, LIJ successfully defended the belts with EVIL beating Rocky.
NEVER Openweight Championship - Lumberjack Deathmatch:
Minoru Suzuki def. Michael Elgin
A disappointing show so far, surely the main event will deliver like SummerSlam right? The answer is sadly no. You saw the stipulation, Lumberjack DEATHMATCH, and the first thing that immediately comes to mind are the crazy ass matches at FMW but it was nothing like that at all, NJPW just liked putting Deathmatch it seems like but it was just your standard lumberjack match. I think if they just had a normal singles match between these two and just stiffed the hell outta each other, we would have much better outcome!
Once you've seen a lumberjack match, you've seen them all and this rings true for this match. Just a bunch of SUZUKI-GUN shenanigans left and right, and I get it, they're heels, they do that shit but it just gets old fast during this match. In the end Iizuka hits Elgin with his Metal Claw while the ref is busy warning the heels, Suzuki took advantage and hits him with the Gotch Piledriver to successfully defend his title. I thought we would see a new champion crowned at least, but nah Suzuki reigns supreme.
Destruction in Fukushima is by far the worst show of NJPW this year. Bunch of boring and filler matches, nothing completely memorable happened, and the main event along with the 10 Man Tag were a bunch of clusterfucks. If you haven't watched it yet, just skip it or if you really wanna see it, just look up some highlights on YouTube. This show is not worth your time, NJPW may be the best promotion right now in terms of in-ring product, but they can have bad shows too, this is an example of that.
DESTRUCTION in HIROSHIMA
CHAOS def. Tenzan,Liger,& Tiger Mask IV
We kick things off for the Hiroshima show with a 6 Man Tag-Team match featuring CHAOS members: Hirooki Goto,YOSHI-HASHI,and Jado taking on Hiroyoshi Tenzan,Jushin "Thunder" Liger,and the 4th Tiger Mask. I think it was a little interesting that Kevin Kelly treated Tiger Mask IV, like he was the Original, I wonder if the Japanese commentators do the same.
Anyway once again poor Goto coming from the second match on the Fukushima show, is now an opener in what was a forgettable 6 Man Tag. All it did was show the chemistry between a future tag-team between Goto and YOSHI-HASHI, and said chemistry was lacking. The Headhunter got the win for his team by tapping out Tiger Mask.
Juice Robinson & David Finlay def. Bad Luck Fale & Leo Tonga
What do you do when you get an awful tag-team match? You do it one more time! Same ol' bad match, same ol' finish. NEXT!
Roppongi Vice def. Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens
The Bullet Club duo of Yujiro Takahashi and Chase Owens this time take on Roppongi Vice: Beretta & Rocky Romero. This is RPG Vice's final match together as a team and I think they delivered pretty well as expected, pretty good tag-team match between both teams. We saw Beretta taking back his win by pinning Chase Owens, to secure the victory for RPG Vice's final match!
With all the recent betrayals, everybody and their mothers were betting on Beretta turning on Rocky after the match one way or another, but SWERVE we do not get a turn! For once in what feels like a long time, we see a tag-team break up without the traditional betrayal! After the match we also saw Yujiro challenge Beretta for a singles match, so we're getting that feud. It's funny how Yujiro commented to Beretta to go back to the Jr. Divisions when Beretta is taller than him, don't be a hypocrite Tokyo Pimp!
Elgin,Ibushi,& Makabe def. Suzuki,Iizuka,& TAKA
Kota Ibushi is back after fantastic matches at this year's G1 and he teamed up with Michael Elgin and Togi Makabe to take on Minoru Suzuki and his goons of Takashi Iizuka and TAKA Michinoku. Just another standard 6 Man Tag match, it's main purpose was to build up a future match between Suzuki and Makabe. Ibushi won for his team by knocking Iizuka out with his knee. Afterwards Suzuki and Makabe were about to kick each other's asses some more but the Young Lions managed to break the two apart so Suzuki just destroyed them instead. Classic!
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag-Team Championships:
Funky Future def. Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
The first title match of the night we got Funky Future: Ryusuke Taguchi and Ricochet defending their newly won tag titles for the first time against Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru representing SUZUKI-GUN! It was surprisingly a great match, Ricochet as expected, impressed me the most out of everybody, Taichi actually had a decent performance, and Taguchi & Kanemaru did their thing. Pretty good first title defense for Funky Future, proving that their win over The Young Bucks was not a fluke! There were a lot of close calls in the duration of this match, but in the end Taguchi takes out Kanemaru to get the win!
After the match, Rocky Romero comes in the ring to congratulate Funky Future but also warned them about a new tag-team he formed called "Roppongi 3K" and they're going after the Jr. Tag Belts. Fans speculate that it would be the Tempura Boyz and Rocky will act as their manager, don't know how I feel about that but for now, let's just wait and see.
IWGP Tag-Team Championships:
War Machine def. GoD & K.E.S.
Second time in a row we got War Machine defending their IWGP Tag-Team Championships from GoD and Killer Elite Squad. I found this match better than their first one, it was a little bit of a clusterfuck, but that was to be expected. GoD actually won the match at one point by pulling off their tag finisher on Hanson but they weren't legal! In the end War Machine remained victorious when Hanson got the pin this time on Davey Boy Smith Jr.
I'm predicting that on the next and final faceoff between these three teams, War Machine would lose the belts at the hands of KES, but knowing Gedo, I won't be surprise if we get a 3-0 for the tag champs.
Los Ingobernables de Japon def. CHAOS
You can't have an NJPW Card without a 10 Man Tag-Team match! All members of LIJ took on members of CHAOS: Okada,Ishii,Yano,Ospreay,and Gedo. Less of a clusterfuck than the previous 10 Man Tag, just your standard multi men tag match though, but I think it did a decent job hyping up the future matches we're gonna be seeing. BUSHI pinned Gedo to take the victory for the Tranquilo boys, afterwards EVIL stacked chairs and put Okada through them! Yikes. Definitely got me looking forward some more for their eventual match!
IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship:
KUSHIDA def. El Desperado
Second to the last match, we got the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship on the line with KUSHIDA on the defending end against SUZUKI-GUN's El Desperado. As expected from these two, they delivered a pretty good match. One point during the match, Desperado almost hits KUSHIDA with his guitar ala Jeff Jarrett, but Red Shoes stopped that, what he wasn't able to stop though was Desperado hitting the champ with the leash he uses to control Iizuka! In the end though, TAKA wasn't able to do his job well and Desperado was on the losing end, another loss for SUZUKI-GUN tonight.
Cool to see KUSHIDA still the champ, some fans predicted we might see Desperado as a transitional champ but obviously we didn't get that. Afterwards we got Will Ospreay challenging KUSHIDA, the man he has never beaten before in singles action, then Hiromu Takashi interrupts them but before he could even talk he got knocked out by Ospreay, fueling the feud more between those two feline freaks. I'd say the Jr. Heavyweight Division is looking pretty good right now!
IWGP Intercontinental Championship:
Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Zack Sabre Jr.
Last but not the least, the main event of the evening we got Hiroshi Tanahashi defending his IWGP Intercontinental Championship against SUZUKI-GUN's resident Brit: Zack Sabre Jr. You either love this match, or hate it, depending if you're a fan of ZSJ's style or not. I personally don't mind him, but I found their match at the G1 Climax better in my opinion. I for sure thought we would get a ZSJ victory though and have at least 1 member of SUZUKI-GUN victorious tonight, which will also be beneficial for Tana to rehab his injured arm but obviously that didn't happen. Tanahashi beats ZSJ after a grueling 30 minute match, a successful second title defense for The Ace! Also this means we're gonna be getting Tanahash vs Ibushi in the future for the IC Belt, and I cannot wait for that!
(P.S. Not a fan of Tana's new haircut)
Destruction in Hiroshima was overall a better show than Fukushima! Yeah there were some "meh" matches here and there but I thought all the high profile matches delivered and it's definitely an improvement over the previous one! I recommend the Jr. Titles matches and if you're a fan of classic British technical style then you're in for a treat at the main event!
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