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NJPW Destruction in Kobe live results: Kenny Omega vs. Juice Robinson

The last of NJPW's three Destruction shows take place tonight as Kenny Omega returns from injury to defend his IWGP United States title for the first time against Juice Robinson.

Omega will return just a couple of weeks after having surgery on his left knee’s lateral meniscus. He’s missed most of this tour, with the goal being to defend the title tonight. The big question heading into tonight is if he will be at 100 percent after coming back so early from surgery.

The other big title match is the third and final meeting between War Machine, Killer Elite Squad, and Guerrillas of Destiny over the IWGP Tag Team titles. War Machine won the first two matches, so tonight may be ripe for a title change.

The rest of the undercard focuses on King of Pro Wrestling, which will take place on October 9th. Tag matches featuring participants in the top three matches at King of Pro Wrestling (Tetsuya Naito/Tomohiro Ishii, EVIL/Kazuchika Okada, and Hiroshi Tanahashi/Kota Ibushi) will all take place as well.

Join us for live coverage early this morning at 3 a.m. Eastern time. Kevin Kelly and Don Callis will be at the show providing English commentary. 

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Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Hirai Kawato defeated Katsuya Kitamura and Tomoyuki Oka

This was a solid opener. Kevin Kelly on commentary mentioned that Oka and Kitamura have been going by the team name Monster Rage. Tenzan then submitted Oka with the anaconda vise.

Togi Makabe, Tiger Mask, Jushin Thunder Liger, Ricochet and Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Takashi Iizuka, Desperado, Taka Michinoku, Taichi and Yoshinobu Kanemaru 

This was below average, and if you guessed it was because of Suzuki-gun, give yourself a round of applause. There were the usual distracted referee spots. Taichi took the ring bell and stuck it inside Taguchi’s butt for heat. Iizuka went to use the iron fingers but Taguchi took him out with a hip attack. Ricochet hit a great fosbury flop, then Makabe pulled off the win on Michinoku with the king kong knee drop.

YOSHI-HASHI and Hirooki Goto defeated Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens

Better than the last match, but nothing special. YOSHI-HASHI has been picking up a lot of wins on this tour. I think they’ve been teasing him and Goto as a team for the World Tag League in November. YOSHI-HASHI picked up the win over Chase Owens after blocking the package piledriver and pinning him with karma.

Baretta defeated Yujiro Takahashi

Baretta did a cool tope con hilo to the floor early. Takahashi got heat by giving him the snake eyes on one of the barricades. Baretta made a comeback but one of Takahashi’s ladies gave him his cane and used it to attack Baretta after a dive. He gave him a fisherman’s buster on the metal railing, then hit the Miami shine but Baretta kicked out.

Baretta took out Takahashi on the top rope but Takahashi crotched him, gave him a fisherman’s buster off the top rope and followed it with the Tokyo pimps -- Baretta kicked out of both. Baretta countered out of the pimp juice attempt and piledrove Takahashi.

Takahashi whipped him hard into the ropes as Baretta did a Flair bump into the corner, but rebounded back, took out Takahashi, hit a flying knee then pinned Yujiro him with the dudebuster. A good match, though the crowd was dead for some of it.

Killer Elite Squad defeated IWGP Tag Team champions War Machine and the Guerillas of Destiny to win the titles

They started outside the ring as everyone brawled into the crowd. Davey Boy Smith Jr introduced a table as Archer and Smith focused on Rowe. War Machine makes a comeback bur Archer throws him down, grabs him, goes for the old school spot then leaps off with a crossbody to the floor, wiping out everyone.

Guerillas of Destiny come back and lay out Archer with the Guerilla Warfare on the entryway ramp. War Machine then lays out Davey Boy Smith Jr. with an assisted splash on the table, seemingly putting both members of KES out, leaving it between War Machine and the Guerillas of Destiny.

War Machine start out strong, but Guerillas of Destiny make a comeback. They go for the Guerilla Warfare on Rowe but Hanson comes in and clears house. Hanson hits fallout on Loa but Dave Boy Smith Jr. comes in and takes out the referee, KES are alive and back in the match. Archer shoves Hanson on the apron, sending him through a table.

Rowe fights back, escaping a Killer bomb, but the numbers game is too much. They hit it a second time, with Archer pinning Rowe to win the match and the titles. This was a pretty solid match with a good story and some good brawling. Not sure where to put it in terms of the matches they’ve already had, probably somewhere between the first and the second.

They showed the same mysterious vignette they’ve been showing since the G1 Finals.

Hiroshi Tanahashi and Michael Elgin defeated Kota Ibushi and David Finlay

This was good. It was mostly between Ibushi/Tanahashi and Elgin/Finlay, and in both cases it was solid action. Finlay went for the stunner but was clocked by a Elgin lariat, got buckle bombed, then was pinned with the Elgin bomb.

Ibushi and Tanahashi had a staredown after the match. 

Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano and Rocky Romero defeated Tetsuya Naito, SANADA and BUSHI

This was good. The crowd was into Naito whenever he was on defense. He and Ishii worked with one another a ton, and continued to focus on the knee. He’s been targeting it all tour, so it should be a focal point in their singles match on 10/9. Ishii managed to isolate BUSHI then pinned him with a brainbuster.

Ishii and Naito went at it after the match. Ishii tore into him then left, with Naito standing tall in the ring. 

Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay defeated EVIL and Hiromu Takahashi

Ospreay and Takahashi have great chemistry with one another and worked a lot of the match together. EVIL and Okada worked over each other as well and looked great. EVIL worked on Okada’s injured shoulder. Everyone teased their finishers on one another. Okada laid out EVIL with the rainmaker, then Ospreay hit the Ozcutter on Takahashi for the win. This turned into a really good match towards the end.

IWGP United States champion Kenny Omega defeated Juice Robinson to retain his title

This was awesome. A lot of great, dramatic work and some brilliant back and forth that made it really seem like a back and forth battle. Robinson more than brought it to the table and looked excellent in the big moments, to the point that there were some moments in the match where I thought the title would change. The finish was fantastic, an out of nowhere spot that looked tremendous in execution.

A lot of it early was some good back and forth action. Omega hit a big tope con hilo to the outside and continued to work on him inside the ring. He went for the One Winged Angel, but Robinson countered with a victory roll, where both men countered one another until Robinson got a two count. Omega went for another, but Robinson clipped his leg and started to work on it.

Robinson draped Omega’s knee against the turnbuckle but Omega responded by shoving him into the barricade. Undeterred, Robinson immediately comes back and works on Omega’s injured leg once more. He takes him to the apron but Omega blocks it and after a struggle, suplexes him to the floor.

Omega works on Robinson in the ring, drilling him with big v-triggers. Robinson catches one, strikes Omega and goes for the pulp friction but Omega counters, smashes him in the corner and lands a Jay driller. Robinson kept fighting back and repeatedly tried for the pulp friction but Omega kept avoiding it until finally Robinson landed it...but Omega kicked out, becoming the first person to do so.

Juice goes for the pulp friction off the top rope but Omega slips under and instead drills Robinson with a One Winged Angel off the top rope to retain the title.

Omega made it clear after the match that the Cleaner was back. Surgery or no surgery, it doesn’t matter. He commended Juice on his effort. He is best in the world, but must head back to Canada. Goodbye, and good night. 

YOSHI-HASHI came out during Omega’s post match interview and challenged. Omega eventually agreed.

Final Thoughts:

The main event was fantastic, and the other two billed matches delivered in their own right. But as a whole, the show was just there. I think it was some good build towards King of Pro Wrestling, but then again I can see matches like this on a two hour Korakuen Hall show and wouldn’t be able to tell the difference. I get why they do three shows in September as it’s worked pretty well in terms of ticket sales, but even two big shows in a month stretches the cards thin; doing three is overkill. Watch the two title matches and Baretta/Takahashi, but everything else is skippable.