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The Week In Japanese Wrestling: Naito, BUSHI power LIJ rebound in New Japan


When New Japan’s Destruction tour wrapped up this past weekend, the key takeaway was that Los Ingobernables de Japón won’t be taking much of a back seat in booking plans following a G1 Climax final which moved the focus to Kenny Omega and a NOAH vs. New Japan feud.

Destruction was all about the LIJ rebound with leader Tetsuya Naito dethroning Michael Elgin for the Intercontinental title, and BUSHI ending KUSHIDA’s reign as junior champ.

Elgin vs. Naito was an excellent 32 minute contest, right up there with their classic from the G1 at Korakuen Hall. The Kobe crowd got extremely into the match with Elgin doing a wonderful job selling the knee attacks throughout the match from Naito. They dished out some incredible offence in the second half of the match, holding nothing back and building to a brilliant finish.

There was a big interference train about five minutes from the end which saw the rest of LIJ, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and KUSHIDA all get involved. This was inoffensive. more or less, as the crowd reacted well to it, and it did end up coming down to Naito vs Elgin one on one again. 

Elgin looked like he had it won and was shaping up for his buckle bomb/spiral bomb combo, but Naito countered with a Destino followed by another for the win.

There was one other great match in Kobe and it was an unexpected one as David Finlay Jr. filled in for MIA Matt Sydal in a NEVER trios championship contest. Finlay and new partners Ricochet and Satoshi Kojima defeated the well oiled trio of Adam Cole and The Young Bucks in a thrilling contest which the crowd adored. It was all action and once again, Kojima looked to be having the time of his life in this environment. Finlay was made to look very strong, and he and Ricochet will be taking on the Bucks for the junior tag titles at King Of Pro Wrestling on October 10th.

The Hiroshima show a few days prior did not have the benefit of such a hot crowd as Kobe but there was some great efforts put in up and down the card.

The two all gaijin title matches -- Briscoes vs Bucks and Cole vs Will Ospreay – were extremely well wrestled and won over the tough crowd by the end in both cases. The main event of Omega vs. YOSHI-HASHI had more heat from the start than those two and build into a very strong match by the end. They went over 27 minutes, a feat which would have been unthinkable for YOSHI even six months ago. He was fantastic in a losing effort against the man who looks all set for the Tokyo Dome main event.