By Bryan Rose, WrestlingObserver.com
Here are this morning’s results of the second Destruction show, which took place at Kobe World Hall.
Yohei Komatsu and Sho Tanaka vs. Jay White and David Finlay
This was a pretty short match, but was good while it lasted with some good back and forth offense. Komatsu and Tanaka had both of their opponents in the Boston crab. Finlay made it to the ropes, but White was the legal man and submitted, with Tanaka getting the win for his team.
Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask and Yuji Nagata vs. Captain New Japan, Manabu Nakanishi and Juice Robinson
Nagata worked a lot of this match, first against Nakanishi then against Robinson. He and Nakanishi were fine, though I thought Nagata selling for Nakanishi’s weak offense was kind of jarring. Robinson came in and got the heat for a bit but Nagata cut him off with the white eyes armbar then pinned him with the backdrop hold. Typical New Japan multi man tag you’d see on any show.
Roppongi Vice, Yoshi-Hashi and Tomohiro Ishii vs. Mascara Dorada, Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe and Ryusuke Taguchi
Good six man action. It had the usual NJPW multi man tag tropes but everyone worked hard. Focus was on IShii and Makabe which seems like the next NEVER title program. Mascara Dorada did a great tornillo dive on the outside, wiping out his opponents, but he’s the one pinned as Beretta cuts him off and RPG Vice do their Omori Driver/dropkick finish for the win. They focused on Makabe and Ishii again after the match. Not that they’ll have a bad match, but they started this program a year ago and it feels like they’re going nowhere by doing the same match repeatedly.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima and Matt Sydal vs. Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows and Kenny Omega
Another good tag team match. Tenkoji and Anderson/Gallows mostly worked with one another and Sydal and Omega did as well. Sydal looked good and the crowd were into him. Sydal gave Omega a great looking reverse rana then pinned him with a shooting star press. So it’s clear this is leading to their title match, probably at King of Pro Wrestling.
Katsuyori Shibata vs. Tetsuya Naito
Naito took his sweet time getting to the ring, complete with a new mask. When Shibata came down, he quickly kicked him in his face and started work on him. Naito cut him off and threw him into the barricades, taking his suit off. He had the offense for a while, but Shibata came back and beat him up unmercifully, making everything look as unpleasant as possible He repeatedly threw him in the barricades on all sides of the area, eventually laying him out with a boot that sent him into the crowd. Shibata took a lot of the match.
He had Naito in the sleeper, but Naito grabbed the ref and gave Shibata two low blows, then pinned him with the Destino for the win. Makes sense given his new character. I wouldn’t say this was a blow away match, but it was a pretty good match. Naito destroyed Jay White after the match, then a cameraman as he was walking to the back. He was about to beat up the cameraman some more when Shibata came flying out of nowhere and jumped him, sending them both brawling to the back. Seems like that feud isn’t over.
Tama Tonga, Cody Hall and AJ Styles vs. Kazushi Sakuraba, Kazuchika Okada and Toru Yano
This was a good bout. It was clear this crowd were into Kazuchika Okada far more than anyone else on this show so far. At one point he dropkicked Styles and the place erupted. A lot of the match was Yano doing his antics with Tama Tonga, who he is afraid of. Tonga smacked Yano with the turnbuckle pad at one point to get the heat. Hall was working on Sakuraba when Yano low blowed him and Sakuraba put him in a sleeper. AJ broke it up but Okada dropkicked him to the floor and Sakuraba tapped out Hall with the kimura. Another decent tag team match.
IWGP Jr. Tag Team Championship: reDragon vs. Time Splitters
This was a good match, but it just felt like something was missing. It was never bad and there was action throughout but the crowd was just kind of there, only reacting for big spots, and the action was just there, never bad, pretty good, but nothing that would blow people away. Both teams have had better matches on other shows. reDragon retained the titles with Fish pinning Shelley after hitting Chasing the Dragon.
reDragon extended their hands to Time Splitters after the match and they shook hands and put the titles on them in a sign of good sportsmanship. Roppongi Vice came out and acted like they were going to be all chummy with the two teams, then jumped them and left them all lying. Rocky Romero then grabbed the mic and said he and Beretta would be the next champions. This should be a good match, but the title situation in this division feels like a revolving door of challengers that doesn’t change all that much.
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Bad Luck Fale for the IWGP title shot at WrestleKingdom
Tanahashi worked his butt off, including doing a high fly flow from the top rope to the floor. Fale at one point just sat on Hiroshi Tanahashi to a big pop for a nearfall. It looks like he uses his full weight on that move and it just seems so not fun to take. Crowd was into Tanahashi big time which helped this match. Tanahashi went for the high fly flow but Fale countered with a grenade. He went to the top rope, teasing the high fly flow that pinned Tanahashi a few months ago but Tanahashi countered with a superplex then pinned him with the high fly flow. Good finish to a match that was pretty solid overall thanks to Tanahashi.
After the match Tanahashi told Naito to come out as he wants to fight him. Naito comes out and sits on a chair, acting uninterested before eventually just leaving. This makes sense since Naito beat Tanahashi during the G1, and probably would be his last stop before facing whoever is champion at WrestleKingdom.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Hirooki Goto vs. Shinsuke Nakamura
Turned out to be the best match of either show, a typically great New Japan main event. Most of it was just solid work for most of the match. Nothing out of this world, but good offense by both. Nakamura hit a sliding boma ye at one point and the people exploded. Goto hit the code red from the top rope but Nakamura came back. He was going for the boma ye from the middle rope but Goto came back and hit his knee neckbreaker, then another one from the top rope for a near fall. Nakamura did his jumping clothesline but Goto came back immediately and tried to do one of his own.
Finally Nakamura escaped and hit a boma ye, went for another but Goto blocked him, only for Nakamura to come back with another boma ye and pin him to win the title. Not really sure what Nakamura benefits from having another run with the title when Goto probably needed it more than him. Still, turned out to be a really great match. Not match of the year but a great New Japan main event.
Nakamura celebrates as Karl Anderson comes to the ring to challenge him for the title. He says that since he beat Nakamura and Goto in the G1, he deserves a shot and wants to be a double champion. Nakamura’s response to this is YEAOH, so looks like that’s the next title program.
Overall I felt most of the show was just okay until the main event. NJPW’s booking right now feels stagnant with the same people in the same positions wrestling each other over and over. Not that it’s a bad thing, because most of the build towards King of Pro Wrestling appears to be pretty good (Styles/Okada, Anderson/Nakamura, Ishii/Makabe, Sydal/Omega, RPG Vice/reDragon, maybe Tanahashi/Naito). The repetitive nature of New Japan’s booking however is starting to become the white elephant in the room, and becoming more noticeable as the year draws to a close.