Here are results from this morning’s New Japan Destruction event. It’s the first of three big shows taking place over the next couple of weeks, all featuring big title matches. Tonight’s big matches are Katsuyori Shibata defending the NEVER title against Bobby Fish, and KUSHIDA defending the Jr. Heavyweight title in the main event against BUSHI.
Roppongi Vice defeated David Finlay & Henare
This was the typical young lion match you see on every opener. Henare is still pretty green and not as good as other young lions that have come up in the system, but there’s always room for improvement, especially at this stage. He took the loss after being planted by Beretta’s dudebuster. Fine match.
On New Japan World's Twitter, he mentioned David Finlay is no longer a young lion. This makes sense as he’s changed his gear and got a win with the stunner on the last Lion’s Gate show.
Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata defeated Captain New Japan & Yoshitatsu
This was the same story as usual, with Yoshitatsu starting to grow tired of CNJ constantly losing. Both Yoshitatsu and CNJ were pretty much overwhelmed by Nakanishi. Yoshitatsu made the tag and CNJ cleared house. With YT helping him, they got rid of Nagata, but Nakanishi came back and the tide turned back to them. Nagata got the win with an exploder suplex. This was okay.
Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma & Tiger Mask defeated Jushin Liger, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
None of the guys really have a program at the moment so there wasn't much here in this typical six-man NJPW tag. It's interesting that Liger and Tiger Mask are on different teams since they usually team together. There were some cool interactions between Liger and Honma. Eventually Honma got the win for his team, pinning Liger with the top rope kokeshi.
Tomohiro Ishii, Hirooki Goto & Gedo defeated Chase Owens, Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa
This was okay. The GoD just don't feel over at all and have stalled big time in a lot of ways here. The best moments of the match were when Goto and Tonga were in as they have really good chemistry with one another. Ishii picked up the win, drilling Roa with the brainbuster.
Kyle O’Reilly defeated Juice Robinson
This was pretty fun. O'Reilly looks a bit bigger than usual and looked great here. Robinson went for a sunset flip but O’Reilly grabbed an arm and went for an armbar, and worked on Robinson’s arm. O’Reilly worked on him a while until Robinson cut him off and did a huge dive to the outside. O'Reilly made a comeback with the guillotine but Robinson got up, only to fall back down. O’Reilly transitioned into a leglock, then added in an armbar and Robinson submitted.
YOSHI-HASHI, Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay defeated Yujiro Takahashi, Kenny Omega & Bad Luck Fale
Yujiro, who was accompanied by many women continuing his transition to a lame Godfather like gimmick, did a big introduction for Omega. A lot of the focus was on Okada and Fale since they are due for a clash somewhere down the line. Ospreay was tagged in, and he and Kenny had a really fun back and forth. YOSHI-HASHI got in and traded some offense with Yujiro, eventually getting the with the pumphandle driver he calls Karma.
Fale jumped Okada after the match and tried to give him the Bad Luck Fall but was stopped before he could land it. Once the heels were cleared, YOSHI-HASHI cut a promo.
Michael Elgin, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & SANADA
This was another good six man. A lot of the early portion of the match was on Elgin and Naito, but Tanahashi and SANADA had some exchanges as well. Taguchi made a comeback and, for whatever reason, did the white eyes armbar like Yuji Nagata except he got cross-eyed. He eventually got trapped in the Skull End submission, and had no other alternative but to tap.
Naito destroyed Elgin’s leg after the match. I think they’ve done this in previous matches, so that might play a part in their upcoming IC title match later this month.
NEVER Champion Katsuyori Shibata defeated Bobby Fish to retain
This was really good, but not out of this world, and felt short more than anything. But, a lot of the match was pretty intense and full of hard impact spots, interesting considering how banged up Shibata is.
They start off with some pretty good mat wrestling with Shibata getting the better of it. Fish takes it outside and works on Shibata’s still taped up shoulder, including wrapping it around the barricade. Fish hit a suplex into a DDT that looked downright scary, and was dangerous (stupid?) for Shibata to take considering he nearly couldn’t compete in this match due to an already bad neck.
Shibata started to make his comeback and hit the dropkick in the corner. Fish got in a suplex, but Shibata immediately fired back with a German suplex then the penalty kick, but couldn’t get the cover. Fish went for a brainbuster but Shibata hit him with a giant headbutt, put him in a sleeper, and then got the win with the PK.
O'Reilly entered the ring and made it clear he’s next in line. Shibata responded by kicking him and they had a staredown. Shibata then cut a promo sealing the deal.
BUSHI defeated KUSHIDA to win the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight title
The last few minutes were good, but a lot of this was interference and LIJ tomfoolery. It never really got going to another level, and as a main event was pretty much a disappointment. It was ok.
The mysterious Ingobernable that made his debut at the Road to Destruction event on Monday was here, again seconding BUSHI. Eventually, they made it to the outside where BUSHI trapped KUSHIDA’s arm with a chair and hit a running dropkick. BUSHI remained in control until KUSHIDA escaped from the top rope where he was draped, and laid out BUSHI.
The mysterious Ingobernable interfered but bumped into BUSHI. Then, the two accidently collided into one another. There was a ref bump that ended up with KUSHIDA getting misted. Naito strolled down to the ring and helped BUSHI connect with a tope suicida. BUSHI was going for the finish when Elgin came in and took them both out, then beat up Naito all the way to the back.
They had a big slugfest as the match resumed. KUSHIDA started to wrench the arm, then sunk in the kimura. BUSHI tried to escape, but couldn’t until he grabbed an unsuspecting KUSHIDA in a roll-up for a near fall. BUSHI countered another kimura attempt with a Canadian destroyer in a cool spot.
BUSHI eventually made his way to the top rope and hit the codebreaker, but KUSHIDA kicked out. He went for a second and hit it, covered and got the three count to win the title. After the match, BUSHI cut a promo and misted the title.
This was fine up and down the card, but it felt like a “Road to” show until the top two matches, and neither really blew me away. This was a show where you can tell them going with the three show idea really dilutes the idea of these big shows feeling special.