wrestling / Columns

Csonka’s NJPW Destruction in Kobe 2018 Preview

September 22, 2018 | Posted by Larry Csonka
NJPW G1 Climax 28 Okada v Tanahashi

WELCOME back to column time with Larry! Today, I am going to discuss and preview the NJPW Destruction in Kobe 2018 event. This is the third of the three main Destruction shows for 2018, and will be headlined by Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada with Tanahashi’s title shot on the line. Today, I will give my predictions, and break down the show match by match. Feel free to make your picks in the comment section. Thanks for reading! It’s wrestling, we love it and will disagree. The only rules are to “have a take, be respectful, and don’t be a dick.” Thanks for reading.

* My NJPW Destruction in Hiroshima 2018 review is here.
* My NJPW Destruction in Beppu 2018 review is here.

Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura: With Oka & Kawato on excursion, these boys are the next lions on the rise under Umino & Narita. They have actually had some tremendously good and fun hard-hitting matches, that while basic, have been really enjoyable. This is an important match on a bigger show for them, and they need to deliver. These two have been paired (NJPW loves to do that with the lions [Finlay & White, Sho & Yoh, Umino & Narita, Oka & Kitamura]) since their debuts, and have already worked several time limit draws. WINNER: Draw

Roppongi 3K vs. Shota Umino and Ren Narita: On paper, this looks like a hell of a match. 3K are great and Umino & Narita are constantly delivering these days to the point that outside of the gear, I forget that they are young lions. There should be nothing fancy to this, it’s early in the card, just have them work an 8 to 10 minute sprint and do their thing. With the junior tag tournament coming up, it feels time to heat up 3K again, who have really been ignored and underutilized in my opinion. I am looking forward to this one. WINNER: Roppongi 3K

Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask vs. El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru: These four have a lot of history from back around last year’s BOSJ, where the Suzuki-gun juniors were nothing but a bunch of dick bags and were ripping up Liger’s mask and at times, successfully stealing Tiger Mask’s mask. With the junior tag tournament coming up, it feels like the champions winning here should be a given. But this may be the perfect time, ahead of the tournament, to give the legends an unexpected win and some momentum heading into the tournament, which in my opinion isn’t the worst idea. WINNER: Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask

Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Ryusuke Taguchi, and Ayato Yoshida vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata, and Manabu Nakanishi: This looks like a solid and possibly fun dads loaded match with Ryusuke Taguchi and Ayato Yoshida along for the ride. As far as an angle, there really isn’t one here, so to me, this looks like a light preview for the WTL with Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma and Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima getting to interact. In many ways, it’s a toss up until you take a closer look at the lineups. When in doubt, pick the team with the lion to lose; I’m looking at you Ayato Yoshida. Sorry buddy. WINNER: Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi

Chuckie T and Beretta vs. Killer Elite Squad: >: This is all about some WTL set up here as the Best Friends and Killer Elite Squad are back in the fold just in time to start getting some momentum for that. Best Friends are a great tag team, and Chuckie busts his ass in NJPW matches, and Trent is extra-motivated coming off of his injury time off. Killer Elite Squad can be a mixed bag, they can either be slow and uninteresting or smash mouth tag team that’s a ton of fun. These two teams face off at the shoe before, Destruction in Beppu, and I have the Killer Elite Squad winning that one (which they did). Regardless on how the split happens, I see the series being split, so I will go with the Best Friends here. WINNER: Chuckie T and Beretta

Juice Robinson, David Finlay, and Toa Henare vs. Jay White, YOSHI-HASHI, and Will Ospreay: This one could be a ton of fun judging by who is involved. The main thing to watch here will be the interaction between Jay White & YOSHI-HASHI, which has been part of the last two shows as part of White’s issues with Okada. I think that Juice Robinson & David Finlay may be WTL bound, which I am all for since they are great together, but this feels like a CHAOAS win, especially because Henare is involved and the prime candidate to take the pin here. Plus White winning and proving that HE can lead CHAOS to victory will play into the feud with Okada. WINNER: Jay White, YOSHI-HASHI, and Will Ospreay

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Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, and SANADA vs. Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. and, Taka Michinoku: I am not going to lie, the recent run of LIJ vs. Suzuki-gun tags matches have largely left me unimpressed and not wanting to see another one. So my interest is extremely low, as I have seen the same match on repeat for what feels like an eternity. I’m sure we’ll get the pre-match sneak attack, tons of floor brawling, and Suzuki torturing Naito with submissions that at the end of the day won’t mean anything. Suzuki-gun won the six-man in Beppu, while Suzuki lost to Naito on the same show. I think that Suzuki-gun wins here as the continued EVIL vs. Saber tease continues. My main interest level comes from a possible Jericho appearance, but that’s about it. WINNERS: Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. and, Taka Michinoku

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IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Tournament Match: KUSHIDA vs. BUSHI: Following the unfortunate neck injury to IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Hiromu Takahashi, NJPW made the decision to hold a mini-tournament to crown a new champion. The tournament includes the last four champions, minus Takahashi, which are KUSHIDA, BUSHI. Marty Scurll, and Will Ospreay. This is the first of the two semifinal matches. BUSHI had one run with the title, a short run back in 2016, beating KUSHIDA before losing the title back to him 49 days later. KUSHIDA is still the Ace of the juniors in my opinion, he’s always over, the most consistent, and is looked at as a star. BUSHI is… fine. I have no real issues with BUSHI, he’s great in his role in LIJ, but I find him incredibly lacking as a singles worker most times. The man is far from a bad performer, but tends to not deliver in the big matches, and compared to the rest of the top juniors, lacks that portfolio of great, top tier matches. I hope that changes here, he’s worked a ton with KUSHIDA and will hopefully bring his A game here. But even if he does, KUSHIDA moving on is the smart pick for the best quality final, likely against Ospreay. WINNER: KUSHIDA

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Tanahashi’s G1 Title Shot on The Line: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada: Before I really get into things, I want to say that I feel that it would be a HUGE mistake to have Kazuchika Okada win here and more onto main event WrestleKingdom. Please allow me to explain because this has nothing to do with a hatred of Kazuchika Okada. Kazuchika Okada is the company’s top star, he was groomed to be a top star, he was pushed as a top star, and he busted his ass to become a top star. Kazuchika Okada is NJPW’s top guy, he’s the new ace. But from a pure booking standpoint, him winning the title shot here feels completely shortsighted. He set the record as greatest champion when he defeated Tanahashi, and outside of draws, made Tanahashi his bitch. He then loses the championship to Omega and seemingly becomes a broken shell of himself. But instead of struggling through the G1, he nearly wins the damn thing and carries balloons around cosplaying ROH’s Vinny Marseglia. But he gets this match because Tanahashi is the valiant former ace of the company and he DIDN’T beat Okada to win the G1, he drew him to get it. Tanahashi wants revenge for losing the title defense record, he wants validation that he can still be the ace, and he wants that one last WrestleKingdom main event. Okada NOT being in the WrestleKingdom main event gives him a break from carrying things and gives a sect of fans who claim to have Okada fatigue a break from him and freshens up the title scene. There is a lot of time to build to WrestleKingdom, and I think Jay White somehow gets involved (or YOSHI-HASHI at his urging following recent angles) and officially kicks off their feud, which should culminate at WrestleKingdom as the two (Okada & White) war for control over CHAOS. That leaves Tanahashi with the case, and much like John Cena in WWE, you can argue that he’s the guy to be the first to lose it because he’s Tanahashi and it won’t hurt him. But I wouldn’t go that way right now. Tanahashi and Omega have much-unfinished business, and the idea of them headlining WrestleKingdom is not only appealing but also fresh. And then you can throw a monkey in the wrench and REALLY change things up if you want to. Kota Ibushi beat Omega in the G1, and he has a title shot coming. What happens if HE beats Omega and He moves onto WrestleKingdom and rematches his idol Tanahashi? I doubt it happens, but it’s another viable alternative that makes Tanahashi holding onto the title shot way more fascinating that Okada winning it. As for the match, it’s Okada vs. Tanahashi, a lot would have to go wrong for this not to be a great match between the two. They know each other well, they always play off of past matches well, and I expect more of the same here. WINNER: Hiroshi Tanahashi

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”