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Kevin’s NJPW Destruction in Kobe Review

September 25, 2016 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Kevin’s NJPW Destruction in Kobe Review  

NJPW Destruction in Kobe
September 25th, 2016 | Kobe World Memorial Hall in Kobe, Japan

It is the final of the three Destruction shows. Tokyo was alright and Hiroshima was pretty bad. I could see this being the best of the three shows, if only for the main event. While I disagree with Naito’s position in the company, he and Elgin should deliver.

I must note that one third of the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions, Matt Sydal, did not show up. Also, Katsuyori Shibata is out due to injury, so the undercard was shuffled around.

Henare, Ryusuke Taguchi and Tiger Mask IV def. Roppongi Vice and Will Ospreay in 6:56
Young Henare got fired up and started the match for his team. It would backfire as he got triple teamed by the Chaos guys in the corner. He stopped all of that with a nice diving shoulder block. Tiger Mask’s hot tag was cool since he didn’t just get crazy and it all felt natural. Taguchi’s involved ass based offense as usual. He and Ospreay got relive their BOTSJ finals a bit. Romero would become the legal man and Taguchi ducked an enziguri. He held the leg and made him tap to the ankle lock. Surprising result since I assumed Henare would eat the pin. However, it continued a trend of Romero losing for his team. The match itself was a fine undercard multi-man tag and everyone worked pretty hard. **¼

Beretta and Ospreay showed frustration with Romero. I’m not sure what Romero and Beretta would do if they split. They should at least introduce new teams to the stale division before possibly breaking one up.

Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi def. Captain New Japan and YOSHITATSU in 0:48
Triple H cosplay YOSHITATSU vs. Pimp Yujiro. Why don’t these BC scrubs at least come out to Yujiro’s dope theme? Their entrance took forever and Yujiro had girls in kimonos and not much else. Dick YOSHITATSU cut a promo before the match about something. It seemed to do with possibly kicking CNJ out of the “Hunter Club.” CNJ got tired of his shit and attacked him. He helped the Bullet Club guys beat YOSHITATSU up. They all hit offense and Yujiro won with a DDT. CAPTAIN FOOKIN NEW JAPAN IS NOW CAPTAIN FOOKIN BULLET CLUB. I don’t care for the BC at all but I have no sympathy for YOSHITATSU at all. NR

Great Bash Heel def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Teruaki Kanemitsu in 8:30
Like Henare, Kanemitsu is a young lion. All four men brawled before the bell to get things started. Kanemitsu had some fun interactions with Tomoaki Honma. We got to hear Makabe’s great cackle of a laugh, which always gets a kick out of me. Tenzan got a mild tag but had the Anaconda Vice broken up. Kanemitsu eventually got the Boston Crab on Honma but he got free. Kanemitsu survived a Boston Crab from Honma and even rolled him up for two. A Kokeshi and second Boston Crab was too much though and he tapped out. Kanemitsu was impressive and I liked the dynamic of GBH being assholes to their opponents. Should set up GBH vs. TenKoji very well. Fun match. ***

reDRagon def. Manabu Nakanishi and Yuji Nagata in 9:44
This was originally supposed to be Shibata and Nagata but was changed due to injury. It was probably the match I was looking forward to the most on this tour. Early on, Nagata frustrated Fish by outwrestling him. O’Reilly worked with the much larger Nakanishi and held his own with strikes. Then Nakanishi went all junior heavyweight with his flying cross body. Nakanishi continued to show his size advantage, even though reDRagon are heavyweights now. I mean, Nakanishi is bigger than most guys so it isn’t too bad. Kyle got him in a triangle choke, while Fish kicked away at the big man. Kyle transitioned into an armbar and Nakanishi tapped. Outside of the cross body, it wasn’t the best night for Manabu, which dragged things down. reDRagon continued to look right in place with the heavyweights though. **¾

NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Championship: David Finlay, Ricochet and Satoshi Kojima def. ROH World Champion Adam Cole and IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions The Young Bucks in 14:17
So, Matt Sydal is apparently done with NJPW. I won’t miss him. They replaced him with David Finlay, which keeps the two juniors and a heavyweight set up for the team, but I can’t see a situation where Kojima wouldn’t want Tenzan as his new partner. Anyway, the new champions would be crowned here and I’m happy Finlay got the chance since I much prefer him over Sydal. Cole called out Kojima to start, so homeboy must have a death wish. Ricochet got some shine before Finlay began to take the heat for his guys. All three members of the “Diet Elite” tried for BRAINBUSTAAAS, complete with shouting, but all failed and took suplexes from the babyfaces. Ricochet showed again that he’s a freak of nature. His athleticism is off the charts. It looked like the BC would win whenever they got Finlay alone. He seemed to be the obvious fall guy here. I’m glad that didn’t happen. He hit the Finlay roll on Nick and then Ricochet hit his insane shooting star press to win the titles. A fun match with the right outcome. I love that Finlay won a title because the dude has been awesome for a while. A feel good moment to cap a good outing. ***½

The six men had a stare down after the bell and then David Finlay got on the mic to say that he and Ricochet want the IWGP Jr. Tag Team Titles. The better news it that the champions seemed to be challenged by Roppongi Vice and Will Ospreay (though why should they get a shot when they lost). It breaks up the monotony of the Bullet Club being in every NEVER Six Man Title match.

Bad Luck Fale, The Guerillas of Destiny and Kenny Omega def. IWGP Tag Team Champions The Briscoes, Hirooki Goto and Tomohiro Ishii in 12:27
The Briscoes teamed with Toru Yano earlier this year, so them partnering up with Chaos isn’t too outside of the box. I apologize but it was hard for me to fully focus on this match. It started as I got the news of the tragic death of MLB pitcher Jose Fernandez, so my mind was elsewhere. The Bullet Club were up to their usual antics. Omega choked Ishii with his G1 briefcase. Goto went after Omega aggressively, clearly still upset about losing in the G1 finals and Omega declining his request for a rematch. The Briscoes and GOD also went at each other pretty hard, previewing their upcoming title match that you just know is gonna happen. Mark took Guerilla Warfare to lose it for his team. Pretty good stuff that helped set up future matches. ***

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion BUSHI, EVIL and SANADA def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson and KUSHIDA in 12:58
There’s just something about Los Ingobernables de Japon that is immensely cooler than everyone else in NJPW. SANADA and Tanahashi began, reminding us of their great G1 Climax match two months ago. Then we got BUSHI against KUSHIDA for a while. Juice seemed involved to work with EVIL and mostly get beat up, which is fine. After those pairings met up, KUSHIDA took a bit of heat. The faces turned it around and ended up applying triple submissions but LIDJ survived. Juice ended up as the legal man and did very well. Everyone ended up brawling and Juice survived a fair amount before submitting to the dragon sleeper. Another fun multi-man tag. LIDJ is just non-stop entertainment, while KUSHIDA and Tanahashi are two of the best in the world and Juice looked good. ***¼

Gedo, Jado, IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada and YOSHI-HASHI def. GHC Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Momo No Seishun (GHC Jr. Heavyweight Champion Atsushi Kotoge and Daisuke Harada) and GHC Tag Team Champions Naomichi Marufuji and Toru Yano in 14:32
Kotoge actually just became a double champion by winning the singles Jr. Title two days ago. I don’t know why he didn’t go further in the Super J-Cup. It was interesting to see that Yano was against his Chaos buddies. Okada and Marufuji started things to preview their upcoming IWGP Heavyweight Title match at King of Pro Wrestling. Gedo and Jado mostly worked with Kotoge and Harada since they have a title match coming up. Still, Marufuji and Okada were probably the highlight here. Marufuji was really laying in the chops, as always. When they got done with their bigger, second interaction, Yano and YOSHI went at it, complete with Yano’s “BREAK” shouts. YOSHI ended up getting the win with karma on Harada. Not a fan of the decision. It felt like they just wanted to make up for YOSHI losing in Hiroshima, but it didn’t do anything for the existing programs. YOSHI seemed to want to challenge for the GHC Tag Titles. The best thing here was that the narrative of Marufuji being one step ahead of Okada stayed consistent. ***

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito def. Michael Elgin (c) in 30:36
There were a lot of early mind games from both men. Naito avoided a lock up, so Elgin did the same. Naito teased a dive and did his signature pose, so Elgin did the same. Elgin started to gain the upper hand, so Naito attacked the knee, which has been abused in the buildup to this match. He dropkicked the knee into the guardrail, which was cool. Naito disrespectfully slapped Big Mike in the head a few times. Despite the knee, Elgin was still able to throw Naito around for the most part. However, Naito targeted it more and more to weaken his stronger opponent. Their exchanges got better as the match went on. Elgin seemingly blocked a super rana but still got hit with it, followed by a reverse rana for two. Naito went back to the knee bar but Elgin survived. A DVD on the apron and super deadlift falcon arrow (HE DID THE DEAL) couldn’t keep Naito down. As he countered a powerbomb, Naito knocked down the referee, allowing EVIL and BUSHI to run in and beat up Elgin. Tanahashi and KUSHIDA made the save until SANADA came out and the faces went down. Elgin took out EVIL and SANADA with an impressive Samoan drop/fall away slam combo and then powerbombed BUSHI out onto them. Naito hit Destino for two and Elgin countered a second attempt. Elgin murdered Naito with two lariats and hit the Buckle Bomb. Naito countered the Elgin Bomb into Destino and added another to capture the title. Usually, I don’t like long Elgin matches but this ruled. Great action throughout and then the interference all made sense. LIDJ wouldn’t just leave their leader alone if they had an opening. The run-ins didn’t play directly into the finish, the crowd reacted perfectly to everything and the finish was great. My main gripe is that Elgin should have sold the leg better. Other than that, this was great. ****¼

Naito again tossed the title in the air after his post-match promo. I’m happy for Naito but not as happy as I should be. He’s clearly going to be Shinsuke’d. This was Gedo making sure he’s the number two guy behind Okada despite being more over. Exactly what happened with Nakamura. Naito as IC Champion isn’t a bad move, but there remains no good reason why he isn’t the IWGP Heavyweight Champion.

The silver lining is that Naito becomes the first Grand Slam winner in NJPW, holding the IWGP Heavyweight, Intercontinental, Tag Team and NEVER Openweight Titles. He’s also won the Jr. Tag Titles, G1 Climax and New Japan Cup in his career.

The final score: review Good
The 411
This was easily the best of the three Destruction shows. The main event was the best match on any of the cards. The rest of show mostly delivered. There isn’t a bad thing on the card and the only thing that would have sucked (the CNJ tag) wasn’t even a match. The NEVER six man tag was fun and all of the later multi-man tags were good, while completing the task of building upcoming matches.