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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: NJPW Destruction 2013

January 27, 2014 | Posted by TJ Hawke
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Views from the Hawke’s Nest: NJPW Destruction 2013  

September 29, 2013
Kobe, Hyogo, Japan

BUSHI, Takaaki Watanabe & Tiger Mask vs. CHAOS (Takashi Iizuka, YOSHI-HASHI & Yujiro Takahashi)
Iizuka went after the commentator, as usual. I need these two to have a steel cage match.

Hahaha, Yujiro is in a dark match. I’m laughing because he sucks. CHAOS worked BUSHI over for a bit. Ibushi managed to escape, and he tagged in Tiger Mask. The teams went back and forth. BUSHI hit YOSHI-HASHI with a tope suicida. Tiger Mask wiped out Iizuka with a plancha. Yujiro got a nearfall on Watanabe. He eventually hit him with a Dominator: 1…2…3

This was a dark match. It was slightly better than the usual NJPW dark match, but it was nothing unique or anything. At least there were dives. I like dives!
Match Rating: **

Suzuki-gun (Taichi & TAKA Michinoku) vs. Time Splitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA)
The Splitters hit stereo pescados. Suzuki-gun used chairs to get the advantage. They then got the heat on KUSHIDA. He eventually tagged out to Shelley, who made a solid comeback. Shelley hit a tope on Taichi. KUSHIDA accidentally hit Shelley with a tope con hello. TAKA then wiped them out with an Asai Moonsault. TAKA! Taichi got a nearfall on Shelley with a Liger Bomb. The teams went back and forth. Eventually, the Splitters hit TAKA with Outatime: 1…2…3

This was a fun match, but once again, the NJPW crowd is not that hot for good juniors action. I really hope NJPW tries to make the juniors seem more important in 2014. NJPW is the clear best promotion in the world, but don’t let anyone tell you there aren’t things they can improve on.
Match Rating: **3/4

Rob Conway© vs. Jushin Liger [NWA World Heavyweight Championship]
Bruce Tharpe did Conway’s introduction. Liger hit a rolling senton off the apron. Conway cut him off and got the heat. The match was not good. The crowd seemed initially excited to see Liger doing a singles or competing for a title, but their excitement has long been sucked out of them. Liger came back and hit a frog splash for a nearfall. He called for a palm strike, but Conway avoided it. Tharpe interfered. Conway hit Liger with Total Anarchy: 1…2…3

This was not good at all. The “Rob Conway beats broken down wrestlers in NJPW for a belt no one cares about” tour has been a giant DUD. Thumbs down.
Match Rating: ¾*

BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Karl Anderson & Tama Tonga) & Rey Bucanero vs. Captain New Japan & Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) & Mascara Dorada
The Bullet Club managed to cut off the good Captain after a bit of action. They worked him over for a while. He was finally able to tag out to Makabe after a long time. Makabe made a big comeback. The teams went back and forth. Honma missed the falling headbutt, which the crowd went nuts for anyway. Dorada hit an Air Jordan on Bucanero. Dorada caught Bucanero in a springboard, wheelbarrow pinning combination thing: 1…2…3

This reminded me of the opener. The action was not quite as good, but the heat was a little bit better. I’m surprised The Bullet Club were on the losing side, but the babyfaces did not get any real retribution on them.
Match Rating: **3/4

Minoru Suzuki vs. Toru Yano
Minoru Suzuki’s music and Toru Yano shilling his DVD???? This is the best of times!

These guys had a hysterical match on the last day of the G1. I wonder if they’ll be able to produce something similar here. I hope so! Suzuki had the advantage for a while. Yano tried to Suzuki to a guardrail. Suzuki then handcuffed himself to Yano as revenge. They went to the floor, and Yano managed to handcuff Suzuki to the guardrail. Suzuki got counted out! Everyone cheered!

That was a great finish to an underwhelming match. It kind of saved the match.
Match Rating: **1/4

Laughter7 (Katsuyori Shibata & Kazushi Sakuraba) vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata
Things started pretty slowly. It picked up when Nagata and Shibata squared off. Yes, I want that singles match. Nakanishi tagged himself in after Sakuraba knocked Nagata out. Watching Nakanishi wrestle is like watching your grandfather walk up stairs. You’re just constantly afraid he’s going to fall over and break a hip. Nakanishi was worked over for a while. Nagata managed to tag in. He and Sakuraba slapped each other over and over. Nagata got Sakuraba in a submission, while Nakanishi got Shibata in the torture rack. Shibata escaped and saved Sakuraba by giving Nagata a Penalty Kick. Sakuraba got Nagata in a pinning combination: 1…2…3

This match was very, very flat. Sakuraba matches are definitely a mixed bag, and unfortunately, this was one of the shittier matches he’s been involved in. The match gets points for Sakuraba’s cool entrance mask for Nakanishi not breaking any of the bones in his body.
Match Rating: *

Prince Devitt vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi [Lumberjack Match]
Devitt has defeated Tanahashi in singles action the last two times they met after Tanahashi defeated him earlier in the year. The first time Tanahashi fell to the floor, The Bullet Club mauled him. The other lumberjacks tried to run them off, but Devitt was able to get control. Tanahashi eventually made a comeback. The Bullet Club jumped up on the apron, but Tanahashi knocked them all down. Tanahashi wiped out the Bullet Club with a High Fly Flow. Devitt tried to run away, but Makabe brought him back to the ring. Tanahashi went for High Fly Flow, but Devitt got his knees up. Devitt wiped out the tecnico lumberjacks with a tope con hello. He gave Tanahashi a double stomp for a nearfall. Devitt pulled out a GUITAR. He smashed it over Tanahashi’s head and hit reverse Bloody Sunday: 1…2…NO! Anderson threw a chair into Tanahashi’s face. Makabe hit Devitt with his chain: 1…2…NO! There was a huge finisher-fest in the ring with the lumberjacks. Makabe took out everyone with lariats. Tanahashi gave Devitt the Styles Clash. Devitt was kind enough to roll over so that Tanahashi could hit the High Fly Flow: 1…2…3!

I’ve sat through a fair number of Prince Devitt matches that had way too much interference. Was this match worth all of that? No. However, I did enjoy this quite a bit. I can only hope that this match signals a turnaround for this card.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Masato Tanaka© vs. Tetsuya Naito [NEVER Championship/ IWGP Heavyweight Title #1 Contendership Match]
Tanaka cut him off after they got to the floor. Tanaka used his Singapore Cane and a water bottle to do some damage. Tanaka then worked him over in the ring. Naito made a comeback. Tanaka placed him on a table on the floor. He then hit a Superfly Splash through the table. The table actually broke. Yay! Tanaka hit a superplex and then a brainbuster for a nearfall. He called for the Sliding D, but Naito reversed it into a crucifix pin for a nearfall. Naito hit a super ‘rana, but Tanaka came back with a big lariat. Tanaka hit the Sliding D: 1…2…NO! Tanaka went for a second Sliding D, but Naito caught him with a Koji Clutch! Tanaka struggled for a very long time, and he eventually made the ropes. They traded some brutal headbutts. Well, I’ve seen worse headbutts, but they weren’t really protecting themselves. Naito hit a bridging German: 1…2…NO! He then hit a bridging Dragon: 1…2…NO! Naito then hit Gloria and the Stardust Press: 1…2…3

Yujiro Takahashicame out after the match. I’m assuming these two will have a match for the NEVER Championship at King of Pro Wrestling.

Tetsuya Naito used to have something about him that made me think he was a singles main eventer. He no longer has that all. He’s a tag team guy right now, and this singles push is not doing the best promotion on Earth any favors. This match was just fine, but there was so little emotion in it. It’s not a match I’ll remember.
Match Rating: ***1/4

Shinsuke Nakamura© vs. Shelton Benjamin [IWGP Intercontinental Championship]
Shelton defeated Nakamura on the last day of the G1, which cost Nakamura a shot at the finals. In that match, Shelton attacked him before the bell. Shelton tried that again here, but Nakamura was ready for it. Shelton still managed to get control of the match quickly enough. Nakamura came back, but Shelton cut him off with a neckbreaker. Shelton avoided a backstabber and hit a Liger Bomb for a nearfall. Nakamura came back and called for the Boma Ye, but Shelton avoided it. Shelton got an ankle lock, but Nakamura reversed it into a cross armbreaker. Shelton reversed that into another ankle lock. Nakamura survived. Shelton hit a diving blockbuster for a nearfall, but Nakamura came back with a backstabber. Nakamura went to the top rope, but Shelton leapt up and t-boned Nakamura to the mat. Shelton went for a Paydirt, but Nakamura caught him with a knee. Nakamura then hit a diving kick and a Boma Ye! Another Boma Ye: 1…2…3!

Naomichi Marufuji, in full hipster garb, came out after the match. It looks like we have another King of Pro Wrestling title match set. Yay!

These two have decent enough chemistry. Between that and Nakamura forever being very over, their matches together simply work. The matches aren’t excellent, but they are probably the best that Shelton is capable of these days.
Match Rating: ***1/2

Kazuchika Okada© vs. Satoshi Kojima [IWGP Heavyweight Championship]
These guys had a great match on the last day of the G1. This match will likely be longer, but I would be down for another compact match.

Both men started very slowly. Kojima was the first to draw blood by taking Okada down with a shoulder tackle. Kojima started to go after the neck of Okada. Kojima was briefly in control until Okada caught him with a seated dropkick. It was now Okada’s turn to go after the neck. Both men are going to try to finish this thing with a lariat. Kojima fought back and hit the Kobashi Chops. Okada came back with the Air Raid Crash on the thigh. Kojima came back with his spiked DDT. Kojima managed to send Okada to the floor with a lariat. Okada would have been counted out if Kojima didn’t bring him back to the ring. Kojima hit an Ace Crusher. I recently read that Kojima was a big fan of DDP. Kojima then hit an Ace Crusher off the middle rope. Kojima avoided a Rainmaker and hit a series of Mongolian Chops. Kojima locked in the Anaconda Vice. Okada managed to get to the ropes. Okada managed to dropkick Kojima to the floor. Okada hit a hanging DDT off the barricade. Kojima just beat the count, but Okada then hit Heavy Rain and then locked in Red Ink. Kojima survived and then avoided a tombstone. Kojima got a couple of nearfalls. Okada came back with a dropkick and a tombstone. He went for the Rainmaker, but Kojima avoided it and hit a lariat to the back of the head. Okada tried again, but Kojima reversed it into a lariat again! The crowd believes! Kojima called for another lariat, but Okada hit another dropkick. RAINMAKER: 1…2…3!

These two have tremendous chemistry, and I would definitely be down with Kojima getting another shot in 2014. Satoshi Kojima really turned it on for the G1 and this main event. I was starting to assume that he was washed up based on his tag team matches, but he clearly can be called on any time to have a great singles main event.

When the crowd truly wants the challenger to win, the Okada title defenses have been consistently great. The crowd truly believed that Kojima could win, and the match just became a question of who would connect on their best version of the lariat first. This was a fantastic main event.
Match Rating: ****1/4

Thanks everybody for reading! You can send feedback to my Twitter or to my email address: [email protected] Also, feel free to check out my own wrestling website, FreeProWrestling.com. Also, check out my Best of Chikara blog and an archive of all my 411 video reviews.

The 411: Unfortunately, this was one of the weaker big NJPW PPVs of 2013. It reminded me of the New Beginning show where there was some good stuff on the undercard, but the only thing you really needed to see was the main event. Thumbs up for the show overall, but feel free to just seek out the main event.
Final Score:  7.3   [ Good ]  legend

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