New Japan’s Destruction show moved to Hiroshima, with four stand-out matches on the card – with two title matches and a bout where the G1 briefcase was on the line.
#TLDR: For Hiroshima, see Tokyo. Another Destruction card with a weak-to-passable undercard, but rescued by a superb final four matches.
The Full Review: Injuries forced a slight tweak to the originally billed undercard, with Katsuyori Shibata being pulled from the tour due to injury. Matt Sydal was also forced to miss the card due to travel issues.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima & Ricochet vs. Togi Makabe, Yoshitatsu & Captain New Japan
It looks like New Japan’s lost the rights to Tenzan’s music, since his old dubbed theme was used. Perhaps they only paid for the G1? There’s a jump start as Yoshitatsu started with Ricochet, and in the early going, Yoshitatsu looked to be a shade behind Ricochet on some spots.
Ricochet busted out Matt Sydal’s standing moonsault for a near-fall, before Kojima and Tenzan peppered him with Mongolian chops. More chops and headbutts from Tenzan eventually fire up Yoshitatsu into some kicks, ending with an enziguiri. Makabe came in with the mounted corner punches to Tenzan, but he too took some Mongolian chops . Captain New Japan came in and after taking the rapid-fire chops, worked well briefly with Yoshitatsu, before missing a swandive headbutt on Kojima.
Makabe blasted through a double clothesline attempt, but after leaving the ring, Captain New Japan came in took a Koji Cutter, then a lariat as the Captain picked up yet another loss. Apparently the deadline on Captain New Japan’s future in the Hunter Club is tomorrow, and it isn’t looking good. Decent enough opening match, but when two-thirds of one team are comedy guys, we shouldn’t expect much. **½
reDRagon (Bobby Fish & Kyle O’Reilly), Ryusuke Taguchi & David Finlay vs. Yuji Nagata, Tomoaki Honma, Manabu Nakanishi & Tiger Mask
Nagata got his dubbed-in theme here, whilst Honma’s subbing for the injured Shibata.
Taguchi launched into Tiger Mask with a hip attack from the off. A Tiger tope took out Taguchi, before Finlay got involved… as a dive from O’Reilly was cut-off by Nakanishi, who tried for a plancha on Kyle and got nothing but the arena floor. Honma and Finlay worked for a bit, and of course, we’re back to missed Kokeshis now Finlay’s no longer a young lion.
Taguchi kept up with the hip attacks, then actually hit a Kokeshi with some added theatrics. Yeah, there’s other people I’d wind up before Honma… Fish and Taguchi take a double suplex from Nakanishi, before a big boot from Nagata on Fish gets him a near-fall. O’Reilly kicks Nagata out of an armbar on Fish, before Tiger Mask dropped O’Reilly with a spinning tombstone piledriver.
After a missed hip attack, Taguchi was tossed to the outside as Tiger Mask tried to win it, but he ended up getting overwhelmed as reDRagon got a near-fall from a top rope knee drop and a backbreaker. Honma was taken out with the Chasing the Dragon, before Tiger Mask suffered the same fate en route to taking a fall. Decent enough, but standard New Japan multi-man undercard fare. **½
Guerrillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero)
I bet you can’t guess the reception that the GOD got. Yep, silence. Still, at least Tama Tonga remembered his white facepaint today.
Typical Bullet Club jump start, and the action goes outside the ring at the bell. Beretta connected with a tope con hilo as Loa and Tonga spent their time “too sweet”ing each other, but it was quickly business as usual once they returned to the ring. Beretta tried to fire back but was overwhelmed by Loa, before taking a Ric Flair turnbuckle bump.
Tama Tonga tagged in and connected with a Stinger splash in the corner. Rocky Romero finally got the hot tag and flattened Tonga with a series of “Forever” lariats, before Romero outsmarted him on the rope running sequence. Tanga Loa impressively broke up a cover despite being caught in a sleeperhold, before he press slammed Beretta out of the ring.
Another press slam to Romero was avoided and countered with a rewind enziguiri, before a roll-up from a Gun Stun attempt almost won it for Romero. A second Gun Stun from Tonga took down Rocky though, and left him prone for an elevated single-underhook double-team DDT for the win. I’ll be honest, if this is what all of the “mixed-weight” tag team matches are going to be like, I’d rather keep the two classes. This did little for me, but that’s partially because GOD are virtually dead in the water. **¼
Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Hirooki Goto
Well, Yujiro got a LONG time for his ring entrance, most of which seemed to be him parading two scantily-clad, black bunny-eared women in the ring. Gotta hammer home that Tokyo Pimp gimmick.
Tonight, Chase and Yujiro must be the Bullet Club D team, and they started out taking simultaneous back suplexes before Goto’s bulldog out of the corner earned them a near-fall. Owens made a comeback with a slingshot codebreaker for a near-fall, before Ishii’s chop/slap combos and a release German suplex took out Takahashi.
Takahashi pulls a page out of the Jeff Jarrett playbook and gets a near-fall with the Stroke, before Chase Owens comes in and raked the eyes of Ishii. His brainbuster went badly wrong, as Ishii reversed the move before bringing in Goto, who drilled Owens with a corner spinning heel kick.
Owens made another comeback and went for a package piledriver, but Goto backdropped out, as a lariat from Ishii put paid to the move. Chase wriggles out of an ushigoroshi, then dropped Goto with the package piledriver as Ishii was forced to break up the count. As Owens went to superkick Ishii, he ended up taking an ushogoroshi anyway, then a sliding lariat from Ishii, and finally the GTR from Goto for the win. It’s good to see they’re continuing to build-up Goto and Ishii as a pairing, but this was passable at best thanks to the Bullet Club tandem. **½
Of course, this being Japan, the cameras lingered on Takahashi’s girls as they walked to the back.
Tetsuya Naito, SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI vs. Michael Elgin, Hiroshi Tanahashi, KUSHIDA & Juice Robinson
One hour in, and we’re already into the fifth match. The undercard may not have been great, but at least it’s gone by swiftly. Naito got a big cheer as he made his entrance… Hiroshima loves the Ingobernable!
There’s a jump start here, with the action quickly leaving the ring as EVIL took Robinson into the guard rails, whilst Naito worked over Michael Elgin’s leg ahead of their title match on Sunday. EVIL smashes a chair against Elgin’s left knee, and that led to Elgin being carried to the back.
KUSHIDA and BUSHI went at it, and of course, BUSHI used a t-shirt to try and choke the man he beat for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title last weekend.A hiptoss into a low dropkick gets KUSHIDA an advantage, before Tanahashi came in and went in with SANADA. Some Dragon Screws briefly overcame the numbers disadvantage that the babyface team had, before he had to twice escape a Dragon Sleeper attempt.
Juice Robinson came in and squashed Naito with a cannonball in the corner, but BUSHI came in to take him down with a codebreaker as Juice went for a suplex. An attempt at Destino was cut-off via a missile dropkick from KUSHIDA, and out of nowhere, Michael Elgin hobbled back to the ring for the finish. Elgin tagged in and nailed Naito with a big boot, but his taped-up knee was a massive target that Naito tried to go for. When he wasn’t being battered with lariats in the ropes, that is.
Elgin catches a tornado DDT from Naito and turns it into a Falcon Arrow for a near-fall, but Naito escaped a sit-out powerbomb attempt and dropkicked the knee to take the big man down. EVIL tags in and hits a Fisherman’s buster on Elgin for a near-fall, before EVIL and Naito again targetted the champion’s knee.
Elgin overcame more double-teaming and threw Naito across the ring with a release German suplex, before a sit-out swinging slam onto EVIL almost won it. EVIL took some corner strikes, ending with a slam off the top rope from Elgin for another near-fall. A lariat, a bucklebomb then a sit-out powerbomb proved to be enough though, as Elgin got the win over EVIL. It should go without saying, easily the best thing on the undercard so far! ***½
Post-match, Naito went to hit Elgin with the Intercontinental title, and took a sit-out powerbomb for his troubles. Anywhere else, that’d be a guarantee that Naito’s winning the belt on Sunday…
During intermission, New Japan show us the rest of the card on a bit of card. How quaint! And yes, the Time Bomb is still coming…
IWGP Tag Team Championship: The Young Bucks (Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson) vs. The Briscoes (Mark Briscoe & Jay Briscoe) (c)
This is for the “IWGP tag team championship” – nee heavyweight. The Buck’s IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Titles aren’t on the line here, so this isn’t “guaranteed” to merge the titles. Interestingly, the Bucks seem to have eschewed all of their Bullet Club gear here, and sadly haven’t broken out the Dave Meltzer-face tights.
The Briscoe’s camouflaged ring gear looked like they were wearing bushes to the ring, and looked equally silly. The Young Bucks started with some of their usual stuff, including a Nick Jackson tope con hilo to the outside. Jay Briscoe headbutted a headband off of Nick Jackson, as the Briscoes slowed the pace down for a spell, as the match veered between “methodical, with selling” and “fast paced, no sell”.
Jay Briscoe gets a near-fall with a slingshot double stomp to Nick Jackson, who’s then caught in a Dragon Sleeper. Nick counters some avalanche attempts from the Briscoes, then hits a corkscrew stunner out of the corner onto Mark Briscoe. Someone’s been watching his Athena/Ember Moon tapes…
Jay Briscoe yanks Matt Jackson off the apron just as the Bucks went to make a tag, and finally Matt comes up and nails both Briscoes with kicks. A bulldog/clothesline takes down both of the Briscoes, as a slingshot X-factor sends Mark to the mat. Matt gets a near-fall from a backslide, then a jack-knife pin, before a superkick set up for him to take a death valley bomb.
We get some apron spots as Jay takes a powerbomb onto the apron from Matt Jackson, before Nick gets a near-fall with a Shining Wizard. Jay lands on his feet from a back body drop and follows up with an overhead kick, as the Briscoes get a near-fall from a crucifix powerbomb/neckbreaker combo.
Matt lands on his feet from a Doomsday Device, as the Bucks go to town on the Briscoes with superkicks for a near-fall. Jay pulls down Matt as the Bucks went for the Indytaker, and the favour was returned as the Bucks blocked another Doomsday Device. A Jay Driller scored a near-fall, before he followed up with a Blockbuster off the apron to Nick Jackson.
The Briscoes looked to finish off with a splash mountain/neckbreaker combo on Matt, but that only got them a near-fall, before a second Doomsday Device earned the win. Enjoyable as the Bucks kept their barrage of superkicks and similar low-selling stuff to a minimum, but I wasn’t expecting that result… ***¾
After the match, the Guerillas of Destiny stormed the ring and dropped the Briscoes with belt shots. They actually got applause for that, and it looks like they’re going to get a rematch for the tag titles.
ROH World Heavyweight Championship: Will Ospreay vs. Adam Cole (c)
Will’s signed with ROH, so that doesn’t make this title match entirely elementary. They start with a basic opening, as Ospreay works the Okada-style “clean breaks”, before the repeated kip-ups see Ospreay counter a wristlock into an arm whip.
The pair end up outside as Cole whips Ospreay into the crowd barriers, but once he got back inside, it wasn’t long before Ospreay connected with a handspring overhead kick. Some headscissors take Cole to the outside, where he’s met with a Sasuke special and then a flying forearm for a near-fall.
Cole catches another handspring and tries for a death valley driver, but Ospreay slips out and replied with a snap German suplex and a standing corkscrew senton for a near-fall. An OsCutter out of the corner’s turned into a back cracker, as Cole followed up with the Last Shot (suplex into an over-the-knee neckbreaker) for a two-count.
After getting a two-count from a roll-up, Ospreay’s head gets kicked off, before a suplex is countered into a stunner from Ospreay. Another superkick from Cole’s followed by a standing one man Spanish Fly from Will, then a diving corkscrew kick, before an OsCutter is caught. They reverse tombstone attempts, before another handspring overhead kick is cut-off with a superkick for a near-fall.
Cole gets taken down with a reverse spin kick from Ospreay, who goes for the OsCutter again and gets kicked in the ropes in mid-springboard (which looked to be a horrific bump). Cole followed up with the Panama Sunrise (leap off the middle rope into a Destroyer), then a Last Shot for the win. Some good stuff here, but this felt like they never really got into top gear, as for the crowd, this was just a random, throwaway title match. ***¾
Bad Luck Fale vs. Kazuchika Okada
Fale’s out with Yukiro Takahashi, not in his Tokyo Pimps get-up… and of course, Fale makes a beeline for the ring announcer. This isn’t a title match, so I expect plenty of interference and shenanigans.
Fale used his power to shove Okada into the corner initially, but Okada quickly sent Fale to the outside where an early bodyslam attempt was easily swatted away. They go into the crowd, with Okada’s head being thrown into some seats, before Fale worked over him with some kicks in the guard rails.
Okada’s arm gets targeted, as Fale hits an armbreaker over the guard railings, and of course, this was where Takahashi gets involved. At least it gave them a chance to show off the new Bullet Club shirt, I guess? Gedo just stood there and complained, rather than do anything to fight off Takahashi.
Back in the ring, Fale drops the leg on Okada’s arm, but Okada gets back into it briedly, only to meet a big boot from Fale in the corner. Okada backdrops out of a Bad Luck Fall attempt, then lands a DDT, before he again goes for the bodyslam on the big guy. That fails, and at the third attempt, Okada gets it. I guess because Fale missing a corner splash weakened him *just* enough?
Okada counters a Grenade attempt with a dropkick and a clothesline to send Fale to the outside, before a tope con hilo wiped out Fale and Takahashi. A top rope elbow from Okada keeps the big man down, and gives Okada enough time for a Rainmaker pose, and Takahashi a chance to interfere too.
After a Samoan drop, Fale drills Okada with a leaping spear for a near-fall, but he loses a second Bad Luck Fall as Okada comes back with a dropkick. Fale counters a Rainmaker with a lariat of his own, before he gets a very-near-fall out of a Grenade. Okada again slips out of a Bad Luck Fall, then counters with a Heavy Rain neckbreaker slam.
Another corner avalanche from Fale takes the champion down though, before he’s caught on the top rope and press slammed to the mat. Fale rolls out of a backslide and into a Rainmaker of sorts, before Okada tries for a tombstone. Because he’s insane. Fale fights free, and Okada tries again… but it’s turned into a Bad Luck Fall, and Okada slips out yet again.
At the third attempt, Okada’s successful with the tombstone, and then get a Rainmaker for the win. A good match, with a nice story of Okada repeatedly trying – and eventually succeeding – to overcome the weakened arm and the much bigger Fale. ***¾
They show a video package building up to this, with old footage of a dark-haired YOSHI-HASHI mixed in with an interview with YOSHI-HASHI from outside the Tokyo Dome. Of course, if he wins here, he’s getting the IWGP title shot there on next year’s Tokyo Dome show… something that currently sits with Kenny Omega after his G1 Climax victory.
Kenny Omega’s Title Shot On The Line: YOSHI-HASHI vs. Kenny Omega
Omega’s out with the Young Bucks, who have a trash can and some of that magical freeze spray. They actually open the briefcase and show the contract to YOSHI-HASHI ahead of the match, which was a nice touch.
YOSHI-HASHI went into the match with some tape around his waist, so that was a natural target for Omega, who went for a triangle choke in the opening moments as he tried to make this a short main event. Omega took YOSHI-HASHI to the outside and ripped up some of the protective mats, before instead opting to clothesline his challenger onto the announcer’s tables.
Omega tries for a piledriver on the exposed floor, but instead takes a backdrop. The Young Bucks interfered with the freeze spray, which allowed Omega to dropkick a blinded YOSHI-HASHI off the apron, before the Bucks superkicked him into the crowd. Hirooki Goto, who was at ringside, just stood and watched… what a horrible stablemate.
Omega followed up with a quebrada off the guard rails and into the crowd. YOSHI-HASHI barely beat the countout, before taking a backbreaker for a near-fall. A Boston crab was turned almost into a Lion Tamer by Omega, before Omega started toying with him, repeatedly charging him into the turnbuckles.
Omega goes for a pump handle slam, but loses YOSHI-HASHI and instead opts to drop him with a forearm smash. YOSHI-HASHI fires back with a corkscrew neckbreaker, then some headscissors, but as he went for a powerbomb, Omega backdropped his way free and followed up with a cross-legged brainbuster onto a knee.
YOSHI-HASHI gets dragged onto the apron as Omega grabs the trash can… but thinks twice about using it, at least until Hirooki Goto again causes a distraction as Omega ends up using the can, then dumps YOSHI-HASHI through it with a stuff piledriver. Jesus Goto, you’re a horrible friend and stablemate.
Back inside, Omega hits a missile dropkick to the back of YOSHI-HASHI’s head, then a bridging Dragon suplex for a near-fall. YOSHI-HASHI countered a One Winged Angel with a DDT, before the pair tried for suplexes, ending with a Bunker Buster from YOSHI-HASHI for another near-fall, before a running knee to the back of Omega dazed the G1 winner.
YOSHI-HASHI scores a two-count from a diving running knee press, before the Butterfly lock forced Omega to squirm towards the ropes. Omega comes back with a Finlay roll, before missing a springboard moonsault and falls into an old-school shoulderbreaker from YOSHI-HASHI and his Papa Shango tapes!
Omega gets the knees up to block a top rope senton bomb from YOSHI-HASHI, and he follows up with a gutwrench powerbomb for a two-count. Some chops give YOSHI-HASHI a brief glimmer of hope, before a knee lift and a German suplex end up being no-sold, and YOSHI-HASHI unleashes on Kenny with a flurry of slaps.
An open hand slap sends YOSHI-HASHI into the ropes, but he hit back with a running elbow, and then a sunset flip powerbomb off the top rope, jack-knifing into a cover for yet another near-fall. Another senton bomb attempt actually connects, and Omega kicked out at the last moment, before YOSHI-HASHI went back to the Butterfly Lock. Omega gets dragged away from the ropes, before finally rolling through to force the rope break.
YOSHI-HASHI dropped Omega with a back cracker, before a pumphandle driver’s elbowed out of, as Omega hits a knee to the head, then a reverse ‘rana for a two-count. Another running knee rocked YOSHI-HASHI, who then took the One Winged Angel as Omega grabbed the win. An absolutely epic main event, tempered only with the prejudice going in that hardly anyone expected YOSHI-HASHI to come out of this with a win, but by the end I was starting to ask “what if?” ****
After the match, Kenny Omega shoots down talk of a rematch of the G1 Finals with Hirooki Goto – but the fact they planted that seed makes you wonder…
Just like last weekend’s show in Tokyo, this Destruction event was a lot of filler but thankfully with more top-quality matches. I still don’t think splitting this into three shows was the best idea, but at least this show was more watchable, thanks to the second half.