NJPW Destruction in Hiroshima
September 15, 2018
1. Tiger Mask, Jushin Thunder Liger & Kushida def. Roppongi 3K & Rocky Romero in 7:14.
A fun opener while it lasted, with a fairly surprising result. Sho and Yoh just can’t catch a break despite starting 2018 as the hottest junior heavyweight tag team on the market. Kushida did a great missile dropkick off the back of one into the other early on. Tiger Mask hit the Tiger Bomb on Rocky for a close nearfall, then immediately hit him with a Tiger Suplex bridge to win.
2. Bad Luck Fale def. Toa Henare in 2:46.
Well.. At least Henare lasted more than two minutes this time. He had a great, albeit brief flurry of offense where he hit a bunch of strikes, shoulder tackles and eventually took the big man off his feet, but ran right into a brutal lariat. Fale hit the Grenade to win a very short match, then immediately took off to the back.
3. Killer Elite Squad def. Ayato Yoshida & Michael Elgin in 8:53.
This was an unbearably slow match. KES worked over Yoshida almost the entire time, and his total offense was slapping on a few mounted chokeholds, which were shaken off immediately. Elgin did what he could, but it seemed like nobody wanted to pick up the pace. Davey Boy with the Killer Bomb on Yoshida to win.
4. Will Ospreay, Trent Beretta & Chuck Taylor def. Kota Ibushi, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi in 9:50
Not a bad match, but it never really got out of second gear. The Best Friends did their thing and didn’t pay much attention to Ospreay. The Bullet Club boys did their thing, and Ibushi really didn’t want anything to do with it. Trent with an assist from Chuck hit Strong Zero on Owens to put it away. After the match Ibushi and Ospreay starred each other down and continued teasing a future altercation.
5. Bullet Club Firing Squad (Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Taiji Ishimori) (c) def. Ryusuke Taguchi, David Finlay & Juice Robinson in 11:27 to retain the NEVER 6-Man Tag Team Championships
Three serious dudes who thrive on beating the crap out of their opponents against three guys you couldn’t pay to be serious for more than fifteen seconds at a time. An okay match, but the different styles were obvious and kidn of bizarre at times. When you’ve got Tama marching around playing up how dangerous the Firing Squad is, and then at the same time Taguchi’s in the background with a rugby helmet on hitting people with his butt – sometimes it works, but this wasn’t one of those times. There was a solid finishing sequence as Tama hit Taguchi with the Stun Gun then turned around into a Stunner from Finlay. Loa scored with Ape Shit on Finlay to win the match and retain the titles.
6. Hirooki Goto, Gedo & Toru Yano def. Taichi, Takashi Iizuka & Yoshinobu Kanemaru via DQ.
I’m gonna be real honest, it was approaching 6AM on an extremely slow, mediocre card thus far and I definitely fell asleep for this entire match. I cannot tolerate Taichi normally, much less on no sleep.
7. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Evil, Sanada & Bushi) def. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., Taka Michinoku & El Desperado) in 12:12.
The actual match was okay, but it was more there to get over Suzuki and Naito who were doing their own thing almost the entire time. And by “doing their own thing” I mean Suzuki damn near murdered Naito early on, then kept attacking him so he was basically useless in the match, then choked him out for several minutes and nobody did a damn thing about it. Evil and Sanada did hit the Magic Killer on Taka to score the win, but the brawl continued after the match and after it was all said and done, they tried to cart Naito out on a stretcher. He refused and was barely able to walk to the back with a lot of help from Bushi.
8. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma def. Kazuchika Okada, Yoshi-Hashi & Jay White in 12:14.
This was the third straight match, from what I gather, that the match was secondary to the sole angle they were actually trying to set up. I get it, and that’s all well and fine, but consider that this was a three hour show that started at 4AM central, where everything but the main event was a giant tag match, and none of them are particularly great. Yes, I’m interested in Tanahashi/Okada, and Naito/Suzuki to a point, and I’ll stumble through Goto/Taichi if I’m forced to, but that’s what the Road To shows are supposed to be about. If you don’t have the content for three “major” Destruction shows, don’t run three shows.
9. Kenny Omega (c) def. Tomohiro Ishii to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Thank god for these two men. For all my complaints about this card, the main event was absolutely out of this world, as you would expect it to be. Kenny is always going to deliver in these moments as he’s got his style and his work rate pretty much set for the big main event matches. Ishii is among the best in the world, but with Omega having so many blow-away matches with Okada, Ibushi, etc. in the last year, the “Stone Pitbull” really elevated his own game and sped up his usual pace quite a bit.
There’s always one ridiculous, dangerous spot in every Omega main event. This time it was a springboard double stomp over the barricade, through the English announce table. He nearly missed it, broke one edge of the table, and damn near took Ishii’s arm and shoulder off his body. Ishii was actually screaming in pain on the floor, which I’ve never seen him do before.
They did their usual bits, where Ishii would take a suplex then pop back up and deliver a suplex of his own. Omega hit about a million V-Triggers, some of his best ever, but the Mountain just kept on getting back up. They teased a OWA off the top rope but Ishii turned it into an Avalanche Frankensteiner instead, because he’s not human. Kenny hit his own version of the Brainbuster, and Ishii hit his own version of the V-Trigger, which got the crowd going. By the end the crowd was 100% in favor of the challenger, but that’s not unusual as people used to boo Okada in big title matches just because they were pulling for the underdog in a classic contest.
After the 30-minute mark Omega removed his knee pad and hit a series of V-Triggers, including one that sent him over the top rope similar to the Johnny Gargano Last Man Standing spot. He hit two J-Drillers but nothing would put Ishii away. He hit one more giant V-Trigger with everything left in the tank, then finally hit the OWA and scored the win. After the match Ishii could barely walk and kept falling over every time he tried to get up.