NJPW Destruction in Kobe Results
September 22, 2019
1. YOTA TSUJI, YUYA UEMURA & YUJI NAGATA def. MICHAEL RICHARDS, ALEX COUGHLIN & MANABU NAKANISHI
A battle of the Dojo Grandpas with the four Young Lions not competing in the final two tournament matches. The two legends started things out, and it was interesting watching them work through basic sequences, and then seeing the Lions immediately incorporating variations of those sequences – only much faster – into their work. Coughlin has the look of a young, slightly bulkier Prince Devitt and came off great here. Tsuji ended up getting the win with a Giant Swing into the Boston Crab on Coughlin, bringing the hold back to the center of the ring twice to get the submission. Nothing new here, but a solid 10-minute opener.
2. CLARK CONNERS (8) def. REN NARITA (10) in a Young Lion Cup Match
As you might expect, lots of basics here with some gorgeous chain grappling and amateur-style takedowns. How many ways can you work a headlock and/or wrist lock? We’ve really found out during this tournament, and I mean that in the best way possible. Lots of impressive fireman’s carry throws while maintaining wrist control from Conners, working his opponent’s arm when possible. Eventually they graduated to throwing heavy shops back and forth, and then forearm strikes. Narita nearly got it with a quick dropkick and a belly-to-belly suplex, but Conners caught him with a spear and locked in the Boston Crab to win. Good stuff.
3. KARL FREDERICKS (12) vs. SHOTA UMINO (10) in a Young Lion Cup Match
Lots of early pin attempts from both guys before Fredericks realized he was fighting a losing battle and locked in a headlock. Umino kept on with lots of dropkicks and quick pin attempts, and at one point rolled into a cross armbar out of nowhere. That nearly got it, but Fredericks barely managed to get in the ropes. Umino almost got it again with a stunning German suplex bridge, but it still wasn’t enough. Finally Fredericks comes alive with a back suplex right on the neck, delivers a big spinebuster and locks in a single-leg crab. Umino nearly gets to the ropes but he pulls it back to center, stomps away at the back of his head and applies the hold even deeper to win.
And with that, a surprise win from both of the U.S. Dojo boys here at Kobe World Hall, with Karl Fredericks taking home the 2019 Young Lion Cup.
4. BULLET CLUB (BAD LUCK FALE, CHASE OWENS & YUJIRO TAKAHASH) def. TOGI MAKABE, TOMOAKI HONMA & TOA HENARE
Honma hit an early Kokeshi, but it just pissed off Bad Luck Fale even more than usual and he cleaned house taking out everybody. Honma made the mistake of trying to lift the big man and got squashed. Eventually Makabe was able to chip him down to size and take Fale off his feet after a half dozen shoulder tackles and a lariat. Henare tagged in and did his own version of the Forever Clotheslines on the other two guys, but Owens caught him with the Package Piledriver to win.
5. MINORU SUZUKI, ZACK SABRE JR., DOUKI & YOSHINOBU KANEMARU def. JUSHIN THUNDER LIGER, HIROSHI TANAHASHI, ROCKY ROMERO & TIGER MASK (via disqualification)
Liger led the charge on Suzuki-Gun before the match even started, leading to a wild brawl with the rest of the competitors fighting all around the arena. The bell technically rung at one point, but I don’t think it mattered. Suzuki broke a chair over Liger’s head and set up a table in the corner. He tried to rip off the mask again but Liger kicks him in the balls and… he takes his own mask off! KISHIN LIGER IS HERE! The demonic final form of the Beast God sprays poison mist into Minoru’s eyes and then drops the referee for good measure. He grabs a metal spike and charges the corner, but Suzuki rolls out of the ring and the spike actually goes through the table. The members of Suzuki-Gun gather and escape to the back, while Kishin Liger continues to take out everyone – Young Lions, officials, and even his own partners as he rampages through the arena and finally takes his leave.
6. TOMOHIRO ISHII, WILL OSPREAY, YOSHI-HASHI & ROPPONGI 3K def. BULLET CLUB (KENTA, EL PHANTASMO, TAIJI ISHIMORI & GUERRILLAS OF DESTINY)
This started slow but the second half was excellent. Lots of moving pieces. Early on there was a lot of Big Tom Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI trying to get some revenge on GoD after their tag team title loss earlier in the tour. On top of that you have tension between Ishii and KENTA coming off their Royal Quest title match, plus Ospreay’s upcoming IWGP title match against ELP and all their drama in recent months, and in case all that wasn’t enough, Roppongi 3K have been trying to push themselves into a heavyweight tag program with the champs. So needless to say, tensions were high. Once Ospreay tagged in around the halfway point the pace totally changed. He had a great sequence with Phantasmo and even got in a few double team moves with Big Tom in a new duo I didn’t know I need more of until right now. Lots of nearfalls with GoD doing everything to put away Roppongi, including hitting SHO with a Magic Killer. YOH made the save and rolled up Tanga Loa out of nowhere to win.
Everyone went crazy for Roppongi 3K beating the champions for a second consecutive major show, having just done it Kagoshima as well. GoD attacked them after the bell and used kendo sticks to send a message. Looks like our King of Pro-Wrestling title match to me!
7. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI) def. KAZUCHIKA OKADA, KOTA IBUSHI & ROBBIE EAGLES
Loud dueling chants for Okada and SANADA at the bell, so close that referee Red Shoes couldn’t say who won the exchange. EVIL ended up manhandling Eagles for a few minutes until Ibushi got the hot tag, and the two beat the absolute hell out of each other. EVIL’s chops got the better of the Golden Star’s kicks and he hit a big splash in the corner, struggled forever to hit Darkness Falls but Ibushi nailed him with a spin kick to the forehead nearly knocking him out. Okada and SANADA tagged in and did their thing. The champ took it to him with lariats and a shotgun dropkick, but couldn’t hit the Tombstone and EVIL returned to make the save. Okada at one point completely whiffed a dropkick, which may be a first. I’d say the best part of the match was actually the exchanges between Eagles and SANADA – they’d have a really great match together if allowed. In the end SANADA made him tap out to the Skull End after all three LIJ members dropkicked him at the same time.
8. HIROOKI GOTO def. SHINGO TAKAGI
This was exactly what you’d expect. Two incredibly similar athletes – right down to the look, attire and even the moveset in some cases – beating the absolute stuffing out of each other for a little over 20 minutes. This reminded me of some of the really great 2015-16 hoss fights over the NEVER title. If you saw their battle in the block finals of the G1 last month, I don’t know if this was better but it was probably just as good. Goto kicked out of everything thrown at him including some nasty headbutts, Welcome to Japan and the Pumping Bomber. Shingo kicked out of multiple GTRs and Ushigoroshis. In the end they traded huge lariats, bouncing off each other, then traded headbuts until Goto was able to hit a modified Ushigoroshi, followed by another GTR to win an incredibly hard-fought battle.
9. JAY WHITE def. TETSUYA NAITO (c) to win the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Naito refused to take his opponent seriously for the majority of the match. He took an eternity just getting to the ring, then an even longer time to take off his 3-piece suit while White just glared at him in the corner. Things started slow with some good offense on both sides that eventually spilled outside, with White hitting a powerbomb onto the edge of the ring in the first really big spot of the match. They traded some nasty forearm strikes until collapsing, until an errant strike from White accidentally took out the referee. Gedo attacked the champ with a steel chair and White hit the Kiwi Krusher for two-and-a-half. He couldn’t hit Bladerunner so instead just stomped Naito’s face about a dozen times. Gedo got back on the apron, but Naito ended up using him as a kickpad to hit a Tornado DDT for a nearfall. They went back and forth looking for finishers over and over again, with Naito kicking out of a Dragon suplex and another Kiwi Krusher, and White kicking out of Gloria and even the Destino. After another rapid trade of counters, White finally hit the Bladerunner to win!
After the match, the new Intercontinental Champion got on the mic and asked the fans why they were all leaving. He continued to mock Naito and did the Los Ingobernables gimmick where he listed off every single member of Bullet Club, “y White, nosotros Bullet Club fa- fa- life!” Some of the crowd popped for this, while others booed him. He talked about ending Naito’s destiny and bringing in the new era of the Switchblade, until…
Hirooki Goto marched to the ring fresh off a big win over Shingo Takagi. White was screaming at him that he refused to allow his moment to be stolen, and that he refused to defend the title against him. Goto just decked him and the two brawled until Gedo pulled White from the ring and the two left up the ramp, screaming obscenities. Goto got on the mic and said that he beat Jay once already, and after tonight he might feel like doing it again, and becoming the new Intercontinental Champion.