NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
DESTRUCTION IN BEPPU
BEPPU B-CON PLAZA, BEPPU, OITA, JAPAN
SEPTEMBER 17, 2018
– Hello old friends. I’m back.
– Your hosts are Kevin Kelly and Mark Warzecha.
1. Yuji Nagata, Manaabu Nakanishi, and Yuya Uemura vs. Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and Yota Tsuji
– Always fun to see the grizzled vets in there with the Young Lions. Also fun to see Nakanishi has still yet to grow a neck. Tenzan and Nakanishi begin with Tenzan unloading his Mongolian chops, ever so gingerly. Usual power shots from Nakanishi who just has everyone come in and feed for him. The lions come in and exchange forearms and basic shit. Ten-Kozy double team Uemura and Nakanishi about takes out the ref for the blatant double teams. Nagata comes in to break up a pin and stomps his own guy. Sounds accurate. Yuji finally gets a hot tag and this old timer is not one to slow down. Attempted arm submission is broken up and Koji Cutter connects. Instead of the cover, Tsuji demands the tag and comes in for the obligatory Boston Crab. If Nagata taps, Ill eat my LIJ shirt. He didn’t. Exploder connects and Nagata Lock wins it for Team Blue Justice @ 8:59. (Typical opener. Nothing fancy. D.)
2. Toa Henre and Shota Umino vs. David Finlay and Ren Narita
– 2018 G1 C-Block Winner, David Finlay, comes out with his trophy and championship shirt. Henare wants the trophy to be put up, but Finlay isn’t falling for those antics. Shota, one of my favorite Lions. He starts with Narita as they exchange basic holds. I’d have to say Shota takes the place of Katsuya Kitamura as the guy to be called up next. Narita busts Shota’s nose with a dropkick. Hot tag brings in Henare and Finlay. I don’t take Henare serious after his quick losses to Bad Luck Fale. Shota comes back as the legal man and Finlay lays out for some hope of Shota getting a fluke win. Stone–Cold–Stunner by Finlay wins it @ 6:39. (Another showcase for the Lions. Nothing to write home about. D.)
– Finlay, the fighting champion he is, proclaims that the match was for the C Block Title.
3. Takashi Iizuka (w/claw and anti-biting mask) vs. Ayato Yoshida
– Before poor Yoshida can make it out of the curtain, Iizuka already has a chair and smashes him over the back in the aisle with it. Bell rings before either man can get in the ring because, well, New Japan Pro Wrestling. Iizuka grabs Kevin Kelly and throttles him up on the floor. Kelly screams horrifically and takes a bump on the floor. I audibly hoot at this exchange. Iizuka has removed his muzzle in this exchange and bites every part of Yoshida’s body. At this point, the announce team has abandoned any chance of calling the match. Yoshida mounts a bit of a comeback until Iizuka chokes him with rope. He shoves the ref and grabs the iron claw. One shot to the throat gives Yoshida the DQ win @ 4:41. (I thoroughly enjoyed this. Entertaining as fuck. But a DUD from the opening bell.)
4. Will Ospreay, Rocky Romero, SHO, and YOH vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask IV, and KUSHIDA
– Taguchi is literally the Santino Marella of NJPW. KUSHIDA gets a billion cool points for his FirePro “Get Critical” t-shirt. I was so hapy to achieve my first CRITICAL in a match between Ishii and Goto a week back. Before the bell, Taguchi, dressed as a rugby player, is tossing a fucking ball around with everyone in the ring. I’d pay a month’s salary for Minoru Suzuki to get in there with him one on one. Rippongi 3K take turns working over Taguchi early on. Taguchi Japan take turns working over SHO. SHO checks Taguchi’s oil (wish I was making that up) and this match has fallen apart. Finally about 9 minutes in, we get KUSHIDA and Ospreay in here. Storm Breaker attempted but KUSHIDA counters with a Pele Kick. Hot tags to Tiger Mask and Rocky Romero. Tiger Driver gets 2.5. Tombstone by Tiger on Rocky gets Taguchi Japan the win @ 10:03. (I like some good comedy spots, but centering this whole match around Taguchi’s ass spots is not my cup of tea. Ospreay and KUSHIDA saved this, only from being a complete DUD. D+.)
5. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) vs. Best Friends (Trent Beretta & Chuckie T)
– Kevin Kelly congratulates ***SPOILER ALERT*** Jeff Cobb on winning BOLA 2018. I’m pretty sure the tournament was already over for 6 hours by the time that happened. Archer with no water bath for Beppu, but KES wastes no time in attacking the Best Friends before the bell. Davey and Beretta finally settle in. Trent gets the better of him until Archer takes him and Chuckie out. Remember when Beretta was supposed to be moving up to the singles heavyweight division? Me too. Trent attempts a Tornado DDT and Davey just faceplants him for his troubles. Archer in and he’s keeping up with being scary as fuck since the last time I saw him. Every time Chuckie gets back up on the apron, KES drops him back to the floor. Davey attempts the Running Powerslam and Trent counters with a Half and Half. Hot tag to Chuckie and Beppu collectively checks their watches. Davey cuts him off, just being grizzled as fuck. Double down and here comes the hot tags. Archer drops Trent off the apron and punishes Chuckie some more. Finally Trent is back in, but Davey decides to dead lift him into a German Suplex. KES powder to the outside and here comes stereo dives. But Archer grabs Trent out of mid air and chokeslams him on the apron. BlackHole Slam on Trent gets 2. Chuckie breaks it up. Trent goes to tag and Davey pulls him down again. KILLER BOMB on Trent ends it @ 10:44 for a KES win. (Refreshing tag match here after that dumb 8 man right before. KES always shine around this time of year right before the World Tag League. C-.)
– Archer, post match, rips Kevin Kelly’s headset off to warn all the teams about the bad assery that is the Killer Elite Squad.
– For those keeping score at home, there have been 2 “Aww come on’s” muttered by Kevin Kelly.
6. Zach Sabre Jr., El Desperado, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (w/ TAKA Michinoku) vs. BUSHI, SANADA, and EVIL
– Usual TAKA promo with subtle jab of “GET OVER HERE, EVERYTHING IS NOT EVIL”. Not sure if SANADA qualifies as a Junior, but he and BUSHI vs. Kanemaru and Desperado would be fine by me. Paradise Lock is already applied to Kanemaru before I can even look up. All 3 of Suzuki Gun attack right in front of the referee with no consequence. Sure, why not. Desperado comes in but SANADA fights him off. ZSJ just comes in and cuts him off. ARE WE FUCKING GOING BY LUCHA TRIO RULES NOW?!?!?!? Somehow, BUSHI is fending off all comers and it breaks down to him and Desperado. Yet to see EVIL even on the apron. Hot tag bring him in with ZSJ. Zach tries several go-behinds, but EVIL plants him with Fisherman Buster. ZSJ ties up EVIL with an Octopus Hold and goes to break a few digits too. EVIL has to use his teeth to get a rope break. Everything is EVIL countered with a bridging cradle by ZSJ and Suzuki Gun is victorious @ 8:32. (Very quick match considering the talent in the ring. I guess it was to set up something down the road for ZSJ and EVIL. A fine match but a little scattered at times. C-.)
7. Toru Yano, YOSHI-HASHI, Switchblade Jay White, and Kazuchika Okada vs. Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe, Juice Robinson, and Hiroshi Tanahashi
– Star studded 8 man tag here….minus YOSHI-HASHI. Red Shoes making his first referee assignment tonight. Majority of people are against Tanahashi holding the G1 Case. I am all for The Ace getting the top spot as long as he still can crank out matches like he did with Ibushi. Tanahashi and Okada start for about a minute until things break down. Yano with his usual bullshit exposes the corner and throws poor Honma into it about 700 times. Jay White wants no part of any physicality. Eventually Togi gets in there with Yano and takes liberties. Tanahashi and Okada get hot tags and get another minute in before YOSHI and Juice come in. YOSHI Lariat gets 2. Honma in connects the Kokeshi headbutt. Yano back in and takes him out. YOSHI grabs Juice and here comes White with a charge. He nails YOSHI by mistake and Pulp Friction ends it @ 13:01. (Fun 8 man tag with more seeds being planted of CHAOS not being on the same page. Match did its job for its place on the card. C.)
– Post match, Okada and White argue. Everyone checks on YOSHI. White walks over to the table to explain its YOSHI’s fault. Okada goes to console him and YOSHI shoves him away.
IWGP NEVER Openweight Championship
8. Taichi (w/Miho Abe) vs. Hirooki Goto (C)
– If John Cusack was Japanese and bloated, you’d have Taichi. Red Shoes is your referee, so I’m sure there will be plenty of fuckery occurring in this contest. Goto has always been the Roman Reigns of New Japan to me personally, but his matches throughout this year’s G1 changed my mind. I have been a huge fan of Taichi fora couple of years now, but the majority of fans hate him. Taichi begins by taking his time sliding in and out the ring. Miho Abe steps into the ring and, of course, Red Shoes catches ADHD for enough time to let Yoshinobu Kanemaru beat the hell out of Goto on the floor. Taichi takes Goto into the crowd using chairs and what not. Red Shoes begins the count after a good minute of them being on the floor. Goto makes it back in at 19. Taichi takes his time beating on Goto until Goto slides to the floor. Taichi grabs a chair and whacks him again. Guess where Red Shoes is? Taichi attempts a powerbomb on the ramp, but Goto escapes and suplexes him on the floor. Kanemaru runs over and gets on for his troubles. Back inside, Goto snaps off a turning back suplex for 2. Goto charges and eats a boot from Taichi. Goto and Taichi exchange elbows, kicks, and pleasantries. Taichi loses the pants much like Randy from Trailer Park Boys when shit gets real. Taichi holds the head of Goto and plants some Kawada kicks. He attempts a piledriver but is backdropped. Goto with the sleeper which is kind of a weird placement here. Goto picks him up for the GTR and Taichi grabs Red Shoes. Here comes fucking Kanemaru and lays him out. Goto fights free and grabs Taichi for the Ushiguroshi. And now here comes fucking Desperado. Goto fights him off too! Here comes Rippongi 3K and Rocky Romero to chase off Kanemaru and Desperado. Taichi has the microphone stand but Goto grabs him for the Ushiguroshi. No referee. Reverse GTR on Taichi. Taichi kicks out at 2.9. Now here’s fucking Iizuka. Low Blow by Taichi and cradle for 2.5. SUPERKICK by Taichi. LAST RIDE on Goto! Goto kicks out at the last second. He grabs Goto and hits the Air Raid Crash @ 20:55 to win the title. (I wasn’t a big fan of this. Goto having to just take punishment from this guy who doesn’t look like any sort of threat. Then the numerous run-ins. I guess it’s the only way to make it believable for Taichi to beat him. C-.)
9. Minoru Suzuki vs. Tetsuya Naito
– Awesome video package to set up this match. Naito beat Suzuki on April 29th for the Intercontinental Title. Suzuki attacks Naito before the bell. Action spills to the outside with Naito getting the upper hand. He spits and stomps at Suzuki. Suzuki smiles as if to say “bring it motherfucker”. Naito chases Suzuki back to the inside but Suzuki boots him off the apron into the guardrail. Now over to the announce table and into the crowd. Suzuki with his usual choking with chairs until he gets bored and brings Naito back to the ring. Suzuki notices a cut on his leg and that motivates him to dump Naito back outside. Shotgun dropkick by Suzuki about goes through Naito’s chest. He brings Naito back in and punishes him with an ugly looking wristlock into a Kamura. Naito goes to the ropes to break and they go to trading shots. Somehow, Naito withstands the punishment and drops him to the corner. Slngshot from the outside in with a dropkick to the face. He peppers Suzuki with bitch kicks to the back of the head and Suzuki just grins as he gets to his feet. Suzuki with a sick elbow to the face that would knock out any man. He lands 3 PK kicks and tosses Naito back outside. He grabs a chair and Red Shoes steps in and takes it. I’m glad to see he decides to take a stand with, of all people, Minoru Suzuki. Suzuki grabs a table and we know how this story ends. He just stands it up and pushes it into the face of Naito. Suzuki sets the table and Naito tries fighting back. Suzuki chokes him out and lays him on the table. Suzuki grabs another chair and Red Shoes literally wraps himself around it to prevent Suzuki from using it. Naito comes to, but Suzuki just chokes him as he dangles off the apron. Suzuki tries to plant him on the apron with a Gotch Style Piledriver, but Naito fights out. Naito wraps him up on the apron and nails a neckbreaker through the table!!! Naito is busted open from that table smashing his face. Suzuki collapses as Naito tries to help him up into the ring. Suzuki gets to his feet on his own and jumps back in at a count of 19. Naito grabs him and connects Gloria! Suzuki kicks out at 2. Destino attempted, but Suzuki pushes him away and Naito lands the flying forearm. Suzuki is right back up! He wraps the leg up and goes for the kneebar submission. 20 minutes in and these guys are just warming up. Suzuki now works the knee over as Naito hobbles around to get some separation. Naito drops him and locks in the DDT as he walks up and plants him. Suzuki bounces right up and hooks Naito’s injured knee. Naito makes several attempts to break the hold but Suzuki just moves him back to the center of the ring. Suzuki turns it into a Figure Four and finally, Naito makes the ropes. Suzuki slaps him around and goes for the Gotch Style Piledriver. Naito fights out and lands DESTINO! Naito unable to make a cover and both men battle each other on their knees. 30 minutes have now elapsed. Both men get to their feet as Naito hobbles. Suzuki smiles and slaps the ever loving fuck outta Naito. That wakes up Naito and we have a slap fest! Naito steps up and lands the enziguiri. Naito grabs Suzuki for the Gotch Style Piledriver and sits it out. Suzuki somehow kicks out! Naito picks up and lands DESTINO! Cover gets 3 and Testuya Naito has defeated Minoru Suzuki @32:10. (This match came and delivered as advertised. Suzuki being a monster in this match and just wearing down Naito for the majority made it even better. Some slow spots and crowd brawling takes away from it a bit. B+.)
– The undercard was fun for the most part. The comedic 8 man tag with Taguichi Japan soured me a bit. KES vs Best Friends was better than I expected. The Goto/Taichi match was just ok. Nothing that blew me away. Naito vs Suzuki delivered as expected. Naito is money and makes me wonder why he isn’t where Tanahashi or Okada is right now.