NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
DESTRUCTION IN KOBE
SEPTEMBER 23, 2018, HYOGO, JAPAN – KOBE WORLD MEMORIAL HALL
NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
DESTRUCTION IN KOBE
SEPTEMBER 23, 2018, HYOGO, JAPAN – KOBE WORLD MEMORIAL HALL
NEW JAPAN PRO WRESTLING
DESTRUCTION IN BEPPU
BEPPU B-CON PLAZA, BEPPU, OITA, JAPAN
SEPTEMBER 17, 2018
– Hello old friends. I’m back.
September 24th, 16:00 from Kobe World Hall, Hyogo
The third of three Destruction shows sees Kenny Omega defend his United States title for the first time against Juice Robinson. Elsewhere, the build for King of Pro-Wrestling continues. Let’s get to it.
September 16th, 18:00 from Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall, Hiroshima
The second of three Destruction shows sees Hiroshi Tanahashi defend his Intercontinental title against Zack Sabre Jr., KUSHIDA vs. El Desperado for the junior title and both sets of tag titles on the line. Let’s get to it.
September 10th, 16:00 from Azuma Sports Park, Fukushima
The first of three Destruction shows sees Minoru Suzuki defend his NEVER title against Michael Elgin in a lumberjack match, with the six-man and heavyweight tag titles also on the line. Let’s get to it.
September 25th, 16:00 from World Memorial Hall, Kobe
The last of the three Destruction shows is headlined by Michael Elgin vs. Tetsuya Naito for the Intercontinental Championship. Let’s get to it.
September 22nd, 17:00 from Sun Plaza Hall, Hiroshima
Despite the unfortunate title, this is promising show on paper, featuring Omega vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Okada vs. Fale, Briscoes vs Young Bucks and Will Ospreay vs. the debuting Adam Cole. Let’s get to it.
September 17th, 18:00 from Ota City General Gymnasium, Tokyo
This is the first of three Destruction shows over the next week and is headlined by KUSHIDA vs. BUSHI for the IWGP Junior Championship and Shibata vs. Bobby Fish for the NEVER Openweight title. The latter looked like it might be cancelled due to Shibata’s neck issues, but “The Wrestler” had other ideas.
September 27th, 15:00 from Kobe World Hall, Kobe
After Wednesday’s show in Okayama, the second of two Destruction cards is headlined by an Intercontinental Title match between Hirooki Goto and Shinsuke Nakamura and also sees reDragon face off against Time Splitters in their first defence of the Junior Tag Titles.
September 23rd, 15:00 from Momotaro Arena, Okayama
The first of two Destruction shows is headlined by a NEVER Openweight Title match between Togi Makabe and Kota Ibushi and also sees KUSHIDA defend the Junior title against Kenny Omega.
Beer & Coffee Rant for NJPW’s “Road To Destruction 2014: Kōrakuen
Live from Tokyo, Japan – 9/15/14
[ Click HERE to see the show in it’s entirety without spoilers ]
With the final NJPW pay-per-view of the Ustream era coming on the air in
a couple hours, here goes the most recent Kōrakuen show leading up
to it. There’s also another NJPW show that aired after this one
(available HERE), once again with no commentary, just crowd noise and
ring mics. Of course, with no commentary, I had no idea what was going
on, so you may have to fill in the blanks for me.
Also quick note, if you didn’t check out last night’s Atlantis vs.
Ultimo Guerrero mask vs. mask match, don’t sleep on it. Believe the
hype, it was an incredible way to spend a late Friday night. Plus, the
ROH show with Styles vs. O’Reilly, and Bucks vs. Briscoes is the single
best hour of U.S. wrestling you’ll find on TV this year. Again, don’t
sleep on that one; proof that these wacky North Americans can do this
wrestling shit as well as anybody in the world. Ok, moving on now……
Taichi & El Desperado vs. Yohei Komatsu & Maximo
I’m watching Taichi & Desperado performing a song in the ring before
the match, but I have it on mute for the moment; Rakim blaring in the
background. For about 2 or 3 seconds there, Taichi’s lip-synching and
body language matched perfectly with the song. You haven’t lived until
you’ve seen Taichi spitting a Rakim verse while Despy plays the Eric B
role (or in this case guitar) in the background. This 3MB gimmick
they’re doing is a welcomed addition that’s effective in livening up
Taichi’s karaoke act.
Taichi begins on his back (ala Low-Ki or KUSHIDA). Komatsu, reigning WON Rookie of the Year, thinks
about it, lunges in, but decides against it. So Taichi switches to the
old Kurt Angle amateur wrestling position… and right on cue Maximo runs
in, in excitement. Taichi is appalled. As Taichi hides in the ropes,
Maximo gently strokes his back like a creepy uncle. A game of mercy
turns to a bridge, Taichi hops on, but Maximo humps him until he’s off,
and then Taichi gets unceremoniously depantsed without permission. No,
the Japanese don’t mind the homophobic overtones, they don’t even mind
Hitler that much.
Maximo gets his lucha flippy-doo wackiness off, and the crowd pops huge.
Komatsu & Desperado in now, and this match picks up quick in terms
of the fight. Komatsu hits a Frankenyohei. Taichi de-skirts him, a
receipt for earlier, but then decides against the results. It’s up and
down with the blouse in between chops. They choke him out on a double
team, but when they won’t break on 5, they get roughed up by the young
referee in a new spot I don’t remember this guy doing before this week.
Nearfalls for Komatsu near the end, which the crowd eats up cuz that’s
really the strength of these Komatsu matches. Taichi then gets met with a
kiss from Maximo and a bridging rollup from Komatsu for 2.9, and the
crowd is losing their shit. That might be the best near-fall of the
night, when we’re done here. You don’t expect the #1 contenders to lose,
but right there you actually believed it! Suzuki-Gun regains control
however, kicks Maximo out of the ring, and hits Komatsu with the assisted
Gory Special looking thing that’s gonna kill somebody one day, for a
definitive three @ 9:22 *** Komatsu is the dude, the #1 contenders are a
fresh act that feels fun, and Maximo is so good at the gay gimmick that
he just got signed to the Cowboys practice squad.
WINNERS: Taichi & El Desperado
Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Tiger Mask IV & “The Funky Weapon” Ryusuke
The Timesplitters (Alex Shelley & KUSHIDA) & BUSHI
“The Funky Weapon” is out first and the crowd is rocking tonight,
clapping along at will.
Timesplitters come out to the Outatime Orchestra joint as always.
KUSHIDA and the #1 contender start with some wrestling, but when the
Weapon goes for an ankle lock, KUSHIDA knows it’s time to scoot. They run
some ropes ending in Weapon eating a big kick to the face from KUSHIDA.
Don’t Ibushi him, bro. Shelley and Mask tag in. Mask attempts a dive to
the floor, but Shelley evades. Mask may have not known that going in,
but they adlib accordingly. Liger off the top onto Shelley’s taped up
left shoulder, pounding it hard with a chair on the outside as they
brawl through the crowd. Liger in full bad-ass, ain’t-fucking-around
Weapon back in off the top onto the shoulder and locks in a sub, and
then throws KUSHIDA out and tags in TM4 who starts kicking the shit of
Shelley’s wing. Every time he tries to fight back they just keep
pounding him down until finally Liger eats some knees on a top rope
attempt. Hot tag BUSHI. He cleans house and absolutely IMPALES Liger
with topes. GIF that immediately. BUSHI will not be denied! KUSHIDA
comes in and gets caught with that trademark, textbook Liger
Weapon in, to take advantage. KUSHIDA roars back with kicks to the left
arm, and almost gets the Hoverboard lock, but Weapon gets that anklelock
he’s been rocking. Shelley breaks it. Now the action really picks up as
we get 100 moves at a 100 mph and it’s too much to call. The anklelock
battle gets crucial as they reverse reversals of reversals in a spot-on
sequence that ends in a great KUSHIDA bridging roll-up for the three @ 12:16
*** ¼ A little showmanship between champ and contender after the match,
as we’re two matches in and the feel of the hard sell is in full effect.
The KUSHIDA/Weapon thing is clicking way better than it was two weeks
WINNERS: Timesplitters & BUSHI
Tomohiro Ishii & Gedo vs. Yujiro Takahashi & Tama Tonga
Big Ishii chant. He locks up with Tama Tonga. No, he doesn’t. Yujiro
attacks from behind. Boots to Ishii, but he will have none of this
fuckery and fights back with forearms and a big shoulderblock. He grinds
in a headlock but Yujiro bites the thumb like a punk. Fuck that, Ishii
drops him with a suplex and tags in Gedo. Yujiro grinds in a headlock
but Gedo bites the thumb like the master of the scientific style that he
is. Kudos. Big Gedo chant for that one, rightfully so. Yuj sends Gedo
to the outside for Tonga to prey upon him. Yujiro on the floor, sends
Ishii into the post and Tiger Hatori starts the 20 count.
Tonga deadlifts Gedo into a Tong Bottom and puts an elbow to the dome.
Gedo chants again. Tonga in control but misses the most athletic
avalanche in the business. Gedo tags out and Ishii is in, no sells a
dropkick, powerslam and a bunch of strong strikes. Killer lariat, but
Tonga fights through the loopiness to nail a nice dropkick and finally
hits that huge Stinger Splash, not realizing Ishii is numb to that shit.
Tag to Yujiro. He starts slapping Ishii in the face. Who in their right
mind would do that? He actually maintains the advantage until Ishii
headbutts this fucker, and Gedo is in there with fists of fury. Some
CHAOS double teaming gets two. Gedo Clutch but Tonga breaks. Ishii
breaks him in half with a lariat, but Yujiro hits Gedo with Tokyo Pimps
for three @……. BUT NO, he pulls him up off the canvas at 2.99
Seriously, eat shit Yuj. He hits the Miami Shine for the win, which is
Sean O’Haire’s Widowmaker as I get all misty and Bullet Club stands tall
as the victors @ 9:38 *** Gedo put over everybody this month on the way to
the big shows, like a real booker should.
WINNERS: Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi
Minoru Suzuki, TAKA Michinoku & Takashi Iizuka vs. Forever Hooligans
(Alex Kozlov & Rocky Romero) & Toru Yano
I feel like I’ve seen a billion versions of this match this week. My
money is on Kozlov taking the beating. We start with TAKA & Romero
in the middle with a manly exchange of forearms. Springboard cross body
from Romero and a Frankenrocky lead to a Kozlov tag and we get the wacky
ass spots in the corner that the Hooligans are so goddamned good at.
Kozlov makes TAKA rake his own eyes, but gets triangled in the ropes by a
wide awake Suzuki. He kicks the piss out of Kozlov from the apron and
all hell breaks loose outside the ring. It’s Iizuka, run fuckers!
Now for the spot that we will all remember this show for later on: They
BLOW THE 20 COUNT SPOT, and Kozlov gets rolled in at what would be 23 or
24. They literally didn’t make it in the ring nearly in time and Hatori
had to just stop at 19. Crowd dying in laughter and can’t handle the
hilarity! TAKA is ready to kick Hatori’s ass for not declaring them
the victors. Suzuki with the incredulous facials. With Kozlov back in,
TAKA gets the Ushanka kicks of not so subtle irony on Kozlov. Suzuki
tags in and manages to lock in a double sub on the Hooligans but breaks
on 4 and then lets Hatori know how counts work. Two counts via lateral
presses now, and the joke is still running wild as Suzuki is livid.
Such limited Yano/Iizuka-ness and more of a Suzuki/TAKA vs. Hooligans
match, making for a good bout. As I type that, Iizuka in now to choke
Kozlov to the mat. Suzuki tosses Iizuka the cord and now he’s really
choking away. Crowd in unison behind Kozlov to make the tag, he gets an
enzuigiri and it’s finally hot tag Yano. Crowd loves that, and he takes
the corner apart. Beard Yank! Hatori breaks it physically, and Iizuka
loses hair. He’s about to murder Hatori for that, and this match is
absolutely clicking. They trade Irish whips into the exposed turnbuckle.
Yano goes for the RVD but gets choked from behind with the cord. Suzuki
in finally to break up the one-star nature of Yano vs. Iizuka, and he
locks in an armbar on old nemesis Yano but breaks for TAKA to showboat
and attempt an RVD pose of his own in a mocking fashion. Before he can
finish however, Yano blasts him with the Hackenschmidt Memorial Punch To
The Nuts and gets a roll up for three @ 10:11 *** Very fun match that had
the crowd rocking the whole time.
WINNERS: Forever Hooligans & Toru Yano
Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma vs.
Yuji Nagata, Kota Ibushi, Manabu Nakanishi & Captain New Japan
Oh lord, it’s the NWA tag titles. Tenzan & Nakanishi start us off
with chops, leading to Mongolian chops, leading to a spin kick from
Tenzan. The most well timed TenKoji combo I’ve seen in a while has
Nakanishi in trouble but he will not sell your bullshit double suplex
attempt. He plexes TenKoji both at the same time, and we end up with
Ibushi and Honma in the ring facing off. Honma and Naito get off their
clean little double team sequence on Ibushi, but he pops up leaving
Honma falling headfirst and then he moonsaults Naito. That was dope!
Good to have Kota back and healthy between the ears.
Nagata tags, but Kojima in with 17,342 chops on Nagata in the corner and
of course “Ichauzo Bakarayo”. Nagata with a Nagata Lock, Nakanishi with
a back breaker, and the Yuji-taker face of doom. Ibushi and Naito in,
and it’s as good in the ring as it is on paper. Crazy duel has Naito
ahead with the basement dropkick and rolling senton. Is that a Naito
chant? He goes German (again, the Japanese don’t mind), but Ibushi
almost eats a wicked DDT. Only God knows how, but he kips up and
headstands out of it on some serious 1984 Bruce Leroy shit. Huge lariat
puts Naito down.
Crowd Going Banana. We get the old everybody-run-at-Naito-in-the-corner
spot, highlighted by the uber-athletic Ibushi. CNJ thinks he can finish
Naito but eats a flying burrito, one of my favorite spots when it’s
coming from Naito. Everybody brawls out, but we’re left with Naito and
CNJ. Honma outta nowhere to drill him with the Kokeshi and Naito
finishes with the stardust press to home the duke @ 12:40 Honma’s team wins again!
***¼ Everybody looked good here, in particular Ibushi. Tenzan and Kojima
hold their NWA tag titles with incredible pride, as if they mean
something. Nagata & Nakanishi take exception to the bravado and the
build to that tag title match is at the very least ambitious. We’re
talking about the 13th most important match of the upcoming 2-day event,
and they’re giving it a story. I’m totally cool with that. It beats the
meaningless tags they throw out there in the undercard all the time.
WINNERS: Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Tetsuya Naito & Tomoaki Honma
CHAOS vs. BULLET CLUB
Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Karl Anderson,
Doc Gallows & Bad Luck Fale
Shinsuke looking mad inspired tonight. YOSHI out with Okada, despite the
graphics having him coming out with Nak. This makes way more sense with
the tag title match coming up. Bullet Club comes out waving the flag,
while the tag champs come out in camo vests. Sadly we can’t really make
out the shit they’re talking down the aisle. Anderson immediately
disrespects YOSHI before the bell, and YOSHI is in full
fuck-you-bring-it mode, starting off with Anderson. Crowd chants his
name and the Machine Gun attacks before the bell.
CHAOS thrown to the outside as BC puts the boots to YOSHI mid-ring.
HASHIcanrana and that wicked Headhunter neckbreaker give YOSHI the
control, and now Okada and Nakamura in, but Anderson manages to foil all
three. Brawl on the outside and its Breaking Down In The Prefecture Of
Tokyo. “So desu ne” on commentary and I take another drink. Anderson
goes all Rainmakah Pose-u on the outside, and the ref finally implements
a 20 count. Anderson talking shit to the fans at ringside; so great. We
tag out to Nakamura & Fale. Amazing 80’s Hair Metal gyrations in
the corner from Nakamura as he goes all Dial MTV on us. The running knee
in the corner gets two.
Crowd behind Shinsuke but he gets slammed and splashed for a two. Tongan
Drop gets a “So Desu Ne” on commentary, but sadly I’m down to my last
one. We get Anderson mocking Nakamura’s gyrations, complete with gun
gestures, but he misses a senton. Hot tag to Okada, to a huge pop. He
hits some offense and kips up. The YOSHIkada tandem gets all their
double team shit off, but BC gains the advantage eventually, culminating
in Okada catching a superplex from Anderson. They trade moves as Okada
tries the Too Awesome Drop Kick, but Anderson holds out. All three from
BC in there now and they are really breaking off a beating to Okada.
Modified 3D gets a 2.9999, and everybody hits a move on everybody else
as we near our conclusion.
YOSHI lays out Gallows with a lariat, and Okada gets the Flying Elbow
and Rainmakah Pose-u. Shades of the tag title match to come. Okada gets
the Too Awesome Drop Kick on Anderson and Rainmaker on Gallows for the
three @ 11:56 *** ½ We get the 2 requisite stare downs,
YOSHIkada/GallowsAndGun & Nakamura/Fale. The Okada & YOSHI
pairing is on fire right now. It’ll be interesting to see if NJ is
cashing in on it, or if they keep BC the champs until Tokyo Dome for a
rematch with KES.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki
Shiboto (or Gobata, whatever) makes their way to the ring, and I can’t
help but think we’re gonna have a good one right here. Shibata’s music
never fails to signify “go time”. Tanahashi down the aisle now, and
after looking all loveable Von Erich-like a couple nights earlier, he
has this frustrated look of “Really, I have to placate this asshole
again?” This match has multi-feud implications, and so we start with
Goto & Makabe, building to that singles match. They’re gonna try to
steal the show when they get there, but as for tonight, Goto backs
Makabe onto the ropes when Makabe turns him around and grants a clean
Tanahashi & Shibata tag in. Sounds like a lot of Shibata fans,
though I’m sure Tanahashi has his Cena section of hot babes and little
dudes. These guys won’t give each other an inch, and Tana finally hits a
big slap to the face of Shibata. Forearms and a big kick from Shibata,
as I can’t help but think he’s gonna hold onto that receipt for a
minute. Tanahashi, ready to rock, goes to knock him off the apron but
Shibata catches him in a choke. Nice. Goto goes to brawl with Makabe on
the outside. Back in, he nails a kick to the back for a one. Crowd
behind Tanahashi now. Shibata absolutely lays the forearms in real
stiff, drags Tanahashi to the middle of the ring and hits him with his
own dragon screw. Tana rolls out but Shibata brings him back in. Hits
another dragon screw and locks in the figure four. Makabe comes in to
Goto now, single leg crab to that right leg of Tanahashi while Shibata
taunts from the corner but Tanhashi makes the tag. Gunshot kicks to the
chest of Tanahashi. Double team kicks laying Tanahashi out. Red shoes
won’t count it though, due to nefarious means. Finally after this
lengthy ass whooping, Tanahashi hits a dropkick on each and makes the
hot tag. It should be noted: Not a 730 degree barbed wire corkscrew
twisting flippy-doo to peak the crowd before the hot tag, but just drop
kicks because that’s what makes the tag hot; the build. It’s science.
Makabe in and he’s a house of fire. Big lariato gets two. “So Desu Ne”,
but I’m already out of beer. Ushikoroshi from Goto to Makabe, but they
only stay laid out for about 10 seconds before Shibata comes in and gets
cut down with a lariat. Tanahashi back in, and he hits his horizontal
cross body in the corner. 2nd rope rolling senton gets two. Crowd
chants, but they sound divided. Tana hitting Shibata with his own move,
forearms in the corner, goes to top it off with the dropkick but Shibata
won’t have it. He beats Tana to the punch and gets the big running
boot, followed by the forearms and finally the dropkick. All of which is
just incredibly stiff. Shibata sets up the PK, but Tana meets him first
with a Slingblade-o, and to the top but gets drilled with a boot to the
face from Shibata.
Double Ushikoroshi from Goto & Shibata off the top. Tana fights back
eventually with a slingbalde-o but before he can even make it to his
feet, Shibata hits him with a nice German. He however walks into a huge
lariat from Makabe. All four down. Great sequence. Miscommunication
leads to a Shibata-Goto double team going wrong, and Makabe turns Goto
inside out with a clothesline, complete with Jannetty sell from Goto.
Makabe to the top for the King Kong knee drop, but Goto meets him there
first. Shibata in to help, and Goto gets the Ushikoroshi to Makabe and
follows with a Shoten Kai for the win @ 16:59 **** These two singles matches should be guaranteed fire on the 21st.
WINNERS: Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto
Fun show, but nothing special. Dragon Gate had a much better showing at
Kōrakuen earlier in the week, with the Flamita defense and the T-Hawk
& Eita tag match. That said, this was an enjoyable 2 hours of
wrestling, with a really good crowd, and the build to the big shows on
9/21 & 9/23 is at its peak. Once again the card for the very last
NJPW pay-per-view on Ustream.tv/NJPW stacks up like this:
– The Young Bucks & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Forever Hooligans (Kozlov & Romero)
– KUSHIDA (c) vs. The Funky Weapon – for the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship
– Togi Makabe vs. Hirooki Goto – grudge match
– AJ Styles & Tama Tonga vs. Kota Ibushi & Tetsuya Naito – (Styles vs. Ibushi~!!)
– Gallows & Gun (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI – for the IWGP Tag Team Championship
– Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Katsuyori Shibata – in a rematch of their classic from this year’s G1 Climax
– Bad Luck Fale (c) vs. Shinsuke Nakamura -for the IWGP Intercontinental Championship
The Beer & Coffee Rant for NJPW’s “Road To Destruction 2014: Kōrakuen”
Live from Tokyo, Japan – 9/5/14
[ Click HERE to see the show in it’s entirety without spoilers ]
New Japan’s first show back, after the tremendous success of the G1 Climax. No huge matches on this card, but it features a bunch of returns and should provide some perfectly acceptable entertainment.
Ah, it so good to have Shin Nihon Pro Wres back in the fold. I have truly missed the wacky half-dissolves used by the production truck. Taichi and his fresh new haircut lip synch their way down the aisle. Desperado looks far more comfortable in this new heel persona since joining Suzuki Gun. Taichi has a microphone stand and Desperado has a guitar. They’re a band. I get it now. Keep these guys as a team forever. With the G1 featuring the same 22 guys night after night, it feels like I haven’t seen these guys in months. Shelley’s regular partner KUSHIDA has bigger fish to fry tonight in the semi-main. This match also marks the glorious return of Taichi, fresh off a two month suspension for cheating on his wife on the road (that’s a shoot, brother). Sho Tanaka, who hasn’t had a match since early July, comes out with a brand new body. Nothing fishy there. It is fun though watching these young guys come of age though, as Sho looks much more grown in comparison to when he debuted not too long ago.
Taichi and Desperado are already doing miscommunication for comedy, before the bell. Sho starts with Desperado, who backs off and heels on the crowd. They trade wristlocks and Desperado escapes by weaving through the ropes, leaving Sho’s arm all tied up. Before he can tag to Shelley he gets whipped into the opposing corner and Taichi tags in. Sho gets the tag to Shelley, and it’s a battle of Vanilla Swirl haircuts. Taichi off the ropes but Shelley returns fire with a drop kick. Desperado in and he gets a big back body drop. Shelley sets up a tope but gets yanked out of the ring by Despy. Taichi goes to set one up but gets caught by a big Tanaka forearm. The kid’s got timing. Taichi friggin’ drills him with a savate kick however. Commentary: “Oh Shiiit!” Taichi’s been on fire since the scandal. All four brawling on the outside, and it’s Bonzosuke Gonzosuke. Really strong first couple of minutes.
Taichi clocks Shelley with a couple chairshots. They double team Shelley in the corner, effectively cutting off the ring. Shelley trying to fight back, goes to make the tag, but Sho has been yanked from the apron. More double teaming abounds. Shelley remains resilient, nails a couple strikes and tags in Sho. He’s all full of spunk taking it to the heels. Drop kicks Taichi out of the ring. Gut wrench suplex for two, and he syncs in a Boston crab on Desperado, but gets cracked with a big kick to the chest from Taichi. Taichi de-pants himself, a sorely missed spot since he disappeared after the BOSJ. Some miscommunication results in a small package from Sho for two. He gets another roll up for two. Kōrakuen digging the kid. Desperado catches him with a big front face drop. Big kick from Taichi and we get a Gory Special 3D looking neckbreaker variation for the win @ 8:27 ** ¾ Taichi goes to work on Shelley with a chair after the match. Desperado grabs the mic and (I assume) says he’s “coming for you N……… JPW Junior tag straps”. The heels go all 3MB and play themselves to the back. WINNERS: Taichi & El Desperado
We get another return in the second match as Maximo steps in a NJPW ring for the first time since January. He’s basically Rico, complete with kissing-his-way-out-of-headlocks and the whole nine. Ironically, one of the highlights for me during his last run here was when he teamed with Liger, leading to Liger adopting the gimmick for one night. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Liger get light in the loafers. Liger & Tiger Mask are fresh off a tour of NOAH, where they competed in the Global Jr. Tag League, coming one DQ loss away from the finals. Mask in particular looked rejuvenated and was strong in the “heel from the rival company” role. We begin things with BUSHI and Tiger Mask. No, it’s Liger. They can’t decide. Liger & BUSHI trade headlocks, and take it to the mat. Some chain wrestling leads to BUSHI feigning a dive, resulting in applause. Maximo tags in, so Liger tags out. Tiger Mask in there now, and the excitement has Maximo twirling up a storm. Mask goes to tag out, but Liger isn’t having it.
Maximo rubs Mask down, to a less than enthusiastic reaction, and follows up with an attempt at a Greco Roman Lip Lock, but eats some kicks from TM4 instead. BUSHI back in now. They drill him with kicks and a classic Liger tilt-a-whirl suplex, as he syncs in the bow and arrow. Mask comes in and applies a camel clutch, really wrenching back on the spine of BUSHI, whose getting bent like a greeting card in there tonight. Tiger Mask hits the Tiger Driver, and Liger comes in but has to fight off another Maximo sexual advance. Mask flies in outta nowhere but so does BUSHI. Maximo back on his feet, as he and BUSHI hit Stereo Topes. Liger ducks another kiss attempt, and pulls down Maximo’s singlet (“exposing his girly breasts” is the theory I suppose), and Liger steals his thunder as HE PLANTS A KISS ON MAXIMO, and rolls him up for three @ 6:49 ** The Terry Garvin School of Self Defense~! Maximo is clearly not that bummed that he lost. Liger goes to celebrate with TM4 who barely gives him a halfhearted hand shake. Mask ain’t having none of that post-victory hugging stuff though. WINNERS: Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Tiger Mask IV
Yes, TenKoji are STILL the NWA Tag Champions, reminding you by wearing their belts to the ring throughout the G1. What the fuck is CNJ wearing tonight? Moving along, we start with Nakanishi & Tenzan (who had a great G1, and the crowd is behind him right here). Shoulderblocks prove even and we switch to chops. Tenzan with the Mongolian chops now and Nakanishi goes down, but as he lays on his back he sweeps the leg. They tag out to CNJ and Komatsu (reigning WON Rookie of the Year); crowd firmly down with the latter. Stalemate for a nice pop. Komatsu off the ropes strong with a resounding shoulderblock.
Kojima in and he’s Flexin’ His Pecs! Captain would return the favor but he’s wearing a blue camouflage onesie. CNJ attempts a diving cross body but whiffs. TenKoji with the slingshot splash double team, and Komatsu’s back in. Say what you will, NJ doesn’t have a ton of youthful depth, but the two guys they really like (Tanaka & Komatsu) can straight up go. Komatsu stomps away, CNJ fights back and Komatsu slaps him like he’s Ray McDonald’s pregnant wife. Kojima with a million chops in the corner to the crowds delight. “Ichauzo Bakarayo”! Kojima to the top, gets the falling elbow for two, while the crowd chants his name in unison. CNJ with a shoulderblock out of nowhere though, and Nagata’s finally in there with big kicks. And more. He fakes the dropkick and takes out the knee. Kojima fighting back, but Nagata gets an exploder. Kojima however hits a diamond cutter to escape. It’s breaking down in Bunkyō!
CNJ now delivering Mongolian chops to Tenzan. Blasphemer. He ends up catching a rolling crescent kick, and Tenzan tags in Komatsu. TenKoji and Komatsu with the triple team, and now all 6 are in. We settle back in with Komatsu vs. CNJ, and CNJ hits the Rock Bottom but looks to be getting 3D’d by TenKoji when Nagata breaks it up and pounds Komatsu into the mat. Nagata & Nakanishi hit a sweet flying-chop-off-the-top-mixed-with-an-enzuigiri double team. CNJ comes in and hits a kinda choke thingy on Komatsu for the.. three count? @ 10:21 ** Geez Komatsu, talk about paying dues. Nobody should have to suffer the indignity of jobbing to CNJ. Must have been the omnipotent power of the Blue Camo PJ’s. WINNERS: Yuji Nagata, Captain New Japan & Manabu Nakanishi
Kaze Ni Nare blares throughout Kōrakuen as Suzuki-Gun makes their way to the ring. Iizuka rampages through the crowd on his way, throwing chairs and the like. Suzuki, it should be noted, is fresh off the Match of the Year with AJ Styles, and a killer main event with Okada that sent the latter to the finals. Kozlov gets a hug and a kiss from a beyotch on the way to the ring. Adorable. that said, he’s totally in PETA violation. Suzuki-Gun jump ‘em to start. In a great bit, ring announcer Kimihiko Ozaki gets dropped during the fracas, and referee Tiger Hatori kicks his rolling carcass out of the ring. Ay, it’s the little things that count.
FH rock some double team stuff on TAKA to start, but get lost in the moment. They Hug It Out~! Ushanka kick sequence to TAKA. Springboard cross body from Romero and the clotheslines in the corner. Tope, but no, MiSu triangles the arm in the ropes. Former tag partners Yano & Iizuka begin to brawl to the back on the outside now. Suzuki whips Romero into the guard rail, and we get an “Oh Shit” on commentary again. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, we don’t need English commentary anywhere near these shows. Keep whitey away from the product! Suzuki back in the ring with Romero, big kick to the back, and Suzuki-Gun destroys him on the outside while Tiger Hatori is focused elsewhere.
TAKA back in, and he’s doing Romero’s wacky clotheslines and a knee lift for two. Romero back on the outside getting murdered on the guard rail by MiSu. Romero taking an absolute killing right now. Big steel chair to the back from Suzuki on the outside. Romero gets back in the ring. Iizuka choking him out with a rope now. This is an absolute ass whooping Romero is taking in there; 0.8 on the Christy Mack scale. Chokes him out, but Hatori won’t count. Finally, a desperation enziguri connects for Romero. Hot tag to Yano and he’s tearing up the furniture. He whips Iizuka into the exposed steel of the turnbuckle, but misses a charge and eats steel. Iizuka does the same and Yano back in control. They trade forearms, but Yano GRABS BEARD. This shit is sloppy as the fuck. Finally Suzuki back in looking like a million bucks. A big killer kick gets two, but Yano yanks the hair. Kozlov in, gains an advantage on Suzuki and the Hooligans double team with the rotating clotheslines in the corner. Dropkick into the Russian leg sweep gets two. Assisted “Sliced Bread-o” (called on commentary) gets two. Face stomp from Kozlov but TAKA breaks it up. Commentary expounds the virtues of the Sliced Bread-o. Closest thing we got these days to the wisdom of Monsoon, I tell ya. Hooligans double up on Suzuki but Taichi interferes, Kozlov says fuck it, gets a roll up and that almost gets three. Suzuki sleepers him out and hits the Delayed Gotch for the pin @ 13:18 Suzuki is great. The Hooligans are great. That Yano vs. Iizuka stuff was junky. *** WINNERS: Minoru Suzuki, TAKA Michinoku & Takashi Iizuka
Back from intermission. Another return as we get Kota Ibushi’s first NJPW match back since the ugly incident with KUSHIDA on July 5th. For those who don’t remember he was accidently knocked out legit early in the bout, and had to finish the match as it was a main event, and subsequently a title change in the making, no less. He did return on August 17th for DDT’s biggest show of the year, going **** against Shuji Kondo in a strong match full of brutal strikes. Homeboy looks legit thrilled to be back between those New Japan ropes. Mad bulkier. He cut a promo before the show saying he would not avenge his Jr. Heavyweight World title loss. He only has one goal now, to win the G1 and become the Heavyweight champ. Ok, two goals, whatever. Makabe did not make it to G1 Day 11 as he re-fractured his jaw at some point during the tournament. We’ll see how it holds up. Great to see Honma back, as always.
We start with Makabe and Goto, the latter being the man who broke Makabe’s jaw the first time earlier this year when he hit him with a vicious kick to the mouth. Makabe wins a tough guy fest to start, but gets hip tossed and shoulderblocked down by Goto. Ibushi in, crowd digs it. Honma in now. Ibushi against the guy who replaced him. OH THE IRONY! Ibushi goes to work with chops and kicks, but Honma gets a slam and misses the headbutt as always. Ibushi goes standing moonsault but catches knees to the gut. Ibushi to the outside, where he eats a SPIKE PILEDRIVER on the padded concrete. Back in the ring at the count of 16 though. He’s lucky he didn’t catch one from Col. DeBeers, there’d be blood everywhere. Makabe controlling, as Ibushi tried to throw a forearm or two to no avail. Honma with elbows and a neck crank. Makabe hooks a submission with the intent not to win, but to torture. We get a “So Desu Ne” on commentary and I take another drink.
Goto breaks up the Ibushi abuse again (the Ibuse?) and pounds the turnbuckle pad in support, but Ibushi continues to eat shit until finally hitting a dropkick. Finally tags to Goto. He hits a shoulderblock and spin kicks Makabe in the corner. They slug it out like men until a series of clotheslines leaves Goto down. Makabe with 10 punches in the corner. I’m pretty sure Jim Ross stated he hates that spot. Makabe hits a bridging “Suplex Hold-o.. for two-desu”, as whitey freaks out at home trying to figure out what they’re saying on commentary. Makabe bullies him with a knee to the grill. Goto sneaks in a Ushikoroshi and they are both laid out. Both make tags, and Ibushi is on that Bruce Leroy shit. Standing mooney gets two. He goes all suplexish, but Honma will not allow. Plexes Kota and kills him with strikes, a bulldog, and finally the headbutt on the mat. Honma goes for something off the ropes but eats a Frankensteiner ’90. Out of this madness, Honma gets an absolutely killer lariat. Super Kokeshi of Doom misses unfortunately, but he nails the Gnarly Dart outta nowhere. Ok, I’m the only one who calls it the Gnarly Dart, but we all hope it catches on, right? As hot as this match is getting, it still feels like a foregone conclusion whose doing the job here. Headbutt from Goto into a German Suplex Hold-o from Ibushi for a good two. Ibushi goes for a Powerbomb but gets rolled up for a nearfall. Ya know, if the guy ever won a match every now and then, that would be an even better spot. Ibushi recovers, hits a big roundhouse kick to the dome of Honma, and finishes with a Phoenix Splash for the win @ 13:06 *** ¾ A world of talent in there. WINNERS: Kota Ibushi & Hirooki Goto
Weapon hasn’t exactly been killing it since Devitt split from Apollo 55, but is apparently getting the first shot against KUSHIDA for the Jr. Heavyweight title. As to Tanahashi & Naito’s involvement in it, I have no idea, just random booking I suppose. They’re actually teaming up on the big 9/23 show. They were in different blocks last month for the G1 Climax, so it should make for a somewhat fresh match up.
KUSHIDA with the fresh mat-based MMA stuff to start. Another “So Desu Ne”, another drink. Maneuvers over to a headlock. Really good headlock sequence, and they tag out. Pretty decent Naito chant, and the Tanahashi fans (mostly female) respond. The try to whip each other off the ropes, but won’t budge. We finally get one but it results in miscommunication. Weapon in, and we get some chops, but Tana comes back with a cross body and they tag out. KUSHIDA catches a couple double teams and finds himself in a figure four from Taguchi. Naito working on the left leg as well now. KUSHIDA writhing in pain in the opposite corner, as Naito & Taguchi cut the ring in half. Belly-to-back shin breaker from Naito gets reversed to a DDT from KUSHIDA, who gets the hot tag (well, the ladies popped) and Tanahashi in. House of fire. Hits the somersault senton off the second rope for a two count. Naito comes back with a dropkick in a great sequence. He gets his flying somersault senton in, and now they’re trading forearms in the middle of the ring. Big slap right across Tanahashi’s face. He returns the favor. Naito down. Tana sinks a cloverleaf, but Taguchi is quick to hit him with a dropkick giving Naito time to recover. Both men down now and they tag out.
Taguchi and KUSHIDA back at it and Taguchi hits the “Three Amigos”. As if it the Japanese language wasn’t too much for some to overcome, now they’re speaking SPANISH on commentary. KUSHIDA escapes the last suplex and hits a “Handspring elbow”. Pick a language guys. He takes out Naito on the apron and hits Taguchi with a springboard dropkick. To the top and he nails a moonsault for a nearfall. We take a half minute to catch our breath. Taguchi makes an attempt at a Dodon, but Tanahashi swings by out of nowhere with a Slingblade-o. As he stands up and turns he gets hit immediately drilled with a big Naito dropkick from the top. All four down. KUSHIDA and Taguchi to their knees, forearms back and forth at each other. Now to their feet, and KUSHIDA hits the handspring heel kick that knocked Ibushi out for a month and a half. They wrestle for KUSHIDA’s Hoverboard Lock finisher, but Taguchi gets roll up for a good nearfall. Two or three more close ones as well, back and forth with the two counts, until Taguchi gets an ankle lock out of it for an eventual tapout victory over the champ @16:33 *** ½ Pretty good house show style tag match. Nothing to go crazy over, but you’d never be embarrassed watching it. Taguchi gets the win to build to the title shot, but I don’t know that he needs another one. KUSHIDA is the future. Naito looked smooth, as always. WINNERS: Tetsuya Naito & “The Funky Weapon” Ryusuke Taguchi
Ten-Man Tag Team CHAOS vs. BULLET CLUB Elimination Match:
Kazuchika Okada, Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, Gedo & YOSHI-HASHI vs.
“Machine Gun” Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga &Yujiro Takahashi
The ways of elimination are Pinfall, Submission, DQ, Countout, Ref Stoppage, or Over-The-Top-Rope. In a 5-on-5 Survivor Series match, I especially prefer that last one, as an over-the-top elimination does two things: a) it provides a speedier way to accomplish an elimination, and B) it also allows a bigger name to be protected when eliminated. This of course being the first show back since the Finals of the G1, this is our first chance to see Okada & Nakamura back together as a unit after their MOTY-worthy classic in the finals. Gotta keep an eye on Ishii’s shoulder as well, which was violently murdered by Shibata on Day 9, brutally tortured by Nagata on Day 10, and completely fell apart against Anderson on Day 11. It was last seen lying prone on the mat as Ishii made his way back to the Seibu Dome locker room. No titles on the line obviously, but Fale defends the IWGP Intercontinental title on the 9/21 pay-per-view, “Destruction in Kobe” against the man he won it from, Shinsuke Nakamura (the same show with KUSHIDA/Taguchi for the title). Also of note, Yujiro defends the NEVER Openweight title, the one he defeated Ishii for with a ton of interference, against YOSHI-HASHI on the 9/23 show, “Destruction in Okayama”. I’m a big proponent of these 2-day pay-per-view events. Helps give every big match enough time without wearing out the crowd with a five and a half hour show.
Nakamura begins with Fale. Anderson tried to get a “Fale” chant going. Nakamura with the classic rope break, but bar fight breaks out 15 seconds. Referee Red Shoes restores order and we get more classic Nakamura poses. Fale overpowers him, and the tag out to Yujiro & Ishii. Yuj goes immediately to the bad arm of Ishii, but Ishii gives no fucks. Works against him though as Yujiro really working that shoulder over, while Ishii tries to use the injured body part. A headbutt proves to be a better result. YOSHI-HASHI in now, but the coward Yujiro tags out to Tonga. They lock up and YOSHI gets the best of him, until Tonga hits a spear out of the corner and pounds away with punches. Another bar fight breaks out as Tonga just stoically stands above the fallen YOSHI. Kicks away at him in the corner and now Anderson in with boots as well. “I’m stomping a mudhole in somebody’s ass!” Karl’s the best. Fale comes to get him some as they are just absolutely decimating YOSHI-HASHI. Crowd trying to get behind him, but Fale just slams him down and stands on him. Finally, the trader Yujiro has the balls to tag back in but YOSHI-HASHI gets a couple chops in He can’t maintain the momentum and gets suplexed by Gallows. Festus moves well, but he just looks so silly in there with the dorky facepaint and hankeys. He misses a buttdrop, eats a YOSHI-HASHI basement dropkick and YOSHI finally gets the tag. Okada’s a house of fire in there now as he knock BC off the apron, DDT’s Anderson and kips up to a nice pop. Okada chants as he hits baseball slide drop kick. Anderson eventually nails a kick of his own but Okada gets the neckbreaker on the knee. to the top and he hits the best flying elbow in wrestling today. Gedo, despite wrestling and not managing, still does the Rainmakah Pose-u in unison with the G1 winner. Gedo in now, to a huge pop, throwing punches. Crowd way behind him. this goes well until he catches a huge Tonga splash in the corner. “So Desu Ne”; the beer is disappearing quickly. Gedo small package almost gets two. And another. Crowd way into him, but he walks into a drop kick and a jumping, double underhook DDT for a 3-counto @ 12:28 Gedo eliminated. The booker books himself to lose first! Get that big ego shit outta here. And I had no idea it was called the “Headshrinker”. Thank you commentary.
Nakamura in immediately to get his signature stuff in the corner. He hits the Reverse Power Slam and Boma Ye to send Tonga packing a minute later @ 13:42. Fale attacks, dropping the man he defends the title against in 2 weeks with a body slam and big splash for a two. Crowd trying to will Shinsuke to victory. Avalanche from Fale as we run through Bundy’s whole moveset. Samoan drop pin attempt gets broken up. Shinsuke evades the grenade, and locks in a rope assisted triangle armbar, but the both fall over the top and are eliminated @ 15:51 Nakamura & Fale eliminated. Ishii & Gallows fighting for a suplex now, mid-ring. Gallows turns that into a big slam, and hits a gut-wrench suplex, or as Bobby Heenan once dubbed Skinner’s version of it, “The Reverse Keister Buster From Behind”. Ishii connects a lariat with the good arm, and a headbutt. Picks Gallows up for a big suplex. Impressive. Lariat off the ropes gets to for Ishii and the crowd is firmly behind him. Big athletic kick from Gallows, but Ishii comes roaring back. Gallows gets him over the top rope, but Ishii’s hanging, not yet eliminated. He even hits a big headbutt, but another big boot from Gallows sends him to the floor @ 18:19. Ishii eliminated. Okada in, Gallows hits him with a big boot and The 12th Step for two, called the “Gallows Pole” on commentary. As far as move names go, that’s reaching groan-worthy levels of corny. Thankfully, Okada drops the big man over the top rope with a strong lariat @ 18:59. Gallows eliminated. Anderson enters from behind, goes for the Gun Stun but Okada calmly places him on the apron and dropkicks him to the floor @ 19:11. Anderson eliminated. That was great. Yujiro in but he takes the best drop kick in the business to the face. Crowd sensing a victory for CHAOS, as Yujiro is the last member of BC left, and getting whooped by the #1 guy in the company. Rainmaker attempt for the win, but Yujiro tosses Okada over the top rope. He hangs on though and is still alive. Yujiro distracts Red Shoes Uno as Anderson hops on the apron and nails Okada with a big boot, sending him to the floor below @ 19:47 Okada eliminated!
It’s 1-on-1, and it’s down to Yujiro vs. YOSHI-HASHI. Crowd clues themselves into this and gets behind YOSHI as Yujiro slaps away, and tries to big boot him over the top rope but can’t. Yujiro whips him off the ropes, but YOSHI gets that awesome Head Hunter neckbreaker. Superfast clothesline in the corner. Bunker buster gets two. They fight over a suplex, but Yujiro gets the lariat. Fisherman buster for a super near fall. Crowd pops big. Really good stuff here. Their title match on the 23rd later this month should be heated. Incolle slam for another hot near fall and Kōrakuen is rocking. Yujiro looks to finish, setting up the Miami Shine but YOSHI escapes and Hulks up. Now Yujiro hulks up but gets absolutely murder with a lariat. Commentary is in awe. YOSHI powerbomb with the bridge almost gets three, as everybody in the building is coming unglued. He climbs to the top and splatters a prone Yujiro for the big three @ 24:07. Huge pop there. Awesome match. **** Commentary was so damn passionate here near the end it should win a friggin’ Oscar. WINNERS: CHAOS (SOLE SURVIVOR: YOSHI-HASHI)
Kōrakuen Hall roars in approval as the rest of CHAOS bum rush the ring to celebrate. All five raise their hands in unison. Total feel good stuff, with the big underdog survivor. YOSHI chants fill the building as he poses on the top rope. Gedo on the stick now, says some stuff and passes it to YOSH. The bitches are screaming like he’s Ricky Morton. YOSHI says he’s coming for the belto while Yujiro throws a fit. Okada on the mic now saying something to Anderson about their upcoming singles match. Gallows is wigging out at ringside. Funny. Gedo: “Machine Gun, Gallows.. Go home! Go home! Sayonara, chickenshit” Gallows insists that he’s being miscast. Gedo then goes to the formula, runs through his trademark lines, and sends the crowd home happy. YOSHI with one big back flip to the floor to pop the folks in attendance on the way out.
Press conference, Okada says some stuff about the #1 contender’s brief case, while YOSHI offers similar thoughts.
Something of a filler show, full of random tags, though never a chore to watch.The undercard didn’t drag, Ibushi looked refreshed upon his return, and the main event was as good as expected. Everything built nicely to the title matches, as they all look like killer singles matches coming up. Plus, it appears the G1 injuries aren’t too significant long term, though Ishii should take care of that shoulder. Good little show to get us to the bigger shows later in the month.