NJPW Destruction in Fukushima Review

Pictures aren’t up yet, but I’ll add them when they are. Credit: NJPW

With the New Japan roster all rested up post-G1 (although a lot of them headed off around the world so they might not be as rested as they want to be), they are now heading back to work for the Destruction tour. Three B Shows and a host of Road To events don’t exactly scream unmissable, but there are a few gems hidden away over the next couple of weeks. Sadly, they aren’t on this show, but we trudge into the dark anyway. Let’s hand out those stars.

Yuji Nagata and Hirai Kawato defeated Manabu Nakanishi and Syota Umino

It’s almost not worth pointing out that Kawato is a star in the making. If you watch New Japan and haven’t figured that out, then you aren’t paying attention. Umino is a bit behind his peers, but still looks decent and is further proof that the New Japan Dojo puts the Performance Centre to shame.

Nagata and Nakanishi seemed fired up here. I’ve seen people talking about an ever present feud between them and it added to this match which – as is the norm with the openers at the moment – was good fun. Kawato even got to be on the winning side, which is a rarity for the lad.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI defeated Katsuya Kitamura and Tomoyuki Oka

It says a lot about the current position of Goto and HASHI that Kitamura and Oka felt like the stars in this match. Both of the CHAOS men are floundering and that’s a shame, particularly in the case of Goto. Oka and Kitamura on the other hand, go from strength to strength. Kitamura might never be a great wrestler but he’s brimming with charisma and Oka is as solid as it is possible to be at this stage of his career. I’d love to see these two have a run as a big boy tag-team at the start of their careers. The match was another fun Young Lions run-out. Nothing spectacular, but very easy to watch.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Yujiro Takahashi and Chase Owens defeated Jado and Beretta

Can we just take Jado off the active roster? I’m sure he was good once upon a time but he moves as if he’s swimming through clay now. Beretta meanwhile seems to be entering the heavyweight division via a feud with Takahashi. I’m sure some people will call that a waste but I actually quite like the idea. The main event scene in New Japan is rammed and there isn’t room for Trent at the moment. A (presumably) winning feud against Takahashi keeps him busy until something else opens up for him. As for this match, it was what it was. Chase Owens continues to be a fantastic job guy and Yujiro is, well, Yujiro. Not worth going out of your way to see but not offensive either.

Verdict: One And A Half Stars

David Finlay and Juice Robinson defeated Bad Luck Fale and Leo Tonga

Leo Tonga is a big boy. That alone is enough to make him stand out in Japan and he looks like he’s got the basics down. He could do a lot worse than learn from Bad Luck Fale who is one of the best monsters in the game. On the other side of the ring, I can’t help but like Finlay and I adore Robinson. Both of them bring boundless amounts of enthusiasm to their wrestling and that means that even in alright showings like this one, I end up having fun. Let’s just hope Juice manages to stay on his feet when he gets his big match against Kenny.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Taguchi Japan (Rysuke Taguchi, Ricochet, KUSHIDA, Togi Makabe and Hiroshi Takahashi) defeated Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemura, El Desperado, TAKA and Takashi Iizuka)

That Taguchi Japan team is sexy as hell. It’s just a shame they were coming up against the dregs of Suzuki-gun. This was to set up the Junior Tag Match and the Junior Title Match and it had all the Suzuki-gun shenanigans that I’m fed up with. They managed to make Tanahashi’s new haircut the second worst thing in this match and that’s saying something. I’ve had enough of it and it needs to stop. Sadly, this wasn’t even the end of it on this show.

Verdict: One And A Half Stars

War Machine (Hanson and Raymond Rowe) defeated Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr) and G.O.D. (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Titles

It’s hard to get excited about this match when you know you’re going to see it twice more before this tour is over. The booking of this division is lazy as hell and it doesn’t matter how hard War Machine work, even they can’t make it relevant. It’s all the more frustrating because there were hints here that War Machine and K.E.S. could have a fantastic feud. They are four big guys who can move and watching them smack each other around the ring could be a lot of fun. The rematches also make War Machine picking up the win here feel pointless because you can guarantee there’s going to be at least one title change before this is over.

Verdict: Two Stars

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito and Hiromu Takahashi) defeated CHAOS (Will Ospreay and Tomohiro Ishii)

This was a lovely looking tag on paper and while it maybe didn’t hit the heights it could have, it was still very good. I am fully behind Ospreay and Takahashi’s cat based antics. Sure, it’s silly, but when you wrestle like those two you can get away with a bit of silliness. Meanwhile, Ishii and Naito put on magic whenever they step in the ring together; so who the hell is going to complain about that? This was the kind of fast-paced action you’d expect from all of those involved. Naito and Takahashi are my favourite LIJ pairing as they always seem to be having a ridiculous amount of fun when they work together. They were also smart enough to protect Ospreay via the low-blow as he took the fall to Naito. Good stuff all-around.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Bushi, Sanada and Evil) defeated CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano and Rocky Romero) to retain the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Titles

I believe LIJ are now the most successful trios champs of all time. Whether that is a good thing or not is debatable. Those belts are pointless and the only good part of them is the bizarre combinations they generate. Much like the CHAOS team here.

This happened around twenty-four hours ago and I’m honestly struggling to remember anything about it. It definitely took place but it was just a match. It wouldn’t have looked out of place on a Road To show and if you’re skipping through this, you can shoot straight passed it. Although if you’re skipping through this, you’ve probably shot past nearly everything so far, so you have the time if you fancy it. The only notable thing was Evil continuing to get the better of Okada ahead of his title shot. I don’t think there’s any danger of him winning but New Japan is doing a great job of turning him into a star.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

Minoru Suzuki defeated Michael Elgin in a Lumberjack ‘Death’ Match to retain the NEVER Openweight Title

When this match was Suzuki and Elgin standing in the centre of the ring hitting each other really hard it was a lot of fun. You had two guys who work a stiff style and are blooming fantastic at it throwing haymakers. What’s not to love? Sadly, that wasn’t the story of this match. The story of this match was Suzuki-gun and all the shenanigans that they love. God, do I hate the shenanigans. If I were Large Michael I’d be very unimpressed with my lumberjacks because Taguchi Japan spent most of the match sitting on the outside watching Suzuki’s trolls get involved. It wasn’t even limited to the lumberjacks as Iizuka and K.E.S. both made their way down to the ring to annoy me too. Suzuki proved during the G1 (particularly in his match with Okada) that rumours of his demise are greatly exaggerated, but every time he has one of these over booked interference fests I can’t help but think they might be true.

Verdict: Two Stars

Overall Show

I know this is only a B show for New Japan, but it’s the worst non-Road To event that I’ve seen them put on. Admittedly, that only stretches back to the start of the year, but it’s still not a good sign. We’re a day removed and I’m already struggling to remember a lot of the show, in a month I doubt I’ll have any recollection of it at all. If you’re a completionist who needs to see everything, then the best that can be said about this is that it’s easy to watch. If you’re not, just skip it. Maybe watch Naito and Takahashi vs. Ospreay and Ishii if you’ve got ten minutes spare, but the rest is not worth your time.

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