Destruction in Hiroshima, an event name that will always make me cringe. I assume NJPW know what they’re doing with it, but from the outside looking in? Yea, I might change that one. Anyway, that’s not the important part. The important part is that it’s headlined by Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii. That is never going to be a bad thing. Go murder him, Wide Tom!
Jushin Thunder Liger, KUSHIDA and Tiger Mask defeated Roppongi 3K (SHO, YOH and Rocky Romero)
It’s a while since I’ve seen Liger and the sight of that crazy old man always makes me happy. He earns this match two stars just by being there. In fact, this is a likeable group of wrestlers. Apart from the kitty, he tends to get grumpy.
SHO and KUSHIDA work well together, and if NJPW ever does plan on bumping KUSHI up to heavyweight, they’d be wise to do that program before they do, unless the eventual plan is to do it at heavyweight. Kevin Kelly has been open about thinking SHO’s future lies in the direction, and I doubt he’s coming up with that himself.
The rest of this was precisely what you’d expect it to be. Lots of fun, but nothing incredible. I was slightly shocked to see Tiger Mask get the win over YOH. A KUSHIDA victory seemed to make the most sense ahead of the Junior title tournament. Still, a decent start to the show.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Bad Luck Fale defeated Toa Henare
Toa Henare went right after Fale, chopping away at his legs. When Fale’s in there with someone like Henare you realise that while he’s big, he’s not actually that tall. It didn’t take Fale long to regain control before he practically decapitated Toa with a clothesline and then pinned him with the Grenade.
I hope Fale regularly squashing Henare is going somewhere. Henare isn’t a Young Lion anymore and has all the potential in the world. Continually feeding him to someone who is a bit shit is a strange tactic. If there’s a plan, it’s fine. If there isn’t, then it should have been a series of Young Lions in this role.
Verdict: One Star
Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr) defeated Ayato Yoshida and a piece of shit
Verdict: Fuck Michael Elgin
CHAOS (Will Ospreay, Chuckie T and Beretta) defeated The Bullet Club Elite (Kota Ibushi, Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi)
The Best Friends, Chase and Kota in one match? You are spoiling me NJPW! It’s lovely to have Beretta back, even more so after Hangman Page dropped this little nugget of information on the internet recently. Greg is every bit the man I expected him to be.
Unsurprisingly, there was a touch of silliness here. Kota Ibushi continues to feel bad whenever Chase and Yujiro bend the rules while Will Ospreay was desperate to be included in a Best Friends’ hug. Sadly, it was a desperation they did not reciprocate.
Then you have the fact that there are five ridiculously talented wrestlers in there (sorry Yujiro). New Japan either has plans for Ospreay vs Ibushi, or they’re going off-script and setting it up themselves. Whichever one it is, the small tasters we’re getting of those two are delightful.
The returning Beretta got the pinfall over the Best Undercard Wrestling On The Planet, Chase Owens although not before they had an entertaining interaction that reminded us why Chase is worthy of that title. I was always going to like this match; it had all my favs.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
The Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) defeated Taguchi Japan (Juice Robinson, David Finlay and Ryusuke Taguchi) to retain the NEVER Openweight Six Man Titles
You’d think I’d be over G1 fatigue, but the second Tama and Tanga came out my brain turned off. I really dislike them, and now they’re preventing me from enjoying Juice, Lovely Dave and the Coach.
Talking of the Coach, Taguchi has left football behind and moved onto rugby. Football is my sport, so that’s a poor move in my opinion. Are the Japanese good at rugby? They seem to have decided that Taguchi’s scrum cap is a helmet that was helping him cause more damage. That’s a fundamental misunderstanding of what they do.
Taiji Ishimori’s abs continue to astonish me. If I looked like that, I’d spend most of the day flexing in front of a mirror. Talking of such things, Finlay seems to have dropped a bit of weight. While I’m by no means a body guy, I think that will do him good. Dave’s a good lad who needs something to give him a bit of momentum.
There was also a match going on which saw Tonga Loa get the win with Apeshit. If you hadn’t guessed, I didn’t care much for it. The final few minutes were alright, the rest was there.
Verdict: Two Stars
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano and Gedo) defeated Suzuki-gun (Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Takashi Iizuka)
Oh God, are New Japan deliberately testing my patience? G.O.D. followed by Taichi and Iizuka? I’m not buying the idea that Taichi has become a decent wrestler, by the way. A couple of alright matches don’t change the fact he’s a singing ballbag (no offence meant).
This did nothing to get me excited for his bout with Goto as we were treated to Suzuki-gun antics from start to finish. Nearly every single member of that group can put in a shift (Iizuka being the exception), but when you put them together in a match like this, it’s nearly always bullshit. This is probably the worst combination they can put together too. It does nothing for me.
There was one upside which was Goto coming roaring into the match, blood running down his face, to beatdown everyone in his path. While it’s no secret that Old Hirooki is a bit hit and miss, he’s a fantastic badass when he wants to be. Sadly, it didn’t last long enough to save the mess this had descended into. Taichi cut him off with the microphone, booted the ref and choked Goto for the DQ. Give us something good next, NJPW.
Verdict: Two Stars
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Sanada, EVIL and BUSHI) defeated Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr, El Desperado and TAKA Michinoku)
I don’t know if this is good or not. It’s got the best of Suzuki-gun while it’s no secret that I adore LIJ. However, how many times have we seen this or a variation of it? We get it, Suzuki wants to murder Naito. I’m sure lots of people do, he’s a bit of a smug bastard.
It’s always at least entertaining, though. No one murders like a Murder Grandpa murders and Suzuki taking a seat with his foot on Naito’s head was an outstanding image. Then it might have been bettered by him choking Naito out while dangling him off the apron.
We were so focused on those two that everything else faded into the background. Sanada, in particular, had a night off as he only really turned up for the final few seconds to help EVIL put TAKA away for the win.
Meanwhile, Suzuki had choked Naito out on the floor, only stopping when BUSHI sacrificed himself for his boss. They wanted to stretcher the lead Ingobernable out, but he wasn’t having any of it as he threw the backboard at the barricade instead. Meanwhile, EVIL and Zack were getting in each other’s grills as it appears LIJ vs Suzuki-gun is far from over.
Verdict: Three Stars
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Great Bash Heel (Tomoaki Honma and Togi Makabe) defeated CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, Jay ‘Switchblade’ White and YOSHI-HASHI)
Kazu vs Tana is apparently now for YOSHI-HASHI’s soul as well as the G1 briefcase. I like that wrestling has progressed from valets being on the line to slightly useless wrestlers instead (sorry YOSHI).
Jay White is fantastic. He started the match by tagging himself in just as the crowd had got themselves pumped up for Okada vs Tanahashi and then spent the rest of it essentially pissing all over Okada to assert his dominance. I’m already a Knife Pervert lover, I hope you will all join me in being so too.
The finish saw Switchblade trying to convince YOSHI-HASHI to use a chair. He refused with the distraction it caused allowing Tana to lead Honma and Makabe in beating him down. White pushed Tana off the top rope when The Ace was going for High Fly Flow at which point Okada tried to come to the rescue, accidentally booted YOSHI in the face which forced him into a Tanahashi roll up for the win.
The CHAOS drama is a lot of fun and makes these undercard tags worth watching. It’s giving YOSHI-HASHI something to do, continues Okada’s falling apart and positions Jay White as the puppet master. There are a million different avenues they can take as this tale unwinds, so I’m excited to see which one they choose.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Kenny Omega defeated Tomohiro Ishii to retain the IWGP Heavyweight Title
You know what’s beautiful about this match? I hadn’t seen a single spoiler when I watched it and yet I knew I could write those words in bold. There wasn’t a chance in hell Tomohiro Ishii was leaving with that belt. Did I care? No, not one bit. Because watching Tomohiro Ishii battle for that belt is award enough. That man has earned another chance in the main event.
There are two sides to Tomohiro Ishii. There’s the monster who growls through V-Triggers, and then there’s the best babyface in the business who sells his ass off for opponents as he battles from underneath. For the bulk of this match, we were treated to the latter as it became about what Omega had to do to put Ishii down. The highlight of which was a Springboard Double Stomp over the barricade onto Ishii who was lying on the announce table. Of course, it didn’t break.
If you’re going to do that to Tomohiro Ishii, you better make sure you kill the bastard. Because at some point, that monster is going to come out. There were hints of it throughout, but Omega was always able to cut it off. A V-Trigger or his own version of the Brainbuster was enough to keep that monster at bay even if it didn’t get him the win.
Omega went too big, though. He knew he needed something special to put Ishii down and after a series of V-Triggers, he took him up top. When Ishii blocked the Super Snap Dragon and a Super Jay Driller, Omega hoisted him up for a Super One-Winged Angel. That woke something up inside of Ishii, though. Out of nowhere, the man built like a bowling ball hit a Super Hurricanrana and exploded into life.
Suddenly, it didn’t matter what Omega did. Ishii kept coming. He even drove his knee into Omega’s face with a V-Trigger of his own. What had been a one-sided contest was now a battle between two men who were dead on their feet. Both giving everything they had in a desperate attempt to win the gold.
And, of course, Kenny Omega won. He was always going to win. But he had to give everything to do so. Countless V-Triggers, a reckless Tombstone and a Jay Driller, weren’t enough. In the end, there was only one thing that could stop him, and that was the One-Winged Angel. Even then, Ishii was reaching out after the bell, clawing at Omega’s foot, desperate to fight on.
Was this Omega and Ishii’s best match? Nah, probably not. The result never being in doubt hurt it. However, that’s like saying the cheese toastie I had yesterday wasn’t the greatest cheese toastie I’ve ever had. It was still a fucking amazing cheese toastie because all cheese toasties are amazing. You have to really fuck up for it not to be. Ishii and Omega create magic whenever they step into that ring, and this was no exception.
Verdict: Four And A Half Stars
I was worried when I saw that the VOD for this show was over four hours long. Thankfully, the actual wrestling only went for three or so and for the most part, it was very watchable. There was some guff in the middle that you can fast-forward through, but aside from that, you’ll have a lovely time. Make sure and watch that main event, though. It’s special.