Good morning, and we are back!
It’s time for the first night of Destruction, taking place in a city unfortunately associated with the word, Hiroshima.
1. Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Tiger Mask and Kushida vs Roppongi 3K & Rocky Romero
Tiger Mask pins Romero with a Tiger Driver.
2. Bad Luck Fale vs Toa Henare
Henare attacks Fale as he enters the ring and stays on the offensive for most of the match. Fale finally takes over and goes for a razor’s edge, but Henare slides down. Fale then clotheslines him, which Henare sells as though he was murdered (flips over in the air and falls down flat). Fale then choke slams and thumb thrusts him to the throat for a 3 count. Though short, have never seen these guys be so agile before.
3. Killer Elite Squad vs Michael Elgin & Ayato Yoshida
Making their way back after a short absence is the team of Lance Hoyt and Davey Boy Smith Jr. This was a perfect example of how to book a match, where one team is clearly there to put the other over. Elgin & Yoshida had moments of offense, but it was clearly a case of successful streaks of moves rather than result of better wrestling. Killer Bomb puts Yoshida out of his misery.
4. Will Ospreay and Best Friends vs Kota Ibushi, Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi
With Beretta belly-to-back package piledriving Chase, Chuck T flying stomped Chase for a 3. IMO, the 3 wrestlers in Chaos are each better than any of their opponents. Hard to buy what’s being set up therefore. Ospreay vs Ibushi? Ospreay moves like a one in generation wrestler between moves, and Ibushi just tries to break his neck again.
5. NEVER Openweight 6-Man Championship match: Guerillas of Destiny & Taiji Ishimori vs Ryusuke Taguchi, Juice Robinson & David Finlay
Taguchi-Japan team comes out in rugby outfits. Not sure if it’s rugby season or making fun of Tama’s college football career. Got really good in the end. Tanga Loa, who spent 90 percent of the match in the ring, pins Finlay with a shoulderbreaker (Apeshit) Firing Squad now does their wolf down low as opposed to Bullet Club, who do it up high.
6. Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano and Gedo vs Taichi, Takashi Iizuka and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Taichi started to lip sync, but was cut off by Iizuka’s music. Taichi’s head kick again did not miss. As Goto hit Go To Heaven and followed with GTR on Kanemaru, the ref started to count. Taichi came in and instead of breaking the count kicked the ref in the face. He shoved Gedo off the apron and started beating the crap out of Goto with his mic. About 6 Young Lions ran in to stop it and got thrown aside. Taichi then nailed a high rise power bomb and did his own 3 count to cheers (not the reaction they were going for, or were they?).
7. Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, Sanada & Bushi vs Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado, Taka Michinoku and Zack Sabre Jr
EVIL and Sanada pin Michinoku with Magic Killer.
8. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe vs Kazuchika Okada, Jay White and Yoshi-Hashi
As Okada and Tanahashi square off, White tags himself in. They exchange words, to chants of “Okada”. Huge pop when Honma is tagged in. Jay White declines to tag Okada and tags Yoshi-Hashi instead. Okada tags White with a little hesitation. White tags out to Okada, when he is not looking. Jay White offers Yoshi-Hashi a chair, but he waves him off and Tanahashi runs Jay off the apron. Overall, business is definitely picking up once the two big names are in the ring. Tanahashi tries for High Fly Flow on Yoshi-Hashi, but Switchblade throws him off the top rope. For the finish, Okada accidentally hits the big boot on Yoshi-Hashi, and Tanahashi rolls up the fallen man for the pin. Yoshi-Hashi declines Okada’s attention and waves him off. He leaves the ring alone. Switchblade and Okada talk.
9. Kenny Omega vs Tomohiro Ishii for the IWGP Heavyweight Title
Very good and very long. A little too much Omega show, but Ishii’s comebacks and pops for them were worth it. Omega wins with One-Winged Angel. I didn’t hope for anything else before the match, but it definitely gave me hope. ****½