Good morning, and we are back!
After almost a month off, we are back, on a Road To Destruction. No, that’s not an AC/DC song, that’s the name of the tour leading up to Destruction next week.
1. Shota Umino & Yuya Uemura vs Ren Narita & Yota Tsuji
As there are more spots than there were on the G1 Climax tour, room is available for an All-Young Lion tag match. I am seeing Tsuji for the first time, he is a bigger, older-looking guy. Umino puts him in a boston crab, but Tsuji reaches the ropes twice, until after a missile dropkick Umino puts on the crab again and Yota is too hurt to move anywhere and has to tap.
2. Chase Owens vs Ayato Yoshida
Owens pins Yoshida with a packaged piledriver.
3. Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin, David Finlay and Toa Henare vs Tama Tonga, Bad Luck Fale, Tanga Loa and Taiji Ishimori
Tonga pins Henare with a diamond cutter. Finlay challenges Loa for 6-man belts afterwards, which I think is happening at Destruction.
4. Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi vs Taichi and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Goto has Kanemaru in reverse neckbreaker, when Taichi comes in and attacks him with the microphone to get disqualified. There was a really odd spot before this, where Suzuki Gun were two on one and Goto just left the ring inexplicably (but, obviously, to set up the finish). Taichi powerbombs Goto after the match and three-counts to show what will happen at Destruction. Loud chant of “Let’s go, Taichi!” ensues. (he is not the face in this match and I don’t think the earthquake in his hometown is the reason.
5. Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, Sanada and Bushi vs Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, El Desperado and Taka Michinoku
Bushi pins Taka with a Codebreaker
6. Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi and Yujiro Takahashi (with Pieter) vs Tomohiro Ishii, Will Ospreay and Toru Yano
Ospreay seemed to have his sights set on Ibushi. The finish sequence is worth describing. Yano and Yujiro ended up facing off in the ring. Yano untied a pad, but Yujiro blocked being whipped and Yano grabbed his hair, then Ibushi grabbed Yano’s, then Ospreay grabbed Ibushi’s, then Omega grabbed Ospreay’s and tried to grab Ishii, but hey, Ishii is shaved, so he just shoulderblocked everybody down. Omega then hurricanrana’ed Ishii to the outside, then did a plancha, then Ospreay did a plancha on Omega, then Ibushi did a plancha on Ospreay and we were back to the original two. After an exchange, Yano reversed an Irish whip into the unpadded corner and lowblowed Yujiro for a roll-up pin. Not the finish I was expecting, as Ishii and Omega are main eventing Destruction.
7. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson vs Kazuchika Okada & Baretta
Mostly a Baretta show. He gets pinned after Pulp Friction. Not sure what’s being set up here, but Hiroshi seems to have offered to put his title shot on the line against Okada, after the match.
Two minor influences of American wrestling I noticed this card were:
Tanahashi brought his title shot to ringside–it was a briefcase.
The crowd was a lot more vocal. And I don’t mean loud, the Japanese crowds are usually loud, but that it chanted competitor’s names during matches, which is rather unusual.
Overall, just an OK card, not the kind you come from being blown away, but it’s good to have NJPW back.