NJPW Destruction in Fukushima went down this morning, and for full results you can hit up our post here, but if you just want to find out what you need to watch from what you can leave on the proverbial cutting room floor, you’re in the right place.
As always, I've got a very simple five point scale laid out where a 1 is total skip, 2 you can probably skip unless you love one of the folks in it, 3 is a match that's worth watching but not necessarily worth making time for, a 4 is a solid recommendation to make time for if you can, and a 5 is a must-watch.
Mind you, these are not star ratings. They're not meant to be absolute ratings in any sense, but rather a simple (and hopefully sensible) way to determine if a match is worth your time. A one is not necessarily a bad match, but rather just one I feel like you're best off skipping. I have my biases, of course, but hopefully I can make it easy for you to adjust for them.
Hirai Kawato & Yuji Nagata vs. Manabu Nakanishi & Shota Umino (2): Pretty standard opening tag fare, cycling through the matchups; dads on dads, dads on young lions, young lions on young lions. As always with these it's fun to get a sense of how the young lions are progressing, but it's hardly essential.
Chaos (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Monster Rage (Katsuya Kitamura & Tomoyuki Oka) (3): Kitamura and Tacos early, the young lion in charge using his superior strength, but right as the tide looks well and fully turned, Chaos pull ahead through subterfuge. All is not lost, however, and Oka manages to tag in for a more even fight. Double teams on Goto ensue, and the match becomes a question of if the veteran can keep it together enough to mount a comeback and put these young lions back in their place.
Fun stuff, with Kitamura and Oka really making the most of the spot they were given here. Hardly essential, but if you have an extra couple minutes free in your day, not a bad way to spend it.
Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Chaos (Beretta & Jado) (1): Owens and Jado early, Chase taking the lead and working him over with quick tags. Beretta gets the tag, in hot on Yujiro, throwing dives, Takahashi cuts him off but the Chaos boys are able to rally and the match settles into a back and forth from there.
This is a solid showcase for Beretta as he settles into his role as a heavyweight, setting the stage for a likely feud with Yujiro, but there's not much here. Pass.
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Leo Tonga) vs. David Finlay & Juice Robinson (2): Bullet Club lads in control, Fale directing Leo and taking the match outside for a moment. Back in and Juice starts trying to carve out some space on Tonga, Finlay chipping in in key moments, and you have a classical Davids and Goliaths situation.
Not much to this one, but Leo acquitted himself well in a match obviously structured to help him along whilst thrust into such a big spot basically out of nowhere, shifting as it does from “Bad Luck directing traffic” to “basically Juice vs. Leo in singles action”.
Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Taichi, TAKA Michinoku, Takashi Iizuka, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs. Taguchi Japan (Hiroshi Tanahashi, KUSHIDA, Ricochet, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Togi Makabe) (1): Chaos early, just a big ol' ten-man brawl settling into Taguchi Japan running roughshod on Iizuka. but Takashi turns the tide by... eating... Taguchi's... butt. From there into a more edifying KUSHIDA/Desperado segment, and into Ricochet taking on basically the entire Suzuki-gun team by himself before the short-haired Ace tags in.
Tanahashi's segment is based around the bad arm coming into play before he makes a comeback, and Makabe comes in after. He dominates Suzuki-gun, Taguchi comes in, and soon enough all hell breaks loose again on our way to the finish. So, this didn't suck, exactly, but it was a series of segments that were largely unrelated to each other and aside from KUSHIDA/Desperado, none of them really worth checking out. Pass.
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Roa) vs. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Lance Archer) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Ray Rowe) (c) (IWGP Tag Team Championship) (2): Tama and Lance to start, but Tonga quickly takes his leave and Hanson comes in for some big lads bull moose and clubberin' action. KES and War Machine fight to the outside, GoD joining the fray as the action breaks down further.
Back in the ring, KES nearly have it as they work Warbeard over but he's able to fend them off and GoD come in to play with the champs for a while on our way to the finish. This isn't bad by any means, but there's not really anything new or interesting here that you haven't seen in the previous heavyweight tag matches this year.
Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii & Will "the Cat" Ospreay) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & Tetsuya Naito) (4): Will and Hiromu to start, Ospreay's cat-like reflexes keep him from getting overwhelmed by LIJ. Ishii in, and Takahashi and Naito go to work on his leg but he's fighting mad and eventually makes the tag.
Cat-boy cleans house and we move into an Ishii/Naito segment to preview their match for the G1 title shot, again the Stardust Genius working the injured leg over. The match breaks down after Hiromu stops a powerbomb from Tom by dropkicking his knee out and Ospreay makes the save to shift us into the "everybody does something cool" part of the match and, inevitably, the finish.
Meow that's more like it! Really good stuff here, and the only actual negative I have to offer is that it's a bit of a bummer that we're not likely to get a Hiromu/Ishii singles, because they worked exceedingly well together here.
Chaos (Kazuchika Okada, Rocky Romero, & Toru Yano) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, & SANADA) (c) (NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship) (3): Brawling from the jump as Chaos start hot, isolating EVIL and running roughshod on him. But you can't keep LIJ down, and they reverse their fortune by taking things outside and then keeping Romero isolated and well on the back foot.
From there into some EVIL/Okada action to preview their match at King of Pro-Wrestling, a little bit of SANADA/Okada, then Yano in for the first time, using his skills as the Sublime Master Thief to fend Cold Skull and BUSHI off in turn and tag Rocky back in as the match breaks down and we head toward the finish.
Lot of good stuff here, although the match didn't quite connect with me as strongly as I had hoped.
Michael Elgin vs. Minoru Suzuki (c) (NEVER Openweight Championship Lumberjack Match) (2): Feeling out gives way soon enough to Suzuki-gun's trademark brawling on the outside when Big Mike threatens to get a lasting advantage. And so it goes, every time things start to settle down, Suzuki finds a way to push things outside or otherwise take advantage of the lumberjack rules.
As a result, this one is a bit of a conundrum. The story told is one that makes sense for the match presented and the wrestlers in it-- of course Suzuki would take every shortcut to try and cut down Big Mike's natural size and strength advantage, and in a lumberjack match, his stablemates are RIGHT THERE to do his dirty work. But much like an escape rules cage match can be fought perfectly in harmony with the psychology of the stipulation and still end up a real disappointing watch, so it is with this match.
There you have it, folks
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to toss in your two cents below, Cagesiders.