The second of three Destruction shows is done and dusted, so let’s get to taking a look at what you need to watch and what you can leave in the archive. If you missed the recommendations post for Destruction in Fukushima, you can check it out right here, and if you’d like a more detailed run-down of the results, you can check that out right here as well.
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.
Chaos (Hirooki Goto, Jado, & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Jushin Liger, & Tiger Mask IV (2): A little different from the usual opening tag action, with Chaos isolating Liger early and working over Tenzan and Tiger Dad in turn. Not interesting enough to crack it out of the usual opener territory as far as a recommendation goes, but not bad by any means.
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Leo Tonga) vs. David Finlay & Juice Robinson (2): Bullet Club big men in firm control early, Leo needing less direction than last time, but inevitably Juice creates an opening and it becomes a question of whether that momentum can be reversed or merely just temporarily slowed. Shorter than their Fukushima match, this is fine but you can probably give it a pass.
Bullet Club (Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Roppongi Vice (Beretta & Rocky Romero) (1): Trent in trouble early as Owens and Takahashi work him over, but eventually Rocky gets in and runs hot on the Bullet Club heavyweights, which takes us right into a final back-and-forth segment.
Short and without a lot of novelty, there's not a huge amount here beyond it being Roppongi Vice's last match. Pass, although maybe check out the post-match, both for Yujiro cutting a promo mostly in English and for the RPG Vice boys having themselves a nice little send-off.
Kota Ibushi, Michael Elgin, & Togi Makabe vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, TAKA Michinoku, & Takashi Iizuka) (2): In true Suzuki-gun style, the match breaks down early, Minoru particularly looking to choke the life out of Big Mike on the floor. Back in the ring, they work Ibushi over until the Golden Star can turn the heat up and tag Makabe in.
Togi comes in hot for a bit, Ibushi tags back in but gets caught by the shenanigans again, but thankfully Elgin is recovered and able to keep Iizuka's iron fingers from ending it and we proceed to the finish from there in short order. This was very much a Suzuki-gun formula match, watch accordingly.
Funky Future (Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi) (c) vs. Suzuki-gun (Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship) (3): False starts give way to Suzuki-gun double-teaming Taguchi and, after taking Ricochet out, Taichi and Kanemaru go to work on the outside. The Funky Weapon has one good shot in his... funky weapon and tags Ricochet in after being isolated for a good while, the Future of Flight running wild.
Suzuki-gun reassert themselves with a couple close nearfalls and Taguchi comes back in, locking Oh My & Garankle on but again with the shenanigans, Taichi forcefeeding him what appears to be whiskey at one point. And so the question becomes one of if Ricochet can come in hot enough one more time to turn the tide or if Funky Future are just boned.
This wasn't bad at all and had a really cool finish, but after the last couple way above average junior tag title matches it was a bit of a letdown.
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) (3): Archer and Hanson kicking it off bull moose style while GoD take their partners out, which leads into War Machine running wild on Tama and Tanga. KES run hard on the tag champs in turn until the Bullet Club boys take advantage of the tag rules in a triple threat to try and pick the bones.
So it goes, a physical hard-hitting match that manages to be rather more enjoyable than the one in Fukushima, although not nearly essential.
Chaos (Gedo, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, & Will "the Cat" Ospreay) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, Hiromu Takahashi, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito) (4): Hiromu and Will to start, setting a frantic pace before SANADA and Yano, ah... slow things down a little, LIJ breaking all hell loose to keep the Sublime Master Thief isolated. This leads to an Ishii/Naito segment ahead of their match at King of Pro-Wrestling and then EVIL/Okada ahead of THEIR match at the same show.
A brief Gedo/BUSHI exchange follows before we get into the "everybody does something cool" portion of the match and onto the finish. As expected, this was Will's pajamas and you should probably watch it, meow.
El Desperado vs. KUSHIDA (c) (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship) (5): Mat grappling early, KUSHIDA with an advantage but not an overbearing one as things give way to lucha libre and the action spills outside. Desperado begins targeting the leg before using the guitar to distract referee Red Shoes Unno and begin whipping the champion with Iizuka's leash. Fed up, KUSHIDA starts looking at the arm to set up the Hoverboard Lock, at one point trapped directly in a back and forth between that hold and Desperado's Stretch Muffler!
From there into a sequence where El tries to use the ol' Eddie Guerrero by way of his mask, but Red Shoes isn't quite having it and they shift to bomb trading, waiting to see whose injured limb gives out first. This is a hell of a match, and absolutely worth making time for.
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Zack Sabre, Jr. (IWGP Intercontinental Championship) (5): Feeling out, Tanahashi doing his damnedest to keep Sabre at a distance, and they stalemate. Thence into the grappling before Hiroshi goes to air guitar and gets caught into a sleeper hold! Zack starting with the good arm like a gentleman, wringing and tearing through intermittent periods of the 1/100 Dude reversing it on him.
An extended Japanese stranglehold sequence sees Sabre getting upset and kicking the barricade, and Tanahashi finally feels comfortable to start going after the leg at this point. This, as it happens, isn't the smartest idea, because ZSJ is finally mad enough to attack the bad arm! A strike exchange follows, the action heads outside, and Hiroshi jumps right into a Fujiwara armbar on the floor!
The Ace starts to rally, looking for his trademark dragon screw neck whip but his arm gives out and he dumps Sabre on his head! Tanahashi responds by finally going after the leg with his full might, and so you see the story of the match well in place at this point, all about if ZSJ's arm damage is enough to kill Hiroshi's power advantage and earn him the title before the 1/100 Ace's leg attack catches up to him.
Great match, very much a worthy sequel to their G1 Climax bout, absolutely worth watching. Get on it!
There you have it, folks
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to toss in your two cents below, Cagesiders.