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New Japan Pro Wrestling Destruction in Kobe match recommendations: The last judgment

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The last 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, as well as the recommendations for Destruction in Hiroshima right here and if you’d like a more detailed run-down of Kobe’s 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.

Hirai Kawato & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Monster Rage (Katsuya Kitamura & Tomoyuki Oka) (2): Pretty standard young lion opening tag stuff, Kawato getting steamrolled by Monster Rage until Tenzan comes in and evens the odds. Not essential, but always fun to check on the new guys and see how they're coming along.

Funky Future (Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi), Jushin Liger, Tiger Mask IV, & Togi Makabe vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Taichi, TAKA Michinoku, Takashi Iizuka, & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (2): All-out brawling early, as is Suzuki-gun's wont, but Taguchi rallies his lads and keeps it from turning into a rout. And so the match ebbs and flows, from Suzuki-gun beatdown to babyface rally, and while it's not bad or anything it never gets captivating enough to overcome the black hold of Suzuki-gun.

Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. Chaos (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) (2): Bullet Club keeping Goto isolated early, Fale using his size and strength. But against Owens, the odds even, and we proceed into a back and forth match from there. This is fine, but it's too short to develop into anything terribly interesting given the structure chosen. Watch accordingly.

Beretta vs. Yujiro Takahashi (3): Starting hot, slugging it out, Trent well in control, but eventually a neck snap over the ropes gets Yujiro into it once again. Pressing the attack, targeting the throat by hanging him up over just about anything that'll take it. The action heats up as Beretta tries to rally, the pace quickening, and Takahashi is forced to resort to skulduggery and subterfuge, creating a situation where Trent needs to dig deep and find new reserves if he wants to have a hope of prevailing.

So the words "Yujiro Takahashi singles match" usually inspire terror, or at least a sense of foreboding, but this turned out to be a solid little match. While it's not exactly a classic you'll want to come back to years from now, for now, for a taste of what heavyweight Beretta is gonna look like, it's worth checking out if you have the time.

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 Tornado Tag Team Match) (3): As you'd expect, with the tornado stipulation, this is basically all-out chaos start to finish. More chaotic outside the ring, less so in it, but we're talking the difference between "everybody fighting everybody" and "rolling double-teams".

So, not much to say about the ebb and flow of the match, then, but this is pretty clearly the best of this seemingly never-ending series of three-ways. I wouldn't quite call it essential, but it's a good fun wild brawl with some crazy spots here and there-- don't bend over backward to make time for it, but if you've got a spare fifteen minutes, go for it.

David Finlay & Kota Ibushi vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin (4): Ibushi and Tanahashi to start out, intense jockeying for position and onto Finlay and Elgin, the younger man using his speed and agility to put Big Mike out of the ring but Elgin's strength and his established tag chemistry with Hiroshi pull them back into the fight in a big way.

A good long Ibushi/Tanahashi sequence follows, followed by Kota isolating Big Mike well enough for he and Finlay to get a heat segment in as we head towards our finish. This is a good example of what makes New Japan tags tick, giving you just enough of the upcoming money matchup to get you excited while having some fun stuff around the edges, like how 80% of BIG ACE's tag team offense is Elgin throwing Tanahashi at dudes. Worth a look!

Chaos (Rocky Romero, Tomohiro Ishii, & Toru Yano) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito) (4): LIJ fooling around early, Naito toying with Ishii but Tom isn't having it, brutalizing him on the floor! The match proper shifts to comedy as SANADA and Yano get into it, and then a bit of Romero/BUSHI before the match breaks down under the tender ministrations of Los Ingobernables de Japon.

Things settle into a proper preview of Ishii/Naito, the Stone Pitbull whipping up a head of steam for himself before the match breaks down again, into the "everybody do something cool" part of the match and the finish. A good match, but one that I feel like lost a little steam towards the end. Still probably worth adding to your queue, though.

Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & Will "Meow Meow" Ospreay) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & Hiromu Takahashi) (4): Okada and EVIL to start, soon stalemating after the King of Darkness ducks an early Rainmaker. The juniors tag in and the temperature turns way up, pyrotechnics giving way to smart tag team work as LIJ keep Mr. Whiskers isolated and off-balance.

Eventually the IWGP Heavyweight Champion makes his way back into the match and EVIL takes it to him hard after the initial clearing house phase. Back to the juniors again after that, and into the "everybody does something cool" segment directly to finish. I find myself wishing we could have gotten a proper extended Hiromu/Okada sequence, but aside from that quibble, this was really good.

Juice Robinson vs. Kenny Omega (c) (IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship) (5): Feeling out early, everything's fine until Omega slingshots himself to the apron and lands hard on his surgically repaired knee, stumbling to the floor. Robinson smells blood in the water but Kenny knows how precarious his situation is and does his damnedest to keep Juice off-guard.

Omega working on Robinson's neck for One Winged Angel purposes, at first Juice concentrates on fighting hard and creating any opening he can before finally relenting and clipping Kenny's leg out from under him. Robinson, pure soul that he is, isn't happy about it, but it's clear that's the only hope he has of softening an otherwise-fresh Omega up and taking the title. And so the story goes as they escalate to bombs, wondering whether Omega's knee or Robinson's heart gives out first.

Predictably, this was a fantastic match and is mandatory viewing. I have to shout out Juice's palpable sadness whenever Kenny's knee presented itself for working over, like this isn't how he wanted his big title shot to go but winning means enough to him that he's willing to take advantage of an injury even though he knows it's not quite fair. And, uh, while I keep these generally spoiler-free these days, holy crap that finish! Watch it!

There you have it, folks

Agree? Disagree? Feel free to toss in your two cents below, Cagesiders.

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