For full results for Destruction in Beppu, you can check right here, and if you’d like to catch up on our match recommendations for Destruction in Hiroshima, you can do so right here, but otherwise, on with the show!
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.
Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata, & Yuya Uemura vs. TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) & Yota Tsuji (2): Starting off with the vets, Tenzan on Nakanishi, cycling through to the young lions, but soon enough TenCozy is beating on Uemura together. Nagata is able to relieve his rookie, Kojima’s about to take him out but Tsuji wants in with the fire that only a young lion can have and the Captain of Bread Club obliges. Blue Justice takes it to the kid and it’s only a matter of time from there...
Overall, pretty standard vets & young lions type opening match fare. Always fun to see how the young lions are coming along, and it’s great to have Kojima back, but there’s nothing unique or essential here.
David Finlay & Ren Narita vs. Shota Umino & Toa Henare (2): Young lions to start, Narita pulls ahead and he and Finlay start running Umino over. A desperate, bloodied Shota manages to get a tag and Henare comes in hot. Umino back in, and we some really good struggle against David on our way to the finish.
Much like the opener, a pretty standard young lion tag, and although Shota’s fire bleeding from the nose (the visual of the Boston Crab!) really elevated this, it’s not quite enough to move it up a rank on our scale.
Ayato Yoshida vs. Takashi Iizuka (1): Iizuka attacks with a chair before the bell! He takes a detour to accost Kevin Kelly until he unmuzzles the beast and then the biting begins.
This is exactly what you thought it’d be when you saw the match listed on the card, folks. There’s a certain novelty to it, but ultimately... pass.
Chaos (Rocky Romero, SHO, Will Ospreay, & YOH) vs. Jushin Liger, KUSHIDA, Ryusuke Taguchi, & Tiger Mask IV (2): Liger and SHO to start, the vet using his experience to pull ahead but Chaos intervene and the match breaks down. Cycling through to YOH and Taguchi, trading butt bumps and now it’s Taguchi Japan’s turn to break things down. Chaos turn the tide with two of YOH’s fingers up the Funky Weapon and work him over awhile until KUSHIDA comes in hot.
Some tight action from the Time Splitter and the Aerial Assassin, perhaps a preview of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship tournament finals and thence into Romero on Tiger Dad on our way to the finish. Some fun stuff, some comedy, but overall a pretty average undercard tag team match. Watch accordingly!
Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T) vs. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Lance Archer) (3): KES hot from the jump, brawling Best Friends all over the place! Getting the better of the Chaos men on the floor, but Chuck and Trent come back with stereo planchas and we’re on a level playing field. Settling down into Beretta on Davey Boy, speed vs. power, and with a bit of intervention from Archer, power wins out. Extended beatdown, Taylor comes in hot but DBS is able to throw him around all the same.
The match breaks down, Best Friends with a desperate fight against the odds through to the finish. Cards on the table, this was hard for me to care about just because I’m about sick of Killer Elite Squad as a team, but trying to compensate for that, this was a perfectly acceptable tag team match that’s just about worth tossing on the pile.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, EVIL, & SANADA) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & Zack Sabre, Jr.) (3): LIJ running hot to start, SANADA in control on Kanemaru but a trip to the floor rectifies this situation as Suzuki-gun do what they do best. Settling back down, Desperado on SANADA gives way to BUSHI and Despy after a brief detour with a slick exchange between Cold Skull and ZSJ. From there to EVIL vs. Sabre, continuing our build to that match, wherever it may happen, Zack using his speed to bring his technical prowess to bear over the King of Darkness’ power-based objections.
Sabre isolated as the match breaks down again, and we head to the finish. This was a really fun tag match, but I don’t think it QUITE reached the upper echelons of our scale here, folks.
Chaos (“Switchblade” Jay White, Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma), Hiroshi Tanahashi, & Juice Robinson (3): Tanahashi and Okada to start with no shenanigans today, White comes in, the 1/100 Ace gets Honma into it after a beat and then Chaos break the match down and take things to the floor for their namesake. Switchblade refuses to assist the Rainmaker and soon enough they’ve got Tomoaki isolated. Shifting to Makabe on Yano, former tag team partners going at it, no sign of fair play from the Sublime Master Thief.
Hot tags, back to Okada on Tanahashi and we get their greatest hits before moving onto Juice and Tacos (hey I’m hungry all of a sudden) as we head towards a finish. Much like in Hiroshima, this is a lot more about advancing the stories of everyone involved than it is pyrotechnics and star ratings, and such it’s a solid watch but if you saw that one you don’t really need to watch this one.
Hirooki Goto (c) vs. Taichi (NEVER Openweight Championship) (3): Taichi stalling early, making referee Red Shoes Unno count just to try and get into Goto’s head. Hirooki gets a chance to scrap with him at one point but the Suzuki-gun man wants nothing to do with it and rolls Miho Abe in the ring to play distraction. It’s successful and he dumps the champion to the floor where Yoshinobu Kanemaru puts boots to him and you’ve kinda got the idea how this match plays out from there.
Not that that’s a bad thing, granted. This isn’t the hard-hitting violent kind of match that the NEVER title has become known for, but it IS a good match built around Taichi’s stalling and cheating (and also his occasional attempts to go strike for strike with the champion) in the finest pro wrestling tradition. The finishing stretch gets a little squirrely and that takes it down a notch, but even so this is generally worth watching even if I can’t give it a strong recommendation.
Minoru Suzuki vs. Tetsuya Naito (5): Suzuki in hot before Naito even gets his pants off and the action spills to the floor! As expected based on their tag interactions, this is a violent brawl of a match. Minoru works both Tetsuya’s arm and fingers as well as his leg over at length at different points in the match to supplement it, but really he’s mainly interested in beating the holy hell out of the Stardust Genius (including throwing A TABLE at the man) and Naito’s only happy to return in kind.
Indeed, Suzuki doesn’t even bother to go for covers for the most part, always choosing whatever path lets him do more damage in the moment while a desperate Tetsuya has to go for more and bigger moves to make up for the deficit. The end result, while maybe a little longer than would have been completely optimal (mainly due to an extended legwork sequence late in the match that didn’t quite work for me and felt almost like a reprise of the Tanahashi/Suzuki match that put the 1/100 Ace on the shelf early this year), is far better than their misfire back at Wrestling Hi no Kuni in April. Watch it!
There you have it, folks
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to toss in your two cents below, Cagesiders.