For full results for Destruction in Kobe, 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, as well as for Destruction in Beppu 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.
Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura (3): So the story here is these two dudes keep on drawing each other and they’re getting increasingly frustrated but remain limited by the constraints of a young lion’s moveset, and it’s a lot of fun. Not quite essential, but a fun story adds to the usual “let’s see how the young lions are progressing” stuff significantly and the result is very worth tossing on the pile.
Ren Narita & Shota Umino vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) (2): Young lions hot out the gates, eager to prove themselves, but of course they’re still rookies and RPG3K end up working Narita over at length. Umino with the hot tag, young lions make a valiant effort to overcome the former tag team champions but the tide inevitably turns and it becomes a question of if they can squeak one out with a roll-up or if the natural order of things will take hold.
A pleasant enough match, but not one that rises to the point of recommendation.
Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask IV vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (4): Suzuki-gun begin the match as only they can, chaos on the floor as they beat the dads down. Tiger rallies as the match proper begins, but Desperado and Kanemaru have no respect for the rules and keep running double-teams and interference. Hot tag to Liger, a flurry of Shoteis, the near thirty year vet running white hot before getting Tiger Dad back into it. Trading big moves, it’s a question of who blinks first, and this is a really fun visceral sprint that overdelivered for me in a pretty big way.
Ayato Yoshida, Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma), & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Manabu Nakanishi, TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima), & Yuji Nagata (1): Our two comeback lads starting, Kojima on Honma, cycling to Taguchi and Nakanishi with Manabu immediately bringing his great strength to bear and forcing Annoying Butt Man to call reinforcements in and run roughshod over the former IWGP Heavyweight Champion. The tides turn, Taguchi gets worked over at length by Tenzan, into Great Bash Heel clashing with TenCozy, and at last Nagata finishes the chain on Yoshida.
Unfortunately this one never kicks into gear after the traditional cycling of the matchups and there’s just not a lot here worth checking out, folks. Pass.
Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T) vs. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Lance Archer) (3): KES taking it to Best Friends early, brawling with them on the floor, but Chuck and Trent turn the tide in fairly short order. In the ring Archer resumes control, beating Beretta down, quick tags, working him over at length before he gets the tag and Taylor comes in as the match escalates and escalates.
Their match in Beppu was good, and so is this one, but much like that one, I can’t quite get across the line to a strong recommendation on this, although I think it was the better of the two.
Chaos (“Switchblade” Jay White, Will Ospreay, & YOSHI-HASHI) vs. David Finlay, Juice Robinson, & Toa Henare (2): YOSHI-HASHI and Finlay to start, turning the speed up, and soon enough the match breaks down. When things settle, Tacos is on the back foot but Ospreay runs some pyrotechnics and turns the tide. Tags made, Juice and Switchblade come in to reprise their feud, the IWGP United States Champion running wild over Chaos single-handedly. Henare in, again Tacos gets blasted in the face after miscommunication, and it becomes a question of if Toa can put White down before he recovers from YOSHI-HASHI’s inadvertent mistake.
This is a solid enjoyable undercard tag team match but nothing here really rises to the occasion that you can’t get more of and better from a dozen other matches each of these guys has had.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL, SANADA, & Tetsuya Naito) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki, TAKA Michinoku, & Zack Sabre, Jr.) (3): Suzuki-gun running roughshod at first but TAKA gets isolated and worked over by LIJ despite his best eye poke. Suzuki’s not done beating the holy hell out of Naito and they reprise their brawl on the floor and that’s enough to get the Stardust Genius isolated. Eventually we cycle back to Sabre and EVIL, the match breaks down again, and we head towards the finish.
This is very much in the same vein as the LIJ/Suzuki-gun tag from Hiroshima last week, only the Suzuki/Naito brawling is better because it feels more integrated into the match, but worse because it comes off kind of lame duck since they’ve had their singles and are (theoretically) moving onto new things after.
BUSHI vs. KUSHIDA (IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semifinal Match) (4): Slugging it out from the jump, just wailing on each other with forearms until KUSHIDA gets a solid kick to the arm in and he begins the slow and steady task of grinding BUSHI down. A trip to the floor gets the LIJ man back into it as he brawls the Time Splitter around the ringside area with one arm hanging limp at his side. Extended control segment, KUSHIDA fights back into it and we move into the final stretch.
After a hot start this petered out for a while, but the closing stretch is electric enough that all told I think it’s worth watching, folks.
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Kazuchika Okada (G1 Climax 28 Winner’s Contract) (5): A driven Okada spends much of the early goings working over Tanahashi’s beleaguered knee but the 1/100 Ace wants the definitive win he hasn’t been able to get in years so bad that he fights on through excruciating pain.
This is a hell of a match, folks. It’s a bit more to the point than your average Okada/Tanahashi main event, even though it lasts the requisite 30+ minutes, with Okada really emphasizing the leg work and mostly eschewing his usual tight exchanges and flashy sequences, and as a result it feels fresh and exciting above and beyond the pure quality of the match. Watch it!
There you have it, folks
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to toss in your two cents below, Cagesiders.