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Wrestle Kingdom’s main event is set after rough night for Impact & Bullet Club

New Japan Pro-Wrestling Destruction in Ryogoku took place today (Oct. 9) in Tokyo’s iconic Sumo Hall.

The show was the culmination of the roughly month-long Destruction tour, and one of the big stops on the road to NJPW’s biggest annual event — Wrestle Kingdom. And it looks like today’s show confirmed the main event for Jan. 4, 2024 edition in the Tokyo Dome.

SANADA retained the IWGP World Heavyweight title to close out Destruction in Ryogoku‘s card, overcoming House of Torture’s usual tactics & antics with the helps of his Just Five Guys stable (more on them in a minute) to beat EVIL. He was then met by his old Los Ingobernables de Japon teammate Tetsuya Naito, who also happens to holding a contract for a Tokyo Dome title shot thanks to his winning the prestigious G1 Climax tournament this summer. They traded remarks about their history, with SANADA saying they’d find out who they better man was at Wrestle Kingdom.

Just Five Guys came into today as Just Four Guys, as Yoshinobu Kanemaru recently betrayed the group and joined House of Torture. For their match against HoT in Ryogoku, Yuya Uemura returned from his excursion in Impact Wrestling and became the fifth Guy. Uemara pinned Yujiro Takahashi to score the win for his new team in a trios match, and later revealed at that his condition for joining J5G was singles matches against the other Guys — setting up a possible match with SANADA for New Japan’s top belt.

Uemura wasn’t the only guy Impact sent to Tokyo. A dream team of Josh Alexander & Motor City Machine Guns challenged an NJPW dream team — the reigning NEVER Openweight Six Man champions Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii.

A malfunction at the junction between Bound For Glory opponents Alexander and Alex Shelley helped leave Shelley prone for a High Fly Flow from Tanahashi. The Forever Ace reminded Chris Sabin’s partner this makes them even after their singles match at Multiverse United 2. Tiebreaker coming?

Impact’s “Speedball” Mike Bailey was also on the Destruction in Ryogoku card, challenging Hiromu Takahashi for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship in a Triple Threat that also included YOH (who was replacing Lio Rush, who’s been out since Oct. 4 due to illness). Takahashi retained, and then the lights went out giving us the key takeaway from this one...

Taiji Ishimori has been out of action since he was injured during a match with his old rival Hiromu during Best of the Super Juniors back in May. He’s back, and calling next.

Belts did change hands in Sumo Hall, as it wasn’t a great night for the Bullet Club, at least not the current, David Finlay-led version. The War Dogs team of Alex Coughlin & Gabriel Kidd dropped the NJPW Strong Openweight Tag titles to former Biz Cliz-ers El Phantasmo and Hikuleo. And Finlay had the NEVER Strong Openweight belt taken from him by Club founder Tama Tonga — who paid tribute to another Bullet boss along the way:

At least the other Bullet Club War Dogs (Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney) successfully defended their IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team championship against Kevin Knight & KUSHIDA.

Here’s all the results from Destruction in Ryogoku:

  • YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano, YOH, Tiger Mask & Ryusuke Taguchi def. Takeshi Masada, Kazuma Sumi, Kengo, Takahiro Katori & Jun Masaoka
  • Just 5 Guys (Taichi, Douki & Yuya Uemura) def. House of Torture (Yujiro Takahashi, SHO & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
  • Tanga Loa def. Chase Owens
  • Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Shingo Takagi, Yota Tsuji & BUSHI) defeated United Empire (Great-O-Khan, Jeff Cobb, HENARE & Callum Newman)
  • Bullet Club War Dogs (Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney) def. Intergalactic Jet Setters (Kevin Knight & KUSHIDA) to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team championship
  • Master Wato, Shota Umino & Yuji Nagata def. Strong Style (Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Ren Narita), ending the teams best-of-seven series after each team won three matches with one draw
  • Guerillas of Destiny (Hikuleo & El Phantasmo) def. Bullet Club War Dogs (Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin) to win the NJPW Strong Openweight Tag titles
  • Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & Hiroshi Tanahashi def. The Motor City Machine Guns (Alex Shelley & Chris Sabin) and Josh Alexander to retain the NEVER Openweight Six-Man championship
  • Tama Tonga def. David Finlay to win the NEVER Openweight title
  • Hiromu Takahashi def. YOH and Mike Bailey to retain the IWGP Junior Heavyweight championship
  • SANADA def. EVIL to retain the IWGP World Heavyweight title

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