Who wins the Young Lion Cup? Does Liger unleash the demon on Suzuki? Does the Intercontinental Championship change hands? Find out on Destruction in Kobe!
The last stop on the Destruction tour gives us a few matches to look forward to!
Does Suzuki get his wish and give us the fourth appearance of Kishin Liger? Is Goto purely a heavyweight gatekeeper?
We also have to figure out who the best Young Lion is and if Jay White can continue to speak truth.
Let’s see how this all plays out!
- Manabu Nakanishi, Alex Coughlin & Michael Richards vs Yota Tsuji, Yuya Uemura & Yuji Nagata: Tsuji wins via Boston Crab @10:05 – **
- Young Lion Cup: Ren Narita vs Clark Connors: Connors wins via Boston Crab @7:25 – ** 1/2
- Young Lion Cup: Karl Fredericks vs Shota Umino: Fredericks wins via Modified Liontamer @7:15 – *** 1/4
- Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi w/Pieter vs Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe: Owens wins via Package Piledriver @8:20 – ** 1/2
- DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr & Minoru Suzuki vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tiger Mask, Rocky Romero & Jyushin Thunder Liger: Suzuki-Gun wins via DQ @3:10 – ***
- Will Ospreay, YOH, SHO, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii vs KENTA, Guerrillas of Destiny, Taiji Ishimori & ELP: YOH wins via Inside Cradle @9:40 – ***
- SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI vs Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada & Robbie Eagles: SANADA wins via Skull End @13:50 – *** 1/2
- Shingo Takagi vs Hirooki Goto: Goto wins via GTR @20:25 – **** 1/4
- IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White vs Tetsuya Naito (c): White wins via Blade Runner @29:50 – **** 1/2 – TITLE CHANGE!!!
Manabu Nakanishi, Alex Coughlin & Michael Richards vs Yota Tsuji, Yuya Uemura & Yuji Nagata – I say this a lot with the undercards involving Young Lions, but this was really just a decent starting match. We got to see some nice fire from the Young Lions, and this was more Tsuji’s match to shine in and we learned that Coughlin’s name is pronounced COG-LIN, ya know, since he’s British so it has to be different.
Young Lion Cup: Ren Narita vs Clark Connors – Connors and Narita didn’t have as much intensity as most Young Lion matches. Narita still had a chance to win the whole thing, but he came out a little flat. There was an early chop exchange, but Narita’s heart never really seemed into it. Connors getting the win eliminates Narita, and he was already eliminated going into this match. So the winner of the next match, wins the Young Lion Cup.
Young Lion Cup: Karl Fredericks vs Shota Umino – Now we expected this one to be solid. LA Dojo and New Japan Dojo’s top guys vie for the title of Young Lion Cup winner! This match had great intensity, really good selling and both men brought it well. Shota’s nose got bloodied but he fought through and nearly pulled off the Fisherman Buster. But Fredericks countered and sold his arm well even for his finish. Pulling off a Half Crab instead of a Full Crab because of his arm, but he modifies it into a Liontamer style and gets Umino to tap out.
Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens & Yujiro Takahashi w/Pieter vs Toa Henare, Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe – No real interesting storylines here. They all have a little history and could be involved in the upcoming Tag League. It was a decent enough match but nothing special. Not a lot to unpack here. Chase pinned Henare. Yay?
DOUKI, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Zack Sabre Jr & Minoru Suzuki vs Hiroshi Tanahashi, Tiger Mask, Rocky Romero & Jyushin Thunder Liger – Liger runs down the ramp to attack Suzuki during his entrance, and the donnybrook begins. Liger’s aggression backfires a little when Suzuki gets the upper hand. Suzuki throws a chair into the ring and sets up a table in the corner, and the whole set up was very reminiscent of the 1996 Kishin Liger debut. Suzuki put Liger in a Sleeperhold to set up for the Gotch, but Liger threw back his leg, and kicked Suzuki between the legs. That’s not a very Jyushin move. Liger then proceeds to remove his own mask to reveal the white and black paint, tears at his costume and much like many of us guessed, Kishin Liger is back! Liger hits Suzuki and the referee with the Green Mist, goes out to get a camping spike, and we get another reference to the Muta match. Liger tries to literally murder Suzuki, Suzuki moves and the spike goes through the table. The referee disqualifies Liger’s team, Liger throws the table at Suzuki and the chase begins. Liger even wipes out a couple Young Lions and Tanahashi on his chase of Suzuki.
— njpwworld (@njpwworld) September 22, 2019
Will Ospreay, YOH, SHO, YOSHI-HASHI & Tomohiro Ishii vs KENTA, Guerrillas of Destiny, Taiji Ishimori & ELP – Everyone in this match has some kind of heat with one another. However, the whole point of this was for G.o.D. trying to prove that YOH’s pinfall in Kagoshima was a fluke. Bullet Club had some nice cohesion in taunting with heel tactics when everyone took turns hitting a Back Rake, until Kenta decided it was time to do his Stomp Feint just for the rub ins on YOSHI-HASHI. The Guerrillas were basically clearing the ring themselves, they hit Guerrilla Warfare, set up Magic Killer but Roppongi 3k fought back. Loa got knocked backwards at some point and YOH hooked in the cradle for the flash win! So with consecutive pinfalls over the champions, RPG3k will most likely get a Heavyweight Tag Title shot at King of Pro Wrestling.
SANADA, EVIL & BUSHI vs Kota Ibushi, Kazuchika Okada & Robbie Eagles – SANADA and EVIL have their respective matches against Okada and Ibushi coming up, so we know why this match was made. Robbie actually did a lot of the work in the match, but we did start off with Okada and SANADA working the crowd to see who was more popular. Surprisingly Okada almost pulled off Red Ink, which I haven’t seen in forever. But the fun part of this match came towards the end. SANADA had Eagles in the Dragon Sleeper, and spun him around, Okada comes into the ring and tries a Dropkick to break it up…but he misses. So Okada goes back to it to break it up and then everyone gets in, SANADA and Eagles are still in the ring, SANADA makes Eagles tap with the Skull End. The clever aspect of things came after the bell and we get a stare down with SANADA and Okada. I’m curious if the Dropkick was supposed to miss, because there’s some subtle talking, and then Okada tries to sneak attack SANADA three times with Dropkicks, but SANADA side steps all of them. So now we get a fun wrinkle of Okada not being able to hit his signature Dropkick, either on purpose or by dumb luck. Fun stuff.
Shingo Takagi vs Hirooki Goto – Takagi got one of his largest Heavyweight victories over Goto in the G1, so Goto needs to try to get his win back. This was every bit the hard hitting power match we expected. They started off countering one another’s moves and then just hitting huge lariats and just being two angry bulls trying to kill each other. Goto pulled out everything, Ushigoroshi, Reverse GTR, Shouten Kai, Modified GTR…it was just an insane match. Shingo pulled off most of his moves as well, but never hit Last of the Dragon, so that move was protected nicely. I personally have a Shingo bias, but this was a great match and might finally help Goto become more than just a gatekeeper.
IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Jay White vs Tetsuya Naito (c) – This match lived up to the build. They played mind games, taunted and were just generally douchey to one another, but it was fantastic. Tons of mocking and talking, both men kept telling the other to ‘Smile’, the odd enjoyment and disdain of each other made for a fun dynamic. Naito pulled out a few unique applications of Combinacion Cabron, and did his Tornado DDT by kicking off of Gedo at one point. We saw the culmination of a story where if the situation was a little different, these two could be best friends. Gedo didn’t really get involved much, so that was nice, this was just a great match if you were following the feud a little. Also I did appreciate Jay White gingerly walking down the ramp, and taking a big step over the metal connector, as a reference to when YOSHI-HASHI face planted last year.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
This show was pretty great from top to bottom. We saw Karl Fredericks win the Young Lion Cup, and in doing so, put the LA Dojo in higher regard. Kishin Liger showed up for blood, and one of the few times Suzuki ever seemed scared, the mist on his face could’ve been blow back from his trunks, if you catch my meaning.
Okada’s new wrinkle with the Dropkick is a fun addition to a match we’ve already seen three times, so it’s nice that something was added to try and make this one feel different. Of course the last two matches were fantastic, and they played into one another since in the middle of Jay’s victory speech, Goto storms down the ramp and smacks Jay around a little bit.
Jay White seems adamant that Goto doesn’t deserve a shot, but that’s not really for him to decide. Should be really interesting to see who holds the Intercontinental Championship come Wrestle Kingdom.