Thursday, September 22, 2016
NJPW Destruction in Hiroshima Review
It is the second of three Destruction events this month. Though it has some relatively big names involved, it has the weakest card of the Destruction shows in my opinion.
The Bullet Club Hunters have actually won a few matches in a row on the “Road to” events. This was relatively standard stuff. TenKoji did their thing, while Makabe got in some of his stuff. I mean, TenKoji vs. GBH would have been much better than GBH vs. Haku’s kids or the Briscoes/Bucks stuff. Ricochet got a pretty good pop for his offense. In the end though, one team had Captain New Japan, so of course they lost. He fell to a lariat from Kojima. Like I said, this was basic stuff to get guys on the card. Originally, this was an eight man tag also involving Honma and Sydal, but was changed due to injuries.
This originally had Katsuyori Shibata in but his injuries have him off and Tomoaki Honma replaced him. It was good to see David Finlay here instead of in a typical young lion opener. Early on, Nakanishi tried a plancha onto O’Reilly, but mostly caught the floor and it was pretty rough. Fish and Taguchi tried to double suplex him, but failed miserably. Watching reDRagon work with Honma was pretty enjoyable too. Singles matches between Honma and either of them would probably rule. reDRagon got the win after Chasing the Dragon on Tiger Mask. Again, nothing special, but a fine little multi-man tag. O’Reilly spoke to the camera before leaving and said that he’s coming for Shibata.
Ah, the lackluster heavyweight tag division intertwines with the stale junior tag team division. So will there be no Super Jr. Tag Tournament this year? I’m cool with that. Since they’re in the Bullet Club, GOD had to attack during their opponent’s entrance. By the way, this is yet another chapter in the reborn and shit Chaos vs. Bullet Club feud. I honestly don’t have much to say about this match. It was exactly what you’d expect from these teams. Roppongi Vice did their best to be fun and Tama Tonga and Tanga Roa did their best to suck the fun right out of the room. I couldn’t bring myself to care and they didn’t do nearly enough to make me.
The only good thing about the Bullet Club members in this is Yujiro’s pimp hat and ladies. Life must be good for Yujiro. He gets paid to come out with scantily clad women who rub up on him and he gets to be shitty at his job. No pre-match Bullet Club attack, probably because Owens and Takahashi would have just gotten their asses kicked. The heels actually do some double team offense, but Goto laid out Yujiro with a lariat and tagged in Ishii. I could just never buy Owens and Yujiro as threats, even after Owens hit Goto with a package piledriver. Goto and Ishii hit the ushigiroshi into a lariat followed by the GTR for the win. Another ho-hum match. Goto and Ishii tried, but you can’t make these Bullet Club guys interesting.
LIDJ pulled a Bullet Club and attacked before the bell. EVIL used a chair in the aisle to beat up Elgin’s leg, which certainly has to come into play in the Intercontinental Title match. If it doesn’t, I’ll be severely disappointed. Without him, the faces took a bit of a beating. Elgin would get involved again and really take it to Naito. HE DID THE DEAL but only got two. They built to some strong near falls, including one where KUSHIDA even counted with the referee. With everyone brawling outside, Elgin hit the powerbomb combination on EVIL to win. A spirited match here that was easily the most fun of the night so far. Though that’s to be expected since LIDJ is HANDS DOWN the best thing going in NJPW right now.
KUSHIDA and BUSHI continued to fight in the crowd until Tanahashi came over and broke it up.
The Heavyweight and Jr. Tag Team Titles get unified. I guess Gedo got tired of booking two divisions poorly and will now just book one like that. The Briscoes wore pants that had grass on them. They looked like The End from Metal Gear Solid 3. It wasn’t good. These teams have met plenty of times before and they didn’t really seem to bring anything new to the table. The Bucks did their flips and kicks, Mark was his crazy self and Jay was the tough guy. The Bucks nearly had it with More Bang for Your Buck but the pin was broken up. Jay broke up the Meltzer Driver but the Bucks still nearly won. That describes the finishing sequence, as it was just two teams relying on the false finish barrage to get a pop. This seemed to last an eternity before the Briscoes won with a Doomsday Device. Blah. Just very uninteresting and unenthused. To make matters worse, the Guerillas of Destiny attacked the Briscoes after the bell. Oh joy.
It’s the internet’s wet dream. Two guys that are held in high standard despite me not believing either is as good as people think they are (though Ospreay is clearly the better of the two). Cole’s them says “ADAM COLE BAY BAY” about fifteen times to hammer it home to the audience that it is his thing. Ospreay seemed to frustrate Cole with his fancy acrobats and arrogance early. Cole turned it around and started to pick apart Ospreay. He tossed Ospreay around and flexed for the crowd. Ospreay started making his rally but, like most of this card, the outcome was never in doubt. Ospreay tried a springboard backflip but was met with a superkick in a spot that barely got a reaction and didn’t come off nearly as well as they hoped. Panama Sunrise and brainbuster on the knee kept Ospreay down. Alright match that never reached the heights most people expected. A lesser Ospreay performance (like most of his back half of 2016, which can partially be attributed to injuries and working a ton in the first half) and nothing much from the new ROH Champion.
Holy shit, who got high before this show and said Okada and Fale should go almost twenty minutes? Look, it’s obvious that Fale’s best matches are with top guys (see Nakamura, Tanahashi, Styles, etc.). That being said, you can’t have him wrestle for too long because it just doesn’t work. Add in that Okada has been pretty mediocre when leading matches this year (Goto at New Beginning, most of the G1) and you have a recipe for disaster. Most people are going to put all of the blame on Fale and protect Okada but both guys are at fault here, as well as whoever laid this out to go as long as it did. It followed the typical formula. Fale dominated at times and Okada had to make the big babyface rally. Fale avoided the Rainmaker a few times and Okada did the same to the Bad Luck Fall. He hit a relatively impressive tombstone and won with the Rainmaker. Wash, rinse, repeat. The only positive about this is that Fale lost so we don’t have to see it again in November.
Remember what I said about predictable outcomes tonight? This is another. YOSHI-HASHI has had a damn good year but nobody believed he was going to take the Tokyo Dome IWGP Heavyweight Title shot from Omega. If anyone is going to get in the way of Gedo’s beloved Omega/Okada WK11 main event, it isn’t going to be the fourth man on the Chaos totem pole. They brawled outside a bit and Omega gets points from me for exposing the concrete like an old school heel. It backfired, but his BC buddies got involved and sprayed YOSHI in the face with a spray can. Omega stayed on offense for a while but surprisingly didn’t attempt any pins. That was weird and off-putting. It felt like he was trying to get stuff in rather than win an important match. It’s not like this is a heated rivalry where he just wanted to hurt YOSHI. Omega took to using the trash can that the Young Bucks brought out. YOSHI came close a few times and instantly got up after an Omega German, leading to an exchange of strikes. They built to a lot of false finishes before the One Winged Angel got the win. They went a bit longer than they should have, but mostly did good things with the time. While it was nowhere near as good as their G1 match, it was probably match of the night.
Afterwards, Hirooki Goto wanted another shot at the Tokyo Dome main event. Omega told him “Goto Hell” and declined, saying it sounds like New Japan booking. I could make a joke about NJPW booking, but I’ll refrain.
Overall: Since I started watching NJPW full time in 2015, this was easily the worst show I’ve seen them put on. I knew the card wasn’t interesting coming in, but nothing even surprised me by surpassing expectations like guys tend to do sometimes. A lot of the rematches were worse than previous encounters (Omega/YOSHI, Fale/Okada, Tag Titles) and the fresh title match (Ospreay/Cole) was lackluster. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the worst NJPW show of the year is the one that features the Bullet Club in nearly every match. Destruction in Kobe should be an improvement.