Kenny Omega returns from injury to defend his IWGP United States Championship for the first time, as he takes on Juice Robinson in the main event of Destruction in Kobe…
Hirai Kawato & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Katsuya Kitamura & Tomoyuki Oka
(Winners via submission: Kawato & Tenzan)
Ricochet, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask, Jyushin Thunder Liger & Togi Makabe
Taka Michinoku, El Desperado, Taichi, Yoshinbu Kanemaru & Takashi Iizuka
(Winners via pinfall: Ricochet, Taguchi, Tiger Mask, Liger & Makabe)
Yoshi-Hashi & Hirooki Goto
Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale
(Winners via pinfall: Yoshi-Hashi & Hirooki Goto)
(Winner via pinfall: Beretta)
Hanson & Raymond Rowe (“War Machine”) (C)
Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga (“Guerillas of Destiny”)
Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer
3-Way Match for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship
(Winners via pinfall, and new champions: Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.)
Michael Elgin & Hiroshi Tanahashi
David Finlay & Kota Ibushi
(Winners via pinfall: Elgin & Tanahashi)
Rocky Romero, Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii
BUSHI, SANADA & Tetsuya Naito
(Winners via pinfall: Romero, Yano & Ishii)
Will Ospreay & Kazuchika Okada
Hiromu Takahashi & EVIL
(Winners via pinfall: Ospreay & Okada)
Kenny Omega (C)
IWGP United States Championship
(Winner via pinfall: Kenny Omega)
After an insanely busy summer resulted in this writer missing the entire G1 tournament, there was some trepidation in regards to jumping ahead to New Japan Pro-Wrestling’s most recent event, Destruction in Kobe. However, the urge to be up to date won out, and I decided to make the jump, then go back to the G1 later.
In typical NJPW fashion, Destruction in Kobe had a steady and somewhat underwhelming undercard, with tag matches making up 7 of the 9 matches. Unlike a lot of other shows they put on though, these tag matches felt like they were very much expanding on current storylines, making them much more enjoyable as a viewer. Every match on the card was at least decent, and all served a purpose. You can’t ask for much more, can you?
Yujiro Takahashi and Beretta competed in the first of the two singles matches. There was no Championship on the line, and the story here was that Beretta’s recent switch to the heavyweight division has not been without its challenges, and that this match would be no different. That Beretta got the win was somewhat unexpected, but the more the match went on, the more you felt that the one-sided affair (in favour of Takahashi) would be turned on its head. This was the first match on the card that really got me excited, and felt very much like a top draw NJPW match. Beretta will have an exciting singles career if he can perform to this level on a regular basis.
I thought that the 3-way tag team match was tremendous, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the titles changing hands yet again. The IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship has been hot potatoed these past few months, so I’d like to see Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer retain them for a while now, regardless of how their feud with War Machine progresses. Plus side, I got to see War Machine live with the championships back in July, so that’s a win.
Match of the night, without question, was Omega’s first defence of the IWGP United States Championship. Omega can get a good match out of anyone (as he now tells us, repeatedly), and he did that again with Juice Robinson here, but it lacked something that would have turned it from a good match into a great one. I think that missing thing was urgency, with the pace sometimes slowing down a little too much for me. Not in a way that it made the match poor in any way, but that a lack of urgency resulted in a somewhat stop-start affair at times. Make no mistake though, this was a strong main event, and one of the best matches in Robinson’s career.
All in all, it was a decent and consistent show. I liked the card, particularly Will Ospreay and Kazuchika Okada teaming up, and the IWGP United States Championship’s first defence added some much-needed prestige to the new championship.
Match of the Night
Kenny Omega vs. Juice Robinson