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NJPW ‘Destruction in Beppu’ (9.17.18) Results & Review

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Destruction rolls on through to Beppu where the NEVER Openweight Championship is on the line. Also, a special singles match between Tetsuya Naito and Minoru Suzuki. As we saw in Hiroshima, tempers are flaring in Chaos. Will things continue or settle back down? Let’s find out!

Nagata, Nakanishi & Uemura def. Tenzan, Kojima & Tsuji @ 9:08 via Nagata Lock II on Tsuji – *3/4
Starting your show off with a clash between Tenzan and Nakanishi is not the most inspired way to go and that’d be a theme throughout the night. The young lions had a nice fiery strike exchange that brought life back into the match. Kojima got his chops and elbow drop and Nagata got an Exploder before finishing with the Nagata Lock II. Things picked up after the first couple of minutes but that was a rough start.

David Finlay & Ren Narita def. Toa Henare & Shota Umino @ 6:40 via Finlay Prima Nocta on Umino – *1/2
While Uemura and Tsuji had a nice exchange in their match, Narita and Umino showed almost nothing here. They grappled for a minute and that was about it for them. Umino hit a pair of Shotgun Dropkicks, one off the second and another off the top. That was the only real highlight. Really would have liked to have seen more between the young lions. Finlay gets the win.

Ayato Yoshida def. Takashi Iizuka @ 4:40 via Disqualification – *1/4
The highlight here was Iizuka trying to attack Kevin Kelly and make him remove his mask. Once the mask was off, the biting began. Yoshida got in a couple of kicks before Iizuka had enough and disqualified himself by using the Iron Fingers from Hell.

Liger, Tiger, KUSHIDA & Taguchi def. Ospreay, Romero, YOH & SHO @ 10:01 via Tiger Jumping Tombstone Piledriver on Romero – **1/2
The juniors came out and fought over Taguchi’s rugby ball before the bell. The goofiness continued throughout the match with YOH shoving his fingers up Taguchi butt, Romero stealing Taguchi’s coach spot and KUSHIDA losing control by nearly hip tossing the referee. Ospreay comes in on fire until Liger turns him inside out with the Shotei. Tiger then puts an end to the madness, finishing it off with a Jumping Tombstone. Nice, lighthearted fun. Everyone was having a good time until grumpy Tiger said enough is enough.

Killer Elite Squad def. Best Friends @ 10:34 via Killer Bomb on Beretta – **1/2
K.E.S. start off by attacking before the bell and taking the match to the outside. They focus on grinding down Beretta before he manages to slide off Smith’s shoulders into a Half & Half Suplex and tag Chuckie T. Smith avoids the Moonsault and hits three consecutive German Suplexes, bridging on the third. Archer blocks a topé into a Chokeslam onto the apron, looks to follow up with one in the ring but Beretta rolls through for a nearfall. Smith Germans Chuckie on the floor, comes back in and helps deliver the Killer Bomb on Beretta for the win. Solid tag team psychology. Not a huge match but perfectly acceptable.

Sabre, Kanemaru & Desperado def. EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI @ 8:31 via Sabre Bridging Jackknife on EVIL – **3/4
Suzuki-Gun looked to get the numbers advantage on SANADA early but he fired back with a double dropkick, flipped his way through Sabre’s holds and delivered another dropkick. Really strong babyface fire from SANADA, he got a lot of focus early on here. BUSHI came out on fire, hitting a Hurricanrana on Desperado and EVIL traded go-behinds with Sabre before connecting with a Fisherman’s Buster Suplex. LIJ were on fire and in complete control when Sabre countered EVIL out of nowhere, pinning him with a Jackknife for the win. EVIL stayed on his knees, motionless in the ring, fuming over the result. This was a strong moment with the camera staying fixed on EVIL’s reaction after the loss.

Tanahashi, Makabe, Juice & Honma def. Okada, White, Y-H & Yano @ 13:01 via Juice Pulp Friction on Y-H – **1/2
After what we saw in Hiroshima, Okada keeps an eye on White and did his best to stay out of his own corner. Okada and Tanahashi start off and Okada is in complete control. White takes the opportunity to make the blind tag and has the opposite result, manhandled by Tanahashi. He tags back out and Y-H seem to be back on the same page with Okada, hitting a successful double team maneuver. Okada looks to do the same with White but White walks away from the opportunity. Y-H blocks Pulp Friction, hooks Juice, White rushes in but misses Juice and hits Y-H instead, Juice Lariats White over the top and finishes Y-H with Pulp Friction. Tanahashi checks on Y-H after the match while Okada is fixated on White. When Okada finally walks over to check on Y-H he’s once again shoved away. Tanahashi brings Okada’s attention back to him with the briefcase. Really interesting stuff going on here. Hopefully it leads to something of consequence rather than continuing to be a tease.

NEVER Openweight Championship
Taichi def. Hirooki Goto (c) @ 20:55 via Black Mephisto – **3/4

This match is going to get a lot of hate and I completely understand. Most fans don’t want to see this kind of match. There were half a dozen interference spots, a ref bump, and a lot of stalling. This is not the kind of match I want to see either but they deserve credit for the drama in the closing stretch. Goto, after overcoming the distractions from Miho and Kanemaru, looked to have Taichi beat with the GTR but Taichi grabbed the referee and pulled him down. Kanemaru came rushing back in but Goto took care of him and same with Desperado. Goto stopped Taichi before he could attack with the microphone stand, hoists Taichi up on his shoulders but he fought out of the GTR, Goto hits the Shouten Kai instead but the referee is still down. Goto hits the Reverse GTR for a two count, Iizuka rushes out from the back and with the referee distracted, Taichi low blows Goto and uses the Gedo Clutch for a great nearfall. Immediately hits the Last Ride for another great nearfall and then finishes Goto with the Black Mephisto. The reign of Taichi has begun and as far as I’m concerned that’s a loss for anyone who enjoys pure bell-to-bell wrestling. This is a really baffling decision and I don’t blame anyone who’s upset.

Tetsuya Naito def. Minoru Suzuki @ 32:09 via Destino – **1/2
New Japan are making a crucial mistake with Naito by trying to make him babyface again. Naito can be the next ace but he can’t be a Tanahashi clone. What makes Naito work is his cocky demeanor. No one wants to see him struggle in holds for ten or more minutes. He is not Tanahashi. I cannot stress enough how frustrating this match was to watch. On a technical standpoint it was fine until Naito’s wonky Gotch-Style Piledriver but the desperate underdog fight doesn’t fit Naito. Not once did he try to return the favor and put Suzuki in a hold. Why? We’ve seen Naito use a heel hook before but that was completely absent here. As far as a main event goes, this was a letdown. Naito struggled forever, refusing to tap, eventually finding the ropes, turns a Gotch into Destino, they trade slaps, Suzuki clearly didn’t trust Naito on how to hit the Gotch, so that looked weird and they follow with the Destino for the win. Suzuki collapses on his way to the back and LIJ come out to celebrate with Naito.

Anyone who’s followed my reviews knows I’m generally a pretty positive person but I’d be lying if I told you I thought this was a good show. Of course it wasn’t all bad but as a whole this was a letdown. Take Taichi winning, how many people want to see that style of match again? Buckle up, because it’s happening whether you like it or not. Naito should have brought more fire in the main event. He was playing Tanahashi in the second half and it’s not a role that’s going to work for him no matter how hard they try.

Recommended Matches
I cannot in good conscious tell anyone to take time for anything on this show. That’s not to say you wouldn’t find something to like but there’s nothing that’ll win universal praise here.

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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