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NJPW ‘Road to Destruction’ (9.7.17) Event Recap

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We’re on the Road to Destruction and the first stop is September 10th in Fukushima. Tonight’s show in Tokyo featured matches that will help build the intensity for Fukushima and beyond.

Syota Umino vs. Tetsuhiro Yagi – Time Limit Draw
The show opens up with a match between young lions; Umino and Yagi. The goal of young lions is to have sound technique and show good fire. These two went the ten minute time limit showcasing good technique and great fire. Yagi was superior with the fire and Umino had the better technique. Fun opener.

Yuji Nagata & Katsuya Kitamura def. Manabu Nakanishi & Tomoyuki Oka @ 8:25
Both Nagata and Nakanishi started off on fire. Nakanishi gained the upper hand and the two tagged out to their young lion partners. Kitamura and Nagata isolated Oka and Nagata made sure Nakanishi wouldn’t cause trouble, delivering multiple boots to the face to Nakanishi on the apron. Once tagged back in, Nakanishi and Kitamura faced off. The veteran had the upper hand before getting dropped by a brainbuster from Kitamura. The young lion tags out and immediately Nakanishi and Nagata have a slap battle which is won by the older Nakanishi. He tags Oka in who tries his best but is hit by Nagata’s Backdrop Hold and the veteran picks up the win. Very fun exchanges by the vets here.

K.E.S., Kanemaru, Taka & Taichi def. Makabe, Taguchi, Ricochet, Finlay & Kawato @ 8:33
In the third bout we see the set up for the September 16th Hiroshima match between Taguchi & Ricochet and Taichi & Kanemaru for the IWGP Junior Tag Team Championship. Lance Archer makes his return from injury sustained back in April. He receives a warm ovation from the Tokyo crowd. He and K.E.S. teammate Davey Boy Smith Jr., looked to make easy work of Togi Makabe, beating him down two on one. Taichi gives Taguchi an anal probe via the mallet and Ricochet is a man possessed, hitting a flurry of moves before tagging in the eager young lion, Kawato. The veteran Suzuki-Gun team take everyone out on the outside and make easy work of Kawato, who is hit with Kanemaru’s Deep Impact for the win. Post-match the Suzuki-Gun team continues the beat down on young Kawato.

Fale, Yujiro, Owens def. Goto, Yoshi-Hashi & Beretta @ 9:08
This was Beretta’s return to New Japan action, returning as a heavyweight. YH takes the heat early before the Bullet Club team is wiped out by Goto. Beretta is tagged in and hits a dive to the outside and is on fire. The newly-made heavyweight has a lot to learn though as Yujiro counters the Crunchy and hits the Pimp Juice to score the win. Post-match Yujiro runs down Beretta on the mic, making fun of the defeated man.

Juice Robinson & War Machine def. G.O.D. & Leo Tonga & 7:35
Coming back from intermission is a six man tag teasing the upcoming IWGP Tag Team Championship collision, which will be featured at all three Destruction shows. Newest Bullet Club member, Leo Tonga, makes his TV debut, teaming with his brothers in G.O.D. Juice is sporting some awesome War Machine paint and off we go. The two heavyweight tag teams collide at the start. Their chemistry greatly improves with each match they have. Leo Tonga shows off impressive power with multiple slams on the huge Hanson but his inexperience costs him. Tama and Tanga try their best with the save but it’s no use, Juice hits the Pulp Friction to pick up the win. War Machine bow to the crowd in the middle of the ring before exiting.

Suzuki, Iizuka & Desperado def. Elgin, Tanahashi & Kushida @ 14:31
Next in the semi-main event the upcoming NEVER Openweight Championship match is highlighted in a six man tag featuring Suzuki and Elgin, who are scheduled to main event Fukushima on the 10th. What’s also set up here is KUSHIDA and Desperado, who are scheduled for a contest for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship on the 16th in Hiroshima.

Tanahashi comes out sporting his new haircut. ‘No Ace’ is all I have to say about this new do. Suzuki-Gun cause a brawl to start off. Elgin and Suzuki trade chokes on the outside. Iizuka and Desperado look to make quick work of Kushida inside the ring but the junior ace fight back, clearing both of them out of the ring. Suzuki and Elgin fight into the crowd and Suzuki uses a fan’s umbrella to choke Elgin. Making his way back to the ring, Suzuki applies a knee bar to Kushida, using the apron as extra leverage. The brawling outside continues. Eventually, with the help of Tanahashi, the face team gains momentum only for Kanemaru to get involved and cost Tanahashi the High Fly Flow. Elgin and Suzuki start beating each other in the ring and when it looks like Elgin has the win, the referee is pulled outside. The Suzuki-Gun team beats Elgin over the back with a chair. This causes Elgin to snap, he takes the chairs and fires back with them but he’s in the ref’s sight and is disqualified. Post-match Suzuki laughs at getting under Elgin’s skin. Elgin retorts that he doesn’t care if Suzuki wants a Lumberjack Death Match on Sunday, he’ll still win the NEVER Openweight title, then walks off. Suzuki-Gun all laugh.

Naito, Hiromu, Evil, Bushi & Sanada def. Okada, Ishii, Yano, Ospreay, Romero @ 22:31
The main event was a five on five tag team elimination match with a lot of moving pieces. We had the entire Los Ingobernables stable take on the Chaos team of Okada, Ishii, Yano, Ospreay and Romero. This helps set up the NEVER 6-Man Championship match between BUSHI, EVIL and SANADA versus Okada, Yano and Romero on the 10th. Not only that, we get a tease of Ishii versus Naito here and those two are scheduled to have a singles match next month. Another match that’s happening in October is Okada/EVIL for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship which gets highlighted here as well. Also we get a taste of Okada and Naito, the potential Wrestle Kingdom 12 main event.

The rules of the match was eliminated via pin, submission or over the top rope. Naito and Ishii start the match off and are the highlight of the first portion of the contest. Ishii has hi knee taped from the damage dealt by Sabre Jr. during the G1. Naito focuses in on the knee and Ishii is forced to be defensive. This match doesn’t matter to Naito, inflicting damage on Ishii, who is standing in the way of his WK12 main event, is his focus. Because of this, Naito decides that it’s okay to self-eliminated as long as he takes Ishii with him, which is what he does via a neckbreaker on the apron @ 12:15. Everyone is shocked by this move and Yano takes advantage, low blowing Sanada and rolling him up for the elimination @ 14:00. Bushi quickly chokes Yano and tosses him over the top @14:25.

Ospreay, who made his New Japan return after months of being off tours, makes quick work of Bushi when he hit the OsCutter @ 15:30. Both Hiromu and Ospreay have a quick, flashy exchange before Hiromu dives through the second and top rope and delivers a powerbomb on Ospreay to the outside @ 16:35. With his back turned, Okada attacks Hiromu and connects with the Rainmaker @ 17:52. Evil and Okada have a strong back and forth exchange that leads to Okada being trapped on the apron and being hit with a strong lariat by Evil, shooting Okada to the barricade and thus eliminated @ 20:07. Then it was down to two. Evil and Rocky Romero. The crowd got behind the underdog, Romero, who use not only his speed, but showed strength when kicking out of the Darkness Falls. All for not though as Evil picks the junior heavyweight up and delivers Evil to win the match for LIJ. Naito/Ishii and Okada/Evil stare each other down inside the ring before the defeated Chaos team heads to the back. Evil grabs the microphone and declares that we are in the Darkness World now with an applause from the crowd to end the show.

Overall a very eventful show with the return of familiar faces and debuts from new ones. The Road to Destruction is getting heated up as we move along to the next show on September 9th; same place, same time.

Robert McCauley is an NJPW enthusiast who has seen every show live since Jan. 4, 2015.

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