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NJPW: The Erratic History of Destruction

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Destruction has been a staple of the NJPW calendar since 2007 but its gone through several transformations before becoming the Destruction that we watch today. The first Destruction took place November 11th, 2007 at Sumo Hall, main evented by Hiroshi Tanahashi defending his IWGP Heavyweight Championship against Hirooki Goto. New Japan moved the show up a month the following year, dissolving a series known as Explosion. Destruction remained stable the next few years, serving as the first big event after the G1 Climax.

Destruction saw its next big change in 2012 when it was moved up to September and changed arenas from Sumo Hall to the smaller Kobe World Memorial. This is because 2012 was the launch of King of Pro-Wrestling, a now annual show that has since been held every October at Sumo Hall, replacing Destruction in both time and location albeit with a completely different name. For the first two years at Kobe World, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship was defended but even more changes were ahead for Destruction.

In 2014, for the first time in Destruction’s history, the event was split into multiple shows. Kobe World Memorial would remain on the schedule, and still does to the present day, but the emphasis would begin to be put on titles other than the IWGP Heavyweight Championship. From 2014 to 2016, the Kobe World portion of Destruction was headlined by the IWGP Intercontinental Championship and then the IWGP US Championship in 2017. The only other constant in the current era of Destruction is the Hiroshima Sun Plaza Hall which is set to be featured for the third year in a row.

With the current intercontinental champion M.I.A. and a vacant junior title, the IWGP Heavyweight Championship will be defended on the Destruction tour for the first time since 2013. This won’t be on the tour’s main event show, Kobe World, though. In fact, for the first time in Destruction’s history, the show at Kobe World won’t feature any championship matches but instead will be main evented by the Wrestle Kingdom briefcase match between Hiroshi Tanahashi and Kazuchika Okada.

Destruction has had an extremely erratic history. As of 2018 it starts two months earlier than its inaugural event, has changed to a smaller venue and has expanded from one show to three. What its ultimately become is a place to showcase those guys underneath the top level and give them some time to shine before October’s King of Pro-Wrestling. With the IWGP Heavyweight Championship being defended on the tour for the first time in five years, Destruction feels more important than it has in a long time.

Championship History

2007
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

TAKA Michinoku & Dick Togo (c) def. Gedo & Jado

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) def. Hirooki Goto

2008
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

Tetsuya Naito & Yujiro Takahashi def. Prince Devitt & Minoru Tanaka (c)

ZERO1 World Heavyweight Championship
Yuji Nagata def. Masato Tanaka (c)

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Keiji Mutoh (c) def. Shinsuke Nakamura

2009
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship

Tiger Mask IV def. Mistico (c)

IWGP Tag Team Championship
Brother Ray & Brother Devon (c) def. Giant Bernard & Karl Anderson

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Shinsuke Nakamura (c) def. Hiroshi Tanahashi

2010
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

Kenny Omega & Kota Ibushi def. Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi (c)

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Satoshi Kojima def. Togi Makabe (c)

2011
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

Rocky Romero & Davey Richards def. Prince Devitt & Ryusuke Taguchi (c)

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Masato Tanaka def. MVP (c)

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) def. Tetsuya Naito

2012
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship

Kota Ibushi (c) def. Ryusuke Taguchi

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) def. Naomichi Marufuji

2013
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley def. TAKA Michinoku & Taichi

G1 Briefcase vs NEVER Openweight Championship
Tetsuya Naito def. Masato Tanaka

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Shinsuke Nakamura (c) def. Shelton X Benjamin

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kazuchika Okada (c) def. Satoshi Kojima

2014

September 21
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship

Ryusuke Taguchi def. KUSHIDA (c)

IWGP Tag Team Championship
Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows (c) def. Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Bad Luck Fale (c)

September 23
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley (c) def. El Desperado & Taichi

NWA World Tag Team Championship
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (c) def. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi

NEVER Openweight Championship
Yujiro Takahashi (c) def. YOSHI-HASHI

G1 Briefcase
Kazuchika Okada (c) def. Karl Anderson

2015

September 23
NWA World Junior Heavyweight Championship

Tiger Mask IV def. Steve Anthony (c)

IWGP Tag Team Championship
Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows (c) def. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
Kenny Omega def. KUSHIDA (c)

NEVER Openweight Championship
Togi Makabe (c) def. Kota Ibushi

September 27
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

Kyle O’Reilly & Bobby Fish (c) def. KUSHIDA & Alex Shelley

G1 Briefcase
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) def. Bad Luck Fale

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Shinsuke Nakamura def. Hirooki Goto (c)

2016

September 17
NEVER Openweight Championship

Katsuyori Shibata (c) def. Bobby Fish

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
BUSHI def. KUSHIDA (c)

September 22
IWGP Tag Team Championship

Jay Briscoe & Mark Briscoe (c) def. The Young Bucks

ROH World Championship
Adam Cole (c) def. Will Ospreay

G1 Briefcase
Kenny Omega (c) def. YOSHI-HASHI

September 25
NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship

Satoshi Kojima, Ricochet & David Finlay def. Adam Cole & The Young Bucks

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Tetsuya Naito def. Michael Elgin (c)

2017

September 10
IWGP Tag Team Championship

War Machine (c) def. Guerrillas of Destiny & Killer Elite Squad

NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship
EVIL, SANADA & BUSHI (c) def. Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & Rocky Romero

NEVER Openweight Championship
Minoru Suzuki (c) def. Michael Elgin

September 16
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship

Ricochet & Ryusuke Taguchi (c) def. Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Taichi

IWGP Tag Team Championship
War Machine (c) def. Guerrillas of Destiny & Killer Elite Squad

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship
KUSHIDA (c) def. El Desperado

IWGP Intercontinental Championship
Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) def. Zack Sabre Jr.

September 24
IWGP Tag Team Championship

Killer Elite Squad def. War Machine (c) & Guerrillas of Destiny

IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship
Kenny Omega (c) def. Juice Robinson

2018 Destruction Championship Matches

This year there will only be four titles matches between these three shows which is the lowest since the expansion. As you can see, the modern era of Destruction doesn’t have a rich history of title changes so don’t expect to see many new champions. The IWGP Heavyweight Championship has changed hands once in seven matches, neither the G1 Briefcase or the NEVER Openweight Championship have changed hands at Destruction and the one time new NEVER Openweight 6-Man Champions were crowned was due to the titles being previously vacated.

September 15
NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship

Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Taiji Ishimori (c) vs Juice Robinson, David Finlay & Ryusuke Taguchi

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kenny Omega (c) vs Tomohiro Ishii

September 17
NEVER Openweight Championship

Hirooki Goto (c) vs Taichi

September 23
G1 Briefcase

Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs Kazuchika Okada

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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