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NJPW Destruction Tour 2018

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This is the time of the year when we usually get bunch of mediocre shows since everyone is dead after G1. Noteworthy stuff:

Road to Destruction - 9/12/18 :
Chaos vs The Elite elimination match

Road to Destruction - 9/13/18 :
Ishii/Ospreay vs Omega/Ibushi


Destruction in Hiroshima - 9/15/18 :
Omega/Ishii for HW title


Destruction in Beppu - 9/17/18 :
Naito/Suzuki because reasons
Goto/Taichi for NEVER title

 

Destruction in Kobe - 9/23/18

Tanahashi/Okada for the briefcase
Kushida/Bushi for who goes to the finals and gets crowned as new junior champ. Another pair will have their match in USA show and it will be Scurrl/Ospreay

 

Other relevant stuff: Kojima and Beretta (and obviously Chuckie tags along) are back. Yoshida is on, I think, all the shows so NJPW probably sees something in him.

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Mindless speculation mode on:

Okada, Omega and Ibushi are in All In. Okada is also in Mexico, but that happens earlier. In UK they got some juniors and likely Zack with Suzuki will be there too. Due to that I'd guess that these shows will fall mostly on Naito and Tanahashi even if those other guys end up flying all over the world in September.

My first guess would be that Tanahashi/White will happen on this tour, if that match is going to happen in the first place since last year only one briefcase defence was done.

My second guess would be something that I wrote half jokingly couple of times in G1 thread: Goto/Naito for NEVER title. Naito doesn't have anything to do at the moment and they need some matches to sell tickets. But this morning I found one thing rather interesting. NJPW uploads free match for a week on their Youtube channel and I don't track them closely, but from what I recall most of the time it is some match that is relevant in some way to what is happening in the wrestling world at the moment. And well they uploaded Naito/Tanaka from 2013 Destruction show when Naito won NEVER title. A bit weird choice I'd say, unless point of this is to remind everyone that once upon a time Naito was NEVER champion. Or maybe it is dead month and it is just a random upload that doesn't have anything to do with anything and as usual I'm spending too much time thinking about this.

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I think that's pretty accurate seeming speculation and a good--and probably relevant--thing to notice, regarding Naito. They do like to telegraph things, that way. And this does feel like a tour to burn some of Juice and/or Goto's defenses on, since they both have... a lot. We should probably also expect some movement towards getting us a Junior champ, and maybe something with the Junior tag belts, since all those guys had a comparatively light G1 workload.

Would they do Yano/Omega? I know Kenny's beat up and busy, but that would be a fun 20 minutes where he doesn't have to bump much at all.

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Updated the thread with what is, in my opinion, relevant information.

I really, honestly do not understand LiJ/Suzuki Gun stuff and why Gedo decided to repeat it.

Sad that Ishii is not getting KoPW main event... which brings up interesting question... what are we going to get for KoPW? Safe bet that Tanahashi/Okada winner will face White, but that does not sound like a money match or valid KoPW main event. Omega/Ibushi?

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Giving Ospreay that tag slot opposite the GL feels like another nudge towards heavyweight—but he’s in the junior tournament. Surely Ibushi wouldn’t drop back down, would he? If he won’t challenge for the top heavyweight prize, I’d get the rationale, but it'd still feel a bit like regression. And maybe he will challenge for the top heavweight prize--that would be a worthy KOPW main event--but I just get the feeling we're waiting on that.

Going back to Naito/Suzuki is really hard to understand. Are we meant to wonder why the feud isn’t with ZSJ, who has Naito’s number? Naito himself will probably wonder in the build. Suzuki-as-underboss is weird too, if that’s what they’re angling towards.

Ishimori not being in the tournament feels odd. 

KOPW main event: Yano/Omega. I mean... what else? Maybe Jericho comes back and closes the show? (Twitter tells me Fozzy's tour takes a hiatus two days before, after all...) Tana/White, Omega/Yano, Y2J/Evil + a few other belts... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

 

Hiromu made a video about giving up the Mr. Belt. Mr. Belt has an interview.

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If Jericho comes for KoPW then the question would just be pushed towards PS. Granted, PS is in smaller building so they probably could fill it up with filler, but that doesn't sound like smart business decision when WK would be just around the corner.

Ishimori not being in tournament really feels odd, but that tournament honestly looks very weird. I feel like Kushida/Bushi and Scurll/Ospreay are overdone matches that don't really generate much excitement. And it is very possible that for the finals we will get another overdone match in Kushida/Ospreay. I think that this is basically filler till Hiromu returns and Gedo does not intend to "waste" any potentially big matches, which on one hand is understandable, but on the other hand it is very boring. 

To me Ospreay's placement in that tag matches nudges towards him getting pinned. I don't really understand the appeal of heavyweight Ospreay, but thats just me probably. In theory they could do Ibushi/Ospreay special singles match at WK because it is possible that both won't have anything to do at WK.

Had more thought about Naito/Suzuki and well... only thing that makes some sense (in my opinion of course) is this sequence:

1. Goto beats Taichi
2. Naito beats Suzuki
3. Zack challenges and beats Goto at USA show or KoPW
4. Naito challenges Zack and gets his revenge. If Jericho/Evil happens at KoPW then I guess this could be a main event for PS?
5. Naito/Jericho II at WK with NEVER/IC titles unified.

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33 minutes ago, Archibald said:

To me Ospreay's placement in that tag matches nudges towards him getting pinned. I don't really understand the appeal of heavyweight Ospreay, but thats just me probably. In theory they could do Ibushi/Ospreay special singles match at WK because it is possible that both won't have anything to do at WK.

I don't think you'll get much argument regarding heavyweight Ospreay 'round these parts; it just feels inevitable, if they keep him long enough. You may be on to something with him facing Ibushi, though (belt or not), since he's stated repeatedly that's his biggest dream match in New Japan. And I'm starting to listen when people emphasize things like that, considering: Right before the G1, Kenny said the opponents he most wanted as champion were Ishii, Naito, Yano, and Tanahashi... not saying he spoiled the everything til basically next year's Dominion, but it kinda feels that way, in hindsight...

Honestly, I like the idea of Naito going on a unification crusade. He thinks there's too much championship bloat, but literally trashing the belts doesn't really change that. Unifying one or two of them would, however.

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You all are giving the junior division more thought than I ever care to. I don't give a shit about it other than 'hey, they'll have some good matches.' Ospreay is 100% destined for the heavyweight division and it'll be great. He is Okada's chosen one after all. I love that goofball and I think he'll be a huge deal with the big boys. Hopefully, adding some muscle mass and working in the heavyweight division will make him chill the fuck out on some of his worst tendencies but I'm not holding my breath. Ospreay vs. Ibushi sounds like somebody is enabling some death wishes. I don't want them to die. 

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Everybody seems to think that Omega/Ishii here means that they are going with Omega/Ibushi at King of Pro Wrestling but I don’t think that’s it. 

Nobody is talking about that Naito/Suzuki special singles match. I could easily see that match being treated as a de facto #1 contender match and the winner of that match challenges Kenny for KOPW. 

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All about Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 13 contract. This feud is an all timer and this match is hard to call.

Since the winner of the G1 Climax defends said title shot was introduced in 2012, nobody has lost it. I can see Hiroshi becoming the first. As noted, difficult to predict the winner.

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Watched some Ayato Yoshida main eventing Chiba Blue Field today. Just as good as his work in LION'S GATE. K-DOJO's been able to churn out a nonzero amount of modest prospects through the years but this kid's got more to say for himself than usual. Fit looking 6 foot 200lb dude who's got a good grasp of the basics and a nasty backdrop, with what sounds like some real fire on the mic. My biggest knock on him is the way he vocalizes in the ring - too much grunting and groaning in the 2016 matches I watched but he might have already fixed it. Could be the tiny crowds / mics in Chiba. He's got an athletic-yet-deliberate vibe that's pretty advanced and confident for a 25 year-old. Maybe I sense some Fujinami vibes? Plus he has chemistry with Umino, their hottest Young Lion. They have something with this kid - and I'm sure TAKA is in his corner big time. Get him to the dojo proper, I say.

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On 8/20/2018 at 7:17 AM, Archibald said:

To me Ospreay's placement in that tag matches nudges towards him getting pinned. I don't really understand the appeal of heavyweight Ospreay, but thats just me probably. In theory they could do Ibushi/Ospreay special singles match at WK because it is possible that both won't have anything to do at WK.

And pinned he was. Everyone involved was pretty generous to him along the way, though (which also served to make the match entertaining and substantive, while keeping Ishii just out of the spotlight), and Ibushi did say in the post-match that he might like a singles match with Ospreay. (Kenny suggested Ospreay hadn't done enough yet to deserve that match, but Ibushi seemed less sure. If neither guy has anything else to do, it feels like this door is cracked open, just in case.)

This is fun:

 

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Apparently based on what many are saying, the Golden Lovers and Ishii/Ospreay tore the house down and had one of the best matches if not the best match in Road To... history.

Looks like I’m gonna turn on a Road To... for the first time in a long ass time.

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Starting it up right now.

I really wish they could pay the rights fees for Emerson, Lake, & Powell's "The Score" for both promotional music and Young Lions entrance themes. Miss that shit. I don't know why I'm thinking about this now though. Yonosuke Kitamura wrote some great shit but there are some exceptionally average theme songs. I feel like Kenny should use something else at this point too. I get the Final Fantasy villain music idea behind his current theme but it doesn't suit him much and I was never fond of it to begin with. Love the GL theme.

tl;dr: nujapan needs more harmonized, dueling guitar in its theme songs. 

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Main event was fantastic even with some miscommunication here and there. They didn't empty the tank either should there hopefully be another match. Ospreay was lookin real jacked too, baby. 

Suzuki-gun tooling Naito was all kinds of awesome. His forehead looked pretty gross. Nice evolution of their precious chaotic korakuen tags. 

Taichi was super. He and Goto should tear it up. "If I, with my luscious hair, lose to you then I will apologize." 

Tama dropped a 'Fingay' in his backstage comments. Class all the way. 

Really good show top to bottom. 

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On one hand, I wouldn't be surprised to see this as BTE's next big angle; on the other, sometimes Kota just says stuff. If the former, they could go back to those comments Omega apologized for (that haven't been shown anywhere), which Ibushi implied in a Tokyo Sports interview were... not "I let Kota beat me in the G1", but "I was happy to help him out, in losing", which was a little patronizing. Kota said he was going to confront him about it at All In, but we haven't seen or heard anything to that effect. Add all that to Naito, Tana, et al, taking every opportunity to suggest that the GL reunion has just been a vehicle for Kenny to get everything he's ever wanted, all at once, while Kota tags along, and there's plenty to work with. Maybe for KOPW, though I'd still vote for a long fuse, burnt until MSG.

Also:

Hell yeah Kojima's back. I'd love to see him get a 15 minute slugfest against Goto. (If Taichi doesn't take it, of course.)

The BCOGs want another junior to tag with Ishimori. Ideas?

 

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He also called him a bald old fuck or something along those lines in his post-match comments. 

MSG feels like the right place for the GL rematch but I've been getting that awful feeling of it being a glorified War of the Worlds card with mostly tags and the main event being an ROH title match. They can't be that stupid, can they? 

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2 hours ago, Oyaji said:

He also called him a bald old fuck or something along those lines in his post-match comments. 

MSG feels like the right place for the GL rematch but I've been getting that awful feeling of it being a glorified War of the Worlds card with mostly tags and the main event being an ROH title match. They can't be that stupid, can they? 

If they are, that would make sure that a show of that scale in US would never succeed again and severely hurt ROH’s growth and NJPW’s expansion.

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Yeah, I think I'm just being overly pessimistic. No way do they botch it up that badly. 

So night 1 of the tour, Golden Lovers tried their best at being a Brainbusters tribute act by isolating Ospreay to mixed results (we even got a 20 second chinlock from Ibushi on Ishii at one point). Night 2 had Okada kicking Juice around the groin and Baretta not knowing what's going on and even saying "you probably should!" to red shoes when the latter warned Okada with a dq over fouls. Hilarious. Good boy Trent isn't very over thanks to his injuries coming just when he was putting things together as a singles but he should be able to get back to that point in time and surpass it. He's like Juice in a lot of ways in that they are both at their best selling and fighting from underneath tho Juice has way more charisma and isn't a total weirdo. 

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3 hours ago, Oyaji said:

Yeah, I think I'm just being overly pessimistic. No way do they botch it up that badly. 

I don’t know what show I’m gonna watch live to be honest. This year, I chose NXT without a second thought and NXT put on one of the greatest shows in wrestling history while the ROH show was just okay.

I think NJPW is the best promotion right now but NXT is so much better than ROH, it’s not even close. If this was a NJPW only show in MSG, I would choose that in a heartbeat but the ROH influence worries me. The ROH roster just isn’t that good and the shows are often just good at best and are mediocre more often than not. 

I have a feeling that Hunter is gonna put up the best TakeOver card ever to compete with this. I know ROH/NJPW MSG is historic but it’s already sold out so I could see NJPW seeing an incentive to not give away any big matches. Considering that ROH secured the building and is paying for it, I have a feeling that they added the NJPW name to sell tickets and that it’s going to just be a rich man’s War of the Worlds. Remember the promotional video said that it would be ROH VERSUS NJPW. That worries me. When you combine ROH’s mediocre product and roster, NJPW’s phoned in efforts in the US, and NXT’s consistently great TakeOvers, I’m 90% sure TakeOver will be better. I will wait to see both cards before I make judgement though.

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So three small shows are in and it is good time to throw in bunch of random thoughts and theories:

  1. I saw people going crazy about Omega/Ibushi vs Ishii/Ospreay and yeah, it was great match, but at the same time lets not forget that when main eventers are doing 2vs2 tags they tend to deliver. Last year we got bunch of hot Okada/Ospreay vs Naito/Hiromu matches, this year we had couple of hot Tanahashi/Kushida vs Okada/Ospreay matches. My point is that this wasn't something unexpected and I feel weird when I see people giving credit for Omega/Ibushi that they delivered good match for a "house show" before big title match. Main eventers are supposed to do that and usually do.
  2. Is it just me or does Ibushi look a bit awkward next to Omega? Like, Omega is very social and likes to talk a lot while Ibushi is a bit weird and does not speak much. And it is fine when you take them both in vacuum, but when they are put next to each other... to me it just highlights Ibushi's, flaws I guess? And maybe, in the end, that is the reason why he never wins the big one, instead of him being freelancer.
  3. Speaking about main eventers doing 2vs2 tags... Trent to me really looked like odd man in that tag team. Yeah, he got hurt at bad time, but I don't really see him doing much in NJPW. I mean, WTL is coming up and you know with whom he'll be tagging there. Sure, they'll deliver some decent matches and funny moments, but they probably won't be even in the semi-finals. And after that? I don't know, I'm not very optimistic about his future. As a side note, after first day Trent said that he wants USA title and I was already dreading the moment when Juice gets dropped again, but thankfully Juice dropped him instead and shut down at least one potential challenger.
  4. Switching back to first tag match again, it does feel like they are building towards Ibushi/Ospreay, does it not? Ospreay can always go back to Junior title, but Ibushi/Ospreay special singles match at WK13 sounds, at least to me, more exciting than Ospreay doing another Junior title match. And they both kinda addressed that possibility in their post match interviews. And well, what else Ibushi could really do at WK? Sounds like a perfect moment to do that match.
  5. Which moves us back to Junior division. Bushi does not have a partner for upcoming Jr. Tag tournament. In theory CMLL can always pull the plug on Caristico/Mistico mask vs name feud with Mistico joining his brother Rush and Bushi/Mistico being a thing, but that sounds like something that is not likely to happen. Bushi, without a doubt, also looks like weakest guy in upcoming Junior title tournament. Basically what it means is that Junior divisions would be left without LiJ presence till Hiromu returns. So, does this mean that chances of Bushi winning the tournament have increased? Ishimori, at later date, destroying Bushi also sounds something like a good hook for eventual Ishimori/Hiromu II whenever Hiromu is ready to return.
  6. Speaking about Ishimori, it looks like he is going to get a partner for Jr. Tag tournament. Tama said that they are recruiting and Ishimori said that someone has returned his call. I saw one random name thrown out on reddit: Petey Williams. They have tagged together on Impact (after Ishimori joined Bullet Club) and I guess Impact would like one of their regulars to have a short stint in NJPW. Does he really fit Bullet Club? I doubt, but I could see this being somewhat of a test run, you know, do good Petey and we'll recruit you. Obviously they wouldn't win and it would end in something similar to what LiJ did to Yoh before he left for his excursion. Yes, this theory is very out there, but I struggle to figure out at the moment who else it could be. But hey, nobody saw that Ishimori was coming to NJPW in the first place so maybe they'll deliver another shocking surprise here.
  7. Naito doing Naito things is complaining about match placement and throwing shit at Goto for being bad champion. Goto being Goto does not address anything. But luckily there is Taichi to salvage things and whole thing turned into weird talking exchange where reporters are repeating what one of them said to another. And well, Taichi delivered some blasts from the past that I think everyone has forgotten. Naito got sidelined with an injury just before first NEVER champion was crowned and it was highly likely that he would have been first NEVER champion because he was regular at NEVER themed events and was a raising star (initially this title was marketed as a title for up and coming stars and not for veterans like what it turned into). So basically Taichi's point is that Naito's injury is main reason why NEVER title had a shit start and why every champion since then was shit (probably does not include Suzuki for obvious reasons...) and thats why Naito keeps bitching about it. Naito obviously sidelined the accusation and continued talking shit about NJPW's office and Suzuki. And well after listening to all that I realized that I really, really want Taichi to win so that we'd have another Naito/Taichi match which can still lead us to another Naito/Zack match. Goto can still deliver great matches, but unfortunately he just does not work as a champion to me.
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1 hour ago, Archibald said:

l

  1. Switching back to first tag match again, it does feel like they are building towards Ibushi/Ospreay, does it not? Ospreay can always go back to Junior title, but Ibushi/Ospreay special singles match at WK13 sounds, at least to me, more exciting than Ospreay doing another Junior title match. And they both kinda addressed that possibility in their post match interviews. And well, what else Ibushi could really do at WK? Sounds like a perfect moment to do that match.

An idea I saw on Wreddit was Ibushi/Ospreay for the NEVER Title at WK. Ibushi beat Goto in G1 so he has a claim to a title shot and even though Ospreay might remain a junior, it’s about time that they put the “openweight” in NEVER Openweight Title to use.

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If Ibushi/Ospreay primarily highlights that Kota can still do sprints 'n flips... eh. If Ibushi decides to run a remix of his classics versus Nak, with himself in the role of dominant striker and Ospreay as the ersatz heavy, that'd be tremendous.

I do think @Archibald is right about Ibushi maybe not being a sponsor's dream as IWGP champion, for example. At least Kenny talking over him constantly might help the story they're (maybe) telling as well.

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