Wrestling Night in America Reunion: PWTorch columnist Greg Parks is joined by former PWTorch columnist Pat McNeill for a full match-by-match preview of WrestleMania 36
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RADICAN’S NJPW DESTRUCTION IN BEPPU REPORT
SEPT. 17, 2018
BEPPU B-CON PLAZA
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD
Announcers: Kevin Kelly and Marc Warzecha
(1) Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi & Yuya Uemura beat Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima & Yota Tsuji at 9:08.
(2) David Finlay & Ren Narita beat Toa Henare & Shota Umino at 6:38.
(3) Ayato Yoshida beat Takashi Iizuka via DQ at 4:29. Iizuka got DQ’d after using his steel fingers on Yoshida.
(4) KUSHIDA & Ryusuke Taguchi & Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask beat Will Ospreay & SHO & YOH & Rocky Romero at 10:00.
(5) K.E.S. (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. beat Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T.) at 10:35.
(6) Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru beat L.I.J. (EVIL & SANADA & BUSHI at 8:29. This match was used to push a feud between Sabre and EVIL EVIL went for Everything Is EVIL, but Sabre countered it into a backslide for the win.
(7) IWGP U.S. Champion Juice Robinson & G1 Climax Winner Hiroshi Tanahashi & Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma beat CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Jay White & Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI at 13:02. HASHI countered Robinson’s Pulp Friction attempt down the stretch and White accidentally hit HASHI. Robinson then finished him off a short time later with Pulp Friction. The match was used to further the ongoing tension in CHAOS. Tanahashi checked on HASHI after the match. HASHI ended up waving off Okada. White also added fuel to the fire blaming HASHI for the loss.
(8) NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto vs. Taichi (w/Miho Abe). The gist of the feud is that Goto called Taichi a piece of crap after he didn’t make it into the G1 field. Taichi then goaded him into a match and cut a promo saying if I’m such a piece of crap, it should be easy to beat me. Kelly mentioned that Yoshinobu Kanemaru had snuck down to ringside before Goto made his entrance. The announcers mentioned that Goto had said before the match this is the first title defense he’s had where he knows he’s going to win the match. Taichi rolled to the floor after not engaging with Goto after the opening bell. Abe jumped up and down in front of the ring announcer to block him from being able to see the ref’s count. Taichi kept sliding in and out of the ring during the early going. Goto ended up just sitting down in the middle of the ring. Goto didn’t look too upset with Taichi’s antics. Taichi got into the ring and Goto hit some blows. Taichi went right back to the floor and smiled. He tossed Abe into the ring. Abe distracted the ref and Goto. Taichi tossed Goto to the floor and Kanemaru went to town on him. Goto fired back on Kanemaru and whipped him into the railing. Taichi got a chair and nailed Goto with it on the floor. Taichi dragged Goto into the crowd and tossed him into some chairs. Taichi drove the point of a chair into Goto’s head. Taichi went back into the ring and raised the title as the ref counted. Goto crawled back to ringside and barely beat the 20 count. Red Shoes tried to take the title from Taichi, but he simply tossed it to the floor. Taichi took Goto back to the floor and went for a powerbomb, but Goto countered it and hit a suplex on the ramp. He then grabbed Kanemaru and suplexed him onto Taichi.
Goto went on the attack back inside the ring. He connected with a Saito suplex for a 2 count. This was the first time Goto really got to put a beating on Taichi during the math. Taichi ended up ducking a charge in the corner and he nailed Goto with a high kick. Goto blocked another kick attempt and nailed Taichi with a forearm. Taichi shook it off and fired back. Taichi kicked Goto’s leg and Goto fired back with a forearm. They repeated this exchange as the 10 minute mark passed in the match. Both men traded kicks until Taichi caught Goto with a leaping kick to the head and both men were down. Both men went for clotheslines at the same time, but didn’t go down. They ran at each other again and Goto turned Taichi inside out with a big clothesline. They went back and forth off the ropes and this time Taichi surprised Goto with a big clothesline. He then hit a buzzsaw kick to Goto’s head and got a 2 count. Taichi tore his pants off and fired up. He mocked Goto’s samurai pose and went for a kick, but Goto blocked it and hit a high angle suplex. Taichi got right up and hit a jumping kick to Goto’s head for a 2 count. Taichi set up for a Last Ride, but Goto dropped down to one knee. Taichi hit several Kawada kicks and went for a piledriver, but Goto backdropped him and the fans applauded.
Goto hit a wrist clutch Saito suplex. He then went for a choke. Taichi sat down in the middle of the ring, as Goto continued to work the hold. Red Shoes checked Taichi’s wrist twice, but he was still in the fight. Goto picked Taichi up and went for the GTR, but Taichi grabbed the ref and Kanemaru wiped out the ref and Goto. Goto sent Kanemaru packing and went after Taichi. He set up for the Ushigoroshi, but El Desperado ran down to the ring and attacked Goto. Goto ended up clotheslining Desperado to the floor. YOH and SHO and Rocky Romero ran down to even the odds. Goto ducked a microphone shot from Taichi and hit the Ushigoroshi and then Shouten Kai, but the ref was out of it. Goto got a visual pin that well beyond a 3 count. The cameras shown Red Shoes down on the floor. Red Shoes got back into the ring. Goto measured Taichi with his signature kick. Goto set up Taichi and hit a reverse GTR for a near fall. Iizuka made his way down to the ring and Red Shoes got in the way. Goto sent him flying to the floor. Taichi hit a low blow and then got the Gedo Clutch for a near fall. The 20 minute mark passed as both men regrouped. The fans got behind Taichi and he hit a superkick. He then hit the Last Ride and got a stacked pin, but Goto kicked out. Taichi followed up with an Air Raid Crash for the win.
Winner: Taichi to become the new NEVER Openweight Champion at 20:53
Star rating: (*¼) – This was an overbooked mess at times. It wasn’t as bad as the Elgin vs. Suzuki match from the Destruction tour last year, but it was in that league. The last few minutes without any interference from Suzuki-Gun showcased some good wrestling that the rest of the match was sorely lacking.
(9) Tetsuya Naito vs. Minoru Suzuki. Naito beat Suzuki to become the IC Champion the earlier in the year. Suzuki nearly caused Naito to be stretchered out during the L.I.J. vs. Suzuki-Gun tag match in Hiroshima a couple of days ago. Kelly wondered what it was about Naito that drove Suzuki the most crazy. Suzuki jumped Naito when he went to take off his pants. They went right to the floor and Suzuki tossed Naito into the guardrail. Naito fired back and worked Suzuki on the outside near the English commentary station. Naito sent Suzuki back into the ring, but ended up getting caught with an armbar around the ropes. Suzuki then got a running start and booted Naito off the apron and into the guardrail near the English commentary station. Warzecha ended up running away as Suzuki went on the attack. Suzuki dragged Naito into the crowd and tossed him into a pile of chairs. Suzuki got another armbar and used the apron for leverage, as he leaned all the way back towards the floor while applying the hold around the ropes. Suzuki went after the Young Lions and the Japanese commentary team on the outside. He booted another Young Lion and the ref began to count. Suzuki tossed Naito into the ring and the fans began to fire up for the first time during the match. Suzuki went to work on Naito’s arm back inside the ring. Suzuki mocked Naito and invited the fans to cheer for him. Suzuki spit at the crowd and it landed on the camera at ringside.
Naito finally fired back and hit a neck breaker and both men were down at the 10 minute mark. Naito stood on Suzuki’s head a short time later and hit his pose. He hit Suzuki with some light kicks to the head and Suzuki smiled. Suzuki hit some hard forearms in the corner. He got the upper hand and hit a PK. He hit two more standing PK’s and a running PK. He then put the boots to Naito and tossed him to the floor. Suzuki got a chair, but Red shoes took it from him. They brawled around ringside and Suzuki whipped Naito into the guardrail and grabbed a table. Suzuki drove the table into Naito’s head. Naito cut off Suzuki while he set up a table on the outside. Suzuki fired back and got a front facelock. He got another chair and went to slam it over Naito, but Red Shoes stopped him. Naito got off the table and got onto the apron. Suzuki grabbed a choke on the apron. Suzuki hung Naito in the choke and then dropped him off the apron to the floor. Naito set up for the Gotch off the apron through the table. Naito fought out of it and hit an elbow. Naito then hit a neckbreaker off the apron and through the table. WOW!
Naito had a cut on his head from the table smashing into it earlier in the match. The ref counted Suzuki out as Naito tried to recover inside the ring. Suzuki got up and got onto the apron, but collapsed. The ref’s count reached 20, but Suzuki got into the ring. Naito hit Gloria, but Suzuki kicked out at 2. He went for Destino, but Suzuki blocked. Naito went for it again, but Suzuki kicked his leg. They ended up going at it up top. Suzuki got a leg lock and dragged Suzuki back to the mat. He grapevined Naito’s leg and Naito sold it big time. Naito struggled, but managed to get to the ropes. Suzuki went after Naito’s leg, but Suzuki kept attacking it. Naito finally cut Suzuki off with a basement dropkick. The crowd just hasn’t been into this match. Naito went for Destino, but his leg went out and Suzuki grabbed another leg lock. Naito tried to get to the ropes, but Suzuki dragged him back into the middle of the ring and applied the hold again. Suzuki transitioned the hold into a single leg crab, but then he stood up and grapevined Naito’s leg once again. Naito sold it, but the crowd didn’t fire up much to support him. Suzuki continued to work the hold for a long period of time. He finally let go of it and applied a figure 4. Naito tried to grab the ref to block the pain.
Naito finally managed to get to the ropes to break the hold. Suzuki grabbed a choke a short time later. He let go of the hold and went for the Gotch Piledriver. Naito fought out of it and hit Destino and both men were down. Both men exchanged blows from their knees. The 30 minute mark passed as they got to their feet and exchanged blows. Suzuki took a big punch and fired back. They began exchanging hard slaps. Suzuki hit several slaps, but Naito fired back with a series of huge slaps to the face and an enzuguri. Naito lifted Suzuki and hit the Gotch Piledriver that looked sloppy. Kelly called it a powerbomb on commentary. Naito then hit Destino for the win.
Winner: Tetsuya Naito at 32:09
Star rating: (**) – This match went 30 minutes for no good reason. Suzuki beat up Naito and worked over his arm and then his leg. Naito sold his leg briefly, but otherwise Suzuki’s submission work meant very little. The quiet crowd and botched finish didn’t help this match much at all.
BUSHI and SANADA came out to help Naito. Suzuki recovered and went for a chair on the floor before collapsing. Naito recovered and cut a promo for the fans. The translator was speaking too quietly while Naito talked for me to hear what he was saying. He hit his catchphrase to close the promo. EVIL was absent from the promo and Kelly said he was still in shock from losing to Sabre earlier in the night.
The cameras followed Naito backstage and he talked to the press in Japanese.
Contact Sean at RadicanSean@pwtorch.com. Follow him on Twitter @sr_torch.