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NJPW “DESTRUCTION IN KOBE” REPORT
SEPTEMBER 24, 2023
KOBE WORLD HALL
AIRED LIVE ON NJPW WORLD
Announcers: Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton
-For today’s undercard matches I’ll only mention any noteworthy moments and spots, but we’ll have full details for the big matches later on.
Kevin Kelly is in the U.S., Chris Charlton is in Tokyo, the event is in Kobe, and nobody sounds good.
(1) KEVIN KNIGHT & TIGER MASK vs. BULLET CLUB (Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney)
Moloney and Connors are the Junior Heavyweight tag champs but this is not a title match. That’s next month when Knight teams with his regular partner Kushida. Neither Connors nor Moloney looks to be under the weight limit for the division.
Knight starts us off with a plancha over the top during the Bullet Club entrance. Tiger Mask…watches from the ring. A wise choice. Bullet Club gained the upper hand with a bling tag and isolated Knight for a sustained beatdown. Connors especially has really improved his slow, methodical offense to match the role he is playing now as a big junior. Knight hits a springboard backflip attack to both opponents before making the tag, Kevin Kelly tells us that Knight was trained by Buddy Wayne, which I did not know.
Double team offense from Knight and Tiger Mask, including a top-rope arm drag by Tiger Mask into a flying lariat from Knight. The offence is short-lived as Bullet Club hit the Full Clip (a suplex/top rope spear combo) on Tiger Mask for the win.
WINNERS: Connors & Moloney via pinfall in 6:57 (**)
(Lansdell’s Analysis: Fine opener to further the feud between Knight and Bullet Club. Knight keeps showing glimpses of quality but he’s still lacking some polish. Moloney is similarly not the full package yet, but he’s ahead of Knight I think.)
Connors and Moloney beat down Knight briefly after the match.
Tanahashi and Toru Yano are on Japanese commentary. I wish I spoke Japanese because that sounds hilarious.
(2) JUST 5 GUYS (Taka Michinoku & Douki & Sanada) vs. HOUSE OF TORTURE (Dick Togo & Yujiro Takahashi & Evil)
Dick Togo and Yujiro are out in Evil shirts calling him the 8th IWGP World Heavyweight champion, with an autograph on them. Evil of course is currently in possession of Sanada’s belt. Apparently Togo is selling these shirts and bootleg WrestleKingdom tickets. Douki comes out with Kanemaru’s whiskey bottle, as Kanemaru is injured right now. Sanada has an “I am 7th Champ” shirt, which he kind of needs since most people would like to forget that fact.
Just 5 Guys attack before the bell. Sanada seems to have regained possession of his belt, breaking a piece off it in the process. Typical House of Torture cheating gets control of the match, and they go to work on Douki. Sanada gets a tag and gains the upper hand for his team, applying the Paradise Lock to Evil. We get the Taka vs Dick matchup throwing us back to Kaientai, and showing that both men can still go. It is of course ruined by the garotte from Togo, because House of Torture. Out of nowhere a Michinoku Driver on Togo gets the win for Just 5 Guys.
WINNERS: Just Five Guys via pinfall at 8:00 (*½ )
(Lansdell’s Analysis: This did not flow for me at all. The best part of the match was Togo vs. Taka and the Michinoku Driver.)
Evil absconds with the title, as the old WWF Kaientai theme plays for Taka’s win. OK the music popped me.
(3) GUERILLAS OF DESTINY (Jado & El Phantasmo & Hikuleo & Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga) vs. BULLET CLUB (Gedo & Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin & Chase Owens & David Finlay)
Once again we get a start before the bell and we have a chaotic brawl because of course we do. We get a tease of Jado hitting the draping DDT on Gedo but Finlay breaks it up. I am really enjoying this iteration of Finlay, he has the mannerisms and swagger down to a tee.
Coughlin applied a bridging bow and arrow hold, which I hadn’t seen before, and transitioned into a more traditional one. Jado was the victim of the heel beatdown in this one. Gabe Kidd is a hard-hitter and seems to have the selling aspect nailed down, including in a funny spot where he would headbutt Jado a few times and stagger backwards after each one. Jado hulks up and makes the tag to Tama Tonga who stages the comeback. He goes for the Gun Stun on Finlay but it gets reversed into a uranage backbreaker. Gedo tags in and immediately eats a Gun Stun and the pin.
WINNERS: Guerillas of Destiny via pinfall in 10:10 (*1/2)
(Lansdell’s Analysis: This didn’t really get going. Aside from Gabe Kidd looking stiff there’s nothing you need to see here.)
Post-match extracurriculars don’t really lead to much, lots of staring and posing.
(4) YOH & LIO RUSH vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Bushi & Hiromu Takahashi)
During Rush and Yoh’s entrance they play up that Lio Rush has changed and isn’t the same guy that used to team with Yoh. Mmm that’s some tasty foreshadowing. Either way, I want Rush’s jacket. Hiromu sprints down the ramp and gets right in Rush’s face. You don’t see that from him often.
Rush and Hiromu start and tee off on each other. Innovative team offence from Rush and Yoh, the roll each other up across the ring leading to a corner attack. Yoh tags in and immediately loses the momentum as Bushi and Hiromu employ some double-team offence of their own. We get an extended period of Rush vs Hiromu which honestly felt a little…herky-jerky I think is the best way I can explain it. Stuttering. Like a buffering YouTube video. Some more ultra-fast action from Rush culminates in the Final Hour frog splash for the pin on Bushi.
WINNERS: Lio Rush & Yoh via pinfall in 9:15 (**)
(Lansdell’s Analysis: There were some exciting moments in the match but I just could not get into the large swaths of it that saw Hiromu and Rush together. Rush is so quick that sometimes he is too far ahead of Hiromu and everything looks disjointed. The three-way with Speedball Mike Bailey included should mitigate that somewhat, though I am not looking forward to trying to keep up with it.)
No further teases of a heel turn for Lio, but NJPW commentators rarely mention things out of the blue. Something to watch.
(5) CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & Tomohiro Ishii) vs. TMDK (Bad Dude Tito & Zack Sabre Jr.)
I have never seen Bad Dude Tito in action. The commentators point out how Okada is on the outside looking in for all the title pictures right now.
For once a normal start to the match as Tito and Okada lock up. Tito is built, kind of looks like a cross between Elias and Ronnie Garvin. A healthy dose of Dr. Death in there too. He lays some stiff shots into Ishii, which is known to the state of California to increase your risk of having the living daylights smacked out of you in return. Tito manages to escape that fate as Okada tags in and goes to town with his trademark moves. The rally is cut off by a nice Blockbuster from Tito, who is really showing out here. Ishii and ZSJ work a nice spot with some serious speed, especially impressive for a man the size and build (and age) of Ishii. Tito comes in and cleans house, hitting a Death Valley Driver on Okada and a T-bone suplex on Ishii. ZSJ wraps up Ishii into a pretzel but Okada breaks it up. A series of reversals ends with ZSJ rolling up Ishii for the win.
WINNERS: Zack Sabre Jr and Bad Dude Tito via pinfall in 12:16 (***)
(Lansdell’s Analysis: One of the better undercard matches I have seen. ZSJ was very good, Ishii had his working boots on, but the real surprise was how good Bad Dude Tito looked and how much they gave him in the match. You have to imagine this leads to a Six-man title shot for TMDK. I can see Tito getting some bigger matches going forward.)
(6) TAICHI vs. SHO – KOPW 2023 Provisional match
For this match, the members of House of Torture and Just 5 Guys will be handcuffed to each other on the outside. I’m surprised they went to that stipulation for a tertiary title like this. Sho has the title belt, much like Evil has the World title. Neither man is actually champion of course. Yet.
Red Shoes is on the outside to make sure the handcuffs are applied correctly. Naturally, Evil and Sanada will be bound, as will Togo and Taka and Douki and Takahashi. If anyone breaks their cuffs their wrestler will lose. After entirely too much arguing we get the opening bell as Sho tries to run away. He goes outside and checks the handcuffs on each pair, and tries to beg off. Taichi is bored and goes outside to kick him in the gut. On the inside a snap mare from Taichi is followed by a kick to the spine. Sho goes to the eyes to get the advantage and throws Taichi to the floor. Evil and Takahashi try to lay in the boots but their cuff-mates bull them back. Both men go back inside, Taichi charges but Sho moves and Taichi hits what we now know is an exposed corner buckle. Spear from Sho and we are back to the outside. Walk and brawl time as Sho chokes Taichi with a chair and heads back to the ring hoping for a countout victory. Taichi tries to get back in but Takahashi holds him back despite Douki’s best efforts. Taichi breaks free and gets in at 19 at the 5 minute mark.
Sho chokes Taichi and goes for a pin but the referee refuses to count. Taichi tries to fight back but Sho once again goes to the eyes. Taichi is whipped to the exposed corner but explodes out with a big clothesline and both men are down. Kawada kicks by Taichi, a whip and a running boot in the corner from the champ. Taichi goes for a back suplex, Sho elbows free but eats a hook kick. Evil distracts the ref, so Taichi and Sanada team up to push him into the barricade. Back inside Taichi connects with the back drop driver. The pants are off! Sho avoids the super kick and hits a clothesline, Taichi no sells it and hits a back kick to the gut. Piledriver attempt is blocked. Sho goes to the arm ringer and a couple of kicks, the third is blocked and Sho is whipped into the exposed corner instead. Gamengiri from Taichi, he goes for the cover but a ref distraction means there is no count at the ten minute mark.
Sanada makes Evil sit down. Massive head kick from Taichi! Good grief. Last Ride attempted, but Takahashi has rolled in his pimp cane! That can’t be easy. The ref is distracted and Sho whips Taichi into the ref…oh no here we go. Togo manages to get some powder and throw it in Taichi’s face (Taka must have dozed off), Sho hits a low blow on a staggering Taichi and runs him into the exposed corner. We see that Togo is choking out Taka on the outside, and Sho has the wrench. Kanemaru is here! He takes away the wrench and has himself a swig of whiskey…HE SPRAYS TAICHI IN THE FACE! He rips off his Just 5 Guys shirt to reveal a House of Torture shirt. Kanemaru “hits” Taichi with the whiskey bottle (you could park a car in the gap between bottle and head). Brainbuster on Taichi by Kanemaru! I guess he wasn’t injured after all. He rolls the ref in, Sho hits the Shock Arrow, and we have a new provisional holder.
WINNER: Sho via pinfall in 13:01 (*½ )
(Lansdell’s Analysis: This just was not good at all. The turn doesn’t make a lot of sense, except they can use the Just 4 Guys merch now. The match dragged, the stipulation was largely made ineffective the whole time, and even the otherwise smart turn setup didn’t really save things.)
Kanemaru has the keys to the handcuffs and frees his stablemates. They cuff three of the Just 4 Guys to the ring ropes and stomp away on Taichi. House of Torture cut a promo while one particularly vocal guy in the audience is booing constantly. Evil wants to make the title match a lumberjack match now, since they have the numbers advantage.
(7) YOSHI-HASHI & HIROOKI GOTO (C) vs. SHANE HASTE & MIKEY NICHOLLS – IWGP Tag Team Title match
Hard to believe that Haste and Nicholls were in WWE for a while. Nicholls and Hashi start, Hashi with the early headlock to get control. They exchange shoulder tackles and forearms, Nicholls gets the upper hand. Tag to Haste and a double back elbow, but Hashi avoids the double fist drop. He throws Nicholls to the floor and tags in Goto who hip-tosses Hashi on to Haste.
Nicholls comes in and is suplexed on top of his partner. Tandem beatdown on Haste. Haste reverses a whip and Nicholls trips Goto from the floor. He pulls Goto outside and whips him into the barricade, then rolls him back in. Tag to Nicholls who lays in shots, Haste back in and they hit the senton/fist drop combo they missed earlier. Half-hatch suplex from Haste gets a two count. Nicholls in and hits a knee drop and a VERY loud chop. Haste tags in, they try a double-team move but Goto escapes and clotheslines both men.
Goto hits a spinning heel kick on both men in the corner and follows up with a double bulldog. Tag to Hashi who unloads on both opponents. Low bridge sends Haste to the outside, Nicholls charged and is back dropped onto his partner. Hashi with a running somersault plancha to the floor! Back inside, Hashi up top and…connects with a blockbuster for 2.
Goto is back up and in the ring to hit a clothesline in the corner. Running chop from Hashi. Haste counters a backdrop and pushes Hashi into Goto, then hits an exploder on Goto. Release suplex to Hashi. Haste puts Hashi on the top turnbuckle. Hashi fights him off but Nicholls goes up in his place, Hashi fights him off too. Nicholls lifts Haste into a superplex position and they hit a Tower of Doom on Hashi! Goto breaks the cover at the ten minute mark.
Hashi tries to fight off both members of TMDK but eats some stiff European uppercuts. They whip Hashi in but he comes off the ropes with a double basement dropkick. The tag is cut off and TMDK hit the high-low on Hashi. Back suplex neckbreaker combo gets a 2 before Goto breaks it up again. Goto now tries to fight off both men, a series of ducks and dodges leads to a sitout blue mountain bomb. Elevated double team DDT Dominator combo by TMDK on Goto.
They turn their attention to Hashi who counters the double team and gets a schoolboy for two. Hashi connects with a chop and a superkick on Nicholls but Haste cleans his clock with a gorgeous dropkick. Hey, remember when tag matches had rules about who could be in the ring? Highway to Hell connects on Hashi! 1…2…no! I genuinely thought that was it. TMDK tries for the Tankbuster but Goto holds on to Haste on the turnbuckle. High-angle crucifix bomb by Hashi! 1…2…3!
WINNERS: Bishimon via pinfall in 13:10 (**½)
(Lansdell’s Analysis: Perfectly fine match, nothing really stood out but it was enjoyable. Yoshi-Hashi looked good here, Goto was almost an accessory. TMDK put on a good showing which was needed to add some credibility in a promotion with a lot of quality teams right now. That dropkick from Haste was sweet, too.)
Kevin Kelly somewhat laughably says that only Aussie Open could lay claim to being the best tag team in the world ahead of Bishimon. You know, the team who lost to Adam Cole and MJF and currently have no titles?
(8) SHINGO TAKAGI vs. GREAT-O-KHAN
The narrative leading into this match is that O-Khan has lost some of his edge and is focused too much on celebrating with adult movie stars. Interestingly I think Takagi could do with a win almost as much as O-Khan.
O-Khan offers Shingo a shirt to join the United Empire, Shingo shoves the shirt away and is jumped by O-Khan who chokes Shingo with the shirt. The ref tries to intervene but is pushed away and the bell rings to start the match. O-Khan dumps Shingo over the top to the floor and whips him to the barricade. Shingo fires up and charges back at O-Khan, he tries it several times but it ends poorly for him.
O-Khan again shoves the referee away and jabs Shingo in the ribs twice with a chair. Back inside, he kneels on Shingo’s throat. Snap mare into the head and arm choke by O-Khan. Shingo makes it to the ropes and O-Khan reluctantly breaks the hold. Kevin Kelly points out that O-Khan was accompanied by Callum Newman, the newest member of United Empire, who is training under Ospreay right now. He’s a highly-touted talent who is joining the NJPW dojo. He might be faster than Lio Rush.
Shingo fires up and lays in some shots which O-Khan absorbs before responding with his own. He does his corner “sit on your head” spot but Shingo escapes and hits a Death Valley Driver. Lariat combo by Shingo, a vertical suplex and a cover gets 2.
Shingo points at the camera, which means it’s time. Made in Japan is blocked, Shingo goes for the sliding lariat but O-Khan counters into an attempted head and arm choke. Both men to their feet exchanging Mongolian chops, Shingo hits a Saito suplex but O-Khan rolls through and hits a big boot! Shingo gets right back up, a series of counters and blocks leads to Made in Japan! A near fall marks the five-minute point.
Shingo tries for Last of the Dragons, O-Khan blocks so Shingo hits a pair of lariats instead, dropping O-Khan to his knees. O-Khan escapes another attempt and hits a claw-sleeper suplex, dropping Shingo directly on his head. Ouch. Corner splash to the back by O-Khan, he lifts up Shingo in an Argentine backbreaker! Inverted cutter by O-Khan! It gets another two.
Shingo escapes a shoulder breaker and hits a lariat, but O-Khan again shrugs it off and annihilates Shingo with a lariat of his own. Claw applied by O-Khan, Shingo fights it off but eventually succumbs to the Eliminator! 1…2…no! O-Khan applies the claw sleeper from behind, he goes for a second Eliminator but Shingo counters with a DDT at ten minutes.
Both men get to their feet and exchange very stiff shots. O-Khan cuts off a rally by Shingo with a claw, Shingo applies his own claw at the same time! Shingo with a stiff right and a headbutt, O-Khan with an even stiffer right hand knocks Shingo down! Eliminator…no! Half and half suplex followed by a sliding forearm by Shingo. A cover only gets 1! Shingo connects with the pumping bomber and hits Last of the Dragons for the win.
WINNER: Shingo Takagi via pinfall in 12:36 (***¼)
(Lansdell’s Analysis:I think that was the right result given what both men needed coming in. O-Khan recaptured some of his old brutality but ultimately came up short against someone who is still rightfully higher on the card. Shingo gets a win he needed considering the limbo he’s been in for a while.)
(9) TETSUYA NAITO vs. JEFF COBB
It is confirmed that Naito’s WrestleKingdom title shot is on the line tonight. Naito comes out not with a briefcase, but with a plain old tote bag containing the contract for a WrestleKingdom title shot. That is just so perfect for his character.
As per usual with a Naito match there is a lot of stalking each other to start us off. Cobb mocks Naito, so Naito spits on Cobb. An infuriated Cobb charges and gets low-bridged to the outside, where Naito takes control with a baseball slide dropkick. Back inside Naito tries a tornado DDT but Cobb is an absolute unit and just blocks it by being large. Naito escapes the suplex but is hurled overhead with a belly to belly suplex.
Shots in the corner by Cobb, Naito tries to fight back but Cobb just waffles him with a pair of sledging forearms. A whip by Cobb is followed by a series of corner clotheslines. Combinacióon Cobb-rón in the corner! Cobb covers and gets 2, covers again and gets only one this time. Bear hug applied at the five minute point.
Naito is able to escape the bear hug but is leveled by a short-arm clothesline. Cobb misses the standing moonsault and Naito connects with a basement dropkick to take control. Flying forearm by Naito, Tito Santana style, followed by an inverted atomic drop, a back elbow and a low dropkick to the back. Vintage Naito! Whip by Naito who hits the original Combinación Cabrón and his trademark pose.
An emphatic kick out at one by Cobb. Wrist control and elbows to the neck by Naito, followed up with a neckbreaker for two. Naito goes for Gloria but Cobb blocks it, hits an inverted atomic drop of his own and a big dropkick. That’s twice now that Naito has gone for a big trademark move too early and been countered.
Naito rolls to the apron but Cobb stops him and tries to German suplex him back into the ring from the second rope. Naito escapes, so they go to the corner and Cobb hits a deadlift superplex instead. A cover gets two. Standing moonsault from Cobb gets two more. Naito blocks a whip, a series of counters lead to a corner splash from Cobb at the ten minute mark.
Cobb goes up for a superplex but Naito slides under and tries to powerbomb Cobb off the top. He can’t lift the big man so he lays in some shots, climbs to the top and lays in more. Cobb tries to powerbomb Naito off the top but Naito counters with a super Frankensteiner. Esperanza by Naito! He measures Cobb for Destino… countered with the Spin Cycle! Spinning Flapjack by Cobb, which is apparently called the F5000, only gets 2.
Tour of the Islands attempt is countered by Naito who goes back to the elbows to the neck. He charges and gets caught into another F5000…no! Poison rana! Destino…countered! Tour of the…no! Rollup by Naito! 1…2…no! Tornado DDT into an inside cradle gets 2 more for Naito! Enzuigiri by Naito but Cobb shrugs it off and hits a German suplex! BIG lariat by Cobb! Tour of the Isla…DESTINO! A second Destino from Naito! 1…2…3!
WINNER: Tetsuya Naito via pinfall at 14:22 (***1/2)
(Lansdell’s Analysis: A good, but not great match. I expected more from these two honestly, in terms of quality and match length. I think it suffered from being at the end of a ten-match card. Naito was always the likely winner, but this didn’t feel like a big match or even a real threat.)
(10) WILL OSPREAY vs. YOTA TSUJI – IWGP U.S. (UK) Hvt. Title match
Tsuji hasn’t been back from excursion for long and this is already his second main event title match. Not that I expect him to win, but still. They clearly have high hopes.
Both men exchange counters to wristlocks to start. Cravate by Ospreay, Tsuji takes him down with a trip and gets another wristlock. More counter chains lead to a Tsuji headlock and a shoulder tackle, from which Ospreay nips right up. Tsuji smiles, they run the ropes, Ospreay gets a deep arm drag and fakes out Tsuji before putting one foot on his back and doing the Jericho “C’mon baybay!” pose.
Tsuji arm drags Ospreay and gets a monkey flip but Ospreay lands on his feet. More counters lead to a couple of lucha-style arm drags for Tsuji, Ospreay rolls to the floor where he promptly gets smoked by a tope from Tsuji. Shoulder tackle by Tsuji gets a 1 count. Cravate takedown by Tsuji, into a body scissors to slow things down and give my fingers a break at the 5 minute mark.
Ospreay escapes and hits some forearms, but Tsuji chops THROUGH Ospreay’s chest. Heavens above that was loud. A whip to the corner by Tsuji, Ospreay avoids the corner splash and hits a resounding chop of his own to send Tsuji to the floor. Beautiful springboard plancha to the floor by Ospreay, he seemed to float on that one.Tsuji reverses a whip on the outside but Ospreay hurdles the barricade, stops short of wiping out the front three rows of fans, and hits a Phenomenal Forearm off the barricade. Wow.
Back inside the ring, Ospreay drops a pair of knees and lays in some more nasty chops. Face wash in the corner by Ospreay followed by a pendulum backbreaker for 2. Forearm shivers to the back from Ospreay, but Tsuji is smiling about it. Both men exchange forearms, Ospreay hits a nasty shot and runs the ropes but gets caught with a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker at ten minutes.
A pair of whip reversals sees Tsuji duck a clothesline and…hit something I cannot really describe. Almost a flying head scissors that missed the head but still looked effective. Ospreay goes to the floor and gets wiped out by a Fosbury Flop from Tsuji. I almost want to call that the Tsujisault. Back inside, Tsuji hits a Gory Bomb for 2. Suplex attempt is blocked, Tsuji whips Ospreay who comes off the ropes with the handspring twisting kick. Phenomenal forearm connects for the champion for a two count.
Kawada kicks by Ospreay, Tsuji blocks a chop and hits a backbreaker-curb stomp combo. That was smooth. Ospreay escapes a suplex and charges Tsuji in the corner but eats a boot. Double curb stomp by Tsuji, he goes for the brainbuster bomb but Ospreay counters with a Stundog Millionaire. BIG running boot in the corner by Ospreay, he comes off the top with a forearm to the back of the head. He measures Tsuji for the Hidden Blade, Tsuji ducks! Lariat attempt by Tsuji countered into a powerbomb by Ospreay, countered into the Orange Crush! 1…2…no! That was close.
Tsuji fires up and measures Ospreay for the Spear…knee lift by Ospreay! Ospreay’s chop is answered by a whirling forearm by Tsuji, dropsault by Ospreay, Tsuji ducks the enzuigiri but misses the curb stomp. Spanish Fly from Ospreay! It’s only enough for two. What an exchange. Tsuji is matching Ospreay for pace and counters, which is an incredible feat for a relative newcomer. Both men on their knees now, Ospreay nails a forearm and Tsuji’s response has far less starch behind it.
Ospreay hits a second, Tsuji’s reply has even less in it. The exchange continues, each time with Tsuji having less mustard in his shots. He is however still smiling. Rapid-fire exchange mid-ring as Tsuji finds a second wind! Ospreay goes down! He fires up and hits a forearm, a chop, another chop to the back of the head and a hook kick. Tsuji is on the apron and Ospreay wants the Oscutter on the apron.
Superkick from Tsuji to escape, followed by a nasty headbutt. Tsuji wants the stomp from the apron to the floor! Ospreay avoids it…OSCUTTER FROM THE TOP TO THE FLOOR! Good grief. We are just past the 20 minute mark.
Both men are down now on the outside. Ospreay is in at the 12 count, Tsuji stumbles but gets in at 18. Missile dropkick from Ospreay as soon as Tsuji gets in, that gets 2. Oscutter attempt is blocked, blue thunder bomb into a big knee lift and…oh man a curb stomp to the face instead of the back of the head. I bet that sucks.
Boots in the corner from Tsuji to Ospreay, Tsuji positions Ospreay on the top rope and goes up with him. Ospreay fights off and they switch positions on the top…Spanish Fly from Ospreay! Wow, that was risky. Sitout powerbomb by Ospreay gets 2. Oscutter…connects! 1…2…no! Stormbreaker…countered to a Stunner by Tsuji! GENE BLASTER SPEAR!!!! 1…2…FOOT ON THE ROPE! I thought we had a new champ.
Both men are slow to get up. Tsuji with a double jump stomp off the top! STORMBREAKER BY TSUJI! 1…2…still not enough!!! Tsuji with the three-point stance…not-so-hidden blade by Ospreay! Now he assumes the three-point stance…Spear by Ospreay! 1…kickout at one by Tsuji! Strom Driver by Ospreay! Another near fall! Tsuji is staggering but laughs in the face of Ospreay, who retreats but just obliterates Tsuji with the Blade. Stormbreaker connects! 1…2…3!
WINNER: Will Ospreay via pinfall in 27:51 (****1/4)
(Lansdell’s Analysis: Wow. Everything I said about O-Khan’s loss earlier applies here for Tsuji. He looked like an absolute star who belonged in the ring with the best in the world. And honestly, is there any doubt at this point that Ospreay is the best in the world? I am convinced he could have a 3 star match with my old broken body at this point. Tsuji showed that he deserves the spot on the card he has been given. Oh, one minor gripe…Ospreay needs to rein in the growling during his matches.)
Ospreay puts over Tsuji in his closing promo before he is interrupted by Zack Sabre Jr. They start to cut a promo on each other in Japanese, which I enjoyed greatly. They switch to English and ironically the promo sounded less natural. Not that I understood it. The two Brits put each other over as the two best British wrestlers before agreeing to face off at Royal Quest 3. Yes please, I would like to see this. Ospreay tries to blindside Zack, who ducks and tries to hit a Zack Driver. Ospreay escapes and they face off.
FINAL THOUGHTS: I could have done without most of the matches on this card, but that’s not unusual for NJPW. That said, cutting two matches would have given Naito and Cobb more time. I do see some interesting seeds being planted for the rest of the year, though. It does seem like NJPW is working more story into their cards, which will help engage non-Japanese non-hardcore audiences. A decent show with the last 3 matches plus the Chaos-TMDK tag being the standouts.
You can contact me at email@example.com or on Twitter @lansdellicious . Thanks for stopping by!
OR CHECK THIS OUT AT PROWRESTLING.NET: NJPW “Destruction in Kobe” results (9/24): Vetter’s review of Will Ospreay vs. Yota Tsuji for the IWGP US/UK Title, Tetsyuya Naito vs. Jeff Cobb, Shingo Takagi vs. Great-O-Khan