NJPW Destruction in Kobe Preview (Sponsored by BrandIt)

New Japan Pro-Wrestling finishes up their September Destruction shows Sunday night in Kobe. It will be the promotion’s last big show until King of Pro Wrestling on October 9th.

The main event for Destruction in Kobe is scheduled to be Kenny Omega’s first-ever defense of the IWGP United States championship. He will take on Juice Robinson, who defeated him in this year’s G1 tournament.

  1. Hirai Kawato & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Katsuya Kitamura & Tomoyuki Oka

    • 3 young lions in a tag-team match with a former IWGP heavyweight champion.
    • Look for Tenzan to teach the young lions about what it takes to be a heavyweight on NJPW’s roster. Not in the same way Minoru Suzuki teaches them, but similar.
  2. Jushin Liger, Ricochet, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask and Togi Makabe vs. El Desperado, Taichi, Taka Michinoku, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Takashi Iizuka (Suzuki-Gun)

    • Suzuki-Gun has had all they can take of Taguchi Japan. Especially after they weren’t able to wrestle the IWGP junior heavyweight tag team championships away from them last weekend.
    • The members of Suzuki-Gun will be without their leader at this show, as Minoru Suzuki is in the United States and will have faced Cody for the ROH world championship 2 nights prior.
  3. Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens (Bullet Club) vs. Hirooki Goto and Yoshi-Hashi (CHAOS)

    • We might be getting a preview of some potential World Tag League teams here, though that is not certain at all.
    • 2 years ago Goto won the World Tag League with partner¬†Katsuyori Shibata.
    • We could see Goto and Yoshi-Hashi team together in the tournament this year. Yoshi teamed with Okada last year and Goto with Ishii but CHAOS could change it up this year.
    • Last year, Bad Luck Fale’s team with Bone Soldier went winless in the tournament. Teaming with Chase Owens would be a big step up for him this year.
  4. Beretta (CHAOS) vs. Yujiro Takahashi (Bullet Club)

    • Yujiro Takahashi has not been impressed with Beretta’s decision to move up to heavyweight. He has been taunting Beretta throughout every Destruction and Road to Destruction show this month.
    • Finally last weekend Takahashi told Beretta if he doesn’t decide to stay at junior heavyweight that he would have to face him in a match.
    • Well, this will be that match.
    • This is an important match for Beretta as it will set the tone for the start of his heavyweight single’s career.
  5. IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships
    War Machine (c) vs. Guerillas of Destiny (Bullet Club) vs. Killer Elite Squad (Suzuki-Gun)

    • This will be the 3rd and final match between these 3 teams on the Destruction tour.
    • War Machine won each of the first two matches, but it really comes down to which team leaves this card with the belts.
    • A point that was brought up after last weekend’s show regarding these 3 teams is as follows:
    • War Machine has won a total of 6 IWGP Tag Team championship matches, the Killer Elite Squad has won 7 (2 title reigns between 2012-2014), and the Guerillas of Destiny have won 5 (3 title reigns and 2 title defenses between 2016-2017)

  6. David Finlay and Kota Ibushi vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Michael Elgin

    • Hiroshi Tanahashi issued a challenge to Kota Ibushi at the end of last weekend’s show. While this moment was seen by those who stayed up late and watched live, for whatever reason, it appears to have been cut off the on-demand version, or at least that was the case when I watched it on New Japan World.
    • The only other time Tanahashi and Ibushi met in singles action was the G1 in 2015 (G1 Climax 25)¬†when Tanahashi defeated Ibushi.
    • Tanahashi will be going for his 3rd title defense in this his 2nd reign with the title.
  7. Rocky Romero, Tomohiro Ishii, and Toru Yano (CHAOS) vs. Bushi, Sanada and Tetsuya Naito (LIJ)

    • At King of Pro-Wrestling, Tetsuya Naito will defend his G1 title-match briefcase against Tomohiro Ishii. It will be the latest in the long rivalry between the two.
    • Ishii and Naito have met 7x, Ishii has won 4 and Naito 3, but Naito has won the most important matches.
    • Most importantly, Naito successfully defended the IWGP Heavyweight championship against Ishii last year. It was the only title defence of his short reign before dropping the belt back to Okada.
    • Romero has challenged Taguchi Japan for the junior heavyweight tag titles but we still don’t know who his new partner is.
    • His partner won’t be either Ishii or Yano, however, as it would take quite a bit of DDP Yoga to get them down to junior heavyweight.
  8. Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay (CHAOS) vs. Evil and Hiromu Takahashi (LIJ)

    • Kazuchika Okada was undefeated in this year’s G1 up until he met EVIL. It seemed plausible that Okada could run the table and finish the G1 with a perfect record.
    • Unfortunately for Okada, Evil used every dastardly move in the book to score the upset victory over him.
    • The most damning move was when Evil slammed Okada onto a pile of chairs. The resulting injuries to Okada’s neck and shoulder limited him for the remainder of the tournament. After failing to kick out from Evil’s STO, Okada wouldn’t win another match for the remainder of the tournament.
    • Okada finished the tournament by going to a time-limit draw with Minoru Suzuki, and then losing to Kenny Omega.
    • Evil’s title shot at Kazuchika Okada at King of Pro-Wrestling on October 9th will be the biggest of his career. Not bad for a guy who just returned frome excursion two years ago.
  9. IWGP United States Championship
    BrandIt Presents: Kenny Omega (Bullet Club) (c) vs. Juice Robinson

    • This will be the first ever title defence of the IWGP United States championship.
    • This opportunity for Juice Robinson really sums up what a terrific run this guy has had since signing with NJPW.
    • 28-year-old Juice Robinson was formerly signed to NXT and wrestled under the name CJ Parker. Sensing a low ceiling for him he arranged a deal with NJPW through NXT head trainer, and former NJPW wrestler, Matt Bloom (aka Giant Bernard/Albert/Lord Tensai). Having a WWE contract and deciding to leave is a bold move, but one that has paid off for Robinson. The fans love him there, and he seems to be having a good time with that.
    • Juice challenged Tetsuya Naito for the Intercontinental championship back in April, so this wil be his second shot at a major single’s title.
    • As for Kenny Omega, he will be coming into this one just 17 days removed from minor knee surgery. He’s been off the entire September tournament.