I’ve just returned home from New Japan Pro Wrestling’s Destruction in Tokyo 2016 at the Ota-Ku General Gymnasium.

Ota-Ku General Gymnasium

This is my second time seeing a show at the Ota Gym. My last trip to Ota was for NOAH’s DESTINY last December. That excellent show left a good impression of the venue in my mind, and I was not let down tonight. It’s a only little farther from me than Korakuen or Ryogoku; about a 30 minute train from central Tokyo.  Tonight, the only difference was the temperature (no air conditioning). That day in late December was cold and rainy. Tonight was hot and humid: just under 80 degrees Fahrenheit, and nearly 90% humidity.

Nonetheless, the view from my seat was excellent, and 500 yen cheaper than my Korakuen seat at last night’s Michinoku Pro show. The acoustics in the building are great; it would have been a good choice for the J-CUP finals. I’ll be back to sweat next week for Dragon Gate’s Dangerous Gate PPV.

NEVER Openweight Title: Katsuyori Shibata (c) vs. Bobby Fish

Regardless of the title’s Openweight distinction, this match did a great job of elevating Fish to Shibata’s level. The future of the junior tag division seems to be up in the air, with the Young Bucks challenging the Briscoe Brothers at DESTRUCTION in HIROSHIMA. Not to worry, Bobby Fish can easily find a home in the heavyweight division in singles or tag competition. Fish’s crisp and aggressive offense put Shibata in a compelling underdog role. This added a lot to the match given the recent uncertainty surrounding Shibata’s participation in the show.

In the closing minutes, Shibata nailed Fish with a brutal head butt that was audible from my second floor seat. Similar to the G1 Final, equally disturbing, equally entertaining. The post-match was eventful as well: Kyle O’Reilly challenged Shibata to a NEVER title match, presumably for King of Pro-Wrestling in October.

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title: KUSHIDA (c) vs. BUSHI

Tokyo has been a stronghold for Los Ingobernables since Invasion Attack, and tonight was no different. From the opening bell, the pro-Bushi crowd was able to drown out  the KUSHIDA chants of the NJPW call leaders. New Japan is in an interesting spot: the cheaters have more fans and sell more merch than the cheated. The match itself was not for me, I much prefer the NEVER match. However, the result leaves BUSHI at the forefront of the junior division thanks to his association with the hottest act in New Japan.