NJPW Destruction in Hiroshima 2018
September 15, 2018
Sun Hall Plaza
Hiroshima, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask IV & Jushin Thunder Liger def. Roppongi 3K

The opener to NJPW Destruction in Hiroshima was a fun six-man junior tag opener. The match got me excited for the potential Tiger/Liger team in the upcoming NJPW Junior Tag League but that’s about it from this match. **3/4

Bad Luck Fale def. Toa Henare

Woof. What has a Henare done to deserve this? DUD

Killer Elite Squad def. Michael Elgin & Ayato Yoshida

I like KES but I do not like Davey Boys new tights. They don’t really scream KILLER ELITE SQUAD! Yoshida is a good young boy though but his slotting on this and other cards throughout this tournament makes me wonder if he counts as a young boy? **1/2

Will Ospreay, Beretta & Chuckie T def. Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens, Kota Ibushi

Now we’re getting somewhere with this undercard.

I love five of the six men in this match and you can probably guess the odd man out. Beretta has been racking wins all tour so you have to think something big is coming his way shortly. Will Ospreay keeps asking for Ibushi and you’ve got to wonder if they are planting seeds for a Wrestle Kingdom 13 match. ***1/4

NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship
Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa & Taiji Ishimori © def. Ryusuke Taguchi, Juice Robinson, & David Finlay

My first take for this match was “they’ve given them more time then they usually give the six-man titles” then I checked my watch and it only went 11 minutes. Huh.

The work was fine as you’d expect from six competent pro wrestlers but it’s such a waste of Robinson, Ishimori and, really, Finlay too. Bullet Club OG are looking for new members and the perfect recruit would be my interest in this boring storyline. I’m afraid that might not happen. ***

Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano & Gedo def. Taichi, Takashi Iizuka & Yoshinobu Kanemaru by DQ

I’m not digging this NEVER Title feud between Goto and Taichi at all. The DQ finish and the post match beat down was smart in story, as Taichi wouldn’t care about winning this match — he simply wants to make his job at Destruction in Beppu easier. **

Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, BUSHI & SANADA def. Minoru Suzuki, Zack sabre Jr., El Desperado & Taka Michinoku

These L.I.J/Suzuki-Gun multi-mans are always great and always progress their story in minor ways. This particular one was centered on Naito refusing to give Suzuki the satisfaction of doing a stretcher job. Also, EVIL had a stare down with Zack Sabre Jr. after the match hinting towards something between those two down the run.

Overall this was a good, fun eight-man. I just hope Naito and Suzuki can redeem themselves after their disappointing singles match at NJPW WRESTLING HI NO KUNI in April. ***1/2

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma def. Kazuchika Okada, Jay White & YOSHI-HASHI

Carrying the momentum from the prior match this was yet another really good multi-man that also developed a story. I find myself at this point much more interesting in Tanahashi putting together his “good boy stable” then his upcoming match with Okada.

Throughout the match they teased CHAOS tension between Okada and YOSHI-HASHI as Kazu accidentally kicked YOSHI-HASHI leading to the team’s loss. Credit to Jay White who was fantastic throughout this match and post-match CHAOS tension angle. White is so damn good at the switchblade gimmick now it’s unbelievable. ***1/4

IWGP Heavyweight Championship
Kenny Omega © def. Tomohiro Ishii

This was great pro wrestling.

The first ten minutes were slowish but so deliberate nothing felt like a drag. The match really picked up when Omega hit the double foot stomp to the outside through the commentary table.

There are subtleties to big New Japan matches that really make the match better. One example is Omega going for a countout win because he respects how threatening Ishii is that he just wanted to win anyway possible to keep his title. There was almost no chance for Ishii here but when he had Omega down and passionately made the title belt gesture over his stomach… it was a hair raising moment. For a split second you thought this actually might the night for big Tom Ish.

The trading of each other’s moves – Kenny doing the brainbuster and Ishii doing the V-trigger was all really great stuff.

This match was very different from their previous four and may rank as my least favorite of the five. With that said, when a four and a half star match ranks the worst out of five matches, you know you’re watching something special.

This didn’t reach Match of the Year-level like their G1 Climax match but this was still top tier, elite (pardon the pun) pro wrestling from two of the very best. ****1/2

After the match Kenny addressed the crowd and teased defending against Kota and said it doesn’t matter in what country — main event of the ROH/NJPW MSG show anyone? In the comments Kenny really went in on Tanahashi about their two different wrestling ideologies and pushing the Tokyo Dome/Wrestle Kingdom main event with Tana.

Final Thoughts

NJPW Destruction in Hiroshima 2018 featured a very skippable undercard but a must-watch main event between two of the very best in wrestling today.