Categories
Story Synopsis

DESTRUCTION in Kobe Story Synopsis

This is the synopsis for the promos from the DESTRUCTION in Kobe 9/24 show in Kobe World Hall, Kobe.

Yota Tsuji and Yuya Uemura drew via time limit

SHO and YOH (O) def. Ren Narita (X) and Shota Umino via Falcon Arrow to pinfall

Rocky is hyped for the Super Jr. Tag League tournament. He refers to Roppongi 3K as the gold and silver standard of the division. RPG3K will settle for nothing less than a win. Rocky calls Suzuki-gun “crap” and says they are only keeping the belts warm. RPG3K are body guys but they’re gonna get a little tighter. YOH puts out the fists for Rocky but finally relents and tosses up the 3K salute which he has denied the entirety of the DESTRUCTION tour.

SHO and YOH still clearly don’t understand a word Rocky says.

YOH praises the Young Lions and says they are rising rapidly. Wrestling them takes him back to the spot he was in a short time ago. SHO concurs that the best lies ahead for RPG3K.

Tiger Mask (O) and Jyushin Thunder Liger def. El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru via Clutch Hold to pinfall

After the pinfall, Tiger Mask holds up the belts in the Suzuki-gun juniors’ faces. Liger snatches the mic and ridicules their opponents, saying how frustrating it must be to lose to a couple of old veterans. He sarcastically ponders that they might want to challenge for the titles as Despy and Kanemaru snatch back their belts. Liger says they haven’t worn them in a while so they’re going to do it.

Backstage El Desperado is furious. He spits that they aren’t veterans, just old. Desperado grumbles that it’s ridiculous that one win would be enough to challenge them but that no young ones raised a claim. He urges them to find some heart while they dispatch these old-timers. Kanemaru says they only have dumb luck on their side.

Tiger Mask is grateful for the opportunity. He brags that they beat the champs without cheating or leaving the ring. Tiger says that he doesn’t think of himself as a veteran, just a challenger. He says it’s about time for them and that he also wants to participate in the Junior Tag League with Liger.

Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata (O), Satoshi Kojima, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan def. Ayato Yoshida (X), Ryuske Taguchi, Tomoaki Honma, and Togi Makabe via Back Drop Hold to pinfall

Makabe criticizes his teammates for being too loose although gives the Young Lion Yoshida rare praise for his effort in the loss. Honma is clearly frustrated but optimistic about returning to a full-time schedule. Taguchi plugs “My Dad is a Heel Wrestler.” He says it would be interesting if Ginbae Mask popped up in New Japan (Taguchi’s character from the film). Yoshida is determined in defeat.

Nagata is nostalgic about his third generation teammates. They are willing to prove their power still, they just need a stage. Kojima is getting into the swing of things now and says he is still growing, still unsatisfied at age 48. He wants the New Japan fans to think that if there’s no third generation wrestlers at shows, it’s not even worth going. He thanks the fans for their support over the years but says he’s still healthy and wants to take advantage.

Chuckie T and Beretta (O) def. Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer (X) via Clutch Hold to pinfall

Archer is fuming after his pinfall defeat. Smith growls nothing like that will ever happen again.

Chuck is jacked from the win. Beretta drops a piece of beat poetry to sum up the match: “horse hair, long legs, choke slam, kick out.” Beretta calls himself one of the strongest guys in New Japan at not-even-200-pounds and Chuck suggests he lie about that. He says he’s 250 pounds of prime cut beef. He complains that Beretta wants to stay in the ring for 35 minutes after the match because he’s a glory hound. Beretta explains that’s how you be a wrestler. Chuck says he’s ready to take his pants off and that daddy’s down to clown.

Will Ospreay, YOSHI-HASHI, and Jay White (O) def. Toa Henare (X), David Finlay, and Juice Robinson via Blade Runner to pinfall

Finlay laments that it’s been a rough tour for Taguchi Japan. Henare is struggling and Juice is sympathetic. “We’ve all tasted the Blade Runner.” Finlay points out that actually Juice hasn’t but that he has a lot. “It’s not fun.” Henare says he’s starving for a win and he promises the Japanese people he will come back stronger. “Haka your ass off,” Juice replies.

Juice turns his attention to the upcoming title bout with Cody in the US. Juice says Cody has everything he doesn’t: “a beautiful wife, a beautiful dog, thousands of dollars worth of suits…” Juice says although Cody might be the American Nightmare, that Juice is the American Dream now, patting the US Championship. Cody was put on this Earth to be a pro wrestler but for Juice to get there everything had to work out exactly. He says he wants his first defense to be against Cody.

White says that every time someone like YOSHI-HASHI or Okada wants to take the lead they end up losing. Ospreay implores White to calm down because they actually won. He says if YOSHI did a few more bicep curls he wouldn’t have a jelly grip and wouldn’t have gotten hit. Ospreay remarks that the tour was great and that he has two big matches coming up. He says that he will win the title and when Hiromu comes back, he’ll see him in the ring.

SANADA, EVIL (O), and Tetsuya Naito def. TAKA Michnoku (X), Zack Sabre Jr., and Minoru Suzuki via Everything is Evil to pinfall

Sabre brags that he’s beaten every member of LIJ this year except the “Captain Halloween Tim Burton prick.”

EVIL says there’s no way Zack will be able to escape him and that he will show him “special darkness world.” Okay bud. Naito thinks that if you want to make a change, you have to take a risk. He’s still being vague as he has all tour but he clearly has plans brewing.

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Championship Tournament Semifinal: KUSHIDA def BUSHI via Back to the Future to pinfall

BUSHI is frantic backstage. He grumbles that it couldn’t possibly end with another loss to KUSHIDA. It did.

KUSHIDA stumbles backstage, face still blackened by BUSHI’s mist. He says BUSHI is not big enough to carry both the sorrow about Hiromu and the belt. KUSHIDA thinks BUSHI needs to remember who KUSHIDA’s mentor (Tajiri) was and why the green mist doesn’t work on him. He walks away saying he will fight BUSHI again anytime.

Rights to IWGP Championship Match at Wrestle Kingdom: Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Kazuchika Okada via High Fly Flow to pinfall

Tanahashi is triumphant. Red Shoes holds his arm aloft, the IWGP contract briefcase in Tanahashi’s hand. The announcers speak in admiration of him, marveling at his ability to overcome adversity. Instantly, Jay White crashes the ring, delivers a Blade Runner to Tanahashi. The announcers wonder whether this the time for the man who defeated Tanahashi in G1 to make his statement. As quickly as he attacked though, White turns his attention to Okada and begins to stomp him on the mat. Young Lions charge the ring to stop White but are swatted away like flies.

White is back on top of Okada, raining elbows. White leaves the ring, forcing Rocky Romero out of his announcer chair and throwing him through the barrier while Kevin Kelly yells at him. He brings the chair back into the ring. Suddenly YOSHI-HASHI runs down the steep ramp to save Okada and plows face first full speed into the ring apron. A visibly dazed YOSHI rolls into the ring, blood streaming down his face. (New Japan wisely cut this injury out of the replays) YOSHI nobly attacks White pushing him to the corner of the ring. He moves to check on Okada, dripping blood all over Okada’s body. He turns back toward White just in time to catch a flying chair to the face and get pushed out of the ring. Jay rubs a giant handful of YOSHI’s blood on his face like warpaint.

To be fair to YOSHI, the stage was extremely steep.

White picks up the chair menacing Okada when Gedo suddenly runs into the ring and snatches the chair from him. Okada staggers to his feet to confront White, Jay screams that he no longer has time for Okada and gives the throat slash gesture, which signals Gedo to smash the chair into Okada’s back. Well, more like weakly place the chair on Okada’s back but we’re trying to service a story here.

The announcers are incredulous with what they are seeing. They can’t believe Gedo would turn on Okada. Gedo gives the throat slash and White rocks Okada with a Blade Runner. No one understands what’s happening. Is Okada being kicked out of CHAOS? Tanahashi and Okada are splayed out on the canvas unable to move. Gedo picks up the mic and asks “Have you two losers finished fighting yet?” No matter who won, neither of them are worthy of the Tokyo Dome when both of them lost to Jay White. He picks up the case and says it truly belongs to the Switchblade. Gedo says the new era is coming soon while he and White embrace and leave the combatants wrecked in the ring.

Backstage White reminds Okada that the day after New Year’s Dash when he joined CHAOS that he would come for Okada and at the time he just laughed. He wonders if Okada is still laughing. Does Okada still think he is not a threat? Was he laughing during G1? Will he be laughing when Switchblade takes the case from Tanahashi?

He turns his attention to Tanahashi. He says he’s not sure where but that he’s coming for the briefcase. He says Gedo is a smart man and that he’s looking forward to taking over New Japan with Gedo. Gedo says only White deserves to main event the Tokyo Dome.

A gang of Young Lions dumps Tanahashi’s lifeless body on the ground. He screams in frustration, asking if White knows how many years it took him to beat Okada. The cameras cut as Tanahashi limps back to the dressing room.

Categories
Story Synopsis

DESTRUCTION in Beppu Story Synopsis

This is the synopsis for the promos from the DESTRUCTION in Beppu 9/17 show in Oita Beppu B-Con Plaza, Beppu.

Yuya Uemura, Manabu Nakanishi, and Yuji Nagata (O) def. Yota Tsuji (X), Satoshi Kojima, and Hiroyoshi Tenzan via Nagata Lock to submission

Tenzan laments that they haven’t managed any wins since Kojima’s return but they have plento of time to turn it around. Kojima encourages the Young Lions on the tour. Tsuji vows revenge on his opponents.

Uemura prases his mentors. Nakanishi and Nagata offer light criticism.

Ren Narita and David Finlay (O) def. Shota Umino (X) and Toa Henare via Prima Nocta to pinfall

Finlay’s bell was rung by a dropkick. He says Shota will be a star after his excursion.

Henare praises a bloody Narita’s effort. He says he got his ass kicked by Fale every day but he persevered.

You have something on your face there, Shota

Ayato Yoshida def. Takashi Iizuka via disqualification

Ryuske Taguchi, KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask (O), and Jyushin Thunder Liger def. SHO, YOH, Rocky Romero (X), and Will Ospreay via Tombstone Piledriver to pinfall

No it wasn’t baseball, Rocky

Ospreay is saddened because when he saw Taguchi with the rugby ball that he knew he could be the leader of the RPG3K plus one rugby team. He is incredulous that no one in CHAOS knows the rules of rugby. Rocky says he thought they were playing baseball. Ospreay heads to the back to strategize on their next game in the New Japan Rugby Cup. SHO and YOH continue to have no idea whatsoever what Rocky is talking about because they don’t understand any English. YOH notes that SHO is cut and asks if he is angry. SHO assures YOH that he is not because it’s only his body. SHO tells the media they are preparing for upcoming battles including the Junior Tag Tour.

Tiger Mask is happy that he has snagged two wins in three matches since returning from England. He says he is moving forward to Tag League. Taguchi praises his tag partners. He hopes KUSHIDA will take back the Junior Heavyweight Championship. KUSHIDA notes that Ospreay is focused on Ibushi and people seem to be interested but he is facing Ishii in Ireland and suspects it won’t get much coverage.

Davey Boy Smith Jr. and Lance Archer (O) def. Chuckie T and Beretta (X) via Killer Bomb to pinfall

Chuck says “everyone dies my little ass” because clearly they are still alive. Beretta says that they have another match against them coming up. He instructs Archer to take his “long leg, horse hair having self” to Kobe. They say it’s insane that Davey has that haircut.

Archer says that this is that happens when you give KES time off. Tag team gold will be theirs. Smith says they are badder than ever and their time off only made them stew on the situation.

El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, and Zack Sabre Jr. (O) def. BUSHI, SANADA, and EVIL (X) via Jackknife to pinfall

BUSHI claims he’s worthy of a title shot no matter who questions it. EVIL is impressed with Sabre but says he will pay. He wants a singles match with ZSJ.

El Desperado says they can win in their sleep with Zack. Sabre says that L.I.J. can’t touch them and everyone is bored. He asks what EVIL knows about evil, that Suzuki-gun are the experts on evil. Despy questions BUSHI while Zack signs off “Happy Halloween.”

Juice Robinson (O), Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe, and Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Jay White, YOSHI-HASHI (X), Toru Yano, and Kazuchika Okada via Pulp Friction to pinfall

White blames YOSHI-HASHI for White striking him (even though he blamed Okada for the same yesterday). Okada doesn’t care what YOSHI-HASHI wants to do and he can’t be bothered with CHAOS drama and that he will focus on Kobe.

Juice is excited about his win and says that Cody can come get it in Long Beach. Makabe is just excited to see shit pop off. Honma worries he is dragging the team down. Makabe slaps him and tells him to remain confident. Honma says he feels like he threw cold water on Tanahashi but that he will persist. Tanahashi says he will make his desire happen in Kobe. He says his dream is far beyond the match with Okada and that he will grab it.

NEVER Openweight Championship: Taichi def. Hirooki Goto via Black Mephisto to pinfall

Miho and Taichi enter the room together. Taichi pitches the belt in front of the press and instructs the New Japan employees to pick it up. He forces the worker to say “this belt belongs to Taichi, the man who failed to make the G1.” He reiterates that the NJPW executives should apologize to him. He says that Taichi being left out of the G1 was the missed call of the century and that the belt and his fan support prove that. He’s cutting this promo standing on top of the NEVER Openweight belt. He says Goto can do whatever he wants with his life after this, that he doesn’t care. He notes that no one came to challenge him for the belt after the match like usual because the belt is valueless trash. He says he’ll take it home and give it away to someone and it will be over for good.

Tetsuya Naito def. Minoru Suzuki via Destino to pinfall

Naito asks in the ring if everyone enjoyed his first match in a year and a half in Beppu. He asks if the crowd notices someone missing from L.I.J. and says they will be 100% next time they return. He says he’s holding the mic every time they come back to Beppu.

Backstage Naito clearly looks exhausted. Naito has won two matches straight against Suzuki but it means nothing to him. He is intentionally being very vague in his promo and says that change is coming. He says he will see everyone at the show tomorrow and signs off.

Categories
Newbies

Understanding the New Japan Calendar

One of the hurdles that newbies to NJPW must overcome is interpreting the irregular calendar. It’s hard to understand the level of importance of various calendar events. While the big fans will try to watch nearly all of it, casuals and new fans really need to understand what’s a necessity and what’s missable. This guide is a short intro into the New Japan calendar so you can plan your viewing.

The Essential Shows – Can’t Miss

Wrestle Kingdom

Wrestle Kingdom is the end of the New Japan season and the largest show of the year. This is the equivalent to WrestleMania both in terms of pomp and importance. If you only watch one NJPW show a year, make it this one. All the belts will be defended and it tends to end a year’s worth of stories since this will the the last major show before contracts expire. Every title will be defended.

Dominion

Dominion is opposite Wrestle Kingdom on the schedule and is the other megacard. It tends to be the best show of the year for the New Japan diehards. The Osaka crowd is the most hype in Japan and the matches here will tend to be among the very best matches of the year in any promotion.

G1 Climax

G1 Climax is the 20-man heavyweight round robin tournament. It is easily the most elite wrestling tournament in the world with the winner getting the main event at Wrestle Kingdom. While I will tell you it’s extremely intimidating to sit and watch nineteen 3-hour shows, you’ll find it’s a can’t miss once you get into New Japan. If you’re not quite there, I made a guide for 12 can’t miss 2018 G1 Climax matches for you to get started with.

The thing that really makes the G1 essential is that normally singles matches are pretty tough to come by. Most of the minor shows are entirely tags with most shows maybe only having one singles match a show. There’s a lot of the roster that doesn’t get heavily featured during the year and in G1 all 20 get a chance to shine in 9 singles matches. When I say feature, I mean feature because most are between 12 and 20 minutes depending where they are on the card. Guys go mostly as hard as possible and the quality from match to match can be otherworldly.

Prior to the singles matches, the other block does tags against their opponents for the next night. This sets up all the story and are great teasers for the singles bangers that follow. The B block was the superstar block this year and the B block tags were as good as many other wrestling shows standalone.

The Major Shows – Shouldn’t Miss

New Year’s Dash

New Year’s Dash is a house show the day after Wrestle Kingdom. You won’t tune into this for great matches but crazy story stuff that will set up the year. This is very much the “RAW after Mania” that’s so infamous in WWE. This year amongst other things was the first overt movement toward a Golden Lovers reunion and Chris Jericho ambushing Tetsuya Naito.

Sakura Genesis, Power Struggle, and King of Pro Wrestling

These are the major single night shows akin to the major WWE shows like Survivor Series and Royal Rumble. All three generally feature tons of title defenses with Sakura Genesis and King of Pro Wrestling almost always featuring long feature title defenses of the IWGP Heavyweight championship and Power Struggle featuring a major Intercontinental defense and a defense of the rights to the WK main event.

New Japan Cup

A quick four-night single elimination tournament that wins you the rights to a belt challenge at Sakura Genesis. This is always good for a bunch of entertaining matches a generally signals a wrestler that will carry heat all year. 2018 was Zack Sabre’s coming out party and he’s racked up huge win after huge win this year since. It’s a coin flip whether someone will win the belt at Genesis so this is generally very important.

Best of the Super Juniors

The G1 but for Junior Heavyweights. This tournament is notably less essential than G1 Climax but has gotten higher profile with the general rise of NJPW, so it’s becoming slightly more critical to watch at least a selection of it every year.

Super J-Cup (irregular)

This is an irregularly run single elimination mega-tournament for Juniors. The last they’ve done one was 2016 but they will surely return to it in the future.

G1 Special and other major US shows

NJPW has only just now started running events in the US but the shows have been massive. Definitely keep and eye out for these.

The Minor Shows – Check the Cards

Destruction, Wrestling Dontaku / Wrestling Hinokuni, & The New Beginning

These are multi-night events where most or all of the belts will be defended over the various nights. They tend to be less essential night to night but always have must-see matches across all of them.

World Tag League

G1 but for tag teams. This might sound amazing but in practice most of it is fairly pedestrian. There’s a few good matches every year but we’re still kinda waiting for NJPW to invest in it.

Honor Rising: Japan

These are the Ring of Honor collaborative shows in Japan and generally they are awesome.

Global Wars/War of the Worlds

These are the collaborative shows New Japan does in the US with Ring of Honor. This is generally the easiest way to see major NJPW talent in the United States.

Global Wars UK

These are collaborative shows with Rev Pro in the UK.

Fantastica Mania

These are collaborative shows with CMLL in Mexico.

Young Lions Cup / Lion’s Gate Project

These are shows for the Young Lions, who are rookies that train in the New Japan Dojo. If you get into the Young Lions while watching shows, they’re worth checking out.

Road to…

Televised and untelevised shows leading up to major shows. Sometimes there’s essential stuff in here but you have to dig.

Themed house shows

Occasionally NJPW will televise a house show curated by a wrestler like the Blue Justice of Yuji Nagata or the TAKA and Taichi shows. They’re usually quite fun and weird.