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.

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.

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 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.

DESTRUCTION in Hiroshima Story Synopsis

This is the synopsis for the promos from the DESTRUCTION in Hiroshima 9/15 show in Sun Plaza Hall, Hiroshima.

KUSHIDA, Tiger Mask (O), and Jyushin Thunder Liger def. SHO, YOH, and Rocky Romero (X) via Tiger Suplex Hold to pinfall

Romero cannot believe he was pinned by Tiger Mask. He says that Black Tiger needs to finish the job. He asks SHO and YOH if they knew he was Black Tiger IV. They are basically just yessing and nodding at everything he is saying. Rocky claims that he just got back to Japan the previous night and it still jet lagged. YOH puts his knuckles out and Rocky throws his hands down yelling “we’re not Taguchi Japan!” When Rocky walks away, SHO and YOH say they have no idea what he was talking about.

I know English and have no idea what Rocky is saying

They say that RPG3K is back and that the wind is at their backs. Whether they are in Japan or Britain they are about having fun.

KUSHIDA says he’s happy to be back. He says that BUSHI needs to stop thinking about Hiromu and worry about him first. He says that he hasn’t done anything of note this year but that he will change that by winning the title. He says that Junior Tag League might be overlooked but things are changing and the Juniors are proving their importance to New Japan. He says that Juniors from around the world will come to Japan to challenge him if he wins the title.

Bad Luck Fale def. Toa Henare via Grenade to pinfall

Henare stumbles in and says he’s a loser. He says that he might have lost everywhere but that since he still breathes he still fights.

Fale says that Henare has a long way to go. He says the important thing is that the OGs are still recruiting.

Davey Boy Smith Jr. (O) and Lance Archer def. Ayato Yoshida (X) and Michael Elgin via Killer Bomb to pinfall

Elgin says that the last 10 days haven’t went well and that he only has one win to show for the tour.

Archer says that everyone seems to have forgotten about KES. They’re not giving showers anymore, only pain. “Like the new song says, everybody dies.” Smith says they are better than ever and that they didn’t book KES for G1 because everyone is scared.

Will Ospreay, Chuckie T, and Beretta (O) def. Chase Owens (X), Yujiro Takahashi, and Kota Ibushi via Strong Zero to pinfall

Ibushi says he has sensed that Ospreay has been targeting him (no shit, Kota). He says that he’s a bit aware of Ospreay but only a bit. He wishes Omega luck tonight. He says he will join commentary.

Beretta says that he just got himself a floor water. He says that guys open a water, take one sip and just leave it on the ground so he swoops it up and nothing goes to waste. Chuck exclaims that “Greg is green as hell!” Ospreay tries to get a hug but is rebuffed. He says they are three best friends and the Best Friends tell him to slow down a bit. This one was really funny and you should just watch it.

NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship: Taiji Ishimori, Tanga Loa (O) and Tama Tonga def. Ryusuke Taguchi, David Finlay (X), and Juice Robinson via Apeshit to pinfall

Taguchi says unfortunately the team lost but that they want to give it another shot. Juice is happy that at least they got cool rugby jerseys. Taguchi says that the proceeds from the jerseys will to toward making the team stronger. Donations are also welcome. He says that he also wants to play rugby so some of the proceeds from the jerseys will allow him to purchase a book about rugby. Finlay is disappointed that they won’t be drinking celebration beers but “sadness beers.”

Bullet Club reminds the fans that they are recruiting and Ishimori says to look forward to Junior Tag League.

Gedo, Toru Yano, and Hirooki Goto (O) def. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (X), Takashi Iizuka, and Taichi via disqualification

Taichi says that Goto finally found something effective, his head. He wonders how Goto’s head could be so large when his dick is so small. He accosts the media guy who he talked to on the previous show about Naito. He then went into a bit that I didn’t entirely understand but I think he was implying that they’d gather the faction rookies from when he and Goto were young (he specifically mentions Yoshitatsu and Nakamura) and have a big battle of old men. He says he went to NJPW brass and did what Naito wanted and asked them to swap the matches but they wouldn’t.

BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL (O), and Tetsuya Naito def. El Desperado, TAKA Michinoku (X), Zack Sabre Jr., and Minoru Suzuki via Magic Killer to pin

EVIL says if Zack wants some he will throw him into hell. Zack says that it’s a month until Halloween but that EVIL is dressed like that all year. He says he hates Halloween. I don’t blame him, have you ever eaten vegan chocolate?

Suzuki laughs at Naito’s accusations at the last show. He says he does whatever is best for himself. He reminds everyone that puroresu is anything goes. Naito is not fighting a monk and that this isn’t a game of chess. He makes his own rules and Naito will have no choice but to worship at his feet. He needs no reasons to fight anyone apart from proving he is stronger.

Tomoaki Honma, Togi Makabe, and Hiroshi Tanahashi (O) def. Jay White, YOSHI-HASHI (X), and Kazuchika Okada via Small Package Hold to pinfall

White says that Okada cost them the match when two of them were in against Tanahashi, an old man he beat himself in the G1. If Okada has a problem with him, Okada should bring it to him instead of bullying his stablemates. He says that he hopes CHAOS is watching and that they need to think about who they want as their leader.

Okada asks if YOSHI-HASHI had anything to say (he didn’t). He says he was going full speed toward the contract but now it’s clear that Jay White is also. He says CHAOS is a mess and they keep embarrassing themselves but he needs Jay and YOSHI-HASHI to take CHAOS to the next level.

Tanhashi says that White has always been an outsider in CHAOS and YOSHI-HASHI’s feelings are drifting. He says that now is the chance for YOSHI-HASHI to make a change.

IWGP Heavyweight Championship: Kenny Omega def. Tomohiro Ishii via One Winged Angel to pinfall

After another banger match, Kenny begins to speak in the ring. He doesn’t yet believe that his business with Ishii is complete. He doesn’t seem to know what to say. He says that he thought being the champion means he is the best, the strongest, the toughest. He says it’s not really like that at all. He says that the reason he is the best is because of Kota. Kota says to remember their promise. Kenny says that’s right and that no matter where they are the Golden Lovers will keep fighting with the same heart. He says the Golden Lovers are more precious than any title. He and Ibushi “Good Bye and Good Night” together Golden Trigger style.

Backstage Omega is so exhausted he can’t even sit in a chair. He says Ishii said that he was a wall that Kenny would have to break. Kenny says that he will say it again, that the belt is a symbol that he represents pro wrestling. He resents Tanahashi’s criticism and says that Tanahashi’s old guard attitude is the only thing wrong with New Japan. He claims that Tanahashi was lucky that A block was so easy. He says he wanted to grab the mic and say “forget Tokyo Dome, let’s do it right now.” He says to be patient though, that they’ll see whose ideology is right.

He then turns to Ibushi and says that he “wanted to scream that I love you.” That’s apparently a reference to a song from Slam Dunk, which is a sports anime. He thanks Ibushi for his help and that they will always stay the Golden Lovers. Kenny says they are a great tag team as Kota drags Kenny to the dressing room.

Road to DESTRUCTION 9/9 Story Synopsis – Blue Justice VIII

This is the synopsis for the promos from the Blue Justice VIII Road to DESTRUCTION 9/9 show in Togane Arena, Chiba.

Yota Tsuji drew with Yuya Uemura via time limit

Taiji Ishimori (O), Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga, and Bad Luck Fale def. Ren Narita (X), Shota Umino, Ayato Yoshida, and Michael Elgin via YES Lock to submission

Shota claims that he will lift the title someday. He asks Yoshida to wrestle with him in the main event someday. Shota says that he will surpass his teachers soon enough. Yoshida seems uncertain and his frustrated with his performance. Elgin says some yay team bullshit, who cares.

Bullet Club talks a bunch of shit about the Young Boys and Tonga declares Ishimori to be the submission master. They low too sweet. Ishimori says his partner gave him a call and the media should look forward to it.

El Desperado (O) and Taichi def Gedo (X) and Hirooki Goto via Pinche Loco to pinfall

Goto explains that Taichi is a lowlife who should never be able to make fun of Taguchi or Yoshitatsu. He says those dudes train way harder.

El Desperado says that everyone has forgotten about that he and Nobu are the tag champs (yeah, I did actually). He says no one ever comes for their belts. Taichi says the company wants to scam the belts from them and push them out of the company the way Taichi was. He then does a Naito impression and questions why he wants to talk shit about the NEVER title. He says it’s because Naito wanted to be the first champion but he couldn’t, which is part of the reason it has less value than other titles. He tells Naito to beg him to swap the match order so he doesn’t have to main event and get embarassed by Suzuki.

Suzuki continues to have nothing to say.

Hi Naito

BUSHI (O), SANADA, EVIL, and Tetsuya Naito def. TAKA Michinoku (O), Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Takashi Iizuka, and Minoru Suzuki via MX to pinfall

BUSHI claims that he heard on Twitter that KUSHIDA moved through the tournament he’s in (assuming British J Cup). I assume he wants KUSHIDA to win it so their singles match is more interesting. Naito asks about what Taichi said and the reporter repeats it to him. Naito was just curious and says at least Taichi is aware of the situation and Goto is not. He says that switching the match order is just fine with him and that he should go ask Suzuki to do swapsies. He says facing Suzuki-gun is trash because there’s nothing in it for L.I.J.

YOSHI-HASHI (O) and Kazuchika Okada def. Toa Henare (X) and Hiroshi Tanahashi via Butterfly Lock to submission

Henare writhes around for a bit from the effects of the Butterfly Lock. Tanahashi says his body has changed since the G1 and that he will rely on his heart instead.

Okada wonders when he wins if he has to carry around that lame briefcase. He says the case should be gold like the IWGP belt.

Will Ospreay, Trent Beretta (O), Toru Yano, and Tomohiro Ishii def. Chase Owens (X), Yujiro Takahashi, Kota Ibushi, and Kenny Omega via Dudebuster to Pinfall

Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata, and Satoshi Kojima (O) def. David Finlay (X), Juice Robinson, Tomoaki Honma, and Togi Makabe via Lariat to pinfall


Kojima takes the mic and thanks the crowd. He exclaims that finally he is back home. He says the last 8 months have been tough but also full of joy and happiness. He says that everyone that struggles can watch them and feel alive. The announcer grumbles that Kojima is always bitching on Twitter. He passes the mic to Nagata since it’s his show after all.

Nagata thanks the crowd and says the star of the day is Kojima. He reminisces that he’s celebrating his 35th year in wrestling next year and that he wants to do it in Togane Arena. He says he’ll see everyone back next year.

Makabe says that Kojima is fine but that they aren’t all buddies and he’ll show him that next time they meet. Juice salutes Kojima and congratulates his return. He defers to Honma who speaks about also recovering from injury. He says he’s lucky to know Kojima but that he’s going to beat him because he never has.

Kojima is very nostalgic and says that he loves pro wrestling and that it will bring you great things if you love it. The media mentions that Kojima’s face was on the back of Nagata’s placards and Kojima thanks him for it. He says he was worried he was not missed but that from the reaction today that’s not true. He says he will think about it in his life going forward.

The Third Generation boys get together to congratulate Nagata. Nagata calls over Kojima and Tenzan says it wasn’t the same without him. Tenzan thanks Nagata and says he is the star of Togane. Nagata defers to Kojima and says over 2100 people came because of his return, which is a sell out for the first time ever. Nagata says that New Japan is blowing up but that Togane is the only place they visit in Chiba, his hometown, and he wants to expand that. He says even though they came on the tour late they want to show their greatness. Tenzan says they might just flip new Japan on its head.

All In

This past weekend, I attended the hottest wrestling ticket of the last decade, Cody Rhodes and the Young Bucks megashow, All In. I was able to purchase tickets during the incredibly short initial sales window, but traded those in to sit in the luxury suites with some strangers from the West Coast for a few more bucks (big ups to for being awesome and coming through 1000%). The original seats were better viewing-wise but the new ones allowed for a nearly completely uninterrupted experience that was probably superior in the long run.

I wanted to take some time to sit down and work out some thoughts and feelings from a truly momentous event. I’m not going to spend much time with the weekend at large (two lit-as-fuck AAW shows, Starrcast, etc) because the important part for the art of pro wrestling is the big show itself. I’ve no doubt Starrcast was highly profitable for many—both for wrestlers and for carnie Conrad Thompson, who basically didn’t have to pay most of the staff. It was a shitshow that had a lot of cool moments—go elsewhere for stories on that—but surely it was massively profitable for the workers which is always desperately needed in our late capitalist hellscape.

There’s no question that the Elite as a whole have led a symbiotic relationship with New Japan Pro Wrestling (and to a lesser extent, Ring of Honor), playing off the prestige and excellence of the promotion to fuel their own rise as a marketing and social media entity. Kenny Omega and the Young Bucks now hold the IWGP Heavyweight and IWGP Heavyweight Tag belts, Marty Scurll is a perennial threat for the Light Heavyweight belt, Adam Page just completed his first G1 to widespread acclaim, and Cody is arguably the ace of ROH and a rising star in Japan, holding a long stint as the ROH World Champion for half of 2017. The thing that makes NJPW cool to fans is its singular focus on the best matches it can possibly assemble. All In had great matches and a banger card, absolutely, but it was not New Japan. It was not PWG, where a lot of the participants have starred in recent years. This was a big Vince-style sports entertainment show to the bone.

Cody right after winning the NWA title

For all its successes artistically and sometimes commercially, the thing indie wrestling has never managed to deliver is a big show experience that could be considered on par with your average Monday Night Raw or the NJPW megatons like Wrestle Kingdom. That makes sense given how much money it obviously takes to put on a big stadium show. Even Ring of Honor, with their largest show in history in Supercard of Honor this past April cannot compare to it. All In is finally that show. All In had huge, brilliant stadium production, matching and even surpassing WWE in some ways (pyro, not lighting the goddamn audience).

As much as I and many wrestling fans love New Japan, I don’t think you could probably pop a casual fan into the best event this year, Dominion, and have them truly get everything they could out of it. All In was a perfect casual show. Yes, there was fanservice for Being the Elite (Joey’s dick druids being the most obvious), but overall you didn’t need to watch BTE to get hyped about this presentation. The television presentation needs some work but it wasn’t bad at all. In fact the commentary was fantastic. The in-arena experience, however was as good as any WWE show outside Wrestlemania I’ve been to.

arena setup

A big reason why I think the show was really good for casual fans is that the stories were great if you were a watcher of BTE, but they were actually quite simple and told mostly in-ring. You didn’r really need to know that the story of Okada v Scurll was big guy v little guy, it was extremely obvious. Janela v Page started with batshit spots so you knew immediately that both of those guys are insane. Omega v Pentagon started out with those two blasting each other with anime-level strikes. You don’t need to know much about wrestling to find the main event impressive. If you  do invest in BTE though, the matches paid off nearly a year of bits from the show. It was impressive committment to story on a few different levels.

Pair this with an extremely well-booked and entertaining card, and you have the core of a really solid event but what turned it into a brilliant one was definitely the last three matches. Okada v Penta, Okada v Scurll, and Golden Bucks v Mysterio/Bandido/Fenix were all 4.5 matches. That really helped bring the night to an emotional climax. Unfortunately, the Bucks’ match was cut short due to media time, and that was clearly headed towards being a 5+ match, but even without the absolute all-time classic, there really wasn’t a match on the card that wasn’t entertaining and that includes the Daniels vAmell match.

The cool thing about wrestling though is that a hot-as-shit crowd makes all the difference. Tell me that you could at all focus on the match itself with the crowd revolt during Reigns v Lesnar at WrestleMania. Now Cody v Aldis was not an amazing technical match, in fact it was an old-school NWA tribute match that still had a ton of flaws. However, the crowd sold it like the NWA title was the most important belt in the world. The card was absolutely predictable but it didn’t really matter because the crowd was hot for it. They couldn’t do this every time if this was a quadrinneal event, but WWE is almost hostlile at this point regarding pleasing the crowd. The crowd has been trained for disappointment and they react in a way to force themselves to be heard. Not lighting them, as may have requested the Product to stop doing for years, was a smart move.

Most people in the houre surely had some passing familiarity with BTE and the reaction to the Joey Ryan dick druids was really good. It might seem stupid on the surface but you can sell almost anything if you show committment to it. You might think it was dumb, and it was, but it wasn’t as dumb as it initially seemed; Ryan was of course, not actually dead, and he staged an Undertaker scene to exploit Page’s guilt driving him insane. You can argue about the material but the story was extremely reasonable and most importantly, committed to for months.

best gear of the weekend

The biggest takeaway I had was this show was vaguely akin to the wrestler-curated shows that New Japan runs but on a feature PPV level. On one level, it’s kind of amazing that a promotion would let their wrestlers do this but the cold reality is that the promotions had bad leverage. New Japan doesn’t care what the Elite do in the States and ROH had to make their guys happy. Being the Elite is 100% controlled by the Young Bucks and NJPW and ROH both mine it for stories and let those folks book a lot of their own stories to a large degree. It would be incredibly naive to say we are entering a post-promotion era but we are seeing wrestlers have unprecedented dominant leverage by controlling their image and stories outside of promotional control. Is All In replicable? By these guys it is—they’ve not only amassed some money but now have the faith of sponsors and fans and most importantly, a solid revenue stream.

I wonder where we’re going from here. The Elite have the leverage to leave ROH full-time and still wrestle there. Cody could truly be the NWA champ and wrestle in every promotion in the US. I, like everyone, thought the money Billy Corgan spent what amounted to some devalued IP and a YouTube channel seemed mad but now seems like potentially a smart long play. WWE’s top down model that mostly serves to piss off fans in 2018 seems lame and dated. In the face of an event the quality of All In, it increasingly seems unsustainable. Dick druids and a gay couple tag team is the hot shit. If you ask fans who is the most important wrestler in WWE, they might tell you Cena or Reigns but it’s actually Nikki Bella. It was her idea to create Total Divas, which has been a wedge into wrestling for countless fans. What’s going on outside the ring is just as important as what’s going on inside.

It would be naive and ridiculous to declare WWE dead or even injured right now, but we did see the potential of what’s going to happen the more wrestlers gain leverage. The Elite may be a singular phenomenon but if you don’t think other young wrestlers are paying attention to what they are doing then you’re the one who is being naive. We’ve seen a small flash of a post-promotion world and it turns out it looks hella good. The Elite will become extremely rich, no question, but what I’m hoping to see is that they’re willing to bet on themselves and flip the table over entirely.

Road to DESTRUCTION 9/8 Story Synopsis

This is the synopsis for the promos from the Road to DESTRUCTION 9/8 show in Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.

Yuya Uemura and Shota Umino (O) def. Yota Tsuji (X) and Ren Narita via Boston Crab to submission

Chase Owens def. Ayato Yoshida via Package Driver to pinfall

Chase admits he’s not used to singles but that New Japan sees what he can do. Goto or Taichi need to watch their backs.

Taiji Ishimori, Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga (O), and Bad Luck Fale def. Toa Henare (X), David Finlay, Michael Elgin, and Togi Makabe via Gun Stun to pinfall

Makabe says he’s coming for Bullet Club. Finlay says that Bullet Club’s days are numbered. There’s no way Taguchi Japan is leaving Hiroshima without the trios belts and they’re gonna beat Bullet Club with their asses. Henare speaks Maori again and they aren’t yet translating it. He claims that he will be where Tama Tonga is soon.

Fale says to make sure the cameras get his good side. Tama Tonga says that the OGs are recruiting and they need names of guys who are worthy to be in Bullet Club. Fale reminds any prospects that they only recruit those who follow them on Instagram and Twitter. Tama says that the info is a secret and not to tell anyone.

YOSHI-HASHI and Hirooki Goto (O) def. Yoshinobu Kanemaru (X) and Taichi via disqualification

BUSHI (O), SANADA, EVIL, and Tetsuya Naito def. TAKA Michinoku (X), El Desperado, Takashi Iizuka, and Minoru Suzuki via MX to pinfall

Naito calls Suzuki out in the ring and says if he’s so upset to come back and grab the mic and speak his heart to everyone. He baits Suzuki with the mic like a fishing line when he comes back ringside. Suzuki hits the mic with a chair then lays waste to all Young Lions in sight.

Suzuki then intimidates and attacks media backstage.

we are all the guy in the corner

BUSHI is disappointed that all the New Japan Juniors are in England. He says he’s awaiting KUSHIDA’s return. EVIL states that he has not forgotten Jericho and wonders if there’s a time limit for sitting on a belt.

Will Ospreay, Toru Yano (O), and Tomohiro Ishii def. Yujiro Takahashi (X), Kota Ibushi, and Kenny Omega via Schoolboy to pinfall

Yujiro tells Pieter that his dick is broken basically. Hopping in a ring with Yano will make that happen. Kenny yells that he warned the ref that Yano always cheats, how can he possibly miss everything. He says Ishii and he keep turning up the heat and things will explode in Hiroshima. Kenny asks Ibushi what he thinks of Ospreay. Ibushi says his opinion is the same. Kenny says that William is a nice guy and a good high flyer but he’s not ready for the heavyweights. He says that the Golden Lovers are down to give him a try but that Ibushi is far beyond his level.

Ospreay claims that he respects the past but that he is the future. He says that his eyes are still on the Junior Heavyweight belt and he will win it back for Hiromu. He will hold the belt while Hiromu is gone but when he comes back, he won’t be able to take it.

Juice Robinson (O) and Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Trent Beretta (X) and Kazuchika Okada via Pulp Friction to pinfall

Juice addresses the crowd in the ring. He tries his hand at some Japanese banter. He talks about the IWGP US Championship being on the line at Long Beach. Tanahashi tries to leave but Juice urges him to pick up the guitar. The crowd chants for the Ace and someone screams “you’re the greatest” and Tanahashi replies “I know.” Tana assures the crowd he will retain the contract and save his dream of main eventing the Tokyo Dome again.

Backstage, Trent says he wanted to face Juice yesterday and today he was pinned. Okada asserts that it’s no big deal, it’s just a tag match. Okada says Trent only needs to pin him next time. Okada says that everyone is sick of Tanahashi v Okada but that this time is different and he’s ready to explode. He says he is a new man while Tanahashi is always hurt.

Tanahashi holds up the briefcase and says that all eyes will be on that case leading up to Wrestle Kingdom. Juice informs Cody that he’s doing big boy things now and that he’s a new wrestler. He says that his dad might not have put on cowboy boots and trunks but that he was also a bad “motherbeeper.” He assures that the match isn’t personal, it’s only about proving how good he is and that he’s an ascendant talent in New Japan. He says he wants all eyes on him and Wrestle Kingdom and has to go through Cody to do it.

Road to DESTRUCTION 9/7 Story Synopsis

This is the synopsis for the promos from the Road to DESTRUCTION 9/7 show in Korakuen Hall, Tokyo.

Chase Owens (O) and Yujiro Takahashi def. Ren Narita (X) and Shota Umino via Package Driver to pinfall

Taiji Ishimori, Tanga Loa (O), Tama Tonga, and Bad Luck Fale def. Ayato Yoshida (X), David Finlay, Michael Elgin, and Juice Robinson via Apeshit to pinfall

Juice addresses the upcoming 6-man NEVER challenge by saying that Bullet Club may have the “boner soldier” but they have the coach and Taguchi has been strategizing. Finlay states that the C-block trophy represents Taguchi Japan and they’ll be leaving Hiroshima with the thumbs up. Juice teases that once they leave with the belts Finlay will have a real championship and not a pretend one. Juice then addresses Cody, congratulates him for his NWA title win, but says he’s not leaving Long Beach with the US Championship. He says it’s nothing personal but he has to show everyone he’s a different Juice than when he and Cody squared off at Wrestle Kingdom two years ago.

finger stretches

Fale sits waiting for the rest of the Bullet Club to arrive and does some finger stretching while resting. Tama confidently says Taguchi Japan is a circus act and has no chance at taking the NEVER belts. Ishimori wants to know why he isn’t involved in the Junior Heavyweight tournament. He says it’s no matter, it’s his destiny to have that belt around his waist. He previews that despite being the OGs only Junior, he has found a tag partner for the upcoming Junior Tag League.

Notes: Ishimori has a good point, he was runner-up in the BOSJ but not invited to the tournament. As far as his partner, who does he mean? BUSHI is missing a partner too but my guess is he’s pulling from outside New Japan. Petey Williams? Who knows.

Trent Beretta def. Toa Henare via Dudebuster to pinfall

Henare complements Beretta’s power and says he knows what it’s like to come back from injury. He claims he won’t be upset though because he’s getting the singles matches.

Beretta recalls his feeling while sitting out six months for injury and suggests that has his eye on Juice Robinson’s US Championship.

Hirooki Goto (O) and Gedo def. TAKA Michinoku (X) and Taichi via GTR to pinfall

Goto grumbles that Taichi has done nothing since becoming a heavyweight but still gets a title shot so he should be grateful. He says he already knows the outcome of the match.

Taichi is pissed that CHAOS did the Sushi Zanmai taunt. He claims Goto lowered the value of the title which is why he’s not in the main event. He says Harold Meij better apologize for not putting him in G1. If he loses to Goto, Taichi with his luscious hair will apologize to Meij. He teases that Goto should join Taguchi and focus on making people laugh.

BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL (O), and Tetsuya Naito def. El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Takashi Iizuka (X), and Minoru Suzuki via Magic Killer to pinfall

Suzuki makes murder faces at the media. Nothing to say.

Suzuki-san smells blood in the water

EVIL starts to cut a promo on Chris Jericho but stops and says today is not the day. I guess just wanted to remind everyone that match was still happening. BUSHI says glumly that he doesn’t know if he’s going to be part of Junior Tag League because he doesn’t have a partner. He finishes by saying can’t wait to face KUSHIDA. Naito reminds the media that Suzuki was upset by being the semi-main event for the Intercontinental belt but he has nothing to say about being the main event in a special singles match against Naito. He asks the media to ask Suzuki about that tomorrow. Good luck with that. He mocks Goto in being a poor champion and taken lightly, and that’s why New Japan won’t put him in the main event.

YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano (O), and Kazuchika Okada def. Tomoaki Honma (X), Togi Makabe, and Hiroshi Tanahashi via Schoolboy to pinfall

Makabe grumbles that the ref wasn’t paying attention and Yano only won by cheating (duh). Honma is pissed about being pinned. Tanahashi says that he wants the part of Okada that he’s never seen before. He intones that just beating Okada won’t be enough and that he wants it all in Tokyo.

Okada claims the Tokyo Dome and the IWGP belt need him. He says the title and the Tokyo Dome is no longer Tanahashi’s place. He will draw everything out of Tanahashi during the preview matches and finish him in Kobe.

Kota Ibushi (O) and Kenny Omega def. Will Ospreay (X) and Tomohiro Ishii via Golden Trigger to pinfall

Omega takes the mic in the ring and says he’s excited about his match with Ishii. He declares that many say that his match with Ishii was the best of the G1 but that Kenny thinks that all of Ibushi’s matches were the best. He asks Ibushi if he has anything to say, Ibushi walks slowly to the mic and comically says that he doesn’t.

Backstage, Ospreay says he’s coming for Ibushi. Ishii claims he will destroy whatever Kenny’s vision is in Hiroshima.

Omega says no one should ever doubt the Golden Lovers as the best tag team in New Japan. He states that they share stories about love, kindness, and change. He says that Ishii is one of the few people he respects because he cares about the quality of his matches. Ibushi expresses the Golden Lovers were awesome today. Kenny says that watching Ibushi against Ospreay was incredible and Ibushi states he wants to face him in the future. Kenny says he isn’t sure because Ospreay is still a Junior. He says Ibushi had to win the New Japan Cup, the Junior Heavyweight belt 4 times, and the Junior Tag belts before he moved up from Junior whereas Ospreay gains a little weight and wants to roll with the big boys. Omega claims that it’s too early and Ibushi seems to agree.