New Japan has released full cards for their next big tour, Destruction, which will run in September.
Three big main events have been signed for each Destruction card. On 9/15, Tomohiro Ishii will officially challenge Kenny Omega for the IWGP title. A special singles match will take place between Tetsuya Naito and Minoru Suzuki on 9/17. And on 9/23, Hiroshi Tanahashi will defend his Tokyo Dome IWGP title shot, taking on Kazuchika Okada.
The other big news from tonight’s press conference is that New Japan Chairman Naoki Sugabayashi stripped Hiromu Takahashi of the IWGP Jr. heavyweight title. This was revealed in a short video where Hiromu Takahashi, who doesn’t want to be seen until he returns from his neck injury, was represented by Mr. Belt, the IWGP Jr. title. Sugabayashi stripped Hiromu of the title so that the junior heavyweight division could be revitalized.
Sugibayashi later revealed during a press conference this evening that the IWGP Jr. title will be defended in a four man tournament, with the first match taking place on 9/23 (KUSHIDA vs. BUSHI) and the second at Fighting Spirit Unleased on 9/30 (Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll). The winners of the two matches will compete for the title at King of Pro Wrestling on October 8.
Also announced for the Long Beach show is Cody challenging Juice Robinson for the IWGP United States title and The Young Bucks defending the IWGP tag team titles against the Guerillas of Destiny.
Other noticeable matches and returns include Baretta (who will start back on this tour after a torn triceps), The Killer Elite Squad, Ayato Yoshida (who made his debut at the G1 Finals) and Satoshi Kojima, who will compete in the main event of the 9/9 Road to Destruction event in his return bout.
Here are the full cards for each show that will air on New Japan World next month:
Road to Destruction (9/7, Korakuen Hall)
Golden Lovers vs. Tomohiro Ishii and Will Ospreay
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma vs. Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano and YOSHI-HASHI
Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA and BUSHI vs. Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado
Hirooki Goto and Gedo vs. Taichi and Taka Michinoku
Beretta vs. Toa Henare
Juice Robinson, Michael Elgin, David Finlay and Ayato Yoshida vs. Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and Taiji Ishimori
Chase Owens and Yujiro Takahashi vs. Ren Narita and Shota Umino
Road to Destruction (9/8, Korakuen Hall)
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Juice Robinson vs. Kazuchika Okada and Beretta
Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano and Will Ospreay vs. Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi and Yujiro Takahashi
Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, BUSHI and SANADA vs. Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, El Desperado and TAKA Michinoku
Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI vs. Taichi and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Togi Makabe, Michael Elgin, David Finlay and Toa Henare vs. Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and Taiji Ishimori
Ayato Yoshida vs. Chase Owens
Shota Umino and Yuya Uemura vs. Ren Narita and Yota Tsuji
Road to Destruction (9/9, Chiba)
Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Yuji Nagata and Satoshi Kojima v. Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Juice Robinson and David Finlay
Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, Beretta and Will Ospreay vs. Kenny Omega, Kota Ibushi, Yujiro Takahashi and Chase Owens
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toa Henare vs. Kazuchika Okada and YOSHI-HASHI
Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA and BUSHI vs. Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka, Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Taka Michinoku
Hirooki Goto and Gedo vs. Taichi and El Desperado
Michael Elgin, Ayato Yoshida, Shota Umino and Ren Narita vs. Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa and Taiji Ishimori
Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura
Destruction in Hiroshima (9/15)
Kenny Omega vs. Tomohiro Ishii for the IWGP title
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma vs. Kazuchika Okada, YOSHI-HASHI and Jay White
Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA and BUSHI vs. Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr., TAKA Michinoku and El Desperado
Hirooki Goto, Toru Yano and Gedo vs. Taichi, Takashi Iizuka and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Gorillas of Destiny and Taiji Ishimori vs. Juice Robinson, David Finlay and Ryusuke Taguchi for the NEVER six man tag team titles
Will Ospreay, Chuckie T and Beretta vs. Kota Ibushi, Yujiro Takahashi and Chase Owens
Michael Elgin and Ayato Yoshida vs. Killer Elite Squad
Bad Luck Fale vs. Toa Henare
Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask and KUSHIDA vs. Rocky Romero, SHO and YOH
Destruction in Beppu (9/17)
Tetsuya Naito vs. Minoru Suzuki
Hirooki Goto vs. Taichi for the NEVER Openweight title
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma and Juice Robinson vs. Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, YOSHI-HASHI and Jay White
EVIL, SANADA and BUSHI vs. Zack Sabre Jr., Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado
Beretta and Chuckie T vs. Killer Elite Squad
Jushin Thunder Liger, Tiger Mask, KUSHIDA and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Will Ospreay, Rocky Romero, SHO and YOH
Ayato Yoshida vs. Takashi Iizuka
David Finlay and Ren Narita vs. Toa Henare and Shota Umino
Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima and Yota Tsuji vs. Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi and Yuya Uemura
Destruction in Kobe (9/23)
Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada for the IWGP title shot at the Tokyo Dome
KUSHIDA vs. BUSHI in a IWGP Jr. title tournament semi-final match
Tetsuya Naito, EVIL and SANADA vs. Minoru Suzuki, Zack Sabre Jr. and Taka Michinoku
Juice Robinson, David Finlay and Toa Henare vs. Jay White, YOSHI-HASHI and Will Ospreay
Chuckie T and Beretta vs. Killer Elite Squad
Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Ryusuke Taguchi and Ayato Yoshida vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi
Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask vs. El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Roppongi 3K vs. Shota Umino and Ren Narita
Yota Tsuji vs. Yuya Uemura
-- Three matches are official for NJPW's next show in the United States.
Cody Rhodes challenging for Juice Robinson's IWGP United States Heavyweight Championship, The Young Bucks defending their IWGP Tag Team titles against Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa, and Will Ospreay vs. Marty Scurll in an IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship tournament semifinal match have been announced for Fighting Spirit Unleashed, which will take place at Walter Pyramid in Long Beach, California on September 30.
Ospreay vs. Scurll is part of a four-man tournament to decide the next Junior Heavyweight Champion. KUSHIDA will face BUSHI at Destruction in Kobe on September 23 in the other semifinal match, and the finals will be held at King of Pro Wrestling on October 8.
Hiromu Takahashi had to relinquish the Junior Heavyweight title after suffering a neck injury at last month's G1 Special in San Francisco.
Cody was set up as Robinson's next challenger when he pinned Robinson during a tag match at the G1 finals. The Young Bucks and Tonga & Loa are on opposite sides of the feud between the Bullet Club and the Bullet Club OGs, and Tonga, Loa, & Taiji Ishimori won the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team titles from The Young Bucks & Scurll at the G1 finals.