12th Young Lion Cup League Match
Clark Connors vs. Yuya Uemura - 7/10
This was the brawl YL match of the night, these two were hitting each other with everything. They started with holds and small tosses, but then proceeded for a striking exchange, and from there on, some bigger moves and the submission teases for both men. Finish saw Uemura hit a Belly-to-belly, lock in the Boston Crab, and after a long struggle, submit Connors. I was somewhat surprised that Uemura got the submission over Connors.
12th Young Lion Cup League Match
Michael Richards vs. Ren Narita - 5.5/10
This was more technical, more of a usual YL opener. They traded some submissions and suplexes, Narita then hit his Dropkick and turned into second gear, where they fought for the submission. Narita won with the Belly-to-belly Bridge. Ok match.
Alex Coughlin, Karl Fredericks, Manabu Nakanishi & Toa Henare vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, Shota Umino, Yota Tsuji & Yuji Nagata - 6/10
Tsuji was all over the place in this match, he opened and closed taking the pin for Henare. Coughlin, Fredericks, and Shota were all good too, but they all just took their short parts of the show. Old timers did their thing. Just a filler match.
BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Chase Owens, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (w/Jado) vs. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, & Roppongi 3K) - 7/10
The big deal here is that YOH managed to pin Tama Tonga, earning themselves a shot at the Heavyweight titles. The match was good, a lot of action all over the place. It all seemed like they were continuing the Ishii/YH vs GoD rivalry, so the finish was surprising.
Match was mostly dominated by BC from early on, and at least until the final minutes. They mostly worked on SHO and YOSHI-HASHI, with Ishii and YOH having the hot tags. Finish of the match saw GoD go for the Magic Killer on YOH, but SHO save him spearing Roa, and YOH used the momentum to roll up Tama for the pin.
Post-match - YOH's celebration was cut short when Tama attacked him, GoD gave him a Magic Killer. CHAOS came back and ran them off.
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Jushin Thunder Liger, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs. Suzuki-gun (DOUKI, Minoru Suzuki, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Zack Sabre Jr.) - Dud, Awesome Segment
The match didn't go long before Suzuki went after Liger and attacked him with a chair for the DQ.
Post-match - Now, this was the awesome part. Suzuki ripped off the mask of Liger and paraded around with it. All the Young Lions protected Liger and Suzuki and company walked away leaving the babyfaces for dead. Liger stood up and cut an awesome promo telling Suzuki that he had crossed the line and that he was coming for his neck, I really can't remember the last time I heard Liger so pissed.
Now, backstage, Liger cut an even greater promo saying that he is pissed and that everyone knows what happens when he's pissed. Hint hint Kishin Liger!? Liger was barely hiding his face during this promo. Suzuki then cut another pretty much repeating the same stuff from before, playing around with Liger's mask.
CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Kazuchika Okada & Rocky Romero) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, SANADA & Shingo Takagi) - 7/10
Awesome stuff between Okada and SANADA, and Goto vs Shingo, but at this point I'm ready to see the matches. Okada got to take the win here over BUSHI with the Rainmaker and look strong, posing over SANADA, who was dead under the ropes by the end of the match.
BULLET CLUB (Jay White & Yujiro Takahashi) (w/Gedo) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & Tetsuya Naito) - 7/10
Same stuff with White and Naito teasing each other with LIJ fist bumps and all. Nice to get Yujiro vs Naito, I think i'll always pop for that pair up regardless of the quality of the wrestling. EVIL got a good showing this whole match, given the ending of the show, so he got to take the win over Yujiro with Everything Is EVIL.
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match
BULLET CLUB (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori) (c) vs. Birds Of Prey - 9.5/10
Awesome match, it's just incredible how good Ospreay and Robbie work together, which has to be the worst timing for Ospreay since I was 100% ready to see him drop the Jr. title and just do heavyweight stuff for a while, but here we are now, with the best Jr. tag team we've seen in years. In the same vein, i'm surprised how good Ishimori and ELP have managed to merge together, their heel antics are great, they both come off as soo cocky, yet they all mostly work.
Match saw both teams trade momentum on several occasions. The BoP started with control, showing off and pulling a lot of double team moves. Later on, BC got to work over Eagles for a bit, building up to Ospreay getting the tag and all chaos breaking lose, no pun intended. Half of the match was just crazy spots all over the place. At one point ELP hit an Asai Moonsault OVER the guardrail, onto Ospreay, and landing pretty much on top of the fans. SSPs, ton of 450s. Finish came after a Bloody Cross and CRII combo on Eagles. The win was decisive, but I can't imagine we won't see these two go at it again, likely at the tag team tournament.
IWGP Heavyweight Title #1 Contendership At Tokyo Dome Match
KENTA vs. Kota Ibushi - 8.5/10
I think this match is turning out to be really polarizing with the critics. I personally liked it, more than the G1 match actually, I understand that cheating is the Bullet Club thing, so that part I'm not even concerned with. In addition, Ibushi got the better of them and Ishii and YH came for the save. If heel tactics is what it takes to make KENTA hide his shortcomings, I'm ok with that.
This match was a great showcase for a heel KENTA, I don't think I had seen this side of him since he was antagonizing Kobashi back in the day. He's cocky and he kicks your ass. Story of the match was that KENTA attacked Ibushi with the Basaiku Knee and briefcase, destroying it, teasing that Ibushi would have to forfeit the match, but Ibushi went with it. KENTA dominated Ibushi for a long while, until Psycho Ibushi woke up and they started trading strikes like crazy.
Late in the match, GoD came down to attack Ibushi. There were some shenanigans that took out Red Shoes while GoD hit Magic Killer. Ishii and YH came down and ran off GoD, but the damage was done. KENTA hit a Kamigoye on Ibushi for some heat, but Ibushi kicked out. Finish saw KENTA kick out of one Kamigoye, but fall to the second.
Post-match - EVIL came out and made his intentions clear that he wanted a shot at the contract. Ibushi cut a promo to his home crowd, he said that he kept his promise to return as the G1 winner, and said that he now promised to return as both the IWGP Heavyweight and IC champion. I'm really fearing a unification match.
Backstage, KENTA cut what sounded like a babyface promo saying that the Kagoshima crowd hated him, but he hoped they would come to like him. He said that he lost fair and square. If KENTA ever gets over with the crowd, he'll be able to turn face and make sense that this whole BC thing was because Japan had turned against him.
Ibushi cut a promo apologizing for losing the briefcase, requested one in White/Blue/Silver/Gold colors.
Solid show, arguably the best of the Destruction Tour. If anything else, this was really packed with angles and storyline developments in the undercard.