Thursday, September 12, 2019

NJPW Destruction 2019 Preview & Predictions

Welcome to another round of NJPW Predictions, here at!

This coming week we're getting the annual triumvirate of Destruction shows, as essentially one PPV's worth of matches is spread across three nights.  But hey, New Japan's selling out three buildings instead of one, so more power to 'em.  Anyway there's some pretty great-looking stuff on tap in the top bouts, and some of the filler tag team/Young Lion Cup matches could be fun too.  For the purposes of this column though I'll only focus on the top two matches on each show.  And they all look pretty great.

Let's get started....

Destruction in Beppu (9.15)

IWGP Tag Team Championship: Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Yoshi-Hashi

GOD are, I believe, the longest-reigning current champions in New Japan, having regained the belts at ROH Honor Rising back in February.  Seven months for a tag title run is damn-near a dynasty by today's standards; they're also up to five successful defenses, the most since Anderson & Gallows in 2014.  Tama Tonga's decision to skip the G1 tournament and focus on tag team wrestling solidified his commitment to his championship tandem, and it seems he and his brother are being rewarded with a long reign.  I'm not sure if Ishii and Yoshi will get to dethrone them and get a new feud going, but it seems like GOD should keep the belts until the Dome, to make it a huge moment when the eventual World Tag League winners beat them.

Pick: GOD retains

RPW British Heavyweight Championship: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Zack Sabre Jr.

I was shocked that Tanahashi took the British Title from Zack, especially on British soil, but I'm guessing this was a quick thing to necessitate a rematch here.  These two are always great together and I expect more of the same.  Zack's been in a slump since the beginning of the G1, so maybe that will be snapped in Beppu with another title win.

Pick: ZSJ

Destruction in Kagoshima (9.16)

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Championship: Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo vs. Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles

I haven't had a chance to watch it yet, but by all accounts the Super J Cup was something special, and Ospreay and Phantasmo are two of the big reasons why.  I wonder if there's ever been a feud over both the Jr. Title and the Jr. Tag Titles simultaneously; this seems very unusual but I like it.  Ospreay and Phantasmo will clash at King of Pro-Wrestling in what is sure to be another MOTY candidate, but first we'll see them with their respective partners going all-out for the tag straps.  This should be fantastic.  I gotta think Will and Robbie win here so Will is a double-champion going into KOPW, where Phantasmo will take away his singles title.

Pick: Ospreay & Eagles

Right to Challenge Certificate: Kota Ibushi vs. Kenta

Kenta goes into this briefcase challenge match as the NEVER Champion, whose big moment was unfortunately marred by his being knocked loopy during his match with Tomohiro Ishii.  But it's a clean slate now and we should see something at least as good as Ibushi-Kenta from Night 1 of the G1.  Ibushi obviously has to retain the briefcase and move on to face Evil next month.  This'll be great.

Pick: Ibushi retains

Destruction in Kobe (9.22)

Hirooki Goto vs. Shingo Takagi

This match could steal the tour.  Jeezus H. Christ, their G1 match was awesome.  I'm not sure two big bruisers have ever been more similar; Goto and Shingo love to beat the piss out of their opponents and that makes for a perfect Strong Style match when they get together.  I don't care who wins this, I could watch these two slug it out all day.  But Shingo will win.

Pick: Shingo

IWGP Intercontinental Championship: Tetsuya Naito vs. Jay White

A rematch from the final B Block night of G1, it's the two crafty pricks facing off once again, this time for the I-C belt.  White got the win last month to advance to the G1 Final, so I think Naito will probably return the favor on this show to retain the title.  Both Naito and Ibushi are talking of winning both the IWGP and Intercontinental Championships now, so we may be headed for another death-defying clash between them in January, God help us.  Anyway, this should be a very good, psychology-heavy main event.

Pick: Naito retains

So it's a sparse few nights of big matches this year, but Destruction should offer plenty of fun stuff, perhaps a few MOTY favorites, and some direction for the fall/winter seasons.  Enjoy!

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