New Japan on AXS results 8-14-15: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Kushida for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title
by Bryan Rose, WrestlingObserver.com
Tonight’s show are highlights from Destruction in Kobe, which took place on September 20, 2014 in Kobe World Hall.
First up on the docket we have Takahasi Iizuka and Minoru Suzuki taking on Kazushi Sakuraba and Toru Yano. These guys feuded for months, and this was not a feud that needed to go beyond one month. However, it was all a setup for Sakuraba to face Minoru Suzuki at WrestleKingdom 9. Not much to talk about here as it was mostly just Sakuraba/Suzuki and Yano/Iizuka brawling and using weapons both inside and outside of the ring. Iizuka hit Yano with a chair but he came back with a low blow while Iizuka was getting the iron fingers and rolled him up in a half nelson cradle for the win. Not very good at all.
Sakuraba says he wanted to battle more in the ring. Suzuki just gave a look then smirked, not even addressing the camera. He was so awesome in doing that and was better than the entire match.
Another tag match followed, as Tama Tonga and AJ Styles of Bullet Club teamed up to take on Kota Ibushi & Tetsuya Naito. It seemed like they were grooming Ibushi and Naito as a team, but that was quickly dropped for whatever reason. This was also Kota Ibushi’s return after being absent from the G1 due to a major concussion. He looked great here, and spent a lot of the match working with AJ Styles. Turned out to be a great match due to everyone involved. Tama Tonga is one of those guys who is really good, and can probably thrive well if given the opportunity but really hasn’t thus far in this latest run and that’s kind of disappointing. He was isolated as Kota Ibushi hit the phoenix splash and pinned him.
Ryusuke Taguchi talks about Kushida and how he verbally attacked him, calling him sleazy. That fired up Ryusuke, and that got him motivated. He started using the ankle lock again because of Kushida’s new hoverboard lock; he figured since he targets the arm, he should target the leg, it just makes sense. Kushida made him the person he is today, and he thanks him for that. He muses that he probably should have given him a end of the year gift.
Their match aired. I really liked this match, it was one of the better junior heavyweight matches from last year. Taguchi’s gimmick I find completely annoying, and there’s just something about him that lacks the charisma needed to be a top star, but his work here in this match was good. Kushida’s run as champion here was kind of disappointing as he didn’t last long as champion, but his work here was great as well, and together they had a fantastic match. The leg work from Taguchi on Kushida was great and played well into the match, which was a good back and forth encounter between the two. Taguchi trapped him in the ankle lock but Kushida wouldn’t tap. So Taguchi laid him out with the dodon and put the ankle lock again, and that’s what caused him to tap.
After the match, Kushida begrudgingly showed comradery by shaking hands with Taguchi. But the good times didn’t last as El Desperado, Taichi and Taka Michinoku ran in and put the beatdown on both of them. Alex Shelley tried to run in but he was taken down as well.
El Desperado does a backstage interview. He and the rest of Suzuki-gun promise that he’ll become the next double crown champion. Taguchi in his interview says that he’s very upset over Suzuki-gun interrupting his victory celebration. But as for Kushida, he says that he brought out something people have never seen before, he brought out everything in him. He kept saying “Oh my and garfunkel”.
In his reflective interview, Taguchi reiterates about the words that Kushida said about him before the match. He sees himself as a guy who likes to joke around, so thats what he sees as his character now, and he hopes people enjoy that. He says that since he is the 69th IWGP Junior Heavyweight champion, and it took him 6 years and 9 months to win the championship, the numbers might have something to do with his luck. He was able to me himself and establish his style as champion, and feels free to be himself.
Overall, a pretty good edition of the show this week. Could have done without the opener, but then again it’s building up to a big match at WrestleKingdom, so that’s fine. I’ve noticed a lot more build up towards future events on these shows, so hopefully they will be more episodic now that NJPW has a long term deal with AXS TV.