Five Thoughts From New Japan’s Destruction Tour
1. Jay White Is The Right Choice For Intercontinental Champion
I know this tough to hear for Tetsuya Naito fans. But Naito wasn’t doing much with the IC Title after the dreams of being double Champ at the Tokyo Dome likely ended. Now there is the possibility of Naito facing White Night 1 along with Okada vs Ibushi, and Naito facing the winner on Night 2. But at this point that story would seem completely underwhelming. Jay White should go on to have a long reign as IC Champ. And honestly it is probably the spot White should have been in earlier this year. White was somewhat forced into the IWGP Heavyweight Title spot after Omega left. I love White’s heel antics and think he is one of the best heels in the business today. People love to boo him because of all the heel tactics he pulls off. At this point I would keep the IC Title on White for a long time. The more he wins, the louder people will cheer when he loses.
2. The Jushin Liger/Minoru Suzuki Feud Continues To Be Great
Just when you think the rivalry between these two couldn’t get any better, we get what happened yesterday. Suzuki tried to rip off Liger’s mask. But Liger low blowed Suzuki and ripped off his own mask, revealing his Kishin Liger persona. This is basically a dark side of Liger where he fights with some of the same evil and aggressive tactics that his opponent does.
These are two veteran wrestlers going out there and entertaining the crowd in the tail end of their careers. This is going to be one of the marquee matches Wrestle Kingdom weekend. The layers that keep getting added to this program over 2019 shows the strengths of Gedo’s booking.
3. Hirooki Goto Over Shingo Takagi?
One thing that puzzles me is the booking of Shingo Takagi since his move up to the Heavyweight Division. He wasn’t booked particularly strong in the G1. Then he went out here and lost to Goto. Now I get why they did it, they wanted to give Goto a win because he was challenging Jay White for the IC Title at Kings of Pro Wrestling. But couldn’t they have put someone other than Shingo in this spot? I still think Shingo is at a point where he needs to be given some strong wins. Plus, Goto is fine, but he doesn’t really scream “threat” when you look at White as a possible IC Title contender.
4. Quiet Okada
All throughout this Destruction tour, Okada was involved in tag matches. And you know what? I am 100% okay with that. This tour usually gives some guys other than the Champ to shine and put on showcase matches. And as someone that thinks NJPW can go a bit overboard on Okada sometimes, the fact that he’s been in tag matches is perfectly fine with me. Now Okada goes back into the spotlight with his upcoming match against Sanada at Kings of Pro Wrestling and his build to his match with Kota Ibushi at Wrestle Kingdom. But again, one of the strong points of Gedo’s booking is that his World Champ can be put in the middle of the card and he can still allow other guys to shine and get good stories told at the top of the card.
5. Wrestle Kingdom Is Shaping Up To Be A Great Weekend
Everyone was questioning whether or not splitting Wrestle Kingdom into two different shows was the right idea. I questioned it at the time. But right now it looks like the right move. You will have Okada vs Ibushi. You will likely have Tanahashi vs Jericho and Liger vs Suzuki. If I was guessing White might face Tomohiro Ishii. There is the possibiltiy of Shibata coming back to fight KENTA. Maybe you do Naito/Moxley. And I also still think Hiromu Takahashi comes back to fight Will Ospreay for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title. You 100% need to split that up into two shows otherwise you will have a 7 hour show like Wrestlemania. The first weekend in January is going to be a great weekend of pro wrestling in New Japan.
Until Next Time,
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