Earlier this month it appeared that Yoshinobu Kanemaru of Just Five Guys was legitimately injured at Road to Destruction. In a match against The House of Torture, Kanemaru slid into the ring and hurt his knee badly. Douki replaced him in the match. Either Kanemaru and NJPW pulled one over on fans and the media or he wasn’t injured as severely as it seemed as Kanemaru returned to action tonight making his presence felt in the KOPW 2023 Provisional Championship match between Taichi and Sho. Just Five Guys is Just Four Guys again.

In the match, the House of Torture and Just Five Guys were permitted to be at ringside but they were all handcuffed to each other. Sanada was cuffed to Evil, Douki to Yujiro Takahashi and Dick Togo to TAKA Michinoku.

Kevin Kelly said he isn’t worried about the handcuffs. He wonders who has the keys. He doesn’t know how right he was.

Sho begs off and flees the ring. He tries to uncuff his House of Torture buddies but doesn’t have much luck. Taichi has had enough, he attacks him from behind tossing him into a barricade. Taichi kicks the stuffing out of Sho. He crushes his head against the turnbuckle using his knee. Taichi ends up on the floor. He calls to the House to lend him a hand but they cannot because they are handcuffed.

Evil is given a bit of his own medicine. It is just a shame Makoto Abe took a hit too, as is always the case in the NJPW running gag. Courtesy: NJPW.

Taichi runs into an exposed turnbuckle. Sho spears him. Taichi almost gets counted out as Yujiro grabs onto him from the floor. Douki pulls Yujiro away just in time. Evil interferes again. Taichi and Sanada work together to slam Evil into the ringside barricade and the announce table. A high-angle German suplex takes much of the fight out of Sho.

Taichi takes Sho’s head off with a high kick. Taichi tries for a pin but Evil once again distracts the official. Taichi lands a buzzsaw kick to Sho. Taichi is ready to put Sho away. Yujiro slides his cane into the ring which gets the referee’s attention. Sho strikes shoving Taichi into the official. As Taichi checks on him Togo throws blinding powder into his eyes. Taichi backs up into Sho who punches him in the “lower abdomen” and pushes him into the exposed buckle.

Taichi is blinded. Courtesy: NJPW.

Sho retrieves his wrench. As he is prepared to brain Taichi, Yoshinobu Kanemaru appears disarming him. Kanemaru is walking, moving just fine. Kanemaru takes a big swig of his whiskey. Much to everyone’s surprise he spits it into Taichi’s face not Sho’s! He brains Taichi with the bottle, hands it to Sho and takes off his Just Five Guys shirt to reveal a House of Torture shirt underneath.

House of Torture introduces its newest member. Courtesy: NJPW.

Kanemaru gives Taichi a brainbuster as the announcers maintain that Kanemaru’s knee has been “fine the entire time”. It was all a ruse. Sho pins Taichi with Shock Arrow. Kanemaru adds insult to injury by beating on the handcuffed members of Just Five Guys. He has the keys to the handcuffs and free all the members of House of Torture. House of Torture cuffs everyone but Taichi to the ropes and make them watch as they batter him senseless.

Destruction in Kobe Results

Kevin Knight and Tiger Mask versus Bullet Club War Dogs (Drilla Moloney and Clark Connors)

Before the bell even rings or they ever get into the ring, Knight dives on both Bullet Club members. Connors whips Knight into the ringside barricade. Moloney stands on a fallen Knight. Moloney stomps on Tiger Mask’s chest. Connors and Moloney hit the suplex, spear finisher. The War Dogs work over Knight after the match.

Winners: Bullet Club War Dogs (Drilla Moloney and Clark Connors)

Just Five Guys (TAKA Michinoku, Douki and Sanada) versus The House of Torture (Dick Togo, Evil and Yujiro Takahashi)

Evil bashes Sanada on the ramp. Courtesy: NJPW.

Douki carries Kanemaru’s whiskey bottle to the ring. Evil takes Sanada to the rampway and pummels him there. While Evil distracts the official, Togo strangles Taka with his garotte. Taka actually scores a win! He pins Togo with a Michinoku Driver. Evil escapes with Sanada’s IWGP World Championship belt once again.

Winners: Just Five Guys (TAKA Michinoku, Douki and Sanada)

Jado, El Phantasmo, Hikuleo, The Gorillas Of Destiny versus Bullet Club (Gedo, Gabe Kidd, Alex Coughlin, Chase Owens and David Finlay)

Tama Tonga pins Gedo with the Gun Stun. There’s a brawl between the factions but the faces drive the heels off.

Winners: Jado, El Phantasmo, Hikuleo, The Gorillas Of Destiny

Yoh and Lio Rush versus Los Ingobernables de Japón (Bushi and Hiromu Takahashi)

Rush taunts Hiromu before the match getting into his face, trying to intimidate him. Hiromu fires back by whipping Rush into the barricades as they fight on the floor. There is some great action between Hiromu and Rush whenever they are in the ring. Yoh and Rush take Hiromu out of the equation with a stunner, a super kick and then Yoh dives on him on the floor. Rush pins Bushi with a stunner and Rush Hour.

Winners: Yoh and Lio Rush

Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii and Kazuchika Okada) versus TMDK (Zack Sabre Jr. and Bad Dude Tito)

Zach counters Ishii’s attempt at his brainbuster and rolls him up for a bridging pin. There is lots of trash talking afterwards.

Winners: TMDK (Zack Sabre Jr. and Bad Dude Tito)

Taichi versus Sho (c) – KOPW 2023 Provisional Championship Match

Winner: …and still KOPW 2023 Provisional Champion, Sho. 

Chaos (Yoshi-Hashi and Hirooki Goto) (c) versus TMDK (Mikey Nicholls and Shane Haste) – IWGP Tag Team Championship Match

TMDK drop Hashi with Highway to Hell. He kicks out! Goto blocks the Tank Buster. Hashi gets the pin with a crucifix bomb.

Winners: …and still IWGP Tag Team Champions…Chaos (Yoshi-Hashi and Hirooki Goto).

Shingo Takagi versus The Great-O-Khan

Khan has Shingo in his clutches. Courtesy: NJPW.

A really good, hard-hitting match. Khan throws his shirt into Takagi’s face, takes him down, pounds on him and chokes him with the shirt. Takagi is thrown into the guardrail. He no-sells the impact shaking the fence like the Ultimate Warrior did with the ring ropes. Khan wins a shoulder tackle battle on the floor. Khan dominates most of the match. Shingo fights back breaking Khan’s claw hold. He still suffers an Eliminator chokeslam. He kicks out though. Shingo counters a second Eliminator with a DDT. Shingo wins with a Pumping Bomber and Last of the Dragon.

Winner: Shingo Takagi

Tetsuya Naito versus Jeff Cobb

Naito counters Tour of the Islands attempts with DDTs and Destinos. He ultimately wins with a Destino.

Winner: Tetsuya Naito

Will Ospreay (c) versus Yota Tsuji – IWGP US (UK) Championship Match

Tsuji gives Ospreay a run for his money. He isn’t ready for that next step though. Tsuji delivers a Storm Breaker. Ospreay kicks out and flips Tsuji off. Opsreay counters Tsuji’s Gene Blaster with a Hidden Blade. Tsuji kicks out of Ospreay’s Gene Blaster and a Storm Driver ’93. Ospreay finally retains with his own Storm Breaker.

Winner: …and still IWGP US (UK) Champion, Will Ospreay.



Destruction Summary

NJPW produced  a great card with fantastic action from start to finish even though I have grown tired of the multi-man, tag team matches. NJPW needs far more singles matches on its cards. Shingo Takagi versus The Great-O-Khan was a brutal slugfest at times and it was stunning how good Will Ospreay versus Yota Tsuji was. Ospreay really is one of the best in the world and Tsuji has come so far in just six year’s time. What he has accomplished is incredible.