NJPW has reached their 2023 Destruction in Ryogoku event, a show filled with many title bouts and the culmination of many feuds. The IWGP World Heavyweight Champion SANADA would headline the show defending his title against EVIL in a lumberjack match.

EVIL stole SANADA’s championship well over a month ago now and has been carrying around the title as the self-proclaimed champion. SANADA is still the champ and he wanted to get his title back into his possession here at Destruction! The match began with some chain wrestling before SANADA drop-kicked EVIL outside the ring into all of the Just 5 Guys lumberjacks.

SANADA then pretzel-wrapped EVIL in the bottom rope and hit him with a sliding dropkick. He continued his attack with a back-elbow, but EVIL then threw SANADA to the House of Torture lumberjacks outside the ring. All H.oT members began stomping on the champion and EVIL then joined the attack to throw SANADA into the steel barricade. SHO then did his job as a lumberjack and threw him back into the ring, where EVIL threw SANADA into an exposed turnbuckle.

Magic Killer. Credit: NJPW

SANADA got himself back into the match, by pushing EVIL into the exposed turnbuckle, giving him a taste of his own medicine. He followed that with a back suplex and a dropkick, Dick Togo and Yujiro Takahashi of HoT then tried to get involved. However, SANADA pretzeled both of them and hit sliding dropkicks into their rear ends. He proceeded to hit every other member of HoT with planchas, but while he was doing that EVIL tried to sneak out of the arena with the championship.

Just 5 Guys had to chase him into the crowd and the newest member, Yuya Uemura took down EVIL and dragged him back to the ring. SANADA met him with a Russian leg sweep and then went for a rolling elbow, but EVIL pulled the referee Red Shoes in the way and the ref was hit with the elbow. With the referee down, EVIL threw SANADA to HoT to get beaten down again and HoT took out all members of Just 5 Guys. So, SANADA was stuck in a five-on-one attack and they were hitting him with everything they could. Togo hit him in the groin from the second rope and SHO hit Shock Arrow.

Despite the disadvantage, SANADA would not stop fighting back and he hit EVIL with a springboard missile dropkick. He stayed on the attack hitting a TKO and went for a shining wizard, but EVIL blocked and locked in a sharpshooter. SANADA made it to the ropes to break the hold, so EVIL got him up and hit Darkness Falls. EVIL then hit two brutal lariats, but when he went for a third SANADA ducked and hit EVIL with a Magic Screw.

Everything is SANADA. Credit: NJPW

SANADA then locked EVIL into Skull End and the bell sounded, but it was Dick Togo ringing the bell to make SANADA release the hold. The bell sounded, but the match was not over and there was now a full brawl between the two factions. Togo took out the third referee of the match and attacked SANADA, so DOUKI attacked Togo and hit him with a suicide dive. Taichi hit SHO with Black Mephisto, Kanemaru blinded Taichi, Michinoku hit Kanemaru with a Michinoku Driver, Takahashi hit him with his cane and Uemura hit him with a double under hook suplex!

EVIL was now back up and he tried to attack Uemura, but he got hit with an enzigiri and SANADA followed that by hitting EVIL with the shining wizard. SANADA then went to the top rope and hit two diving moonsaults, but as a fourth referee was about to count to three Togo pulled him out of the ring. Uemura then chased Togo into the ring, however, he was low-blown by EVIL and EVIL then hit SANADA below the belt as well.

Red Shoes wasn’t too happy with EVIL. Credit: NJPW

With no referee again EVIL hit SANADA directly in the skull with a chair and with Togo, they then hit SANADA with a Magic Killer. Togo then found Red Shoes and dragged him back to the ring to count the three, but Red Shoes refused to count and gave HoT two middle fingers! An enraged EVIL continued to attack SANADA, he hit a twisting facebuster and then went for Everything is Evil, but it was reversed and SANADA hit EVIL with Everything is EVIL! SANADA now hit two more shining wizards and finally was able to retain his title when he hit EVIL with Deadfall!

SANADA is still the IWGP World Heavyweight Champion and he now has his title back around his waist! With this victory, SANADA has now officially confirmed that he will be main-eventing Wrestle Kingdom 18 at the Tokyo Dome on January 4th against Tetsuya Naito!

The main event of WK18 is set. Credit: NJPW

NJPW Destruction in Ryogoku 2023 Results

Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask, Oskar Leube, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Takahiro Katori, Jun Masaoka, Kengo, Kazumi Sumi & Takeshi Masada

Taguchi forced Katori to submit with the ankle lock.

Winners: Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask, Oskar Leube, Toru Yano & YOSHI-HASHI

Just 5 Guys (DOUKI, Taichi & Yuya Uemura) vs. House of Torture (SHO, Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Yujiro Takahashi)

Yuya Uemura has joined Just 5 Guys. Credit: NJPW

Just 5 Guys have been teasing a new member for quite some time now and they said it would be today that their new member would be introduced. We’ve all been waiting to find out who “X” is and it is none other than Yuya Uemura! He has officially returned from his excursion and has joined Just 5 Guys! It would end up with Uemura getting the victory for his new faction when he hit Takahashi with a double under-hook suplex.

Winners: Just 5 Guys (DOUKI, Taichi & Yuya Uemura)

Tanga Loa vs. Chase Owens

Loa secured the win after blocking a package piledriver and getting Owens into a cross-face to force a submission.

Winner: Tanga Loa

Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & Yota Tsuji) vs. United Empire (Callum Newman, Great-O-Khan, HENARE & Jeff Cobb)

Naito and Bushi isolated Newman hitting him with a double-team tornado DDT and Naito followed that with a Destino to get LIJ the win.

Winners: Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, Tetsuya Naito & Yota Tsuji)

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title Match: Bullet Club War Dogs (Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney) (c) vs. Intergalactic Jet Setters (Kevin Knight & KUSHIDA)

Still the champs. Credit: NJPW

Knight and KUSHIDA had Moloney on his heels, they hit him with a double avalanche frankensteiner and Knight followed that with his signature leaping DDT. KUSHIDA then began to elbow Moloney in the head and went for a handspring elbow, but Moloney caught him in mid-air with a Drilla Killa!

Moloney and Connors then hit Knight with a pop-up spear, and they finished the job by hitting KUSHIDA with the Full Clip to retain their titles.

Winners: Still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions, Bullet Club War Dogs (Clark Connors & Drilla Moloney)

Best of Seven Series Match #7: Master Wato, Shota Umino & Yuji Nagata vs. Strong Style (El Desperado, Minoru Suzuki & Ren Narita)

This is the finale of this best-of-seven series and only one team would come out on top. Narita was looking for a belly-to-belly, but Umino rolled through and connected with a Death Rider. This gave Umino, Wato and Nagata the win in this series! Following the match, all six men showed their respect for one another.

Winners: Master Wato, Shota Umino & Yuji Nagata

NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Team Title Match: Bullet Club War Dogs (Alex Coughlin & Gabe Kidd) (c) vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (El Phantasmo & Hikuleo)

ELP and Hikuelo had Coughlin in the ring on his own, ELP hit him with a Sudden Death, Hikuelo hit a God Send and ELP then finished him off with the Thunder Kiss. We have new Strong Openweight tag champs!

Winners: New NJPW STRONG Openweight Tag Team Champions, El Phantasmo & Hikuelo

NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Title Match: Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & Hiroshi Tanahashi (c) vs. Alex Shelley, Chris Sabin & Josh Alexander

Impact Wrestling sent Shelley, Sabin and Alexander over to Japan to try to win some NJPW gold. Unfortunately for Impact, they would not be so lucky, Tanahashi hit Shelley with a sling blade and followed that with a High Fly Flow to retain the titles.

Winners: Still NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Team Champions, Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii & Hiroshi Tanahashi

NEVER Openweight Title Match: David Finlay (c) vs. Tama Tonga

Tonga was looking to regain the title Finlay beat him for, and he did just that! He hit Finlay with a Gun Stun, a Styles Clash and finally a Tiger Driver to win the championship.

Winner: New NEVER Openweight Champion, Tama Tonga

IWGP Junior Heavyweight Title Match: Hiromu Takahashi (c) vs. Mike Bailey vs. YOH

This match underwent some last-minute changes with the addition of YOH to this bout. With this match being a three-way this ruined Mike Bailey’s opportunity. Takashi had YOH in the ring and hit him with Time Bombs 1 and 2 to retain his title. Bailey was not involved in the finish, but he could not win any gold today. However, following the match Bailey made it very clear that he wants one more shot at Takahashi.

Winner: Still IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion, Hiromu Takahashi

Ishimori has returned. Credit: NJPW

Once Bailey made his way to the back the lights in the arena went out and when they came back on the returning Taiji Ishimori was standing in the ring! Ishimori has not been seen since Takahashi injured him back in May, he hit Takahashi with a knee to the face. He then picked up the IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Title and declared the Time Bomb’s time was up.

IWGP World Heavyweight Title Lumberjack Match: SANADA (c) vs. EVIL

Winner: Still IWGP World Heavyweight Champion, SANADA