New Japan Pro Wrestling‘s G1 Climax 28 final show (the Best and Worst of which will be up this week) wrapped up an exciting tournament,and set new storylines and rivalries in motion. We even learned who will face off next for almost every championship that isn’t currently being Brock Lesnar’d by Y2J.
But one thing the show didn’t address was what would happen with the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship now that Hiromu Takahashi is out of action for an still unknown amount of time with a neck injury.
Before announcing any of the big upcoming matches at their most recent press conference, NJPW announced what would become of Mr. Belt via an extremely Hiromu video.
I’ve never been so happy to see a literal ticking time bomb! Via crayon-written letter, Takahashi apologizes for not being around to fight everyone and says we won’t see him again until he’s “ready to make a comeback” to in-ring competition. He then authorizes Mr. Belt to speak on his behalf, so Chairman Sugabayashi informs the championship that Hiromu will have to vacate. Fortunately, the belt takes it pretty well, and agrees this is the best thing for the junior division.
In less animated news, the next IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion will be crowned via a four-man tournament between Kushida, Bushi, Will Ospreay, and Marty Scurll. The first match, between Kushida and Bushi, will take place at Destruction in Kobe on September 23. We’ll see Ospreay vs. Scurll at Fighting Spirit Unleashed, NJPW’s next United States show in Long Beach, California, on September 30. The winners of both matches will face off at King of Pro Wrestling at Sumo Hall on October 8, and then we’ll have our new champ.
The rest of the press conference announced when exactly all those title and briefcase and feud-settling matches teased during the G1 Final will occur. Here are some of the main things to look forward to on the Destruction tour:
On the Road to Destruction, September 9
- After many months recovering from injury and eating lots of bread, Satoshi Kojima will return to the ring! The Satoshi Kojima Comeback Match is an eight-man tag pitting Nakanishi, Tenzan, Nagata, and Kojima against Finlay, Robinson, Honma, and Makabe.
Destruction in Hiroshima, September 15
- We’ll finally see [Trent] Beretta back in an NJPW ring when he, Chuckie T and Will Ospreay take on Chase Owens, Yujiro Takahashi and Kota Ibushi in a six-man tag.
- NEVER Openweight 6-Man Tag Team Championship match: Taiji Ishimori, Tanga Loa, and Tama Tonga (c) vs. Ryusuke Taguchi, David Finlay and Juice Robinson
- IWGP Heavyweight Championship match: Kenny Omega (c) vs. Tomohiro Ishii
Destruction in Beppu, September 17
- NEVER Openweight Championship match: Hirooki Goto (c) vs. Taichi
- A special, non-title singles match between Tetsuya Naito and Minoru Suzuki
- Also, the babiest of Young Lions, Ayato Yoshida, will face elderly cannibal Takahashi Iizuka in a singles match, for some reason! He might die!
Destruction in Kobe, September 23
- Tiger Mask and Jushin Thunder Liger are wrestling the Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions El Desperado and Kanemaru in a non-title match, so they could possibly challenge for the tag titles, which I’m not not into
- Preliminary match for IWGP Heavyweight Championship at the Tokyo Dome: Hiroshi Tanahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada. Tanahashi won a contract to the main event of Wrestle Kingdom 13 by winning the G1, but anyone who beat or tied him during the tournament can challenge for it. So now he’s wrestling Okada to protect his spot/briefcase.
Along with Scurll vs. Ospreay, NJPW also announced two championship matches for Fighting Spirit Unleashed: Juice Robinson (c) vs. Cody for the IWGP US Championship, and the Young Bucks (c) vs the Guerrillas of Destiny for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championships. So we’ve got a little NJPW vs. ROH theme going on there. And no, I don’t know why they don’t announce Japanese talent as far in advance as the foreign talent for the United States shows either!