The Road to destruction heads to Togane in Chiba on September 8. As has become annual tradition, it’s the site of Yuji Nagata’s Blue Justice event, which celebrates the contributions Nagata has made to NJPW and the wrestling world. This year, Nagata’s celebrating a 35 year wrestling life in a big tag team main event.
Main event: Yuji Nagata, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Manabu Nakanishi & Jyushin Thunder Liger vs BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Tama Tonga, Tanga Loa, Yujiro Takahashi & Jado)
In 1984, while yet to start his professional journey, Nagata made his first steps in wrestling, as he joined his high school wrestling club and took to the mats for the first time. In university, he would be a two time All Japanese in Greco Roman wrestling, before entering New Japan in 1992.
Nagata’s Wrestling Life: 35th Anniversary match sees Nagata team up with long time friend Manabu Nakanishi, Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Jyushin Thunder Liger to take on five competitors from BULLET CLUB. Jado, Yujiro Takahashi, Tanga Loa, Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale form tough opposition for the Nagata led team.
Fale and Nagata in particular have a long history together. During Fale’s own time in the New Japan Dojo, Nagata took the future BULLET CLUB member under his wing, and Fale would be part of Nagata’s Seigigun (Justice Army). Later in 2017, Nagata would wrestle his last ever G1 Climax match against Fale, his losing effort being one of the most emotional moments of the tournament.
You can also expect to see Tenzan and Kojima fired up for this main event bout; having spent the last three Korakuen Hall cards battling each other as they captained Young Lion teams, they’re now back on the same side and eager to prove their worth, including against the IWGP Tag Team Champions, Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa. Add in Manabu Nakanishi and Jyushin Thunder Liger’s first appearances on the tour, and it should be a stacked main event!
7th Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito & EVIL) vs BULLET CLUB (Jay White & Gedo)
In the seventh match of the evening, Tetsuya Naito and EVIL team up against Jay White and Gedo. This is the third consecutive night on the Road to Destruction that Naito and EVIL will team, yet while an already close pareja connection has grown stronger over the week, Jay White has rotated his BULLET CLUB partners, from Bad Luck Fale, to Chase Owens and now to Gedo. White has been frustrated by Naito thus far on the tour; as he approaches the one year anniversary of his joining forces with his snake like manager, can he make a definitive statement on Naito ahead of their Kobe Intercontinental Championship match?
6th Match: CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, Rocky Romero & Kazuchika Okada) vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & SANADA)
CHAOS and Los Ingobernables De Japon once again face off in trios action at Blue Justice. The two camps have been trading victories on the early nights of the tour, SANADA pinning Goto on night one, before Goto replied the next night with a GTR on BUSHI. What will happen as SANADA, Okada, Goto and Takagi all seek the upper hand before big matches in Kobe on September 22 and Ryogoku October 14?
5th Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi, Ryusuke Taguchi, SHO & YOH vs Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Junior, Minoru Suzuki, Ryusuke Taguchi & DOUKI)
Suzuki Gun didn’t get their Road to Destruction tour off to the best of starts, with DOUKI eating pinfalls in Korakuen Hall. It’s always damage dealt that’s more important to the group than actual wins and losses however, and that’s been noticeable as chaotic scenes have played out outside the ring.
Zack Sabre Junior will continue to try and damage Tanahashi en route to their Beppu meeting next Sunday; meanwhile Suzuki has been promising ‘fireworks’ and the development of his next plan. Who is the King targeting?
4th Match: Robbie Eagles, Will Ospreay & Toa Henare vs BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens, Taiji Ishimori & El Phantasmo)
The Birds of Prey continue to chase Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo in Togane. BoP and the IWGP Tag Team Champions have exchanged momentum and some electrifying offense in Korakuen Hall this week, and time is ticking down to their title match in Kagoshima on the 16th. Meanwhile Toa Henare has become obsessed with Chase Owens, and more specifically, avoiding the Package Piledriver. Can Henare make Owens take the Package driver and stick it up his Toa Bottom?
3rd Match: Tomohiro Ishii, YOSHI-HASHI, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs Clark Connors, Karl fredericks, Alex Coughlin & Michael Richards
The third match sees four veterans take on four Young Lions. Connors, Coughlin and Richards all scored wins in their first Young Lion Cup matches, and Fredericks has been much talked about as a hot prospect himself. This is the first time that the LA and Fale Dojos have combined as a team to take on four established NJPW stars however. It’ll be an uphill battle for the younger wrestlers, but one they’ll be eager to fight.
2nd Match: Shota Umino (0-1) vs Ren Narita (1-0)
The second of two Young Lion up matches sees the senior members of the Japan Dojo go head to head. Umino is the more experienced with a three month lead on Narita, and has had a lot of focus thanks to his partnering with Jon Moxley during the G1 tour. Still though, the fact remains that Narita is the only Japanese wrestler in the league so far with any points, after he submitted Karl Fredericks on Thursday. Umino’s frustration has seen him bring a lot of fire to preliminary tag matches, but has also seen him make mistakes and be stopped by more canny opponents; can he get on the board, or will Narita stay perfect?
Yota Tsuji (0-1) vs Yuya Uemura (0-1)
Yota Tsuji and Yuya Uemura are both seeking their first Young Lion Cup points in Togane, and also seeking to settle a score that’s lasted since their debuts.
From April 23 2018 to now, Tsuji and Uemura have wrestled one another 29 times one on one with an incredible record of 4-4-21. With higher stakes than ever before, it’s possible that this bout will finally determine who is the better man. Both will be hungry for victory; it should be a great way to kick off proceedings at Blue Justice 9!