A View From Ringside: Kobe Thoughts and KoPW Preview By Kevin Kelly



A View From Ringside: Kobe Thoughts and KoPW Preview By Kevin Kelly

The Destruction tour is a September tradition and it’s one of the tougher tours of the year for the NJPW roster. The tour is tough because it’s in a natural “let down” position, post-G1 Climax and pre-Wrestle Kingdom. Not only that, it’s a long tour with three big shows spread throughout. Lots of hours on buses, but that’s part of the job.

Keeping a workout schedule in sync with rest and eating right can get tangled up easily on a tour this long. Focus required by everyone… staff, technical crew, promotions, etc.

Because of seating configuration in the sold-out Kobe World Hall, we were in the back of the arena, stage right with perfect visibility to the ring and a huge monitor in front of us. While not technically “ringside”, I still had a great “view” and enjoyed a terrific card of action, the final night of the Destruction tour.

–       Kenny Omega is truly remarkable. Throughout his string of multi-star matches, Omega had a torn meniscus in his knee. Pain, swelling and inevitable surgery if the torn cartilage refused to behave are just some of the things Kenny had to deal with before deciding to have surgery. But then the US Champion only asked for two weeks to rehab it before the big match in Kobe. 3-4 weeks is commonly the minimum for pro athletes in other sports who deal with the same arthroscopic procedure.

–       Juice Robinson said he wanted to “wrestle the title from Kenny” and not focus on Omega’s knee. Just about 15 minutes into the title match and facing certain defeat, Juice got desperate and chop blocked Kenny’s knee. I wonder if Juice regrets the fact it took him 15 minutes to do it or if he’s proud of his approach. Wrestling is a results-driven business but Juice is a man who stands by his convictions. 

–       I am not surprised that KES won the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Championship for the third time. Six men and three teams hitting power move after power move? The fact it only happened once in three matches is surprising. Now on to the fourth chapter in Ryogoku on October 9th at King of Pro Wrestling in a Three team Elimination match with Archer and Smith defending against War Machine and G.O.D.

–       Okada and EVIL… Naito and Ishii. Will the favorites both win at King of Pro-Wrestling?

–       Speaking of King of Pro-Wrestling, this event marks my two-year anniversary with NJPW. It’s been the most fun I have had in my broadcasting career and I think this year’s KOPW will provide great moments, surprises and fantastic matches as the Road to Wrestle Kingdom 12 will kick off with earnest.

–       Everyone has Okada and Naito as locks to win their respective matches. If both win, there’s your Wrestle Kingdom 12 main event but both EVIL, who returned to NJPW two years ago at KOPW, and Ishii will show they belong in main event spots. 

–       If Will Ospreay captures the IWGP Junior Heavyweight title from KUSHIDA at King of Pro-Wrestling, can we see an Ospreay/Hiromu Takahashi match at Wrestle Kingdom? I feel the “Ticking Time Bomb” faces the winner either way on January 4th.

–       What’s with those bizarre videos we’ve seen over the past few events? Who is behind them and what do those videos represent? Creepy and unsettling, the videos have many people talking for sure! 

–       Don’t forget there is “Power Struggle” on November 5th and all the action from World Tag League coming up on Also, check out “Lions’ Gate Project 8” on October 12th featuring the return of the Young Lion Cup. Many great matches and moments each month for less than $10 a month. Thank you to all our subscribers!

I’ll take a deeper dive on the Young Lion Cup for my next “A View From Ringside” column and share some final thoughts before King of Pro-Wrestling. See you then!