SANADA and company get win, but not belts in Fukuoka
The main event on the Road to Destruction in the sold out Fukuoka Island City Forum on September 17 saw HOUSE OF TORTURE and Just 5 Guys collide once more. Taichi, SANADA, TAKA Michinoku and DOUKI took on Dick Togo, Yujiro takahashi, EVIL and SHO, the latter still having possession of the KOPW 2023 and IWGP World Heavyweight Championship belts to the anger of their rightful owners.
After an official announcement that Taichi had won the fan vote for he and SHO’s upcoming KOPW2023 bout had the challenger incensed, DOUKI and then Taichi took quick advantage of Yujiro Takahashi in the ring. The desperate Yujiro would bite his way free however, and then used a Stungun on DOUKI, the match quickly spilling outside and into the crowd. HOUSE OF TORTURE had the advantage outside the ring, and soon it was DOUKI having to struggle from underneath.
Just Five Guys were unable to get a look in as H.O.T continued to cheat and dominate DOUKI. SANADA would try and make a difference but was turned away, but a flying headbutt finally allowed Japones Del mal to tag Taichi. The Holy Emperor took down all of H.O.T to the delight o the sold out Fukuoka crowd, but a misdirected referee led to a SHO Spear. A thumb to the eye and an exposed turnbuckle later and the black hats (and Tshirts) had control once more, but it was only momentary; a pair of Ax Bombers saw Taichi tag in TAKA Michinoku who flew in with a series of boots.
The highly motivated Michinoku missed a moonsault but connected with a knee crusher on EVIL and followed with a Figure Four, borrowing from injured ally Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Togo was quick to break up the hold to lead to a quadruple attack on TAKA, who eventually found an enzuigiri and tagged in SANADA to the crowd’s delight. The true World Champion took great satisfaction in hurling first EVIL, and then SHO around the ringside area; EVIL and Togo looked for a double team response that was defused, but as the referee was caught in the crossfire, a H.O.T beating soon ensued.
With all of J5G laid out with weapon shots, things looked bleak for SANADA until Taichi hit the ring with a spray of Kanemaru’s whiskey. A DOUKI dive to the floor set TAKA Michinoku up for a Michinoku Driver II on Togo, followed by a Shinging Wizard and Moonsault victory. After an enraged SANADA unloaded on EVIL, Dick Togo and SHO were quick to assist an escape with the stolen belts, but Just 5 Guys assured the fans that when NJPW is back in Fukuoka, they’ll be back with the gold, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru to boot.