NJPW: World Tag League: Day 1 and 2 Review

Fresh off the back of a superb Junior Tag League tournament we’re back at it again as New Japan lets the big boys out to play. As with the Junior Tag League, the World Tag League has done away with A and B blocks in favour of an all-in-one ‘round robin’ style tournament – arguably more exciting, but also a hell of a lot of wrestling to digest. Fortunately, I’m on hand to help. Let’s take a look at the first two days of Tag League action, in which Suzuki Gun take on Suzuki Gun in hot inter-faction action, and Best Friends face off against former Bullet Club compatriots Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi.

Day 1 Results:

Jeff Cobb and Michael Elgin def. Yota Tsuji and Yuya Uemura // Pinfall after Jeff Cobb hit Yota Tsuji with Tour of the Islands

Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi) def. Tomoaki Honma and Ren Narita // Pinfall after Taichi hit Narita with a Superkick

Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Takashi Iizuka and El Desperado) def. Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith) and Yoshinobu Kanemaru // Pinfall after Suzuki hit Kanemaru with the Gotch Piledriver

World Tag League Tournament Match: “Finnjuice” (David Finlay and Juice Robinson) def. Shota Umino and Ayato Yoshida // Pinfall after Finlay hit Umino with the Prima Nocta

World Tag League Tournament Match: Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi def. Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan) // Pinfall after Nakanishi hit Kojima with the Back Drop Hold

World Tag League Tournament Match: Best Friends (Chuckie T and Beretta) def. Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi // Pinfall after Chuckie T & Beretta hit the Strong Zero

World Tag League Tournament Match: Guerillas of Destiny (Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga) def. Togi Makabe and Toa Henare // Pinfall after Loa hit Henare with a Sitout Piledriver

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Sanada, Evil, Bushi and Shingo Takagi) def. CHAOS (Sho, Yoh, Tomohiro Ishii, Kazuchika Okada and Toru Yano) // Pinfall after Naito hit Yoh with Destino

Day 2 Results:

Juice Robinson and David Finlay def. Yuya Uemura and Yota Tsuji // Pinfall after Finlay hit Uemura with a Brainbuster

Guerillas of Destiny (Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga) def. Tomoaki Honma and Ren Narita // Pinfall after Loa hit Narita with a Sitout Piledriver

Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Toa Henare and Togi Makabe def. Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata, Shota Umino and Ayato Yoshida // Pinfall after Henare hit Umino with the Uranage

Kota Ibushi, Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi def. Chuckie T, Beretta and Hirooki Goto // Pinfall after Yujiro hit Chuckie T with Pimp Juice

CHAOS (Sho, Yoh and Kazuchika Okada) def. LIJ (Shingo Takagi, Bushi and Tetsuya Naito) // Pinfall after Okada hit the Rainmaker on Bushi

World Tag League Tournament Match: Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith) def. Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka) // Pinfall after Smith and Archer hit Iizuka with the Killer Bomb

World Tag League Tournament Match: Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr and Taichi) def. CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) // Referee stoppage after Ishii refused to tap out of Zack Sabre Jr’s Triangle hold

World Tag League Tournament Match: LIJ (Evil and Sanada) def. Jeff Cobb and Michael Elgin // Pinfall after Jeff Cobb discovered that EVERYTHING IS EVIL

Best Matches:

Night 1: Best Friends vs Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi – Enormous fun, and Page is a legitimate star just waiting for his moment.

Night 1: Tencozy vs Nagata and Nakanishi – Who doesn’t love a good, solid Dad Battle? It’s a joy to see Tencozy reunited after Kojima’s recent injury, and it’s astonishing to note that all four of these guys can still really go.

Night 2: Suzuki-Gun vs Suzuki-Gun – Utter chaos. Biting, brawling, chairs, the whole shebang. Exactly what you’d expect from two Suzuki-Gun teams.

Night 2: Ibushi, Page and Yujiro vs Beretta, Chuckie T and Goto – The match itself was excellent, but this was especially notable for what happened at the end. Goto has been goading Ibushi into a NEVER Openweight Championship match for a few weeks now, with Ibushi refusing to bite. Turns out the best way to get Ibushi to accept your challenge is to rescind it. In an act of contrariness all cat owners will recognise, Ibushi changed his mind the moment Goto revoked his offer, accepting his challenge.

Night 2: Sho, Yoh and Okada vs Shingo, Bushi and Naito – Yoh is a star in the making. Sho is at his best when he’s zealously fighting for his position as Biggest Strongest Boy in the Junior division. Shingo is undeniably impressive, and a great addition to the LIJ stable. And Naito and Okada were electric every time they stepped in to face one another. A great match all round.

Night 2: Zack Sabre Jr and Taichi vs Ishii and Toru Yano – who’d have thought ZSJ and Taichi would make such a fantastic team? I’m a believer. Highlight of the match has to be Yano whipping off Taichi’s stripper pants (what a cheeky scamp), though Ishii’s bloody-minded refusal to give up in the face of defeat is a close second.

Worst Matches:

There were no bad matches, exactly, but a few lukewarm ones.

Night 1: Tanga Loa and Tama Tonga vs Togi Makabe and Toa Henare – It was a match that happened. It didn’t stink, but it wasn’t particularly memorable either.

Night 2: David Finlay and Juice Robinson vs Yuya Uemura and Yota Tsuji – Again, not a bad match, but a very quick one which didn’t do a great deal for anyone involved.

World Tag League Standings:

Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi – 2

Juice Robinson and David Finlay – 2

Best Friends – 2

Guerillas of Destiny – 2

Killer Elite Squad – 2

Zack Sabre Jr and Taichi – 2

Evil and Sanada – 2

Togi Makabe and Toa Henare – 0

Tencozy – 0

Ayato Yoshida and Shota Umino – 0

Michael Elgin and Jeff Cobb – 0

Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano – 0

Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi – 0

Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka – 0

All Photos courtesy of NJPW1972.com