It’s the final day of the “first phase” of the World Tag League this year, with the city of Ehime playing host to block B action.

After these matches from Sunday, the tournament action splits down into two matches-per-day. We’ve got a low camera angle today, which is massively jarring when you’re watching these shows back-to-back!

World Tag League 2016, Block B: Billy Gunn & Yoshitatsu vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Yuji Nagata
Yuji Nagata and Billy Gunn started us off. Let that sink in, eh? They actually worked pretty well together, with Gunn falling for Nagata’s roll-away into a dropkick, before the former “Mr Ass” missed an elbow drop.

Looking to avoid Shibata, Gunn tagged out to Yoshitatsu, with the two of them teasing kicks and blocking the others. Gunn yelled “whoops” as Yoshitatsu had a kick caught, before advising Yoshi “you might want to tag me, because he’s about to kill you”. He may be right, but whatever happened to cheering on your partner?! Shibata nonchalantly stomped on Yoshitatsu’s gut, before taking him to the corner as Gunn made a meal of helping his partner, inadvertantly creating a referee distraction. You’d think a former 11 time WWE tag champion would know this stuff, right? Still, it’s probably better watching than taking the punishment that Shibata was dishing out…

Nagata came in and worked over Yoshitatsu, who tried to make a comeback, but found himself unable to do much with Nagata’s kicks. Except take them. Finally Yoshitatsu hit one of his own as he tagged out to Billy Gunn and his clotheslines. Gunn took Nagata into the corner for an avalanche, before Nagata stepped away from a knee lift and took down the former King of the Ring with his famed armbar.

Yoshitatsu got the tag back in and took down Nagata with a springboard dropkick, before taking a really nonchalant leg sweep. Shibata then returned to the fray and levelled Yoshitatsu with a Yakuza kick, then a diving dropkick in the corner, before a single-underhook suplex picked up a near-fall. A figure four from Shibata was short-lived as Gunn kicked him in the face to break up the hold, but Shibata was quickly back into his undead zombie state, walking through Yoshitatsu’s shots.

A front facelock kept Yoshitatsu at bay for a spell, but after fighting free, Yoshi held up Shibata for a clothesline from Gunn that missed its mark. Nagata took care of Gunn with an Exploder, leaving Yoshitatsu in two-on-one against his opponents. After Nagata and Shibata got a one-count from a double kick, a series of further kicks wore down Yoshitatsu enough for a stiff slap, as a brainbuster and a PK saw Nagata and Shibata take home the win. That finishing sequence was pretty brutal – to the point where I felt really sorry for Yoshi by the end of it. ***½

World Tag League 2016, Block B: Kenny Omega & Chase Owens vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
Makabe and Omega started off, with Makabe getting the upper hand surprisingly in the early going, before tags led to Honma coming in and missing his Kokeshi on Owens. The Bullet Club pair mocked, then missed theirs, as the match then spilled outside. Unfortunately, the fixed camera meant that we barely saw Omega beating up on Honma outside the ring, before Owens tried to capitalise back inside.

Honma’s hard head caused Omega and Owens to sell – despite them being on offence – before the Bullet Club pair combined to cheat on an abdominal stretch on the hard-headed Honma. Owens and Omega combined again to wishbone Honma’s leg, which led to them taking turns to wrap up Honma with toe-holds. Omega used his broomhandle on Honma as Makabe caused an inadvertent distraction, before a slingshot Codebreaker got Owens a near-fall. Finally, Honma made the tag to Makabe, who cleaned house, taking down Omega with a powerslam before going between Owens and Omega with corner lariats.

Both Makabe and Honma launched into simultaneous corner punches, before a Northern Lights suplex earned Makabe a near-fall. Some distraction from Owens allowed Omega to hit a leg lariat from behind as the match continued to swing back and forth. Honma was again cornered as Owens landed a Fireman’s carry gutbuster, before Owens stayed down so Omega could powerbomb Honma back onto Owens’ knees.

Makabe broke up the cover from that, and was promptly sent outside as Owens looked for his package piledriver, but Honma backdropped out and landed a diving Kokeshi… only to turn around into a knee strike from Omega. Kenny then looked to hit the One Winged Angel on Honma, but Makabe again made the save, before lifting up Omega for a Doomsday Kokeshi. Owens fell next to a double-team lariat before a Honma brainbuster for a near-fall, as a swandive Kokeshi proved to be enough in the end. A fun tag match, with the Bullet Club taking the lion’s share of the match until Honma and Makabe finally mounted their comeback at the end. ***½

World Tag League 2016, Block B: Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier vs. Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI
Okada started the match with the Boner, for the ultimate “opposite ends of the spectrum” deal, and as it should have been, it was the IWGP champion who started out with the upper hand.

As you’d expect, things changed a little when Fale tagged in, especially as he took the match to the outside, where Okada and YOSHI-HASHI became a little friendly with the crowd barriers. That meant the match became unwatchable, thanks to the single-fixed camera position, as all they could do was zoom out and hope for the best… When they returned to the ring, Fale got a near-fall on YOSHI-HASHI before cutting-off a comeback attempt. A sleeperhold led to YOSHI-HASHI scoring a reverse DDT, before tagging in Okada to keep up the offence on the big guy. Okada scored a DDT and a diving uppercut for a near-fall, before rolling out of the way of a swandive headbutt from the Boner.

The Boner’s attempt at offence quickly ended with a flapjack, as YOSHI-HASHI tagged back in and promptly landed a dropkick to a rope-hung Boner. Yeah, that last bit didn’t sound right, did it? Speaking of not sounding right, the Boner landed awkwardly for a Bunker Buster as Fale broke up the resulting cover, and then we got a ref bump as the Boner blatantly pushed YOSHI-HASHI into the official.

With the ref down, the Boner hit YOSHI-HASHI low and took off his belt, bringing back awful memories of those horrid Boner/Yoshitatsu matches from not too long ago. The Boner choked YOSHI-HASHI with the belt as Fale held down Okada on the outside, before collecting a two-count as the referee eventually awoke. Okada came in and countered a Grenade, before taking care of the Boner with a dropkick. Don’t try that in real life, folks… The Boner then fell to a lariat from YOSHI-HASHI for a near-fall, before choking him out with a Butterfly lock for the submission. A decent match, surprising given one of the folks involved, and it keeps this particular Bullet Club pairing at the bottom of the block. ***½

World Tag League 2016, Block B: SANADA & EVIL vs. Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii
An unusual start as the Ingobernables pair tried to double-team Goto early on – only for Ishii to give a swift receipt as the CHAOS pair looked to take control. Then, inside the opening two minutes, EVIL managed to trip Goto in the ropes, before going for his usual chair spot with Ishii.

That left Goto alone and isolated whilst Ishii recovered from his flirtation with a chair, and it wasn’t good news for Goto as he was forced to kick out from an EVIL back senton. Ishii recovered and got the tag in, peppering EVIL with forearms and chops in the corner, before a suplex earned Ishii a near-fall. SANADA came in and picked his spots over a worn-down Ishii… or at least, so he thought, as Ishii ended up slipping out of a TKO and replied with a back suplex. Goto tagged back in and quickly fell to a double leapfrog dropkick from SANADA, before EVIL returned to neutralise Ishii once more.

After a TKO got a near-fall, SANADA tried for the Skull End, and managed to lock it on at the second attempt. Goto was in the hold for a long time, as Ishii battled with EVIL outside, but SANADA ended up releasing the hold… then walking into the path of a German suplex from Ishii. The faces hit back with a spinning heel kick from Goto, and then a lariat, before SANADA tried to counter a GTR with a Skull End. That didn’t work out, but the Ingobernables kept the momentum, peppering Goto with strikes as an EVIL lariat almost took the win, as did a springboard dropkick from SANADA.

EVIL’s fireman’s carry spinebuster bomb picked up another two-count, before Goto escaped the EVIL STO and pulled him back over his knee for a backbreaker. The end wasn’t far away though, as the pair battered each other with clotheslines, before an ushigoroshi and a sliding lariat from Ishii picked up a near-fall. EVIL tried to fight free, but eventually took a headbutt from Goto, before falling to a nasty-looking powerbomb/GTR. That final straight definitely lifted the match, but my God, EVIL’s landing for that finish was, erm, evil… ***¾

Now both blocks are at the halfway point, we’ve got three way ties for the lead in both blocks; but surprisingly, block B’s only long-time established team are off the pace, whilst the Bullet Club are propping up the table.

Block A:
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa, War Machine – 3-1 / 6pts
Brian Breaker & Leland Race, Hangman Page & Yukiro Takahashi, Tetsuya Naito & Rush – 2-2 / 4pts
Hiroshi Tenzan & Juice Robinson -1-3 / 2pts
Henare & Manabu Nakanishi – 0-4 / 0pts

Block B:
EVIL & SANADA, Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii, Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI – 3-1 / 6pts
Billy Gunn & Yoshitatsu, Katsuyori Shibata & Yuji Nagata, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma – 2-2 / 4pts
Kenny Omega & Chase Owens – 1-3 / 2pts
Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier – 0-4 / 0pts

This was a really solid day’s action from the B block, with four good matches – and an interesting tie at the top of the group. Barring a late surge, it’s likely that one of the CHAOS teams will be contesting the finals, but with the Bullet Club teams on the verge of elimination, they could well end up playing spoiler instead…