The World Tag League headed to the north east of Kyushu for the eleventh day of tournament action from New Japan!
You know the drill by now: two tournament matches from Beppu, Oita are the only thing from this card that has been posted, so that’s all we can cover…
World Tag League 2016, Block A: Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
Oh yay, another Bullet Club vs. Bullet Club pairing… they tease immediately walking out once the bell went, and finally the referee started to count. At the count of 18, everyone rushed back to the ring to beat the count, and then they got mad at each other for doing it – fine comedy!
When we finally get going, Tonga and Page start off running the ropes, before trading armdrags. Loa and Takahashi tag in, and of course, Takahashi can’t “too sweet” because he’s too short… when he does, he needs the corner, and then gets taken down by Tanga Loa, only to be put on the mat with ease. Takahashi then apologetically schoolboys him for a one-count, before each side runs the ropes and gets attacked by the other guy’s partner.
Yup, this is all comedy without it being too “ha ha” comedy. Takahashi trips Tonga as he went for a dive, before Takahashi and Page tease a dive themselves, only to stop themselves short and jump to the outside for an eye poke. When they return, the Guerrillas land a pair of clotheslines, as Tonga went to bite away on Yujiro’s arm.
The favour was returned as Tama Tonga became isolated, which led to a legdrop/back senton combo from Page and Takahashi for a two-count. Tanga Loa came in and blasted Page with a spinebuster, then scored a two-count from an Oklahoma Stampede, before falling to a slingshotted somersault lariat as Page came close himself. Page tried to go for the Rite of Passage (belly-to-back piledriver), but Loa countered with an Angle Slam as neither side was able to get a foothold on the match.
Tonga came close with a reverse Roll the Dice on Takahashi, before a Fireman’s carry flapjack got a similar result. After backdropping Page onto the apron, Tonga ducked another flipping lariat, allowing Loa to hit a spear, only for Takahashi to come in and take him out. We almost got a ref bump as Tonga went to hit the ref with a Gun Stun… but a second blocked ref bump led to a Gun Stun as the tag team champs picked up the win. Eh, this was total comedy, but not in the hideous sense. Behind the ha-ha was a match, but not one you need to see again. **¼
World Tag League 2016, Block A: Tetsuya Naito & Rush vs. War Machine (Rowe & Hanson)
Surprisingly, Naito didn’t walk away from any lock-ups today, as Rowe didn’t give him that choice… instead shoving him into the ropes as Naito then low bridged him and faked out a tranquilo dive.
Rush came in and tried to hit a ‘rana on Rowe, but was instead pushed away and decided to lay across the turnbuckles. That angered Hanson, who came in and ended up being cornered, only to take a faked out diving dropkick that turned out to be a kick to the face. Hanson was double teamed for a while as Naito and Rush played air football, leading to Rowe coming in and clearing house.
Rush took a hard Irish whip into the crowd barriers as Naito was flattened by Hanson in the ring. Rowe had his fun too, whipping Naito into the turnbuckles, as War Machine took their turns drilling him in the gut with knees. A worn-down Naito was briefly caught in a camel clutch, which ended when Rowe decided to throw a crossface punch, as a diving crossbody from Hanson somehow only got a near-fall.
Hanson rubbed his beard into Naito as Rush watched on from the floor, but he managed to get his way back into it by ducking a Rowe clothesline that ended up wiping out Hanson, before landing a tornado DDT. Rush came in and took down Hanson with an overhead suplex, before rebounding Rowe off the ropes with a German suplex. That said, the tables quickly turned back and forth again as Hanson hit a spear, before avoiding a Bronco buster. A Rush driver probably wasn’t a good idea, and Hanson pushed him away before cartwheeling and laying out the luchador with a lariat. Naito made a comeback with an outside-in dropkick to Rowe, before a neckbreaker earned a near-fall.
Rowe rebounded with a combination of strikes, before Rush’s attempted interference ended with a springboard lariat-assisted German suplex. Naito elbowed his way out of a double chokeslam, before taking a pop-up bodyslam for a near-fall. A powerbomb from Rowe looked to be followed up by a top rope moonsault from Hanson, but Naito rolled away just in time.
Hanson succeeded the next time he went flying with a tope to Rush, after throwing him outside. Naito ate a Judo throw and a vicious knee strike for a two-count, before Rush cut off a Fallout attempt from War Machine. Rush went aerial again as he ducked a clothesline from Rowe to instead wipe out Hanson with a tope con hilo, leaving Naito in there with Rowe once more. After landing a rolling kick and a flying forearm, the end was nigh as Naito followed up with a running Destino that proved to be enough to clinch the win. A little on the short side, but a really good main event. ***¾
Now everyone in block A has had five matches, here’s how they line up – Henare and Manabu Nakanishi are out, whilst it’s still pretty tight at the top with no clear leader.
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa – 4-1 / 8pts
Tetsuya Naito & Rush, War Machine – 3-2 / 6pts
Hiroshi Tenzan & Juice Robinson, Brian Breaker & Leland Race, Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi – 2-3 / 4pts
Henare & Manabu Nakanishi – 0-5 / 0pts
Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii – 4-1 / 8pts
EVIL & SANADA – 3-1 / 6pts
Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI – 3-2 / 6pts
Katsuyori Shibata & Yuji Nagata, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma – 2-2 / 4pts
Billy Gunn & Yoshitatsu, Kenny Omega & Chase Owens – 2-3 / 4pts
Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier – 0-4 / 0pts
Thankfully, the match I was looking forward to lived up to expectation. There’s just one match you need to see from day 11 – and it’s the obvious one!