We’re catching up – we’re back with the tournament action from the fourth day of the 2016 World Tag League.
Again, New Japan World’s only uploaded the tournament matches from block B, so here’s our quartet of recaps!
World Tag League 2016, Block B: Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier vs. EVIL & SANADA
Remember when this was going to be a feud? Los Ingobernables vs. Bullet Club? With matches like this, we should be glad it was ditched quickly! After SANADA attacked the Boner from behind, EVIL scored an early two count after a back senton onto the Boner, before the match headed outside.
The single-camera shows really suffer here, as we just about saw Fale dump a crowd barrier onto… someone who turned out to be SANADA, before the pair fought up the aisleway. We saw nothing of the Boner and EVIL during this brawl, but they eventually returned to the ringside area as the Boner was whipped into the guard rail, before taking EVIL’s chair spot. When they finally returned to the ring, the match had passed the five minute mark, as the Boner dropped EVIL with a spinebuster. Fale took over with bodyslams and Samoan drops, before EVIL fought out of a Grenade. SANADA takes the uranage, before a splash from Fale earned the Boner a near-fall. Looking for the finish, the Boner went for the Bone Soldier (full nelson slam), but SANADA fought free and took him down with a dropkick, before a double-team sequence with SANADA and EVIL almost won it.
After Fale was clotheslines outside again, SANADA went for the Skull End, but lost it. The Boner put on the Bone Soldier, but SANADA again slipped out and landed a TKO for a near-fall, before the Skull End forced the submission. Eh, it was a match – not great, with way too much of it spent as a forgettable brawl. *¼
World Tag League 2016, Block B: Billy Gunn & Yoshitatsu vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
This is going to be one of those matches that’s going to be unexpectedly great, or be horrific. The ring announcers here have a hard time saying “Gunn”, as every time I’ve heard him announced, they seem to enunciate every letter.
Gunn and Makabe opened up with various power spots, and Makabe actually went down to a shoulder tackle, proving (in Gunn’s mind) that he was strongest. After they tagged out, it was down to Honma and Yoshitatsu to do most of the legwork.
Gunn made a point of needling Makabe throughout the match, taunting him as he dropped a knee on Honma for a near-fall. We had Yoshitatsu and Honma again for a spell, almost leading to an end as Honma fought out of a Pedigree attempt and DDT’d Yoshi before tagging in Makabe… who made a beeline for Billy on the apron. The mounted corner punches and a Northern lights suplex got Makabe a near-fall, before Yoshitatsu made a brief comeback with a knee to Makabe’s midsection.
Honma and Gunn came in for the finishing stretch, which actually saw Honma connect with a Kokeshi, before Gunn was double-teamed with clotheslines. After dispatching Makabe, Gunn took down Honma with a Jackhammer-like suplex for a near-fall, only for Honma to return fire with leaping Kokeshis into Gunn and Yoshitatsu. Regardless, Gunn took the win after booting Honma out of the corner and landing the Famouser for the shock pin. This wasn’t awful, so by proxy, a damned sight better than I was expecting… and it’s made me want to see more of Gunn as a singles guy in New Japan. What am I even saying here?! ***
World Tag League 2016, Block B: Kenny Omega & Chase Owens vs. Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii
The Bullet Club jump-start this time saw Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi come from the back to assault Ishii and Goto, which led to a tope con hilo from Omega before Owens used the broom on Ishii as the referee was distracted.
Omega and Owens worked over their opponents, with Omega almost taking an early win with a gutwrench powerbomb on Ishii. This turned into a great match with plenty of back-and-forth action, and little in the way of downtime. Even better, Chase Owens didn’t look like the spare part he usually does in these matches. Goto and Ishii found themselves getting choked by the crowd barriers, almost leading to a count-out as Goto barely beat the 20-count back into the ring. Owens and Goto traded shots for a spell, before Omega came into continue working over Goto’s knee. A slingshot Codebreaker from Owens saw Omega pick up a near-fall on Goto, who finally made the hot tag out to Ishii.
Ishii cleared house on Omega and Owens with bodyslams, before landing a corner clothesline to Omega. A brainbuster earned Ishii a near-fall, before Omega blocked a powerbomb and hit a double-team reverse leg lariat/flatliner with Owens. After a violent headbutt on Owens, Ishii tagged out to an indecisive Goto, who dropped Owens with a back suplex for a near-fall. More back and forth saw the ring fill up, giving Owens a shot at his package piledriver finish, only to take an ushigoroshi for a near-fall.
The end quickly came though, as Omega was pulled back over Goto’s knee, before Ishii and Goto drilled Owens with a combination of a powerbomb and a GTR for the win. ***¾
World Tag League 2016, Block B: Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Yuji Nagata
Well, this is a match-up I really want to see as a singles match: Okada and Shibata! Some good exchanges early on, with Shibata forcing the IWGP champion into the ropes before the tables turned.
YOSHI-HASHI and Nagata tagged in for a similar sequence, until Nagata was caught in a seemingly inescapable headlock. After the hold was relinquished, Nagata was dragged outside as they paired off, allowing YOSHI-HASHI and Okada the chance to whip their opponents into the oft-used crowd barriers. Back inside, Nagata was kept isolated and took a lot of offence, before surprising YOSHI-HASHI with an overhead belly-to-belly suplex. Shibata made the tag in and promptly kicked Okada off the apron before giving the same treatment to YOSHI-HASHI – at least until Okada rushed in to get some measure of revenge. Instead, Shibata overcame him and ended up dishing out a pair of diving corner dropkicks to the CHAOS pairing.
An abdominal stretch forced YOSHI-HASHI to strain to reach the ropes, before getting a stiff kick upon release. Okada tagged back in and finally got some receipts on Shibata… until the NEVER champion popped back up and dumped him with a German suplex. Nagata tagged in to level Okada with some kicks, before Shibata came into help dispatch of YOSHI-HASHI with something similar.
Nagata fell to the neckbreaker slam from Okada, who then landed a top rope elbow drop, only to see a Rainmaker caught and turned into an armbar. Shibata came in to stop YOSHI-HASHI and delivered the same, before Okada broke the hold via the ropes. More kicks from Nagata led to an attempted Exploder that was fought out of, before he instead caught Okada with a German suplex for a near-fall.
Okada’s latest comeback saw him miss a Rainmaker and run into the path of a Shibata boot, before giving out a dropkick from a spinning heel kick. From there, a third attempt at a Rainmaker was successful, leading to the win. A good back-and-forth match, but that finishing sequence seemed to be rushed again. ***½
So, after two matches in each block, here’s how things stand:
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima, War Machine – 2-0 / 4pts
Tetsuya Naito & Rush, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa, Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi, Brian Breaker & Leland Race – 1-1 / 2pts
Henare & Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson – 0-2 / 0pts
Billy Gunn & Yoshitatsu, Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii, EVIL & SANADA – 2-0 / 4pts
Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma, Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI – 1-1 / 2pts
Yuji Nagata & Katsuyori Shibata, Bone Soldier & Bad Luck Fale, Kenny Omega & Chase Owens – 0-2 / 0pts
Make no bones about it, save for the Bullet Club/Ingobernables match today, block B has been having the better matches – which is a shame since their shows are the ones that aren’t getting full coverage from New Japan World. If you’re pushed for time, you probably only need to see the final two tournament matches… and if you really can only see one, make it Omega/Owens vs. Goto/Ishii!