Last Thursday saw the end of the block stages of the World Tag League – and here’s our delayed takes on the last night from block B!
Hachinohe was the venue as we started with a five-way tie (on points, anyway!) for the right to face the Guerrillas of Destiny in Saturday’s World Tag League finals.
World Tag League 2016, Block B: Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier vs. Billy Gunn & Yoshitatsu
We start with another dead rubber, with Fale and the Boner hoping to avoid the wooden spoon, and it was the big guy who had the upper hand early on… then he spoiled it all by tagging out to the Boner, whose exchanges with Yoshitatsu weren’t horrific. Well, thirteen time’s the charm, I guess!
They ventured outside, with Gunn and Fale being focused on by the fixed camera as they went into the crowd. Fale used a fan’s scarf to choke Gunn, before we saw Yoshitatsu getting choked by the Boner. Billy Gunn had to throw his partner back in to keep the match alive, but almost immediately Fale sat on him for a two-count. More from Yoshitatsu and the Boner ended with a kick to the chest from Yoshi, who brought in Billy Gunn once again for some clotheslines. Gunn missed a Famouser on the Boner, who stepped aside, before we went back to the Boner’s finisher: the ref bump! The Boner used his belt to choke Yoshitatsu, and Fale did the same as Gunn tried to make the save, before a uranage got the Boner a two-count.
Yoshitatsu escaped a full nelson from the Boner and landed a hiptoss-knee strike, then finally put away the pesky Boner with a Pedigree for the win. Not the worst match these guys have had, but don’t kid yourself into thinking this was good. Fale and the Boner end with no points, whilst Billy Gunn and Yoshitatsu end with six. **
World Tag League 2016, Block B: Kenny Omega & Chase Owens vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Yuji Nagata
Owens demanded that Shibata didn’t use any kicks. So they started with a knuckle-lock that led to Owens cheapshotting him with a forearm, for an immediate receipt. The “no kicks” truce ended pretty soon afterwards as Owens quickly was felled and caught in a figure four.
A lot of this match was accompanied by a wailing child in the crowd… a child that stopped wailing whenever the heels were on the defensive. Omega brought the broom into the ring and that was quickly used by Owens on Shibata and Nagata, whilst the referee was distracted, naturally. Since it’s the Bullet Club, the action spilled outside, softening up Nagata for a spell where he took numerous back rakes in the opposite corner. Omega and Owens worked over Nagata’s leg for a while, before Omega was caught in a crossface after getting too cocky with the veteran. Shibata tagged in and the tables turned immediately, with Shibata even shrugging off Omega’s attempt at attacking him from behind.
An STO from Shibata dropped Owens, before Nagata tagged in to kick away at Omega some more. Shibata came in to break up an attempted Dragon suplex, then helped soften Omega as Nagata landed a back suplex for a near-fall. Omega finally landed that snap Dragon suplex, before falling to an armbar as Nagata countered a One Winged Angel. Owens got an armbar too from Shibata as he tried to make a save, but eventually Omega made the ropes for the break.
Shibata wrapped Omega in a sleeper as he looked to go for the finish – but again the numbers game told as Owens got involved, dropping him with a fireman’s carry gutbuster. Nagata fired back with suplexes and kicks once more, but after a running bicycle knee, Omega finished him off with a One Winged Angel to finish with a 3-4 record. This killed any hopes of Nagata and Shibata winning, after a better match than you may have expected given this Bullet Club team’s booking in this tournament. ***½
World Tag League 2016, Block B: SANADA & EVIL vs. Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI
As things stand, if the Los Ingobernables team were to win, they’d need the main event to end in a draw, given that Makabe & Honma and Goto & Ishii hold tournament wins over them… if Okada & YOSHI-HASHI won, they’d make the final if Goto & Ishii won the main event, thanks to their win earlier in the tournament.
Okada started by having to fend off a double-team, but he quickly overcame EVIL and SANADA, before dropping the former with a slingshot senton. Just like every other Ingobernables match, they ventured outside, where EVIL and YOSHI-HASHI paired off, then went for a wander as the camera ignored SANADA and Okada. Probably for the best, as YOSHI-HASHI was put in a chair and thrown into the ringpost.
SANADA and EVIL combined to get a near-fall on YOSHI-HASHI from a back elbow and a back senton respectively, before Okada tagged in and launched a comeback. The numbers game overcame Okada though, as EVIL and SANADA worked in tandem to take the champion down, but Okada hit back with a neckbreaker slam after catching a leap-over attempt in the corner by SANADA.
YOSHI-HASHI tagged in and landed a flipping neckbreaker, then a dropkick to SANADA as he was caught in the ropes. A Butterfly lock almost forced a submission, as Okada kept EVIL at bay, but eventually EVIL fought free and scrambled to break up the hold. The double leapfrog dropkick from SANADA took down YOSHI-HASHI, who then evaded the Skull End and landed a lariat on SANADA. A powerbomb with a jack-knife pin got a near-fall as EVIL broke up the pin, but YOSHI-HASHI again recovered to land a senton bomb on SANADA for another two-count. Okada saved YOSHI-HASHI after SANADA’s back suplex, before the champion was knocked down by an EVIL lariat. With Okada dispatched, SANADA scored a near-fall out of a TKO, before the pair exchanged near-falls.
YOSHI-HASHI saw a Bunker Buster countered, before SANADA rolled through an O’Connor roll into a Skull End. More reversals were reversed, and in the end YOSHI-HASHI was trapped – and gave up – to the Skull End in a frenetic finish. Fine stuff here, from a pair of teams that you’d expect no less from! ***¾
World Tag League 2016, Block B: Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
Given earlier results, it comes down to this: anything other than a draw, and the winner goes through. A draw would put through EVIL and SANADA to the finals – an unlikely result.
Goto and Honma started off with some early shoulder tackles, before Ishii came in and swapped out shoulder tackles for forearms in an exchange that entertained the live crowd. Makabe came in for more of the same, before swapping powerslams with Ishii.
Honma tagged in and scored a near-fall from a Blockbuster neckbreaker, before clonking into Ishii with a variety of chops. Ishii fought back, eventually ending the welt-creating sequence with a chop to Honma’s throat. Goto tagged in and dropped Honma with a back suplex for a near-fall, only for Makabe to rush in and squash Goto as he and Honma went into some mounted corner punches. Goto was dropped by a Makabe lariat for a near-fall, before Honma cut-off an attempted comeback by decking Goto and spiking Ishii with a DDT. The double clotheslines and a bridging powerbomb from Makabe earned a near-fall, whilst Ishii and Honma fought on the outside.
Goto hit back with an ushigoroshi to Makabe after overcoming more double-teaming, then tagged in Ishii who laid into Honma with chops and forearms in the corner. A ducked clothesline led to Honma taking a deadlift German suplex for a near-fall, but Honma replied with an equally impressive show of force, with a deadlift suplex, eventually getting a near-fall.
Ishii wriggled out of a Kokeshi Otoshi and dropped Honma with a powerbomb, folding him over to get a near-fall, before a pair of lariats spun Honma inside out for yet another two-count. Honma wriggled out of an assisted GTR and landed a headbutt to Goto as Makabe returned, but he was shoved into the corner by Goto as a doomsday Kokeshi was avoided. Makabe was kept trapped by a rear naked choke from Goto as Ishii tried to drop Honma with a super brainbuster, but that was countered as Makabe fought free and threw Goto towards the corner, just as Honma leapt into the G1 finalist with a flying Kokeshi. A Makabe powerbomb to Ishii followed, as did a staggering Kokeshi, but that only garnered a near-fall as the match kept going.
Another leaping Kokeshi from Honma dropped Ishii, as did a diving Kokeshi… but Goto returned to break up the cover and assist with a legsweep/lariat combo for another near-fall. After Makabe wiped out the CHAOS pair with a double clothesline, Honma almost took the win with a Kokeshi Otoshi to Ishii, before Ishii deadweighted Makabe for another Doomsday Kokeshi attempt. Eventually, Makabe got him up, and Honma connected with the Doomsday Kokeshi and a swandive Kokeshi as he and Makabe booked their place in the finals. That was a surprising result, given that the Makabe/Honma team have been on the back burner for most of the year(and had been wrestling either by themselves or with others on prior tours), but I guess it’s better than having makeshift teams in the final. This was predictably slow-paced, but at least it played to everyone’s strengths whilst remaining hard-hitting and deliberate. ***¼
So, thanks to their head-to-head win on day 12 of the tournament, Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma win the block and will face Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa in the finals. Too many T’s! Your final standings:
Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa – 6-1 / 12pts
Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima, Tetsuya Naito & Rush, War Machine – 4-3 / 8pts
Brian Breaker & Leland Race, Hiroshi Tenzan & Juice Robinson – 3-4 / 6pts
Henare & Manabu Nakanishi – 0-7 / 0pts
Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma – 5-2 / 10pts (wins via tie-breaker)
EVIL & SANADA – 5-2 / 10pts
Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI, Yuji Nagata & Katsuyori Shibata, Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii – 4-3 / 8pts
Billy Gunn & Yoshitatsu, Kenny Omega & Chase Owens – 3-4 / 6pts
Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier – 0-7 / 0pts
We’ll have our much delayed thoughts on the finals later in the week, along with a look at the WrestleKingdom 11 card that has been announced.