With New Japan’s World Tag League rolling on, we’re going to catch up on some of the tournament action, starting with Saturday’s (delayed) matches from Fujisawa.
Much like with the Best of Super Juniors tournament, New Japan World is only uploading tournament matches from some shows… this is one of those shows!
World Tag League 2016, Block B: Kenny Omega & Chase Owens vs. Yoshitatsu & Billy Gunn
Kenny Omega gets the lion’s share of the crowd approval early on, as he went to lock up with Gunn – before getting easily shoved to the outside.
Gunn threatens to moon Omega as we’re taken back to 1999, so we get Chase Owens come in. Wash. Rinse. Repeat. Owens gets shoved to the outside, then he returns and tries to punch away at Gunn, only to take a clothesline. Omega rushes in and tries to cheapshot Gunn with the broom, but misses badly, before succeeding in hitting Gunn in the ropes. The former WWE Intercontinental champion hit back with a suplex on Owens, then brought the former IWGP Intercontinental champion into the ring. That double-teaming didn’t work, and right now it’s Gunn who looks like he’s the guy challenging for the main title in six weeks or so…
Gunn drags Owens and Omega from the aisle as they tried to walk out on the match. Yoshitatsu tags in and keeps up the pressure on Owens with a series of kicks through the ropes, before a hot shot and a clothesline earned Yoshi a near-fall. Omega returned and worked over Yoshitatsu, who found himself somewhat isolated in the Bullet Club corner for a spell, with things not being helped when Billy Gunn ran in after Owens mocked his “suck it!” mannerisms.
Yoshitatsu made a brief comeback as Gunn yelled “hit him!” from the apron, but Omega raked the eyes and regained control. Omega was backdropped out of the ring by Yoshitatsu, who was then dragged back into the corner by Owens as the Bullet Club tried to keep on top of things. An enziguiri freed Yoshitatsu, but Omega pulled Gunn off the apron to prevent the hot tag, only for Yoshitatsu to fire back with a spinning heel kick.
The hot tag was eventually made as Gunn cleared out Chase Owens with clotheslines, before a tilt-a-whirl slam took down Omega. Gunn landed a Stinger splash on Owens, befure missing a Famouser and taking some freeze spray into the eyes from Omega. That left him blinded for some double-teaming, leading to a slingshot Codebreaker from Owens getting a near-fall, before Gunn ducked a knee strike from Omega, who hit Owens by mistake.
After throwing Omega outside, Gunn capitalised with a Famouser on Owens and that was the win. Fun for what it was, but we’ll be seeing a lot of the mid 90s-style stuff here with Gunn. **
World Tag League 2016, Block B: Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier vs. Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii
Goto and the Boner started off here, with the results you’d expect – Boner doing badly, and then tagging out to Fale. That quickly became Fale vs. Ishii for another round of immobable object vs. irresistable force. Fale won that first battle, but the pair kept clonking into each other with shoulder tackles, before Ishii finally crashed down.
What followed next was the Boner and Ishii, which just looked ridiculous as the Boner used axehandle smashes to try and keep Ishii down. It did work, I guess… Fale returned and sat on Ishii for a near-fall, but found himself on the receiving end of a suplex before bringing in Goto for the hot tag.
Fale was whipped from corner to corner, before taking an elbow drop for a near-fall. The Bullet Club pairing made a comeback with a series of avalanches, before a Boner uranage and a body splash from Fale saw the Boner pick up a two-count. Goto knocked the Boner off the top rope with a spinning heel kick, before Fale ran over the G1 finalist with a shoulder tackle. From there, Goto slipped out of a Bad Luck Fall with some help from Ishii, before the pair clotheslined the big man to the outside. The Boner tried to fight off both of his opponents by himself, and almost succeeded, before falling into an ushigoroshi and a sliding lariat as a brainbuster from Ishii picked up the win. Decent, but unmemorable. ***
World Tag League 2016, Block B: SANADA & EVIL vs. Katsuyori Shibata & Yuji Nagata
It’s a little odd that the first block B matches featured a reunion of EVIL and two-belts Shibata – and it was those two who started off, with EVIL trying to headbutt Shibata, who then replied with a wristlock takedown.
Nagata tagged in and worked over the knee that SANADA looked to have injured on the first night of the tour, before the tables turned as SANADA threw the veteran outside, allowing EVIL to put a chair around him and throw him into the ringpost. Back in the ring, EVIL and SANADA worked over Nagata, with a back senton from EVIL picking up a near-fall. Shibata tagged in and managed to switch the momentum, taking down SANADA and EVIL with dropkicks in the corner, before a single-underhook suplex picked up a two-count. EVIL fought back by choking away in the corner, but Shibata powered up and locked in an STF in the middle of the ring, forcing EVIL to scurry to the rope for a break.
Shibata dumped EVIL with his own STO finisher, before both men tagged out, giving us SANADA and Nagata – with the veteran laying into SANADA with kicks. A springboard missile dropkick takes down Nagata though, before an attempted TKO leads to an O’Connor roll that the referee was badly out of place for. From the kick-out, SANADA grabbed the Skull End, but Nagata worked free, and grabbed an ankle lock, before turning it into a figure four.
Shibata ran in and used a Cobra Twist to neutralise EVIL’s attempt at breaking up the hold, but SANADA was able to grab the rope to break the hold. That didn’t help as he took leaping knee strikes in the corner from both opponents, then a brainbuster from Nagata for a near-fall. EVIL broke that cover, before Nagata’s Backdrop Hold attempt was blocked. SANADA hit back with a back suplex for a near-fall, before trying for the Skull End again. Shibata broke that up as the ring filled, but in the end Nagata got spiked with a TKO for a near-fall, before finally falling to the Skull End. A good match, but my God, that TKO was brutal… ***½
World Tag League 2016, Block B: Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
Your usual Okada open, with the mocking clean-break on Makabe, before the pair traded shoulder tackles to little effect. Tags brought in Honma and YOSHI-HASHI for a little more action, with Honma setting up for – and missing – a Kokeshi in the opening minutes.
Okada held Honma on the ropes for YOSHI-HASHI’s dropkick to the back, before Honma mounted a brief comeback… and missed another Kokeshi. YOSHI-HASHI countered some mounted punches after Okada broke up Makabe’s routine, as the action spilled outside with Makabe taking a chest-first bump into the guard barriers. Makabe beat the count-out as he rolled back in to the path of some stomps from YOSHI-HASHI, who then tagged Okada back into the match, as the CHAOS pairing worked well together. A comeback from Makabe was quickly cut-off as Okada landed a DDT, before Makabe’s attempt at tagging out was thwarted when YOSHI-HASHI rushed the ring and knocked Honma down.
Makabe mounted another comeback and finally made the tag out, as Honma ran wild with clotheslines and back elbows on Okada, before finally landing a Kokeshi. A Blockbuster got Honma a near-fall, before Okada switched things around with a flapjack that gave him a chance to tag in YOSHI-HASHI. Honma blocked a Bunker Buster and hit a deadlift suplex instead, before Makabe came in and finally succeeded with the mounted punches on YOSHI-HASHI.
YOSHI-HASHI ducked a double clothesline, as Makabe and Honma clonked into each other, before Makabe got caught in a butterfly lock as Honma was held outside by Okada. Eventually, Honma broke free and was able to break the hold, and then break up another pinfall attempt as a lariat from YOSHI-HASHI earned a near-fall.
Makabe kicked out at two after a senton bomb, before Honma cut-off Okada’s attempted interference with a leaping Kokeshi. YOSHI-HASHI was left to take a Doomsday Device-esque Kokeshi, before Makabe finished the job with a King Kong kneedrop for the win. A decent enough main-event, but it sure did drag… ***
So after one match in each block, we’ve got the obvious 1-0 and 0-1 records;
War Machine, Brian Breaker & Leland Race, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima, Tetsuya Naito & Rush – 1-0 / 2pts
Henare & Manabu Nakanishi, Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Juice Robinson – 0-1 / 0pts
Billy Gunn & Yoshi Tatsu, Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii, EVIL & SANADA, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma – 1-0 / 2pts
Kenny Omega & Chase Owens, Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier, Katsuyori Shibata & Yuji Nagata, Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI – 0-1 / 0pts
Given how frequent these shows are, plus the fact that we’re already behind on them, we may well remain a few days behind for the duration of the tournament with our recaps. The dangers of a one man band at this time of the year!