Yes, it’s even more from New Japan’s World Tag League, as block B rolled into Aichi on Sunday.
For some reason, the entire show aired on Samurai TV in Japan yesterday, but not on NJPW World. As much as we enjoy reviewing every single match, since there’s another Korakuen Hall show on Thursday, we’ll just be sticking to what will be posted, rather than be a real hero and cover the entire show.
World Tag League 2017 – Block B: David Finlay & Katsuya Kitamura vs. Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb
Another uphill struggle from the off here, as the Young Lion and sort-of Young Lion looked to be getting thrown to the wolves.
Finlay actually took the upper hand early, although he needed some help from Kitamura to take down Cobb, but things quickly went sour for Finlay, courtesy of a nasty chop from Big Mike. Cobb and Elgin actually do the spot that the Smash Brothers threaten – a slam onto a knee – before they play pass the suplex parcel with Finlay. Yep, them boys are strong!
Kitamura manages to come in and show off his strength, throwing Elgin with a gutwrench suplex for a near-fall, before a press slam almost went awry, as Big Mike nearly got dumped on his head. Elgin got up and quickly showed Kitamura how it was done as the big guys looked to quickly end things.
Sandwiching lariats and a bridging fallaway pumphandle slam nearly gets the win for Cobb, before he threw Finlay to Elgin for a German suplex. Kitamura’s back though with some spears, before an attempt at a Jackhammer’s blocked, with Cobb countering into a Tour of the Islands for the win. Some impressive feats here, but a painful reminder as to why it’s best to walk before you run… **¾
World Tag League 2017 – Block B: Best Friends (Chuckie T & Beretta) vs. Togi Makabe & Henare
On paper, this one should be pretty easy going for the Best Friends, right?
Like in the first match, the Young Lion gets off to a good start, sending the Best Friends flying with shoulder blocks, and it actually needed a trip from Beretta to turn things their way, as the distraction led to us finding out what the T in Chuckie T really stood for. Tope con hilo.
Back inside, Henare gets chopped, before his leg gave way on a leap over out of the corner… and as if he needed any more disadvantage, Beretta chop-blocked the leg as the New Zealander was kept on the mat, with Beretta forcing him to scramble to the ropes from an ankle lock.
Henare got some hope in when he suplexed Beretta, allowing him to tag in Makabe for the comeback, which was the same we’ve seen throughout the tournament: mounted punches, double clothesline, then tag back out… and that’s where things really went south, as Chuckie T went back to Henare’s ankle, before isolating him for a double-team chokeslam that almost won the match. With (what I assume) was the New Japan doctor hovering around ringside, the Best Friends recreated the Strong Zero/Dudebuster finish to throw us back to Roppongi Vice to put Henare out of his misery. A strong showing from Beretta and Chuckie, and it’s business as usual for the nil-pointers! **½
World Tag League 2017 – Block B: Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano
After throwing water at Archer, we start with Yano’s shtick – at least until Archer pulled him away from the “break” and into the middle of the ring, before Yano ran for his life. Wise move.
Smith and Ishii batter each other after they tagged in, but it’s the tag champions who edged ahead, with Smith trying to get the win with a crossface before opting to just stand on Ishii’s hand. You know, just to hammer home that rope break! Things don’t improve much for Ishii, as Archer barges him with such force that he’s left upside down, but Ishii did manage to break free and drop the Bulldog with a back suplex. Just a shame that all he had available to him as Yano on the apron, who found out the hard way that turnbuckle pads don’t cause much damage!
An exposed turnbuckle did cause damage, as the Bulldog ran his knee into it, before Red Shoes stopped Yano from a double low blow. Eventually Yano tags out again as we’re back to Ishii and Archer, but Ishii’s not able to do much as a full nelson slam from Archer nearly gets the win.
Yano helps out by crotching Archer as he tried a rope walk, and that gave Ishii a chance to hit a superplex as he tried to cut Archer down to size. Eventually a lariat took Archer down for a two-count, but the KES went back to the double-teams with a Hart Attack clothesline for a near-fall, but Yano again helps out, giving Archer a low blow as Ishii collided into him with a sliding lariat for a near-fall.
The KES overcame that though, and once Archer fought out of a brainbuster, it was just a matter of time as Ishii took a chokeslam for a close near-fall, before fighting out of a Killer Bomb, headbutting his way free, only to get caught with it as the champs picked up more points. A pretty good outing, with the KES looking like a threat throughout. If New Japan did more random singles, Archer vs. Ishii might have been a shout, but we’ll just have to hold out hope for exchanges in future undercard tags, I guess. ***¼
World Tag League 2017 – Block B: Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe)
The final block match today features the last two sets of tag team champions, but the Guerrillas of Destiny were far from rushing into action, with Tama Tonga taking his time before locking up with Hanson.
When Tonga engaged, he was knocked down as Hanson’s size made things tricky for the Bullet Club member. It didn’t help that Hanson’s freakishly agile as well… Raymond Rowe and Tanga Loa came next, and despite those two being more evenly matched, it was still a bit of a stalemate. That stalemate ended when Tanga Loa had Hanson slammed onto him, before being thrown into a knee from Rowe, who rocked Loa more with a rolling elbow. Tama Tonga turns things around, laying into Rowe with a Stinger splash before keeping him in the wrong corner, with the Guerrillas making use of frequent tags to wear Rowe down.
Another knee strike from Rowe puts paid to that though, as Hanson gets the tag to clear house on both Guerrillas at the same time. A Bronco buster sandwiched both Tonga and Loa, as Tama eats a double-team ushigoroshi, with War Machine edging further ahead. A quick switcheroo swings things around as a double-team Tongan Twist is only good for a near-fall, before a pop-up slam from War Machine kept the momentum shifting.
Tama surprises both halves of War Machine with the Vereno DDT for a near-fall, as a Parade of Moves quickly broke out, leading to Tama eating Fallout… and kicking out?! The hell?!
War Machine go for it again, but Tanga Loa makes the save, only to get flattened with a cannonball senton from Hanson off the top rope, as another Parade breaks out, ending with a Gun Stun to Rowe for another near-fall, before rolling Rowe into a grounded Cobra that eventually forced a referee stoppage. I was not expecting THAT as a finish, but it adds another bow to Tama’s offence, which’ll come in handy when the big lads easy push away your Gun Stun! One of the better tournament matches so far, but given the names involved, it’s not an accident. ***½
With two of the biggest threats in the group facing each other here, we saw a change at the top of the board, with the KES capitalising on War Machine’s loss after the third round of matches. It’s business as usual for the teams with Young Lions, and it’ll probably be the final day when they have a real chance of points – as Henare & Makabe vs. Finlay & Kitamura takes place in the last round of block B matches.
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens; Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi; Juice Robinson & Sami Callihan; Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan; (2-1; 4pts)
EVIL & SANADA; Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata; Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka; YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto (1-2; 2pts)
Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer (3-0; 6pts)
Beretta & Chuckie T; Hanson & Raymond Rowe; Jeff Cobb & Michael Elgin; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (2-1; 4pts)
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (1-2; 2pts)
Henare & Togi Makabe; Katsuya Kitamura & David Finlay (0-3; 0pts)
Monday is a day off for the tournament, with Tuesday seeing the crew roll into Nagano for a quartet of block A matches: Sami Callihan & Juice Robinson vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi; Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI; Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens vs. Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka; Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi vs. EVIL & SANADA.
After that, NJPW World’s got the full Korakuen Hall show from Thursday, where the World Tag League will headline the show for a change, with War Machine taking on the Killer Elite Squad.