Four more tag team matches come your way as Nagano saw some block A action in New Japan’s World Tag League!
World Tag League 2017 – Block A: Death Juice (Sami Callihan & Juice Robinson) vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
They wouldn’t let Sami throw a chair from the entry way today, so he just grabs some from under the ring and tosses those instead. Meanwhile with his t-shirt and bandanna combo, Juice kinda looks like he’s cosplaying as Hulk Hogan.
It’s simple stuff to start with here, as Juice quickly moves to the Dusty punches on Nagata, who then replied with the stuttering low dropkick and a big boot. Tags take us to Callihan and Nakanishi, which just led to some back-and-forth chops that had Sami rocking. Juice gets some too as he tried to wander in, and that leaves Callihan on the back foot against the dads.
Juice breaks up the Shirome armbar as the match spills to the outside, where Callihan jabs a chair into Nagata’s gut. Back inside, Nagata’s forced to fight out of the corner, but even with Nakanishi wandering in to headbutt Callihan, the veterans find themselves pushed. Nagata and Callihan do the Undertaker/Lesnar double sit-up spot, just without the wacky laughs, but again, Juice knocks Nakanishi off the apron to keep the youngsters on top. Nagata finally outsmarts them, and suplexes Sami into Juice as he finally brings in Nakanishi, who pancakes Callihan in the corner and then hits a standing suplex and a double spear for good measure.
Heck, Nakanishi even climbs the ropes for a crossbody out of the corner, as the dads hit a clothesline and a big boot to almost hand them the win… Nakanishi tries for another submission by hoisting Juice into an Argentine backbreaker, which Callihan breaks up by kissing. Yeah, that’s a problematic spot going by Twitter…
Nakanishi overcomes that with a double suplex as the dads again go to work, but when Nakanishi accidentally clotheslines Nagata, the end quickly follows, as Death Juice hit the spike Pulp Friction for the win. Finally, a Nagata and Nakanishi tag match that moved quicker than a glacier! Standard fare, but overall a fun watch. ***
World Tag League 2017 – Block A: Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
This mid-table clash started off as usual – shoulder tackles and hiptosses! Kojima wins that first battle and takes it to the corner as Tenzan comes in… but Goto wheels away before any harm can be done.
Tags take us to Tenzan and YOSHI-HASHI, and if you thought YOSHI-HASHI was going to win that shoulder tackle challenge… you’re wrong! Mongolian chops follow, as does the slingshot elbow/headbutt combo as the veterans seemed to be in control. That was until YOSHI-HASHI dragged them outside, and it’s time for the mandated “throw your opponents into the guard railings” spot, which is where they took over, with Goto doing an impressive spot, hiptossing YOSHI-HASHI onto Tenzan when they made it back inside. Problem was, YOSHI-HASHI got cocky and tried for a suplex… which gets reversed as Kojima gets back in to light him up with those Machine Gun chops.
After kicking out from the top rope elbow, YOSHI-HASHI tries to fight back, only to earn himself a DDT. He returned fire with a running Blockbuster as Goto gets the tag back in, and nearly gets a win with a back suplex…
Tenzan comes in again as we get some double-teaming, leading to Goto eating a Mountain bomb. Again the tide turns as Kojima gets cornered, but a neckbreaker/GTR combo is quickly broken up by Tenzan, who’s then held in place for a left-arm lariat from YOSHI-HASHI. More double-teaming sees a superkick-assisted ushogoroshi get another near-fall on Kojima, before an assisted reverse GTR gets the pinfall.
Much like the first match of the day, this moved at a relatively brisk pace – but this probably isn’t a match for purists or folks who care about tag rules. Yes Rob, I mean you! **¾
World Tag League 2017 – Block A: Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka) vs. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens)
We get a whole new level of jump start here, as Suzuki and Iizuka rush the aisle to attack their opponents…
Crowd brawling therefore starts us off, with Chase being brave and going after Suzuki… continuing to choke and double-team the Suzuki-gun leader when they made it to the ring. Oh, he’ll pay for that. Sure enough, with Desperado on hand to distract the referee, payback came courtesy of an Iizuka chairshot, and we’re back into the crowd as Suzuki throws chairs and guard railings onto Chase. Told you he’d pay… problem was, we saw very little of it because of the fixed camera. They finally cut to an alternative shot, with Desperado and Iizuka working over Fale, just as the referee decided to start a count-out.
Back in the ring, wrenches over Owens with a keylock, but it’s quickly broken in the ropes, and we’re firmly in the Suzuki-gun shenanigans now. Iizuka choking Chase with a rope, Suzuki attacking from behind before throwing another rope… you know the drill. Eventually order’s restored as tags take us to Fale and Iizuka, with the latter indulging in some biting, before running into a Samoan drop.
Iizuka escapes a charge in the corner and pulls out even more rope to try and choke Fale with, as Suzuki tags in to take advantage once more. The plan backfired as Suzuki gets pancaked a few times and met with a knee for a near-fall, before Owens hits a short-arm lariat… but his attempt to put the icing on the cake with a package piledriver’s stopped, as Suzuki barged his way through the open door, finish off Owens with a rear naked choke, a shot to the throat from Iizuka’s funky oven glove, and a Gotch piledriver for the pin. At least this was short, but to me the collection of brawling and interference made this feel badly disjointed. *¼
World Tag League 2017 – Block A: Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) vs. Bullet Club (Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi)
The last of our block matches today had a more sedate start, with Yujiro trying to restrain EVIL in a headlock, before going into our usual shoulder block spot.
It’s not long before everything spills outside as Red Shoes watches on in bemusement, just standing in the middle of the ring. Well, it’s not like this happens in every bloody match, right? At least they quickly returned to the ring, where Yujiro pounds away on EVIL en route to an early pinning attempt, as the Bullet Club duo seemed to be in control.
SANADA turns it around with the double leapfrog dropkick, before an EVIL trip leads to… yup, more stuff outside, as Page wears a chair and almost gets thrown into the ring post, before freeing himself and instead dumping EVIL into the chair with a DDT. Page keeps hold of the chair and whacks SANADA’s knee in it after Yujiro’d hung him in a Tree of Woe on the outside. Of course, that makes SANADA’s leg a target, with Page trying for a submission courtesy of a single leg crab. It doesn’t get the submission, but it does weaken SANADA more, before he somehow hits a ‘rana – bad wheel and all! EVIL returns to try and capitalise… but the first thing he does is take the match outside as Page meets the guard railings. Yep, EVIL’s on fire!
Yujiro tries to interfere, but he just gets a clothesline as EVIL took down Page with a bulldog at the same time. More tags take us back to SANADA and Yujiro, with the latter getting tied up in knots pretty quickly. Some biting gets Yujiro back into it, as he takes SANADA back into the corner for a Yakuza kick, allowing the Bullet Club to get some double-teams on the already-softened knee of SANADA… which somehow included that neckbreaker/back suplex combo that looked a little off today.
Things escalate as Yujiro hits a reverse Pimp Juice DDT for a near-fall on SANADA, but the Ingobernables quickly turn things around with more double-teams, with EVIL helping to keep Yujiro isolated as a Magic Killer gets LIJ the W. A solid match to round-off an enjoyable series of matches here – they were perhaps a touch too heavy on the ringside brawling, but all things considered this was a good outing to keep LIJ in touch with the middle of the pack. ***
We’re back to the log-jam as Death Juice lead the way on six points, whilst just about everyone else is tied for second with a 2-2 record. Another loss for the “Dads” team of Nagata and Nakanishi will confirm their elimination…
Juice Robinson & Sami Callihan (3-1; 6pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens; EVIL & SANADA; Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi; Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI; Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka; Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2-2; 4pts)
Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (1-3; 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)
The tournament’s off again today (Wednesday), before returning to Korakuen Hall for a full show that’ll be streamed live on NJPW World. They then continue for three more days – Friday in Aichi, Saturday in Osaka and Sunday in Kochi – before another day off, as we get into the business end of the tournament.