More from the New Japan World Tag League now… as block B’s penultimate matches wrapped up in Yamaguchi.
World Tag League 2017 – Block B: War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe) vs. David Finlay & Katsuya Kitamura
Oh dear, this may be a quick one… especially when Finlay’s sneak attack had no effect!
Despite that, Finlay and Kitamura kept on, enjoying a little bit of success with double-teaming as they took down Hanson, then Rowe, but War Machine swiftly hit back as they turned their sights onto Kitamura.
Rowe wins a battle of right hands as he chopped Kitamura into place, as Hanson decides to do the same with a series of knees to the midsection. Rowe’s back in to follow up with a camel clutch as Kitamura’s left in there to take a beating – but out of nowhere he charges out of the corner with a shoulder block before making the tag out.
Finlay tries to make a dent, and he has some luck with Rowe, but in the end he’s caught… before flipping out of a death valley driver as an uppercut put him slightly ahead. More uppercut sin the corner staggered Rowe, but he comes back out with a running knee to score a near-fall.
Kitamura asks for a tag back in once Finlay’d gotten the upper hand, but and he almost gets Hanson up for a press slam… only for the bearded one to kick him away and fire off a series of the Forever lariats. One of them’s ducked as Kitamura gets Hanson in a Fireman’s carry, before a double spear ended War Machine’s latest spree. A nice pop-up spear from the relative rookies almost gets the shock win, but they turn their attention to Hanson, just in time for Rowe to get back to his feet.
Once a spinning heel kick knocked Finlay outside, it’s all down to Kitamura again… and it’s not long before War Machine end it with Fallout as the expected happened. A shade over seven minutes means this was a brisk, but competitive, squash. **¾
World Tag League 2017 – Block B: Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) vs. Togi Makabe & Henare
This isn’t going to last long either, but Henare’s got fire and he goes after the tag champions, successfully isolating Archer for the early portion of the match.
A sneaky kick to the back of Henare from the Bulldog helps turn things around though, and Smith makes sure to get rid of Makabe, throwing him into the guard railings for good effect. Archer busts out a ripcord uranage for a near-fall on Henare, which seemingly shocked him as he bullied the ref out of the ring, thinking it should have been three.
Randomly, Archer exits the ring and heads into the crowd to… do something with a fan? It’s just a few seconds as he comes back in before tagging the Bulldog, who continues the beating on Henare. After hitting a neckbreaker, the Bulldog tries to eke out the win with a crossface, but Henare makes it to the ropes, before he’s taken into the corner to continue the methodical beating.
Eventually the Kiwi looked to get back in it, but he runs into a powerslam for a couple of two-counts as Smith and Archer were relentless. Collapsing out of the corner in time, Henare’s able to crawl towards a tag as Makabe comes in for his usual routine – you know, mounted punches and a clothesline – but that’s barely enough for a one-count.
Makabe forces out of a full nelson bomb, and instead catches Archer with a lariat before teasing the Spider German suplex. Not on this tour, mate! Smith makes the save, and that delay doesn’t give Archer enough time to get himself free as Makabe actually hits it! I was not expecting that…
In the midst though, Henare gets a blind tag just as Makabe misses a King Kong Knee drop, but the expected beatdown doesn’t come to pass as he escapes a Killer Bomb and mounts the nearest thing he’d get to a fightback, knocking down Archer with a shoulder tackle off the top rope. However, the Bulldog returns to hit a reverse DDT as Henare was going for a Samoan drop, and after some more high impact moves, including a chokeslam, it’s not long before the match ends, courtesy of the Killer Bomb. This was fine for the squash it ought to be – but a little on the long side for my tastes as the KES join the predicted six-way logjam! **½
Easily better than block A’s remnants yesterday, but pretty much “as you were” in block B then. Friday’s live show is the block A finals in Hiroshima, with the entire card streaming on NJPW World…
EVIL & SANADA; Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi; Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI (4-2; 8pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens; Juice Robinson & Sami Callihan; Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka (3-3; 6pts)
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2-4; 4pts)
Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (1-5; 2pts)
Beretta & Chuckie T; Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer; Hanson & Raymond Rowe; Jeff Cobb & Michael Elgin; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa; Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (4-2; 8pts)
Henare & Togi Makabe; Katsuya Kitamura & David Finlay (0-6; 0pts)
Good God. I’m not even going to begin to comprehend the log-jam in this block. Saturday’s finals feature the battle of the zero-point teams, whilst we have:
War Machine vs. Jeff Cobb & Michael Elgin
Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano
Best Friends vs. Killer Elite Squad
Cobb and Elgin have losses to the KES and the Best Friends… War Machine’s lost to Ishii/Yano and the Guerrillas… Ishii and Yano have losses to KES and Cobb/Elgin… the Best Friends have lost to Ishii/Yano and War Machine… KES have losses to the Guerrillas and War Machine. That makes things no clearer, but the winner will absolutely be decided on those tie-breaks!