The World Tag League tour continued in Gunma, and we’re into VOD territory already!
Like with the Best of Super Juniors, we’re getting a lot of the tournament matches on-demand – and Sunday’s trip to Gunma gave us a pair of matches out of block B. Let’s get into the goodness of fixed-camera angle matches!
World Tag League 2017 – Block B: Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T)
Tama Tonga went to work on Chuck early, with the Kentucky Gentleman being forced to moonsault his way to freedom as the self-labelled Best Friends tried to take over on the multiple-time former champs.
Things quickly headed outside, which was right into the Guerrillas wheelhouse. The usually-fixed camera moves to show Tama whipping Beretta into a guarding wall… which I guess means this venue is usually an ice hockey rink? Beretta dives off the wall after a save from Chuckie, and we all end up back at ringside, just in time for Tanga Loa to suplex Beretta onto the apron.
Yep, the Bullet Club are still welcoming the former Trent to the Heavyweight Division. I thought his outing against Kenny Omega at Power Struggle showed us he was more than capable? Perhaps not so much when he’s double-teamed, although Beretta does kick out of a double-team Tongan Twist…
Eventually Beretta gets the tag in to Chuckie, who clears house before flying with a tope con hilo into the Guerrillas on the outside! Back inside, a Falcon Arrow nearly does the deal, but Tanga Loa breaks up the cover, before getting sent outside as Tama Tonga was left for the inevitable: the double team Best Friends Chokeslam!
Tanga broke that up too, then helped with a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo that nearly won it… before Beretta escaped the Guerrilla Warfare double-team DDT and planted Tanga with a Dudebuster for the win. By-the-numbers stuff – nothing horrible, but nothing you’ll go back to unless you’re going to be chartering Chuck Taylor’s competitive debut here. **½
World Tag League 2017 – Block B: Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb
Look, you know what we’re here for… and unfortunately, it’s not Yano. I’m here to see Elgin and Cobb get thrown around, and throw around, Ishii. Luckily, we start with Cobb and Ishii – a match I really wish happens at some point.
Before long, the two are throwing forearms like there’s no tomorrow… and yes, the crowd love it. Just like they did when they traded shoulder tackles, which Big Jeff won out on. Big Mike’s in next, and he’s got no time for Yano’s shenanigans, slamming him down for a plancha into the ring for a near-fall.
Of course, Yano finds his way into the ropes for a break… but Elgin just uses it to see-saw him into some punches. A delightful twist on his usual routine, which is followed up by the turnbuckle padding getting removed, as the CHAOS pair took the match to the outside. I’m telling you, it’s in the contract: every World Tag League match must involve at least one bump into the guard rails!
Back inside, Ishii’s got control over Elgin, chopping him into the now-exposed corner… but the receipts come back with venom. Yano comes in to troll Cobb’s attempt at tagging Elgin – who was across the ring from him – but eventually Big Mike fires back with an enziguiri and a ‘rana.
What the hell?!
Cobb gets back in to throw men around for fun, before blocking a Yano low blow and turning it into a deadlift pumphandle suplex for a near-fall. Elgin returns for the Big Man’s fallaway slam/Samoan drop combo, before a missile dropkick puts down Ishii for a Falcon arrow! Just like Chuckie T’s earlier, it doesn’t get the win, nor do the forearms that Elgin and Ishii trade among themselves, before an Ishii suplex garners a near-fall.
The ring fills as Yano slingshots Elgin into the exposed corner, but Big Mike holds on, and Jeff Cobb returns to throw Ishii around for fun, tossing him with a German suplex into Elgin’s German for a near-fall. After a double back suplex gets rid of Yano, we’re back to Elgin and Ishii trading strikes, before duelling forearms from Cobb and Elgin rocked Ishii…
…and then we get the Cobb/Elgin finisher – the big boot assisted slam! Except Ishii gets up at two, before falling to a buckle bomb and an Elgin Bomb. Enjoyable stuff, but it’s still early days here as the Big Lads Throwing Folks Around slowly get themselves over. It could have done with being a little shorter in my mind, but it was fine for what they had. ***
After two matches in each block, these are the current standings:
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI; Sami Callihan & Juice Robinson (1-0; 2pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens; Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi; Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima; Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (0-0; 0pts)
EVIL & SANADA; Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka (0-1; 0pts)
Beretta & Chuckie T; Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb (1-0; 2pts)
Togi Makabe & Henare; David Finlay & Katsuya Kitamura; War Machine (Hanson & Raymond Rowe); Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) (0-0; 0pts)
Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa; Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (0-1; 0pts)
Nothing overly exciting on today’s pair of matches – but you know what you’re in for on this tour. The odd diamond will be in the rough though, trust me. At least they were relatively swift! In Saitama on Monday, New Japan has two block A matches, featuring the Bullet Club pairings: Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi… along with Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan.
Reviews of those two will follow after they drop on New Japan World.