The next round of World Tag League action comes from Kanagawa – and we’re chipping away at the ol’ backlog!
You know the score – fixed camera, and we’re from a rather packed Culttz Kawasaki, with over two and a half thousand people filling the place.
World Tag League: Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino vs. Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T)
Holy crap, these entrances remind me of the old Fire Pro game on the PS2. If you know, you know.
We start with Beretta taking Yoshida into a corner from the tie-up – and the former Trent looks a little too cocky against the Kaientai Dojo trainee. A hiptoss from Yoshida proves the point as Umino tags in to try and keep up the momentum – with Shota putting some boots to Beretta, followed by forearms. Chuckie T, whom Umino had tried to knock off the apron moments earlier, provides a distraction as Beretta hit back with a tornado DDT. There’s more help from Chuckie on the outside, before he’s tagged in for real, working together for a double-team elbow drop on Umino as the Best Friends looked to isolate the Young Lion.
Umino makes a comeback with a dropkick to Beretta, before he tags out to Yoshida, who does a pretty good job clearing house on his own. There’s a kick to the chest of a running Beretta, before a second one’s blocked and met with a forearm to the head. Yoshida counters a suplex into a guillotine choke, which he releases so he can go after Chuckie… but the distraction just allows Beretta to hit a half-and-half suplex as the Best Friends are right back in it.
Or so we thought. A missed moonsault from Chuckie gives Yoshida an opening, bringing Umino back in as they double-teamed their way more seasoned foes. A clothesline from Yoshida to Chuckie, then an Umino missile dropkick was good for a near-fall, before a Boston crab’s broken up by an enraged Beretta. In the end, Chuckie catches Umino with a knee in the corner, before a piledriver drew just a two-count… so he gets a second one and there’s no kicking out of that. Pretty solid, by the numbers stuff, but this was a match nobody expected to have a result other than this. **¾
World Tag League: Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka) vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
Guess what? Jump start!
Suzuki-gun take the match outside as we get the guard rail and ring apron spots, but Nagata outsmarts them and boots his way back into it. It’s Nagata and Suzuki in the ring trading blows, before Nakanishi waddles in to help, scoring with a shoulder tackle before the referee finally got Nakanishi out.
We’re back outside again as Nakanishi’s met with a chair from Iizuka, before all four men end up in the crowd. You know the score here. Suzuki takes a fan’s chair and whacks it on Nagata, who seemed to have corn flakes stuck to him after landing on the floor. Back in the ring, Suzuki unmasks Iizuka, who gnaws Nagata (presumably for those corn flakes) before Suzuki catches Nagata with an armbar in the ropes.
Suzuki takes over with some forearms, which just makes Nagata mad, and he eventually hits back against Iizuka, catching him with an enziguiri and an Exploder. In comes Nakanishi with chops, before an Irish whip and clotheslines in the corner take Iizuka to the mat, ahead of a simple body slam and another lariat for a near-fall. Iizuka tags out and brings in Suzuki to try and liven things up, but Nakanishi sandbags on an Irish whip then clotheslines Suzuki instead. Nagata scores with a running boot to Suzuki for a near-fall, before Nakanishi hauled him up for an Argentina backbreaker… but Iizuka wanders in and looked to break it up, only for Nakanishi to throw Suzuki into him and the ref. DQ, surely? Nope, Suzuki ducks a clothesline attempt and tries for a rear naked choke, before he’s charged into the corner with a clothesline. We’ve another Argentine backbreaker, which looked to be turned into a cutter, but Suzuki slips out… and after Iron Finger shots to Nakanishi and Nagata, Suzuki gets the Gotch piledriver off for the win. Slow, plodding and full of all your (least) favourite shenanigans. AVOID. *½
World Tag League: Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay
Uh-oh, an all-gaijin match away from the “big cities”? We start with a handshake as Elgin and Juice get us going, working back-and-forth on the ol’ wristlocks before Juice ran into the brick wall that was Elgin.
Cobb comes in and takes a double-bulldog from Fin-Juice, who followed up with back sentons for good measure, before Elgin’s back with a big shoulder tackle. Yup. Chops follow to Finlay, who’s left reeling in the ropes, becoming easy prey for the pass-the-parcel suplex, which is never not impressive. Even when Cobb does look to wobble a bit!
Cobb’s in better form as he traded forearms with Finlay, before he’s met with a diving one off the middle rope as Finlay tagged in Juice, who finally got the big man down with a low dropkick and a clothesline. A full nelson slam stops any interference from Elgin, as Cobb takes a corner cannonball, before he retaliated with the Athleticplex. Elgin’s back to clothesline through Juice in the corner, eventually following in with a superkick and a discus forearm, before Juice hit back with a spinebuster. Duelling planchas from Fin-Juice find their mark on the outside, while Cobb just watched his partner take a double-team superplex the match remained in the balance.
Finally Cobb’s back in to help out with the double-team hiptoss backbreaker on Finlay, before Juice goes wild with Dusty punches. He’s tossed up by Cobb into a German suplex by Elgin, before Cobb shows his power again as Kanagawa’s wowed by the powerbomb/backcracker combo that somehow only gets a near-fall. That move NEEDS to beat someone otherwise what’s the point of having a different double-team move in your arsenal? Cobb flips out of the Pulp Friction, before giving a running Angle slam and a standing moonsault to Robinson for just a two-count. From there, Fin-Juice found their feet, and after a double-team flapjack, Cobb eats a Prima Nocta stunner and the Pulp Friction for the win. A bit of a rushed finish considering Cobb hit some of his big stuff and then lost, but this was your typical solid match hampered by the crowd. ***
World Tag League: Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) vs. Toa Henare & Togi Makabe
Our final tag league match from this show sees LIJ continuing their big to remain undefeated – and claim a share of the lead.
Henare wants to start the match, and he gets double-teamed from the off as EVIL knocks Makabe off the evil… but he does at least outsmart LIJ early, catching EVIL and SANADA with hiptosses to snuff out their threat. SANADA kicks Henare in the back as he took too long going for the falling chop, and that lured Makabe in as he took some double-teaming too, before all four men ended up in the crowd. Yep, we’re getting TWO of these tonight!
Henare beats the count as EVIL looked to finish off the job, but Henare tries to fight back… and gets tripped in the ropes as LIJ continued to distract the ref. A back senton from EVIL’s good for a near-fall… but at least Henare fought out from a suplex as he eventually countered SANADA’s efforts.
There’s a big back body drop from Henare as he finally gets free to tag in Makabe, who’s all about them shoulder tackles, then the corner-to-corner clotheslines before another lariat dropped SANADA for a near-fall. Makabe leaps over a springboard before he’s caught in a Skull End from SANADA, before he eventually escaped and lands a lariat as both men’s partners conveniently got back up on the apron.
Tags out bring us back to EVIL and Henare, with the latter scoring from a shoulder charge and a Samoan drop for a two-count. EVIL’s release Fisherman suplex stops all that momentum though, as does a clothesline, as Henare needs Makabe to break the count to keep the match going. SANADA dispatched Makabe with ease as Henare tries to fight back, but he’s forced to call on his partner yet again for help as a Magic Killer was attempted. Makabe charges back and clotheslines both halves of LIJ… and I’m not super keen on Henare being the whipping boy here. On paper he’s got a gimmick so he’s no longer a Young Boy, but the results don’t show that!
With Makabe’s help, Henare scores a flying shoulder tackle for a near-fall on EVIL, before he elbowed out of Everything is EVIL… and then headbutts away a lariat for good measure. SANADA traps Makabe with an Asai DDT into a Skull End before releasing him for a Magic Killer… and with him out of the question, it’s just a matter of time for Henare you sense. EVIL does the throat slash gesture before an attempt at Everything is EVIL is countered with a roll-up and one last comeback from the Kiwi, who just runs into Darkness Falls for a near-fall before Everything is EVIL gets the win. A valiant effort, but it just was not to be as Henare picked up a depressingly familiar result. **¾
1. Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T) (3-0; 6pts)
1. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) (3-0; 6pts)
3. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (2-0; 4pts)
3. Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) (2-0; 4pts)
3. Juice Robinson & David Finlay (2-1; 4pts)
6. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (1-1; 2pts)
6. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (1-1; 2pts)
6. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) (1-1; 2pts)
6. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi (1-2; 2pts)
6. Togi Makabe & Toa Henare (1-2; 2pts)
6. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka) (1-2; 2pts)
12. The Elite (Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi) (0-2; 0pts)
12. Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb (0-3; 0pts)
12. Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino (0-3; 0pts)
This show was what it was – not great in terms of the tournament matches, but at least if you skip that Suzuki-gun brawl, you’ve got some passable action here… otherwise, skip along.=