Time to chip away at the backlog as we’re into the fourth night of World Tag League matches – coming from Niigata!
It’s all fixed-camera stuff, and we’re doing away with screenshots because our laptop’s playing up…
World Tag League: Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima
This feels like a very Lion’s Gate-y match, and on paper there really should be only one winner.
Kojima and Yoshida start us off, with the former edging ahead with a shoulder tackle before he ran into a hiptoss. There’s a bit of hesitation as both men tagged out, with Tenzan getting backed up into the ropes by Umino, who didn’t break cleanly, so he gets met with headbutts for a while.
A shoulder charge from Umino keeps Tenzan down, but Mongolian chops turn it around, especially since Kojima comes into help. Umino tries to fight back, but Kojima knocks him down again as the Young Lion team were decidedly on the back foot. Boots from Tenzan keep Umino cornered as Yoshida tried to argue from the floor, but to no avail as Umino was just whipped into the corner and met with a suplex for a near-fall.
Eventually Shota fought back, but a Mongolian chop cuts him off… only for him to make that tag out as Yoshida tried to turn the match around single-handedly. Slams for Tenzan and Kojima worked, before he shrugs off more of those chops and kicks Tenzan to the mat. A simple front facelock almost worked, but Yoshida lets go so he could kick Kojima off the apron and ends up turning around into a Mountain Bomb.
In comes Kojima with the Machine Gun chops, but Yoshida escapes the top rope elbow and brings Umino back in, but his forearms just seem to anger Kojima. Still, Umino knocks Kojima down and we get some double-teaming as Kojima’s cornered, then held up for a missile dropkick from Umino that gets them a near-fall.
Umino busts out a cross armbreaker next, but Kojima gets to the ropes and recovers with a DDT as Yoshida on the outside gets hurled into the barriers. A Koji cutter almost gets the win, before it’s time for the elbow pad to come off… but a Cozy lariat’s ducked and turned into a cross armbreaker as Niigata sensed a possible upset, only for Tenzan to break it all up. From there, the TenCozy Cutter follows to get rid of Yoshida, before one last plucky bit of fight from Umino’s snuffed out with a Cozy Lariat as the veterans picked up the win. By the numbers, but Umino continues to show great heart. ***¼
World Tag League: Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) vs. Best Friends (Chuckie T & Beretta)
We start with a battle of former PWG champions as Sabre and Chuckie went at it in the ropes, trading holds and escapes with the buttery smoothness you’d expect from them. Yeah, there’s a stand-off early on too.
Sabre keeps escaping Chuckie’s headlocks, turning one such escape into grounded headscissors, before a second stand-off led to Chuckie coming back with a dropkick, then a tag out to Beretta. Double back elbows dump Sabre, who’s then met with double elbow drops, then the Gobstopper diving knee from Beretta as the Best friends had everything in check.
A tope from Beretta wiped out Zack on the outside, as he was then thrown into guard railings… but things turned around as we got our customary Suzuki-gun brawl as we ended up outside… and in the crowd too as Taichi looked to bury Beretta under chairs. Of course, Taichi makes sure Beretta beat the count, so he could throw him back into Sabre… but Zack didn’t want to have all the fun, so he made sure Taichi tagged in to do something.
That something was stomps to the legs, which just made Beretta angry, as seen by an enziguiri, but an attempt at the Dudebuster on Sabre’s countered as a big boot from Taichi turned the move into a Destroyer. That’s the closest we’ll see ZSJ doing one of those!
Zack brings it back to his regular game, grounding Beretta in a STF near the ropes. We get the obligatory rope break, with Beretta fighting back into a tornado DDT on Sabre to get himself free – then a tag out to Chuckie, who tries to keep Sabre in there by himself. Chops and forearms in the corner leave Sabre down for some stomping, following up with a missile dropkick that looked to set up for our second dive… but Taichi broke it up, only to get met with a slingshot plancha.
Sabre gets a slingshot plancha too on the other side of the ring, and after some back and forth Sabre’s left laying from a leaping knee. There’s a Samoan driver from Chuckie, but he can’t get the win as he looked to finish off with a Falcon arrow, only for Sabre to climb out and into a mounted key lock. That’s countered out of with a suplex, but Taichi’s in to break up the pin… and he’s tagged back in too not long after that.
Taichi sidesteps a charge into the corner before throwing some kicks, including one to the back of the head for a near-fall. Off come the tights, before Chuckie blocked a superkick and met Taichi with Soul Food… and in comes Beretta to try and get the win. A crossbody off the top flattens Taichi, who tried to hit back by aiming at Beretta’s bad wheel. There’s half-and-half suplexes for everyone as Beretta fought out of a double-team… but after kicking out of an Axe Bomber, Beretta’s trapped in a single leg crab that he narrowly broke via the ropes as Sabre had Chuckie tied up in an Octopus.
With Beretta in agony, Taichi looked for a head kick, but it’s ducked… before a superkick catches at the second attempt for another near-fall. Chuckie broke that up and gets sent to the outside, meaning Taichi’s got one more crack at Beretta… but he took too long measuring him up as a powerbomb’s countered into a small package for the win. This was pretty good stuff – not Taichi’s best, but infinitely better than some of the dreck we’ve seen in him in singles action. ***¼
World Tag League: The Elite (Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA)
Our final World Tag League match of the night then, and we start with a game Yujiro against SANADA… with both men over like rover in their home town.
Yujiro starts with an arm wringer, which SANADA cartwheel kicks out of, before they tag out so EVIL and Page can try their luck with shoulder tackles. Some double-teaming sees Yujiro combine with Page to knock EVIL down, before some chops to EVIL only go so far – as SANADA catches Yujiro in the ropes and helps turn it around. A backbreaker from EVIL puts Yujiro down as SANADA whips Page into the guard rails… and there’s similar treatment for Yujiro too as LIJ looked comfortable.
SANADA’s back in with Yujiro, blocking a big boot so he can tie up his fellow hometown boy in a Paradise Lock. Despite Page trying to help him free, it needed a low dropkick from SANADA to unlock him, as we crossed the five minute mark. EVIL returns for double-teaming behind the ref’s back, leading to a back senton for a near-fall.
Yujiro tries to fight back on EVIL, but a rake to the eyes and nose stops that, only for Yujiro to come back with a release Fisherman’s suplex. A tag brings Page in, who scores with a fallaway slam on EVIL before kipping up and plancha’ing into SANADA on the outside. Page hurried back in to clothesline EVIL outside for a tope, ahead of a German back inside as Hangman almost got the W.
EVIL hit back and tagged out, but SANADA had to flip outside from an Irish whip… only to get met with a clothesline back from Page. Yujiro’s back with a boot to SANADA, before a leg sweep and a low dropkick left him on the mat. We keep going back and forth, with Yujiro’s reverse DDT drawing a two-count, as did a reverse neckbreaker version of the 3D with Page’s involvement.
EVIL and SANADA return to double-team Yujiro with a back suplex for a near-fall, before an attempt at Magic Killer was avoided by Takahashi. Page slingshots back in for a double Buckshot Lariat to LIJ, before he went up top for an elbow drop assist to Yujiro’s cutter that almost ended the match. It didn’t though, as SANADA kicked out, with EVIL helping clear house and set up Yujiro for a Magic Killer… only for Hangman Page to pull out the referee at the count of two!
We all end up outside as Page Orihara moonsaults into LIJ on the floor – with Yujiro staying behind to try and pick up the pieces with his Angle slam-like move. It’s not enough though, with SANADA kicking out after a groggy count from Red Shoes Unno, and when EVIL stops Page from helping out with another elbow drop/Dominator, the writing was on the wall as SANADA caught Yujiro with an O’Connor roll for the win. Another solid match, as LIJ end the night with a share of the lead. ***
Everyone’s had two matches at this point, and yeah… we’re not going to have a clear leader for a while!
1. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (2-0; 4pts)
1. Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) (2-0; 4pts)
1. Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T) (2-0; 4pts)
1. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) (2-0; 4pts)
5. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi (1-1; 2pts)
5. Juice Robinson & David Finlay (1-1; 2pts)
5. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (1-1; 2pts)
5. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) (1-1; 2pts)
5. Togi Makabe & Toa Henare (1-1; 2pts)
5. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (1-1; 2pts)
11. Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb (0-2; 0pts)
11. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka) (0-2; 0pts)
11. Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino (0-2; 0pts)
11. The Elite (Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi) (0-2; 0pts)
Night four was a pretty solid round of action – no barn-burners, but certainly not the skippable fare we’ve been expecting. These bouts are decent background watches… and that’s about it.