We’re well into the final week, as the contenders begin to fall in the World Tag League!
It’s back to the single camera stuff as we come from Kochi’s Prefectural Coliseum. Wholly on-demand, with no commentary…
World Tag League: Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka) vs. Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino
Lets start with some mayhem! Except this came from the Young Lions, who jumped Suzuki and Iizuka, taking them outside. They’re finally getting some payback!
Yoshida scores an early cover from a clothesline to Suzuki as his offence seemed to be more based out of terror for the eventual receipts. Those came quick enough too, as Iizuka caught Yoshida in the ropes, before Suzuki went after Umino, taking him into the crowd as it was time for chairs and assorted beatings that forced Yoshida to stagger back to the ring in order to keep the match going.
Back in the ring, Suzuki keeps Yoshida in a heel hook as we got a rope break… which just led to a tag to Iizuka, who’s unmasked and free to bite. You know the score here. Eventually Yoshida got free after having his foot bitten, as Umino comes back in to mount a comeback with forearms to Iizuka, but that ends with an atomic drop before Suzuki returned to help finish the job.
Umino delays his doom as he avoided a boot in the corner, with the Young Lions mounting one last flurry of offence that ended with a missile dropkick from Umino, who then rolled Suzuki over for a Boston crab. There’s one for Iizuka too, as Yoshida tried his best to restrain him, but there’s a rope break and Umino’s ended. Forearms from Suzuki bring the Young Lion to his knees, and despite some quick pinning attempts, Umino gets summarily caught in a rear naked choke and a Gotch piledriver for the win. Pretty squashy, but nowhere near as comprehensive as the KES’ domination on Sunday. **½
World Tag League: Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
On paper, this ought to be a breeze. We start with Tanga Loa tying up with Nakanishi, as we start with the shoulder tackles.
Those give way as Tama Tonga and Yuji Nagata tagged in, with Nagata rolling away from another tackle so he could hit Tama with the stuttering dropkick. Jado gets involved when he whacked Nagata with the Kendo stick, as the match spills to the floor briefly. Nagata’s back in, but he’s instantly taken into the GOD corner for a prolonged spell of offence.
Tanga Loa switches it up as he whips Nagata into the corner for some splashes, before Nagata slipped out of a scoop slam. He eventually followed up with an Exploder, before Nakanishi tagged in and went after Tama with chops that took him into the corner. Nakanishi even flies, as he heads up for a crossbody into the GOD… my God, there’s something in his water! The Dad Clotheslines follow for a near-fall, as do the Shirome/Argentine backbreaker submissions, but Jado provides a distraction as they’re broken up. Not to worry, Nakanishi hauls Tama Tonga up again, but Tama shoves down the ref, allowing Jado to break the hold with the Kendo stick.
He gets an Argentine backbreaker too as the ring fills up, then clears as Tama hits a Gun Stun for the win. Pretty much a by the numbers tag, almost to squash levels, with the team you’d expect going over. Slowly. **¼
World Tag League: The Elite (Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
Both of these teams are just playing for pride, so don’t expect too much here.
Kojima and Yujiro get us underway as they looked for a Test of Strength early on… yeah, Kojima dominated that as he took Yujiro to his knees before going through him with a shoulder tackle. Tenzan comes in for the slingshot elbow/falling headbutt combo for a near-fall, as the Elite pairing were really struggling out of the gate. Mongolian chops from Tenzan follow, but he’s quickly hotshotted into the ropes as Yujiro tagged himself out. Page gets in and takes down Tenzan with a low dropkick ahead of a running shooting star press for a near-fall, before another low dropkick gets another two-count.
Yujiro’s back, but he’s clocked with a spinning heel kick from Tenzan as Page ran in to stop him from tagging out to Kojima. A Mountain bomb to Yujiro buys him enough time to make the tag out as Kojima lights up Yujiro with Machine gun chops. There’s some for Page too, before Yujiro’s met with a forearm and a top rope elbow. A DDT keeps Yujiro down, but he’s able to fight out of a Koji cutter and land a suplex as Hangman Page mocked Kojima… only to get a Koji Cutter for himself.
Page manages to avoid a Cozy Lariat as the Elite hit back with a back suplex/neckbreaker combo, but it’s not enough to keep Kojima down. A missed top rope moonsault from Page looked to cause trouble, especially when Tenzan threatened to go one better, but Yujiro broke it up before he runs into a TenKoji Cutter. We’re down to Page and Kojima, with the latter landing a spike brainbuster for a near-fall. From the kick-out, Page mounted a comeback, looking for a Buckshot lariat, but he instead ends up with the Rites of Passage for the win. That felt like a classic “hit your cue” finish as we barely passed ten minutes, but this was a solid little tag that you’ll likely never remember after the show ends. **¾
World Tag League: Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay
Despite being in Suzuki-gun, Smith and Archer resisted the urge to jumpstart the match, instead staring down their opponents, before we started with (yes), headlock, shoot off and shoulder tackles!
Juice breaks the flow with some Dusty punches, only for Archer to catch one in a bid to counter with a chokeslam, before a blind tag brought in Finlay for some double-team dropkicks. The match spills outside for the obligatory guard rail spots, where the KES edged ahead, before a short-arm clothesline from Archer flipped Finlay inside out. A version of the high/low gets the KES a near-fall… and a chance to bully the ref as Finlay was taking a beating… but Finlay’s able to avoid some charges before tagging in Juice, who flies in with Macho Man double axehandles to Smith.
A plancha gets rid of Archer, before a leg lariat knocked Smith down again ahead of some more Dusty punches. Juice looked to set up for a cannonball, but he’s pounced away by Archer as Finlay tags in to try and make a save. He has to avoid a chokeslam before taking down Archer with a European uppercut, only to get caught with a Hart Attack as Finlay needed Juice’s help. Juice is quickly dispatched with a pop-up powerslam before the KES refocus on Finlay, landing a splash-assisted sidewalk slam for a near-fall. Finlay tries one more comeback, but he misses a charge into the corner and is summarily put away with a Killer Bomb. Another dominant performance from the KES, who keep their share of the top spot… can they go all the way and get back into title contention? ***
World Tag League: Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) vs. Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb
Yeah, we get a jump start before the bell as the match spilled outside, where Taichi continued his attack on Cobb with the mic stand.
The focus stays on Cobb back inside, as he’s got to fight out of some double-teaming, doing so successfully as a back suplex took Taichi down, only for a standing moonsault to miss. Taichi aims for the legs with some kicks, then takes Cobb into the crowd for his usual routine, which included jabbing Cobb in the belly with a chair. There’s a shot to the leg too as Cobb had to hobble back to the ring to beat the count… so perhaps the last guy he’d wanted to tag in was ZSJ.
Can you guess what happened next? Sabre and Taichi worked over Cobb’s leg, mostly aiming kicks to the quad, before Cobb caught one and pulled Sabre into a massive fallway slam. A tag’s made to Elgin, who cleared the apron and almost beat Sabre with an O’Connor roll, before he hauled him up for a deadlift bridging German suplex that almost won the match.
A forearm from Elgin lays out Sabre, but Zack hits back with a Euro clutch for a near-fall of his own before he’s felled… by a chop. Ow. The kick/chop battle raged on until Elgin damn near forearms Sabre’s head off… something Zack regains as he launched a comeback and leaps in with a guillotine… that’s easily switched into a Falcon arrow. Cobb tags back in and decks Taichi with an Athletic-plex, before Taichi sidestepped a corner charge as we get some two-on-one.
Another Sabre kick, then a Taichi buzzsaw kick has Cobb down, but Elgin makes a save and a single-handed, superkick-laden comeback before a standing moonsault from Cobb almost put Taichi away. The clothesline sandwich clobbers Taichi, who then has to kick Cobb low after a ref distraction… but Elgin breaks up the Gedo clutch by picking up Taichi and giving him a buckle bomb.
From there, Sabre tries to counter an Elgin bomb on Taichi with a guillotine, but Zack’s powerbombed away before Taichi’s Axe bomber left Cobb down for a two-count. TAKA Michinoku gets involved on the apron, distracting the referee while slyly kicking in the mic stand… which Taichi uses before ripping off his trousers, before Cobb caught a buzzsaw kick and replied with a Tour of the Islands for the win. This was a nice little tag match, and it’s yet another win for Cobb and Elgin, who are still building up momentum… even if I reckon it started just too late. ***¼
World Tag League: Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. Togi Makabe & Toa Henare
We started with Yano and Makabe… with the former already teasing going for the turnbuckles as he inched into the corner. Yano ducks Makabe and bats him on the had, and you know where we’re going.
Rope break? No! Makabe mocks Yano, then charges through with a shoulder tackle before he brings in Henare, who helps with his part of a double shoulder tackle too, before staring down Ishii on the apron. Those two still had bad blood, as seen when Henare leapt at Ishii with a forearm, which of course just dragged in the Rev Pro British champion as the action spilled to the floor. Poor Henare, he poked the bear and ended up being posted.
Henare’s thrown back in as Ishii tagged in, where he could kick his arse legally, which he does, cornering the Kiwi who tried to fight back with chops of his own, but Ishii just walks through them before throwing one of his own. Yano’s back in, but he’s whipped into the exposed corner and met with a Samoan drop, as his earlier sneakiness backfired. Makabe gets a tag back in, and instantly goes for Yano… but Ishii got a shot too, and comes in for revenge, only to get cornered as Makabe hit his own lariats ahead of the mounted punches to Yano. A Northern Lights suplex is blocked, but Yano’s met with a clothesline anyway for a near-fall, before a quick strike battle ends with Yano pulling Makabe down by the hair.
A Makabe clothesline keeps Ishii at bay, as Henare’s pleading for a tag… that he gets, but it’s like being back in the lion’s den as Ishii’s still in the ring. Henare actually knocks down Ishii, then Yano, with shoulder tackles, before an attempt at a suplex eventually landed after Ishii tried to resist.
Henare manages to run into the exposed turnbuckle, then get slingshotted into it as he became the architect of his own downfall. Makabe tries to stem the tide by scoring a double clothesline, before helping out with a clothesline sandwich on Ishii, who then had to kick out of a Samoan drop. A headbutt to Ishii barely registered, but Henare shrugs off an enziguiri to lay him out with a clothesline, before a rugby tackle almost scored the big upset. From there, Henare looked for a uranage, but had to make do with a headbutt before running into an Ishii lariat, as a sheer drop brainbuster finished off the New Zealander. Some fun exchanges here, but I really do worry about how long Henare can continue to eat losses before crowds truly begin to lose faith in him. ***¼
World Tag League: Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) vs. Best Friends (Chuckie T & Beretta)
Beretta decides to have fun with the projection screen as the tensions between the Best Friends weren’t exactly evident… until you got a look at Chuckie T’s sometimes cold, dead eyes.
We start with Beretta and EVIL… and for once there’s no surprise attack as they broke into shoulder tackles early, with EVIL scoring before a back senton helped to an early two-count. Chuckie gets a blind tag in and pulls SANADA outside, away from the camera’s view, as we entered the ringside brawl part of the match, which thankfully was kept brief.
Chuckie returned to score a backbreaker on SANADA, holding him in a stretch before the Best Friends scored with a double back elbow/elbow drop combo. SANADA tries to counter out of a suplex from the apron in, but Beretta catches him and lands a Northern Lights instead for a near-fall. A big back body drop from SANADA almost took Beretta into the ropes… but it did leave him close to the corner as he tagged in Chuckie, who threatened to snap early with some stomps.
There’s an Irish whip to SANADA, sending him into the corner, before Chuckie threw him outside so Beretta could put some boots to him. Oh, and throw him into the guard rails too. The fixed camera hampers the view for a bit, but we get back in sight as Beretta stops SANADA from making a tag out, as the Best Friends started to utilise the quick tags to keep themselves fresh. SANADA ducks a double clothesline and lands a dropkick to give him a window of hope… which he capitalised on as EVIL tags in and goes to work. Clotheslines for Beretta and Chuckie follow, before a suplex gets a two-count on Beretta… who replied with a Gob Stopper that put EVIL down hard. An attempted dive’s cut off quickly by SANADA, who just gets thrown outside too as Beretta watched Chuckie to his tope con giro ahead of an Asai moonsault from himself.
EVIL’s back to get involved, and lands a clothesline to lay out Beretta before both men tagged out, allowing Chuckie to… taste SANADA’s double leapfrog dropkick, then a plancha as SANADA cleared house. A Skull End followed, which Chuckie quickly countered before landing a high knee and a short piledriver, getting a solid two-count in the process. An assisted cutter follows for another two-count, with EVIL breaking up the pin, then trying to quell the Best Friends with chops.
Superkicks put him down to a knee, but SANADA makes a save as he dropkicks away a Strong Zero, turning it into a Code Red on Beretta. A Magic Killer wipes out Chuckie, but Beretta makes a save! EVIL quickly clotheslines him to the outside, and follows him as a small package nearly gets the shock for Chuckie T, before he’s caught in a Skull End for the quick submission. Definitely the best match of the day, but that’s not saying too much among this field! ***½
After those results there’s no change at the top, but with three matches left I think we can just about rule out anyone outside of the top 4 at this point…
1. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) (8-2; 16pts)
1. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (8-2; 16pts)
1. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (8-2; 16pts)
4. Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) (7-3; 14pts)
5. Juice Robinson & David Finlay (6-4; 12pts)
5. Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb (6-4; 12pts)
7. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) (5-5; 10pts)
7. Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T) (5-5; 10pts)
7. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka) (5-5; 10pts)
10. Togi Makabe & Toa Henare (4-6; 8pts)
10. The Elite (Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi) (4-6; 8pts)
12. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (3-7; 6pts)
13. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi (1-9; 2pts)
14. Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino (0-10; 0pts)
As for the current top four, these are their remaining matches:
LIJ – vs. Juice/Finlay; vs. Suzuki/Iizuka; vs. KES
Ishii/Yano – vs. Best Friends; vs. Umino/Yoshida; vs. GOD
GOD – vs. Umino/Yoshida; vs. Best Friends; vs. Ishii/Yano
KES – vs. Makabe/Henare; vs. Yujiro/Page; vs. LIJ
Hey, what do you know? The current top four square off against each other on Friday’s final block matches!