World Tag League continues onto the village shows, and we’ve a quartet of matches from the fixed camera!
The tour rolls into the Takaoka Techno Dome in Toyama – and it’s fixed camera, no-commentary stuff here. The Techno Dome looks like a really nice venue – much different from the boxy arenas you’re used to seeing wrestling in.
World Tag League: Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata vs. Togi Makabe & Toa Henare
With Makabe and Henare on the losing end of things in their first match, they’re looking to get their first win here – and thanks to the sound mixer, we got a sweet mash-up of the Immigrant Song and the Makabe dub!
Nagata and Makabe start us off, with the pair working each other’s arm early on before we worked into shoulder charges. A big boot from Nagata just riles Makabe, who shoved him into the corner as Henare waited for, but didn’t get the tag as his angry dad saw red. Henare eventually did get in, but he’s quickly pulled aside as he faced a former tag team partner in Nakanishi.
The pair trade forearms, before Nakanishi upgraded to chops that help trap Henare into the corner. A jog across the ring leads to Nagata being tagged back in, as the pair of dads worked over Henare’s arm. A flying chop keeps the pressure up, as do more regular chops, as things were becoming rather one-sided.
A brief comeback from Henare sees him take out Nagata with a suplex, before getting a tag out to a fired-up Makabe, who charges Nakanishi off the apron as he makes a beeline for Nagata. Mounted punches follow, but Nagata blocks the Northern Lights suplex as another striking duel ended with a clothesline for a near-fall. Nagata keeps up the pressure with an Exploder, forcing Makabe to tag out again.
This time, Henare enjoyed a little more luck, scoring a near-fall out of a Samoan drop on Nagata, before his uranage attempt gets blocked as Nagata pulled him down into a Shirome armbar. Nakanishi’s back in with a clothesline, almost snatching a victory with it, before Henare elbowed out of an Argentine backbreaker. Second time proved to be the charm though, with Henare holding on for long enough for Makabe to make the save.
Makabe quickly tags back in from there, but he’s thrown into a spear from Nakanishi for a near-fall. Henare’s back to help with a comeback as he scored with a flying shoulder tackle, setting up Nakanishi for a King Kong knee drop, and that’s all folks! This had the largely slow pace you’d have expected given who was involved, but this didn’t plod too much – and already the Makabe/Henare team have matched their 2017 points total! **¾
World Tag League: Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith vs. Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb
Davey Boy’s raided Teddy Hart’s wardrobe again, or at least, drawn massive inspiration from it.
We get your typical Suzuki-gun jump start, with the KES quickly being outsmarted as Elgin and Cobb looked to focus on Smith early on, taking him for a double-team hiptoss backbreaker. Smith fired back with some kicks as Cobb threatened to become isolated, as the former tag champions wore him down with clubbing blows… only for Archer to quickly get used in a human game of pass the parcel.
Eventually the suplex completes, but Smith provides a quick distraction as Archer makes a comeback with a Pounce… and we’re all on the outside for the obligatory guard rail spots. Back in the ring, Archer charges into Cobb in the corner, before Smith tries to gutwrench Cobb… and succeeds as we’re reminded that everyone he’s a strong hoss.
An arm stretch gets reversed, but Archer blind tags himself in and goes back after Cobb, charging him down with a shoulder tackle. A chokeslam looked to follow, but Cobb escapes out with an Angle slam before he got the tag out, with Elgin going right after Smith with right hands. There’s an enziguiri out of the corner too, and a missile dropkick as Elgin kept up the pressure, landing a German suplex for another near-fall.
Elgin keeps in with a forearm to Smith, but the momentums’ quickly stopped as a bridging back suplex nearly gave the KES a win. An attempted Hart Attack is ducked as Elgin got free and tagged in Cobb, who charges at Archer with clotheslines in the corner before catching him with an Athletic plex. Heck, there’s even a standing moonsault for a near-fall too, as Elgin returned to help with a nice leaping backcracker/powerbomb combo.
The cover for that’s instantly broken up though, and the tables turn as Archer wipes out Elgin with a chokeslam for a near-fall. A Hart Attack follows, this time laying out Cobb, who then has to fight free of a Killer Bomb, as Elgin instead looks for his own finisher. He has to make do with a scoop slam on Smith instead, before he’s cut off with a Black Hole slam from Archer and finally, a Killer Bomb. Interesting to see that Elgin took the fall here, but it’s still early days I guess. A serviceable tag, but as seems to be the case on the tour shows, all-gaijin tags struggled. **½
World Tag League: Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka) vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano
Well, it’s weird that the coastal town of Toyama would play host to the latest round of the Suzuki/Ishii feud that’s kinda defined Rev Pro all year?
Yeah, we’ve got a jump start as Ishii and Suzuki picked up where they’ve left off, but Suzuki’s tossed aside as Ishii went for Iizuka, which just gave Yano time to undo a turnbuckle pad. THWACK. That stopped Iizuka in his tracks, but the muzzled one just whips Yano into the exposed corner as the current and former Rev Pro champions went back at it.
Suzuki uses the Rev Pro title belt on Ishii as Yano’s tossed into the crowd, while Ishii and Suzuki went a similar way. There’s a small child watching as Suzuki just throws a chair into Ishii’s back, while Yano had to dive back into the ring to beat Red Shoes’ count-out. Suzuki’s back to putting the boots to Yano before a leg grapevine forced Ishii to come in and stomp the whole thing apart… except he doesn’t as Suzuki just grabs his leg too!
Iizuka’s back and freed as he gnaws on Yano’s forehead, then on Ishii’s dome while Suzuki tried to pull off Yano’s arm with a hanging armbar on the apron. They keep Yano cornered for a while longer until he catches Suzuki with an atomic drop… and in comes Ishii!
Those two quickly go back to trading shots, with those clonking elbows coming to the fore, and yes, they made those sickening noises. A scoop slam from Ishii stops all those, before he flips out of an attempted rear naked choke attempt. The second try isn’t so successful, although Ishii does manage to escape a Gotch piledriver attempt before palm strikes and big boots left both men down.
Yano and Iizuka tag in for what felt like the finishing stretch, with the former trying to sucker Iizuka into the exposed corner. There’s no dice there as Iizuka begins to bite again, eventually getting caught with a Fireman’s carry takeover before a roll-up gets Yano a near-fall. We’re back to biting as Iizuka goes for the forehead, with Ishii’s save just inciting Suzuki back into the ring as Yano gets double-teamed.
Iizuka pulls out his rope and chokes Yano with it ahead of a Suzuki PK for a near-fall, so Iizuka goes for his funky oven glove… which Yano ducks. Yano’s caught by an errant lariat from Ishii, but it all works out in the end as there’s a schmoz before Ishii catches Iizuka with a lariat, sending him into a Yano roll-up for the win. This one had its moments, but it’s another loss for Suzuki, who’s perhaps wishing he’d picked another member of Suzuki-gun to tag with! ***
World Tag League: Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
As solid as Fin-Juice have been, I’m not exactly expecting a big upset here…
Juice and Tama start us off, but Tama’s attempt to lull Juice into a false sense of security doesn’t work as he’s outsmarted and caught with a right hand as the double tag champion was caught out. There’s a nice moment as Juice calls for the ref’s attention to see a tag as Tanga Loa tried to distract, and it means we get a spell of double-teaming on Tama as Fin-Juice exchanged those frequent tags.
All four men end up in the ring, but it’s the Guerrillas who are dispatched as we head to the ringside area courtesy of Fin-Juice planchas… but back in the ring, Tanga Loa capitalises on an attempted Kendo stick shot from Jado on the floor. We’re back outside again as the tag champs throw their opponents into guard rails, which keeps the Guerrillas on top as Tanga Loa resumed wearing down Finlay back in the ring.
Jado gets involved as he jabs that Kendo stick into Finlay on the outside while Juice tried to protest… but that just distracts the ref as the Guerrillas looked to be in complete control. Finlay clings onto the ropes to stop an Irish whip, but he just runs into a back elbow instead before catching Tama Tonga with a back body drop!
Finlay tags out to Juice, who makes a clothesline-laden comeback on Tanga Loa before catching Tama with a spinebuster. Tanga’s caught with more clotheslines in the corner before Juice heads up top and scores with a crossbody for a near-fall. A full nelson slam follows for Tanga, before a double-team bulldog puts Tanga down again… right as Tama Tonga ran in and took some more double-teaming.
It’s a decent spell of offence for Fin-Juice, as they corner the champions for uppercuts, clotheslines and cannonballs, with a diving European uppercut from Finlay getting a near-fall. Jado again threatens to get involved, but that’s avoided as a double-team flapjack leaves Tanga Loa on his face… just before me looked to mount a comeback.
A German suplex takes Juice to the outside, before a uranage backbreaker from Finlay gets a near-fall. Third time was the charm for the Jado Kendo stick shot, as Finlay takes it and walks into a Blue Thunder bomb from Tanga for a near-fall. Juice looks to make a save, but he’s thrown out hard into the guard railings as Finlay took a powerbomb/Gun Stun combo for another two-count.
Juice tries to make a save, spearing Tanga Loa before he ate a Gun Stun as things get a little messy… Tama eats a Prima Nocta stunner, but he’s not the legal man, as Tanga ends up catching Finlay at the second try with Apeshit for the win. An enjoyable, competitive outing – even if you never got the feeling that the result was in any doubt. ***¼
So, a quartet of matches that were, at best, serviceable. This World Tag League tour sure is living up to its reputation!
Three nights deep, and it’s way too early to call a winner of course.
1. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (2-0, 4pts)
1. Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr.) (2-0, 4pts)
3. Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T) (1-0, 2pts)
3. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) (1-0, 2pts)
3. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) (1-0, 2pts)
3. Juice Robinson & David Finlay (1-1, 2pts)
3. Togi Makabe & Toa Henare (1-1, 2pts)
3. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (1-1, 2pts)
3. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi (1-1, 2pts)
10. Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino (0-1, 0pts)
10. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (0-1, 0pts)
10. The Elite (Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi) (0-1, 0pts)
10. Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb (0-2, 0pts)
10. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka) (0-2, 0pts)
The tour continues on Wednesday in Niigata (with EVIL/SANADA vs. Yujiro/Page perhaps being the feature match), before hitting Kanagawa on Friday, Saitama on Saturday and Aichi on Sunday. Aichi’s show will be streaming live in full, while the other three are only on-demand – and we’ll try and catch-up whatever matches we miss during and after our trip to Germany!