EVIL and SANADA looked to steal the top spot and keep their 100% record alive as they took on the Bullet Club in the latest round of World Tag League.
The tour seemingly never stops… we’re live-on-tape from the Komatsu City Suehiro Gymnasium in Ishikawa.
World Tag League 2019: Colt Cabana & Toru Yano vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima
We open with the usual “you? No, you!” confusion between Colt and Yano, as Yano made a beeline for the turnbuckle pads… removing it, before running into it as Tenzan sidesteps.
Mongolian chops build momentum, as do regular chops, but Yano and Colt end up clinging to the ropes, low bridging Tenzan, but not Kojima, who just stomps away. Yano recovers to hiptoss the bread lover for a near-fall, before Yano came in to splash Kojima for another two-count.
That exposed corner comes into play again as Yano’s thrown into it, with a Koji cutter putting him down, before Tenzan tagged back in to add more Mongolian chops to the mix. A suplex drops Yano for a two-count, before Yano responded with some mocking Mongolian chops of his own and an atomic drop. Colt returns to deliver a Flying Asshole in the corner, only to run into a Mountain Bomb as Kojima tagged to Machine Gun Chop Everybody.
Tenzan throws Cabana back in as he tried to avoid the top rope elbow, as a double-jump splash almost got Colt the win again… then again as his Superman pin added to Yano’s backslide. That one’s broken up by Tenzan, and when Colt misses a Quebrada, the tide turned as Kojima spun him with a Cozy lariat for the win. Pretty decent stuff to get us going, although Cabana and Yano losing to Kojima and Tenzan tells us their push at the top’s probably over. **½
World Tag League 2019: Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
A win here keeps Juice and Finlay with at least a share of top spot (if you just go by points). Meanwhile, the New Japan sound guy continues to troll me. Seize the soundboard.
Nagata and Finlay start off with some grappling, as Nagata looked to force a stoppage with headscissors, only for Finlay to roll his way free. Wash, rinse, repeat, and tags get us to Nakanishi and Juice, with the latter getting frustrated as his shoulder tackles and chops didn’t work.
In the end, Juice began to throw forearms before a crossbody was caught and turned into a slam. He avoids the knee drop though, before a chop to the throat had the veterans back in control, keeping a rather methodical pace. Nakanishi uses a head claw on Juice as he tried to Lance Archer his way to victory, while Nagata just tried to put his foot through Juice’s chest. Juice finally offered some resistance as he elbowed out of an Exploder, returning fire with a spinebuster. Finlay’s back in with uppercuts to Nagata, dropping him for a two-count, but an Exploder just takes him into the ropes as Nakanishi returned… and no-sold a double-team bulldog.
He avoids a double-team suplex too, reversing it instead, before lifting Juice into a torture rack… Finlay breaks it up, but Juice ends up in the same position briefly, slipping free to deliver some Dusty punches. Nakanishi blocks one with a goozle, before he took a Left Hand of God, a Prima Nocta stunner, and eventually the Pulp Friction as Fin-Juice stay top. Exactly what you’d expect – Fin-Juice are racking up wins, and dragging decent-ish showings out of teams to boot. **¾
World Tag League 2019: Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare
It’s been a very disappointing tournament so far for Tanahashi, who starts off against Nicholls by looking to work the arm.
The early exchanges didn’t find a clear victor, as they reached a stand-off and the obligatory tag out, with Cobb and Henare trading shoulder tackles, before Cobb caught a shoulder tackle and tried to turn it into a slam. Some double-teaming led to a Gachimuchi-sault and a fist drop as Tanahashi was needed to break up a cover, as the surprise package of the tournament so far pushed on. Henare finally responded with a flying shoulder tackle, as Tanahashi was almost falling into the ring to get a tag. He gets it, and clears house, dropping folks with Dragon screws before he had to fight out of a Spin Cycle. Cobb’s superkicks dropped the Ace, allowing Nicholls to return, only to get taken down with a Twist and Shout.
Henare comes back to try and capitalise, landing a suplex on Nicholls, before Tanahashi helped him on the way to a near-fall, before Henare just ran into a death valley driver as a Mikey Bomb got the win. The groan of disappointment against Henare from the Ishikawa crowd was noticeable, as it’s yet another loss for the Kiwi, in spite of a solid outing here. ***
World Tag League 2019: Suzuki-gun (Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi & Terrible)
Of course there’s a jump start.
Things try to settle down as Archer’s double-teamed, before the usual mayhem broke out, with Terrible getting thrown through some doors at the back of the hall. Suzuki opts to batter Shingo with guard rails and chairs, while Archer chopped through Terrible back in the ring. Suzuki picks up the pace with an armbar while literally baiting Shingo to make the save, which came, and led to Shingo just getting kneed in the gut. Chops between Terrible and Suzuki ring around the venue, before a haymaker shocked Suzuki… allowing Shingo to come in, and now this is my graps!
Well, it is once he deals with some double-team attempts, low bridging Archer to the floor as Shingo and Suzuki went at it. A front chancery’s countered into a suplex, before they begin to leather each other with forearms as I continue to hope for a singles match at the Tokyo Dome with these two. Suzuki edged ahead as Archer returned to drop Shingo with a Black Hole Slam for a near-fall, before a double-team suplex had Archer back in the corner. Clotheslines follow for the US champion, including a Pumping Bomber as Terrible followed up with a splash off the top for a near-fall. A turnaround sees Suzuki and Archer double-team Terrible on the way to a sorta-POUNCE, before an EBD Claw got Lance the win. This was okay, with the Suzuki/Shingo stuff being the highlight – as the makeshift LIJ continues to disappoint. ***¼
World Tag League 2019: Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
By rights, this ought to be one-sided.
It starts out like that, with the match spilling outside so Goto and Fredericks could be thrown into each other, then into the guard rails. Back inside, Fredericks tries to fight back with a slam and a fist drop to Tanga Loa, before he got stopped with a Jado Kendo stick shot… and we’re back to the status quo. Tama’s dropkick stops Fredericks, but barely gets a one-count, as the Guerrillas wore down Fredericks while keeping him away from any tag out. Fredericks’ goddamn dropkick bought him time as he got a tag out to Goto, who fought back with a bulldog for a two-count. A teased ushigoroshi’s escaped, but Fredericks stops some double-teaming with a crossbody, leading to the side Russian legsweep/Blockbuster combo that almost got the upset.
Tanga Loa drops Fredericks with almost an Apeshit, as the Guerrillas went right back to Goto, only for Tama to get stopped with an ushigoroshi anyway. Just as a GTR was about to be hit, out comes KENTA for the distraction, which almost led to Goto losing via roll-up, before a Gun Stun got the win. Efficient, but not very exciting. **
KENTA hit the ring and lays into Goto afterwards, so we’re all-but-sure of getting that match at the Dome.
World Tag League 2019: Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI need a win to keep up at the top of the table… and we start with perhaps the weaker links in YOSHI-HASHI and Honma.
We start with forearms between the two, as a double shoulder tackle looked to have the former tournament winners in the lead… only for Honma to miss a Kokeshi on Ishii. YOSHI-HASHI manages to get back in with chops as Honma was left slumped in the corner… Ishii’s in to keep up the pace, dropping Honma with more chops, before the pair began to trade forearms. Makabe tags in to pick up where Honma left off, taking Ishii into the corner, before he swatted away YOSHI-HASHI with clotheslines. Ishii’s left in the corner for mounted punches, from which he retaliated with more forearms as he and Makabe refused to go down. Eventually a back suplex did the trick.
YOSHI-HASHI’s back to help double-team Makabe, who’s held for a Blockbuster off the top that almost went awry. Makabe and Honma double-team YOSHI-HASHI for a spell as I zone out… a King Kong knee drop off the top misses as YOSHI-HASHI rolled away, before Honma returned to throw some more chops. A clothesline dropped YOSHI, who responded by landing a thrust kick before he pulled down Honma into a butterfly hold, which was eventually broken in the ropes after an eternity.
After the rope break, YOSHI-HASHI looked to increase the pressure, but got stopped with a chop and a Kokeshi for a near-fall. Another leaping Kokeshi gets Honma another two-count, before Ishii returned to help double-team Honma on the way to YOSHI-HASHI’s running Meteora, before a Western Lariat and another butterfly hold forced the stoppage. I really struggled to get into this one – dialling down the tempo to fit their opponent did Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI no favours, which made for a match that felt really drawn out. **½
World Tag League 2019: Bullet Club (KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA)
With KENTA distracting himself with Hirooki Goto earlier in the night, this should be a pretty easy win for the undefeated LIJ tandem.
EVIL and Yujiro start us off, with EVIL ignoring some attempted double-teams to charge down Yujiro with a shoulder tackle. Chops follow as Yujiro was in the ropes, before some biting got Yujiro free as he proceeded to use front kicks to knock down EVIL and SANADA. Elbow drops and a splash get Yujiro a cheeky two-count as the Bullet Club team were looking to pick their spots, with KENTA doing much the same. A back elbow takes EVIL off the ropes for a near-fall, while Yujiro followed up with another front kick to knock EVIL down. EVIL’s back, reversing a suplex, but KENTA rushes into knock SANADA off the apron… and got a superkick to the gut for his efforts. SANADA’s quickly back up and tagged in as a low dropkick took Yujiro outside, with a pescado following not long after.
Back inside, SANADA backflips over KENTA and followed up by tripping him up for a Paradise Lock attempt… but it’s pushed away as KENTA instead went flying with a tornado DDT/hotshot and a Kane-like flying clothesline. Yujiro’s back in, but he’s met with a missile dropkick as EVIL gets the tag to try and finish the job. A Bronco Buster awaits Yujiro in the corner, but he responds with a low dropkick to EVIL along with some chops… but it’s not long before LIJ responded as Yujiro was taken up for a Magic Killer… which he kicked away from. KENTA’s back to help sandwich EVIL with kicks as a reverse DDT from Yujiro nearly led to the upset. A lariat from Yujiro led to him rolling back the clock with the Incolle Slam (his version of an Angle Slam), before a Pimp Juice was broken up by SANADA… who drops him with a Saito suplex.
KENTA rushes to make a save, but he’s caught with a Skull End and a Magic Killer, as EVIL proceeded to put Yujiro away with Darkness Falls and a Magic Killer. Fine enough, but I never bought the Bullet Club team as winning for a single moment here – not when KENTA’s got other business already on his plate. ***
Another skippable show, I’m afraid – nothing plumbed the depths we’ve already seen in the tour, but again, there’s nothing here that you need to rush out and see. Maybe it’ll get better at Korakuen?
The tour’s off on Tuesday, and picks up again on Wednesday in Shizuoka as EVIL & SANADA continue their run of main events, headlining against Colt Cabana & Toru Yano. Our coverage may be a little backwards for that one, as we’ve then got two live shows from Korakuen Hall on Thursday and Friday – Thursday’s headlined by EVIL & SANADA (again) vs. Zack Sabre Jr & Taichi, while Friday sees them take on YOSHI-HASHI and Tomohiro Ishii.
1. EVIL & SANADA (6-0; 12pts)
2. David Finlay & Juice Robinson; Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI (6-1; 12pts)
4. Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls (5-3; 10pts)
5. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (4-2; 8pts)
6. Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer; Toru Yano & Colt Cabana (4-3; 8pts)
8. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (4-4; 8pts)
9. KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi (3-4; 6pts)
10. Shingo Takagi & Terrible; Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma (3-5; 6pts)
12. Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale; Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks (2-4; 4pts)
14. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare; Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (2-5; 4pts)
16. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (1-7; 2pts)