The final week of the World Tag League continued as EVIL & SANADA continued to defend their spot at the top of the table.
It’s the last of the VOD shows, as we hit Kochi’s Prefectural Gymnasium and we’re continuing to thin out the proverbial herd.
World Tag League 2019: Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
Both teams have long since been eliminated from contention, but they’re still showing up at least.
There’s a jump start, or close to it, as Nakanishi’s double-teamed… Nagata makes a save as Taichi and Sabre’s whipped into each other, before Sabre grounded Nakanishi with some headscissors. Taichi tags in and goes straight to an eye rake, before Zack came back with uppercuts. A guillotine choke ends with Nakanishi falling into the ropes, before he made the tag out to Nagata, who turned things up with some kicks to Sabre. There’s another turnaround, as Taichi comes in to rile up Nagata with boots, only to get taken down with a Judo-style throw. Nakanishi’s back with chops, a suplex throw and a splash, for a near-fall, before he opted to rack Sabre and throw him onto Taichi.
Taichi gets racked too, but Sabre comes in to distract the ref as Taichi raked the eyes to get free. A buzzsaw kick drops Nakanishi for a near-fall, before Nagata saved him from a Stretch Plum… but he couldn’t repeat the trick as Taichi got the submission. This was fine, but way too slow and plodding. Expected. **
World Tag League 2019: Colt Cabana & Toru Yano vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay
Cabana and Yano have pretty much fallen out of contention after their loss yesterday, so now they’re here to play spoiler.
We’ve the usual issues with Colt and Yano struggling over who’d start, as Juice tried to silence the lone Cabana fan. Cabana and Finlay go back and forth over an arm wringer, with Finlay falling for all kinds of tricks as Colt worked into a sunset flip for some back-and-forth two-counts. Juice and Yano push around a small package as the two-counts piled up, leaving Colt and Finlay dizzied as the referee tried to calm things down. He fails, as instead ALL FOUR turnbuckle pads come off, and end up getting thrown at poor Kenta Sato for daring to enforce the count. The ridiculousness continues as Colt and Yano duck the double-team bulldogs before they got caught at the second time of asking.
Cabana makes use of the exposed buckles, side stepping as Juice charged shoulder-first into it. He’s left isolated as Yano tries to hold Juice for a double sledge off the top, but the distance was wrong, and Colt ended up hitting his own man. Yano recovers, taking Juice into the exposed corner for a near-fall, before Juice and Colt traded the Dusty punches. Juice pushed on, throwing Yano back into the exposed corner, before Finlay returned and blocked a slingshot into the corner. He’s right back out with a diving European uppercut, before he and Juice got pulled down by the hair… and it’s back to the wackiness as Colt hits double Bionic elbows before a roll-up nearly got Yano the win.
In the end, Colt and Yano take the exposed corners one more time, before Finlay blocked a low blow, starting the Left Hand of God/Prima Nocta/Pulp Friction sequence for the win. Some of this was goofy, but this was a goddamn delight compared to some of the tags on this tour. **¾
World Tag League 2019: Bullet Club (KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
We’ve got a jump start of sorts as Honma’s double-teamed by the Bullet Club early on.
The shenanigans continue as Honma’s tripped to the outside, before double-team back elbows and PKs awaited Honma back on the inside. Yujiro takes over with some choking, before KENTA came in to keep the pace low and Honma cornered. Yujiro returns to boot Honma away, before he returned with a shoulder tackle as Makabe came in. An attempted suplex was stopped via biting, before Makabe’s leg was swept ahead of a low dropkick, with KENTA taking over… stopping to boot Honma off the apron on the way.
Honma comes in to chop KENTA, before taking him down… and of course Kokeshi misses. Why wouldn’t it? More boots sandwich Honma, before he shoved KENTA into some forearms as things just got real sad. Why bump when you can slump? At least Yujiro took one, via a clothesline to the outside, before KENTA hit sandwich lariats… which led to another whiffed Kokeshi that didn’t faze Honma. Yujiro’s Fisherman suplex drops Honma, as KENTA’s back to almost get pinned with a roll-up. Palm strikes and a Busaiku knee drop Honma for a near-fall, before the Go 2 Sleep did the job. Avoid. This didn’t need to go 12 minutes, especially not at this pace. *¼
World Tag League 2019: Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare
We’ve got a smidgen of history here, courtesy of Suzuki and Tanahashi… and of course, we’ve a jump start.
Suzuki and Tanahashi spill outside, but it’s the Ace who throws his foe into the guard rails, as Henare and Archer slugged it out in the corner. Tanahashi’s in to help work over a double armbar, but Archer powers out as we’re back outside for the obligatory crowd brawls, with Suzuki throwing a little more mustard into his shots on Tanahashi. Back inside, Archer’s laying into Henare again, before Suzuki joined in… but like with almost every other team in this tournament, Suzuki-gun found form by just isolating Henare, who (in Archer’s eyes) was being annoyingly resolute. Suzuki’s back to boot Tanahashi off the apron as he resumed elbowing Henare, whose chops were making a slight dent ahead of a bodyslam.
Finally Tanahashi gets the tag in, landing forearms before a slam and a flip senton landed on Suzuki for a near-fall. Suzuki begins to work on Tanahashi’s arm, which just descended into back-and-forth shots, and of course THOSE ELBOWS from Suzuki. Archer’s back once Tanahashi was downed, as he threw elbows of his own before taking Tanahashi into the corner ahead of a rope-walk chop… but Tanahashi counters that into a Twist and Shout instead.
Henare tags back in and tries to lift up Archer into a Fireman’s carry, eventually lifting the big man off his feet for a Samoan drop. Tanahashi returns to help with a double-team suplex, then the double-team Boston crab, even though it was illegal. Suzuki broke that up, but got thrown outside as Henare tried to push ahead… but his spear tackle was stopped with a knee, as Suzuki-gun peppered him with charges in the corner. A POUNCE awaited from there, nearly getting the win, before Suzuki dragged Tanahashi outside. Henare somehow slipped out of a Blackout, but couldn’t avoid a chokeslam, nor the EBD Claw, as Archer racked up another win. Perfectly acceptable grappling, and still Tanahashi continues to fall as part of this team. **½
World Tag League 2019: Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI
Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI are hitting some bad form at the worst possible time, having lost two of their last three matches… a loss here would all but end their chances, potentially putting them six points behind with three matches left.
YOSHI-HASHI and Owens start, tradiing shots before YOSHI pushed on with shoulder tackles and a slam. Fale comes in to assist, resisting Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI as he landed a double shoulder tackle of his own. Choking from Owens followed in the corner, as Fale tagged in to keep making his life miserable. YOSHI tries to fight back with forearms, but gets trapped under the boot of Fale’s Tongan Massage Parlour. Owens returns with a diving knee for a two-count, but a Bunker Buster from YOSHI-HASHI bought him time as he got back into the match. Ishii tags in and wallops Chase with a forearm, before unloading with the Violence Party in the corner.
Chase elbows back in, but Ishii has another elbow for him, only to get taken into the corner with a side Russian legsweep. The tit-for-tat continues with an Ishii slam, before tags meant that YOSHI-HASHI had the unenviable task of dealing with Fale. A Head Hunter took him down for a two-count, before he tried to slam Fale… it didn’t work. Ishii’s back to lariat and dump Owens with a German suplex, before YOSHI-HASHI’s running Meteora almost got the win. Ishii stays in to neutralise Fale, as both men ended up clotheslining him to the outside, before a Western lariat nearly got YOSHI the win. A Kumagoroshi’s next, but Chase slips free before landing a superkick, a leaping knee and eventually a package piledriver for the win. That’s Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI pretty much done in this tournament, and this wasn’t exactly a memorable outing to go out on. **¼
World Tag League 2019: Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) vs. Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks
A win for EVIL & SANADA will keep them alone at the top of the table as we head into the final nights.
EVIL and Fredericks get us going with a side headlock, which EVIL clung onto before Goto came in to help with a double-team shoulder tackle. A shoulder tackle from EVIL gets his own back, as SANADA neutralises Goto, before tags took SANADA in… as he quickly rolled Fredericks into a Paradise Lock. You know what’s next. EVIL’s back in, but he gets suplexed before tags got us to Goto and SANADA. Goto counters a hiptoss with one of his own, then lands a Saito suplex for a near-fall, before EVIL just trips Goto in the ropes to restore order. Well, until Goto landed a clothesline, anyway…
Fredericks is back with a crossbody that almost sailed over LIJ, before he caught EVIL with a wacky neckbreaker. A Stinger splash in the corner followed, as did a hiptoss out of it, before LIJ swarmed to double-team Fredericks ahead of an EVIL lariat that almost ended things. They call for a Magic Killer, but Goto breaks it up with clotheslines, before he dumped EVIL with an ushigoroshi. Fredericks keeps it going with a spinebuster to EVIL for a near-fall, before a half crab ended when SANADA got free of Goto to break it up. Goto comes in too, but took a Magic Killer, before EVIL added Darkness Falls to Fredericks for a near-fall. All that’s left is to dish out a Magic Killer to Fredericks, and LIJ’s march to a title shot continued. The proverbial Gentleman’s Three if there ever was one… ***
World Tag League 2019: Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
A rare main event for Kojima and Tenzan, who could really dent the Guerrillas chances of winning the league with an upset here.
There’s a jump start from the Guerrillas, but the veterans hit back with Mongoilian chops before the slingshot elbow/headbutt combo had Tanga Loa in trouble early on. Kojima’s shoulder tackle has Tanga back down, but the Guerrillas turn it around as all four men spill outside for the obligatory brawls. Jado’s threatening the timekeeper for some reason as Tanga Loa took Kojima back inside, dropping him with a bodyslam so Tama Tonga could come in with a slingshot senton. A DDT helps Kojima buy himself some time, with Tenzan tagging in to land some Mongolian chops and a suplex for a quick two-count.
Tenzan tries, and fails, with a Kokeshi off the top rope, and whatever momentum he had was wiped away as Tama took him outside and into the crowd. Kojima gets some similar treatment, as he’s thrown into some chairs by Tanga Loa, who also took him into the wall at the back of the arena. Back in the ring, Tama Tonga slammed Tenzan so Tanga Loa could try his slingshot senton, but the ref refuses to make the count after all of the shenanigans earlier. So Tanga Loa grounds Tenzan with a chinlock, which gets fought out of before a spinning heel kick dropped Tanga.
Kojima’s back with Machine gun chops before dropping both of the Guerrillas with Koji Cutters. A brainbuster follows for Tanga, but only gets a two-count, before the elbow pad was pulled off… a Cozy Lariat’s blocked as Tanga pulled him into the OJK crossface, but Tenzan broke it up quickly. A Tongan Twist dealt with Tenzan, as the Guerrillas tried to polish off Kojima with an assisted Tongan Twist, this time getting a near-fall. From there, they went for a Magic Killer, but Kojima fights free before he got met with a neckbreaker that Tama needed two bites at the cherry to land. With Tenzan still on the outside, Kojima’s double-teamed as they tease a super powerbomb, only for Tenzan to return and catch Tama with a Mountain bomb as the tables turned. There’s a TenKoji Cutter for Tanga, then another one for Tama, before Jado appeared again…
Tanga Loa kicks out from a Cozy lariat, before his attempt at Apeshit was stopped. The ref’s distracted as Jado cracked Kojima in the back, and from there it’s elementary as a Skull Crushing Finale and the OJK forced Kojima to tap. This was okay, but a suitably “meh” main event to close out a show that flattered to deceive. **½
Your updated realistic tiebreakers, as we’re down to three teams with a chance now:
EVIL & SANADA – beaten Guerrillas of Destiny; beaten Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI; lost to Cabana & Yano; face Fin-Juice on the final night
Fin-Juice – face EVIL & SANADA on the final night; beaten Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI; beat Cabana & Yano; lost to Guerrillas of Destiny;
Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa – lost to EVIL & SANADA; lost to Cabana & Yano; beat Fin-Juice; face Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI on the final night
As for the final three nights, these are the matches to look out for. Hopefully the pace picks up going into Sunday’s final night; remember – there’s no final per se – whomever finishes top of the league wins.
Thursday in Fukuoka: Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Shingo & Terrible; Finlay & Juice vs. Suzuki & Archer; EVIL & SANADA vs. Makabe & Honma
Friday in Kumamoto: Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Nagata & Nakanishi; Finlay & Juice vs. KENTA & Yujiro; EVIL & SANADA vs. Kojima & Tenzan
Sunday in Hiroshima: EVIL & SANADA vs. Juice & Finlay; Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI
1. EVIL & SANADA (11-1; 22pts)
2. David Finlay & Juice Robinson; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (10-2; 20pts)
4. Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer; Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI (8-4; 16pts)
6. Toru Yano & Colt Cabana (8-5; 16pts)
7. KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi (7-5; 14pts)
8. Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls (7-6; 14pts)
9. Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (7-8; 14pts)
10. Shingo Takagi & Terrible (6-6; 12pts)
11. Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale (5-7; 10pts)
12. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (4-8; 8pts)
13. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma (3-10; 6pts)
14. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare (2-9; 4pts)
15. Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks (2-11; 4pts)
16. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (1-12; 2pts)