The World Tag League tour continued as we had a big time match in Aichi, with the Guerrillas of Destiny taking on EVIL & SANADA.
We’re coming from Aichi’s Prefectural Gymnasium – again, with no commentary on VOD… and it seems we were unusually positive for Saturday’s matches so, will that continue?
World Tag League 2019: Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer) vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
Yes, the New Japan DJ’s trigger-happy with the “seize the tactics” button. By the end of the tour it’ll have over-ridden Nagata’s theme…
Of course we’ve a jump start, with Suzuki and Nagata pairing off, going into the crowd, while Nakanishi and Archer went the other way. It hides shortcomings, and not just with guard railings either. Archer and Nakanishi stay around ringside, which just left Nakanishi vulnerable as he got double-teamed, leading to them getting back in the ring as the referee got bullied too. Suzuki’s in to work with an armbar on Nakanishi, but he got to the ropes… so Archer’s back to choke Nakanishi some more. The ref dared to break it up, and got bullied again, as tags brought us to Nakanishi and Suzuki trading shots. Suzuki’s elbows added some interest, before a spear from Nakanishi saw the pair clatter to the mat. Nagata’s in for kicks and a suplex on Suzuki for a near-fall, before they went back to elbows.
Archer’s in to take a stuttering dropkick, before a chop block/front kick combo put him down as a Nakanishi splash drew a near-fall… before Archer turned it back around with an EBD Claw. Nagata breaks it up so Archer could get racked… but it doesn’t last, as Archer’s back in with a crossbody before the EBD Claw put Nakanishi away. I feel like I aged horribly during this – Nakanishi taking a lot of this had the expected result, sadly. *½
World Tag League 2019: Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
Fale and Makabe start. Uh huh. Shoulder tackles provide the initial offence before Fale choked Makabe into the corner. He gets free as tags bring in Honma and Owens, as we built to Honma’s traditional slam… but Fale kicks him in the rope before he got to miss his Kokeshi. Nevermind, he got to the miss anyway. Fale’s in to choke Honma some more, which led to GROWLING from Honma, before Chase just knocked Honma down with a forearm. He mocks Kokeshi, and of course, he misses, before Fale returned and easily blocked a slam. At least they’re making the crowd want to give a damn.
Makabe returns to knock Fale into the corner for mounted punches, then lariats, before tags took us to Chase and Honma. Finally a Kokeshi lands, but so did Chase’s Jewel Heist as the former tournament winners came back with a sandwich of lariats… Makabe clotheslines Fale over the top to the outside, while a Honma leaping Kokeshi nearly put Chase away, only for Owens to respond with an eye rake, a leaping knee and a package piledriver for the win. Chase did a lot of carrying, but this was just punishment for me being so positive yesterday. *¾
World Tag League 2019: Toru Yano & Colt Cabana vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare
Save us Colt and Yano!
We have the usual shtick with Colt and Yano trying to figure out who starts… so they had Hiroshi Tanahashi decide. Very sporting. They start by trading wristlocks, escapes and takedowns, before Colt tricked Tanahashi and stomped on his gut. Very unsporting. Yano’s in as they’re still figuring out how to hit double-team elbows, before they went to the corners in unison to undo the turnbuckles. Ribbons stump Colt, but by the time Yano’s undone the other pad, he’s stopped as Henare and Tanahashi do the Hulk Hogan finger point on him ahead of their comeback.
A slam from Henare drops Yano, but the exposed turnbuckles help as Yano whipped both Henare and Tanahashi there, with a little help from Colt. Cabana’s in to rack up two-counts and troll the ref, while Yano tries to get a win from a hiptoss. It didn’t work. Henare managed to get free and bring Tanahashi back in, as a flip senton gets a near-fall on Yano, before a Twist and Shout put down Colt. Dusty punches from Colt led to Henare replying with a leaping shoulder tackle, but a spear’s stopped with a Bionic elbow as Yano tried to help Colt block a spear with the turnbuckle pad. It sorta worked… before Colt just whacked Henare in the corner with a turnbuckle pad, knocking him down as a Superman press got the win. This was a mat classic compared to the first two matches, but very comedy heavy. **½
World Tag League 2019: Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima
Tenzan and YOSHI-HASHII get us going with a lock-up, but it’s YOSHI who gets the early advantage, ducking Mongolian chops and charging through.
He couldn’t avoid them at the second time, as Ishii gets some too ahead of a slingshot elbow/falling headbutt combo on YOSHI-HASHI. The crowd’s hissing as they clearly love those chops, but Tenzan’s just dragged outside as YOSHI-HASHI became a one man wrecking crew. Back in the ring, chops wait for Tenzan, as he got taken into the wrong corner… and it gets worse for him when Ishii tagged in. An elbow bounces Tenzan off the mat, so YOSHI-HASHI returns, only to get met with a spinning heel kick. Kojima’s in to DDT YOSHI-HASHI, but a Head Hunter levels the playing field, as Ishii came in to pepper Kojima with more chops and forearms.
Kojima turns the tables with Machine Gun chops, but Ishii cuts him off with a forearm as the top rope elbow looked to follow. Something close to a Koji cutter drops Ishii as Tenzan’s back, firing away with Mongolian chops and a Mountain Bomb for a near-fall. Ishii flat out WALLOPS Kojima with a lariat, but Kojima’s not moving. Presumably it’s all the bread. A Koji Cutter drops Ishii again, before a TenKoji Cutter almost led to the relative upset. Tenzan threatens to roll back the years, slamming Ishii and going up top, but the moonsault’s cut-off as Ishii brought him down with a powerbomb… before the pair just clonked into each other with headbutts. YOSHI-HASHI picks up the pieces with a Western Lariat, before a sliding lariat from Ishii led to a near-fall, as a sheer drop brainbuster eventually got Ishii over the line. They pulled it out of the bag here, with Kojima and Tenzan rolled back the years and looking rather good here. ***¼
World Tag League 2019: Bullet Club (KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi & Terrible)
We’ve a jump start as KENTA and Yujiro made a beeline for their opponents at the bell, taking them into the corners for a kicking.
LIJ turn it around though, focusing on Yujiro, but KENTA’s back to restore order as a brief double-team on Terrible put the Bullet Club ahead. This crowd doesn’t care. More kicks to Terrible leave him down, as KENTA did a good job of keeping Shingo on the outside. Haymakers from Terrible force an opening, as he was able to tag Shingo in… with the Dragon charging in with clotheslines for all. Yujiro ducks a sliding lariat, while KENTA’s attempt to boot Shingo didn’t register, with the pair trading shots for fun instead. A low dropkick and a reverse DDT gets Yujiro back in it, as he built up to a clothesline and a Fishermans suplex that drew a near-fall. Shingo blocks a baclside and eventually lands a Noshigami, before KENTA’s knocked out by duelling rights…
Yujiro’s clattered in the corner and eventually met with a Pumping Bomber… before Last of the Dragon puts him away for the win. This didn’t connect with me much, as the crowd are really struggling to buy into Terrible. Shingo not pinning KENTA doesn’t complicate the Goto story for WrestleKingdom, as Shingo’s still having trouble settling into his new weight class. **¾
World Tag League 2019: Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) vs. Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls
The wheels are falling off of ZSJ’s tag tournament run I’m afraid, as he’s sadly mirroring his G1 form here.
The obligatory Suzuki-gun jump start’s snuffed out as Cobb and Nicholls looked to isolate Taichi early on… but things swung around just as quickly when Taichi held Cobb so Sabre could Dragon screw the legs without taking the big man down. We’re outside next as Taichi grinds a chair into Cobb’s knee, which gave Sabre an opening as he gleefully tore away on Cobb’s leg. Taichi keeps it up by wrapping Cobb’s leg around the bottom rope, as Cobb tried in vain to fight free. Finally he beat the numbers game as Nicholls came in and chopped the heck out of Sabre in the corner. Zack leaps in with a guillotine, but it’s countered into a suplex before a way-too-early Mikey Bomb attempt was countered into a triangle armbar.
Nevermind, Mikey just powerbombs his way free.
Tags get us to Cobb and Taichi, with the latter taking a suplex for a near-fall, but some double-teaming got Sabre and Cobb back in it as a PK and a buzzsaw kick almost put Cobb away. A single leg crab saw Taichi try to focus on the bad leg again, and when Nicholls had trouble escaping Sabre it looked like the game was up… but Mikey just piggybacked Zack around so he could break up Taichi’s hold.
Cobb gets back to his feet and tries to beat the numbers game, but Taichi slips away from a Tour of the Islands as Nicholls dropped Sabre with a Mikey Bomb. A head kick from Taichi clears the ring as he tries to kick away Cobb some more, only to get taken down with a lariat and a Gachimuchi-sault, before a Tour of the Islands put the crooner away. Good stuff here, with the Suzuki-gun pairing working over Cobb’s leg, but at the end of it all, it simply wasn’t enough. ***
World Tag League 2019: Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
I’m genuinely stunned this match wasn’t saved for the Korakuen Hall swing later this week – it feels “too big” to just be dumped on VOD, but there you go.
The match instantly starts on the outside, with EVIL getting marched down the aisle by Tanga Loa (not like that), while SANADA reversed an Irish whip to send Tama Tonga into a wall. Second time wasn’t lucky as Tama found his mark, before the pair went up into the seating decks… right as the referee decided he’d had enough and started counting. Finally returning to the ring, Tanga Loa and EVIL battled it out, before a superkick finally gave LIJ something resembling an advantage. SANADA tags in and finds his target with dropkicks to Tanga and Tama, following up with a pair of pescados to the outside… completing the hattrick to wipe out Jado, whom I’d completely missed.
Back inside, SANADA baits Tanga Loa into the corner, before a trip set him up for a Paradise Lock. An O’Connor roll from SANADA proved to be a bad idea, as the resulting kick-out led to him getting cracked by a Kendo stick from Jado, and it’s back to the Guerrillas being on offence. A quick Magic Killer drops SANADA for a two-count, before they took SANDA into the corner for a Super Powerbomb attempt…
…but SANADA ‘rana’s out, and then proceeded to lift Tama to the outside. EVIL gets the tag in, clotheslining Tanga in the corner ahead of Darkness Falls, which drew a two-count, before chops to Tanga were cut-off with a spear. Tama’s back in to push ahead, landing a big splash for a near-fall. EVIL responds with Everything is EVIL, but Jado comes in to distract from the count… and took a Magic Killer for good measure.
Tanga Loa avoids another Magic Killer as a low blow and roll-up nearly got Tama the win. He goes for a Gun Stun but just gets clotheslined, as a Darkness Scorpion looked to force a stoppage… and when Tanga Loa couldn’t break out of a Skull End to make a save, Tama was forced to tap. Not their best, but decent enough considering the standard of the tour – and you’d have to think that regardless of who wins the league, this win puts EVIL & SANADA in with a shout. Oh God, they’re going to do a triple threat for the belts at Kingdom, aren’t they? ***¼
The tour continued on Monday in Ishikawa, as EVIL & SANADA faced another Bullet Club tandem in KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi in the main event… then it’s a day off before another frantic spell as we’re back to live streams by the end of the week! So with that main event win, EVIL & SANADA top the table with a perfect record, having had a third of their matches (yes, there’s a LONG way to go)… and with EVIL/SANADA vs. FinJuice and Guerrillas vs. Ishii/YOSHI-HASHI on the final day, you’ve got to think that those will be the deciding matches.
1. EVIL & SANADA (5-0; 10pts)
2. David Finlay & Juice Robinson; Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI (5-1; 10pts)
4. Toru Yano & Colt Cabana (4-2; 8pts)
5. Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls (4-3; 8pts)
6. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (3-2; 6pts)
7. KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi; Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer (3-3; 6pts)
9. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima; Shingo Takagi & Terrible; Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma (3-4; 6pts)
12. Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks (2-3; 4pts)
13. Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale; Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare (2-4; 4pts)
15. Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (2-5; 4pts)
16. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (1-6; 2pts)