The Guerrillas of Destiny looked to push a little further up the table as they faced Suzuki-gun in the latest round of World Tag League.
We’re still on VOD and on the road from Culttz Kawasaki in Kanagawa… no commentary too, but we’re just days away from commentary returning!
World Tag League 2019: Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
We open with a mid-table outing, and with shoulder tackles too as Nicholls looked for an early edge… only for Tenzan to come back with Mongolian chops. The look of glee on Kojima’s face for those… especially when he came in to throw some of his own!
The slingshot elbow/falling headbutt combo traps Nicholls too, before Mikey took the Machine Gun chops… eventually avoiding a forearm in the corner as Jeff Cobb came in to help turn it around. He does, as Nicholls returned to slam Kojima for a rolling knee drop that earned him a two-count.
Kojima responds by DDTing Cobb, as Tenzan returns for Mongolian chops… and an eventual suplex to Cobb too! A superkick from Cobb stuns Tenzan as Nicholls returned, clotheslining Tenzan in the corner before he ran into a Mountain Bomb. More Machine Gun chops follow as Kojima batters Nicholls, then Cobb, before another turn around led to a Spin Cycle from Cobb and a sliding lariat as Nicholls almost won the match. Cobb tries to fight back by mocking Kojima and Tenzan’s trademarks, but just ended up running into a TenKoji cutter as the veterans quickly looked to end things. A Koji Cutter and a lariat nearly does the trick, before Kojima ran into a Mikey Bomb for the pin. A real outta nowhere win, and I’ll say it – after what felt like an eternity treading water, Mikey’s finally starting to look comfortable in New Japan. ***
World Tag League 2019: Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
By rights, this should be a “respectful squash”, given the disparity in these two teams.
We’ve some stalling at the bell, as EVIL finally got going with Nagata, doing the shoulder tackles. They never work on the second try. The forearms do though, before the pair reached a stalemate. SANADA and Nakanishi come in next, which may be the least appealing combo of this entire tournament for me… anyway, SANADA countered a knuckle lock by going for a rope-walk, only to get bulldozed down as Nakanishi hit a splash for a solid two-count. We head outside as Nakanishi’s thrown into the guard rails, before a bronco buster from EVIL kept the veteran down. SANADA adds to it with back rakes, but he’s taken down with a suplex throw as Nagata looked for a tag… only to get knocked down by EVIL. That tag eventually comes as Nagata kicks away on SANADA, looking to follow up with a German suplex, only for SANADA to float out and go for a Paradise lock.
Nagata’s not having any of that, but he’s taken back down with a Dragon screw before EVIL came in and eventually take a hesitation dropkick… albeit with some assistance from the ref. Nakanishi’s back to clothesline through EVIL for a two-count, following up with an Argentina backbreaker… but EVIL slips out of the rack and suplexes Nagata as LIJ looked to build anew. A double-suplex from Nakanishi led to LIJ hitting a double-team suplex on him, before Nagata was caught in a Skull End, then a Magic Killer… as Nakanishi also went up for a Magic Killer for the win. This was shockingly fine, with Nakanishi being faster than a glacier this time around. Gentleman’s three though. ***
World Tag League 2019: Toru Yano & Colt Cabana vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
The ad-hoc mash-ups continue!
We start as Colt and Yano argue over who’s starting. It’s finally decided as Yano and Makabe, but Colt’s having to make Yano do some work, like getting charged through by Makabe. Tags bring in Honma and Cabana, but Colt tricks his way around Honma before nearly getting rolled up as it seemed that he didn’t fancy this one either. Not that I blame him – Honma stung Cabana with chops, but Colt was able to avoid a Kokeshi as Yano came in to remove a turnbuckle pad. Is that all?! Colt tricks the ref into making a phantom count, before more miscommunication led to Yano not realising he’d actually tagged in. Not to worry, he’s back on form, whipping Honma into an exposed corner before removing another pad, as Honma continued to be worked over. And walked over.
Eventually Honma hit back with a suplex, before Makabe came in to clothesline Yano for a near-fall. Another clothesline’s countered into an atomic drop, as Yano proceeded to pull Makabe back by his hair, which just led to another Makabe clothesline. Those clotheslines backfire as Makabe ends up hitting his own man… but Honma’s around to break up a Superman pin with a Kokeshi. That was a nice touch. More Kokeshi led to clothesline sandwiches as Colt ends up falling to the King Kong knee drop… and that’s another win for the former tournament winner. They kept it short, but there’s something about this one that just didn’t click for me. **½
World Tag League 2019: Bullet Club (KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi)
The Suzuki-gun team’s coming out to ZSJ’s music again, as they look to get back on the board following some recent shaky results.
Of course, we get a jump start as Taichi jabbed KENTA with the mic stand conveniently before the bell, as we open up with some brawling around ringside. Taichi and Yujiro head into the crowd, breaking a guard rail, while KENTA made sure Zack had a similar experience. The count-out tease is on, with Yujiro and Taichi breaking it, as they proceeded to choke each other in the corner. Taichi slid outside… but was oblivious to KENTA, who just booted him as all four men had another scrap. We hear KENTA and Sabre laying into each other as the camera showed us Yujiro putting his boot on Taichi… just before they switched to show KENTA throwing Sabre into the timekeeper’s table. Ah, the curse of these vaguely-televised house shows.
Back in the ring, Taichi’s cornered again as he ran into duelling back elbows and a low dropkick for a near-fall. Yujiro rakes the eyes, then had his raked, before an eventual enziguiri bought Taichi time. Sabre’s in to square off with KENTA, trading endless forearms, before KENTA caught a PK… and kicked Sabre back to the mat. A running boot and a hesitation dropkick followed as Sabre was wiped out. KENTA misses a stomp off the top, and ended up trapped in an Octopus hold that instantly fell, before Sabre trapped KENTA’s (good) arm between his legs. Taichi’s back in to try and capitalise with kicks, as Sabre’s PK and a buzzsaw kick almost gets the job done.
Off come the trousers, but Taichi’s not instantly rolled up this time, as instead his superkick’s almost countered into a Go 2 Sleep… but Taichi’s wriggling sees KENTA lose him. An errant Axe Bomber wiped out the ref, but KENTA teases the mic stand. Taichi blocks it, and uses said stand to block a cane shot from Yujiro, eventually falling to that and a roll-up as shenanigans win the day. The Sabre/KENTA stuff looked promising, but in the end it’s another cheap win for the Bullet Club tandem. **¾
World Tag League 2019: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi & Terrible) vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay
An expected win will keep FinJuice as the sole leaders here. It’s what the people want, right?
Shingo starts by taking Finlay into the ropes, following up with the obligatory shoulder tackle as Finlay returned fire with a dropkick. In comes Juice, who lands some Dusty punches before he ran into a kick from Terrible on the apron as LIJ pushed ahead. Juice gets thrown outside, where Shingo rakes the eyes before tossing the former US champion into the guard rails. Headbutts trap Juice by the ropes as a pair of shoulder tackles followed. Terrible bites Juice’s hand, while Shingo returned for a more orthodox chinbar. Juice fights up out of that, then caught Shingo with a full nelson slam as Finlay came in to try and get the win, trying for a Prima Nocta before he opted to exchange forearms with Shingo. Finlay edged ahead, before he just got suplexed as Shingo kept it even… then brought Terrible back in.
Terrible wallops Finlay with haymakers in the corner, handing off Finlay so Shingo could hit a death valley driver as a big splash almost got a Terrible win. Finlay responded with a jack-knife cover, before he took a Pumping Bomber… but somehow he avoided a pin from Terrible and rolled him up for the flash pin for the win. This was fine, but never really seemed to hit any kind of stride. At least they kept it short. **½
World Tag League 2019: Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare
After some good fortune early on, Tanahashi and Henare have slipped a lot as of late, as Henare was back to his usual World Tag League form.
Tanahashi and YOSHI-HASHI start off, trading arm wringers as Tanahashi looked to have the early advantage, especially when he landed a springboard crossbody out of the corner. Henare comes into keep the momentum going with back elbows before he helped roll YOSHI-HASHI into a pair of single leg crabs that Ishii instantly went to break up… only for him to get pulled into duelling armbars as YOSHI-HASHI tried (and failed) for the save. YOSHI-HASHI finally turned it around when he slid outside and threw Henare into the guard rails. That allows Ishii to come in and rough up Henare with chops, before he tried to get a submission out of a single leg crab… but it ends up in the ropes as Ishii held on a little longer. Just because.
Tanahashi’s back in to make a comeback, dropping Ishii with forearms before a Cloverleaf right by the ropes was broken up by YOSHI-HASHI. More forearms from Tanahashi just anger Ishii, who replied with elbows and headbutts, before he dumped Tanahashi with a scoop slam off the ropes. Tags get us to Henare and YOSHI-HASHI, with the latter being used as a Terry Funk ladder on Ishii ahead of a pair of Samoan drops. Ishii pulls Tanahashi outside though as YOSHI-HASHI struck a superkick on Henare, then followed up with a Head Hunter for a near-fall. Tanahashi’s back with a Twist and Shout on Ishii before a Slingblade/leg sweep tripped YOSHI-HASHI again, allowing Henare to almost eke out a win with a spear tackle. Tanahashi’s caught up top as Ishii superplexes him down to start a brief Parade of Moves, ending when YOSHI-HASHI elbowed out of a Toa Bottom.
Henare tries again, and loses it again before he’s shoved into an Ishii enziguiri, before lariat from Ishii and a running Meteora from YOSHI-HASHI led to a near-fall. From there, Henare countered a Western Lariat with one of his own, before falling at the second attempt as YOSHI-HASHI eventually took the win with Karma. Some real good stuff here with Ishii and Tanahashi, while Henare and YOSHI-HASHI largely held their own to provide the best tag of the day so far. ***½
World Tag League 2019: Suzuki-gun (Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki) vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
We probably should have smelled a rat when the Guerrillas were glad-handing *too long* in the aisle, as they got jumped by Suzuki-gun.
Suzuki uses a guard rail, a chair and an umbrella on Tanga Loa, who’s marched around the arena before he unhanded him to use the same said umbrella, while Lance Archer choked Tama Tonga by the back of the room. Tama finally got free as Tanga and Suzuki literally fought through the crowd to get back to the ring… while we saw Archer chasing some poor sod at the back of the room. That ring’s looking mighty lonely…
Tama Tonga’s slammed into a row of chairs at the back of the room, while the ring FINALLY got used as Tanga and Suzuki traded elbows. A hanging armbar in the ropes from Suzuki led to him and Tanga heading back outside, with Tanga cannonballing into the guard rails before they went back into the crowd. Archer and Tama still hadn’t made it to the ring, as they went around the railings too. Lance tries to stalk Jado, but he’s jumped by Tama Tonga, who then ran off to double-team Suzuki, throwing him chest-first into the railings as Suzuki had to try and fight back on his own. Okay, FINALLY we’ve got Tanga Loa and Suzuki in the ring now, with the latter landing a front kick to deck Tanga.
Lance Archer’s the first man to tag in in the entire match, as he invited Tanga Loa to take his best shot. It wasn’t good enough for Lance, who hit back, eventually sparking a battle of forearms that got the crowd going, taking Tanga into the ropes before some shoulder tackles put him on the deck. A full nelson slam’s next for a near-fall, before Tanga escaped a chokeslam and returned with an enziguiri. Tama’s in to go for a leaping neckbreaker, but had to make do with grasping Archer’s murderhawk before he got the neckbreaker at the second try. A crossbody from Archer took down both Guerrillas, as Suzuki returned to try and build momentum, handing off Tama for a POUNCE from Archer, as a cross armbar looked to force a stoppage… but Tanga Loa comes in to break it up almost instantly.
Jado’s in with a Singapore cane shot to Archer, who barely registered it… although the distraction opened him up for a German suplex. Another turnaround sees Tanga chokeslammed as Suzuki tried to put Tama away with a rear naked choke, but it’s Jado who got choked out as he tried to make a save. The ref’s distracted as Tama low blows and rolls up Suzuki, and when doing the Yano didn’t work, the Gun Stun did as the Guerrillas picked up another two-points. A wild match that I’m sure will be divisive, but considering the champions had a bad start and already had matches in hand, this was a “by any means necessary” win. ***
Another “eh” round of matches, I’m afraid, with only the match you’d think poking through the Gentleman’s three ceiling. The tour continued on Sunday in Aichi, with a clash between the pre-tournament favourites as EVIL & SANADA take on the Guerrillas of Destiny. I honestly thought they’d have saved that for Korakuen next week…
Your standings, as we approach the halfway mark (for some)… and we’re starting to get clarity…
1. David Finlay & Juice Robinson (5-1; 10pts)
2. EVIL & SANADA (4-0; 8pts)
3. Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI (4-1; 8pts)
4. Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (3-1; 6pts)
5. KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi; Toru Yano & Colt Cabana (3-2; 6pts)
7. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima; Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls; Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma (3-3; 6pts)
10. Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks; Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer; Shingo Takagi & El Terrible (2-3; 4pts)
13. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare; Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (2-4; 4pts)
15. Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale (1-4; 2pts)
16. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (1-5; 2pts)