It’s the penultimate night of World Tag League, as the tour rolls into Kumamoto! Will anyone else fall from the pack so late in the day?
The Grand Messe in Kumamoto is the venue, with English commentary back via Kevin Kelly and Gino Gambino. The disappointment in Gino’s voice when he was told he wasn’t getting an introduction was palpable…
World Tag League 2019: Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks
We start with Fale taking Goto to the outside and into the railings, while Chase found himself meeting a crossbody as Karl Fredericks started off well.
Things turned around when Fredericks was sent outside as he was met with a Fale clothesline… with Fale again taking Goto into the railings. Fale comes in again as Fredericks met the Tongan Massage Parlour, while Owens kept on as the Bullet Club pair continued to focus on the Young Lion.
A sleeperhold from Chase has Fredericks back in trouble, but he’s able to get free with a suplex before Fale ran in and knocked Goto off the apron. Even commentary was impressed with how he moved. The GODDAMN dropkick follows as Fredericks used a chinbreaker but yet again Goto’s knocked off the apron and I’m starting to tire of this.
Goto rushes in to get himself some, before he marched Fredericks into the corner for a tag. Now Goto’s in, taking Owens down with a hiptoss ahead of a spinning heel kick in the corner, and a backdrop suplex out of it for a near-fall. Chase escapes an ushigoroshi but not a clothesline before Goto tried and failed to suplex Fale onto Owens. Fredericks comes in to help as a clothesline takes Fale outside, before we got our first blatant DQ of the tournament as KENTA ran in to attack Goto. So THAT’S why this match went nowhere fast… *½
A Go 2 Sleep dropped Goto, as KENTA sat crossed-legged on him as they continued to tease the Shibata match.
World Tag League 2019: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi & Terrible) vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
Shingo and Makabe start us off, heading into the ropes before they began to trade forearms.
A shoulder tackle from Makabe works though, as Honma came in to hit one of his own, but of course he misses a Kokeshi, and that’s the opening for LIJ. Shingo charges Honma into the guard rails as Makabe was given a similar experience, before a suplex back inside left Honma laying. Terrible’s in too, trading body blows with Honma, before Shingo returned to land a sliding lariat for a near-fall.
Lariats from Shingo eventually led to a falling DDT/Flatliner combo as Honma struck back. Makabe’s back to do his thing with clotheslines and mounted punches, almost getting the win over Shingo with a lariat, only for Shingo to respond in kind. Terrible’s back to batter Makabe, leading to a shotgun dropkick for a two-count.
Terrible has trouble lifting up Makabe for a piledriver, as a back body drop got him free ahead of some double-teaming, including a knee-drop/Kokeshi combo for a near-fall. Shingo’s back, but can’t avoid a leaping Kokeshi from Honma, as Terrible succumbed to a slam and a King Kong knee drop, and that’s Honma and Makabe ending on a win. This was okay given who was involved, but this tournament was full-on relegation form for the former winners. **
World Tag League 2019: Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
Call me crazy, but I don’t think things are going to pick up with this match…
An early jump start backfires as the Guerrillas got taken outside, with Nagata taking Tama Tonga into the guard rails while Tanga Loa reversed an Irish whip that saw Nakanishi nearly dismantle those barriers. Nakanishi took a Tongan Massage Parlor by the rails, while Nagata got whipped into the concrete wall at the back of the room.
Nakanishi and Tanga beat the count, as the pace stayed slow… Tama Tonga raked the eyes but got speared as Nagata returned to throw kicks. It had Tama begging for mercy before he began to trade elbows with Nagata, leading to a misdirection dropkick that bought him time.
Tags bring us back to Tanga and Nakanishi, with the veteran landing clops and clotheslines for fun. A suplex throw keeps Nakanishi ahead, but he then ran into a Kendo stick shot from Jado, but he’s able to shrug it off and hit a double suplex on the Guerrillas. Clotheslines and boots land for a near-fall, but Tama’s quickly back with a Gun Stun to Nagata… only for Nakanishi to clear house with double sledges.
Tanga Loa’s racked, but Jado distracts the ref as Tama low blows Nakanishi, which led to the Skull Crushing Finale and the OJK crossface for the submission. About what you’d expect, but that’s guaranteeing a wooden spoon for Nakanishi and Nagata with a match to go. **
World Tag League 2019: Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima
On paper, this should be a gimme for LIJ, who look to be on course to three-peat… but commentry’s really pushing a SANADA/Sabre match for WrestleKingdom, which worries me.
Tenzan and EVIL get us going, trading shoulder tackles before Tenzan busted out some Mongolian chops. Kojima’s in with Mongolian chops of his own, before a shoulder tackle took EVIL back down. A thrust kick from EVIL turns it around as SANADA came in to put Kojima in a Paradise lock, before EVIL returned to trap Kojima for a Bronco buster.
A DDT from Kojima dropped SANADA and bought him enough time to tag out, as Tenzan was all about the Mongolian chops. Tenzan keeps up with a brainbuster, but SANADA’s able to respond with a springboard missile dropkick before he ran into a Mountain bomb. Kojima tags back and peppers EVIL with Machine Gun chops, and was even able to hit that top rope elbow for a near-fall!
More elbow drop EVIL for a two-count, but a suplex from EVIL got him free, before he was forced to duck a Cozy Lariat. SANADA quickly comes in for double-teaming, before Tenzan turned the tables… an attempted TenKoji Cutter’s stopped, as Tenzan was taken out with a Magic Killer. Kojima put up some resistance, pushing away a Magic Killer and hitting a Koji Cutter on EVIL, before a brainbuster dropped SANADA once more.
EVIL boots away the Strong Arm lariat and ran into it at the second time, before a third lariat attempt was countered into Everything is EVIL for the win. Excellent stuff as that win effectively puts the Guerillas out of contention thanks to tie-breakers. It’s almost all down to LIJ vs. Fin-Juice, IF they can win next… ***
World Tag League 2019: Bullet Club (KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay
Finlay and Juice are coming in a little banged up after Suzuki-gun’s post-match beating yesterday.
Things don’t start out well when KENTA pulled Finlay’s hair as the ref was distracted early, but Finlay’s back with a leapfrog/dropkick before Juice came in with a double sledge off the middle rope. Finlay’s got one too, before Yujiro bit back and pushed Finlay into the ropes to crotch Juice.
KENTA’s in to punch Juice into the corner, before some double-teaming led to a near-fall for Yujiro. A splash got another near-fall, as Juice then got thrown into KENTA’s boot, as a kitchen sink knee led to another pinning attempt for the Bullet Club tandem. A full nelson slam gets Juice some time, as Finlay tagged in to lay into KENTA in the corner ahead of a diving uppercut.
KENTA’s back with a slam as Yujiro returns… as did Juice, who battered Yujiro with clotheslines before some biting got Yujiro free once more. Finlay tried to save, but gets met with a low dropkick, while Juice was crushed with a stomp for a near-fall. With Finlay and KENTA on the outside, Juice was forced to kick out of a Fisherman buster, before some biting from Juice led to the Juice Box gutbuster.
Yujiro avoids a cannonball as a Parade of Moves starts, leading to Juice shrugging off a clothesline as double dropkicks awaited. KENTA’s flapjacked, and that left Yujiro alone as he took a Left Hand of God, a Stunner and Pulp Friction… and that’s the academic win. This was fine, but it’d have been cruel to lose Fin-Juice before the final day. **¾
Kota Ibushi, Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask vs. Kazuchika Okada & Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH)
The build to WrestleKingdom continues – even if only three of the folks in this match know what they’re in for.
We’ve duelling chants as Okada and Ibushi tried to gauge the crowd. Their initial lock up ends in the corner as Tiger Mask and YOH exchnaged armdrags ahead of a backbreaker. Liger gets a pop as he’s tagged in for his final match in Kumamoto, but SHO stops him from playing the hits… only for SHO to get lifted to the outside and into the cameraman! Liger gets the Romero special off, then pulled YOH into a Dragon sleeper, before Roppongi 3K came in to double-team him as the ring cleared. Ibushi and Okada go into the crowd while Liger’s isolated in the ring, with his left arm getting worked over.
SHO tries to force a stoppage with a chinlock, then held him in place for Okada’s slingshot senton as Liger was taking a beating. Liger tries to fight back with palm strikes, but Okada knocks him down as SHO returned and ran into a tiltawhirl backbreaker. Okada back in, as did Ibushi, and now we’re back on!
Forearms and dropkicks from Ibushi take down the champion, as a standing moonsault followed for a near-fall. Okada’s back in it as he teases a tombstone, only to run into another dropkick as Tiger Mask almost stole the win with a Tiger Bomb on Okada… the ring fills and clears as Roppongi 3K hit leaping knees to Tiger Mask, while a shotgun dropkick from Okada dropped Ibushi.
Tiger Mask avoids a tombstone and comes back in with a crucifix for a near-fall, but in the end a dropkick from Okada, a top rope elbow and the Rainmaker completed the win. Okada’s stacking up those wins – but is he putting on a brave face ahead of his meeting with Ibushi in a month? ***
After the match, Ibushi and Okada had a staredown, but Kota’s springboard dropkick was met with a dropkick from Okada, who was left standing tall…
World Tag League 2019: Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) vs. Colt Cabana & Toru Yano
I have a feeling this may be ridiculous…
Colt and Yano struggle to decide who starts again. It’s Yano and Taichi, but Taichi just annoys Yano by doing his stick… so Yano walks out. Taichi runs after him, but Yano’s come through the back door, and almost wins by count-out… as Taichi barely made it back in time! Back in the ring, Colt and Yano unhook the turnbuckles, as did Sabre and Taichi… although Sabre had to throw a fit and get some help.
We then tease a game of Duel from Gladiators, but it’s Yano and Cabana who struck with the pads. Yano blocks a PK with the pad, before he pulled off Taichi’s trousers and almost won with a roll-up. Told you. Taichi lands a head kick then looks sad that he can’t do his trouser thing anymore, before Sabre returned to rip away on Yano’s head and neck. Colt tries to argue against the cheating from Suzuki-gun, but Yano saves himself as he sidesteps Sabre into the exposed corner, before dualling low blows were caught. Hair pulling takes Sabre and Taichi down as Colt comes back in with chops, following up with a Flying Asshole into the corner and a double splash out of it.
Back outside, Colt throws Taichi into the rails, before Miho Abe was used as a human shield… distracting Colt, who almost fell for her on the way to being counted out. A Bionic elbow and a Superman pin almost gets Colt the win, but Sabre broke it up before headscissors took Taichi outside… Yano and Cabana follow, but hit each other with the turnbuckle pads as Sabre and Taichi wrapped the pair of them in the ring aprons. Trapping them under a pile as the Suzuki-gun pair took the count-out win. Gloriously goofy, and we needed a LOT more of this in this tour! **½
After the match, Zack Sabre Jr. espouses another correct opinion…
World Tag League 2019: Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer) vs. Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI
Of course, the main event opens with a jump start as Suzuki and Ishii squared up to each other on the outside… then opted to head into the ring so they could wallop each other.
They lay it in with the forearms, before Suzuki caught Ishii with a hanging armbar in the ropes… pulling him down before the inevitable guard rail shots. Suzuki took Ishii near the commentary table as guard rails and chairs were piled on the former NEVER champion, while Archer just flung guard rails at YOSHI-HASHI in the aisle.
Meanwhile, Kevin Kelly and Gino Gambino were arguing at each other like a married couple, while Lance Archer was terrorising kids in the crowd. Back in the ring, a vicious elbow from Suzuku drops Ishii, before Archer returned to choke Ishii against the top rope. It’s all very one-sided, so you know what that means…
Yes, Suzuki-gun keeps targeting him! Suzuki stomps on Ishii’s taped-up knee, keeping him in the wrong corner before Archer threw some forearms before he knocked YOSHI-HASHI off the apron to delay a tag… which meant that Archer was able to throw some more shots before Ishii caught him with a suplex! Now in comes YOSHI-HASHI, who was a house afire with chops and superkicks before a running Head Hunter took Archer down. A chokeslam’s swatted away, only for YOSHI-HASHI to run into a Black Hole Slam as Suzuki tagged in to pick apart the bones. YOSHI-HASHI has to get free and have Ishii help the team get back on top, but Ishii had to blast through Suzuki with a shoulder tackle to do so.
Suzuki’s swiftly back with a rear naked choke while Archer dealt with YOSHI-HASHI with a full nelson slam… Ishii’s double-teamed in the corner before getting POUNCE’d. An ankle lock from Suzuki looked to lead to a submission, but Ishii held firm before making a desperate dive for the bottom rope.
Ishii stands up but instantly was back in the line of fire as Suzuki re-applied the hold, only for YOSHI-HASHI to wander in and break up the hold. He dead. Dead via elbow. Somehow he revives and lands a lungblower, passing Suzuki into a German suplex as a sliding lariat followed for a delayed two-count. Suzuki’s back with a rear naked choke in Ishii, but the Gotch piledriver is countered with a back body drop.
A second one’s countered with an enziguiri, before a clothesline nearly put Suzuki away… Archer tries to intervene and gets met with a pescado as Ishii hits headbutts and a sheer-drop brainbuster to Suzuki for the win! A real come from behind win – it’s just a shame Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI were long since out of contention for the league… ***¼
After the match, YOSHI-HASHI made a point of saying that they’re going to beat the Guerrillas on Sunday… and try and edge into title contention that way. Yeah, they’re gonna do a multi-way tag, aren’t they?
So after a slightly above-average show, we’re down to three teams: a win for EVIL & SANADA over Fin-Juice on Sunday, and they win the league. If Fin-Juice win that, they need the Guerrillas to lose to win the league, while wins for the Guerrillas and Fin-Juice mean we have a three-way tie.
Sixteen teams was way too many, and that’s not even in hindsight!
1. EVIL & SANADA (13-1; 26pts)
2. David Finlay & Juice Robinson; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (12-2; 24pts)
4. Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI (10-4; 20pts)
5. KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi; Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer; Toru Yano & Colt Cabana (8-6; 16pts)
8. Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (9-7; 16pts)
9. Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls (7-7; 14pts)
10. Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale; Shingo Takagi & Terrible (6-8; 12pts)
12. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (4-10; 8pts)
13. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma (4-11; 8pts)
14. Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks (3-12; 6pts)
15. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare (2-12; 4pts)
16. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (1-13; 2pts)