We’re in Osaka as some more potential tiebreakers for the World Tag League played out.
Osaka’s Municipal Central Gymnasium’s sub-arena is the host as we’re in the final week of the tournament!
World Tag League 2019: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi & Terrible) vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi
With three matches left, Nakanishi and Nagata are almost sure to finish bottom, barring a massive turnaround in fortunes.
Shingo and Nagata start off by trading shots, but they reach a quick stand-off, so Nakanishi can try and chop through Terrible. There’s receipts, so Nakanishi chops the throat before he got kicked in the ropes by Shingo… allowing Terrible to hit a sucker punch and take things outside. Back inside, Nakanishi stands up out of a surfboard stretch, but Terrible cheapshots him as he threatened to overpower Shingo. Tags get us back to Nagata and Terrible, with an Exploder almost getting Nagata the win, but a dropkick opened the door for Shingo’s return… except he runs into an overhead belly-to-belly almost immediately.
Nakanishi’s back to chop through Shingo, following up with a suplex slam and a splash for a two-count, as boots and clotheslines led to their wacky double pinning attempt. A Shirome armbar and a torture rack looked to force a submission, but Shingo slips free and worked his way into a sliding lariat for a near-fall, before finishing off Nakanishi with a Pumping Bomber. That speaks volumes – given that Shingo’s barely beaten anyone with that since moving to heavyweight… **¼
World Tag League 2019: Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls
Cobb’s finally stopped taping up his shoulder… maybe YOSHI-HASHI got to the tape ahead of him for a change?
Nicholls and Owens start with a lock-up into the corner, before Chase clung on with a side headlock. Mikey gets free and eventually took down Owens with an armdrag, before Cobb tagged in to keep working over Chase, throwing him into the ropes for a nice dropkick. They exchange quick tags to keep Chase isolated for a spell… but it backfires as Fale comes in to clothesline and drag Cobb to the outside.
Cue guard rail spots, before Fale rolled Cobb back inside so Chase could choke him from behind, pulling him out of the ring while doing so. A tag brings Owens in to get a near-fall with a back elbow, following that up with some headscissors on the mat, before Cobb got taken back into the guard rails some more.
Fale’s clotheslines and a knee from Chase nearly put Cobb away, as the pace never really threatened to rise above what you’d charitably call “methodical”. Cobb tried to reply with a dropkick, before finally landing a Spin Cycle to get back in. Nicholls gets the tag and went to work on Chase with a stalling suplex for a near-fall, before he sidestepped an errant charge as Fale squashed his own man in the corner. Cobb returns with an Oklahoma Stampede on Chase, following up with a Gachimuchi-sault for a near-fall. Nicholls tries his luck again with a lariat, but Chase kicked out, and after Chase countered out of a Mikey Bomb with a simple headlock, Owens quickly put him away with a package piledriver. This was was far too ponderous for my liking – and despite its length, lost my attention at points. Not great. *¾
World Tag League 2019: Bullet Club (KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Toru Yano & Colt Cabana
We open with KENTA and Cabana in the ropes, as Colt avoided a cheapshot, before sharing comedy tags back and forth with Yano.
KENTA has his arms worked over with some double-team arm wringers before they hooked themselves in the ropes to invite – and step aside from – some charges. Cabana and Yano argue over who should dive, but in the end they just get pulled to the outside, where Yujiro posts Yano.
The turnbuckle pad’s off, so Yano’s thrown into the exposed corner, which began a period of offence from the Bullet Club tandem. No matter how often Yano tried to turn it around, he’d get caught out, before finally breaking free as Cabana tagged in and saved himself on a Quebrada that almost went horribly wrong, giving me flashbacks of Hayabusa. Colt’s alright though, hitting Dusty punches to Yujiro before landing the Flying Asshole and a double splash off the top. Yujiro bites out of a brainbuster, allowing KENTA to return with a scoop slam for a near-fall… but Colt uses the turnbuckle pads to save himself in the corner, before a Superman body press nearly got the win. Yujiro breaks it up, before dumping Yano with a low blow…
Colt blocks a second low blow, only to get caught in a sandwich of kicks as a Fisherman suplex and a KENTA stomp off the top led to a near-fall. A Go 2 Sleep’s countered for a near-fall as Colt tried to sneak in a flash pin, but in the end KENTA snatches victory with a roll-up while having his feet on the ropes. Better than usual, but man Colt scared me there… **½
World Tag League 2019: Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) vs. Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks
We start with an attack from behind as Fredericks was double-teamed early doors, but Goto made the save as order was restored.
Fredericks goes for his leaping elbow early, but lands in a cross armbar as Sabre forced him to squirm for the ropes, before the pair went into the crowd, where Sabre knocked him into the seats with uppercuts. Back in the ring, Sabre continues to rough up Fredericks, as did Taichi, who threw him into the guard rails behind the ref’s back.
A mounted guillotine from Sabre gave Fredericks something to counter, but Zack just slips free and hits an overhead kick… before Fredericks countered another guillotine with a snap suplex. Goto tags in and cleans house with a clothesline, before he suplexed Sabre onto Taichi for good measure. Zack blocks a Saito suplex, but Goto gets it anyway, before a suplex from Sabre levelled things off. Taichi’s in to do his thing, which was prodding Goto with his boot, before a clothesline just smashed off of Goto… who replied with a double clothesline of his own. Fredericks helps out with a crossbody off the top, along with his GODDAMN dropkick, before a spinebuster drops Taichi.
The elbow drop from Fredericks connected at the second attempt, before Sabre was forced to break up a half crab. Goto made a save there, but was nowhere as a PK from Sabre and a buzzsaw kick from Taichi left Fredericks in a heap, before Karl’s fightback ended with him taking an Axe Bomber, a Saito suplex and eventually the Stretch Plum for the submission. This was a goddamn match of the year contender compared to the rest of the card – they went at a pretty solid pace, and looked interested throughout. Why can’t all the tour be at least like this?! ***¼
World Tag League 2019: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
Hiroshi Tanahashi’s wrestling Chris Jericho in about a month’s time. This tournament’s not done him many favours in terms of building momentum…
The early exchanges see the Guerrillas get knocked down as Henare and Tanahashi worked up into a double-team Boston crab… but Tanga Loa breaks it up as Henare’s taken outside and met with a clothesline. Things continue in the same vein back inside, as Henare’s met with a slingshot senton before he’s choked in the ropes. Henare tries to fight back with forearms, but a dropkick from Tanga dropped him as Tama Tonga returned to take his shots. Jado nonchalantly trips Henare as he prepared for a comeback, which allowed Tama to hit the Stinger splash in the corner. It got the crowd behind Henare, and it feels like forever since we’ve had a crowd on these shows that have been hot.
Finally Henare tags out, with Tanahashi clearing house before he hit a Dragon screw on Tama. That’s followed up with a slam and a flip senton, only for Tama to land a Tongan Twist to cut things off. Tanga tags in and tries to steal the pin, only to get met with a Twist and Shout, as “Henar-Ace” looked to grab a win with a Slingblade/legsweep combo. Things quickly turn back around with an assisted Tongan Twist, before Tanahashi made a save to stop the super powerbomb, but he’s taken outside as Henare had to block the powerbomb by himself. A Toa Bottom comes to nought, before a Jado cane shot, a Skull Crushing Finale and the OJK crossface got the win for Tanga Loa, who’s starting to rack up wins on this tour. A perfectly fine tag match, blowing most of the rest of this tour out of the water too. ***
World Tag League 2019: Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA)
Suzuki gets his music played for a change, and we begin with the obligatory jump start.
SANADA backflips over Suzuki in the corner, then came back with a low dropkick before he tried for a Paradise Lock… only for Suzuki to catch him out with a cross armbar. That sparked the other obligation in Suzuki-gun matches… brawling on the outside, as SANADA’s hurled into the guard rails! Suzuki takes him into the crowd next, where he buried SANADA under guard rails and chairs, before helping him back to the ring, via the ring post. Archer’s in to throw some shots at SANADA, before Suzuki returned to invite a fight back… ultimately snuffing out SANADA with an elbow to the head for a near-fall.
Archer keeps up on SANADA with running elbows in the corner, but a missile dropkick cuts him off as EVIL tagged in and charged through Archer. A Bronco Buster follows for a near-fall, before Archer retaliated with a Black Hole Slam. In comes Suzuki, who goes for a PK only to get caught with a superkick from EVIL, before SANADA returned with a missile dropkick. A pescado awaits Suzuki on the outside, before he’s double-teamed back inside on the way to a back suplex from SANADA. It’s enough for a near-fall, as LIJ looked to finish him off with a Magic Killer… but Archer breaks it up as Suzuki-gun made one last push, with Suzuki’s guillotine and rear naked choke almost forcing a stoppage, only for EVIL to save SANADA… and get POUNCE’D away.
The Gotch piledriver looks to follow, but SANADA backdrops free, then went to the ropes as a Japanese leg clutch got a near-fall. A Skull End’s countered by Suzuki, but he had no answer for as SANADA went for the Japanese leg clutch again, this time snatching the pin as LIJ end the day on top of the board again. A solid outing, as the business end of this card – and tour – seems to be picking up. ***¼
World Tag League 2019: Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay
This is a potential tie-breaker for those looking that far ahead, as the winner will end the day in a share of second place.
YOSHI-HASHI and Juice test the waters early, but it’s Finlay who helped force a lead, with a double-team bulldog, before double-teaming from Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI had Finlay cornered. There’s a turnaround as Juice clotheslines YOSHI-HASHI to the outside for a Finlay pescado, before Finlay had to put the brakes on as Ishii refused to budge back in the ring. Finlay has to abort an uppercut, but lands a uranage backbreaker for a near-fall, before YOSHI-HASHI’s back cracker levelled things up. There’s a dropkick to Juice’s arse for good measure, as he CHAOS team continued to batter Finlay ahead of a Head Hunter off the top rope. Ishii adds a powerbomb for a near-fall, as Juice broke up… and got thrown out. Man, he’s been cutting back a lot on this tour, eh?
Finlay wheelbarrows Ishii for a near-fall then went for an Acid Drop… but gets pushed away as Ishii’s latest brainbuster attempt was countered into a cutter. Tags get us to YOSHI-HASHI and Juice, with the pair trading chops, but it’s Juice’s that had more, erm, juice in them before he busted out the Dusty punches. YOSHI-HASHI cuts those off, then hit the rewind kick and a Bunker Buster for good measure, with CHAOS pushing ahead even more.
Dropkicks from Juice and Finlay put the brakes on things, as did a flapjack to Ishii, but the CHAOS team rebound on Juice, leading up to a running Meteora for near-fall. YOSHI-HASHI followed up with a Western lariat, then a Kumagoroshi for a near-fall… Karma’s blocked, as Juice had one last shot in him, landing the Left Hand of God before a Pulp Friction was countered by Ishii’s enziguiri. Not to worry, another Left Hand of God sent YOSHI-HASHI into a Prima Nocta, before the Pulp Friction landed for the win. Fin-Juice stay second, and the road to the top spot suddenly got a lot tougher for the CHAOS pair. Good stuff to wrap up the card, with the new version of the Best Friends taking the points. ***½
Skip the early matches and dig in to the second half of this show – we’re still short on the barn-burner matches, but at least things are improving as the World Tag League is in its final days! Your updated tiebreakers:
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; face Cabana & Yano on Tuesday; 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
Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI – lost to EVIL & SANADA; lost to Fin-Juice; face Guerrillas of Destiny on the final night
It’s looking very much like EVIL & SANADA are going to finish top… especially given the edge they have.
1. EVIL & SANADA (10-1; 20pts)
2. David Finlay & Juice Robinson; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (9-2; 18pts)
4. Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI (8-3; 16pts)
5. Toru Yano & Colt Cabana (8-4; 16pts)
6. Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer (7-4; 14pts)
7. Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls (7-6; 14pts)
8. KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi (6-5; 12pts)
9. Shingo Takagi & Terrible (6-6; 12pts)
10. Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (6-8; 12pts)
11. Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale; Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (4-7; 8pts)
13. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma (3-9; 6pts)
14. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare (2-8; 4pts)
15. Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks (2-10; 4pts)
16. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (1-11; 2pts)