It’s December, and World Tag League is almost done – but things are getting tighter at the top!
We’re on-demand from Shiga’s Ukaru Chan Arena, as it’s back to the tape-delay, no-graphics or commentary output. Let’s get cracking…
World Tag League 2019: Suzuki-gun (Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki) vs. Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks
Everybody dies. Especially Young Lions.
Yeah, we’ve a jump start as we began with Lance Archer having his way with Karl Fredericks, while Suzuki marched Goto into the crowd for some of the usual. Archer joined in, throwing Fredericks into the back of the room… and things didn’t get much better for Karl when he got back to the ring, as Suzuki laughed off his offence.
Archer’s back with elbows in the corner, but before long Suzuki tags in to try and force a submission – ending with Fredericks in the ropes. Goto tried to make a save, but just got kicked as Fredericks finally tagged out, following a dropkick to counter the EBD Claw. The t-shirt clad Goto pushes on, landing a Saito suplex for a near-fall, before the LA Dojo team combined with clotheslines and lariats.
The side Russian legsweep/Blockbuster combo finds its mark on Archer for just a one-count. Fredericks whiffs on his dropkick, and gets caught in another leglock from Suzuki. He gets the ropes, but needs Goto’s help to avoid a Gotch Style Piledriver. That allowed Fredericks a brief comeback with a fist drop for a near-fall, before he got caught in a front chancery as Suzuki proceeded to elbow him to death, then land a quick Gotch piledriver for the win. About as squashy as you’ll get here – and that’s how this should have gone given Frederick was in for most of the match. **¼
World Tag League 2019: Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) vs. Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens)
Well, that jump start didn’t go well, as Sabre just bounced off of Fale as the match spills outside almost instantly.
Taichi gets a Brookesing from Chase, then met the back of the arena, while Sabre was getting similar treatment from Fale. Sabre manages to turn it around with a hold in the crowd, before he shoved Fale through some chairs, before giving Fale an Octopus when the two made it back to the ring. Fale resists that, then an Irish whip into the corner as he proceeded to splatter Sabre… who rebounded with a sleeperhold that was broken up when Chase leapt onto the pair with a double axehandle. Owens tags in and tried to pick apart Sabre, but a Jewel Heist’s stopped with an overhead kick as Taichi tagged in to resume the offence.
They tried to double-team Fale, but he just pushes them away. Sabre and Taichi work backa in with a PK and a buzzsaw kick respectively, before Taichi whipped off his trousers and almost got pinned. He kicks out and unsights Chase with the same trousers, rolling him up for a near-fall, before he was forced to counter a package piledriver, teasing Black Memphisto, before he misdirected Chase’s knee strike towards the referee, and used a Gedo clutch to snatch the win. This picked up a little towards the end, but they did the best they could given they had to get the Fale crowd brawl in there… **
World Tag League 2019: Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
Finally, no jump start! We began with Honma tentatively going for a headlock as he and Cobb trade shoulder tackles. Yeah….
Cobb won out with those, before Nicholls and Makabe came in to trade barbs – eventually dispatching Nicholls to the outside as Cobb was met with a double-team shoulder tackle. Oh, then Honma missed a Kokeshi, for the love of it. That opened the door for Nicholls to wrench on Honma with a side headlock that ended in the ropes… which in turn led to Makabe coming in and landing mounted punches, then a clothesline for a near-fall.
Another swivelling lariat decked Cobb, before Honma returned to try his luck with more shoulder tackles. A bulldog’s effective too, as Honma then went on to miss another Kokeshi, before Nicholls and Cobb combined for the Gachimuchi-sault/fist drop combo. That’s good for a near-fall, before Makabe helped to swing it around again, this time helping Honma finally land a Kokeshi… but then Honma went too far, missing one off the top rope. After an Oklahoma Stampede, Honma tried to fight back, but in the end it was elementary as a Tour of the Islands got Cobb’s team the win. By the numbers, but at least it was short. **¼
World Tag League 2019: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi & Terrible) vs. Colt Cabana & Toru Yano
It’s time for your new favourite tag team – the dark horses of the tour!
Colt and Yano can’t decide who’ll start, so they get beaten on, before they recover… and Colt actually manages to stop Shingo by shouting at him. Dusty punches follow, with Shingo issuing some of his own before Yano broke it up… and ran into Terrible. LIJ enjoyed some brief offence, with Colt taking a legdrop, then some Bryan Danielson elbows from Shingo. Colt turns it back around, tagging in Yano, who of course went for the turnbuckles… but Shingo’s wise to it, and we had a turnbuckle pad duel!
The ref unarms Shingo, so of course Yano swipes away with his, before tags got us back to Terrible and and Colt. They slug it out for a bit, before Yano came in with an atomic drop, leaving Terrible prone for a Superman pin… and there’s two more points! Colt and Yano really are the outside bet for the tournament, but they’re piling on those wins… **¼
World Tag League 2019: Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare
Imagine saying that a win for a Hiroshi Tanahashi team would be classed as an upset… but given tournament form, that’s what we’re talking about here.
We’ve got a faked-out handshake between Tanahashi and SANADA as they tried to cheapshot each other… SANADA snuck out, but couldn’t do the Paradise Lock, and instead got caught with a crossbody by Tanahashi instead. Henare’s in to clear the ring, so he could double-team SANADA. Problem was, things spilled outside as SANADA took Henare into the rails, before EVIL caught Henare with a Bronco buster back inside.
SANADA goes back on the offence, catching Henare in a Paradise Lock, but Tanahashi tags in and began to build some momentum, teasing a Dragon screw on SANADA before he had to fight out of a Skull End. The Dragon screw comes from SANADA, as tags then got us to EVIL and Henare, with the Kiwi throwing some forearms ahead of a Samoan drop for a near-fall. Some double-teaming turns it around though, with a clothesline from EVIL almost winning it, before LIJ signalled for a Magic Killer. Tanahashi makes a save, then had to save himself with Twist and Shouts ahead of a Slingblade/legsweep combo. Tanahashi takes SANADA outside and followed him with a pescado, before a Toa Bottom was swiftly countered by EVIL into Everything is EVIL for the flash pin. This was solid, and EVIL quickly putting Henare away with his finish at the end there just underlines the gulf between those two. Poor Henare. ***
World Tag League 2019: Bullet Club (KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI
There’s some spice here, going back to KENTA turning on Ishii earlier in the summer – but instead we open with YOSHI-HASHI and Yujiro, as the “bag of socks” created an early lead.
Ishii comes in, but is instantly tripped by KENTA, who tosses him into the guard rails as we have to have that sequence, allowing Yujiro to take over with some legdrops back inside for a quick two-count. KENTA picks up with some kicks in the corner, as he was really picking his spots, tagging in and out as he saw fit.
Ishii finally got a break, but KENTA pulls YOSHI-HASHI off the apron and returned to throw some forearms at Ishii… along with some kicks. YOSHI-HASHI finally comes in and catches KENTA with a Head Hunter, before he followed into the NEVER champion with a chop, then a dropkick in the ropes for a near-fall. A tag brings Yujiro in to land a big boot, before he got caught with a Bunker Buster… only for Yujiro to bite his way back in.
What’s good for the goose is good for the gander, as Ishii nibbles too, but the ring clears out as Yujiro counters a lariat from Ishii into a reverse DDT. The Incolle Slam’s next as at least Yujiro’s doing something for his team, but the ol’ Angle Slam’s not enough… YOSHI-HASHI tries to make the save from a Pimp Juice, but gets taken out as Ishii lariats Yujiro to death. A folding powerbomb nearly gets it for Ishii, as a Parade of Moves broke out, leading to the Bullet Club team being shoved into each other. A Western Lariat from YOSHI-HASHI took down Yujiro, who ate a sliding lariat and a sheer drop brainbuster… and that’s all! Not exactly an enticing outing, but Ishii ekes out the win as the Bullet Club entrants wheel out another forgettable outing, I’m afraid. **
World Tag League 2019: Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
A win for Fin-Juice keeps them tied at the top – but a loss means they’re in for a hell of a week as they have three more potential tie-breakers to come.
Fin-Juice looked lively early, taking the Guerrillas into the corners before whipping them into each other ahead of a pair of bulldogs… and a butt bump for good measure. Of course, things then head outside as Juice and Finlay hit the guard rails. The count-out mysteriously stops as Tanga Loa took Finlay deep into the crowd, then into the ring post. Finlay’s briefly back in the ring, but he’s tossed outside again as the Guerrillas slowed the pace down, while isolating Finlay, who’d taken some damage early on. Eventually he breaks free with a dropkick, before Tama rushed in and almost got rolled up… with the kick-out propelling Finlay into the corner as he finally tagged out.
Juice comes in with Dusty punches for Tama, before a Left Hand of God was ducked… nevermind that, here comes a spinebuster. Tags get us back to Finlay and Tanga Loa, with Tanga getting cornered for some running uppercuts, before he rolled outside and into the path of a pescado. Back inside again, Finlay drops Tanga with a uranage backbreaker for a two-count, before a dropkick-assisted side Russian legsweep led to another near-fall.
Tama’s back to help clear house, but a Magic Killer tease is quickly stopped by Finlay, who fought back, only to get taken down with a leaping neckbreaker. More double-teaming looked to set up Finlay for the super powerbomb, but Juice makes the save, blocking a Gun Stun and turning it into a reverse DDT on Tama. Jado gets in on it too, but he’s elbowed down as the tables turn, with Juice landing a Left Hand of God on Tanga Loa.
Tama returns to hit a Gun Stun, then take a Prima Nocta, as the ring cleared, with a second Prima Nocta on Tanga Loa getting blocked. Finlay shoves Tanga off into the referee, which opened the door for Jado to come in with a low blow, before the OJK crossface got Tanga Loa the win. Decent stuff to close us out, and it’s telling that Fin-Juice got an out on the way to their loss. ***
So we’ve a stand-alone leader at the top of the table, with EVIL & SANADA on course to win and get that tag title shot at WrestleKingdom. However, if you want to look at tie-breakers and where things could fall…
- 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; face Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI on Monday; 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; face Fin-Juice on Monday; face Guerrillas of Destiny on the final night
As things stand, EVIL & SANADA seem to be leading the way on tie-breakers – but the Cabana/Yano team have wins over everyone here bar Fin-Juice (who they face on Tuesday), so they could end up being the darkest of dark horses…
1. EVIL & SANADA (9-1; 18pts)
2. David Finlay & Juice Robinson; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa; Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI (8-2; 16pts)
5. Toru Yano & Colt Cabana (8-3; 16pts)
6. Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer (7-3; 14pts)
7. Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls (7-5; 14pts)
8. KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi (5-5; 10pts)
9. Shingo Takagi & Terrible (5-6; 10pts)
10. Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (5-8; 10pts)
11. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (4-7; 8pts)
12. Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale (3-7; 6pts)
13. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma (3-9; 6pts)
14. Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks; Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare (2-8; 4pts)
16. Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (1-10; 2pts)