Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi returned to the main event for the latest World Tag League stop, with Shingo Takagi and SANADA their opponents today.
Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma pinned Yota Tsuji & Yuji Nagata in 10:15 (**½)
World Tag League 2020 – Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan pinned Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale in 6:47 (**¼)
World Tag League 2020 – David Finlay & Juice Robinson pinned Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi in 11:18 (***¼)
World Tag League 2020 – Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga submitted Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL in 8:35 (**½)
World Tag League 2020 – Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano pinned YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto in 15:08 (***½)
World Tag League 2020 – Shingo Takagi & SANADA pinned Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. in 20:40 (***¾)
It’s the second of three nights at Korakuen Hall here, again with just Japanese commentary on the live feed…
Yuji Nagata & Yota Tsuji vs. Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma
Almost a rematch from last night, just with a different Young Lion!
We start with Nagata and Honma working over each other’s wrists and arms, throwing elbows and arm wringers early on. They trade up to elbows and chops, before tags brought in Kojima and Tsuji. Those two look for a side headlock, but while Tsuji gets his on first, Kojima tries to push away… and ends up taking a shoulder tackle once he did.
Tsuji slams Kojima, then followed in with a running flip senton for a two-count, before he put the boots to him. Honma comes in briefly as the veteran team wears down Tsuji, out-striking the Young Lion while keeping him away from a tag. Honma’s back with some chops that keep Tsuji into the ropes, but Tsuji fires back with elbows, only to get chopped down as Honma regained the upper hand. Tsuji tries for a slam, and eventually gets it, as he finally tagged Nagata back in to blast through Honma with mid kicks. Elbows and shoulder tackles offer a response, before Nagata hit back with a stuttering dropkick.
Honma strikes back, leaving both men down… but he’s able to tag Kojima back in to wear down Nagata some more. Tsuji’s back too to land a shoulder tackle as he and Nagata double-teamed Kojima with splashes and running kicks, before a Nagata exploder and a running splash from Tsuji almost got the win. From there, Tsuji goes for a Boston crab while Nagata rolled back the clock to trap Honma in a Nagata Lock 1.
A rope break saves Kojima, who fought back with DDTs and Koji Cutters, leaving Nagata down for a Kokeshi from Honma… which left Tsuji open for a Cozy lariat… which he counters with a dropkick. A powerslam from Tsuji offered new hope, but the Cozy lariat finally lands for the pin. Decent enough, but not much life to this one. **½
World Tag League 2020: Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. The Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
We’ve a jump start as Chase Owens jumps O-Khan with a dropkick, leading to some brawling around ringside.
When we get going in the ring, it’s all Fale overwhelming O-Khan, at least until O-Khan sidesteps a charge in the corner, allowing him to come back in with Mongolian chops. Tags get us to Cobb and Owens, who at least turn up the tempo a little, with Cobb pulling Owens out of the corner with a Spin Cycle back suplex.
O-Khan’s back in to throw Chase across the ring with a gutwrench suplex, but the pin’s broken up by Fale who dives in… then ends up taking a double-team shoulder tackle. Owens manages to drop O-Khan with a neckbreaker, then lit-up Cobb with strikes… including a knee strike as he teased a package piledriver. Except O-Khan broke that up with an Iron Claw, throwing Chase into Fale on the apron before Chase was thrown into a Tour of the Islands for a definitive, and dominant win. **¼
World Tag League 2020: Fin-Juice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare
Starting the day joint bottom, Henare and Tanahashi have a big ask to get on the board against last year’s league winners.
Tanahashi and Finlay start us off somewhat tentatively, but Finlay’s obvious attempts to try and sucker Tanahashi in for double-teaming were thwarted. So instead, Finlay locks up with Tanahashi into the corner, but Tanahashi manages to get back with a springboard crossbody before going hiptoss wild.
Henare tags in for double back elbows, before the chop/elbow drop combo had Finlay down. Juice tags in, but walks into chops from Henare, but a back suplex from Finlay and a back senton from Juice has Henare down before a double-team facebuster took care of Tanahashi for a while. More double-teaming from FinJuice keeps them on top of Henare, with a double sledge to the arm, but Henare’s able to recover, taking Finlay into the corner, then tripping Juice to headbutt his own man in the nether regions, before making the tag out to Tanahashi. Back elbows from Tanahashi, then Dragon screws keep him ahead, before a flip senton off the middle rope gets a two-count.
A leaping forearm from Tanahashi’s avoided as Juice retaliates with a spinebuster, and my word… Juice is the operative word here. He’s busted his nose badly here, and it’s not helped by being charged down by Henare, who ran wild after getting tagged in. Henare uses Juice as a Terry Funk ladder to knock down Finlay with, before he deadlifted Finlay up for a suplex that gets a near-fall.
Elbows from Henare leave Finlay down again for a near-fall, ahead of a rugby tackle that drew Juice back in to make the save. Tanahashi takes care of him as Finlay was forced to fight back on his own, only to fall to a high/low takedown… before he had to block a Toa Bottom. Juice tags in on the apron, with Henare unaware, and almost snatches the win quickly after coming in.
Juice has seen his tapes from the summer and took care of Tanahashi with a Dragon screw, then punched out Henare with a Left Hand of God, before a Doomsday Device put Henare down for the count. Pretty enjoyable stuff this, but I do fear that at this rate, Henar-Ace will be propping up the table come the middle of next month. ***¼
World Tag League 2020: Bullet Club (EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
We’ve another all-Bullet Club tag, and yes, we’ve got both Dick Togo and Justin Credible-Jado at ringside. Expect shenanigans.
Such as EVIL and Yujiro jumping the Guerrillas after the obligatory too-sweet, but the former tag champions got back in it, with Tama choking Yujiro in the ropes before getting a two-count from a bodyslam. Tanga Loa comes in to go for a suplex, rolling it into a Blue Thunder bomb for another two-count, with more slams leaving Yujiro laying.
Tama’s back to counter Yujiro’s reverse DDT attempt into a suplex, but Yujiro’s able to hot shot Tama to the outside, then dove out to make the tag to EVIL… who instantly threw Tama Tonga into the guard rails. Tanga Loa gets the same treatment, before Tama actually got whipped into the crowd… where Dick Togo raced in to throw in some stomps.
Amid all that, Yujiro’s unlacing one of the turnbuckle pads, while EVIL tried to get a lackadaisical cover over Tama back inside. An eye rake provides a distraction, before Tama’s whipped into the exposed corner, which led to some more double-teaming that culminated in a Fisherman suplex and a running kick for a near-fall. Another low dropkick from Yujiro crashes into Tama, who then elbowed out of an Incolle slam before rolling out to tag in Tanga Loa, who cleared the apron and went to work on Yujiro with knee strikes and an enziguiri. A German suplex followed for a two-count, as EVIL came in to turn the tables again, using the referee for the usual stuff… including hiding Dick Togo choking out Tanga Loa with the garrot wire.
Jado stops that with a Kendo stick shot, as the shenangians pile up on us… a low blow’s blocked as the Guerrillas proceeded to dispatch of EVIL with a Magic Killer. Yujiro pushes out of one that was headed his way, taking Tama outside for a dive. Tanga Loa’s sent out too, but Yujiro’s second tope is stopped with a Kendo stick shot as a Tanga Loa lariat almost got the win. From there, the OJK crossface is applied, and that forces Yujiro to submit. They kept this short, but to me it still felt like it dragged. At least they sowed seeds for the eventual/inevitable Bullet Club split here… **½
World Tag League 2020: Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
Christ, Yano’s introduction is getting longer every week, huh?
Yano and Goto start us off, locking up into the ropes before Yano backed off. Of course, Yano rakes the eyes of Goto next, before he got charged down… but Yano responds by removing a turnbuckle pad, despite YOSHI-HASHI’s protestations… which just served to distract Yano as he got double-teamed with shoulder tackles.
Ishii comes in to stop it, but he gets hiptossed and beaten on, until Yano started whacking fools with the corner pad. YOSHI-HASHI gets thrown into the exposed corner, then had to deal with Tomohiro Ishii coming in. Elbows seemed like a bad idea as Ishii chops back, eventually knocking YOSHI-HASHI down, before Yano returned to stomp a mudhole in YOSHI-HASHI.
Again, YOSHI-HASHI gets whipped into the bare corner, before he returned with a running Head Hunter neckbreaker, which bought him enough time to tag out to Goto. Goto’s a house afire here, but gets bopped in the back of the head by Yano before clotheslining him down. The spinning heel kick follows into the corner, as a bulldog took Yano out of the corner for a two-count, with Yano eventually getting himself free with more hair pulling.
Ishii’s back to kick away on Goto, who responds with elbow strikes, before his lariat was swatted away… but the second one finds its mark. YOSHI-HASHI returns to chop Ishii, but that just sparks a battle of elbow shots, then chops, which YOSHI-HASHI surprisingly came ahead on, culminating in a neckbreaker on Ishii for a near-fall. Our YOSHI-HASHI is surprisingly accurate, finding Ishii’s neck…
More chops from YOSHI-HASHI keep him ahead, despite a double-team attempt from Yano, as it’s he and Goto who pushed ahead with running double knees for a two-count. An assisted GYW looked to follow on Ishii, but it’s pushed away as Ishii tried to come back with clotheslines… only to eat an assisted GYR. Yano dives in to make the save on the cover there, but his comeback’s delayed by elbows from YOSHI-HASHI, who then got slingshotted into the exposed corner.
Except YOSHI-HASHI put on the brakes… and sidesteps a dive from Yano. Still, Yano recovers with a rebound belly-to-belly off the ropes. A suplex from YOSHI-HASHI nearly ends it, as did a roll-up on Ishii, before a Western lariat dropped the Stone Pitbull en route to an attempt at Karma. Ishii escapes for a Dragon suplex, before a lariat nearly put YOSHI-HASHI away… only for the sheer drop brainbuster to get the job done. An enjoyable scrap between the CHAOS lads, but in the end it was a case of this going back to form, with Ishii edging past YOSHI-HASHI’s recent hot streak. ***½
World Tag League 2020: Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & Shingo Takagi) vs. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi)
Main event time, and after their comments earlier in the tour, this should at least be competitive.
Of course, we open with a jump start, but the Suzuki-gun lads are quickly overwhelmed as Sabre’s rocked in the ropes by a knee from Shingo. A neck crank from Shingo doesn’t stop the trash talking, but Sabre does manage to catch SANADA in a Cobra twist that’s broken up quickly, with SANADA then sending Sabre outside… but an eye rake from Taichi stops the expected plancha as the match spills outside.
Back inside, Sabre and Taichi choke away on SANADA with their boots, before they used the ropes to achieve the same thing, slowing down that early pace. Sabre’s in with a cravat to ground SANADA with, but a rope break just brings in Taichi to choke again – under the guise of it being a pin.
My feed drops out here, and recovers with SANADA shrugging off an eye rake to hit a low dropkick. Sabre and Shingo tag in, going hell for leather before Taichi interjected himself to try and stop Shingo. It doesn’t work, as Shingo goes wild with clotheslines, before he suplexes away a guillotine from Sabre. Zack returns with a wristlock to take Shingo down, following up with a stomp to the arm, as more kicks ended up earning Sabre the elbow, jab and DDT combo. A sliding lariat from Shingo’s caught as Sabre comes back with headscissors that he tried to transition into a triangle armbar, which Shingo escaped with ease.
SANADA tags back in and quickly drops Sabre with a Dragon screw, before taking him outside for a plancha. Back inside, SANADA gets a two-count from that, before Sabre went back to work on the arm, using a Pele kick, before he countered a Paradise Lock attempt by sparking some see-saw pinning attempts.
A neck twist leaves SANADA down as Taichi came back in to choke, but he’s dropkicked away before Shingo came in to help with an assisted noshigami. Sabre breaks up the cover and gets hurled outside, before we had almost a Human Centipede of submission attempts. It calms down with a simultaneous pair of Dragon sleepers out of LIJ, but they get escaped as a Stretch Plum and Octopus hold trapped Shingo and SANADA respectively.
Settling down again, Taichi looks to put Shingo away with a Last Ride, but he has to stop to dish out some Kawada-ish kicks… more double-teaming looked to lead to a Zack Mephisto, but SANADA makes the save, dropping Sabre with a Magic Screw (one-man Magic Killer)… only for Taichi to bust out a Dangerous backdrop driver to SANADA. A leaping enziguiri out of Taichi drops Shingo as we finally breathe…
More buffering leads to an Axe Bomber from Taichi to put Shingo down, but Shingo’s back with an Axe Bomber of his own, then a Gedo clutch as he tried to beat Taichi at his own game. Another leaping high kick from Taichi led him into an attempt at Last of the Dragon, while Shingo looked for Black Mephisto on what was clearly Opposite Day… but Taichi instead went back to a Last Ride that almost won the match.
Sabre runs in for a PK, with a Gedo clutch from Taichi nearly ending the match, as Shingo tried to fight back all on his own. SANADA finally comes in to help, swinging Taichi in a Skull End, before passing him off to Shingo for Last of the Dragon, and that’s all folks! LIJ end the tag team champions’ 100% run – and creates a seven-way tie at the top of the block after three matches. A pretty good main event – and one that could well set up a future title match down the road, should Shingo and SANADA not win the tournament. ***¾
World Tag League 2020
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi; Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb; Juice Robinson & David Finlay; SANADA & Shingo Takagi; Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa; Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (2-1; 4pts)
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI (1-2; 2pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens; Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-3; 0pts)
Best of the Super Junior 27
SHO, Master Wato (2-0; 4pts)
BUSHI, El Desperado,Robbie Eagles, Taiji Ishimori, Ryusuke Taguchi, Hiromu Takahashi (1-1; 2pts)
DOUKI, Yuya Uemura (0-2; 0pts)
The current Korakuen run wraps up on Friday, with Hiromu Takahashi looking to get back on track in the main event as he faces stable-mate BUSHI, while SHO and Robbie Eagles provide your semi-main event. Today though was a case of “same same, but different”. Watching these shows after a bad night’s sleep isn’t the way to go here, but at least the stuff that was on people’s radars as being “possibly bad” didn’t go overly long.