The World Tag League returns as the Guerrillas of Destiny take on Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi in today’s main event.
Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma pinned Yota Tsuji & Yuji Nagata in 8:54 (**½)
World Tag League 2020 – SANADA & Shingo Takagi pinned Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale in 9:54 (**¼)
World Tag League 2020 – YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto pinned Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi in 12:39 (***)
World Tag League 2020 – EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi pinned Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii in 11:15 (**¾)
World Tag League 2020 – Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan pinned David Finlay & Juice Robinson in 15:16 (***½)
World Tag League 2020 – Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa pinned Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi in 18:51 (***½)
After a day off, the tour’s moved to Nagano’s Saku City General Gymnasium…
Yuji Nagata & Yota Tsuji vs. Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma
Once again, we open with Kojima and Nagata trading arm wringers, before Nagata muscled the pair of them into the ropes.
That sparks a brief chop battle, ending with Nagata trading up for kicks, only for Kojima to charge him down. In comes Tsuji and Honma, as a side headlock and a push-off sees Tsuji knock down Honma, only for Honma to come back with chops and a bulldog to set up for… a missed Kokeshi. Tsuji replies with a slam, but doesn’t follow up as he instead took Honma to the corner and tagged in Nagata, who put the boots to Honma. A kick to the back from Nagata leaves Honma down again, with Tsuji returning for a cravat, a snapmare and a camel clutch. It’s relinquished as Honma and Nagata keep control, before Nagata’s kicks ended with him taking an elbow and a Kokeshi.
Kojima returns, knocking Tsuji off the apron as he trapped Nagata in the corner with the Machine Gun chops. The top rope elbow’s next, but Nagata’s up at two and comes back with the stuttering low dropkick. Tsuji’s back with a regular dropkick before some double-teams in the corner saw Nagata hit a front kick and an Exploder to set up for a leaping splash from Tsuji for a two-count. Honma breaks it up, and hits a Kokeshi to Nagata as they then proceed to isolate Tsuji… who just took the pair of them down with a spear. A Boston crab’s next, but Kojima gets to the ropes, but couldn’t come back with a Cozy lariat, as Tsuji ducked it and hits a suplex for a near-fall… only to get spun with a Cozy lariat seconds later for the win. Pretty standard stuff – as I have a feeling we’ll tire of these particular openers by the end of the tour. **½
World Tag League 2020 – Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & Shingo Takagi)
The Bullet Club pair started the day with zero points – and they jump their opponents before the bell, looking for a head start.
Owens and SANADA stay in the ring, with Chase taking a low dropkick before he trapped Shingo on the mat with a leg lock. Shingo manages to roll it into a pinning attempt, then brought SANADA back in to counter a boot in the corner into a Paradise Lock… except Fale comes in to break the lock up and take Shingo outside for a whip into the guard rails. Thankfully, it’s early enough in the tour for this to not be a threat of a NEVER title match, right? RIGHT? Fale tags in as the Bullet Club pair work over SANADA, but he just stands on SANADA before Owens returned to corner his opponent, with plenty of ref distractions to mask some choking attempts. Chase trips SANADA as he looked for his own Paradise Lock, and despite getting help from Milano on commentary, he can’t do it as SANADA came back with a ‘rana.
Except that ‘rana took Chase into the corner to tag in Fale… eventually SANADA brings in Shingo who kicks the leg, then followed with charges into the corners. He gets Fale off his feet, but not much more than that ahead of a Pumping Bomber that staggered Fale… and a second that took him down. Owens breaks up the pin, then tagged in as he traded strikes with Shingo, coming in with knees, only to fall to a Shingo combination. SANADA tags in, but almost gets beaten with some double-teaming, before a diving knee from Chase forced a near-fall. A package piledriver’s teased, but SANADA squirms out… only for Fale to return.
SANADA shoves Chase into Fale, then sidesteps a body attempt as Shingo knocks Fale outside… before Owens countered a Skull End with an inside cradle for a near-fall. More pinning attempts follow, but it’s SANADA who ends the pretty pedestrian affair with an O’Connor roll. **¼
World Tag League 2020 – Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare
After what felt like a few months out, YOSHI-HASHI’s shoulder is taped up again, and he starts things against Tanahashi here.
Following on from some standing switches, Tanahashi tripped YOSHI-HASHI to the mat, but gets caught with a headlock takedown that needs an escape in the opening minute. YOSHI-HASHI tries to push off from a side headlock from Tanahashi, before some armdrags kept YOSHI-HASHI on the deck. Henare tags in and helps charge down YOSHI-HASHI, before an elbow drop and a falling chop led to a brief double Boston crab. Knees and chops from Henare keep YOSHI-HASHI at bay, but YOSHI-HASHI turns the tables, dragging Henare outside and charging him into the barriers, while Goto posts Tanahashi for the hell of it.
Back inside, Goto tags in for a double shoulder tackle before he hiptossed YOSHI-HASHI onto Henare for a two-count. YOSHI-HASHI returns with elbows and a dropkick after hanging Henare in the ropes, again for a two-count, before Goto adds in a corner clothesline… but not a bulldog out of it as Henare held on. Goto’s suplex attempts get blocked as Henare hit one of his own instead, before bringing in Tanahashi to go wild with Dragon screws. A slam and a flip senton squashes Goto in the corner for a two-count, before Goto replied with a clothesline off the ropes. YOSHI-HASHI tags back in to sting Tanahashi with chops, only for Tanahashi to return with a dropkick off the middle rope.
Henare’s back in with shoulder tackles and chops, before a rear spin kick from YOSHI-HASHI led to a superkick-assisted ushigoroshi from Goto. Running double knees fold up Henare for a two-count, while Tanahashi tried to clear the way with a Twist and Shout neckbreaker. A Slingblade/legsweep combo nearly puts YOSHI-HASHI down, before a rugby tackle from Henare got him marginally closer to the win… The ring begins to fill as Tanahashi wandered in… but YOSHI-HASHI knew to go for the Dragon screw to the leg, having watched all of the summer like we have… then dropped Henare with a GYW for the win. Tanahashi’s weakness continues to be exploited, but Henare looked real good in defeat – something that’s been a trait for way too long. ***
World Tag League 2020 – Bullet Club (EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano
Hey, they managed to kill the lights for EVIL’s entrance. I’m trying to snatch at any positive here…
They tease starting with Ishii and EVIL, but instead it’s Yujiro who tags in at the bell. That leaves Ishii sour, as he charged at EVIL on the apron before he got tripped, allowing Yujiro to come in with a low dropkick. Yano tags in, and instantly goes for the neutral turnbuckle pads, one of which he bonks Yujiro on the head with. EVIL’s slyly loosened a corner pad too, but they don’t need that just yet as Yujiro whips Yano into the ones he’d exposed… before EVIL removed the third pad at the right time. You can sense ring announcer Makoto Abe’s arse clenching when EVIL went outside with Yano, but he aimed for some guard railings away from him as the Bullet Club pair worked over Yano.
We’re back outside so Togo can punch out Yano… my feed buffers, and recovers with Ishii tagging in, and getting his eyes raked. He’s back with elbows to Yujiro, before EVIL kicks him in the ropes… but Ishii escapes to charge down EVIL, who then came in and got thrown into the exposed corner. EVIL’s bad time gets worse when Yujiro clotheslined him, ahead of a back suplex from Ishii. Yujiro nibbles away at Ishii’s suplex attempt, and eventually followed with a reverse DDT as EVIL tagged in to hit a push-down stomp out of the corner. EVIL distracts the referee to mask Dick Togo’s interference, but that backfires as Ishii shoved the two into each other before landing a German suplex, then tagged in Yano, who almost squeaked a win with a roll-up.
EVIL does EVIL things, handing over Yano’s leg to the referee for a superkick, as Yujiro returned to help stop Yano going for a low blow. Ishii tries to make a save, but he gets flattened with a back senton, before Yano hits a Manhattan drop and slingshotted EVIL into the corner. A low blow from Yano’s blocked, but Dick Togo takes one as he went for the garotte wire… yeah,. It’s the usual shenanigans, but the match nearly ends with a clothesline-assisted roll-up on EVIL. In the end though, dualling low blows from EVIL and Yujiro take out Yano and Ishii, with Everything is EVIL mercifully ending this one. Full of all of your favourite tropes, and your mileage definitely will vary on this… for me, I’m beginning to tire of this particular lay-out. Still, at least Abe-san didn’t have a brush with death this time around. That spot’s being saved for the bigger towns… **¾
World Tag League 2020 – The Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb) vs. Fin-Juice (Juice Robinson & David Finlay)
Cobb and Juice get us underway here, but Juice’s waistlock is easily thrown off.
Finlay offered a plan B, which looked to be Juice working over Cobb’s arm, but a whip takes Juice into the opposite corner before a shoulder tackle knocked him down. A leapfrog over Cobb gets Juice time to land an armdrag, taking the big man down, while Finlay tagged in to land a double sledge off the top to the arm. Juice returns with one of his own, before an armdrag and armbar had Cobb back on the deck. They keep going in with double axehandles to the arm, before a double-team bulldog had Cobb down for a two-count, only for Cobb to scoop up Finlay for a slam as O-Khan tagged in for the first time. Some boot choking traps Finlay in the corner, with Cobb returning for a nonchalant backbreaker as the Empire duo looked to push on.
Frequent tags see the Empire isolate Finlay, but he dives out to tag in Juice, who unloads with Dusty punches on Cobb, following up with clotheslines and Manhattan drops. A leg lariat waylays O-Khan too, as a crossbody off the top gets Juice a two-count. He tries to plancha onto O-Khan on the floor, but it misses as O-Khan comes back with a kick, then threw Juice back inside to regain the momentum. This time it’s Juice who’s isolated, with Cobb’s headbutts leaving him down ahead of some mudhole stomping in the corner. A front facelock from O-Khan keeps Juice away from a tag, while Cobb distracts the referee to bring Finlay in – and isolate Juice some more. O-Khan takes Juice up top for some Mongolian chops to the back, leaving Juice in a Tree of Woe for a baseball slide dropkick… but Juice sits up to avoid it, as he finally brought Finlay back in.
A diving European uppercut knocks O-Khan outside, with Cobb trying to make a save… but Finlay takes care of him ahead of a plancha to the floor. Back inside, Finlay drops Cobb with a back suplex, then went back for O-Khan with a diving uppercut for a near-fall, but a turnaround sees O-Khan and Cobb toy with Finlay, throwing him around with gutwrench suplexes for a two-count. Juice tags back in, but has to get help from Finlay to avoid being slammed by Cobb… they land a dropkick/side Russian legsweep combo, only for O-Khan to break up the count. We’ve Mongolian chops to Finlay before O-Khan’s flapjacked, leaving Cobb on his own against both of last year’s league winners… he’s knocked into the corner for a cannonball, but we miss whatever O-Khan did to Juice, before Finlay countered an Eliminator into a Stunner.
Cobb tries to hit back with a Tour of the Islands, but Finlay escapes to DDT Cobb, before an Acid Drop was neatly countered into the Tour of the Islands for the win. It’s rather telling that Cobb’s getting the lion’s share of the wins here, while O-Khan’s taking the falls. Almost like their roles in the Empire were meant to have been reversed… for me, in spite of Finlay bouncing around like a mother, this match was missing a little something as the Empire duo continue to gel and improve as a duo. ***½
World Tag League 2020 – Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi)
For some reason, Zack Sabre Jr. was way late in making his entrance, and ends up sprinting down the aisle as the “cheeky bastards” attacked Taichi before the bell. That’s just opportunism.
Things quickly spill outside with varying results as Tanga Loa was having his way with Taichi, while a pissed off Sabre hurled Tama Tonga into the guard railings. Taichi and Tanga head up onto the entrance stage, teasing that someone would be thrown into the crowd, but instead all four men scrapped on the stage… like a school play gone horribly wrong. Again they tease suplexing Tama Tonga off the stage, but Tanga Loa makes a save as the quartet made it back to ringside, with nobody harmed. We’re still some ways away from it being a proper tag match though, with referee Red Shoes Unno seemingly letting this slide under tornado rules… something that Taichi was fine with as he was able to choke Tama with camera cabling, while Tanga launched Sabre into the rails.
We’re back on the stage again, with Taichi teasing a Dangerous backdrop driver off the stage to Tama, before the reigning tag champions caught the Guerrillas in submissions. They let go and sprint back to the ring to look for the count-out, but the Guerrillas manage to shrug it off and beat the count. Sabre and Taichi choke on Tanga in the corner, making the most out of the ref’s counts. A mounted rear naked choke from Sabre’s next, as my feed again gave out…
It returns with the Guerrillas dropping Sabre with a leaping neckbreaker for a two-count, clubbing punches from Tama keeps Zack on the deck, as did an armdrag, before a chinlock drew in Taichi to try and break things up. Tanga Loa comes in to stop him, but things break down again briefly, before Tanga slammed Sabre out of the corner. Sabre manages to return with an uppercut out of the corner, then rolled across to bring in Taichi who indulged in his choking. The Guerrillas get their own back, choking him into the corner before an Axe bomber finally got Taichi some breathing room. Off come the trousers, but Taichi’s thrust kick misses… and ends up taking a German suplex, then a lariat from Tanga.
Tags bring us to Tama and Sabre, with the former landing a dropkick before Sabre came back with an overhead kick to the arm, then a leg sweep. An Octopus stretch followed from Sabre, but Tama counters it with a flapjack. Taichi’s back with some quick double teaming that almost gets the win, before a superkick-assisted Zack Driver was stopped, with Tanga Loa running in to hit an assisted Tongan Twist instead. A Magic Killer looks to follow, but Sabre pushes it away and rolls up Tama… Tama’s back up to go for a Gun Stun, but Sabre countered into a cross armbreaker, only for Tama to get free and tie him up in a Sharpshooter. Sabre counters *that* into a heel hook as Tama pulled him away from the ropes, but while Tama tap, the ref doesn’t call for the bell as he’s distracted by Jado.
We’ve a ref bump from Tanga Loa, which starts an almost Human Centipede-like chain of interference, with Kendo stick and mic stands. Taichi punts Jado low then rolls him outside, before Tanga Loa drills Taichi with the mic stand. Sabre makes use of the Kendo stick on Tanga though, only for Tama to steal the Iron Fingers from Hell from Taichi’s pouch… he jabs Sabre with them, and that’s enough for the win. That closing stretch will no doubt turn a lot of people off, but was a fitting end to a scrappy tag match that was more of a fight than a classical tag team encounter. ***½
World Tag League 2020
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi; Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb; SANADA & Shingo Takagi; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (3-1; 6pts)
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI; Juice Robinson & David Finlay; Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.; Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (2-2; 4pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens; Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-4; 0pts)
Best of the Super Junior 27
El Desperado, Robbie Eagles Taiji Ishimori, SHO, Ryusuke Taguchi, Hiromu Takahashi, Master Wato (2-1; 4pts)
BUSHI (1-2; 2pts)
DOUKI, Yuya Uemura (0-3; 0pts)
The tour picks up again tomorrow, with a wacky main event between El Desperado and Master Wato. These “town” shows always seem to be a step down from the remainder of the tour – and that’s something that’s been exacerbated with the “clap crowd” era. While dismissing today’s show as “nothing special” is a little harsh, even if little massively stood out from the pack, it was exactly what you’d expect from a tour stop on the World Tag League – and I fear we’ll be like this for the next week until they return to Korakuen Hall…