The World Tag League returns to Korakuen Hall, as the Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi look to consolidate their lead at the top as they take on against last year’s winners in Juice Robinson and David Finlay.
Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma pinned Yota Tsuji & Yuji Nagata in 7:32 (**½)
World Tag League 2020 – Jeff Cobb & Great-O-Khan pinned Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL in 13:00 (**¾)
World Tag League 2020 – Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI pinned Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale in 8:05 (**)
World Tag League 2020 – Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano pinned Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi in 14:43 (***¾)
World Tag League 2020 – Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa pinned SANADA & Shingo Takagi in 15:26 (***½)
World Tag League 2020 – David Finlay & Juice Robinson pinned Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. in 21:32 (***¾)
We’re back in Korakuen Hall for the final time on this tour – don’t worry, on Christmas week we’ve got three nights in a row there, if you’re the sort that pines for a particular building.
Yuji Nagata & Yota Tsuji vs. Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma
The only line I’ve kept across all of these reports (before I fill in the blanks) is “Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma pinned Yota Tsuji & Yuji Nagata in”… I mean, giving Kojima a pile of wins isn’t something I’d ever be against (within reason), but throw Honma a bone!
Nagata and Honma start us off, with a cravat from Nagata ending in the ropes, with Honma slapping himself free. Things quickly descend into elbows, with Honma edging ahead on a shoulder tackle, before kicks from Nagata riled him up again. Honma’s taken down for some stomps as Tsuji tags in, adding some more elbows back-and-forth, before a slam from Tsuji left him down as Nagata tagged in for some more kicks.
Yup, Nagata’s not in a good mood today it seems. Being on the losing side for nine nights in a row will do that to you. Tsuji’s back to pull Honma into a bow-and-arrow hold, but loses his grip as Honma got free to tag in Kojima… who quickly took Nagata down with an elbow as it was time for those Machine Gun chops.
Kojima followed up with the forearm, but gets booted as he went up top… and recovered with a DDT. More elbows follow, but Nagata comes back with a stuttering low dropkick and an Exploder suplex to buy him time. Tsuji returns to hit a leaping forearm and a shoulder tackle, before he broke in with a slam for a two-count.
Honma breaks up the pin, but gets thrown outside as Nagata helps Tsuji with a double shoulder tackle, then a PK before Tsuji’s flip senton and splash gets him a two-count. A Boston crab follows, with Kojima getting dragged away from the ropes before finally getting himself there. Tsuji looks for a suplex, but slips out of the reversal as a Koji cutter took him down, with Nagata having to break up the pin. Tsuji offered one last surge with a dropkick and a spear for a near-fall, before a running slam was escaped by Kojima, who just turned around and levelled him with a Cozy lariat for the win. Decent enough for an opener, as Kojima and Honma pick up more wins than anyone in the World Tag League so far! **½
World Tag League 2020 – Bullet Club (EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. The Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb)
My word, O-Khan has got some fans in Korakuen – with one in the front row dressed in his “original” attire, while several others were parading his t-shirt.
The Empire jump as the Bullet Club were too-sweeting, as we start on the outside with EVIL getting his eyes raked by O-Khan, before he got posted. Cobb, on the other hand, was looking to get something back after being the only guy Yujiro beat during the G1. Ignominy.
In the ring, O-Khan picks up Yujiro for a gutwrench facebuster for a two-count, before he was taken into the corner to be sat on. Cobb’s in for some backbreakers as he tosses Yujiro aside like he was nothing. Some boots trap Yujiro in the corner as my feed begins to buffer… O-Khan’s back in with a grounded head and arm choke, but Yujiro gets to the ropes to force a break, with Cobb returning to charge Yujiro into the corner.
O-Khan tries to make Yujiro lick his boots, then came in with some knees to the gut as Yujiro finally offered some resistance with some elbows. Which just get him a shrieking Mongolian chop. Yujiro hotshots O-Khan to the outside, and then the turnaround begins, as EVIL jabs O-Khan with a chair as he busted out the old baseball spot, before he threw O-Khan back inside. Yujiro’s still there with a snapmare for a leg drop, elbow drop and a falling headbutt that gets a two-count, before he threw O-Khan into an exposed corner. They head outside as EVIL charges O-Khan into the timekeeper’s table, with ring announcer Kimihiko Ozaki being smart enough to not stay in his seat for that.
Back inside, the Bullet Club almost puts O-Khan away with some double-teaming – with Cobb needing to break up the pin before Yujiro’s reverse DDT taking O-Khan back down, O-Khan finally recovers with a pump kick as he got the tag out to Cobb, who charges Yujiro back into the corner for a leaping elbow, before a running back suplex dropped Yujiro in the middle of the ring.
Cobb gets a two-count off of that, but he goes for a suplex, which leads to Yujiro biting away on him ahead of a leg sweep and a low dropkick. The Incolle slam impressively hauls up Cobb for a near-fall, as Dick Togo then gets up to distract the referee, masking a shot from Yujiro’s Pimp cane. The Pimp Juice DDT looks to follow, but O-Khan broke it up with an Iron claw, only for EVIL to stop him with some referee assistance.
Dick Togo’s in with the Spoiler Choker, but O-Khan pulls away the garotte wire and hits another Mongolian chop, before throwing Yujiro into EVIL, knocking the latter out of the ring. From there, Yujiro’s thrown into a Tour of the Islands, and there’s Cobb’s win back. This was no great shakes, but not as bad as pessimists would have expected going in. Especially since the result all-but-eliminates EVIL and Yujiro… **¾
World Tag League 2020 – Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
We’ve a jump start as the Bullet Club clock Goto from behind, taking him to the corner… but a quick turnaround sees Goto avoid Fale as he and YOSHI-HASHI double-teamed Chase Owens for a spell.
Fale gets clubbered on too, but the Bullet Club pair take it outside as the guard rails came into play. Back inside, Goto’s worn down in the corner as Fale uses his boot to choke on him, while he and Owens stood on Goto’s back in the ropes.
Elbow drops from Chase keeps Goto down, but Fale misses when he comes in as YOSHI-HASHI finally came in to try and make a dent in proceedings. He’s got to throw aside a goozle from Fale, before he got whipped into the corner… but YOSHI-HASHI avoids a splash and comes back in with a lariat instead.
A low dropkick and a Head Hunter has YOSHI-HASHI ahead for a two-count, but he ends up getting backed into the corner. Literally. Owens is back for a running elbow and a clothesline for a two-count, but a rear spin kick from YOSHI-HASHI gets him free to make a tag out to Goto.
Goto charges in with a spinning heel kick and a bulldog for a two-count, before the pair indulged in back-and-forth elbows. Owens’ leaping enziguiri and a Jewel Heist lariat almost upsets Goto, before Fale came in and got clotheslined to the outside. Owens tries for a roll-up, getting a near-fall before YOSHI-HASHI’s superkick sets off an ushigoroshi. From there, the GYW plants Owens in the middle of the ring, and that’s your lot. They kept this brief, but it never really got into any sort of gear as we’ve now got two Bullet Club teams all-but-out of the tournament. **
World Tag League 2020 – Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare
With Henare and Tanahashi already out, this is just them “playing for pride” against a team pushing to stay top of the league. Yes, Yano’s intro got longer – this time mentioning a sports bar…
Ishii and Henare open us off, reminding us of their big match that got cancelled earlier in the year. They quickly go to shoulder tackles as Henare inched ahead, before a double Boston crab ended with Yano breaking it up… and getting rolled up in it himself. Ishii’s back to break that up, before he’s elbowed down for a falling chop/elbow drop combo.
Yano tries to kick Henare on the apron and gets clobbered, but the distraction helps Ishii get ahead, before he let Henare up as the Kiwi came back with some elbows. Except Ishii just took him to the corner for chops and forearms as he’d had enough of that…
Yano tags in, and rakes Henare’s eyes before throwing him into an exposed corner. Henare responds with a leaping shoulder tackle off the ropes, before Tanahashi came in to land a flip senton off the middle rope for a two-count. Yano gets free with a hair pull before tagging out… with Tanahashi chopping him down, only for Ishii to fight back as Henare got the tag in. Ishii lands a clothesline in the corner, but couldn’t avoid being pulled into a Samoan drop as Henare looked to push on with a stalling suplex… but Ishii wriggles out and ends up getting shoved into a Tanahashi palm strike. They tee up for the Slingblade/leg sweep combo, but Yano pulls Tanahashi to the outside, then pulled Henare into the ropes for an Ishii German suplex.
Henare remains on the defensive, as he had to chop his way out of a Manhattan drop, before dropping Yano with a lariat. That leaves him in there alone with Ishii, following up with a shoulder tackle off the top, before Ishii popped up for a shoulder tackle of his own as the pair traded strikes. A single elbow waffled Henare, with a Saito suplex next for a two-count, before Tanahashi tagged in looking to clear house, but his arms get hooked by Yano, then thrown into the corner.
There’s a turnaround as Tanahashi went for a Slingblade, eventually landing a Twist and Shout instead before the Slingblade/leg sweep combo put Ishii down. A plancha lays out Yano on the floor as Henare smelled victory, charging Ishii across the ring with a rugby tackle for a near-fall, before the Toa Bottom was elbowed out of.
Another spear from Henare drops Ishii for a near-fall, but Yano breaks it up… only to get thrown into the exposed corner. Tanahashi misses a charge there, before Yano baited Henare into the ropes for a rebound German suplex, as a sliding lariat from Ishii almost got the win. A second lariat from Ishii dropped Henare for another near-fall, but the sheer-drop brainbuster came to nought… as did Henare’s attempt, as he instead hits a headbutt, then a rear spin kick before the Toa Bottom was countered into the brainbuster for the win. A really good match that made me pine for that Ishii/Henare match we never got. 2021… please? ***¾
World Tag League 2020 – Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & Shingo Takagi)
SANADA and Tama Tonga start us off here, switching from side headlocks to hammerlocks before Tama restrained SANADA with a cravat.
SANADA flips out of the snapmare attempt as the pair turned up the pace briefly, culminating in a dropkick that had Tama down, before Shingo came in to help with elbows and a back senton for a two-count. Some elbows to the shoulder follow as Shingo looked to wear down Tama, following up with an arm wringer that SANADA kept up.
My feed gives up as we then head outside, with SANADA and Shingo having been thrown into the railings before they retuned to the ring, with Tama putting the boots to SANADA. Tanga Loa’s boot’s up in the corner for SANADA to get thrown into, before the former tag champs hit sentons atomico, with Tanga getting a two-count from all that.
A low dropkick from SANADA stems the tide as he tagged in Shingo to go to town on Tanga… but Tama breaks it up, forcing Shingo to try to come from behind, eventually doing so as he surprised the Guerrillas with a pair of DDTs. Running knees to the gut pin Tanga in the ropes ahead of a sliding lariat for a two-count, before the pair went back-and-forth on elbows, then with clotheslines, before Shingo dropped Tanga with a Saito suplex.
There’s a quick response in the form of a German suplex, before both men were left laying with dual clotheslines. Tags get us back to SANADA and Tama, with a double leapfrog/dropkick from SANADA knocking Tama outside for a plancha… but back inside the Guerrillas teased a double-team Tongan Twist, only to get caught with duelling Dragon sleepers.
In the end, it was LIJ who hit a version of the Guerilla Warfare for a near-fall, before a Magic Screw from SANADA almost put Tama down. SANADA followed that up with a slam before he hit the ropes for a moonsault… missing Tama as a backdrop/neckbreaker combo from the Guerrillas almost got the win. From there, they go back to the Guerrilla Warfare, landing it for a near-fall, before Shingo ate one as well.
A Magic Killer waits for SANADA after that, landing for a near-fall, before he’s cornered with a Stinger splash. The Super Powerbomb’s next, but SANADA ‘ranas his way out of it, prompting Jado to try and help. His Kendo stick shot’s caught by Shingo, as LIJ pushed on, with a TKO from SANADA barely getting a one-count, while Shingo wobbled to avoid Tanga Loa, eventually knocking him outside with a Pumping Bomber.
SANADA’s left alone with Tama, but his Skull End’s countered into a roll-up for a near-fall, before they went back-and-forth on Dragon Sleepers, backflipping in and out of the hold. Tama tries for a Gun Stun, but it’s blocked as SANADA switches into a swinging Dragon sleeper, before Jado came in to break it up with a Kendo stick shot. One Gun Stun later, and that’s your lot – a pretty good scrap of a tag match until the shenanigans at the end, as this result served to move the logjam away from top spot and into a traffic jam in second place. ***½
World Tag League 2020 – Fin-Juice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson) vs. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi)
Other results today have helped – but a loss for Fin-Juice today would make their road to the finals next month virtually impossible.
After some dancing pecs, we start with Finlay and Sabre scrambling for a lock-up, only to reach a quick stalemate. Wash, rinse and repeat, except this time Sabre’s caught in a surfboard stretch by Finlay… which he quickly kicks and rolled out of. Finlay responds by taking Sabre down in a wristlock, before Juice tagged in to hit a double-sledge to the arm… a favour he quickly returned.
Double back elbows knock down Sabre for a two-count, before Juice slams Sabre… then Finlay on top Sabre for another two-count. Juice looks for the Juice Box on Sabre, but Taichi runs in to choke him into the corner, then over the ropes as the tag team champions looked to be asserting themselves… albeit with some liberal interpretation of the rules.
Zack’s back to knock Finlay off the apron before an uppercut took Juice into the corner. Taichi tags in to go for a pin, but instead it’s more choking, which annoys Finlay… and got him shoved off the apron for telling on Taichi. Juice tries to reply with some elbows and a headbutt, but Taichi just knocks Finlay down again as Sabre came in to take his share of a crossbody as Juice finally got the tag out.
Finlay goes wild with elbows and uppercuts, taking down Taichi with one off the middle rope for a two-count, but Sabre’s right back in to work on Finlay’s bad shoulder, twisting the arm between his legs. We head outside once more, with Taichi posting Finlay shoulder-first, as the focus continued on that body part for a while longer back inside. Juice tries to give Finlay a pep talk from the apron, and it sort of worked as Finlay elbowed his way back in… only to get thrown shoulder-first back into the corner. Finlay ducks an Axe bomber and hits a back suplex to get himself free, with Juice tagging in to go wild with elbows once more.
A back senton from Juice squashes Taichi, but Sabre’s in with uppercuts before he ran into a spinebuster. Taichi gets a full nelson slam for his worries, before Juice came in with a clothesline to drop Sabre. Dusty punches follow, but Sabre counters with a guillotine… which Juice quickly suplexes out of for a two-count. Finlay’s back for an elbow drop after Juice’s backbreaker, but Taichi breaks up the pin… then drags Finlay outside as a side-Russian legsweep/uppercut attempt was thwarted. That opened the door for the Suzuki-gun lads to blast into Juice, with Sabre’s PK getting a two-count, as Taichi then whips off his trousers.
Finlay pulls Taichi outside as payback for earlier as the former tag champions double-team Sabre for a near-fall. A Doomsday Device attempt backfires as Sabre slips off of Juice’s shoulders and into a Cobra twist as Taichi restrained Finlay on the top rope, but it came to nought as Sabre looked to kick Juice out of the ring.
Sabre’s right back in with an Octopus hold, but it’s countered into the Juice Box as Finlay gets the tag back in to try and get the win. He knocks Taichi off the apron before focusing on Sabre with uppercuts… but an overhead kick to the arm puts Finlay back to square one, as Taichi tagged in to kick away at the arm some more. Finlay’s elbows offer some resistance, but those kicks keep knocking him back until he caught one, blasting Taichi with an uppercut in response.
The ring begins to fill after Taichi’s leaping enziguiri caught Finlay in the corner… another one stops Juice before the Dangerous backdrop driver dropped Finlay for a near-fall. An Axe bomber followed as Finlay’s spun to the ground, but Finlay manages to counter out of a Black Mephisto… only to run into another elbow. He shrugs it off to catch a superkick, then tease an Acid Drop, but that too’s countered as the champions looked for Zack Mephisto.
Juice stops that with a Left Hand of God to Sabre… then one to Taichi, as a Prima Nocta and a Pulp Friction left Taichi open, as Finlay’s Acid Drop finally gets the win. A nice, hectic finish to a competitive match – and a result that, even if they don’t win the league, could well put Finlay and Juice in line for a crack at those IWGP tag titles in the new year… once we sort out the big log-jam in second place… ***¾
World Tag League 2020
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (5-2; 10pts)
Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb; Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI; Juice Robinson & David Finlay; SANADA & Shingo Takagi; Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (4-3; 8pts)
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi (3-4; 6pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens (2-5; 4pts)
Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-6; 2pts) * eliminated
Best of the Super Junior 27
Taiji Ishimori, Hiromu Takahashi (5-1; 10pts)
El Desperado, Master Wato (4-2; 8pts)
BUSHI, SHO, Ryusuke Taguchi (3-3; 6pts)
Robbie Eagles (2-4; 4pts) * eliminated
DOUKI, Yuya Uemura (0-6; 0pts) * eliminated
We’ve a day off tomorrow, with the Best of the Super Junior portion of the tour returning on Wednesday in Osaka, as Hiromu Takahashi continues to be in the main event, this time against SHO.
The Korakuen effect was in full force here as the World Tag League matches raised their game somewhat – with the second half of the show in particular being particularly good. And not just by “the tournament’s standards,” either! With the top two going through to the finals, the possibilities are endless – although with six teams in second place, those tiebreakers could well bring on headaches!