Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toa Henare look to recover from their squashing by the Empire as they take on Suzuki-gun in the main event of today’s World Tag League show.
Yota Tsuji submitted Gabriel Kidd in 7:36 (***)
World Tag League 2020 – Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa submitted Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale in 10:08 (***)
World Tag League 2020 – Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI pinned Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb in 13:41 (***¼)
World Tag League 2020 – EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi pinned David Finlay & Juice Robinson in 12:08 (**½)
World Tag League 2020 – SANADA & Shingo Takagi pinned Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii in 12:24 (***¼)
World Tag League 2020 – Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. pinned Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi in 19:37 (***½)
We’re in Ishikawa’s Komatsu City Suehiro Gymnasium for this… and yes, it’s one of those venues where the entrance screen is coming from a projector in the aisle. It’s Japanese-only for the live feed, with English commentary following afterwards.
Gabriel Kidd vs. Yota Tsuji
With Yuya Uemura in the Best of the Super Junior tournament, these are our only remaining Young Lions… and we open with the pair going back and forth on wristlocks, until Tsuji tripped Kidd to the mat. Kidd tries to escape with an armbar, but they both get to their feet, with Kidd again trying the wristlock.
Kidd turns it into an armbar, then a hammerlock as he spun Tsuji to the mat, only for some headscissors to get Tsuji free. A headstand gets Kidd out of it, with him diving back in for a side headlock, which sparks the obligatory shoulder tackles, which Kidd finally wins out on, getting a two-count before he dragged Tsuji across the ring for an uppercut. More uppercuts drop Tsuji for a two-count, as did a palm strike, with Kidd going back to a side headlock, which Tsuji slams his way out of. An Irish whip bounces Kidd into the corner ahead of a slam, a flip senton and a big splash, with Tsuji triple-threat getting him a near-fall. Kidd’s right back with a dropkick though, before he teases the double underhook suplex… which means Tsuji scarpers into the ropes to force the break.
Tsuji gets a kicking in the ropes, but he counters an Irish whip with a sunset flip, eventually rolling into a Boston crab attempt, dragging Kidd away from the ropes, only for Gabe to power up… but Tsuji drags him away again, and that’s just too much. A pretty solid Young Lion’s match – but no, they’re not going to be against each other for the remainder of the tournament, as the Young Lions will be in tags with more experienced hands as well… ***
World Tag League 2020: Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
Set your expectations low. Like “underground” low. Just so you can be pleasantly surprised…
Tama surprises Chase Owens with a dropkick before the bell, then held the ropes open for him to get back inside. Never trust a good bad guy. Or a bad bad guy. Tama jumps Chase again, while Sandman Jado threatened with his cane… They roll around on the mat throwing punches, but it’s Tama who edges out, ripping off Chase’s bandanna, before Chase came back in with a dropkick of his own. A punch to the throat keeps Tama down, but Tama pulls Chase to the outside, where Tanga Loa gets involved, whipping Chase into the barriers – almost wiping out a camera assistant in the process.
A DDT back inside drops Chase for a two-count, before some rapid-fire sentons atomico from Tama and Tanga squished chase for another two-count. It’s clear the Guerrillas don’t want any of Bad Luck Fale, as they kept him the hell away from his corner. Boot chokes and a face-washing kick from Tama wind up Fale enough to move off of the apron and threaten Tanga Loa… and it’s enough for the referee to miss a pin from Tama as well. Chase tries to fight back on Tanga Loa with chops, but Tanga hits back with a Lethal Combination backbreaker and Flatliner combo, which finally drew in Fale to break up the pin. A scuffle breaks out between Fale and Tanga, before Chase pulled Tangha into the corner and finally got the tag out.
Here comes the big man, but Tanga just stomps on his foot before he got squished in the corner. Fale bodies him with lefts and rights, before Tama Tonga tagged in to help double-team him. It backfires as Fale leaps through the Guerrillas with a double shoulder tackle, then brought Chase back in to start some double-teaming of his own, leading to a knee strike that almost gets the upset.
Chase measures up for another knee strike, which is blocked… but Chase rolls up Tama for a near-fall, then gets an O’Connor roll for another two, which drew in Tanga Loa to break it up. Fale charges him down before Owens tried to roll-up Tama with his feet on the ropes…. Jado pushes the feet off, while Chase blocks a Gun Stun attempt, holding onto the ropes. From there, Tama hits a Gun Stun before Jado used his Kendo stick behind the referee’s back… all we needed then was Veleno and a Scorpion Deathlock for the submission. This was surprisingly good, and that’s from someone who was expecting ten minutes of shtick. A largely efficient outing from the Guerrillas. ***
World Tag League 2020: The Empire (Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb) vs. Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
After disposing of Tanahashi and Henare in under three minutes yesterday, the Empire quickly made themselves early favourites for this tournament…
YOSHI-HASHI and Cobb start us off, with a lock-up that Cobb just shoved off. Wash, rinse, repeat. YOSHI-HASHI throws some elbows, but Cobb barely registers them and then stomps a mudhole in YOSHI-HASHI in the corner. Fighting out of the corner offered YOSHI-HASHI a glimmer of hope, as his elbows found a way through to Cobb, only for the big man to charge him down off the ropes. Great-O-Khan tags in next, and he makes a beeline for Goto on the apron as YOSHI-HASHI gets double-teamed… but YOSHI-HASHI misses a splash from Cobb, just in time for Goto to come in and help with a double shoulder tackle and a hiptoss onto O-Khan for a near-fall. Elbows from YOSHI-HASHI take O-Khan into the corner, but O-Khan counters back with a headlock takedown that he turned into a head and arm choke on the mat, only for YOSHI-HASHI to drag his way to the rope for a break.
Cobb tags back in to headbutt YOSHI-HASHI’s lower back, following up with backbreakers as he was staring a hole through Goto on the apron. YOSHI-HASHI’s thrown aside like he’s nothing as O-Khan returns with a Kevin Nash-ish boot choke, before busting out the Mongolian chops. YOSHI-HASHI’s taken into the corner so O-Khan could sit on him, this time throwing in a double armbar too for the hell of it. YOSHI-HASHI fights back on Cobb again, before a spinning heel kick got him free – finally bringing in Goto to try and make some headway. A bulldog out of the corner gets Goto a two-count, before O-Khan returned to take Goto into the corner with a clothesline. That sets up some Mongolian chops to knock Goto into a Tree of Woe, following up with a baseball slide kick for a two-count.
More Mongolian chops wear down Goto, but there’s a turnaround with YOSHI-HASHI helping chain a Head Hunter with a side Russian legsweep for a near-fall… but Cobb breaks the pin up and then dumps the pair of them at once with side suplexes. Impressive. Cobb picks up Goto for some more double-teaming, with a release gutwrench suplex tossing Goto towards O-Khan… who repeats the trick for a near-fall. Goto looks for a GTR from there, but O-Khan counters out with an Iron claw… but the Eliminator is escaped, with a superkick from YOSHI-HASHI landing before a roll-up from Goto got the win. Well, having O-Khan take the fall was really surprising – much more of these will have people muttering whether O-Khan is just the back-up guy in the Empire, rather than the “dominator” they wheeled him out as. ***¼
World Tag League 2020: Bullet Club (EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Fin-Juice (Juice Robinson & David Finlay)
It’s last year’s winners to kick off the second half of the show… with both teams having won yesterday.
Juice and Yujiro get us going, with Juice pushing out of a side headlock early on before resisting shoulder tackles from Yujiro. A kick from Yujiro proved more effective, as Juice tagged out in the ropes, bringing in Finlay to slam and be slammed for a two-count. Juice tags back in quickly to hit a double sledge to Yujiro’s arm, as they wash, rinse and repeat, following that up with a double-team bulldog for a two-count. Yujiro elbows out of a uranage backbreaker while Dick Togo tried to trip Finlay in the ropes… which led to a brief chase as EVIL decked Finlay with a clothesline on the floor. Yujiro goes after Juice too, while EVIL sought out the time keeper and charged Finlay into the table, knocking the time keeper (and the bell) flying.
Back inside, a legdrop from Yujiro and a back senton from EVIL gets some two-counts on Finlay, before an Irish whip took Finlay into a conveniently-exposed corner. Yujiro’s back to hit a low dropkick for barely a two-count, before Finlay fought back with uppercuts, only to get cut-off with a knee from Yujiro. Finlay flips out of a back suplex and dives out to Juice, who sent EVIL running before he dusted off the Dusty punches to Yujiro. Yujiro ducks, then bit his way out of a DDT attempt… which Juice landed at the second attempt. Clotheslines take care of Yujiro, while EVIL’s met with a back suplex and a back senton to neutralise his interference attempt, before a full nelson slam from Juice led to another near-fall.
Yujiro rakes the eyes to avoid a Juice Box, then again as Juice measured him up for a punch before a leg sweep and a diving kick allowed him time to tag in EVIL. Juice dives out to Finlay after elbowing EVIL, with Finlay being the proverbial house afire, landing a European uppercut that took EVIL outside for a plancha. Another uppercut off the middle rope lands for a near-fall, before a Hart Attack uppercut dropped EVIL for a near-fall. Yujiro trips Finlay as another double-team was being set up, with EVIL then throwing Juice into the exposed buckle… Dick Togo distracts the ref as Finlay ate a chairshot from EVIL, before he got stopped with a Left Hand of God from Juice.
Yujiro almost overshoots as he ran into a double-team flapjack, before the dropkick/side-Russian legsweep landed for another two-count on EVIL. Finlay hauls EVIL to the top rope but EVIL fights free as Juice somehow ended up on the outside, which meant more double-teaming attempts. Finlay escapes it and hits a pair of Prima Nocta stunners… there’s a third one for Togo (who went all Scott Hall on the landing) as Finlay was being stone cold, but an Acid Drop is pushed away, with the referee having to cower from a bump, allowing EVIL to low blow Finlay and land Everything is EVIL for the win. Well, they kept a lot of the shtick away, but this match struggled to hold my attention – and I have a feeling this’ll be the story of the EVIL/Yujiro tandem for the entire tournament. **½
World Tag League 2020: Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA & Shingo Takagi)
Yano was rather agitated to start with, as he began the match with SANADA…
Of course, Yano goes for the corner pads, eventually undoing them as he sought to swipe SANADA with it… but SANADA just dropkicks him before teasing a Paradise Lock. Yano escapes, then raked SANADA’s eyes as he then tried a Paradise Lock of his own, but he got frustrated with himself for not knowing how to do it… and ended up getting pushed into the exposed corner, then tied up. Ishii’s had enough of this nonsense and runs in… but not to free Yano, but to charge into Shingo with shoulder tackles. He’s taken down as a low dropkick from SANADA waited for him… while SANADA opted to free Yano by swinging a turnbuckle pad like a cricket bat. A nice low shot to send Yano by the boundaries…
On the floor, Yano returned the favour, then wrapped up SANADA in the ring apron. A SANADA burrito, eh? Problem was, SANADA was able to free himself and get back in at the count of 19, before he got whipped into that open corner. SANADA tries to chop back against the tagged-in Ishii, but he’s knocked down as Big Tom had his eyes on Shingo… Yano’s back in to throw SANADA into the exposed corner while Shingo got increasingly annoyed on the apron. There’s a hiptoss too from Yano as that ring mic seems to have been turned up a LOT. Unless SANADA’s triggering explosive charges with every bump, that is! Ishii’s back to keep clubbering away on SANADA, but while a headbutt lands, Ishii’s unable to get a suplex off and ends up getting dumped with a low dropkick from SANADA.
Shingo’s able to tag in from there, and spun his way in for a brainbuster on Ishii that gets a near-fall. Ishii gets back up to trade elbows with Shingo, before Yano tripped Shingo in the ropes… following up with a hot shot as Ishii’s German suplex bought him some time. A running kick from Ishii’s blocked, but Shingo’s able to reply with a back elbow and a jab, before finally landing the lariat. SANADA’s back in to try and capitalise, floating over Ishii in the corner ahead of a TKO into a Skull End. Ishii manages to escape with a brainbuster though, before Yano tagged back in and tried to throw SANADA into the corner. It’s avoided as Yano charges into the exposed corner and gets rolled around the mat ahead of a near-fall. Yano wriggles out of a TKO, then hits a Manhattan drop before he slingshots SANADA into the corner.
Another throw into the corner’s blocked as SANADA takes Yano there instead… while a dropkick-assisted side suplex took care of Ishii. Double-teaming sandwiches Yano with clotheslines before a rope-assisted Magic Killer from SANADA nearly got the win… Yano tries his luck with inside cradles and small packages, nearly nicking it after a clothesline from Ishii, but in the end it’s an O’Connor roll from SANADA that gets the victory for LIJ. A perfectly fine tag match, with those Shingo/Ishii segments being brief highlights as LIJ get on the board. ***¼
World Tag League 2020: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare vs. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi)
After getting swept aside so quickly yesterday, Tanahashi and Henare will be looking for some measure of redemption here… against some familiar foes.
There’s a lot of clapping for physiques before the bell, as we start with Sabre and Henare tying up into the ropes, with a spinning back elbow from Henare missing before he countered Sabre’s leapfrog into a slam. Tanahashi comes in to help double-team Sabre with a dual Boston crab… Taichi tries to choke it apart, but he gets a taste of the move as well, as things calmed down a little. Sabre’s knocked into the corner by Tanahashi, then met with a springboard crossbody out of the corner before Taichi kicked Tanahashi in the ropes. He’s held there as Sabre went to tear off Tanahashi’s knees again with a quartet of Dragon screws, before he and Henare were thrown into the guard railings.
Taichi drags Tanahashi’s leg over the guard railings as Milano Collection AT on co,,emtary tried in vain to call for the ref’s attention. The response? Taichi nicked Milano’s chair and knocked it into Tanahashi’s knee…
Tanahashi’s rolled back inside as Sabre took the obvious route of working over the knee, with some help from Taichi on the apron, while Taichi grapevine the legs after tagging it. It’s a very familiar story for Tanahashi, who spent his entire summer seemingly being tortured by these two. Sabre’s back with a toe hold before he torqued away on the knee some more, while Taichi used a high-angle half crab to keep the focus on the knee. The ropes save Tanahashi, but Taichi doesn’t back off, continuing to stomp on the knee before Tanahashi finally found an opening to land a Dragon screw. Except Sabre runs in to knock Henare off the apron… then ate a Dragon screw of his own as Tanahashi finally made the tag out.
Henare bounces Sabre with a shoulder tackle, then gave one to Taichi before a guillotine from Sabre was countered into a suplex. Taichi looks for the Dangerous backdrop driver, but Henare elbows out and comes back with a running Samoan drop for a near-fall. Taichi rakes the eyes of Henare as he was going for a rugby tackle, before a leaping high kick in the corner left both men laying. Taichi’s back up to sting Henare with kicks, but Henare shakes them off before hitting chop. Clotheslines follow from both men, with Taichi falling to his knees before a headbutt knocked him back down. Henare tries to dive to tag in Tanahashi, but Sabre’s pulled him down to the floor for an ankle lock, letting go so he could run in to blast Henare with a PK.
Taichi whips off the trousers from there, but misses a kick as he had to block a Toa Bottom instead. Sabre’s back to help out, but Tanahashi breaks up a Zack Mephisto attempt, eventually dropping Sabre with a Twist and Shout… before countering a Dangerous backdrop driver with a Slingblade. Henare’s back to charge down Taichi with a clothesline, but another Toa Bottom’s blocked as Taichi countered with a Stretch Plum. Sabre runs in to tie-up Tanahashi with a leg lock, which meant that Henare had to drag himself to the ropes to force the break. While Taichi’s able to hit back with a high kick, Henare just blitzed through him with a shoulder tackle.
A Hart Attack Slingblade attempt’s blocked as Sabre trips Tanahashi in the ropes, before a superkick-assisted Zack Driver drops Tanahashi. Henare’s on his own again, and eats a Dangerous backdrop driver for a near-fall, before an attempted axe kick was caught and turned into a Toa Bottom that almost eked out the win. Henare’s sensing victory here, and goes for Toa Bottom again, but has to stop to knock down Sabre… who returned in time to help with a Zack Mephisto… and that’s the win! A great effort from Henare, but much like Kota Ibushi earlier this year, he’s likely to find that these tag matches are quickly descending into handicap bouts… ***½
World Tag League 2020
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi; Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. (2-0; 4pts)
Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb; Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI; Juice Robinson & David Finlay; SANADA & Shingo Takagi; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa; Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (1-1; 2pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens; Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-2; 0pts)
Best of the Super Junior 27
Robbie Eagles, SHO, Ryusuke Taguchi, Hiromu Takahashi, Master Wato (1-0; 2pts)
BUSHI, El Desperado, DOUKI, Taiji Ishimori, Yuya Uemura (0-1; 0pts)
The tour returns on Wednesday in Korakuen Hall show – and it’s the Best of the Super Junior line-up as Hiromu Takahashi main events against El Desperado. World Tag League tends to be the “skippable” tour, as we’ve established before – but this was a shockingly decent outing for the tournament. There wasn’t anything here that’ll leap into your notebooks, but likewise, there was nothing so interminably bad you’ll be reaching to close out the player either.