We’re heading into the final stretch of World Tag League, and we’ve another big match on this round as LIJ take on the Guerrillas of Destiny in Okayama.
Yuto Nakashima and Kosei Fujita went to a draw in 10:00 (**¾)
World Tag League 2021 – Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. submitted Tiger Mask & Yuji Nagata in 11:48 (***)
World Tag League 2021 – Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano submitted TAKA Michinoku & Minoru Suzuki in 10:37 (**¾)
World Tag League 2021 – Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL pinned Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe in 11:20 (**¾)
World Tag League 2021 – Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan pinned Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan in 12:43 (***¼)
World Tag League 2021 – Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI pinned Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale in 11:46 (***)
World Tag League 2021 – Tetsuya Naito & SANADA pinned Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga in 18:30 (***½)
Okayama’s ZIP Arena is the host for this round…
Kosei Fujita vs. Yuto Nakashima
Get the pencils out, it’s time for another draw…
This one started off bright, with Fujita going for the obvious target that was Nakashima’s taped-up elbow, before Nakashima looked to work a wristlock. A hammerlock from Nakashima’s broken as Fujita takes him down in a side headlock. Nakashima returns the favour, then applied a chinlock as Fujita needed the ropes for a break.
Fujita’s kept in trouble with a scissored sleeper on the mat, but that ends in the ropes as Nakashima moved in with a head and arm choke. A dropkick gets Fujita some space, as he looked to force a submission with a Fujiwara armbar, but Nakashima dragged his way to the ropes as we hit the final three minutes.
Nakashima stayed on the defensive via a double wristlock, breaking again via the ropes as the pair traded elbows until a back body drop flung Fujita into the air. Going back to the head and arm choke on the mat looked to give Nakashima the win, especially as he turned it into a guillotine that Fujita looked to tap to, but it’s not called and time runs out. That’s the closest we’ve been to a victory yet, and I have a feeling that might just happen in the coming days… **¾
World Tag League 2021: Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask vs. Dangerous Tekkers (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi)
With Nagata and Tiger Mask already out, this should be an easy win to keep Sabre and Taichi at the top of the table…
Sabre and Nagata start us off with a knuckle lock as their early forays drew little advantage. Tiger Mask and Taichi are in next to trade kicks, taking Tiger Mask into the corner for some boot choking that keeps the veteran there for Sabre to tag back in. Zack works the leg, before Taichi came back with his choke holds on Tiger Mask.
Sabre’s back in, but runs into a tiltawhirl backbreaker as Nagata returned with boots and kicks to clear the way. A double underhook suplex from Nagata lands for a two-count, before he pulled Sabre into the Nagata Lock II crossface… which Nagata lets go of as he suspected Taichi was about to come in.
Capitalising, Sabre twists Nagata’s arm between his legs, then tagged in Taichi to hit some Kawada-ish kicks before a Kitchen Sink knee from Nagata turned it around. Tiger Mask is back with a crossbody and a crucifix for a near-fall, before he looked to get the win with a chicken wing.
Stopping it, Sabre goes after the mask, but a turnaround leads to Taichi being sandwiched with enziguiri ahead of a Tiger Driver for a near-fall. An Axe Bomber’s ducked, but Tiger Mask gets taken into the corner as Taichi hits the lariat anyway for a near-fall. Off come the trousers as a nodo otoshi/back suplex combo gets barely a two-count as Nagata breaks up the pin…
Nagata’s restrained with a Cobra twist by the ropes, as Tiger Mask then escaped a Black Mephisto to roll up Taichi for a near-fall. Second time’s the charm as the Holy Emperor Cross Mausoleum’s applied, and with Nagata still restrained, Tiger Mask was given no choice but to submit. ***
World Tag League 2021: Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & TAKA Michinoku) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano
Suzuki and TAKA are the only team left without any points, while Tanahashi and Yano are almost certainly too far behind to even have an outside chance of finishing in second place.
Of course, Suzuki and TAKA put the boots to their opponents early on, with TAKA staying in the ring to stomp on Tanahashi while Suzuki chokes Yano on the floor with his own t-shirt. Tanahashi fights back, which drew in Suzuki to pull him down into a Fujiwara armbar… something TAKA took over on ahead of a rope break.
Heading outside, TAKA wraps Tanahashi’s arm around the guard rails as Yano and Tanahashi were left laying… but they beat the count-out, as Suzuki then went back to work on Tanahashi’s arm. As did TAKA. Suzuki’s back in and boots Yano off the apron before he and Tanahashi trade elbows. The CLONKing elbow sank Tanahashi, who returned with a Dragon screw.
Yano’s in to bop Suzuki on the head, which gets exactly the result you’d expect. Murderous intentions. A Manhattan drop stopped Suzuki briefly, while Tanahashi came back in with a flip senton for a near-fall. Suzuki ducks a clothesline and dragged Tanahashi in with a sleeperhold, while TAKA tagged in for some double-teaming, booting Tanahashi down for a near-fall.
TAKA tries to snatch the win with a roll-up, then with some headscissors, but Yano stomps it apart… drawing in Suzuki to take care of him by way of a throw into the exposed corner. In the end, Tanahashi loans an idea from Yano, distracting the ref as Yano hits a pair of low blows, before a Slingblade to TAKA, then a Cloverleaf forced the submission. I struggled to get on board with this one, as despite being on the defensive for long spells, I never bought Tanahashi and Yano losing. **¾
World Tag League 2021: House of Torture (EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
A loss for the House of Torture lads all but eliminates them, so we’d better settle down for a heaping serving of shenanigans…
Once again, we’ve a jump start as Togi Makabe and EVIL spill outside while Honma charged down Yujiro in the ring, before a slam set up for… an aborted Kokeshi, with Dick Togo distracting at ringside. Yujiro bites back, while EVIL tried to wipe out commentary using Makabe as a battering ram.
Back inside, a slam from Yujiro has Honma down as the House of Torture pair wore him down. EVIL’s slam adds a bunch of two-counts as he then went to the eyes before Honma managed to muscle him up for a suplex. Makabe’s in to build off of that, charging his way through ahead of some mounted punches in the corner.
A clothesline dumps EVIL for a two-count, but Yujiro’s back in to boot Makabe in the ropes before he fell to a swivelling clothesline. Honma tries to push on with chops, but he misses a Kokeshi. My feed dropped here, returning with Yujiro eating a sandwich of lariats before finally taking that Kokeshi.
Yujiro tries to pull Honma into a Pimp Juice, but instead ends up taking a Flatliner/DDT with EVIL as Honma looked to finish off Yujiro with a diving Kokeshi. It’s good for only a near-fall, before Honma misses a swandive Kokeshi off the middle rope… Yujiro distracts the ref as Dick Togo choked out Honma… then pushed him into the ref so he could do it some more. Makabe comes in to choke Dick with a chain, which writes itself. A low blow from EVIL stops that, as Yujiro then nails Honma with the pimp cane ahead of the Big Juice DDT for the win. It is what it is folks… **¾
World Tag League 2021: United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare) vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
We’re going back to a feud that’s been on and off this year, one that saw O-Khan take away the Mongolian chop from Hiroyoshi Tenzan who, err, still used the move.
O-Khan and Tenzan start us off, as the pair tie-up into the ropes where Tenzan tried to break back with a Mongolian chop. A side headlock restrains him, before a clothesline took O-Khan down ahead of some Mongolian chops. Look, just calling them “new” Mongolian chops doesn’t cut it lads!
O-Khan’s taken down with a brainbuster after that, as Kojima then came in to set up for the slingshot elbow drop/falling headbutt combo with Tenzan. Another elbow drop has O-Khan in the ropes before Henare caught Tenzan in the ropes, then stormed the ring behind the ref’s back.
Henare tags in to get a two-count off of a suplex on Tenzan, right as my feed crapped out. We’re back with Kojima and Henare trading elbows, heading to a top rope elbow drop on Henare… who returned with some body blows and a Samoan drop. A TenKoji cutter drops Henare for a near-fall, while a Kojima suplex also gets a near-fall.
Kojima pulls off the elbow pad, but his clothesline’s countered into a spear, as O-Khan returned to help double-team Kojima in the corner. Boots sandwich Kojima for a two-count, as Kojima’s then hauled up for an assisted Sheep Killer… but Tenzan breaks that up. O-Khan and Tenzan trade Mongolian chops, which led to Kojima elbowing away on Henare, as a Koji Cutter gets a near-fall… Another Cozy lariat’s stopped in the ropes by O-Khan, who hands off Kojima for an Imperial Drop – and that win keeps things interesting at the top of the table… ***¼
World Tag League 2021: Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI
Both teams came into today as part of that group at the top – and you’d have to think a loss here will make it tricky with tie-breakers likely to come into play. I’m not looking forward to working all that out…
Owens and YOSHI-HASHI start us off, but it’s not long before we’re taken outside with YOSHI-HASHI thrown into the railings. Hirooki Goto beats the count but instantly has to deal with Fale walloping him in the corner. Owens is back with elbows, while Fale again tried to overwhelm Goto, effortlessly picking him up for a slam before Goto rolled away from an elbow drop.
YOSHI-HASHI gets the tag in, and managed to get some different luck as he had to stick and move against Fale. A clothesline lands, as did a low dropkick and a Head Hunter, before Chase Owens came in to get a two-count from a clothesline. Goto’s back with clotheslines, a spinning heel kick and a bulldog, before he tried for an ushigoroshi on Owens.
A second clothesline from Goto misses as he’s pulled into the corner, before a running knee from Chase nearly ends things. YOSHI-HASHI makes the save as the Bullet Club lads looked to double-team, clotheslining Fale to the outside before Owens tosses YOSHI-HASHI outside… then rolled up Goto for a near-fall out of a GTR. An enziguiri from Owens stopped Goto, as did a leaping knee strike as YOSHI-HASHI was dealt with with a neckbreaker for good measure. Chase goes for a package piledriver, but Goto escapes as he hits a superkick-assisted ushigoroshi on Chase, before Shoto gets the win. ***
World Tag League 2021: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA) vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
Tama Tonga’s almost apeing Naito with how long it takes him to get prepared – stretching and removing his vest before the bell…
Naito and Tanga Loa start with lock-ups, before SANADA came in to help with some quick double-teams to forge an early advantage. SANADA’s elbows just served to wind up Tama Tonga, who beat him into the corner before a Stinger splash left SANADA laying. Tanga Loa’s back with a senton atomico for a two-count, before SANADA recovered with a low dropkick to Tama.
Tama tries to stop SANADA from making the tag out, but to no avail, as Naito took over, taking Tama to the corner… barking as he went? Elbows wear down Tama, who has Tanga Loa make the save briefly as the Guerrillas regained the upper hand. Things spill outside as Naito’s knocked into the commentary desks, leading to our favourite count-out tease that Naito of course beats.
Tama keeps Naito in their corner, standing on him as Tanga Loa tagged in to hit a stalling suplex to Naito. From a two-count cover, Tanga rolled Naito into the OJK crossface, but Naito pulled his way back into the ropes for a break, before a slam and a Tama Tonga senton atomico kept Naito down.
Naito hits a dropkick to buy him some time, as SANADA gets the tag in – taking Tanga Loa outside with an atomic drop, following up with separate planchas for the Guerrillas. Back inside, Tama’s tripped into a Paradise Lock… but he pushes away before hitting a Complete Shot instead.
Tanga’s back for a powerbomb, but SANADA ‘rana’s out, before Naito came back with Combinacion Cabron to Tanga in the corner. A top rope ‘rana followed from Naito, before SANADA came in to help batter Tanga Loa en route to a back suplex… with Naito’s jack-knife roll through almost winning things. A Skull End’s broken up as Tama came in to hit a Tongan Twist, while an assisted back suplex on Naito lands for a near-fall. A swandive headbutt and a Supreme Flow followed as Naito’s almost put away, before a brief Parade of Moves broke out. SANADA’s Magic Screw took care of Tama, but he has to escape an Apeshit attempt as we buffer… and by the time I can reload, the match is over. Thankfully this buggy mess of a player allowed me to rewind to see the finish, as Naito gets the win with a Destino. ***½
We’re down to two matches, and remember, it’s the top two who go through to next Wednesday’s final. The Guerrillas of Destiny and Tanahashi & Yano are all but out – needing the ol’ food poisoning no contests for them to have a chance.
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI, Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare, Tetsuya Naito & SANADA, Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (7-2 / 14pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens, EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi (6-3 / 12pts)
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (5-4 / 10pts)
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2-7 / 4pts) – Eliminated
Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma, Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask (1-8 / 2pts) – Eliminated
Minoru Suzuki & TAKA Michinoku (0-9 / 0pts) – Eliminated
World Tag League returns on Thursday in Ehime for a show that’s not streaming live – so you’ll have to wait until Friday to see the card that features the United Empire vs. Goto & YOSHI-HASHI in the main event… they’re then back live on Sunday in Hiroshima for the final round of matches, with the match order being confirmed based on the standings at the time… that being said, United Empire vs. Guerrillas is leaping off the page at me as a potential decider.
For some reason today’s live stream was the buggiest it’s been in weeks – to the point where I actually missed a finish. Good job, folks. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know what you’re getting in the World Tag League – but at least things should pick up in the remaining shows as we head towards the finals…