Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi take on Los Ingobernables de Japon in a marathon main event on a tape-delayed round in the World Tag League.
Yuto Nakashima & Kosei Fujita went to a draw in 10:00
World Tag League 2021 – Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe pinned TAKA Michinoku & Minoru Suzuki in 10:11 (**½)
World Tag League 2021 – Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens pinned Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan in 10:45 (**½)
World Tag League 2021 – Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan pinned Tiger Mask & Yuji Nagata in 10:11 (***)
World Tag League 2021 – EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi pinned Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa in 11:15 (***)
World Tag League 2021 – Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI pinned Toru Yano & Hiroshi Tanahashi in 11:24 (***¼)
World Tag League 2021 – Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi pinned SANADA & Tetsuya Naito in 29:49 (***¾)
We’re live on tape from the Wing Hat Kasukabe in Saitama. No commentary, fancy graphics or anything on this VOD…
Kosei Fujita vs. Yuto Nakashima
This one didn’t make the VOD, so we’ll have to imagine how they got to their time limit draw…
World Tag League 2021: Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & TAKA Michinoku) vs. Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma
Both teams are out of the running, but the matter of not finishing with nil point is what’s at stake here.
An attempted jump start from Suzuki-gun’s shrugged off as we boil down to TAKA Michinoku raking Honma’s eyes, before Suzuki kicked Honma in the ropes to prevent a Kokeshi. A brief trip outside allows TAKA to take control, as Suzuki then tagged in to wallop Honma with an elbow.
Suzuki stretches Honma by the ropes, then off the apron with a hanging armbar for good measure, before Honma fought back with a leaping Kokeshi and a DDT. Makabe’s in to clear the apron as he took Suzuki into the corner for mounted punches, but Suzuki finds a way back in with elbows, only to get taken down with a swivelling clothesline.
Honma’s back in with chops, but Suzuki breaks out and brings TAKA back in for some double-teaming, with boots taking Honma down for a two-count. TAKA pulls Honma down into a Bully choke, but that ends in the ropes, before Honma misses a Kokeshi. A Magistral cradle gets a two-count as TAKA goes back to the choke, only for Makabe to break it up and clear house with a double clothesline. From there, a leaping Kokeshi dropped TAKA, before a regular one and a swandive Kokeshi gets the win. You know you’re slotted when you’re taking and losing to the swandive! **½
World Tag League 2021: Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens) vs. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima
The Bullet Club tandem have more of a shot of making the finals based on their record going in…
…and they jump Kojima and Tenzan before the bell, only for a switcheroo to see the Bullet Club pair on the back foot, taking elbows and Mongolian chops. Owens takes the falling headbutt/slingshot elbow combo before Fale turned it around, wearing down Kojima, who’s then taken outside and into the rails.
Fale and Owens double-team Kojima for a spell, before knee drops leave Kojima down for a two-count. Owens busts out some Mongolian chops to wind up Tenzan with, then Machine Gun chops to troll Kojima, before he ate a Koji cutter.
Tenzan’s in to try and turn it around, landing a brainbuster on Owens for a near-fall. A spinning heel kick has Chase down for another two-count, with an Anaconda Vise following as Fale wandered in to break it apart. Tenzan gets back in it with a Mountain bomb, then tagged Kojima in as Machine Gun chops rocked Owens… before the top rope elbow was stopped as Fale threw him down.
Falle’s in with body blows that wore down Kojima, before some double-teaming drew in Tenzan to break up the count. Tenzan’s taken care of with a clothesline as the ten-minute call was the cue for a Grenade Launcher… Kojima fought out, but ends up taking the regular Grenade seconds later as Owens and Fale pulled ahead to the ten-point mark. **½
World Tag League 2021: United Empire (Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare) vs. Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask
The United Empire duo look to keep pace with the top of the table as we head into the final stretches…
Nagata and O-Khan start out on the mat, but it’s O-Khan who’s put on the back foot with some double-team kicks from Tiger Mask. Henare gets a kick in in the ropes as a Mongolian chop to the back takes things outside, with the United Empire scrapping around ringside before Henare took over on Tiger Mask back in the ring.
A leg lock ends with Tiger Mask rolling to the ropes, before O-Khan took over with elbows. A Tiger Driver’s blocked, but a kick isn’t as Nagata gets the tag in and cleared house, stinging O-Khan into the corner with mid kicks ahead of an Exploder for a near-fall.
O-Khan tries for a head claw, but Nagata resists, then blocked some Mongolian chops before he ran into a head claw. Body blows from Henare start some double-teaming before he tagged back in, grabbing a front facelock before Nagata hit back with… a Magic Screw?!
Tiger Mask tags in to try and capitalise with kicks, then rolled Henare into a leg lock that O-Khan’s quickly in to stomp apart. An attempted Imperial Drop’s stopped by Nagata, as dualling submissions have the Empire in trouble, but Henare scoots to the ropes to break the double armbar. A Tiger Driver gets a near-fall on Henare, as O-Khan responds with a Sheep Killer… before the ten minute mark was once again the cue to go home as the Imperial Drop puts Tiger Mask down. Decent enough, but I’m never going to be a fan of having a champion – junior or otherwise – be a pin eater here. ***
World Tag League 2021: House of Torture (EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi) vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
At least having this Bullet Club Bonanza on the VOD means I can hit the 2x button on the playback speed if it gets dire…
Jado tells the Guerrillas not to trust EVIL and Yujiro, but they eventually too sweet each other before the House of Torture jumped them. Yup. Things spill outside as EVIL wiped out the timekeeper with Tama Tonga, before EVIL choked out Tama while holding the mic, which led to some choice swears…
Okay, time for a speed boost. A slam gets EVIL a two-count, while Yujiro tagged in and put the boots to Tama, who gets thrown into a suddenly-exposed corner. EVIL distracts the ref as a cheating abdominal stretch ended when Jado threatened to cane everyone… then resumed as EVIL threw Tama chest-first into the corner.
Yujiro’s back to stack up some pins, before he booted Tama into the ropes. A Fisherman suplex is escaped as Tama hits a Complete Shot in return, then made the tagout to Tanga Loa, who cleared house like a bull in a china shop. Clotheslines keep Yujiro in the corner ahead of an Exploder, before Yujiro fought back with a leg sweep and a low dropkick.
Tanga Loa kicks out at two from a Fisherman buster, then returned in with a spear as Tama Tonga tagged in to dropkick EVIL away. Tama misses a Stinger splash, then had his eyes raked, before a double leapfrog and an elbow took EVIL down. A rolling death valley driver and a Supreme Flow splash followed for a near-fall, as did a back suplex/neckbreaker combo, before we engaged in shenanigans.
Dick Togo’s in with the garotte, which Jado breaks up with a Kendo stick… we get the ten minute call, so I resist the 2x button’s siren call, as Tama Tonga blocked a low blow, before EVIL grabbed the ref to block a Magic Killer. Tama thought he’d had it won with a Gun Stun, more shenanigans end with a low blow and Everything is EVIL… and I was so close to hitting that 2x. Decent, but you knew what the MO was going to be here. ***
World Tag League 2021: Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano
Two upper mid-table teams here, to borrow a sports analogy… although one of these teams is more likely than the other to stick around in 2022…
Tanahashi and Goto start us off, trading side headlocks and escapes as tags took us to Yano and YOSHI-HASHI. My lack of Japanese language knowledge renders the opening bit here useless as Goto came in to charge down Yano before YOSHI-HASHI took over with elbows. He’s bopped on the head for that, as Tanahashi came in to try his luck with the war drums… but of course Goto’s upset at that.
A snapmare and some stomps leave Yano down as we crossed the five-minute mark, before YOSHI-HASHI’s cravat was broken via hair pulling. Yano tags out to Tanahashi, who cleared the way with forearms and Dragon screws, before a flip senton off the middle rope nearly put YOSHI-HASHI away.
YOSHI-HASHI chops back, but Tanahashi looked unfazed, only to get caught with a Head Hunter before Goto came in with a spinning heel kick and a bulldog for a near-fall. A low dropkick from Tanahashi gets him free to tag in Yano, who goes right for the corner pads and threw it at Goto… only for YOSHI-HASHI to bop Yano in the head.
Double-teaming leads to Tanahashi pulling YOSHI-HASHI out of the ring, before Goto got slingshotted into Tanahashi on the apron for a near-fall. A missed charge into the corner almost leads to Goto losing via roll-up, as we then get today’s magical ten minute call, which leads to Yano getting pulled into a neckbreaker for a near-fall.
Tanahashi saves Yano from the Shoto, sparking a Parade of Moves, which sees Yano pull ahead… but his attempt at a low blow/roll-up ends up with him taking the Shoto instead as Goto and YOSHI-HASHI escape with the win. Pretty good for the time they had, as the pure CHAOS team pull a step ahead. ***¼
World Tag League 2021: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA) vs. Dangerous Tekkers (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi)
Holy 46-minute run-time Batman, did they tease a draw here?! (if you read the quick results paragraph, you’ll know by now)
We’ve got the obvious beef between Sabre and Naito, with the recent part being Sabre ending Naito’s G1 at match number one… Sabre and SANADA start off, trading holds on the mat, before a surfboard stretch ended with SANADA countering out into a straitjacket choke. A dropkick takes Sabre into the corner as Taichi tagged in… started a pec-off with SANADA, bouncing them in time to the crowd’s claps.
Naito’s in not long after that, but he gets throttled to the mat before Naito returned the favour, choking away on Taichi and Sabre. Taichi retaliated by going to the bad knee as Sabre joined in, before Sabre went back to work on Naito’s bum knee, wrenching away on it as he tried to reinjure the former double champion.
Sabre and Taichi home in on Naito’s knee some more as we passed the ten minute mark – and quite some way, you’d think, from the finish line. A low dropkick from Naito gets him free of Sabre’s offence to the knee, then rolled out as tags bring in SANADA and Taichi, who go back in with elbows and armdrags before an atomic drop took Taichi outside for a plancha.
Back inside, an enziguiri from Taichi buys time as all hell breaks loose, with a Parade of Moves eventually leaving everyone laying. We resume with Taichi and SANADA trading kicks and elbows, before SANADA avoided a Dangerous backdrop driver and returned with a Tiger driver instead.
Naito tags back in and clears Sabre off the apron as he went after Taichi… delaying Combinacion Cabron so he could knock Sabre down again. Taichi kicks Naito in the knee, then brings Sabre back for the expected targeting… but Naito manages to get free and elbows Sabre into the corner as a trip up top was stopped.
Taichi’s in to help with more Dragon screws to the knee as we pass the 20-minute mark with Naito held in an ugly deathlock’d grounded Octopus hold, while a more orthodox Holy Emperor Cross Mausoleum from Taichi held SANADA back as the tag team champions looked for a stoppage. The holds are kept on for an age before Naito somehow got a leg free and into the ropes for the break.
A DDT from Naito counters a knee breaker, before SANADA returned with elbows to take Sabre into the corner. Taichi’s back to help regain the upper hand as a nodo otoshi chokeslam and a Sabre back suplex nearly puts SANADA away. Off come the trousers, but a Zack Driver’s stopped as SANADA countered into a swinging Skull End, while a Figure Four from Naito restrained Taichi…
We hit the final five minutes of the time limit with Sabre almost out of it, so of course SANADA lets go to go for a moonsault. Sabre rolls away as Taichi capitalises with a backdrop driver, only for Naito’s Destino to contribute to that mini Parade of Moves. Sabre and SANADA remain legal, and pull themselves up as we hit the final three minutes with them trading uppercuts, before Sabre snuck in a backslide for a near-fall. SANADA tries the same, before some see-saw pins ended with double near-falls as Sabre then countered out of a TKO and trapped SANADA in a Euro Clutch for a near-fall… with a Zack Driver then snatching victory with seconds remaining. They teased the draw, but swerved you at the end as the tag champions fend off one of their major challengers – in a decent match that I fear a lot of folks would have handwaved just seeing the run time. Well worth the watch, even if you have to make copious use of the speed boosters… ***¾
Four matches remain in World Tag League, and here’s the lay of the land as teams continue to fall…
Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (6-1 / 12pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI, Tetsuya Naito & SANADA, Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare (5-2 / 10pts)
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi, Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano, Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (4-3 / 8pts)
Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2-5 / 4pts)
Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma, Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask (1-6 / 2pts) – Eliminated
Minoru Suzuki & TAKA Michinoku (0-7 / 0pts) – Eliminated
So, with me having watched this show after Friday’s Best of the Super Junior card, we’re a little out of order… World Tag League returns on Saturday in Yamanashi, with Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano main eventing against the Guerrillas of Destiny.
Having an undercard full of ten minute matches and a long main event means that your enjoyment of the show will likely sink or swim with that headline match. Make sure you drop by for it – but the bare bones presentation on-demand does make this an exceedingly dry watch.