NJPW Super Junior Tag League 2018 (17/10/18) Review

Poor YOH. Credit: NJPW

The first night of the Super Junior Tag League gave me comfort ahead of the many reviews I will be writing in the next month as it proved to be a lot of fun. It’s now time to see whether night two can continue the theme. Just a reminder, I’m not bothering with the undercard, but it’s worth noting that Tanahashi saved Okada from a Jay White attack. New Japan is teasing fans with the idea of their two generational Aces putting aside their differences and joining together to take on The Firing Squad.

Jushin Thunder Liger and Tiger Mask (1-1) defeated Volador Jr. and Soberano Jr. (1-1)

Our Lucha pals continued the story Ishimori and Eagles set-up the night before by going after the leg of Liger. They were smart enough to slip into a heel role, playing off the crowd’s adoration of the Thunder God. Not that it prevented them from showing off some flashy offence. Luchadors doing cool shit is always worth a watch.

Sadly, cool shit doesn’t trump experience. Poor Soberano ate a lot of experience in the closing stretch. A Tombstone, Liger Bomb, Tiger Driver and a Tiger Suplex were, unsurprisingly, enough to see him off as our legends picked up their first win of the tournament. This was solid without ever being spectacular.

Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars

The Firing Squad (Taiji Ishimori and Robbie Eagles) (2-0) defeated Super 69 (ACH and Ryusuke Taguchi) (0-2)

ACH and Taiji Ishimori teamed in a previous Super Junior Tag tournament, making it to the final. I presume ACH put that knowledge to good use in Taguchi’s pre-match team talk because Super 69 appeared to be proud of their plan.

Actually, let’s talk about ACH. In the last few years, he’s grown into the potential he always had to the point where you could argue he’s one of the best Juniors on the planet. He looks as at home exchanging chops with Ishimori as he does pissing about with Taguchi while his in-ring work is generally flawless. He spent a lot of this match selling his left leg as The Firing Squad attacked it and you never once forgot that he was in pain even as he pulled off the spectacular.

It would come down to ACH and Ishimori battling over the Tombstone position. It was a fight Bone Soldier would win, connecting with his modified Facebuster before putting his old ally away with Bloody Crosses. The Firing Squad is starting strong although I can’t help feeling that these four men could do more higher up the card.

Verdict: Three Stars

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi and BUSHI) (2-0) defeated Time Machine (KUSHIDA and Chris Sabin) (0-2)

Shingo has settled into New Japan remarkably quickly. He steps into the ring, and the crowd noise rises. Although, while the focus continues to be on Naito’s new Dragon, I thought Chris Sabin looked good here. He’s one of those wrestlers who is too smooth for his own good. Everything he does appears effortless, and we perhaps take him for granted because of it.

Shingo’s arrival also seems to given BUSHI a kick up the arse as he’s motivated by his new pal. Perhaps surprisingly, Takagi is a good fit for BUSHI, and the two of them worked well as they grounded Sabin and slowed the action down. Although KUSHIDA would prove to be the first man to shake Takagi, attacking his arm and forcing him onto the back foot.

Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be enough. Shingo is just too powerful. He popped Sabin up onto his shoulders for a Death Valley Driver, and from there this was LIJ’s fight to lose. Sabin tried to sneak out with a flash pin, only to get his head removed by a Pumping Bomber. He then met the Last Of The Dragons, and he wasn’t getting up from that.

Another impressive showing from LIJ while KUSHIDA and Sabin look like a solid team. Takagi continues to be the talking point, and if he keeps this going, he’s going to have an outstanding tournament.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Roppongi 3K (SHO and YOH) (1-1) defeated Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (1-1)

Can we just assume that Suzuki-gun jumps someone before the bell in all their matches? Saves me mentioning it every time. This time around they went after Rocky Romero as Roppongi 3K made their entrance. Romero would end up taking out both of the trolls, so that plan backfired.

That set up the story of this match-up. SHO and YOH are better than Despy and Kanemaru. They always have been. The problem is that Suzuki-gun has a big old bag of tricks that they are more than happy to dip into. It’s the great equaliser, and Roppongi 3K have struggled with it all year.

Until this match anyway. In this one, Roppongi finally managed to get those two pests into the ring and into something resembling a straight-up fight. There, they proved what we already knew. Then, in a touch of dramatic irony, they stole the win. SHO saved YOH from a second Deep Impact after he was caught with a Santori Surprise. That gave him enough time to recover and he rolled Kanemaru up with a Five Star Clutch.

After the bell, Suzuki-gun made sure to get a bit of revenge, stomping on Roppongi 3K. That didn’t change the result, though. SHO and YOH have beaten the tag team champions. What does that mean for the future?

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Overall Show

Another breezy show. There was nothing that lived up to LIJ vs Roppongi from night one, but that was always going to be a hard bar to hurdle. This was still a lot of fun and will prove worthy of your time.

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