New Japan’s Super Junior Tag League has sadly been a bit flat so far. There’s not much about it that I’d describe as bad, and yet, it’s hardly got the blood pumping. It’s been fine with a couple of spots where it’s leapt above that level to good and just the one (back on the first night) where it managed to hit great. Sadly, I doubt this single-camera show will be the moment that changes, but you never know.
Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (2-2) defeated The Firing Squad (Taiji Ishimori and Robbie Eagles) (2-2)
Despy and Kanemaru refused to show solidarity with their heel brethren in The Firing Squad, as they attacked them during the introductions. Robbie Eagles then got a tour of the building and introduced to Suzuki-gun’s old pal the steel chair. It was probably around that moment that he began dreaming of Australia.
That set Suzuki-gun up to attack the knee of Eagles, which has been The Firing Squad’s plan for most of this. As usual, Suzuki’s trolls threw in all the dirty tricks they could think of and were right horrible bastards. Thankfully, it didn’t seem to bother Eagles too much as he completely ignored all the work down to his leg when he escaped and made the hot tag to Ishimori. His selling might still need some work.
The result of this one was never in doubt as while Despy and Kanemaru can afford to drop some falls thanks to their shenanigan heavy shtick, having the champs go one in three wasn’t an option. That combined with Eagles’ inconsistent selling (the leg injury didn’t play into the finish either as Despy trapped him in El Es Culero after a whisky shot) and a quiet crowd meant this failed to catch fire. Summed up the tournament.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Time Machine (KUSHIDA and Chris Sabin) (2-2) defeated Super 69 (Ryusuke Taguchi and ACH) (1-3)
From a heel battle to a babyface one, this was always going to be a different style of match. That proved to be to its benefit too, as we got two teams going out and having a straight-up bout to see who was the best.
That even included a sighting of the elusive big match Taguchi. It’s become the norm that when he works with KUSHIDA, he dials back on the silliness and focuses on wrestling. It’s a reminder that the wielder of the Funky Weapon can go although has to be included with the caveat that Chris Sabin did bite him on the arse at one point, so he couldn’t resist a bit of silliness.
This also served as my favourite performance from Sabin and KUSHIDA so far. You can see them starting to gel as a team as they felt less like an Alex Shelley tribute band. There are still elements of that there. However, we also saw Sabin attacking the left arm of ACH, looking to set him up for KUSHIDA’s Hoverboard Lock. That’s the kind of detail that makes a great pairing. Even more so when it was that very Hoverboard Lock that would cause ACH to tap out.
A damn enjoyable outing. It still didn’t reach any great heights, but they were working in front of a visibly sparse crowd and all four men put in a shift. There’s life in this shindig yet.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
An alright showing followed by a good one, that’s about as much as you can hope for from these little shows. As with all of this tournament, both of these were short and watchable. If you’re low on time, skip the first one and go straight to the ‘main event’.
Watch Super Junior Tag League: https://njpwworld.com/