Night six of World Tag League and I suspect I am never going to catch-up with this damn tournament. Still, I reviewed every match of Best of the Super Juniors, the G1 and Super Junior Tag League, so I’m sure as hell not going to fall at the final hurdle. Plenty of people want to read out of date reviews of a mediocre competition, don’t they?
The Elite (Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi) (1-2) defeated Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi) (1-2)
Taichi and Yujiro must be the sleaziest pairing to kick off a wrestling match in recent New Japan history. They also happen to be two of my least favourite wrestlers, so I didn’t have high hopes for this.
And yet, they impressed me. It’s just possible that Yujiro and Taichi have found their calling wrestling alongside more talented performers. Suddenly, Yujiro is the plucky little underdog, backed up by his stud pal Hangman Page. Taichi, meanwhile, is still the scummy bastard he always was, but with the neutralising effect of ZSJ, it’s not as overbearing. You get a break from him to enjoy some technical excellence.
Yujiro’s underdog role would come into fruition for the finish as he sacrificed himself to a Taichi mic stand shot, so Hangman had time to recover. That allowed Page to dodge a similar attack, connect with a Buckshot Lariat and after a bit of back and forth distract the ref long enough for Yuj to get his revenge with his cane to set up the Rite of Passage for the win. Not terrible for a scummy little pimp, and I enjoyed that a hell of a lot more than I expected to.
Verdict: Three Stars
Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan) (2-1) defeated Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa) (2-1)
In the opening minutes, Tama Tonga headbutted Tenzan after hitting some Mongolian Chops and proceeded to let out a high pitched whelp. He was trying to put over how hard Tenzan’s head is, but it came across like a weird comedy spot in the middle of an otherwise serious match. Thought you might all like to know about that.
Anyway, this was another GOD bout, with added interference from the fifty-year-old dressed as an idiotic fifteen-year-old on the outside. I just don’t get it, folks. I’m sorry to GOD and their many fans, but their matches actively put me off. The very sight of them walking to the ring causes my brain to wander. I’m sure if you’re a fan this would have been perfectly acceptable.
Still, Kojima was there, and he seems like a lovely chap. Do you know he likes bread? Can’t get enough of the stuff. Got a lot of time for a man who appreciates a good loaf. The fans really popped for him getting the win too. Maybe they feel the same way.
Verdict: Two Stars
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) (2-1) defeated Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr) (2-1)
Archer and Smith elicit a similar reaction to me as Tama and Tonga. I’m beginning to suspect that the series of matches those two teams had with War Machine has ruined them for me. The very sight of them now fills me with a feeling of frustration. But then again, I still love War Machine/Raiders, so maybe it’s just that I don’t like them. Fuck knows.
The vast bulk of this one was KES working over Yano. My real problem with those two is that I find their offence boring and they always dominate matches. Archer has his moments, but Smith is as exciting as slightly burnt dry toast. Not only is it bland, but it tastes wrong too.
Thankfully, that all built up to one of my favourite wrestling tropes. Tomohiro Ishii vs a giant. Ishii has such a massive presence that it’s almost shocking to see how small he is compared to Archer and Smith. However, it makes for a great visual as he continually throws himself at these enormous men, refusing to stay down. It’s a visual that contributes to the roar of the crowd when he finally got Archer over for a suplex.
In the end, Ishii’s efforts were proved not to be in vain as he stormed the ring to save Yano from a Killer Bomb before taking down both men and setting Archer up for the Yano-patented roll-up. Not only did he win the match; he made it watchable too.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
I can’t quite believe the match featuring Yujiro and Taichi was my favourite on this show, but here we are. This was memorable for that and another fantastic performance from Ishii. That aside, give it a skip.
Watch World Tag League: https://njpwworld.com/