We have questions! Why has Chuck gone crazy, em, what’s the other one? Okay, let me rephrase that. We have a question! Why has gone Chuck gone crazy? Something tells me we won’t be getting the answer this quickly because NJPW loves a tease. Gosh and indeed darn it.
Togi Makabe and Toa Henare (3-5) defeated Shota Umino and Ayato Yoshida (0-8)
Makabe must have been craving Young Lion blood because for the second night in a row he started the match. Maybe that’s how he stays young. He’s actually 372.
All jokes aside, Makabe might have logged more ring time in this one than he has all tournament yet it was still Henare that stood out. His battles with the rookies felt alive as he looked to place himself above the likes of Yoshida. It led to a fierce strike exchange with Umino which was all kinds of fun.
In the end, he’d prove successful too, popping Shota up for a Samoan Drop and getting a rare pinfall. Makabe and Henare are starting to move away from their formula which is leading to a rise in quality when it comes to their matches.
Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars
The Best Friends (Chuckie T and Beretta) (5-3) defeated Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi (7-1)
Chuck looked like he was in a jolly old mood during his entrance. Almost too jolly one might say. Like he was overcompensating for something. Not that I’m casting aspersions on Dustin. He’s a good boy who I love dearly.
There’s an allure to watching how wrestlers work with Nakanishi. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that he rarely leaves a square foot area in the centre of the ring, so it becomes necessary for his opponent to provide all the movement. By running around him and bumping like a madman, Beretta was almost able to convince you that Nakanishi was as active as anyone. Although his attempt at a tope quickly removed that idea. I love him for trying, but that thing was ugly.
While I might not wish to cast aspersions on Chuckie T, it was clear that Beretta was keeping a close eye on his pal. They were still working as a team, but you could see him watching Taylor out of the corner of his eye, waiting to see if he’d snap. He even hesitated before going in for the hug.
Not that Chuckie T seemed bothered. If anything, he wrestled this with more enthusiasm than usual, a huge grin plastered across his face. It was a grin that would grow more pronounced when he managed to catch the legendary Yuji Nagata in a flash pin before vanishing to be replaced by that blank-eyed stare during the post-match hug. My guess that we weren’t to receive our answers today was proven correct, yet it seems clear that this story is heading somewhere.
Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars
Juice Robinson and David Finlay (5-3) defeated Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan) (3-5)
This tournament seems to have lit a fire under Tenzan’s ass. I’m not going to claim he’s rolling back the years because you can still see that he struggles to get around, but he’s wrestling with a passion I’ve not seen from him. It’s lovely to see.
That aside this was another solid Tag League match. I’m repeating myself here, but there was nothing wrong it and at the same time nothing great about it. Everyone outside of Tenzan gave me exactly what I’d expect of them.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka) (4-4) defeated The Elite (Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi) (3-5)
Suzuki choked Hangman with his own rope! That’s despicable behaviour. Although, now I think of it, why does Hangman carry that noose? What makes Hangman Page, Hangman Page rather than Adam Page? There is nothing about the way he wrestles at the moment which plays into his gimmick.
As I ramble on you can probably take an educated guess as to the content of this match. It was a Suzuki and Iizuka special. There is very little room for others to influence the action when they’re in there with those two. You brawl into the crowd, Iizuka bites you a bit and Suzuki slaps you around. What made the previous day’s encounter with Sabre and Taichi so great was that ZSJ was able to assert his personality on the action.
And I don’t want to make that sound like I’m accusing Suzuki of protecting himself. From what I can tell the man is more than happy to put people over. Instead, I think it comes down to the limitations of Iizuka and the fact that most Tag League teams find a formula and stick to it. It’s not like Hangman is mixing it up, he’s hitting the same sequence of moves every show. It’s the nature of this tour.
Still, Yujiro and Iizuka got to bite each other, so I’m sure they enjoyed that. However, you can happily give this one a miss.
Verdict: Two And A Quarter Stars
Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr) (5-3) defeated Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr and Taichi) (5-3)
Taichi was, perhaps understandably, a bit nervous about having to mix it up with Archer. So, as he’s Taichi, he started pulling pages out of the cheaters’ rulebook. That almost led to him getting Archer counted out as he led him in a merry dance around the arena before throwing Milano Collection AT at him. Archer would then chase Taichi to the back leaving Sabre and Smith to pick up the pieces.
All of that summed up my problem with Lance Archer. He’s an entertaining guy, but he seems more interested in getting laughs than he does having good matches. Ever since the water thing took off, he’s been chasing the cheap pops. While that works for some, I’m bored of it.
The rest of this was okay. Sabre is always sublime, so anything he is involved in gets the thumbs up. However, there was a bit too much Davey Boy for my taste. Ultimately, they failed to capture the magic that the Suzuki-gun face-off from the day before had which was a shame.
Verdict: Two And A Quarter Stars
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) (6-2) defeated Jeff Cobb and a piece of shit (4-4)
Verdict: Fuck Michael Elgin
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa) (6-2) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL and Sanada) (6-2)
How many times have we seen these four men get in the ring together? It feels like too many. According to Cagematch, though, it’s only three times in straight tag action although all three of those times have come about in the last year.
Despite all that, this was good. New Japan gave them more time than any other Tag League match, and they used it, building to a frantic final five minutes as both teams battled for the win.
It was a battle GOD won, debuting a new finished in the process as they hit the old Gedo and Jado Super Power. There’s not much more to say about it. It was decent, well done all involved.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
Outside of the main event, this was a very skippable show. It’s a shame as the night before was great, but this was back to your normal Tag League fare. Oh well, we are getting ever closer to the end and the sweet relief which it will bring.
Watch World Tag League: https://njpwworld.com/