I have nothing to say here. It’s another Tag League show, it’s probably going to be much like the others, but I’ve decided I’m going to review all the fuckers so I’m damn well going to. Now, let’s watch wrestling.
Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka) (5-5) defeated Ayato Yoshida and Shota Umino (0-10)
Yoshida and Umino continue to be the only people on the roster who have figured out Suzuki-gun’s shit. The rookies attacked before they could be attacked and took the early advantage.
And while I respect their gumption, I also have to question whether they are fucking insane. Our Young Lions know who Suzuki is, don’t they? Umino has been beaten up by him enough times at ringside that he had to understand how this was going to end. Murder Grandpa does not respect you for trying. He murders you for it.
If Umino didn’t know, he does now. He made the mistake of slapping Suzuki in the head as this match entered its third act and I’m going to guess he regretted that decision. A few stiff shots and a Gotch later this was done. Still, they tried.
Verdict: Three Stars
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa) (8-2) defeated Manabu Nakanishi and Yuji Nagata (1-9)
Going on a horrible run in a New Japan tournament often means you are being slotted into position to cause an upset. With that in mind, I wondered whether there was a chance Nagata and Nakanishi were going to beat GOD on this show. I was wrong.
They weren’t in place to do much of anything, to be honest. Most of this was an extended beatdown of Nagata after the twat with the stick (FKA Jado) got involved in giving GOD the edge. As someone who finds Tama and Tonga excruciatingly dull, that wasn’t a move I could support.
Especially as it meant we built to the slowest hot tag of all time with Nakanishi. It’s like a bus has tagged entered the ring. Although, he did his top rope crossbody and the crowd loved that even if it does have all the elegance of falling masonry.
A ref bump brought the twat into the ring before Nakanishi hoisted him for the Torture Rack. Still, that proved enough of a distraction for Tama to hit the Gun Stun and put to an end a mediocre outing.
Verdict: Two Stars
The Elite (Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi) (4-6) defeated Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan (3-7)
There’s not much about to say about this one. Both these teams have had solid tournaments, but they’ve done it by dependably putting on solid matches, not by wowing the crowds.
The highlights were all interactions between Kojima and Hangman which eventually saw Page hoist him up for the Rite Of Passage. It was enjoyable while it was on, but it won’t linger.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr) (7-3) defeated David Finlay and Juice Robinson (6-4)
Oh yay, another KES match. I haven’t seen enough of those recently! Sorry, I shouldn’t be such a grump. Especially as good boys Juice and Dave are involved. I like them.
The problem is that we know how this story goes. If somehow you don’t, feel free to go back and read over the other KES matches I’ve reviewed recently. Odds are I say pretty much the same thing in every single one. They’re boring. So boring that me talking about them being boring has also become boring. How many more times can I say the word boring?
And I am 100% willing to accept that this might just be me. The Kochi Kochi crowd certainly seemed to be having fun. If you’re an Archer and Smith fan, I’m not going to be the reviewer for you because I can’t connect with them. Nothing about them makes me care. That means that even putting a couple of good boys in the ring doesn’t change a thing.
Verdict: Two Stars
Jeff Cobb and a piece of shit (6-4) defeated Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr and Taichi) (5-5)
Verdict: Fuck Michael Elgin
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) (8-2) defeated Togi Makabe and Toa Henare (4-6)
I like it when Yano mixes it up with big grumpy men and goes full comedy. The contrast between Makabe and the Master Thief makes everything they do that little bit better. I will laugh every time Yano cowers in fear before getting cocky when he thinks he has the better of him. You might not like Toru Yano, but few comedy wrestlers have their shtick down better than that man.
This match also rekindled my favourite feud of the year. The first time Henare made a beeline for Ishii in an attempt to get himself murdered was during last year’s Tag League and that fed into numerous meetings between the two early in 2018. This match taught us that time has been no healer for Henare’s desire to get his skull caved in. He went straight after the Stone Pitbull and continued that theme at every opportunity he got. It was wonderful.
And, as has been the story of their feud, Ishii would come out victorious, dropping Toa on his head in the process. But the important thing, and I genuinely believe this, is that Henare keeps coming back for more. This feud has played a significant role in establishing him as a roster member in New Japan and has proven that if NJPW chooses to do so, they could have something great in that young man.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Sanada and EVIL) (8-2) defeated The Best Friends (Chuckie T and Beretta) (5-5)
Beretta facing off with Sanada made me realise how much I want him in next year’s G1. Nothing they did was incredible, but there was a crispness to that made it possible to visualise what that would be like on a bigger stage. In my head, it looks very nice.
In the here and now, we’ve got the story of Chuckie T to mull over. Outwardly, Chuck is still acting as if everything is normal. However, there is a subtle difference in him, and it’s something I unintentionally picked up on early in the tournament. He’s working just that little more reckless, using barriers and the occasional heel tactic. It’s not a complete overhaul, but it’s a subtle tweak to show us that things still aren’t right in the head of Chuck Taylor.
After being good for the majority of the action, this burst into a brilliant final few minutes. I know not everyone enjoys the way New Japan tag matches break down into chaos, but when it’s done well, I love it. They become a swirl of excitement as wrestlers dive in and out of the ring, flowing seamlessly from one sequence to the next. Right up until the moment Sanada locks on the Skull End that is.
Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars
Most of this was a nothing show, but when it was good it was great. The final two matches are well worth your time while I’ll always recommend you watch The Young Lions. Tag League continues to potter on, never offending and only occasionally exciting. Gosh, isn’t life great?
Watch World Tag League: https://njpwworld.com/