As mentioned in yesterday’s review, I’m trying my hardest to cut down on the rambling as I cover the last few days of World Tag League. It’s time to wrap this baby up and with the final having already happened, no one is craving 2000 words on night fourteen. So, here’s 1500! (That’s a joke… kind of.)
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) (9-3) defeated Shota Umino and Ayato Yoshida (0-12)
Shota Umino getting Tomohiro Ishii to drop to a knee during their Shoulder Block exchange might be the highlight of his career so far. Once again, not sure that’s a joke. That moment summed up this match as our Young Lions showed a lot of fire. Not that Ishii let them get too cocky, he was determined to prove a point here as he set out to win via Boston Crab. It was an endeavour he was successful in, but even with that humbling note, this was another impressive match from the rookies.
Verdict: Three Stars
Jeff Cobb and a piece of shit (8-4) defeated Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi (2-10)
Verdict: Fuck Michael Elgin
Killer Squad Elite (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr.) (9-3) defeated The Elite (Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi) (4-8)
Davey Boy’s shoulder was no longer strapped, although I suspect he’s still carrying an injury. Archer worked the bulk of the action with Smith only getting involved at critical moments as KES dominated. Page and Yujiro haven’t had a bad in-ring tournament, but in the world of kayfabe, it’s been uninspiring. It seems Page is still earning his stripes in New Japan while Yujiro has long been at the bottom of the barrel. Expect Yujiro to stay there, but if Hangman chooses to stick around, he will leave his partner far behind.
Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars
Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi) (7-5) defeated Juice Robinson and David Finlay (7-5)
Zack and Taichi is the tag team I didn’t know I needed. ZSJ brings the best out of the singing ballbag as they form a delightfully vicious pair. That makes our white as fresh snow babyfaces, Finlay and Juice, the perfect opponents for them. The fan’s hate Zack for twisting Juice’s hair and Taichi for being, well, Taichi. Then, come the finish they groaned with delighted disgust when Taichi caught Finlay in the Gedo Clutch for the three. It wasn’t complicated, but it worked.
Verdict: Three Stars
Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan) (4-8) defeated Toa Henare and Togi Makabe (4-8)
Tenzan won his first Tag League in 1995 when Henare was three-years-old. Yet, the mental old bastard is still in there throwing haymakers even if he can barely walk. You’ve got to love that. I also loved watching Henare and Kojima go at it. Henare dared to pull out some Machine Gun Chops which led to a blustery confrontation between the two. It’s a common theme in Henare’s career that he’s at his best when up against someone who is happy to hit him, a challenge Kojima was more than willing to accept. I don’t know if I’m just in a good mood today, but this was another fun match. Everything is delivering.
Verdict: Three Stars
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Sanada and EVIL) (9-3) defeated Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka) (5-7)
LIJ joined the Young Lions in being clued up on Suzuki-gun’s wicked ways. Rather than wandering into the ring, they joined up on the outside and charged in together. Not that it helped as they were still treated to the usual antics. Thankfully, Sanada and EVIL have shown they can rise above such crap and still deliver decent matches. Sanada, in particular, has been great all tournament and, now I think of it, I don’t think I’ve given him the praise he deserves. One suspects my faults won’t change New Japan’s opinion and it’s no coincidence that he’s regularly been the one to pick up the wins during their run.
Verdict: Three and A Quarter Stars
The Best Friends (Beretta and Chuckie T) (7-5) defeated Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa) (9-3)
I haven’t mentioned it, but Excalibur is on commentary for these final few shows and is doing a good job. He particularly shone here as he was able to use his PWG history with The Best Friends to dive into the mindset of Chuck Taylor. They pulled in his matches with ZSJ, Ricochet and Beretta himself to talk about this not being as out of the blue as it might have appeared to some.
As for the match itself, well, Tama and Tonga were involved. They’re all sizzle as they spend more time running their gums than they do wrestling. I’m just fed up of heat sections that revolve around plodding between various power moves. MAKE ME CARE!
Thankfully, Beretta worked his arse off here which was enough to keep me enthralled. I’ll quite happily proclaim him the best seller on the planet as he sold the crap out of his ribs throughout. The crowd were mostly silent as GOD controlled the match, but Beretta’s flashes of offence always got them off their seats as they rooted for him to find a foothold in the action.
And this time, Chuckie going crazy actually worked in The Best Friends’ favour. Red Shoes took a ridiculously convoluted bump to leave him down and out on the floor. That gave Taylor the chance to unleash a series of sickening chair shots. Loa took multiple hits to the head and was left a bloody mess in a spot that was downright stupid. Whoever came up with that idea should never do that again.
That slightly soured the match for me, but it opened Loa up for being rolled up as Beretta got the win. That was at least earned as his performance is what this should be remembered for.
Verdict: Three Stars (that chair spot knocked it down for me)
This was a solid if unspectacular show. It was the highest number of three-star matches I’ve dished out all tour, but very little passed over that barrier and into the territory that marks it as truly memorable. When you throw in the decision to have Chuckie T repeatedly throw a chair at Tanga Loa’s head, it’s hard to go out to bat for it. Seriously guys, don’t do that, please. It’s dumb.
Watch World Tag League: https://njpwworld.com/