NJPW World Tag League Night Sixteen (7/12/18) Review

Here comes the man. Credit: NJPW

Sweet baby Jesus, we’re so close to putting this fucker to bed! After this show, we only have the final left which brings with it an Ibushi match, so I’m looking forward to that. One last push and we’re done with World Tag League for another year. If we grit our teeth and think of Kota, we can get through it together.

Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi (3-10) defeated Shota Umino and Ayato Yoshida (0-13)

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have come into this with every part of your anatomy crossed in the hope of a Young Lion victory. It was never going to happen, but a man can dream, can’t he? Sadly, Nagata and Nakanishi weren’t going to give up an opportunity to dish out some lessons to the pups, especially after a tournament where the Dads have struggled to perform. Yoshida, in particular, took a beating with Kevin Kelly openly pondering whether he was being tested by the veterans. Not that Umino had a leisurely afternoon. His fiery comebacks were cut off by some stiff old strikes although he did kick out of a Nagata Exploder Suplex. That’s an achievement, isn’t it?

Verdict: Three Stars

Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan) (5-8) defeated Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka (5-8)

It’s easy to forget that the likes of Suzuki and Kojima have been facing off for years. Then they get in the ring together, and it becomes apparent. They have the kind of chemistry which only comes with familiarity. That same chemistry might be there between Tencozy and Iizuka, but nothing can make biting exciting. At least in a wrestling ring… What is exciting is another Tenzan Moonsault as he busted it out one last time to end the tour on a high. There aren’t many people who look more comfortable flying through the air than they do walking, but that crazy old bastard is one of them. You’ve got to respect that.

Verdict: Two Stars

Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre Jr and Taichi) (8-5) defeated Toa Henare and Togi Makabe (4-9)

In 2017 Henare and Makabe won one Tag League match, this year they’ve won four. That’s a little thing called progress. Truthfully, it’s been an uninspiring tournament for the youngster and his overly large da. Henare has his impressive moments, but having such a static partner doesn’t do him any favours as it brings down the quality of his bouts. Although it gave him plenty of chances to be twisted up by Zack, which is basically yoga, isn’t it? It wouldn’t be the twisting that brought his tournament to an end, though. That would be Taichi who finished off a Tag League in which I came to appreciate him with the Last Ride. I wonder which achievement means more to him?

Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars

David Finlay and Juice Robinson (8-5) defeated The Best Friends (Beretta and Chuckie T) (7-6) by Disqualification

Juice and Dave have been doing DNA tests which have shown Juice is more Irish than the son of Fit Finlay. I wonder if that was playing on his mind when he delivered a particularly stiff tag early on.

I’m going to break my brevity rule to talk about Chuckie T in comparison to The Bullet Club/Firing Squad’s G1 antics. Back then, entire matches were being built around cheating. You’d get flashes of proper wrestling, but that was all it was, flashes.

In contrast to that, this was a damn fine match, right up until the moment Taylor snapped, hit Finlay with a chair and planted the ref with a Piledriver. And you know what? Having been delivered some entertaining wrestling, I wasn’t that disappointed when Taylor lost it. Well, I was disappointed in him from a moral standpoint, but not because he had ruined my enjoyment.

I got my fun back and forth, so as much as I would have enjoyed a clean finish, having that taken away wasn’t the end of the world. While both styles of booking reach the same destination, Dustin’s path is a better one to walk down.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

The Elite (Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi) (5-8) defeated Jeff Cobb and a piece of shit (8-5)

I don’t review Michael Elgin’s matches and if you want to understand why give this a read.

Verdict: Fuck Michael Elgin

Los Ingobernables de Japon (Sanada and EVIL) (10-3) defeated Killer Elite Squad (Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr.) (9-4)

Archer spent part of this chasing an LIJ fan through the crowd as he seemed more intent on yelling at people to shut up than he was on wrestling. The winner of this was going to the final, could he not have left the shtick at home for one day? Kelly and Excalibur tried to make it part of the in-ring story, but it wasn’t. It’s just a thing he does.

Still, this wasn’t awful because EVIL and Sanada aren’t awful. In fact, by the standards of this tour, they’re outstanding. It was their bursts of offence that kept me interested in this match. Thank God they won too, as that means this is the last KES match I’ll have to review for a while. I am thankful.

Verdict: Two and Three Quarter Stars

The Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa) (10-3) defeated CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano) (9-4)

In a perfect world, LIJ would have been joined by CHAOS. Sadly, we don’t live in that world. We live in one in which I have to keep watching Guerrillas Of Destiny matches. At least this one had Ishii in it too. I love Ishii. Have I ever mentioned that? I wonder if he’d be my best friend. Although if I had the choice of one wrestler to be best friends with it would be Hiromu. God, I miss him. Who would you like to be best friends with?

A match happened, Ishii was great, that’s all you need to know.

Verdict: Three Stars

Overall Show

An uninspired end to the bulk of World Tag League. Not that I’m complaining, the critical part of that sentence is the word end. I am one final away from not having to watch this damn tour anymore, I might cry tears of joy.

Watch World Tag League: https://njpwworld.com/

If you enjoyed this review, please consider contributing to my Ko-fi, even the smallest amount is appreciated.

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