With the opening brace of Korakuens out of the way, New Japan has taken the Road to Power Struggle on the, well, road, which means our Junior Tag League have been stripped down to a single camera and minimum production. We shall not complain, though! We shall battle gainfully on and hope there is gold in these here hills. Yea, I don’t know what I’m talking about either.
The Bullet Club (El Phantasmo and Taiji Ishimori) (2-1) defeated Tiger Mask and Yuya Uemura (0-3)
El Phantasmo threw his t-shirt at Tiger Mask, pissing Uemura off to the extent that he launched it out of the ring. I like the idea of the cubs getting protective of the New Japan Dads. Especially when you take into account that the Dads spend most of their time beating them up. Is it Stockholm Syndrome?
Outside of that, this match followed the Young Lion tag formula to a tee, right down to Uemura demanding a tag just as Tiger Mask took control. However, I will say that I thought Ishimori and ELP’s act worked a lot better in this setting. I don’t understand why they’d spend their time working over Will Ospreay by raking his back, but I get why they’d do it to Uemura. They’re frat boy bullies and they know he sits at the bottom of the totem pole.
Despite that, a couple of fun interactions between Uemura and Ishimori and the joys of grumpy Tiger Mask, this was just a match, and as far from a must watch as you can get without being actively bad.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
The Birds of Prey (Will Ospreay and Robbie Eagles) (1-2) defeated Volador Jr and Titan (2-1)
I learnt today that Volador Jr is on the ballot for the Observer Hall of Fame and that blew my mind. As someone who only sees him on New Japan tours, it’s hard to imagine the guy who half-arses it 99% of the time being Hall of Fame discussion-worthy, even if he does pull out the occasional brilliant performance.
To be fair to him, this was one of his better Tag League showings as these four went out and worked a fun, fast-paced match-up. It felt choreographed as hell, but I didn’t care. For this type of show, it was exactly what they needed to do, and by keeping it short and action-packed, they had the fans eating out of their hands.
The finish saw Eagles make up for taking the fall in the first two matches by getting the submission on Titan which was a nice touch considering how easy it would be to just let Will run through people. Overall, it was a good match, and worth a watch, if you’ve got a spare ten minutes.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
An okay match and a good one. There’s not much more to say that that. Much like with the Young Lion Cup, these are going to be some short reviews.
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