NJPW Super Jr. Tag League (1/11/19) Review

YOH helping ELP to crack his back. Credit: NJPW

With Power Struggle on Sunday, this is our final stop before the power is fought over. Is that what is happening there? Fuck knows. The point is that we’re wrapping up the Super Junior Tag League with it still being possible for us to have a four-way tie at the top of the block. Fingers crossed that is not the case.

Volador Jr and Titan (4-3) defeated Mega Coaches (Rocky Romero and Ryusuke Taguchi) (4-3)

Rocky Romero is having one hell of a year. Having slipped into the background when Beretta moved to heavyweight (and then left the company), he’s come charging back into the limelight, seemingly determined to prove he still has it. I’m certainly convinced.

In fact, everyone in this match has had a great tournament. Team CMLL were on a level that we normally don’t see from the wrestlers coming over from Mexico, hitting all their spots and putting on several top-notch performances. They bowed out on a high too, having an entertaining back and forth with the Mega Coaches (who I’ve been calling Super Coach all tournament, but oh well) that ended with a great face-off between Rocky and Titan.

The Double Stomp that got Titan the win officially eliminated the Mega Coaches from contention, meaning any chance of a four-way final was dead.

Verdict: Three And Three Quarter Stars

Suzuki-gun (El Desperado and Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (5-2) defeated The Birds Of Prey (Will Ospreay and Robbie Eagles) (4-3)

With the benefit of hindsight, the ending of this match was obvious. BUSHI challenged Will Ospreay at Power Struggle but wasn’t guaranteed his shot because of Will’s commitment to the Super Junior Tag League. What better way to ensure you get that match than to stick your nose into a tournament that you weren’t a part of due to a lack of partner?

Before we got there, this was a well-worked match with Despy and Kanemaru trying to isolate Eagles and beat him up. I also liked that both of Birds of Prey responded by attacking the leg of Desperado, as they tried to set-up for that Ron Miller Special. It’s a little thing, but it often feels like teammates aren’t focusing on the same goal.

Desoite the good, it was a bit silly that it took so long for BUSHI to interfere. If he was desperate to make sure Ospreay didn’t win, the moment where Eagles was inches from tapping out Desperado might have been the time to get involved. Instead, he waited until Taichi had provided a distraction before turning up with his mist. It’s a small quibble, though, and they got where they wanted to be by eliminating the Birds of Prey from contention.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Post-match Will grabbed a mic and called BUSHI back out before making the match official for Power Struggle. Do we dare get excited that this might be the set-up for Hiromu’s return? I think I dare get excited.

Roppongi 3K (SHO and YOH) (5-2) defeated The Bullet Club (Taiji Ishimori and El Phantasmo) (5-2)

Despite Kevin Kelly and Gino’s painful attempts at figuring out the maths (I jest, I’m sure it’s hard when you’re live on the air), the set-up for this match was simple with the winner going to the final to face Desperado and Kanemaru.

Roppongi 3K were in a bit of bother, though, with SHO struggling before the match had even started. His back was taped up and provided an obvious target for The Bullet Club goons to attack as they isolated him for the bulk of the action. It was, to be perfectly honest, rather dull, as beyond standing on his balls and raking his back I can’t remember a single thing ELP and Ishimori did.

It didn’t even lead to an exciting comeback as the story was Roppongi 3K’s inability to get into the action. They were given short bursts of offence rather than anything sustained, and when they hit a 3K on Phantasmo towards the end (it wouldn’t get the win), it didn’t feel earned as exhibited by the fans not responding in the way you’d expect.

The final seconds did finally add a bit of juice to proceedings, ELP ripping the tape off SHO’s back only to be Pumping Bombered into next week. Unfortunately, the Shock Arrow followed straight after, and this was over, having never really felt like it got going. Still, it’s the result I’d have booked, so I’m not going to complain too much.

Verdict: Two And A Half Stars

After SHO and YOH were declared as having made it to the final, Despy and Kanemaru turned up. Somehow, 3K still haven’t figured out how this works and were caught by the cheap shot before Despy broke a chair over SHO’s back, setting up the story for the final.

Overall Show

That was alright. Honestly, my favourite match was the first one as the second fell foul of a dodgy finish and the main even just wasn’t very good. Still, it doesn’t take away from the fact this has been a great tournament and Roppongi 3K get yet another chance to banish their Despy and Kanemaru curse in the final.

Watch New Japan: https://njpwworld.com/

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