I’m struggling to remember a world in which I wasn’t reviewing World Tag League shows. What did I do with my time when I wasn’t watching perfectly fine but incredibly dull tag-team wrestling? Oh, I remember, I watched other wrestling. On with the show!
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Shingo Takagi and El Terrible) (4-5) defeated Hirooki Goto and Karl Fredericks (2-5)
Fredericks looked good in there with Shingo, exchanging chops and, unsurprisingly, coming off second best. He got his Single-Leg Crab on Terrible, but the fans never bought into it as a potential finish and were much more excited to see Shingo remove his head with a Pumping Bomber (not that I blame them). Still, it was a strong opener with Goto and Shingo also having a couple of exciting interactions.
Verdict: Three Stars
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI) (7-1) defeated Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi (1-8)
Tomohiro Ishii and Yuji Nagata had one of my favourite matches of the year when they beat the shit out of each other in March, so it was no surprise to see TOMO once again draw some magic from the Dads. Whether it was exchanging chops with Nakanishi or letting Nagata boot him into next week, Ishii is the most giving badass on the planet. Also, I’m now willing to go out on a limb and say that Nagata and Nakanishi’s tournament has been nowhere near as bad as some have made out, with matches like this being a lot of fun.
Verdict: Three Stars
Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer) (5-3) defeated Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan) (4-5)
New Japan should do an Old Bastards Hitting Each Other Cup. You could run it concurrently with the Young Lion Cup, and I would 100% watch every show, content with people like Suzuki and Kojima brawling it out. I’m a simple man and I don’t need anything competent, send the Dads down to hit each other, and I’ll go home happy.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
FinJuice (Juice Robinson and David Finlay) (7-1) defeated Mad Muscle Men (Jeff Cobb and Mikey Nicholls) (5-4)
Another thing I am happy to watch forever is Jeff Cobb being a big strong boy. I think he’s a flawed wrestler, but he makes plucking people out of the air look awesome. There is a casualness to the way he does it as if we should all be able to catch Juice Robinson sized flying objects. Outside of that, this was a pretty straightforward match, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. They did everything two teams in the middle of the card on a small show needed to do.
Verdict: Three Stars
Dangerous Tekkers (Zack Sabre Jr and Taichi) (3-5) defeated GBH (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma) (3-6)
If Togi Makabe could be arsed, he’d be one of my favourite wrestlers. Taichi was winding him up in this match, and when he fires up, he is a mountain of a man who looks like he could run through brick walls. Sadly, we don’t see that Togi very often. Instead, we got a lot of Honma who is, well, Honma, what more needs to be said? He works his arse off, and he’s not been a total disaster, but he’s not been good either. And yet, the fans fucking love him and turned his defiance in the closing stretch into an awesome moment. Who am I to argue with the people?
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa) (5-2) defeated The Bullet Club (Chase Owens and Bad Luck Fale) (2-5)
Look, I could lie to you and pretend I paid 100% attention to a match featuring three of my least favourite in-ring performers, but I was raised better than that. I was definitely in the room while it was on, though. From what I saw, a decent amount of it was Fale chasing Tama around the venue, which caught me off-guard because I didn’t know old Bad Luck was still willing to run. If you enjoy bad Bullet Club humour, it might be for you, but it wasn’t for me.
Verdict: Two Stars
Colt Cabana and Toru Yano (5-3) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA and EVIL) (6-1)
Colt and Yano have now beaten the Tag champs and the two-time Tag League winners. I know they’re not going to Wrestle Kingdom, but are they going to Wrestle Kingdom? Unsurprisingly, this match was a load of fun. EVIL and SANADA flourish playing the straight men to Colt and Yano’s shtick while there was obviously plenty of Paradise Lock shenanigans too. Throw in the fact that these four men are all very talented wrestlers, and this was a wee treat that left me very happy.
Verdict: Three and Three Quarter Stars
That was a sneaky good show. It kept delivering enjoyable matches before the main event hit all the right buttons. There’s still not anything you need to see, but I had fun.
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