NJPW World Tag League (29/11/19) Review

Submissions for everyone. Credit: NJPW

World Tag League hit up its second straight night in Korkauen which pretty much guaranteed that this show was going to be worth a watch. That company + that venue very rarely leads to anything below great.

Mad Muscle Men (Jeff Cobb and Karl Fredericks) (6-5) defeated Hirooki Goto and Karl Fredericks (2-7)

Fredericks nails the star jumps. Credit: NJPW

Cobb and Goto have had a few interactions over the years and always have good chemistry. That continued here as they had a fun back and forth while I got to be amazed by Cobb’s ability to hoist Goto into the air. I also think I appreciated Fredericks more in this match than I have been. He’s a freakishly good athlete and had a couple of lovely flash pins at the end as he tried to steal a win from Nicholls. It didn’t work, but I appreciated the effort all the same.

Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars

Goto seemed to have made it to the back when he reappeared pursued by KENTA. He gave Old Hirooki a beating as their game of one-upmanship continues.

Colt Cabana and Toru Yano (7-3) defeated Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi (1-10)

Suplexing the funny out of Yano. Credit: NJPW

I will never stop getting a kick out of grizzled old Japanese veterans messing around with Colt and Yano. It makes me giggle. Also, they did a countout spot with Nakanishi where he was about two feet away from the ring, and I was still momentarily worried he wouldn’t make it back in time. Sadly, the wrestling probably wasn’t good enough to elevate this much further, but if you get the same joys out of that stuff as I do, you’ll have fun.

Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars

Dangerous Tekkers (Zack Sabre Jr and Taichi) (4-6) defeated Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan) (4-7)

He can’t resist. Credit: NJPW

Kojima no-selling a Taichi Lariat with a shake of his head was awesome, but him countering a second by standing his ground and thrusting an arm out, sending Taichi crumbling to the mat, was even better. Koji rules and so did this match. Both of these teams have had great tournaments, and with New Japan’s tag division in desperate need of a refresh, they could do a lot worse than turning to these four.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

FinJuice (Juice Robinson and David Finlay) (8-1) defeated The Bullet Club (Chase Owens and Bad Luck Fale) (3-7)

A job well done. Credit: NJPW

I’d bet a lot of money that Chase Owens played a major part in laying out this match. He and Fale went old-school, isolating Finlay in their corner and cutting off his many attempts to escape. It was a bit dull at times (no-one needs a Fale bear hug), but both Finlay’s selling and their heeling were generally brilliant. The best part, though? Finlay never tagged out. They built to that hot tag all match, and then he rolled up Chase and stole away with the win. That was some brilliant diverting of expectations and elevated this match much higher than anyone could have expected.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

The Bullet Club (KENTA and Yujiro Takahashi) (5-4) defeated HenarAce (Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toa Henare) (2-8)

Henare is learning from the best. Credit: NJPW

Tanahashi worked a shitload of this and even went as far as missing a High Fly Flow. I know it’s Korakuen, but choosing to work his arse off against KENTA and Yujiro is an interesting choice. Henare and KENTA showed some fun chemistry too as this was, again, a much better match than I expected it to be. Lovely stuff.

Verdict: Three And A Half Stars

Post-match, Goto evened the score, attacking KENTA from behind and dishing out a beating.

Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tonga Loa) (7-2) defeated GBH (Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma (3-8)

There is a lot of this in their matches. Credit: NJPW

Tanga Loa has started using a Crossface as a finisher. Apart from that, it was another GOD match. If you want to know about my feelings on GOD, go and read one of the hundreds of reviews where I’ve made them clear. I guess it wasn’t awful.

Verdict: Two And A Quarter Stars

Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA and EVIL) 8-1) defeated CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI) (7-2)

Hoss time. Credit: NJPW

Tomohiro Ishii is so fucking good. I realise that’s like pointing out that Tony Iommi writes a mean riff, but it is worth remembering now and then. It doesn’t matter who he’s in the ring with because he brings a fire that drags everyone along in his wake, making them brilliant. So, when you put him in there with people like SANADA and EVIL, well, you’ve got a recipe for greatness.

Here’s a rarity, though, I feel inspired to pay tribute to YOSHI-HASHI. He’s been putting out some impressive performances on this tour, reminding everyone that this is a guy who came through the New Japan Dojo. There’s been a bit more crunch to his offence, and he looks more confident in the ring than he has in a long time. I theorised before that having the pressure off his back was doing him good, and I think it’s safe to say that tag-team wrestling should be his future.

Of course, he’d end up taking the fall, but he and SANADA had a hot closing sequence coming into that, with Korakuen getting behind New Japan’s lovable loser. It didn’t help him, but you’ve got to assume he was grateful all the same.

Verdict: Four Stars

Overall Show

They did it again. New Japan + Korakeun = a happy Stuart. Sure, there was the occasional dud in there, but this was an enjoyable card of wrestling with the only downside being that it was the final date on the tour to take place inside those hallowed walls. Oh well, back to mediocrity we go.

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

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