We’re finally there! Seven years after we started, the World Tag League rolls into Hiroshima to finish things up. There’s no actual final, as the team with the most points will take home the victory (although it could be a three-way tie, please don’t be a three-way tie). Who will it be? Well, I’ve said FinJuice since day one, so let’s find out of I’m right.
I hope you’ll all forgive a quick plug, but this review means I have written about every single New Japan tournament match this year, from the Young Lion Cup to the G1. That’s a lot of wrestling. I do this stuff because I love it, and as much as I moan on night 673 of Tag League, I’d be watching it anyway. However, it does take a lot of time and effort. So, if you’ve read my reviews, enjoyed them and have a bit of spare cash, it would mean everything to me if you dropped a few pounds into my Ko-Fi. On the other hand, if you can’t afford it (or you don’t like me), don’t. The articles will keep coming anyway, and I hope you’ll keep reading them.
Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi (2-13) defeated Tencozy (Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan) (4-11)
As a general rule, I enjoy the Dads about 95% more than most people. So, it should be no surprise that I had a lovely time watching these four old bastards beat on each other. Sure, it was plodding and not always pretty, but they work their arses off to try to recapture their youth. They might not succeed, but I appreciate the effort. Plus, Nagata finally got his second victory, which was a nice moment.
Verdict: Three Stars
Colt Cabana and Toru Yano (9-6) defeated The Bullet Club (Chase Owens and Bad Luck Fale) (6-9)
When Colt and Yano were in antic mode, this was a lot of fun. Fale played along surprisingly well, probably because a lot of the jokes were built around him being so much stronger than them, while Chase is always up for a bit of silly. Nothing was particularly amazing, but they kept me entertained.
Verdict: Two And Three Quarter Stars
Mad Muscle Men (Jeff Cobb and Mikey Nicholls) (8-7) defeated Double Rampage (Shingo Takagi and El Terrible) (6-9)
If nothing else, this Tag League will go down as the tour that had me turn a corner on Mikey Nicholls. Sure, it won’t do him much good since no-one else watched the fucker, but fingers crossed it will continue into the New Year. As for this match, Shingo was involved, so I was never going to have an awful time.
Verdict: Three Stars
HenarAce (Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toa Henare) (3-12) defeated Hirooki Goto and Karl Fredericks (3-12)
Goto and Tanahashi moved to the side and left Henare and Fredericks to shine in this one. Karl impressed from the beginning, insisting on starting the match against The Ace, as he pushed Goto away. However, Henare is a hard man to outshine. He works his arse off, and it was great to see him getting the win to finish off his tournament.
Verdict: Three And A Half Stars
Post-match, we got a creepy Jericho video promising that January 5th will be Tanahashi’s last match. The Ace wasn’t quite so sure, suggesting that maybe it will be Y2J’s final showing.
Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer) (9-6) The Bullet Club (KENTA and Yujiro Takahashi) (8-7)
There is a decent chance that KENTA and Suzuki don’t like each other. They certainly seemed determined to cause as much pain as possible, beating the shit out of each other in a fun brawl. Throw in one of those rare hard-working Yujiro performances (he even hit a Tope Suicida), and this was an enjoyable match. Nothing special, but an easy watch.
Verdict: Three And A Quarter Stars
We’re all about that Wrestle Kingdom build today, as Suzuki-gun’s post-match celebration/murdering of everyone at ringside was interrupted by one Jon Moxley. He appeared in the crowd pointing down at Archer before making his way to the ring to DDT MiSu and Lance. Mox then grabbed a mic and challenged Archer to a Texas Deathmatch at the Dome before they brawled to the back with poor Yota Tsuji chasing after them desperately trying to get them to stop.
Talking of Dome build, I haven’t been reviewing the multi-man tags, but afterwards, Ibushi battered Okada around the head with his briefcase and started beating the shit out of him. That was awesome.
It then looked like we were going to get a Liger promo only for Dragon Lee, who is now going by Ryu Lee, to appear on the screen and challenge him to a match. Liger cut a promo saying he wanted to wrestle Hiromu too, which has been used to set-up Liger and Sano vs Takahashi and Lee.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI) (11-4) Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa) (12-3)
Ishii was in this match, so it was always going to be one of GOD’s better efforts. I still struggled to care, but that’s no surprise at this point. More importantly, though, it confirmed that we aren’t getting a three-way tie at the top of the block. I never expected that to be the case, they’ve been teasing Zack vs SANADA, but it was good to get confirmation. YOSHI-HASHI getting a win over the tag champs was nice too.
Verdict: Two And A Half Stars
FinJuice (Juice Robinson and David Finlay) (13-2) defeated Los Ingobernables de Japon (SANADA and EVIL) (13-2)
This was simple. The winner wins Tag League. No ifs, no buts.
And it continued the story of this tournament for Juice and Finlay, with poor Dave fighting valiantly against an LIJ onslaught. He’s been front and centre all tour, and it’s great to see as he’s returned from injury in the best shape of his career.
It led to a great match too as he survived the LIJ offence to get the win. At one point, it was only a flying Juice that saved him from the Magic Killer before he reversed an EVIL with one of his own, turning the match in their favour. In the end, the two of them would combine to take out SANADA leaving EVIL open to eat an Acid Drop and FinJuice to get the win, proving that I can occasionally make correct predictions.
Verdict: Four Stars
As they celebrated, their fellow babyfaces came to ringside with a big old cooler to have themselves a party – what a lovely moment.
FREEDOM! World Tag League is over, and I am free for another year. To be honest, right now, I cannot imagine doing this again next year, but I’m a fucking idiot so I probably will. Plus, this was a fun show, right? Lots of Dome stuff and a great main event, what is there to complain about?
Watch New Japan: https://njpwworld.com/