New Japan has split the final four group matches of the Super Junior Tag League onto separate shows, but I’m going to review them in groups of two rather than doing a piece for each one. Both of today’s bouts have potential final implications, so they at least hold some interest.
I’m not going to change my tournament long policy of ignoring the undercard, but it would be remiss to not mention what happened in the final multi-man match of this show. In what has become a common theme, The Firing Squad went after Okada post-match and Tanahashi made the save. This time, rather than rejecting the Ace’s help, Okada embraced in. In fact, Okada and Tanahashi shook hands while Korakuen Hall exploded. I watched that moment spoilt, yet it still gave me goosebumps. It’s so much more than a handshake, it’s the greatest feud in pro-wrestling coming full circle. Okada and Tanahashi gave the Juniors an impossible moment to follow just by clasping hands.
We now live in a world where Lanny Poffo is commentating on New Japan shows. That’s a world I distrust. I’ve got nothing against Lanny Poffo, it’s just fucking weird. Anyway, we’re back in Korakuen which means we’re getting four tournament matches and hopefully a smidge more effort.
New Japan’s Super Junior Tag League has sadly been a bit flat so far. There’s not much about it that I’d describe as bad, and yet, it’s hardly got the blood pumping. It’s been fine with a couple of spots where it’s leapt above that level to good and just the one (back on the first night) where it managed to hit great. Sadly, I doubt this single-camera show will be the moment that changes, but you never know.
While New Japan has used this year to place more emphasis on tournaments like Best Of The Super Juniors, the New Japan Cup and now the Super Junior Tag League, it’s still safe to say they don’t hold half of the esteem the G1 does. That’s why we get shows like this one in which the two matches taped aren’t aired live and are recorded with the most basic of production values. It’s safe to say you’re not going to get five-star classics on these shows, although that doesn’t stop them having the potential to be fun.
The first night of the Super Junior Tag League gave me comfort ahead of the many reviews I will be writing in the next month as it proved to be a lot of fun. It’s now time to see whether night two can continue the theme. Just a reminder, I’m not bothering with the undercard, but it’s worth noting that Tanahashi saved Okada from a Jay White attack. New Japan is teasing fans with the idea of their two generational Aces putting aside their differences and joining together to take on The Firing Squad.
It’s time for another New Japan tournament which means it’s time to write a shitload of reviews. Much like my G1 coverage, I’m only going to be doing tournament matches. Partly because there’s a lot of shows where that’s all their taping and partly because life is too short. Time to dig into that Junior action.
This was one hell of a card. New Japan’s last major show of the year was stacked, as every title match not involving a bull rope looked like a guaranteed success. Throw in some intrigue over the debut of Switchblade and Wrestle Kingdom beginning to take shape, and this was unmissable. Let’s dish out some stars.