Good morning, and we are back!
It’s November 18th, second day of World Tag League! Tonight, we are in Korakuen Hall, and in the main event, last year’s winners, EVIL and Sanada will take on a new team of Michael Elgin and Jeff Cobb. My money in this year’s tournament is on, surprisingly enough, Best Friends. New Japan seems to be really putting them into top matches, and them competing against Guerillas of Destiny for the tag belts seems quite natural.
1. Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura
Strange, as the non-Young Lion team is in the tournament, while the other is not–usually all non-tournament matches during tournaments are in on-tournament matches (so, I would expect no tag matches tonight in prelims, for example). Juice Robinson seems to be doing a Macho Man look tonight, which makes sense, I mean, Macho Man, was a world class wrestler and Juice is a world class jackass.
The “storyline” seemed to be that Uemura was successful against both men, but Tsuji wasn’t, which I, kinda agree with, because even Tsuji has the most size, intensity and personality out of Young Lions, I think he is most behind them. Finlay pins Uemura with a brainbuster into shoulderbreaker.
2. Guerillas Of Destiny (with Jado) vs Tomoaki Honma & Ren Narita
OK, so tag matches are what they are doing for prelims this year. Great spot, where Honma would not move, while lying down, and Tanga Loa couldn’t drag him by the arm. Tonga tagged in and did a diving headbutt, Honma’s move, but Honma rolled away and did a diving headbutt on his own, but Tonga rolled away and Honma DDT’ed him as soon as he got up.
Great match, as GOD didn’t try to Steiner their opponents, and Ren Narita really shined. Eventually Tonga Loa pinned him with Ape Shit. Well worth checking out, especially as this card is free on New Japan World.
I really like Jado as manager, instead of Gedo. Gedo always tries to be a wrestler, and it’s hard to take that ridiculously. Jado, on the other hand, plays interfering manager, and does it effectively, here he turned the tide against Honma. Overall, incredible how good, though not long, a second match on the card can be.
3. Togi Makabe, Toa Henare, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino
All four teams are in the tournament. All four teams should not get more than four points. Yoshida & Umino argue over who is starting, until Nagata pushes them both to the corner, and it’s Nakanishi against Henare.
At one point, Umino won an elbow battle against Henare, only for Henare to come off the ropes with a Samoan Drop and a chokeslam for three. Overall, a lot more fun than it should have been, everybody got a chance to shine.
Henare no longer has face paint, and looks much better. After the match, Makabe shoves Tenzan, establishing that these are four distinct teams for the tournament.
4. Hirooki Goto & Best Friends vs Kota Ibushi, Adam Page & Yujiro Takahashi
Not sure what I missed, but Goto wants to face Ibushi. Ibushi says no, and it’s Beretta vs Yujiro to start things off. Later, Yujiro tags in Page, and Page runs apeshit over CHAOS, to huge cheers, until Beretta DDTs him off the top rope.
Goto hit GTR on Ibushi, eventually, but had to tag down to Chuckie T. Best friends double teamed Yujiro for a while, but eventually it was Adam Page with his rolling slingshot clothesline and Yujiro with a DDT to pin Chuckie. Hmm, perhaps I am wrong as to where Best Friends are meant to be in New Japan hierarchy.
After the match, it looks like Ibushi is going to challenge Goto for the NEVER Openweight Championship! But I am not too sure if Ibushi said he was up for it.
5. Kazuchika Okada & Roppongi 3K vs Tetsuya Naito, Bushi & Shingo Takagi
Okada pinned Bushi with a dropkick and a Rainmaker. Kinda surprised which way it went, but very very fun.
6. Minoru Suzuki & Takayuki Iizuka vs Killer Elite Squad
KES pinned Iizuka with a Killer Bomb. After the match Suzuki and KES raised hands together to indicate group’s unity.
7. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano vs Zack Sabre Jr & Taichi (with Taka Michinoku)
Lots of cheers for Ishii and Taichi. And, oh, what a finish. Ishii went for a sliding lariat on Sabre, but Sabre grabbed his arm and went for an arm triangle, then transferred it to triangle choke. Ishii picked up Sabre and power bombed him, but Sabre held on. Yano then ran in and started stomping ZSJ. Just when it looked like the hold was going to be broken, Taichi nailed Yano with the microphone and Ishii passed out for a submission win.
Taichi then chokes out Yano with the mic after the bell rings.
8. Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb vs EVIL & Sanada
Great finish, with the crowd loyalty constantly switching to whoever was losing. Finally, EVIL and Sanada nailed Magic Killer on Jeff Cobb, then Sanada did a suicide dive on Elgin to the outside as the legal men exchanged some reversals, finally it was EVIl with an STO and a 3-count.
After the match, EVIL interrupts his usual tagline to give Sanada the mike.
With each team, having completed one match in the tournament, of course, 7 teams are tied for the lead.
I will see you next in ten days, when New Japan returns for Korakuen for the first teaming of Tanahashi & Okada against their heated rivals.