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NJPW ‘Super Jr. Tag League 2019’ (10.16.19) Results & Review

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New Japan Pro-Wrestling opens up the 2019 Super Junior Tag League with four tournament matches from Korakuen Hall. All eight teams have their first of seven matches to determine who will advance to the tournament final at Power Struggle. Let’ get started!

Volador Jr. & Titán (1-0) def. Tiger Mask IV & Yuya Uemura (0-1) @ 12:58 via Titán Springboard Double Stomp on Uemura – **1/2
Showcase match for Titán as he spent the majority of the time stunting on Uemura. Volador was a late addition to the tournament (replacing Dragon Lee) and as such didn’t have his work boots on. Titán flashed with a slingshot springboard leg drop off the second but overall he kept the match basic to accommodate Uemura’s experience level. There wasn’t much here but the crowd was hot for Uemura and were wow’d by Titán’s aerial prowess. Strong energy to kick off the tournament.

Ryusuke Taguchi & Rockey Romero (1-0) def. TJP & Clark Connors (0-1) @ 15:37 via Romero Cross Armbreaker on Connors – **
The match starts with Romero and TJP because they’re classmates from the original L.A. Dojo. TJP gets the first half to showcase and Connors gets the second. Romero and Taguchi struggle to get on the same page early. Both are caught in holds and Taguchi holds Romero’s hand from tapping the mat because Romero doesn’t have a second hand nor can he submit verbally. It’s all too schmaltzy for my taste. No one really dominated the match. Connors sold the hell out of a Nomisugi Knee and was the only stand out moment that wasn’t eyeroll-inducing.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado (1-0) def. Roppongi 3K (0-1) @ 15:28 via Desperado Numbero Dos on SHO – **
3K got the jump on SZKG before the bell so points for continuity. SZKG quickly turn the match back to their favor by attacking SHO’s back with chairs. SHO’s gyrating on the mat makes Matt Jackson’s selling look subtle. A ref bump and two referee distractions give SZKG the chance to cheat for the win even though they were dominating the entire match. Continuity points but the standard match between these two teams.

El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori (1-0) def. Birds of Prey (0-1) @ 22:17 via ELP CR II on Eagles – **1/2
And now for a case of no continuity. ELP offers his hand to Ospreay like Monday didn’t happen. That worked after his Twitter statement but after Ishimori’s interference Monday, that spot is tired. He continued to regress back to his house show ways by doing an extended rope-walk spot that makes Ospreay look like a dork. Ospreay was no saint either, selling death not five minutes into the match. This pairing was great just last month but they today they had an exhibition match that didn’t acknowledge any of their prior history.

Eagles hits 450 to the knee followed by a Ron Miller Special for a cool callback to his NJPW debut but it lead to nothing. All four of these guys are extremely talented and the match had its share of great spots but this came off like an exhibition which is frustrating considering their story has been a focal point all year.

ELP takes the mic and says he hates Korakuen Hall. They’re going to win tag league and get their faces on the Wrestle Kingdom poster.

You know an NJPW show isn’t high priority when it doesn’t sell out Korakuen Hall. The tournament is filled with guys who eat pins ten months out of the year but this tour we’re supposed to believe in them.

There’s no discounting the talent of these guys but when you have an unmotivated Volador, a goofy team in Taguchi and Romero, a standard 3K vs SZKG tag and a main event that neglects all history, what is there to sink your teeth into? This is a perfectly fine exhibition show but in no way is there anything you have to see.

Standings
El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori (1-0)
El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru (1-0)
Ryusuke Taguchi & Rocky Romero (1-0)
Volador Jr. & Titán (1-0)
Birds of Prey (0-1)
Roppongi 3K (0-1)
TJP & Clark Connors (0-1)
Tiger Mask IV & Yuya Uemura (0-1)

Along with providing show reviews from across Japan, Robert McCauley is also an editor for FightboothPW.

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