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NJPW ‘World Tag League 2018’ (12.6.18) Results & Review

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Night fifteen of the 2018 World Tag League sees the return of both English commentary and the full camera setup. Kevin Kelly teams up with Excalibur on the first of their three night run to close out the tournament. All fourteen teams have their second to last block match and the main event again sees the dream team facing off against the Bullet Club. Let’s get started!

World Tag League Tournament Match
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (8-3) def. Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida (0-11) @ 7:48 via Ishii Boston Crab on Umino – **3/4

Great fire from the young lions; there best performance in several nights. Everyone benefits from being in the ring with Ishii. He made the crowd bite hard on an Umino nearfall and there were creative spots for Yoshida to get offense in. A very good opener but it wasn’t to be for the young lions. Ishii treated Umino like the young lion he is by putting him away with the standard Boston Crab.

World Tag League Tournament Match
Jeff Cobb & Michael Elgin (7-4) def. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi (2-9) @ 8:58 via Cobb Standing Moonsault on Nakanishi – **3/4

Another strong performance from the legends. Watching Nagata muscle around men bigger than him is always a treat but rivaling that was Cobb hoisting Nakanishi around like he’s nothing. All four men held their own as much as could be expected and you could see the fire in the legends eyes to put their strength to the test. This was a nice, spirited battle.

World Tag League Tournament Match
Killer Elite Squad (8-3) def. Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi (4-7) @ 10:41 via Killer Bomb on Yujiro – **3/4

Davey Boy Smith Jr. added another strong under the radar performance. He’s been slept on all tournament long but he’s shown on several nights that he’s so fluid in his transitions. His exchange with Page was silky smooth. Yujiro took a beating, had a nice comeback and got the crowd rally but the upset wasn’t to be. Another win for the Killer Elite Squad.

World Tag League Tournament Match
Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (6-5) def. Juice Robinson & David Finlay (7-4) @ 9:23 via Taichi Gedo Clutch on Finlay – **1/2

Two of the tournament’s most solid teams have an all around solid match. Suzuki-Gun isolate Juice early on but change their strategy soon shifts to Finlay. Sabre kept Juice occupied outside while TAKA helped distract the referee for a Taichi low blow and Gedo Clutch to finish FinJuice’s chances of winning the tournament. Both teams have shown a lot throughout the tour. Hopefully this is something that’s built upon rather than being a couple of one-off pairings.

World Tag League Tournament Match
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (3-8) def. Togi Makabe & Toa Henare (4-7) @ 9:59 via Kojima Lariat on Henare – **3/4

Very physical match, as you’d expect from these four. Big lariats, flying shoulder tackles, explosive offense, a good time. You could see the spark in Henare to prove himself to the legends. He not only took all of the punishment, he also fired up the machine gun chops on Kojima. Really spirited, high energy, exactly what you’d want from Henare. The legends picked up the win, their fourth, but it was the heart of Henare, willing to take all of the damage, that stood out.

World Tag League Tournament Match
EVIL & SANADA (8-3) def. Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka (5-6) @ 10:53 via SANADA Skull End on Iizuka – ***

Tonight’s highlight was the interaction between Suzuki and SANADA. With Suzuki’s career winding down, tonight made me hopeful that we see one more singles match between the two. Most of the match saw Suzuki-Gun isolating SANADA, forcing him to dig deep for the comeback. The power of EVIL allowed SANADA breathing room from Suzuki and to take care of Iizuka. If you’re to watch anything from the tournament on this night, my pick would be these exchanges between Suzuki and SANADA and I hope this was more than a tease.

World Tag League Tournament Match
Beretta & Chuckie T. (6-5) def. Guerrillas of Destiny (9-2) @ 17:03 via Beretta Schoolboy on Loa – *1/2

Well this was awkward. And in more ways than one. Chuckie T. snapped yet again. After the referee took three separate attacks, Chuckie T. brought out a chair and demolished G.O.D., specifically Loa, splitting him open. Bad, unprotected chair shot. Awkward. Crowd reacting to almost nothing. Awkward. This was tough to watch. Every night, both teams struggle to gain crowd reactions and it was magnified with them being in there together. As someone who cares about this story, I was hooked, but the environment and incredibly uncomfortable. One of the longest matches of the tournament and the crowd couldn’t care less about either team. This was a tough watch but we got more advancement in the story. Chuckie snapping actually benefited the win but it’s too late, his snapping earlier in the tournament did too much damage to the Best Friend’s record.

Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, Taiji Ishimori & Gedo def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, KUSHIDA & Rocky Romero @ 16:40 via Ishimori Bloody Cross on KUSHIDA – ***1/4
Call me a sucker, but I’ve enjoyed all of these warmup matches. They keep adding new wrinkles that help give them something to look forward to, especially KUSHIDA and Ishimori. That match in particular is being built very well. They’re so smooth, adding new transitions that’ll lead to great sequences at Wrestle Kingdom. The dream team has yet to pick up the win and right now it’s tough to say if there will be a win for them on this tour. I see something big happening on the final night whether it be the new member reveal or a dream team win. One of the two is bound happen but whatever the case I’m sure it’ll be the show’s highlight.

Like most nights have been, maybe there aren’t matches that are must-see but the ones who watch these shows generally walk away satisfied. That was once again the case here. We end the night with a four way tie at the top of the block. Really awkward tournament finale on the night. Crowds struggle to care about either team and despite my own personal interest, I received a fair share of secondhand embarrassment that their angle didn’t get over tonight. Not too much to recommend if you weren’t already planning to watch but I enjoyed the Suzuki/SANADA interaction and once again, the main event gave enough to end the show on a positive note.

Recommended Match
Dream Team vs Bullet Club

Predictions
Tournament: 59/84
Overall: 67/98

Standings
Guerrillas of Destiny (9-3)
EVIL & SANADA (9-3)
Ishii & Yano (9-3)
Killer Elite Squad (9-3)
Cobb & Elgin (8-4) ELIMINATED
FinJuice (7-5) ELIMINATED
Sabre & Taichi (7-5) ELIMINATED
Best Friends (7-5) ELIMINATED
Suzuki & Iizuka (5-7) ELIMINATED
Makabe & Henare (4-8) ELIMINATED
Page & Yujiro (4-8) ELIMINATED
Tencozy (4-8) ELIMINATED
Nagata & Nakanishi (2-10) ELIMINATED
Umino & Yoshida (0-12) ELIMINATED

Robert McCauley hasn't missed an NJPW show since the launch of NJPW World. Always be on the look out for his reviews where he shares results and gives his honest opinions on the goings-on of New Japan Pro-Wrestling.

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