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NJPW ‘World Tag League 2018’ (12.7.18) Results & Review

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Night sixteen of the 2018 World Tag League is treated with both English commentary and the full camera setup. This is the final night of block action. All fourteen teams have their last tournament match and by the end of the night the finalists will be decided. Let’s get started!

World Tag League Tournament Match
Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi (2-10) def. Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida (0-12) @ 8:13 via Nagata Lock II on Umino – **1/2

The legends put the young lions to the test. Rivals, Umino and Yoshida, put their differences aside to help each other out to the best of their abilities. Yoshida helped Umino out of a Nagata armbar but when push came to shove, Umino didn’t have what it took to put away Nagata one on one. Umino had a really strong tournament. He’s definitely ready for the next step.

World Tag League Tournament Match
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (4-8) def. Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka (5-7) @ 8:55 via Tenzan Moonsault on Iizuka – **1/2

Tencozy ended their tournament on a positive note. Iizuka was more chompy than usual but they took all he dished out and were able to keep Suzuki occupied on the outside while Tenzan finished Iizuka with a moonsault. Kojima in particular was a joy to watch every night of the tour. Tonight he had a nice clash with Suzuki. I’m hopeful there will be at least one more singles clash between the two.

World Tag League Tournament Match
Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (7-5) def. Togi Makabe & Toa Henare (4-8) @ 11:40 via Taichi Powerbomb on Henare – ***

Sabre and Taichi were the surprise of the tournament. Their matches had the most focus of all the teams and this wasn’t an exception. They targeted Henare’s leg and rendered Makabe ineffective by going after his prominent lariat arm. This was Henare’s highlight of the tournament. He was forced to dig deep, had several close calls but was unable to get the win over Taichi. Sabre and Taichi were a treat throughout the tour. If I have to watch more Taichi, I want it to be alongside Sabre.

World Tag League Tournament Match
Juice Robinson & David Finlay (7-5) def. Beretta & Chuckie T. (7-5) @ 9:54 via Disqualification – ***

Chuckie T. has snapped for the fourth time, now two consecutive nights. This time he went even further by piledriving the referee post-match. The match was a really fun back and forth but out of nowhere we saw the shift in Chuckie’s eyes. We still don’t have an answer on what his deal is, he hugged Beretta after demolishing the referee but this is the third match he cost his team. If they’d won those three matches they’d have been at the top of the block.

World Tag League Tournament Match
Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi (4-8) def. Jeff Cobb & Michael Elgin (8-4) @ 11:19 via Page Rite of Passage on Cobb – ***

Third match in a row with really hard work. Page is Mr. No Nights Off and he teed off on both Cobb and Elgin. Big, strongman match between the three. Cobb and Page have an ROH TV title match coming up later in the month so this result makes perfect sense. Really strong match filled with big man throws, lariats and head drops. You could tell both teams wanted to end the tour in a positive light.

Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, Taiji Ishimori & Gedo def. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, KUSHIDA & Rocky Romero @ 15:55 via White Blade Runner on Romero – ***1/2
Boy, have these matches gotten better and better as the tour has gone on. They keep adding more wrinkles into the stories, Okada and Tanahashi working together in new creative ways every night. KUSHIDA and Ishimori coming up with more interesting spots. This was the best of the bunch so far. Legitimately one of the tour’s best matches. Once again, Bullet Club found a way to isolate Romero and pick him apart for the win.

World Tag League Tournament Match
EVIL & SANADA (9-3) def. Killer Elite Squad (9-3) @ 12:58 via SANADA Sunset Flip on Smith – ***

Real slow and deliberate pace to this one. K.E.S. grinded down SANADA early on, forcing him to the mat and knocking EVIL off the apron on several occasions. SANADA had to dig deep, battle back and eventually got the tag to EVIL. Unfortunately, although he had fight, EVIL met the same fate. K.E.S. were able to muscle him around and once again it was up to the guts of SANADA. They hit Killer Bomb but EVIL made the save. Smith looked to finish with a powerbomb but SANADA rolled through and got the surprise win for his team, advancing them to the finals. Another really well constructed match, K.E.S. lost their minds at the result, slamming young lions into announce tables.

World Tag League Tournament Match
Guerrillas of Destiny (9-3) def. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (9-3) @ 13:49 via Super Powerbomb on Yano – **3/4

Another strong, solid match to close out the show. Like the match before, very deliberate pace. G.O.D. kept control of the pace and did their best to keep Ishii on the outside. He had several flurries of offense and had to do more than EVIL did in order to keep the match alive for his team. Yano showed heart but it wasn’t to be. He was put away with the Super Powerbomb, leading to the Guerrillas of Destiny advancing to the finals as the IWGP Tag Team Champions. Post-match they call EVIL & SANADA out to the ring. The reference their feud, reminding everyone that they’re 1-1 heading into tomorrow. Before EVIL could leave the ring, they attack and leave them laying to cap off the show.

Although not a show to rush out and see, this was one of the more consistent shows of the tour. Every match was good but once again it’s the dream team tag that steals the show. You can’t go wrong with any of the tournament matches, they were good enough, but none of them blew the roof off the place. The finals will be a rematch of last year with EVIL and SANADA looking to repeat against the Guerrillas of Destiny.

Recommended Match
Dream Team vs Bullet Club

Predictions
Tournament: 65/91
Overall: 74/106

Standings
Guerrillas of Destiny (10-3) FINALISTS
EVIL & SANADA (10-3) FINALISTS
Ishii & Yano (9-4)
Killer Elite Squad (9-4)
Cobb & Elgin (8-5)
FinJuice (8-5)
Sabre & Taichi (8-5)
Best Friends (7-6)
Suzuki & Iizuka (5-8)
Page & Yujiro (5-8)
Tencozy (5-8)
Makabe & Henare (4-9)
Nagata & Nakanishi (3-10)
Umino & Yoshida (0-13)

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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