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Csonka’s Top 9 2018 NJPW Super Jr. Tag League Matches

November 16, 2018 | Posted by Larry Csonka
2018 NJPW Super Jr. Tag League

Welcome back to column time with Larry! Today I’d like to talk about the 2018 NJPW Super Jr. Tag League. The 2018 NJPW Super Jr. Tag League is an annual event, which usually gives us our challengers for the junior straps at WrestleKingdom. The tournament has traditionally been a single elimination one, but this year switched to a round robin format, which has led to mixed results. It’s really suffered from the same thing that hurts the BOSJ & WTL tournaments, and that is while the Korakuen Hall shows are hot and full of life, the secondary towns presented via VOD are fine but intimately lifeless. Today, I want to look at the top matches from the tournament. Thanks for reading, and remember, it’s wrestling, we love it and will disagree. The only rules are “have a take, be respectful, and don’t be a dick.”

Average Star Rating Per Team

* BUSHI & Shingo: 3.53
* Roppongi 3K: 3.5
* Chris Sabin & KUSHIDA: 3.18
* Jushin Liger & Tiger Mask: 3.14
* ACH & Taguchi: 3.07
* Desperado & Kanemaru: 3.03
* Ishimori & Robbie Eagles: 3.0
* Volador Jr. & Soberano Jr. : 2.96

Tournament Notes

* They need to treat all of the tournaments like the G1, no VOD bullshit because it absolutely sucks the life out of things because the secondary VOD towns know what they are and react like a shit city.

* For those complaining that Shingo was “locked into a tag team” right away, please shut up and think before you speak. Debuting Shingo in the tournament was an extremely smart move, allowing him to learn the NJPW house style (which is VERY different from the Dragon Gate house style) and if he’s staying as a junior for a while, it also allowed him a taste of working with the entire division in a short amount of time.

* The Motor City Time Splitters (Sabin & KUSHIDA) were easily the biggest surprise of the tournament for me. Obviously, they are both skilled performers, have a history as tag workers, and share a history with Alex Shelley, but they were really damn good and just a ton of fun. Whenever it is that KUSHIDA loses the junior strap, I’d live for these two to get an extended run together here in NJPW or even in ROH.

* I’d love to see ACH in full time, he’s a great partner for Taguchi and would be a welcomed name in the singles mix.

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9. From NJPW Road to Power Struggle 10.17.18: BUSHI & Shingo Takagi vs. KUSHIDA & Chris Sabin [***½]: This was a very good match, with Shingo continuing to look like a star and BUSHI & Shingo moving to 2-0. Poor Chris Sabin nearly died at the hands of Shingo multiple times, because no one is ready for Shingo and I love it. KUSHIDA & Chris Sabin are great and did everything they could to make sure they had a good match and got Shingo over.

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8. From Day Seven 10.26.18: Chris Sabin & KUSHIDA vs. Tiger Mask & Jushin Liger [***½]: This was a very good and fun match, bringing the energy that the recent VOD matches had been lacking. KUSHIDA & Chris Sabin have been such a joy to watch in the tournament, a real surprise in how well they jelled so quickly and effortlessly. Tiger Mask & Jushin Liger were really strong working hard and not just playing the hits, which they could easily do at this stage of their career.

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7. From 11.01.18: Chris Sabin & KUSHIDA vs. Roppongi 3K [***½]: This was very good stuff, as 3K picks up the win they needed, while Chris Sabin & KUSHIDA delivered once again. They kept a great pace and worked for some really fun double teams, and everything came off as effortless. This was a lot of fun, and while not a great match, I found it to be a ton of fun and a good way to close out the block format even if I’m not a huge fan of the resulting triple threat. It will likely be good though.

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6. From Day Eight 10.27.18: Ishimori & Robbie Eagles vs. Chris Sabin & KUSHIDA [***½]: This was very good, with KUSHIDA & Sabin continuing to rule as a team, and everyone working well together with a simple and clear plan. Bullet Club tried to work the knee, while KUSHIDA & Sabin tried to keep the pacing brisk while also working an arm to set up KUSHIDA’s hoverboard lock. Ishimori picking up a huge win over the junior champion, which could give him a title shot sooner rather than later, is a huge deal and possible indication as to where they go with the title heading into WrestleKingdom.


5. From Day Eight 10.27.18: Desperado & Kanemaru vs. BUSHI & Shingo [***¾]: This was a very good match, with everyone playing their roles extremely well and an invested crowd thanks to the mix of personalities, and crowd brawling. Desperado & Kanemaru really had to win here since they had already dropped two in the block, and the finishing stretch came down to the teams trying to out shenanigan each other. Despy is just a bigger asshole than the LIJ lads, resorting to ripping off BUSHI’s mask to steal his win. Not great, but very good and well done overall.

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4. From Day Seven 10.26.18: BUSHI & Shingo vs. Ishimori & Robbie Eagles [***¾] : This was a very good match, with a lot of fun double teams and some great near falls. There was great drama down the stretch and they did a really good job of making you think either team could win. BUSHI & Shingo have really jelled as a team and it has been a good introduction for Shingo into the mix.

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3. From Day Seven 10.26.18: Sho & Yoh vs. ACH & Taguchi [****]: While Taguchi’s stuff may not be for everyone when it comes time to step up and snap into a more serious mode, he does a really good job. This was a great main event, with a hot crowd and a well-done transition from the guys being playful and then flipping the switch to a more serious tone. ACH continues to kill it here, delivering really great performances. 3K seemingly took ACH & Taguchi too lightly here, and it cost them as the underdogs overcame and after a hot closing stretch picked up the upset win to make 3K’s journey to the finals more difficult.

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2. Finals From Power Struggle 2018: Desperado & Kanemaru vs. BUSHI & Shingo vs. Roppongi 3K [****]: While I wasn’t a fan of the booking of the tree-way, I am glad to say that they delivered an absolutely great match. Roppongi 3K becomes the first back-to-back NJPW Super Jr. Tag League winners and their path to redemption is almost complete. This was a great match with extremely good pacing, a great layout, and a very well done homestretch with a molten crowd and the right winners. This was the right way to close out the tournament.

1. From NJPW Road to Power Struggle 10.16.18: BUSHI & Shingo Takagi vs. Sho & Yoh [****¼]: This was an absolutely great main event, setting the bar early for the tournament, and seeing Shingo look not only like a beast but an absolute star. It started slowly, but smartly escalated throughout and they had the crowd the entire time. BUSHI & Shingo looked like they had been working together for years, 3K were tremendous and valiantly fighting babyfaces, but just couldn’t overcome the raw power and speed of Shingo here. 3K may have lost, but they looked amazing and it was far from an easy win for LIJ. This match gets the new LIJ off and running.

– End Scene.

– Thanks for reading.

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“Byyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyye Felicia!”