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Kevin’s World Tag League X Best of the Super Juniors 27 Night One Review

November 15, 2020 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
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Kevin’s World Tag League X Best of the Super Juniors 27 Night One Review  

NJPW World Tag League X Best of the Super Juniors Night One
November 15th, 2020 | Aichi Prefectural Gymnasium in Nagoya, Aichi

Usually, I would totally ignore the World Tag League but since we got less NJPW than usual this year and it is happening concurrently with the Best of the Super Juniors tournament, I decided to cover it as well in 2020. Each tournament has condensed blocks this year.

Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens [0] vs. Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano [0]
It feels like forever since I’ve seen Bad Luck Fale. Not that I’ve missed him, though I did chuckle at him chasing the ring announcer. Ishii is a third of the NEVR Openweight Tag Champions, while Yano remains the KOPW. One thing about this card being ten matches in this era of NJPW is that some matches will be short. This was one of them and that was for the best. Fale and Yano are best in short bursts and that allowed this to have little to no filler. Fale played the dominant role but miscommunication led him to squash Owens in the corner. Yano landed on top of Fale in the end and when Owens went to break it up, Yano moved, causing him to splash Fale. Then Yano got back on top to get the three in 5:35. Acceptable little opener that was kept short. [**]

Master Wato [0] vs. Yuya Uemura [0]
Do not expect Uemura to get any wins in this tournament. Young Lions don’t win and he’s a late replacement for Yoshinobu Kanemaru. Wato is still new but does have a top-tier match on the final night so expect him to do well. There wasn’t much to this. Uemura came out firing and even got on the Boston Crab in the opening minute. Wato showed he was above Young Lion status by weathering that storm. Other than a release German Suplex, Uemura didn’t get that much else in. Wato put him down with the Tenzan Tombstone Driver in 4:14 to honor his mentor. Fine stuff. [**¼]

The Great-O-Khan and Jeff Cobb [0] vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toa Henare [0]
The big news here was that O-Khan’s partner would be the new member of The Empire, joining him and the gross Will Ospreay/Bea Priestley duo. That turned out to be Jeff Cobb, which is a good move since he desperately needed something to help him stand out from just being generic hoss #7. Speaking of not standing out, there’s Toa Henare. Despite a spirited burst by the babyface duo, Tanahashi was taken out by the Eliminator and then Henare fell to Tour of the Islands in a mere 2:28. Big squash for the new heel duo. [NR]

DOUKI [0] vs. Robbie Eagles [0]
It remains hilarious to me his name is literally “dookie.” Meanwhile, Robbie Eagles is a hidden gem of this division. This was the first match to be given true time to develop something. Eagles took to the mat to wear down DOUKI and set up for a submission. Of course, being a member of Suzuki-Gun meant DOUKI was quick to come up with a way to cheat, using his pipe gimmick for an assisted neckbreaker on the outside. That became the story of the match as Eagles used babyface wrestling to combat DOUKI’s nefarious ways. You have to wonder how Eagles as a character feels about Willy going heel considering he brought him over from the Bullet Club. Eagles got going in a closing stretch that included a 450 splash onto the leg (a nice tough I’ve always enjoyed) and the Ron Miller Special. DOUKI tapped after 10:35. A good match for our first proper one of the evening. Eagles probably won’t go far but he’ll be as consistent as they come in the tournament. [***]

IWGP Tag Team Champions The Dangerous Tekkers [0] vs. Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI [0]
Surprised to see this on the middle of the card considering it’s the IWGP Tag Champs against two-thirds of the NEVER Openweight Six-Man Tag Team Champions. It’s also a rematch from a recent show in Korakuen Hall, which went an absurd 34:50 (***¼). This was a rare case where I actually preferred the really long version. There was something about this one that lacked. Maybe it was that I had already seen so much of these guys together in a recent setting. It just seemed to not be as focused as the previous one and didn’t gel as well. The finish saw Goto lock up Taichi in the corner, accidentally not seeing when Sabre Jr. trapped HASHI in a pinning combination to win in 10:29. It was fine but nothing more. [**¾]

BUSHI [0] vs. SHO [0]
A match I have high hopes for. BUSHI is as solid as they come but always starts these things 0-3 or something like that. Meanwhile, SHO is the best wrestler in the tournament not named Hiromu or Taiji. Unfortunately, BUSHI kept his shirt on, which usually means a lesser effort and more underhanded tactics. It was a bit odd to see him go that route since LIJ has mostly been portrayed as faces in recent months. Still, it made sense to give SHO something to rally behind from and he’s very good in that role. Despite BUSHI’s best efforts, SHO seemed to be a step ahead of him at every turn. That seemed to be the idea of the match, establishing SHO as a true threat in this tournament. He scored the win with Shock Arrow in 10:20. Quality pro wrestling here but a bit disappointing. [***]

EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi [0] vs. SANADA and Shingo Takagi [0]
An actual story here as LIJ still has issues with EVIL for turning on them. Also, EVIL and SANADA are now on opposite sides after winning two of these tournaments in the past. There was a fair bit of brawling to start, hammering home the issues between the teams. Poor Yujiro was way out of his element, totally outmatched by the other three guys. An interesting thing to note is that we didn’t get much EVIL vs. SANADA here. Either they don’t have much beef after what EVIL did or the company is saving that for Wrestle Kingdom or something along those lines. That would’ve made for a fine IC Title match had they not been hellbent on this double title gimmick. Still, even when EVIL did battle SANADA, it wasn’t heated and Shingo had to take out the former top champion with a lariat. Even though SANADA was in the G1 Finals, he added to his geek status by eating the pin after taking a low blow from EVIL in 12:20. A decent match that felt like what I’m used to from the World Tag League. [**½]

IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion El Desperado [0] vs. Ryusuke Taguchi [0]
These guys met in the BOSJ in 2017 and 2018 (both ***¼). They’re safe bets for good wrestling. Surprisingly, Desperado put the focus on Taguchi’s leg, wrapping it around the ring post. I like it but it’s not what I’m used to from a guy who doesn’t have a submission finisher or anything like that. Taguchi did a good job selling it early, backing away from Desperado and trying to take breathers outside. That set the stage for Taguchi’s knee giving out at key points like when he attempted Dodon. The veteran would still not go down, forcing Desperado to resort to things like trying a low blow behind the referee’s back. Taguchi continued to weather the storm until scoring a flash pin for two points in 12:35. That was the best match on the show so far thanks to quality selling and some good back and forth. [***¼]

David Finlay and Juice Robinson [0] vs. The Guerrillas of Destiny [0]
Whatever issues I had with the World Tag League, my main reason to not watch was that I’d see too much of the Guerrillas of Destiny, who I have not missed in the slightest. It’s also a Wrestle Kingdom 14 rematch (***). That felt like it could be a new era for the titles, only for Guerrillas to win them back a few weeks later to return to the status quo. TAMA TONGA SHAVED AND CUT HIS HAIR! WHY? David Finlay should do the Blues Brothers look with Juice. Finlay added some interesting tattoos. Anyway, the match itself was solid here. These guys have worked each other and it made for relatively seamless chemistry. Technically, it was fine but the Guerrillas are just so dull on offense that I couldn’t get into it the way I would with a more interesting team against Finlay and Juice. They avoided Prima Nocta and beat Tama with a Doomsday Device in 16:42. Good stuff at points but that’s about it. Par for the course for the division. [***]

Hiromu Takahashi [0] vs. IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Champion Taiji Ishimori [0]
A rematch from the finals in 2018 (****¾) and Summer Struggle in Jingu (****¼), where Ishimori evened the score and won the title. As expected from these two, it started with a band as Ishimori immediately charged and went for Bloody Cross early. You got the sense that he was dying to end this early, probably knowing that matches with Hiromu feature a high risk. Speaking of high risk, the insane wrestler that Hiromu is, he took a piledriver on the apron despite having a severely broken neck a while back. That’s nuts. They kept up their usual francit pace from start to finish, delivering a match in the same vein of what I’ve come to expect from them. It’s what makes these two work so well together. Ishimori is one of the few guys who can keep up with Hiromu. The former champion survived a ton down the stretch before pulling out the victory with Time Bomb at the 20:06 mark. Their worst match together but still a great one. Lots of back and forth action at a wild pace. [****]

The final score: review Good
The 411
A quality night of wrestling. Things didn’t go too long and even though it only featured one match I’d recommend, the whole show was an easy watch with some solid wrestling throughout.