wrestling / TV Reports

Pantoja’s NJPW Super Jr. Tag League Night 1 Review

November 22, 2022 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW Super Junior Tag League Image Credit: NJPW
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Pantoja’s NJPW Super Jr. Tag League Night 1 Review  

NJPW Super Jr. Tag League Night 1

November 21st, 2022 | Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 700

I totally forgot this was starting so I’m a night behind. I’ll do my best to cover these tournaments (though I’ll most likely be able to stick to the Jr. league more than the heavyweight one). I will also likely fall behind again for Thanksgiving weekend.

Alex Zayne and El Lindaman [0] vs. Kevin Knight and KUSHIDA [0]

Zayne and Lindaman were standouts during the BOSJ and KUSHIDA is obviously well known but I know nothing of Knight. Getting to see KUSHIDA against Zayne was pretty much worth checking this show out as that’s a singles match I want. The stuff involving Lindaman was also good because he’s such a hard hitting, fast dude that it all feels high energy. I liked the little character touches he added too by doing things like biting Knight’s arm while working it over. As for Knight, he was pretty impressive for what he did. The hot tag was set up for KUSHIDA who was back for the first time since September. The closing stretch here was a lot of fun with stereo submission, a gorgeous Knight dropkick, and a sweet Lindaman German suplex. Knight ate the fall when Zayne hit the Phoenix Splash in 9:53. A really fun sprint to the start the tournament. [***¼]

Clark Connors and Ryusuke Taguchi [0] vs. DOUKI and Yoshinobu Kanemaru [0]

I’ve come to realize that I mostly enjoy Taguchi when he’s in random tag teams. It happened with Ricochet, it happened with Master Wato, and it started here with Clark Connors. Seeing them in matching entrance gear was pretty cool. For the most part, this was standard tag team fare with the faces being entertaining and the heels being serious jerks. We got the DOUKI CHOUKI spot but that felt like the high point. Kanemaru really only puts in the big effort once in a while and this wasn’t one of those cases. When he was in there, this didn’t really work and even when DOUKI was in there, it wasn’t great. Connors beat DOUKI with a spear and chokeslam in 8:21. It was fine enough and nothing more. [**¼]

Dick Togo and SHO [0] vs. Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask IV [0]

It’s wild to think that Eagles and Tiger Mask IV were champs recently. Anyway, I’ve said it before I really don’t have the energy for House of Torture. Everything they do is legitimately bad and I hate watching it. It’s repetitive and garbage. This was more of that which is a shame because Eagles/SHO could be incredible if done right instead of wasting SHO like Gedo is doing. Togo was on the verge of losing as he tapped out but shenanigans led to the referee missing the spot. Thankfully, Eagles withstood that and got going, leading to the win with the Ron Miller Special in 9:58. Too much House of Torture antics for my taste. [**]

Ace Austin and Chris Bey [0] vs. BUSHI and Titán [0]

Okay, so the next two matches are easily the most interesting. BUSHI is usually a safe bet for a solid match, Titán is good, and together they are interesting. Meanwhile, as much as I don’t care about the Bullet Club, Austin and Bey are both really good, with Austin being the arguable MVP of this year’s BOSJ. The BC boys jumped LIJ before the bell because it can’t be a New Japan tag tournament without that happening a bunch. Once this settled into being a normal match, the BC team isolated Titán and worked him over. They did all of the goofy stuff you’d expect like over the top antics and being arrogant. I was surprised that BUSHI wasn’t the face in peril because you’d want to showcase. BUSHI’s hot tag was fine and, as expected, Titán did get the biggest spots like a nice dive to the outside. Bey topped that with his own dive before he and Austin put down BUSHI with an assisted springboard cutter at the 13:27 mark. That started out slow and the heat segment wasn’t great but I really liked it after the BUSHI hot tag. [***½]

Francesco Akira and TJP [0] vs. Lio Rush and YOH [0]

The United Empire duo have been very good together, while I’m pretty excited for the YOH and Lio pairing. Early on, the idea was that TJP’s signature mat work wasn’t as challenging as it typically would be for YOH. The former tag champ had him scouted well. The real treat though was Akira against Rush. Their first back and forth was really well done and gave the crowd a reason to pop for Rush. This wasn’t a match for everyone because it was filled with fast-paced junior heavyweight action and that’s actually great. That’s what I want sometimes. Down the stretch, this was pure madness and adrenaline. The Empire’s pop-up X-Factor combo looks sick. YOH took that, knee strikes, and a frog splash but Lio saved him for a fantastic believable near fall. Rush and YOH got their own great close call right after and the outcome wasn’t obvious here so the drama worked. Then, from out of nowhere, TJP used a rollup on YOH to take this in 19:06. Okay, well that ruled. The UE squad continues to impress while I am dying for more from Lio and YOH. [****]

The final score: review Good
The 411
I enjoyed that. Not every match was good but it mostly flew by and the last two matches really delivered. I can’t ask for much more from this tournament.