wrestling / TV Reports

Pantoja’s NJPW World Tag League 2022 Night 1 Review

November 23, 2022 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW World Tag League 2022 Night 1 Image Credit: NJPW
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Pantoja’s NJPW World Tag League 2022 Night 1 Review  

NJPW World Tag League Night 1

November 22nd , 2022 | Korakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan | Attendance: 700

I can’t believe I’m reviewing the World Tag League. Someone save me.

Alex Coughlin and Gabriel Kidd [0] vs. TMDK [0]

I will admit, this was one of the matches that caught my eye. I like Kidd, haven’t seem much of Coughlin, and enjoyed TMDK in small doses in the past. They lived up to what I wanted, giving me an enjoyable opener that featured a lot of hard hitting moments. I heard some chops in here that would make Minoru Suzuki jealous. TMDK had the obvious experience edge and though Coughlin and Kidd are from the LA Dojo and likely had no chance, they made me believe in them. I thought they could pull this out a few ties, which is difficult to pull off. As this neared the 10 minute mark, I realized that Coughlin and Kidd weren’t getting treated like other Young Lions. They could do well in this tourney. Things picked up in the final few minutes with bigger offense like a twisting dive to the outside and an impressive powerbomb inside. Kidd came close with a brainbuster before TMDK beat him with Thunder Valley in 16:07. That was a hell of a way to start and exceeded my expectations. [***½]

Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens [0] vs. Lance Archer and Minoru Suzuki [0]

The Suzuki-Gun duo won this tournament in 2011, while Fale and Owens were Tag Champions recently. Archer got a huge pop in his return in front of a cheering crowd. That was cool to see. We started with the expected Archer and Fale trying to overpower each other and neither man really budging or gaining an advantage. A lot of this was built around Owens taking a beating since he’s the one guy who isn’t booked as a dominant threat or monster. Sadly, it doesn’t make for the most interesting of matches. Suzuki had to use submission stuff to put Fale on the defensive which I appreciated. Owens nearly got Archer up for the Package Piledriver but couldn’t and he eventually fell to the Blackout in 10:18. It was about as good as I could expect from them. [**¼]

EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi [0] vs. Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI [0]

Please, no. I regret reviewing this show. House of Torture are legitimately awful, while Goto and HASHI aren’t a team that gets me interested. This was more of the same from these teams with the heels attacking before the bell and using every trick in the book to stay ahead. That included interference from Dick Togo and SHO. Their antics led to YOH hitting the ring for a save, followed closely by Lio Rush. They brought the only energy to this match. Once they helped take care of the goons, Goto and HASHI won with Shoutou in 9:12. A rare case of interference being the high point of a match. [**]

Aussie Open [0] vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toru Yano [0]

If you aren’t setting up FTR/Aussie Open II for the Tokyo Dome (recently watched their first match and it ruled ****½), then what are we even doing? On the flip side, I LOVE the pairing of Yano and Tanahashi. This was pretty standard for who was involved. Yano did some but not all of his usual antics, Tanahashi was pretty solid at selling and bumping for their opponents, and it was mostly about showcasing Aussie Open. This was their Japan debut (other than yesterday’s undercard) so it was important to let everyone know who they were getting. Yano mostly took the heat so set up the Tanahashi hot tag with dragon screws and such. Commentary noted that Tanahashi is the winningest G1 competitors ever but has a horrible WTL record. Teaming with Captain New Japan will do that. Yano came back in and he got a near fall after sending Davis into the exposed buckle. Tanahashi made the mistake of leaving him to finish the job as he missed a dive and then Yano eventually fell to Corolis at the 12:37 mark. A good match that did the job of showing why Aussie Open rules. [***]

Aaron Henare and The Great-O-Khan [0] vs. SANADA and Tetsuya Naito [0]

As much as I enjoy Jeff Cobb, I actually think this pairing for the United Empire works better together. Right off the bat though, I was kind of disappointed by how slow this unraveled. It let me know that they were going long and while that work for a lot of teams, I think Henare and GOK would be best in short, hard hitting sprints. As expected, the heat segment by the United Empire team felt like it lasted an eternity. If this was FTR or Aussie Open against the LIJ duo, it would’ve worked better at 22 minutes. I did like that GOK has become pretty popular and you felt like the crowd was kind of split between himself and Naito. I also laughed at Charlton losing his shit as he was wrong about the time limit. Henare accidentally got misted by his partner, leaving him vulnerable to some LIJ offense capped by Destino in 22:45. Too long for what it was but solid nonetheless. [***]

The final score: review Average
The 411
It’s the World Tag League, so a 6 is kind of where it tends to peak. I enjoyed the opener and the last two matches are fine but nobody needs to see them.