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Pantoja’s NJPW World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League Review 11.27.22

November 30, 2022 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW Super Jr Tag League Image Credit: NJPW
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Pantoja’s NJPW World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League Review 11.27.22  

NJPW World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League Night 6

November 27th, 2022 | Aichi Prefectural Gym in Nagoya, Aichi | Attendance: 1,911

After taking a couple of days off for a review of the X-Over show and a few other things, I’m back at it. This is a bigger show than usual given that both the heavyweights and juniors are it. Also, this event has a cheering crowd which is always a plus.

BUSHI and Titán [4] vs. Kevin Knight and KUSHIDA [2]

Kind of weird to see the LIJ duo opening after just beating the champs. Knight was pretty arrogant to start, mocking Titán for being smaller than him but he paid dearly for it. I appreciated getting to relive the KUSHIDA/BUSHI rivalry which is an underrated gem from 2016. We also got KUSHIDA battling against Titán which isn’t a match I think I’ve seen before. I’d be down for that. This featured good back and forth action with Knight continuing to look like he belongs in the division, which is a trend for most Young Lions. BUSHI took out KUSHIDA with a dive and you just knew that with Knight alone in the ring, it was a wrap. The LIJ team fired off offense, capped by the MX/Double Stomp combo to win in 7:57. An ideal opener that was high energy, entertaining, and didn’t do too much. [***]

Aaron Henare and The Great-O-Khan [2] vs. Alex Coughlin and Gabriel Kidd [0]

There’s a good chance that Coughlin and Kidd go winless in the tournament, yet they’ll likely be in my top three most impressive teams. I get Gideon Grey’s gimmick but for some reason it just reminds me that I miss when Zack Gibson would cut pre-match promos to MASSIVE heat. Unlike the Coughlin/Kidd match against LIJ, this wasn’t really a place for them to showcase themselves. This was more of a one-sided extended squash. Kidd and Gabriel got in their fair share of offense but they never really came close to winning and nobody believed they had a chance. Henare won after a fisherman buster on Kidd in 9:46. I’m surprised that went as long as it did. [**½]

Alex Zayne and El Lindaman [4] vs. Dick Togo and SHO [0]

I’ll say it nearly every time I see SHO but what Gedo has done to this man’s career is criminal. He is now someone I groan at seeing, which is a damn shame. The House of Torture team attacked during entrances because that’s what they do. I just learned that Zayne and Lindaman are apparently known as SAUCEHEARTS and I like that. Lindaman was the focal point here because Zayne took a Tombstone on the stage and never technically entered the match. Lindaman did a good job of selling as the guy in a handicap match but the House of Torture offense just wasn’t interesting. Lindaman puled this out with a bridging pin in 6:15. [**]

Aussie Open [4] vs. Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer [4]

Given their point totals and who is involved, this should actually be the main event. Or at least closer to it. Being able to hear the wrestlers is a welcome thing in tag matches. For example, after Fletcher chopped Suzuki (who didn’t sell) you could hear Archer yell “YOU FUCKED UP NOW, HE’S GONNA TAKE YOUR NIPPLE OFF.” There were some creative moments too like Mark Davis picking up a Young Lion and running him into Suzuki on the outside. The idea was that Aussie Open had never faced someone as tough as Suzuki and they had to find ways around it, as well as deal with Archer’s size. They managed to find a way, taking Archer out of the equation and leveling Suzuki with clotheslines before beating him with Korealis in 13:34. As expected, the best match on the heavyweight side of things. I’d have gone with this as the headliner. [***¾]

Ace Austin and Chris Bey [6] vs. Clark Connors and Ryusuke Taguchi [2]

The Jr. Tag League is looking like it will come down to Catch 22, LIJ, and this Bullet Club team. Yeah, I wasn’t into this. This was one of those matches where Taguchi’s comedy antics took center stage and they weren’t done in a positive way. From the beer cans to the thumb in the butt stuff, it just wasn’t something that worked. Taguchi lost when he got hit with The Fold at the 7:41 mark. Next. [**]

Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens [2] vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toru Yano [0]

Tanahashi comes into this as the GOAT but also as someone who loses way more than he wins in the World Tag League. I didn’t have high hopes for this and thankfully, we got the Yano Special. I love those in the G1 and even more here. The Bullet Club attacked before the bell and we got a bunch of brawling until Yano used a low blow to roll up Fale in 3:35. I need stuff like that on these cards. [*]

DOUKI and Yoshinobu Kanemaru [0] vs. Lio Rush and YOH [4]

Guess what? The Suzuki-Gun guys attacked before the bell because we haven’t seen that enough tonight. They put the focus on Lio’s leg, looking to slow down a team that has impressed with their speed since the tournament started. That heat segment didn’t last too long though and YOH came in hot soon after. He ended p also getting his knee worked over, really slowing things down. Suzuki-Gun made a key mistake when Kanemaru spit the whiskey in DOUKI’s eyes. Lio then hit a Stunner and his frog splash to win in 10:04. I think the story worked here as a slowed pace works for Suzuki-Gun but it takes away what makes Lio and YOH so fun. [**½]

EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi [0] vs. TMDK [2]

We’ve got the House of Torture against one of the better teams in the tournament. TMDK feel lot like they always have. They’re good but something about them doesn’t click and they remain behind better duos. We got yet another attack during entrances, this time with SHO and Togo taking part. I swear Gedo only knows one way to book. That put TMDK on the defensive for the majority of the contest. Mikey made the hot tag down the stretch but it didn’t exactly make things more exciting. TMDK beat Yujiro with what looked like a variation of 3D in 8:47. Yeah, I wasn’t feeling this. [**¼]

Francesco Akira and TJP [4] vs. Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask IV [4]

A chance for the show to get a boost as Catch 22 have been really good so far. Early on, Eagles and TM hit stereo dives which actually saw TM move at a quicker pace than he has recently. We didn’t get much tag formula here as nobody was really the focal point of any heat segment. Instead, this was played evenly for the most part. TM survived the tandem X-Factor move Catch 22 has busted out recently but he couldn’t get up from knee strikes, losing in 9:17. That was fine and nothing more. [**¾]

Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI [2] vs. SANADA and Tetsuya Naito [4]

I wasn’t excited for this because these aren’t combinations I like. I haven’t bene into Goto/Naito or HASHI/SANADA since like 2016. Anyway, they mostly had a very good match here. There was some brawling outside before HASHI became the face in peril for a while, including getting trapped in the Paradise Lock. Goto did his thing after getting the hot tag but he’s mild at almost everything so it was subdued here. At least to me but the crowd was into it so maybe I know nothing like Jon Snow. Goto was on a roll until he got put in Skull End. Of course, SANADA let it go to do his stupid moonsault, which he missed. Goto took advantage by pouncing with offense, capped by Shoto for the win in 21:36. It went a bit long as that heat segment should’ve ended about five minutes earlier but was still a quality main event. [***¼]

The final score: review Average
The 411
I wanted to like that more. The longer shows work for the BOSJ but here, it was a reminder that the heavyweights aren’t as interesting and even the juniors had lesser matches than I was hoping for. Watch Aussie Open/Suzuk-Gun though.