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Pantoja’s NJPW World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League Review 12.4.22

December 5, 2022 | Posted by Kevin Pantoja
NJPW Super Jr. Tag League Night 7 Image Credit: NJPW
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Pantoja’s NJPW World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League Review 12.4.22  

NJPW World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League Night 11

December 4th, 2022 | Yamaguchi KDDI Ishin Hall in Ogorireiwa, Yamaguchi

After another mediocre at best showing from the heavyweights, the juniors take over.

Ace Austin and Chris Bey [10] vs. Kevin Knight and KUSHIDA [2]

This is one of those matches where the outcome was obvious but you knew it was still going to be good. Knight remains impressive and he had some really good back and forth with Bey despite being lower on the totem pole than him. The fight surprisingly went into the crowd which we haven’t seen much of in New Japan since COVID. KUSHIDA battled Austin up there while Bey continued to fight with Knight. Knight came surprisingly close to pulling this off late as Austin had to make the save following a rana and Doomsday Dropkick. Austin’s one-armed handstand spot is always impressive. Knight got caught with a cutter on the apron by Bey and then he got hit with The Fold inside for the finish. This was a highly entertaining 10:16 of action as the same people keep shining on these shows. [***½]

Clark Connors and Ryusuke Taguchi [4] vs. Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask IV [4]

I haven’t enjoyed Connors and Taguchi together and that’s more on Taguchi. Connors was a good addition to the BOSJ. The beer stuff is lame, including the chant used for it after Robbie did the “ROBBIE ROBBIE ROBBIE, OI OI OI” gimmick. They did a lot of that here with exposed underwear, rollup comedy and stuff like that. Taguchi beat Tiger Mask with a pinning combination where his ass was in his face in 9:17. Get it? His man butt is funny. This has been House of Torture levels of bad in this tournament. [*]

BUSHI and Titán [8] vs. Dick Togo and SHO [2]

We got a slight step up in quality here but that’s not for Togo and SHO’s lack of trying the duo that drags everything down was at it again. I don’t mind the stuff like trying to remove LIJ’s masks or even some of the underhanded cheating but it’s all of the other antics that get on my nerves. Of course EVIL and Yujiro made an appearance and of course they jumped LIJ. Hilariously, it didn’t take LIJ heavyweights to even the score. Titán hit a springboard moonsault to take out a crowd outside and then they used their double stomp combo to reach 10 points in 11:56. [**¼]

Alex Zayne and El Lindaman [10] vs. Lio Rush and YOH [8]

Now we’re talking. One of my more anticipated tournament matches delivered. How is this not the main event? I loved that Lio vs. Zayne was built around speed and though YOH is fast, he was willing to throw hands with Lindaman. He didn’t back down and was giving it almost as good as he was getting it. I never expected YOH to become the Roppongi 3K member with more depth and who I like watching more but here we are. Neither team really gained a clear upper hand or isolated anyone for too long, showing how evenly matched they were. It’s hard to even write about this match because it was just dudes hitting big offense over and over. I loved it for that. They were trying to show who the better team was and it worked. Lindaman threw his usual suplexes, Lio was all over the place, and Zayne busted out sweet offense but I feel the real star here was YOH. Something about him has been clicking lately. He beat Zayne with an O’Connor Roll in 11:57, capping a banger of a sprint. [****]

DOUKI and Yoshinobu Kanemaru [2] vs. Francesco Akira and TJP [10]

This is an interesting choice to main event. Catch 22 needs to win to keep pace with Austin and Bey. As usual, Kanemaru didn’t feel like he brought much for the most part here though his early mat work with TJP was solid. DOUKI carried the team, handling the most interesting parts of the match. It was different to see Catch 22 take the heat since UE are more heels than Suzuki-Gun these days. Akira got worked over before making the tag to TJP for a springboard forearm and tornado DDT. Akira survived the DOUKI CHOUKI as things picked up down the stretch. A ref bump led to the whiskey spit on Akira. TJP was taken out by a DDT and Akira survived a slingshot DDT before falling to Suplex De La Luna in 18:40. A bit long for what they were going for but it was good. The upset was the biggest takeaway though. [***¼]

The final score: review Average
The 411
It should come as no surprise that the juniors outdid the heavyweights. This had a great match, really good opener, good main event, and two lame ducks in the middle.