Show: NJPW World Tag League 2018 Day 1

When: 11/17/18

Where: Chichibunomiya Memorial Gymnasium, Kanagawa, Japan

Before New Japan begins their Road To The Tokyo Dome, they have one last tournament: The World Tag League. Today was the first day of the round robin tournament. Let’s look at the show.

Yoya Uemura & Yota Tsuji vs. Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb

The opening match was two Young Lions versus the big man team of Elgin and Cobb. Elgin and Cobb are working as a team in the tournament, but do not fight in the pool until tomorrow. Tsuji started with Cobb and seemed over confident against him. He got overpowered by Cobb. Tsuji tagged in Uemura and Elgin got tagged in as well. Uemura landed a good dropkick in the corner. Cobb and Elgin did a double team spot where both guys took turns holding Uemura upside down. Cobb hit a Standing Moonsault for a two count. Tsuji and Cobb got hot tags with Tsuji and Uemura doing a Boston Crab with each one taking a leg. After Tsuji landed a Sunset Flip pin on Cobb the fun and games was over for him. The big man duo did a double clothesline, a move for a close count and A Tour of The Islands from Cobb for the win. It was a nice little start to the card with the Young Lions getting a decent amount of offense in.

Ren Narita & Tomoaki Honma vs. Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi

Before the next match Taichi sadly did not have a song to sing on his way to the ring. After Narita had a good opening battle with ZSJ he was sent into the seats by Taichi while ZSJ went after Honma. Honma was put in an armbar by ZSJ but he luckily made it to the ropes. Taichi got tagged in and got hit with a flying headbutt. Taichi Superkicked Narita for the win while ZSJ had Honma on the top rope with a submission. I’m happy to see ZSJ on this tour because he has the potential to deliver some amazing matches. Not all of the teams are dream teams, but some are definitely worth looking out for.

Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer vs. Minoru Suzuki, El Desperado & Takashi Iizuka

In the next match Suzuki-gun were pitted against each other. Kanemaru, Smith Jr. and Archer faced Suzuki, Desperado and Iizuka. Both teams brawled early, with Suzuki and Archer going deep into the crowd. Iizuka and Archer were the first two to formally start the match. When Suzuki got in the ring he landed a Gotch Style Piledriver on Kanemaru for the win. This match felt a little too short. They could have went maybe five more minutes, especially since it’s a six-man not a normal tag team.

World Tag League Matches

Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida (0-0) vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay (0-0)

After three preliminaries we began the World Tag League portion of the card. Robinson was dressed as the Macho Man Randy Savage. Juice came off the top early on and got caught by Umino to get Belly-to-belly Suplexed. He landed a Missile Dropkick off the top with the help of Yoshida. Umino put Finlay in the Boston Crab but was taken out of it by Robinson. Umino was on a roll but got stopped by both Juice and Finlay. Robinson did a Left Hand of God with Finlay hitting a Stunner to win the match.

Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata (0-0) vs. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan (0-0)

The next tournament match was not a match of young prospects. Nakanishi and Nagata fought Kojima and Tenzan. Tenzan was on a roll late in the match and hit a Brainbuster for a two count. Tenzan did a Anaconda Vice on Nakanishi but Nagata came in to break it up. Nagata got tagged in on Tenzan and was landing kicks. Kojima replaced Tenzan and did a million chops in the corner. Kojima landed a Cutter and then a Brainbuster for a close count. Kojima was on a roll but caught himself in an Armbar of Nagata that Tenzan separated. Nakanishi did a Spear to Kojima then Nagata did an knee in the corner and an Exploder Suplex for the win. This was the sort of match that had me bored at the start, but had a real good finishing few minutes.

Best Friends (Chuckie T & Beretta) v (0-0) vs. Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi (0-0)

Before this match began Don Callis showed up to the English commentary table. Chuckie T looked explosive at the start versus Takahashi. Everyone in this match seemed so energetic. I liked a spot where Beretta got thrown into a corner but used the momentum to land a clothesline. Chuckie T tried for a Moonsault but Page dodged it. Takahashi landed a move after a Hotshot Lariat from Page onto Beretta, but Chuckie broke it up. After Chuckie T was thrown into the barricades Beretta became disadvantaged. Beretta was hard to put away. He survived a Powerbomb which lended Chuckie T time to get back into the match. Beretta landed a Piledriver with Chuckie T going off of the top rope as well to give them the win. This win came as a surprise to me because Page and Takahashi seemed like the ones that would be more likely to be put over. Also I assumed the Powerbomb would be the finishing spot.

Toa Henare & Togi Makabe (0-0) vs. Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga w/ Jado (0-0)

The Guerillas of Destiny were accompanied by Jado in this match. Jado threatened the commentary table with a kendo stick before the match. The crowd was hot for Makabe. Loa and Makabe started the fight off. Jado tried playing as a distraction at one point but got punched off the apron by Makabe. When Henare and Makabe were on a roll Henare hit a Shoulder Tackle off the ropes for a two count. After that Henare and Loa had a great combination of reversals that ended with Loa hitting a Blue Thunder Bomb for a two count, which was broken up by Makabe. Loa gave Henare a variation of a Piledriver for the win. Jado interfered with the kendo stick many times when the referee did not see. This was one of the best matches of the night. Makabe seemed to get more ring time that Henare. After the match Don Callis commented on Jado saying “how many gimmicks is this guy carrying?”

Main Event

Shingo Takagi, BUSHI, SANADA, EVIL & Tetsuya Natio vs. RPG3K (Sho & Yoh), Toru Yano, Tomohiro Ishii & Kazuchika Okada

The main event of the evening does not apply to the tag league. It was a classic CHAOS versus Los Ingobernables de Japon matchup. It wasn’t long into the match that everyone brawled in many directions through the crowd. Yano got stuck in a Paradise Lock by Sanada. When Okada got tagged in he did a good combination with Sanada. YOH got the hot tag on BUSHI next. RPG3K tried for the 3K but BUSHI escaped it. Naito got tagged in and went to work on YOH with the help of EVIL and Sanada. He attempted a Destino but Yano came in to stop it which started a flurry of people coming in and out of the ring. Naito hit a Destino on YOH to end the match. It surprised me that YOH was given so much time. This felt a little short for a main event, but was a good way to wrap up the show nonetheless. To close the show Los Ingobernables spoke to the crowd.

Tomorrow:

    1. David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. Yuya Uemura & Yota Tsuji
    2. Ren Narita & Tomoaki Honma vs. Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga
    3. Satoshi Kojima, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Toa Henare & Togi Makabe vs. Shota Umino, Ayato Yoshida, Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata
    4. Chuckie T, Beretta & Hirooki Goto vs. Yujiro Takahashi, Hangman Page & Kota Ibushi
    5. RPG3K (SHO & YOH) & Kazuchika Okada vs. Shingo Takagi, BUSHI & Tetsuya Naito
    6. Takashi Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki (0-0) vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer (0-0) (Tag League Match)
    7. Takashi Iizuka & Minoru Suzuki (0-0) vs. Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer (0-0) (Tag League Match)
    8. Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii (0-0) vs. Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. (0-0) (Tag League Match)
    9. Jeff Cobb & Michael Elgin (0-0) vs. SANADA & EVIL (0-0) (Tag League Match)