NJPW World Tag League Final Results, December 9th:
Yohei Komatsu & Sho Tanaka defeated David Finlay & Juice Robinson. This was a good opener as usual with the young lions involved. Robinson is really starting to come into his own in NJPW. It’s amazing how the NJPW environment always helps guys flourish and he will only get better. Finlay was really laying in the uppercuts here. These matches are always very similar, but something you’re always interested in watching. Komatsu made Finlay submit in a Boston Crab while Tanaka had Robinson in one of his own.
Mascara Dorada defeated Jay White. It was different to see White in a singles match against a more established name, especially someone with such a different style. White showed a mean streak and tried to take the mask off Dorada. He did his best to ground Dorada and cut him off every time he attempted to fly. Dorada eventually took off. He ran down the aisle, jumped the railing and hit a beautiful hurricanrana on White, followed by a big dive out of the ring. There was lots of great back and forth, with White even taking to the air at one point. Dorada won with the Dorada Screwdriver.
After the match BUSHI came to the ring and offered Dorada a Los Ingobernables hat. He then attacked Dorada, taking off his mask and walking away with Dorada’s CMLL welterweight championship belt. This might lead to something at Wrestle Kingdom. Dorada will be heading back to CMLL in the new year too.
Tiger Mask IV & Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Jushin Thunder Liger & KUSHIDA. Tiger & Liger are set to battle over Tiger’s NWA Jr Heavyweight championship in the near future, so this match was based around that. They have said that they wouldn’t team until after their title match and really got into it here, brawling around ringside at one point. Liger & KUSHIDA worked over the arm. Taguchi came in off the tag with all sorts of ass based attack. He and KUSHIDA had a fun strike exchange. Tiger & Liger battled at the end. Liger kicked out of a Tiger Driver. Tiger countered a Liger Bomb into a Crucifix style pin for the win, with the story here seemingly that Liger can’t beat Tiger ahead of their title match. Their match may happen at Wrestle Kingdom, but we’ll have to wait and see.
Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Tama Tonga & Yujiro Takahashi w/Mao defeated Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan. This was was what you’d expect as the NJPW veteran army took on Bullet Club. The veterans were jumped before the bell. Everyone got their minute or two to shine, but this was mostly about giving Anderson & Gallows a win after tasting a few defeats in the World Tag League. Tama Tonga looked good again. He really needs a push in 2016. Anderson seemed to tweak his knee or ankle when he was suplexed by Nakanishi. He favoured it for a while, but seemed to be better at the end of the match. Anderson hit Nakanishi with the Gun Stun, allowing he and Gallows to hit Nakanishi with the Magic Killer to seal the win for Bullet Club.
Michael Bennett & Matt Taven w/Maria Kanellis (The Kingdom) defeated Frankie Kazarian & Christopher Daniels (The Addiction). This was a hell of a match. The Kingdom were in the babyface role here and it was something completely different. The Addiction worked over Taven with all sorts of great combos, looking great in the process. Bennett got the hot tag, which is something you rarely ever see. Taven capped off this tour with yet another really strong showing. The last few minutes of this had all sorts of fantastic back and forth including one spot where everyone was taken out with a big move, the sort of spot typically seen in ROH, but the crowd loved it. Daniels had the BME blocked. Taven took him out with a huge dive and The Kingdom hit Hail Mary on Kazarian for the win. Both teams made the most of this opportunity. Anyone that needlessly hates on The Kingdom is running out of reasons to criticise the team. They’re awesome heels, they can go in the ring and proved that they can play the babyface role really well too.
Shinsuke Nakamura & Toru Yano defeated Cody Hall & Bad Luck Fale. Yano was selling his ribs here after the attack on him from a few days ago. Hall jumped Nakamura, while Nakamura was doing his entrance pose. Hall then went on to mock Nakamura by resting his head on his chest, just like he does. Hall looked fantastic here. Fale & Nakamura briefly revived their rivalry, but the majority of this was Hall vs Nakamura. Hall cut off a Boma Ye with a powerslam and as Nakamura attempted a diving Boma Ye, Hall caught him and delivered a gutbuster. Yano taped Fale to the railing as this was going on. He then ran in and low blowed Hall, allowing Nakamura to hit the Boma Ye and score the win. This was probably the best showing of Hall’s career so far. Nakamura made him look great.
After the match Yujiro Takahashi & Tama Tonga again jumped Yano and attacked him with a chair, until Nakamura eventually ran them off.
Katsuyori Shibata, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Michael Elgin & Hirooki Goto defeated Tomohiro Ishii, Kazushi Sakuraba, Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI. This was absolutely f**king awesome. There’s no other way to describe it. This to me was NJPW at it’s absolute best and a taster of everything that makes the company great. Ishii & Shibata absolutely tore into one another and brawled all over ringside. Elgin tore it up when he got tagged in, tossing YOSHI around like he was a small child and picking up both him and Okada. Elgin is easily the most over foreigner in NJPW. The reactions he gets rival anyone in the company. Okada & Tanahashi had one amazing exchange. As the camera zoomed out for Okada’s Rainmaker pose, Tanahashi popped up and got in the face of Okada. They both attempted a Rainmaker until Tanahashi slapped Okada in the face. The little things like this in NJPW are so great. Elgin threw Tanahashi out of the ring onto everyone. Goto & Shibata tried to double team Ishii, just like they did on WTL opening day, but he survived. It came down to Ishii vs Shibata, who headbutted each other right in the forehead. Ishii blocked a PK. Shibata then put Ishii down with a sleeper and hit the PK to pin the NEVER champion for a second time. It looks like we’ll be seeing this match at Wrestle Kingdom and I really hope we are.
World Tag League Final: Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe defeated EVIL & Tetsuya Naito w/EVIL. This match was absolutely spectacular and so well booked. Honma was made to look like the most incredible underdog. Very quickly Naito put him through a table with a neckbreaker and from there he was beaten down and had the sympathy piled onto him by Los Ingobernables. Makabe got the hot tag. Honma again ended up as the legal man. Makabe was taken out of the equation after he was hit with BUSHI’s mist. This left Honma in a two on one situation. He kicked out of a Naito top rope rana, hung onto the end in a Koji Clutch. EVIL was tagged in. Honma survived a huge lariat, and more Los Ingobernables double team as the crowd completely rallied behind Honma. Makabe got back in to make the save as he and Honma hit a Doomsday Kokeshi. EVIL kicked out of a Kokeshi to the chest in an amazing near fall. Makabe turned the tables and misted BUSHI. Makabe hit EVIL with the King Kong Kneedrop and Honma followed up with a diving Kokeshi to give Global Bash Heel a dramatic and spectacular win. Go out of your way to see this. It was right up there with Honma beating Ishii in the G1.
Regardless of what has gone on with Honma recently, NJPW continue to believe in him. The crowd haven’t soured on him and he was clearly overcome with emotion after the match.
Honma and Makabe will now challenge Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows for the IWGP Tag titles at Wrestle Kingdom. Hearing 40,000 rally behind Honma for that should be something special.