The past month has been spent on New Japan Pro Wrestling’s annual World Tag League tournament. For those who may not know, it is one of the five tournaments New Japan runs every year. The other four being the New Japan Cup, Best of the Super Juniors, Super Junior Tag, and of course the G1 Climax.
This year’s Tag League is a little different from most year’s. While it is still a Round Robin tournament (as opposed to Single Elimination), there is only one block. This means every team faces every other team. 14 teams means 13 matches per team.
The rest of the rules are the same: Two points awarded for a victory, one point each for a time limit draw, and zero points for a loss. A double countout or double disqualification count as losses for both team. On the final day, the teams with the most points face each other again. The winners of that match win the tournament, and go on to face the IWGP Tag Team Champions at WrestleKingdom.
Here are the final standings:
1) IWGP Tag Team Champions The Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) 20 (10-3) 2) Los Ingobernables De Japon (EVIL & SANADA) 20 (10-3) 3) The Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith Jr. & Lance Archer) 18 (9-3) 4) CHAOS (Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii) 18 (9-4) 5) Finjuice (Juice Robinson & David Finlay) 18 (9-4) 5) Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb 16 (8-5) 6) Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi) 16 (8-5) 7) The Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T) 14 (7-6) 8) Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka) 10 (5-8) 9) Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi 10 (5-8) 10) Tencozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) 10 (5-8) 11) Togi Makabe & Toa Henare 8 (4-9) 12 Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi 6 (3-10) 13) The Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino 0 (0-12) So the finals tonight are a rematch between IWGP Tag Team Champions The Guerrillas Of Destiney and EVIL & SANDA. When they met previously in this tournament, GOD were victorious All that said, here is the event.
Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, & Satoshi Kojima b. Togi Makabe, Toa Henare, Ayato Yoshida, & Shota Umino when Kojima pinned Yoshida. The Young Lion team did not win a match during the tournament, but that is a common occurrence in New Japan, as young new talent are expected to take their lumps before getting victories.
Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Takeshi Iizuka, Davey Boy Smith Jr., & Lance Archer) b. Michael Elgin, Jeff Cobb & The Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T) via DQ when Chuckie T used a chair on Iizuka. The story with the BFs is Chuckie has repeatedly used a chair right in front of the referee. Beretta has been upset at this, while Chuckie sees it as normal. A break of some sort is in store for this team at some point.
CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii, Sho, & Yoh) b. Suzuki-Gun (Zack Sabre Jr., Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & El Desperado) when Ishii pinned Kanemaru with a Brainbuster. The Roppongi 3K team of Sho and Yoh have an OWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Title shot at Kanemaru &Desperado at WrestleKingdom. The heel team has held the titles a lot longer than anybody expected.
Los Ingobernables (Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, & Shingo Takagi) b. Hangman Page, Chase Owens, & Yujiro Takahashi when Naito pinned Owens with a Destino
The Bullet Club (Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, Taiji Ishimori) Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano, & IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion KUSHIDA when Fale pinned Yano with the Hand Grenade. The continued story of Bullet Club being nearly unbeatable since Jay White assumed the role of leader after previous leader Kenny Omega was booted out of the group. Okada has been feuding with White ever since White pinned him in the G1. Ishimori recently joined Bullet Club vacating the spot left by Yujiro Takahashi.
What may be an even bigger story is that Okada has been unable to beat White, and was constantly falling victim to beatdowns by the heel stable. Hiroshi Tanahashi had finally seen enough, and saved Okada. The two rivals have been a Dream Team of sorts ever since.
The Golden Elite (IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kenny Omega, Marty Scurll, Matt Jackson & Nick Jackson Taguchi Japan (Ryusuke Taguchi, Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinso, & David Finlay) when Matt Jackson pinned Taguchi with an Indytaker. Tanahashi is challenging Omega for his record eighth IWGP Heayweight Championship at WrestleKingdom.
Will Ospreay p. Taichi with a Stormbreaker. Ospreay was set to challenge Taichi for the NEVER Openweight Championship, but suffered a neck injury a few months back. Hirooki Goto then defeated Taichi for his third NEVER Title reign. With this win, Ospreay can now challenge for the title at WrestleKingdom. Though as of this match, both ment are in the CHAOS Faction.
Kota Ibushi p. NEVER Openweight Champion Hirooki Goto with a Kamigoye Knee Thrust to win the championship. Very good match, as one would expect. This is Ibushi’s first New Japan title in several years. It also means both Golden Lovers (Omega & Ibushi) are now singles champions.
After the match, Will Ospreay came to the ring to formally make his challenge for the title. Ibushi accepted the challenge with a handshake.
Los Ingobernables De Japon (EVIL & SANADA) b. The Guerrillas Of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) when SANADA pinned Tonga with a Moonsault. It is a little unusual to see two heel teams in a main event, but the GODs were clearly the more dastardly of the two. This also means EVIL & SANADA have back to back World Tag League victories.