Welcome to this morning’s World Tag League coverage, the last show before the finals on 12/9. This card will determine who makes it to the finals.
The show is from the famed Aiichi Gym in Nagoya, a New Japan stronghold for decades.
The A block comes down to this. Kazuchika Okada & Yoshi-Hashi face Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma. Both teams have 3-2 records. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Michael Elgin are in first place with a 4-2 record. If Okada & Yoshi-Hashi win, then Tanahashi & Elgin go to the finals based on having beaten Okada & Yoshi-Hashi earlier. If Makabe & Honma win, which is expected, they go to the finals since they beat Tanahashi & Elgin a few days ago.
The B block has Katsuyori Shibata & Hirooki Goto and Tetsuya Naito & Evil both with 4-1 records. As coincidence would have it, they face off tonight and the winner goes to the finals.
The overall tournament winner is expected to face Karl Anderson & Doc Gallows at Wrestle Kingdom 10 at the Tokyo Dome.
Looks like a full house tonight. Crowd seems reasonably hot even though it’s December and cold buildings in the winter with people bundled up usually means less crowd heat in Japan.
MANABU NAKANISHI & MASCARA DORADA & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI & YOHEI KOMATSU VS. YUJI NAGATA & SHO TANAKA & TIGER MASK & CAPTAIN NEW JAPAN
About what you’d expect. Tiger Mask may have gotten hurt a little as he’s holding his upper chest. More comedy than usual, but when you’ve got Captain in, that’s all you can do. Komatsu and Tanaka were serious and good as usual Tiger Mask made Komatsu submit to a double armbar. Funny spot where Nagata kicked Nakanishi in the chest and he said, “Oh fuck.”
No live announcing tonight.
CHRISTOPHER DANIELS & FRANKIE KAZARIAN VS. JAY WHITE & DAVID FINLAY
Decent match. Daniels & Kazarian worked like the veterans and controlled the match, mostly working on Finlay is a solidly worked undercard style match. White made the hot tag, did a few things but fell victim to Celebrity Rehab and Kazarian pinned White.
HIROYOSHI TENZAN & SATOSHI KOJIMA VS. YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & CODY HALL
Yujiro has a woman with 22 inch heels on doing all kinds of splits and almost a strip tease in a small bikini. Kind of weird having this on a show where Maria is a big part of the act coming up later. Better than expected. Crowd was into Kojima & Tenzan’s trademark stuff and Hall has improved. There was a spot wher Tenzan clotheslined Kojima when Takahashi moved and they played up being mad at each other. They teased tension after as well but shook hands. Finish saw Kojima lay out Takahashi with a lariat and Tenzan used the Anaconda buster and Anaconda vise to get a submssion from Hall.
HIROSHI TANAHASHI & MICHAEL ELGIN & KUSHIDA VS. MICHAEL BENNETT & MATT TAVEN & GEDO
Good match, best thing on the hsow so far. The highlight was Elgin giving Taven and Bennett German suplexes building to a spot where he gave both German suplexes at the same time. Tanahashi was playing it safe here. After Kushida did a flip dive wiping out Bennett & Taven, Tanahashi used a Dragon screw and Texas cloverleaf for the submission on Gedo. Maria didn’t do much. One dancing spot to distract Tanahashi and that was about it. Kushida borught a little kid over the rail to meet Tanahashi after.
Intermission time. The rest of the show are four tag team tournament matches, the last two deciding who goes to the finals.
BAD LUCK FALE & TAMA TONGA VS. KAZUSHI SAKURABA & TORU YANO
Tanahashi is on commentary we can’t hear. Nothing at all to this. Short match with the only cool spot being Sakuraba gettingan armbar on Fale out of nowhere. Yano had is ribs all taped and didn’t do anything. Yano gave both guys low blows at the same time and then Sakuraba craled Tonga for the pin. Yujiro Takahashi ame out and took out Sakuraba and then they beat down three-on-one on Yano after, working over his ribs. and putting the boots to him. Then Tonga beat down Sakuraba and threw David Finlay around.
SHINSUKE NAKAMURA & TOMOHIRO ISHII VS. KARL ANDERSON & DOC GALLOWS
The idea here seemed to be to get Anderson & Gallows over since they’re defending the belts at the Dome, so they got to beat a legit team here. They laid out Nakamura with a Magic killer, and then went back and forth with Ishii until using the Magic killer on him for the pin Nakamura didn’t do a lot here but Ishii and Anderson were good. Nobody got their heat back or anything like that. There was a simple goal of the match and they did it
TOGI MAKABE & TOMOAKI HONMA VS. KAZUCHIKA OKADA & YOSHI-HASHI
Makabe & Honma won as they took out Okada, then Honma did a spear head-butt to the back of Yoshi-Hashi as he was getting near falls on Makabe Makabe did a Death Valley bomb on Yoshi-Hashi They did a Road Warriors style double impact but Honma, instead of a clothesline off the top, did a spear head-butt. Makabe then used the King Kong kneedrop off the top rope onto Yoshi-Hashi for the pin. Tanahashi was in tears at ringside, did a better job of selling it than anyone. So Makabe & Honma are in the finals against whoever wins the next match. Match was good, but not nearly as good as it should have been with the stakes. It’s notable they didn’t change from the original plans here.
TETSUYA NAITO & EVIL VS. HIROOKI GOTO & KATSUYORI SHIBATA
Best match on the show but not a blow away match but very good. Naito & Evil are going to the finals. A lot of brawling in the crowd. The finish saw Naito tackle the ref so Bushi could blow green mist into Shibata’s face. Evil hit the STO on Shibata. Naito used a low blow and Destino to pin Goto. After the match, they beat down the ref and Bushi blew mist in his eyes.
Naito watnst the i. Naito attacked the ring announcer. He’s putting the boots to the ring announcer. Makabe & Honma made the save. We’re done before 1:45 a.m.