NJPW World Tag League finals results: LIJ vs. Guerrillas of DestinyBy Ethan Renner | @EthanRenner | Dec 11, 2017 10:36 pm
The stage is set for January 4th and what promises to be a memorable Wrestle Kingdom 12.
Tetsuya Naito scored a tag team victory over his Wrestle Kingdom foe, IWGP Heavyweight Champion Kazuchika Okada, but it was Okada who left Naito laying after the match at Monday's World Tag League 2017 finals in Fukuoka.
Okada snapped after Naito taunted him with a promo, applying a Cobra Clutch -- silencing the pro-Naito crowd and planting a seed of doubt as to whether or not the Tokyo Dome will be the site of Naito's coronation as the top guy in New Japan for 2018.
Elsewhere on the show, Chris Jericho made a surprise appearance, laying out Kenny Omega and leaving his Wrestle Kingdom foe bloodied. Jericho played a total heel in the angle, displaying a mean streak that we haven't seen from him since his Best in the World run nearly a decade ago. After a sneak attack, Jericho hit Omega with a Codebreaker and a belt shot, and flipped off the crowd for good measure, adding heat to their feud. Jericho also gave Don Callis a Codebreaker.
The World Tag League tournament final was the main event of this show, but it felt like something of an afterthought. The Los Ingobernables de Japon team of SANADA & EVIL defeated the Guerrillas of Destiny, who represented the Bullet Club, cementing their status as challengers for the IWGP Tag Team titles at Wrestle Kingdom. After issuing a challenge to the champs, Killer Elite Squad, another match was set for Wrestle Kingdom. The full card (or at least most of it) will be announced in a press conference on Tuesday.
Jushin Thunder Liger, Manabu Nakanishi, Yuji Nagata, Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan defeated Togi Makabe, David Finlay, Henare, Hirai Kawato & Katsuya Kitamura
This was a matchup of young guns (and Makabe) against veterans. They didn't get a lot of time. The vets did some of their trademark spots, then it broke down, leaving Kawato and Kojima in the ring. Kawato ate a lariat for the finish.
War Machine, Jeff Cobb & Michael Elgin defeated Hangman Page, Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens & Leo Tonga
The War Machine/Cobb/Elgin team did a ton of power stuff, while Owens and Page countered with a good bit of flying and lucha spots. Tonga worked the bulk of the match for his team, and he ate a Fallout for the loss.
Bad Luck Fale defeated BUSHI by DQ
Fale had BUSHI pinned but decided to pull him up for some more punishment. BUSHI responded by spraying Fale with the black mist, then kicking him low for the disqualification. Why? Why was this on my television?
Best Friends (Beretta & Chuck Taylor) defeated Death Juice (Juice Robinson & Sami Callihan)
This served both as a palette-cleanser and one last opportunity for Taylor and Callihan to make a lasting impression in Japan. My gut says that Callihan did well enough to be asked back, and his association with the very over Robinson helps. Taylor, through no fault of his own, is another good worker on a show full of them.
Robinson hit a double noggin knocker at one point. I didn't think I'd see that spot in 2017 New Japan. Beretta kicked out of a package piledriver and a powerbomb, and the Best Friends hit Strong Zero for the victory.
Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii defeated Killer Elite Squad, Minoru Suzuki & El Desperado
Lance Archer worked over YOSHI-HASHI while the rest of the guys did the requisite Suzuki-gun brawling spots all over the arena. YOSHI-HASHI sold forever -- until making a hot tag to Ishii. Davey Boy Smith Jr. cut off Ishii, getting a near fall. Yano untied a corner pad, and Archer ran into the exposed buckles. Goto and Suzuki tagged in, and there was a notable buzz in the crowd as they traded strikes, which bodes well for the Tokyo Dome.
The match broke down into an eight-way. YOSHI-HASHI saved Goto from eating a Gotch piledriver from Suzuki and left Desperado to eat a GTR from Goto for the finish.
Goto challenged Suzuki after the match, and Suzuki accepted -- after Goto agreed to put up his hair. Both guys were great in doing their promos.
Cody & Marty Scurll defeated Kota Ibushi & KUSHIDA
Ibushi and Cody started off, and they did a nice sequence of spots, establishing each other as being on the same level. It looked to me, someone who has never taken a bump, like Ibushi was slowing down at certain points to allow Cody to keep up at some points. At other times, it appeared that Cody was more than holding up his end of the bargain.
Later, Cody went to work on Ibushi's right leg, but Ibushi was able to hit a moonsault for a near fall. Cody responded with an Alabama slam, and KUSHIDA and Scurll tagged in. Cody did a nice springboard dive to the outside on Ibushi, while Scurll got a near fall on KUSHIDA with a brainbuster. Ibushi hit a ridiculous springboard moonsault to the outside on Cody, and they brawled up the ramp. Cody got the best of the exchange, hitting Cross Rhodes on the stage.
While the referee was distracted, Scurll threw powder into KUSHIDA's eyes, then rolled him up for the pin.
Kenny Omega & The Young Bucks defeated Rocky Romero, Sho & Yoh
Nick Jackson hit a dive off the apron on to Yoh and Romero, and The Elite did some innovative triple-team spots. And, of course, a million superkicks. Sho got a tag and ran wild on the Bucks. They did an awesome six-way suplex spot in the ring, and the Roppongi team claimed the advantage.
Omega fired back with dragon suplexes on Sho and Yoh, then The Elite hit a triple superkick on Romero. Sho and Yoh hit stereo dives to the outside on the Bucks, leaving Romero and Omega to fight it out in the ring. Omega hit a One Winged Angel on Romero for the pin, setting the stage for the post-match angle with Jericho.
Tetsuya Naito & Hiromu Takahashi defeated Kazuchika Okada & Will Ospreay
Naito and Okada started things off, and there were chants for Naito. They teased locking up forever -- until Okada briefly got the best of their first exchange. Naito teased a dive to the outside but slid into his pose in the middle of the ring instead, which got a big pop.
Takahashi and Ospreay tagged in and went a million miles an hour before brawling to the outside, while Naito slammed Okada on the stage before attacking Gedo. Okada fired up and briefly laid out Naito in the ring, but Naito fired back with a neckbreaker on the apron. He followed up with a missile dropkick, but Okada countered with a dropkick of his own, then briefly applied a Cobra Clutch before teasing a tombstone. Naito recovered and planted Okada with a tornado DDT, which led to a double down and tags to Ospreay and Takahashi.
Takahashi scored a near fall, but Okada broke up the pin and hit a dropkick on Takahashi. Ospreay went for the OsCutter, but Takahashi countered it with a suplex. After an assist from Naito, Takahashi hit the Time Bomb for the pin.
SANADA & EVIL defeated Guerrillas of Destiny to win the 2017 World Tag League
The Guerrillas took the early advantage, taking the action outside. They worked over EVIL, though at a significantly slower pace than the matches that preceded this one. EVIL made his own comeback and hit a sidewalk slam on Loa, enabling a tag to SANADA. SANADA and EVIL worked over Tonga, but a ref bump enabled the Guerrillas to use a chair to regain the advantage. BUSHI ran in and misted Loa to even the odds, but Fale lumbered his way in to chase BUSHI to the back.
EVIL survived two near falls as the ref recovered, and SANADA went to work on the Guerrillas. EVIL hit a lariat for a near fall. EVIL and SANADA put Loa through a table that had been set up outside the ring earlier by the Guerillas, then scored a near fall on Tonga. Tonga kicked out of Darkness Falls and a Magic Killer, but EVIL put him down with an STO for the win.