New Japan returns to Osaka this morning for more World Tag League action.
Tonight’s tournament matches include Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. vs. Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino, EVIL & SANADA vs. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi, Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay, Togi Makabe & Toa Henare vs. Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka, Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb vs. Best Friends, Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima vs. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano and Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa vs. Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi.
Current standings have Guerrillas of Destiny, EVIL & SANADA and Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano all tied for first with twelve points. There’s still a few shows left, so these standings can change after today’s show.
This morning’s main event will have Hiroshi Tanahashi & Kazuchika Okada teaming up again, as they partner with KUSHIDA & Rocky Romero to take on the Bullet Club contingent of Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, Taiji Ishimori & Gedo.
Join us for live coverage starting at 2 a.m. Eastern.
LANCE ARCHER & DAVEY BOY SMITH JR. DEFEATED SHOTA UMINO & AYATO YOSHIDA (4:13)
This was just a quick squash, not much to it. Smith entered wearing a bulldog mask.
Umino started off with Archer He went for a series of quick cradles right away. Yoshida jumped in and they used a double crab, but Smith broke it up. From there, Killer Elite took control.
Yoshida took a buckle bomb. Umino took a chokeslam. The finish saw Killer Elite hit the killer bomb on Yoshida for the pin.
EVIL & SANADA DEFEATED MANABU NAKANISHI & YUJI NAGATA (9:00)
To say this was a clash of styles and eras would be an understatement, but I think it worked.
EVIL and SANADA worked over Nakanishi. SANADA used low dropkicks to take out the big fella's knees, while SANADA worked the arms, and stomped away at the midsection.
Yuji tagged in and made a comeback, including using a Nagata lock on EVIL, but SANADA cut him off. SANADA and Nakanishi tagged in, and WORKRATE NAKANISHI went to the top rope, hitting a high cross on both EVIL and SANADA.
Nakanishi went for the Argentinian backbreaker, and after an initial reversal, got it on SANADA, while Nagata used a Nagata lock on EVIL. Nakanishi hit a big splash for a nearfall. EVIL entered for the illegal double team, and Nakanishi ate a magic killer. Nagata broke up the pin.
EVIL jumped in and hit everything is EVIL on Nagata, then pulled him to the floor, allowing SANADA to hit Nakanishi with a moonsault for the cover and pin.
DAVID FINLAY & JUICE ROBINSON DEFEATED HANGMAN PAGE & YUJIRO TAKAHASHI (7:16)
This felt rushed, and didn't have a lot of psychology to it. The last minute or so was excellent, though. Hangman Page is most improved this year, right?
Yujiro and Finlay kicked things off with a series of misdirection spots, reversals and counters. Yujiro hit a low dropkick, while Finlay hit a senton.
Juice entered for a senton of his own. Yujiro tagged Page, and business picked up. Page hit a standing moonsault. Juice fired back with a series of jabs, then hit Page with a DDT and a cannonball.
All four guys missed planchas. Juice finally hit one. Page hit a suicide dive. Page hit Juice with a big lariat. Page and Yujiro hit a double team move for a nearfall on Juice. Juice and Finlay hit stereo dropkicks.
Page missed with a buckshot lariat. Juice went for pulp friction, but Page reversed into a backslide for a nearfall. Finlay jumped in and hit Page with a cutter, and Juice followed with pulp friction for the victory.
TOGI MAKABE & TOA HENARE DEFEATED MINORU SUZUKI & TAKASHI IIZUKA (11:45)
A good match. It probably went a little longer than it needed to, but the last few minutes were good, and they had a nice brawl.
Suzuki-gun's attempt to jump Henare and Makabe before the bell was thwarted initially, as Makabe and Henare fought them off. Suzuki-gun turned the tide, and took control as they fought into the crowd.
In the ring, Suzuki worked over Henare. Henare tried to fire back with chops, but Suzuki was impervious to them. Suzuki removed Iizuka's muzzle, and Iizuka bit Henare. Henare hit a Samoan drop on Suzuki, then tagged Makabe.
Makabe went nuts on Suzuki, doing his usual hot tag spots. Tackle, lariat, punches in the corner, suplex. Suzuki recovered, and the two traded strikes. Suzuki hit a running mid kick into a doube down, then tagged Iizuka.
Suzuki and Iizuka double teamed Makabe, in a good intense sequence. Iizuka grabbed the iron glove, but Makabe ducked it. Henare took out Suzuki with a tackle, hit Iizuka with a shoulder block off the top, and Henare followed with the king kong kneedrop for the win.
MICHAEL ELGIN & JEFF COBB DEFEATED BEST FRIENDS BY DQ (11:48)
They were having a pretty good match until the wacky finish.
Chuckie and Cobb began. Chuckie tried to drop Cobb with shoulder blocks, but Cobb didn't go down. Chuckie went down after on Cobb shoulder block. They botched a springboard crossbody. Beretta got a tag and hit a suicide dive. Cobb and Elgin came back with delayed suplexes.
Cobb and Elgin worked over Beretta. Beretta took his flip bump into the corner, then bounced out into a lariat from Cobb. Cobb hit a fallaway slam and went for a standing moonsault, but Beretta got his knees up.
Chuckie got a tag. He hit a plancha on Elgin, then hit one on Cobb. Chuckie hit a DDT, then a foot stomp off the top for a nearfall. He went up top, but Elgin hit him with an enziguri and a superplex. Cobb hit a standing moonsault for a nearfall, then tagged in Elgin.
Elgin went for a buckle bomb, but Chuckie turned it into a rana, hit soul food, then tagged Beretta. Beretta hit a back elbow and a tornado DDT. He flipped out of a german from Elgin, but right into a german from Cobb. Beretta countered with a german on Cobb.
Elgin hit a tiger driver on Beretta for a nearfall. Beretta sent Elgin outside, where Chuckie hit him with a chair. Chuckie then went nuts on Elgin and Cobb with chairs in the ring, which was a DQ.
Chuckie continued his assault after the bell, hitting Elgin and Cobb with chair shots. He teased hitting them with his belt, but Beretta stopped him.
TOMOHIRO ISHII & TORU YANO DEFEATED HIROYOSHI TENZAN & SATOSHI KOJIMA (10:56)
This was a decent brawl from the jump. Tenzan and Kojima were more than holding their own, until Ishii hit Tenzan with an elbow from the floor. Yano untied a corner pad, and Ishii sent Tenzan into the exposed buckle. Tenzan came back with headbutts, but he was repatedly sent into the buckle.
Tenzan ducked a charge from Ishii, who hit Yano. Tenzan tagged Kojima, and Kojima hit Ishii and Yano with machine gun chops in the corner. Ishii and Kojima traded elbows. Kojima hit a DDT. Ishii hit a brainbuster.
Yano got a tag, but he and Ishii ran right into Koji cutters. Kojima tagged Tenzan, who hit a brainbuster on Yano for a two count. Tenzan hit something resembling a northern lights suplex on Yano, then used an anaconda vice, but Ishii broke it up.
Ishii ran into a Koji cutter, then Kojima brawled to the floor with Ishii. Tenzan missed a moonsault. Tenzan tried to fight off both Ishii and Yano, but the two on one was too much for him. Yano hit a low blow, and used a rollup for the pin.
TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA DEFEATED ZACK SABRE JR. & TAICHI (9:44)
This was a fun brawl.
The seconds got involved right away. TAKA was doing his mic work before the bell, end Jado hit him with a kendo stick. Taichi beat up Jado, while Tonga beat up TAKA. Sabre and Loa paired off, and after a crowd brawl, worked back to the ring. Taichi and Tonga continued brawling around the building. They teased a countout, but all four guys made it back in at 19.
Taichi sent Tonga to the floor, and Sabre and Taichi doubled up on Loa. Tonga jumped back in and hit a gun stun on Taichi. Loa covered for a two count. Sabre hit Tonga with a PK, while Taichi hit an axe bomber on Loa.
Taichi used the mic stand on Tonga while TAKA took the ref. Loa tried to use a kendo stick on Taichi, but Taichi blocked and hit him with the mic stand. tonga hit a gun stun on Taichi for two, as Sabre broke up the pin.
The Guerillas hit a magic killer on Sabre, who rolled to the floor. Loa hit a powerbomb on Taichi from the second rope, and covered for the pin.
SWITCHBLADE JAY WHITE, TAIJI ISHIMORI, BAD LUCK FALE & GEDO DEFEATED KAZUCHIKA OKADA, HIROSHI TANAHASHI, KUSHIDA & ROCKY ROMERO (14:38)
This was a fantastic eight man tag.
All action, right from the outset. Okada and Tana cleared the ring and posed on the turnbuckles. Rocky and KUSHIDA worked on Fale, but Fale made his own comeback and cleared the ring again.
This became a fight all over the arena. White sent Okada over the guardrail and left him buried under a fence in the crowd. The Bullet Club ended up back in the ring, working KUSHIDA over four on one. Rocky, Tana and Okada made it back to the ring, so White pulled KUSHIDA outside, and whipped him into the fence and the ring frame.
Ishimori and KUSHIDA used a series of standing switches, leading to Ishimori making a cover for a two count. KUSHIDA recovered and hit a cartwheel dropkick into a double down.
Okada and White got tags. Okada cleared the Bullet Club corner off the apron, and hit Gedo with a DDT. White used the opportunity to hit a Saito suplex. Okada popped up and they exchanged strikes. Okada hit a flapjack, into a double down.
Tana got a tag, and hit a dragon screw on White. White ducked slingblade and hit a uranage, then tagged Gedo. Gedo ate a slingblade, but Ishimori broke up the pin. Tana hit a slam and went to the top, but White pushed him off into Fale. Tana fought off a chokeslam, and tagged Rocky.
Rocky hit a dropkick on Fale, a rana on White, and a series of corner lariats on Gedo. Rocky went for sliced bread, but Gedo escaped, and Fale took Rocky down with a tackle. Ishimori tagged in, and Rocky sent him into the corner with a rana. Rocky and KUSHIDA hit Ishimori with dropkicks. KUSHIDA hit a DDT, and Rocky covered for a two count.
Rocky used Fale as a springboard and hit sliced bread. It broke down and Okada hit White with a dropkick. Tana hit a dragon screw on Fale. Ishimori hit Rocky with a lungblower, but Rocky kicked out. Ishimori hit Rocky with the bloody cross for the pin.
White cut a promo after the match, and called his team the real dream team. He said Okada and Tana had teamed three times, and lost three times. He said Tana and Okada can't beat him, and he'll prove it at the Tokyo Dome. He said Tana, Okada, and all the fans have no choice but to breath with the Switchblade in his new era.
CURRENT WORLD TAG LEAGUE STANDINGS
EVIL & SANADA (7-2) -- 14 points
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (7-2) -- 14 points
Guerrillas of Destiny (7-2) -- 14 points
Juice Robinson & David Finlay (6-3) -- 12 points
Killer Elite Squad (6-3) -- 12 points
Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi (5-4) -- 10 points
Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb (5-4) -- 10 points
Best Friends (5-4) -- 10 points
Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka (4-5) -- 8 points
Togi Makabe & Toa Henare (4-5) -- 8 points
Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi (3-6) -- 6 points
Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (3-6) -- 6 points
Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi (1-8) -- 2 points
Ayato Yoshida & Shota Umino (0-9) -- 0 points