New Japan Pro Wrestling
World Tag League 2016 – Night 15
December 7, 2016
Mito Citizen Gymnasium
Watch: NJPW World
This is it for the A Block, their final single block night and the final chance for one team to punch their ticket to the 2016 World Tag League finals. The IWGP Tag Team Championships—Guerillas of Destiny—are in the best position to move on, sitting atop the Block at 5-1 (10 points).
Their main event opponents, the Los Ingobernable duo of Tetsuya Naito & Rush, can find their way in the finals by simply beating GOD in the main event.
Lastly, by virtue of their tiebreaker win over GOD, the legendary duo of Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima merely need to beat the outsider team of Brian Breaker & Leland Race for a berth in the finals and a chance at a third overall World Tag League championship.
Juice Robinson & Hiroshi Tanahashi def. Henare & Manabu Nakanishi
With the tournament nearing its final stages, Nakanishi decided the inevitable soreness he’ll wake up with in the morning was worth it as this was one of the semi-annual Nakanishi Tries Matches.
Anytime you get Nakanishi hitting a move off the top rope, Nakanishi taking a bump to the outside and then Nakanishi catching someone on a dive to the outside—which he did for a Tanahashi crossbody—you know you’ve seen one of those matches.
This wasn’t awful. Tanahashi seemed to be putting forth more effort than usual and Juice was solid throughout. In my last review I mentioned Henare slowly improving. Again, it’s slow and he’s still very entry level but you can see him starting to get it little-by-little. Robinson finished off Henare with the Pulp Friction. Unfortunately for this duo, too little too late as they finish their A Block run at 3-4. Henare and Nakanishi fall to 0-7. **
Brian Breaker & Leland Race def. Satoshi Kojima & Hiroyoshi Tenzan
In one of the biggest upsets of the tournament, Race & Breaker defeated TenKoji keeping them out of the World Tag League Finals and potentially ending the World Tag League career of Hiroyoshi Tenzan.
They didn’t just get a lucky bounce though, Race & Breaker dominated a large portion of the match and just appeared to be the better team on this night.
Even with the Breaker & Race control, it appeared TenKoji’s experience would win out in the end as they isolated Race in the match’s final minutes. However, Rush kicked out of a multiple Kojima pinfall attempts, allowing his partner Breaker to gather his bearings and help him out with the double team Thundergun move for the win.
TenKoji probably wasn’t going to the finals but having Leland & Race of all teams knock them out was definitely startling. Decent match to close out a solid run for Leland & Race. **1/4
Yujiro Takahashi & Hangman Page def. Raymond Rowe & Hanson
This was strange.
Rowe & Hanson were mathematically eliminated due to their loss to Guerrillas of Destiny earlier in the tournament. Yet, they still lost here with YUJIRO of all people getting the win after hitting Pimp Juice on Rowe. I suppose it’s the idea of putting your team over the visiting outsiders but still, the optics of Yujiro and Page taking down War Machine was odd. This was the worst War Machine match of the tour and none of it was their fault, Page and Yujiro are just awful and Yujiro in particular is neck and neck with BONE SOLDIER and Yoshitatsu for the worst everyday member of the roster.
The only engaging portions of the match were the all-too-short explosions of offense from War Machine including the always-popular Hanson suicide dive. **
Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tonga Roa) def. Tetsuya Naito & Rush
They did it. The Guerillas of Destiny, the current IWGP Tag Team Champions will represented the A Block in the 2016 World Tag League Finals. GOD will join Gallows & Anderson (2014) as the only title-holding team to make it to the Finals since the tag league rebranded as the World Tag League five years ago. They did it by having solid matches throughout the tournament and this main event was no exception. This was arguably the best performance from the Rush & Naito duo, who have struggled to find a chemistry thus far.
While this was another fine affair, the finish seemed very abrupt. After isolating Rush in the ring, GOD went in for the kill. Roa ate a belly-to-back suplex from Rush which gave Tonga the opening for a Gun Stun. Rush fought it off but after being whipped against the rope, Tonga was able to hit it successful (albeit somewhat botched by Rush taking it poorly… whoops). **1/2