New Japan Pro Wrestling
World Tag League 2016: Night 16
December 8, 2016
Hachinohe Eastern Sports Park Gymnasium – Hachinohe, Japan

Watch: NJPW World

Billy Gunn & Yoshitatsu def. The Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale & Bone Soldier)

As you might have guessed, this was a pretty bad match. The only real highlight saw Billy Gunn hit a bodyslam on Bad Luck Fale, who seemed like someone that was just going through the motions. Bone Soldier & Yoshitatsu are so bad. The crowd was incredibly quiet, only reacting sparingly, and once again, we got another referee bump that led to Bone Soldier trying to choke Yoshitatsu with his belt. This will probably end up being the worst match of the tournament. In the end, Yoshitatsu hits the pedigree on Bone Soldier for the win. *1/4

The Bullet Club (Kenny Omega & Chase Owens) def. Katsuyori Shibata & Yuji Nagata

Shibata & Nagata needed a win here to have a shot at winning the B Block, but unfortunately for them, Omega & Owens got the better of them here, and scored the victory. This was a good match. It was a little slow to get going, and the start of the match did feature some shenanigans (Owens demanding that Shibata not kick him, and Omega’s broom being used on Nagata), but the action definitely picked up in the second-half. Omega & Owens have a solid team in this tournament. While they’re far from one of the best teams in the B Block, they’ve produced good matches more times than not. Omega pinned Nagata with the One Winged Angel, which officially eliminated Shibata & Nagata from winning the B Block. ***1/4

Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) def. CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada & YOSHI-HASHI)

Both teams were in a must-win situation coming into this match, though the CHAOS due of Okada & YOSHI-HASHI had the easier path of the two. This was a really good match. It was very similar to the tournament match that preceded it, in the sense that it had a slow start, but had a very solid second-half. It was actually cool to see Okada & EVIL interact in this match (I hope they’re matched up together in the G1 Climax next year). The crowd was very much into this match by the end. It was probably the most lively they’ve been all night, up to this point. The highlight of the match was a great exchange between SANADA & YOSHI-HASHI in the closing stages, which eventually led to SANADA getting the win with Skull-End. These two had a great mini-feud earlier this year (embedded in the larger CHAOS/LIJ rivalry), and this was a brief continuation of that. They definitely have good chemistry, that’s for sure. While EVIL & SANADA did get to 10 Points in the B Block with their victory, their path to actually winning the B Block was next to impossible, as they needed the two teams in the main event to wrestle to a draw. ***1/2

Great Bash Heel (Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma) def. CHAOS (Hirooki Goto & Tomohiro Ishii)

The outcome of this match was going to decide who would go on to face The Guerrillas of Destiny in the finals. This was exactly the kind of match you would’ve expected from these two teams. It was a hard-hitting affair that saw both teams beat the crap out of each other. The match was a little long for my liking (it clocked in at close to twenty minutes), but they packed in a lot of action from start to finish. The big story here, of course, is that GBH were able to score (what many people would call) an upset victory over Goto & Ishii, who were the heavy favorites going into the tournament, to win the B Block and advance to the finals. It’s a very odd choice, since we’re essentially going back to a matchup that we saw twice already this year (when Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa won the titles and the subsequent rematch), plus it leaves Goto & Ishii without a big match (as of now) for The Tokyo Dome. I’m disappointed that they didn’t win the tournament, as I think a Guerrillas of Destiny vs. Goto & Ishii match for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Team Titles at The Tokyo Dome could have been a really good match. Alas, that’s not what we got. That being said, this was still a very good main event to close the show. ***¾

Final Thoughts

The opening match was probably the worst match of the entire tournament, but aside from that, this was a pretty solid show. Each match got better as the show progressed, culminated in a hard-hitting main event with an unexpected result.