Hello everybody, it’s time for our weekly venture into the anime wrestling world of Tiger Mask W. This week we continue the multiple leveled wrestling ring tournament known as the War Game.

Last episode, the action began and The Third was the first man to make it up to Ring 1. Let’s see who will be the next to join him! As always, you can watch every episode of Tiger Mask W over at Crunchyroll and if you want to find the rest of my recaps, you can do that here.

Tiger Mask W Episode 24 Recap
The Fierce Tigers Clash Again

The episode begins with Tiger the Dark in the clutches of Bosman and his two friends. The three men attempt a triple powerbomb on TD, but the move is thwarted by Kevin. The battletested Kevin tells Dark to go take care of his initial objective; tracking down the new Yellow Devil. Hell in the Hole did a lot to not only strengthen the bond between Kevin and Takuma, but to make Kevin into a strong wrestler.

After a brief recap of the rules and setting of the table by the loveable GWM commentator, we see that Tiger the Dark has caught up with Yellow Devil and tackled him to the ground. While they’re watching the match, Miss X and Lady (still can’t get over that name) talk about why Yellow Devil was brought back again. It turns out that this was all The Third’s idea. He knows of the history between Tiger the Dark and Yellow Devil and knew that they would make for a compelling fight. This tells us that The Third is more than just an incredibly skilled wrestler, he understands the business just as well.

Elsewhere, a distracted Tanahashi is taken off guard by Mike Rodriguez, who locks in a sleeper on the eternal ace. Just when Tanahashi thinks he’s going to be choked out, he’s saved by an unexpected face. Dragon Young, the name that Ryu Wakamatsu wrestled under in GWM, leaps into the fray to save his mentor.

In another area of the ground level, five GWM stars, including the Metal Brothers, have surrounded Okada. The IWGP Heavyweight Champion welcomes the challenge, but Yuji Nagata runs in to protect his champion. Nagata tells Okada to save his stamina for The Third and then yells “New Japan Pro Wrestling, assemble!” as though he was Captain America and GBH is the rest of the Avengers. Nagata tells a lounging Naito to join the fight, but predictably, Naito tells him to tranquilo.

Back over by Tanahashi, he punches Mike in the gut so hard that it sends off a shockwave and knocks Mike out. Mike’s insides are probably a complete mess now. Before Tanahashi can capitalize on his hard strike, Dragon Young swoops in and pins Mike for a three count, becoming the second man to be allowed to enter Ring 1. The rest of the New Japan roster in the event reacts in shock to Ryu not only getting the pin, but also to his just being there. In the spectators area, Haruna lets slip that Dragon Young is really Ryu to Hikari. Looks like Christmas is ruined.

Moving Up to the Next Level

Dragon Young climbs the steps to Ring 1 and faces off with The Third. Ryu runs at him and attempts a dropkick, but The Third literally swats him out of the air. Dragon Young quickly gets to his feet and charges at The Third again, but he has the wind taken out of him with a knee to the gut. Before Ryu falls to the mat, The Third lifts him up and slams him down with a vertical suplex. This is the first time we see The Third’s finisher, which instantly KO’s Dragon Young. This move really makes me think that my prediction of The Third eventually being played by Mike Elgin might be correct. With his victory over Dragon Young, The Third moves up to Ring 2.

We finally get back to the battle between Tiger the Dark and Yellow Devil, who is surprisingly not putting up a very good fight. Tiger the Dark wears him down with a sleeper and then puts him away with an inverted Darkness Driver. With this win, Takuma could go to Ring 1, but he first decides to rip the mask off of Yellow Devil’s face. It turns out that the man playing the role is Mikasa, a wrestler from the same school as Takuma and Naoto. This is the second gimmick that Mikasa has had in GWM, previously wearing the mask of Poseidon in the Masked World League. Tiger the Dark is furious with his former classmate and begins to stomp the hell out of him. The attack is stopped by Kevin, who pulls Tiger the Dark off and tell him to move up to Ring 1.

From here on the pins start coming quickly. Tiger Mask and Fukuwara Mask both put away two GWM wrestlers with stereo bridging German suplex’s. Tanahashi, Okada, and Kevin also join those two in moving up to the next level. While Nagata and GBH are having trouble with Bigfoot, Naito defeats a GWM wrestler to move on as well. Nagata fires up, but he is taken off guard by El Caracas and his Quebrada. The show goes to break as The Third looks down upon all of his challengers.

Past the Thirty Minute Mark

When we return, the match has progressed to Ring 2. The men fighting on that level are Tiger Mask, Fukuwara Mask, Tiger the Dark, Okada, Tanahashi, Bigfoot, Naito, and El Caracas. Meanwhile, in the third ring, The Third stands alone.

Tiger Mask and Fukuwara Mask once again score simultaneous falls, allowing them to move up a level. Instead of moving on, Tiger Mask runs to save Tanahashi, who is being double teamed by El Caracas and another wrestler. Rather than wait around, Fukuwara Mask goes to take on The Third. The two men lock up and then exchange hard chops. After the chop, The Third quickly realizes that Fukuwara Mask is really the former GWM wrestler, Keiji Tanaka. Fukuwara Mask plays it off, acting as his normal goofy self would. FM is the first wrestler we’ve seen give The Third some trouble, but the match doesn’t last much longer as The Third puts him away with a Backdrop Driver.

We then get a montage with a bunch of action all over the rings. Tiger Mask moves up to Ring 3 and faces off with Metal Brother 1. Tiger the Dark hits a Darkness Driver on a midcard jobber to move up. Okada Rainmaker’s his way past Bigfoot. Tanahashi hits a High Fly Flow on El Caracas to level up. Once he gets to Ring 3, Tanahashi is face to face with Naito, who plants him to the mat with a Destino. A determined Naito moves up to Ring 4 to take down The Third.

Four Men in Ring 4

The four men pair off with Naito and The Third locking up first, followed by Tiger Mask and Tiger the Dark. Naito manages to escape a Backdrop Driver and instead slams The Third to the mat with a German suplex. After a brief look at the even fight between the Tigers, we see Naito nail The Third with kicks to the face and back of the head. He then follows up with a Stardust Press, a move that Naito very rarely breaks out now. This is the first time we’ve really seen The Third take a beating of any kind. Sadly, it’s the end of Naito’s domination though. The Third lifts up Naito and throws him across the ring with a press slam. Naito tries to bounce back with a strike to the face, but The Third hits him with a hard backhand. He uses this to set up for his finisher, the vertical suplex, which finishes off Naito, allowing The Third to move onto the fifth and final ring.

Meanwhile, Tiger Mask spinkicks Tiger the Dark in the face, knocking him into the corner. Tiger Mask attempts his backflip Meteora and manages to connect, but Tiger the Dark catches his legs and throws him down with a powerbomb. Both men struggle to make it to their feet, but then charge at each other, not wanting to let their opponent see their current weakness. From out of nowhere, Kevin springboards into the ring and nails Tiger Mask with an elbow to the throat. Tiger Mask staggers into the arms of Tiger the Dark and has his head slammed into the canvas with the Darkness Driver. Kevin’s selfless act of friendship leads to Takuma scoring the three count, moving up to Ring 5 and becoming the second finalist.

This fall ends the first chunk of the tournament and leaves Tiger Mask completely spent. Tiger the Dark and The Third have a staredown, but their fight will have to wait for twenty minutes while the ring is prepared. On the ground floor, Yuji Nagata and Gedo realize that the New Japan wrestlers only served to liven up this GWM tournament, bringing it great success. They want to leave before the finals, but Okada declares that they should see this tournament through to the finish.

In the backstage area, we see what’s happened to the two tigers. Takuma holds his chest in agony in his locker room. He took the full force of Tiger Mask’s double knee attack and still managed to fight on, but he’s hurting now. Tiger Mask is much worse for wear as the unconscious wrestler is stretchered down a hallway as the episode closes.

And that’s all folks! The first round of the War Game tournament has concluded. Next week we’ll see the finals as The Third defends his GWM Heavyweight Championship against Tiger the Dark. I’m very excited for this episode, but I will be seeing it a little later than normal. I’m headed to sunny Orlando, Florida for WrestleMania weekend and as a result next week’s column will be headed your way sometime later in the week. Follow along with all of my wrestling adventures over on Twitter @comicgeekelly and if you see me at a show, feel free to say hello. In the meantime until next week’s recap, read my new column about how Katsyuori Shibata is the perfect lead character for a fighting manga. Thanks for reading, talk to you all next time!