New Japan Pro Wrestling
World Tag League 2017: Night 3
November 20, 2017
Tokorozawa Citizen Gymnasium Main Arena
Tokorozawa, Saitama, Japan
Watch: NJPW World
“The Hangman” Adam Page & Yujiro Takahashi (2) def. Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi (0)
I went into this fully expecting a pretty average match, considering who was involved, and well, that’s close to what we got here. This particular duo from The Bullet Club spent most of the bout isolating Nakanishi, which eventually built towards a hot tag to Nagata. Despite their best efforts, however, this pairing of the New Japan Dads fell short after Yujiro pinned Nakanishi with a DDT.
The main highlight of this one, however, has to go down as one of the most hilarious spots of the entire year. During the first half of the bout, Yujio attempted a sunset flip on Nakanishi, but the veteran blocked it, so what does Adam Page do? He gets in the ring, grabs Yujiro by the legs, and catapulted him, face first, straight into Nakanishi’s crotch for a low blow. Yes, you read that right. Adam Page actually thrusted Yujiro’s face straight into Nakanishi’s junk. I honestly couldn’t believe that spot actually happened a first, but it did. Let’s just say I don’t envy Yujiro in the slightest.
While the match itself was very standard (aside from the ridiculous spot I just mentioned that probably sparked some new ideas for those involved with making “customs”), the fans were firmly behind the team of Nagata & Nakanishi, so hearing an invested crowd was much better than hearing a quiet one. **1/4
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens (2) def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (0)
What’s better than one Bullet Club vs. New Japan Dads tag team match on a World Tag League card? Two of them! Yes, it seemed that there was a theme with this particular night of the tour, as the second tournament match on Night 3 featured the Bullet Club pairing of Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens going up against TenKoji. I was also expecting this one to be average, at best, but to my surprise, this was actually pretty solid. A big reason for that was the crowd. They really got behind TenKoji here, and were generally active throughout the entire match. Once again, this is a great example (an even better example than the first tournament bout on this card) of a crowd adding a bit of energy to what otherwise would’ve been an run-of-the-mill tag team encounter.
During the early stages, The Bullet Club was firmly in control. In particular, Chase Owens did a fine job in his role, as he always seems to work well with Tenzan & Kojima whenever they’re on opposite sides in a tag team situation. Things picked up once TenKoji made their comeback, with Tenzan & Kojima hitting some of their signature moves, both individually and together. Kojima had some decent exchanges with Fale in the closing stages, before he eventually got hit with a Bad Luck Fall (which nobody kicks out of) for the pin. Again, this was surprisingly good match that was lifted up by an energetic crowd and a strong second half. ***
While this was a big night for The Bullet Club in terms of match results, this event perfectly exemplified the issues surrounding the A Block in this year’s World Tag League. It’s filled with a ton of relatively weak teams that aren’t going to produce a ton of exciting matches. You have a few good teams, but it’s definitely the weaker of the two blocks.
Thankfully, this particular show had a crowd that was a little more energetic, which helped to lift both of the tournament bouts on this card. You don’t really need to seek out Night 3, unless you a big TenKoji fan that wants to see all of their matches.