New Japan Pro Wrestling
World Tag League 2017 – Night 13
December 3, 2017
Kochi Prefectural Gymnasium
Watch: NJPW World
Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale (6) def. Juice Robinson & Sami Callihan (6)
Those following recent nights of the World Tag League know the story of the A Block has been the increasingly large blob of teams with six points. Tonight, we added yet another as Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens joined their opponents (Death Juice), Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi, Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI and Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka with six points.
This was a fine match, good at times but fell victim to an absolutely comatose crowd that barely registered noise at any point during the match and a lackluster finish. Just as Juice and Sami gained momentum in the match, Owens intercepted a Callihan suicide dive attempt into a school boy. I couldn’t tell if Owens had the tights (or jeans in this case) as it was a single hard-cam show, but either way, Owens and Fale picked up the cheap win. There was some effort put forth in this match but it ultimately left me feeling flat. Bad Luck Fale didn’t even bother to take his shirt off. **
In their post-match promo, Fale, ever the optimist said “Even though we have no chance of making the finals.” To which Owens said “No, no… there’s still a chance.” Fale was actually right though, Fale & Owens can beat Nakanishi & Nagata to get to eight points but they lost the tiebreaker to SANADA & EVIL so they are out.
Juice and Callihan discussed their tournament fate as well with Juice assuming they were knocked out as well. But, he is wrong. If Death Juice defeats Page & Yujiro they will have eight points. Assuming SANADA & EVIL lose their final league match (spoiler: they are winning the main event of this night’s show), both teams will have eight points with Death Juice having the tiebreaker. So in fact, all Juice and Sami need to do is keep winning and hoping Goto & YOSHI-HASHI can pull off the big upset and knock LIJ out.
In a nice bit of character work, Callihan took full blame for the team’s loss and apologized to Juice for potentially causing him to miss Wrestle Kingdom. Callihan went on to say he’s doing too much pandering to the crowd and he needs to refocus and stop fucking up.
SANADA & EVIL (8) def. Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima (4)
Believe it or not, they resisted the temptation to give seven of the eight World Tag League teams six points by having SANADA & EVIL get the big win over TenKoji.
This was a far better match than the previous if only because the crowd was hyped to see the legends Tenzan and Kojima in the flesh. This included a few children (I assume) screaming TENZAAAAAN! throughout the entire match. No, seriously, the entire match. Usually I would find it annoying but after the pin drop that we heard the previous match this was a welcomed change.
As far as match quality went, this was your run-of-the-mill 2017 TenKoji match with the chops, the Hiss, etc., etc. you know the drill at this point. EVIL and SANADA played super heels the entire time which is cool to see as they often can lean more tweener on the big shows.
The only disappointment from this match was the finish which again came somewhat abruptly and again was a cheap win for the heel team. Tenzan went to the top rope, presumably to hit the diving headbutt. EVIL jumped onto the apron and held Tenzan’s legs—in clear sight of Red Shoes, mind you, who was looking at this happen.
SANADA hit a Powerbomb but Tenzan was able to kick out at 2. EVIL and SANADA then double teamed Tenzan eventually beating him with the Magic Killer. Kojima slid into the ring but laid there as they made the three count. Better than the prior match but still very much lacking. **1/4
This tournament stinks. Only a few more days to go, people. We’re in the home stretch.
As mentioned above, this puts EVIL & SANADA squarely atop of the A Block and in control of their tournament fate. They win their next match vs. Goto & YOSHI-HASHI and they are in the finals.
If they lose, well, things get interesting. They racked up losses to Death Juice and Suzuki & Iizuka, so if they do lose their final tournament match, they can be knocked out with wins by either team. For what it’s worth, Suzuki & Iizuka hold tiebreakers over not only SANADA & EVIL but also Death Juice.
World Tag League 2017 Standings (as of December 3)
- SANADA & EVIL 8 points
- Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens 6 points
- Juice Robinson & Sami Callihan 6 points
- Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi 6 points
- Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI 6 points
- Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka 6 points
- Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima 4 points
- Yuji Nagata vs Manabu Nakanishi 2 points
- Barreta & Chucky T 8 points
- Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa 8 points
- Raymond Rowe & Hanson 6 points
- Lance Archer & Davey Boy Smith Jr. 6 points
- Michael Elgin & Jeff Cobb 6 points
- Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano 6 points
- Togi Makabe & Henare 0 points
- David Finlay & Katsuya Kitamura 0 points
Don’t waste your time.