New Japan Pro Wrestling
World Tag League 2020 – Night Three
November 19, 2020
Korakuen Hall
Tokyo, Japan

World Tag League Preview:

Welcome back everyone to the long and winding road that is New Japan’s World Tag League.

Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma defeated Yuji Nagata & Yota Tsuji

As has become custom in 2020, we begin with our singular non-tournament match, with Yota Tsuji now playing the role of Gabriel Kidd from the previous BOSJ opener. As one would expect we are treated to a mixture of strikes, young lion fire, and a strong lariat from Kojima. My only real takeaways are that Tsuji continues to look like he is ready for the next step in his career, and that I wish we were given more opportunities to see Nagata and Kojima wrestle this year. **¾ 

World Tag League 2020
Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb (4) def. Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owes (0)

For the third straight WTL show, Fale and Owens are positioned in the opening tournament match. Perhaps angered by this slight, they waste no time tonight and attack the Empire’s new duo on the floor before the opening bell. However, once we move into the ring the match pretty much turns into an extended squash for Khan and Cobb. Eventually Owens gets a brief flurry of offense in, which just leads to Khan throwing him at Cobb for the Tour of the Islands. Overall quick and inoffensive, and in a small way felt a bit like a “NJPW monsters passing of the torch” from Fale to Khan. **

World Tag League 2020
Juice Robinson & David Finlay (4) d. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare (0)

Back at the beginning of the year three of these four men (Tanahashi, Juice, and Finlay) looked like they were destined to face-off for the IWGP Heavyweight Tag Championship, bt then GOD upset FinJuice on the last night of the New Beginning USA Tour and we never got to see the Golden Aces take on FinJuice. Fast forward nine months later and the world has gone to hell, and more specific to this match we have Henare stepping in to tag with Tanahashi in place of Kota, who has moved on to bigger and better things, like continually losing to Jay White. 

While our previous match came off as a relatively bland heel vs. heel match, these four worked a much more enjoyable face vs. face contest with all four men getting opportunities to shine and rally the crowd behind them. It is awesome seeing how much Henare has developed (and at the same time a disappointing reminder that 2020 didn’t go as he would have hoped from a wrestling perspective), as he honestly doesn’t look out of place at all in this match. All four men work at a good pace for the entire match, and an unfortunately busted open nose for Juice adds to the hard hitting feel of the match. In the end a dragon screw on Tanahashi’s bad knee is enough to take him out of the match, which leads FinJuice taking out Henare with the Doomsday Device. That was just a fun match that keeps FinJuice involved at the top of the leaderboard while also effectively continuing Tanahashi’s and Henare’s respective journeys. ***½ 

World Tag League 2020
Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (4) defeated EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi (4)

Back from intermission, and it is time for Bullet Club versus Bullet Club. Match begins with Yujiro playing the bullet in peril role, which is about as exciting as you might imagine. The action begins to pick up just a bit, but then as it was destined to be, the respective seconds end up getting involved, ultimately leading to a Jado kendo stick shot to the back of Yujiro and a crossface submission from Loa for the win. Honestly, not much to this match other than EVIL and Yujro dropping their first points and Jado proving to be a more effective second than Togo. **¼ 

World Tag League 2020
Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (4) defeated Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI (2) 

Faction wars part deux, as we go from Bullet Club versus Bullet Club to CHAOS versus CHAOS. Goto, Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI have been on quite a run as a team since the NEVER Six Man tournament, so hopefully, some of that magic will carry over here.

All four men find a good groove pretty early, as we are treated to good action with several hard hitting exchanges, all within the confines of a relatively traditional tag match structure. Add in Yano keeping his shenanigans fairly tampered down, and we have ourselves a nice mini-barn burner where all four men show their familiarity with one another while trying to secure the victory. Near the end both teams try to empty their respective chambers, with Ishii ultimately landing a brainbuster on YOSHI-HASHI for the win. Another quality outing from the CHAOS boys, as Goto, Ishii, and YOSHI-HASHI continue to help carry the New Japan midcard during the back half of 2020. ***¾ 

World Tag League 2020
SANADA & Shingo Takagi (4) defeated Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. (4)

Main event time, and a win here for the Dangerous Tekkers would put them alone at the top of the standings. Have some high hopes coming into this one as Taichi and ZSJ have obviously been on a heck of a run as tag champs, and Shingo and SANADA seem to have an enjoyable tag team chemistry between them. 

Luckily, the wrestlers do not disappoint, as we get a great match to cap off the show. All four men worked well together throughout the whole match, and by the time we reached the conclusion, I found myself hoping for both a rematch down the line, as well as a ZSJ versus Shingo one-on-one match. Must say after watching a number of matches lately with shaky limb work, I really appreciated how during the build of the match the Dangerous Tekkers kept working on Shingo’s arm just enough that it helped build the story of the match, but without it ever becoming the dominant story behind the action. After about fifteen minutes of back-and-forth action we get an extended Taichi against Shingo finishing sequence, which included a wonderful nearfall when Shingo caught Taichi with his own “Taichi Style” Gedo Clutch. Then, just as it looked like the Dangerous Tekkers were going to secure another victory with the Zack Mephisto Driver, SANADA caught Zack in the Skull End, which allowed Shingo to hit the Last of the Dragon for the hard-earned win. ****

Final Thoughts

Night three ends with the last undefeated team taking a loss, and while I know the WTL isn’t everyone’s cup of tea, I have to say this has been a fairly enjoyable start to the tourney. As for today’s action, the card clocked in at a breezy two hours, and we still got three good-to-great tag matches, including a fantastic main event. If you have the time and inclination, I would encourage you to watch the whole card…but if you would rather limit your WTL viewing I would still recommend checking out at least the last two matches, and maybe Tana/Henare vs. FinnJuice as well.