New Japan Pro-Wrestling
World Tag League 2020 – Night Four
November 22, 2020
Saku City Gymnasium
Saku, Japan


World Tag League Preview:

Welcome back everyone to Night Four of the World Tag League. So far we’ve had a relatively enjoyable tournament, with a couple of great matches helping lift things up. Unsurprisingly no one has really separated themselves from the pack yet, so the big question for today is simply can New Japan keep up the string of quality WTL shows?

Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma def. Yuji Nagata & Yota Tsuji

We kick-off things with a rematch from our previous WTL show, this time with Kojima and Nagata starting things off. Unfortunately, for the most part all four men worked the match at  a house show pace before kicking things into second gear for the closing segment, which mostly involved Tsuji looking good before eating Kojima’s lariat. Decent enough, but definitely a step below their previous match. **¼ 

World Tag League 2020

SANADA & Shingo [6] def. Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens [0]

Our tournament action for the night begins with Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens playing the curtain jerker role for the fourth straight show. Fale and Owens once again attack before the bell, but SANADA and Shingo barely break a sweat before gaining the advantage. Things continue on this path until SANADA puts Chase in the Paradise Lock, at which point Fale surprisingly swiftly springs into action and helps out his partner before delivering an avalanche splash in the corner to SANADA who was playing to the crowd. This is shortly followed by Chase going toe-to-toe with Shingo in a strike exchange, which just seems strange, and then holding his own against SANADA until a heel communication leads to a series of roll-ups, finishing with SANADA O’Connor Bridge for the victory. What a weird match that was, but probably the best this Bullet Club team has looked so far in the tournament, as Fale looked to be moving a little better in the ring. **½

World Tag League 2020

Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI [4] def. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare [0]

While both these teams have had enjoyable runs in the tournament so far, this match came off as fairly paint-by-the-numbers. As expected Tanahashi and Goto had some entertaining, but very limited, exchanges, and Henare was given more time to shine, which is always fun to see. Outside of an awkward leg sweep/Sling Blade combination the match was worked well enough…but there just wasn’t anything here to get excited about. As expected Henare ended up eating another pin after Tanahashi was taken out, this time from the GYW. ***

World Tag League 2020

EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi [6] def. Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano [4]

Based on the teams involved, I would expect this match to be filled with shenanigans, and underscoring that point less than sixty seconds into the match we have three of the corner turnbuckle pads removed. Unsurprisingly, And the shenanigans continue as the match progresses, though spaced apart with some traditional wrestling. Anyone who has been down on New Japan lately will probably hate this match, but I found it entertaining enough for what it was and EVIL in particular looked particularly solid during the match, and eventually earned the victory for his team with the Evil STO. ***

World Tag League 2020

The Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb [6] def. Juice Robinson & David Finlay [4]

Now this is the match that I am the most excited for tonight, as I think the pure babyface energy of Juice and Finlay should provide a good platform for the Empire duo to work against.  Juice and Finlay use frequent tags and arm control to gain an initial advantage, but that only works for so long before Cobb and Khan take over with their strength advantage. Cobb and Khan are already great at portraying themselves as a pair of confident monsters, as when they are in control it feels like they are stalking their prey…and Finlay’s selling in particular really helps put them over. Similar to most of the matches tonight the pace definitely ended up being a bit more on the pedestrian side of things at times, but the teams meshed so well that it was easily our match of the night so far, and was capped off with a fantastic counter when Cobb reversed Finlay’s tornado stunner right into the Tour of the Islands. As they should be, Khan and Cobb continue to be put over strongly during these early stages of the WTL. ***½

World Tag League 2020

Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa [6] def. Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. [4]

Main event time, and it will be interesting to see how the Dangerous Tekkers perform against another heel team. Apparently lacking an appreciation for the performing arts, GOD attack Taichi during his entrance which leads to both teams brawling through the entrance way and up onto the stage. After a few minutes of this the wrestler finally make their way back to the ring…and stay there for about ten seconds..and then they brawl their way right back to the entrance stage, where Zack and Taichi apply submissions before racing back to the ring (with Taichi having a pretty damn comical gait to his run), to try to earn the countout victory. Needless to say that doesn’t work, but it does transition us to our first real in-ring segment of the match. The action finds a pretty good groove here, and ZSJ looks great with his selling for GOD while still sneaking in just enough of his own offense to keep the Tekkers looking dangerous. 

The end of the match sees us pretty much filling in all of the open spots on our “New Japan 2020 match shenanigans” bingo card, as we get a ref distraction off outside interference, a ref bump, kendo stick shots, a mic stand choke, and then an iron fingers shot from Tama Tonga to Zack giving GOD the victory. Phew, that was a lot of extra curricular activities crammed into this match…and acknowledging that I will sound like a broken record here…but if you have been down on 2020 New Japan you will probably hate this match as well. That said, even as someone who thinks New Japan’s reliance on outside interference has worked to their detriment during the past six months, I believe this is the type of match where it can actually work (similar to the ref bump in the recent Hiromu vs. Desperado match). For one, it would be insanely out of character for these two teams to not try to “out shortcut” each other in a match, but perhaps more importantly, I cannot even begin to imagine how dry a shenanigan free, heel vs. heel, GOD vs. Dangerous Tekkers match would be. In the end, despite some relatively weak early out of the ring action, I think they managed to fit in everything without overstaying their welcome, and in doing so just barely eked out match of the night honors over FinJuice vs. The Empire. ***½

Final Thoughts

Let’s be clear, this was easily the weakest of the World Tag League shows so far, and there really isn’t anything here to watch if you are someone who is only wanting to swoop in for the top tier tournament matches. But despite the lack of any great matches, there was nothing outright bad on the show either, so if you have two free hours and have been enjoying the WTL so far (and aren’t sent into a spiral of despair by New Japan interference spots and ref bumps), this is still worth a viewing.