Four tournament matches to review today, so let’s start with:
B Block – Tetsuya Naito and EVIL defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima in 11:08 via pinfall:
Fairly solid match with the usual crowd-pleasing moves from TenKojis and great character work from Naito. Predictably, the end came when Naito distracted the referee, allowing BUSHI to spit the all-powerful green mist in Kojima’s face, setting up the match-winning Destino. And predictability is the key word here, as entertaining as Naito is, even he can’t cover the fact that Los Ingobernables have been doing basically the same thing for three matches now. And BUSHI needs to start doing something besides spewing green mist all over opponents. Don’t get me wrong, they get away with it, for now, but if they’re going to that for the whole tournament, it might become stale fairly quickly. Still, solid tag team action overall.
A Block – Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and Michael Elgin in 14:59 via pinfall:
And then the real fireworks happened. Well, with those four in the ring, this match was always gonna be hard-hitting and spectacular, but, on top of that, it was also tons of fun. Both teams have great chemistry and the double team moves Tanahahsi and Elgin pull off are awesome. Not to be outdone, Honma launched a doomsday Kokeshi on Tanahashi that looked great. Great brawling action also from Elgin and Makabe which made me wish for a match between those two. Then again, Elgin has been so good in NJPW this year that I’m starting to wish for matches pitting him against pretty much anybody. Kokeshi and King Kong Knee Drop combo on Elgin to give Honma and Makabe a huge, and well-deserved, win. Does that mean that they’re once again contenders for A Block’s first place? With those two you never know.
A Block – Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian defeated Kazuchika Okada and YOSHI-HASHI in 12:06 via pinfall:
This was easily the Addiction’s best match in NJPW so far but that had mostly to do with the awesomeness of watching Daniels square off with Okada, which isn’t something you see everyday. Don’t get me wrong, Kazarian and YOSHI-HASHI were fine, both working their asses off, but, will all due respect for YOSHI-HASHI, he’s not the right partner for OKADA if you really want the IWGP Heavyweight Champion’s matches to have that something extra. And that’s not because YOSHI-HASHI isn’t talented, but because it’s all so predictable. The CHAOS members will pick up a few wins and YOSHI-HASHI will take the pin on all the others. Compare that with the Elgin-Tanahashi chemistry and you’ll see what I mean. Yes, t’s the same principle with that team too, Elgin wil take the pins, but, after three matches most believe those two might make it into the finals. No-one believes that with Okada and YOSHI-HASHI, making the Okada’s presence feel a little wasted. Anyway, solid match and The Addiction seems to be finding their stride in this tournament. Celebrity Rehab on YOSHI-HASHI (who else?) to pick up the win.
B Block – AJ Styles and Yujiro Takahashi defeated Shinsuke Nakamura and Tomohiro Ishii in 14:56 via pinfall:
Another one of those matches were you know you can just sit back, relax and enjoy the fireworks. And the fireworks were there with Nakanishi and Styles doing one hell of a job of building towards their Wrestle Kingdom 10 match, with Ishii providing solid support and Takahashi mostly (and thankfully) staying out of the way. Another interesting factor in this match was seeing Ishii and Styles square off. While not the most obvious combination at first sight, Styles is so good and adaptive he had no trouble finding chemistry against a type of opponents he isn’t THAT used to. Ishii meanwhile played his human pit-bull role to perfection. Styles Clash on Ishii for the win, allowing Styles to send a clear message to Nakamura. And to think we still have to wait more than a month to see Styles and Nakamura square off. Great stuff.
Standings (number of matches/points):
Hiroshi Tanahashi and Michael Elgin (3-4)
Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi-Hashi (4-4)
Kazushi Sakuraba and Toru Yano (1-2)
Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi (2-2)
Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian (3-4)
Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma (3-2)
Tama Tonga and Bad Luck Fale (2-0)
Tetsuya Naito and Evil (3-6)
Hirooki Goto and Katsuyori Shibata (2-4)
Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan (2-2 points)
A.J. Styles and Yujiro Takahashi (2-2 points)
Doc Gallows and Karl Anderson (3-2 points)
Shinsuke Nakamura and Tomohiro Ishii (2-0 points)
Michael Bennett and Matt Taven (2-0 points)
Tags: EVIL, hiroshi tanahashi, kazuchika okada, Michael Elgin, njpw, shinsuke nakamura, TenKoji, Tetsuya Naito, The Addiction, Togi Makabe, Tomoaki Honma, Tomohiro Ishii, World Tag League 2015, YOSHI-HASHI; AJ Styles, Yujiro TAkahashi