NJPW’s World Tag League 2015 Finals Review (GBH vs Naito and EVIL)

 

Traditionally, the World Tag team final is the last, big stop before Wrestle Kingdom 10. Feuds will be build up towards the Tokyo Dome Show climax, the last matches will be revealed and the winner of the WTG (and new challengers for the Tag Team Titles) will be decided. In other words, this show is always tons of fun so let’s get right into it:

Yohei Komatsu and Sho Tanaka defeated Juice Robinson and David Finlay Jr. in 8:10 via submission:

I love it when NJPW books the Young Lions to wrestle each-other because they always deliver good, fun matches. This one was no different with Komatsu, Tanaka and Finlay Jr making the best of the time they were allotted. Robinson had a somewhat difficult start in NJPW but he’s clearly improving and, while not on the level of the other YL’s yet, he was able to hold his own here without btoo much troubles. Komatsu scored a submission victory on Finlay to end an entertaining opener.

Mascara Dorada defeated Jay White in 7:50 via pinfall:

The theme of Young Lions and great but somewhat underutilized talent continues in thei second bout as Jay White and Mascara Dorada are allowed some time to shine on their own. And shine they did, especially Dorada who let loose with some great highflying while White showed how much he has improved in recent months by effortlessly keeping up. But things didn’t stop there as we were also treated to a big angle post-match with BUSHI coming sown to ring-side and attempting to recruit Dorada into Los Ingobernables. Dorada flat-out refused and this led to BUSHI attacking him and ripping his mask off. Afterwards, BUSHI held up Dorada’s CMLL World Welterweight Title setting up a title match between those two. Great to see that Dorada is finally getting some much deserved attention.

Tiger Mask IV and Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Jushin Thunder Liger and KUSHIDA in 10:35 via pinfall:

Nothing wrong with this match, but it always bugs me a bit when someone as talented as KUSHIDA is being used as an afterthought. This was of course all about Tiger Mask and Jushin Liger’s rivalry over the NWA Jr. Heavyweight Title and Taguchi’s pseudo-comical ass-attacks. Well at least KUSHIDA is getting his big moment at the Tokyo Dome against Omega, that’s something anyway. Fine but the veteran’s feud is somewhat shippable in 2015.

Karl Anderson, Doc Gallows, Yujiro Takahashi and Tama Tonga defeated Hiroyoshi Tenzan, Satoshi Kojima, Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi in 10:20 via pinfall:

Usual Bullet Club vs NJPW veterans match, Anderson, Tonga, Nagata and Kojima made this another fine match and in the end the BC Boys took out Mr Brick Wall Nakanishi. And that was that.

Matt Taven and Michael Bennett defeated Christopher Daniels and Frankie Kazarian in 10: 46 via pinfall:

This came close to some of the matches those two teams had in ROH, exept for the fact it didn’t have any real reason to happen here. Good pace, good back and forth action but could definitely have used some more crowd heat and energy. Which is probably the best way to sumerize The Addiction’s NJPW run.

Shinsuke Nakamura and Toru Yano defeated Bad Luck Fale and Cody Hall in 8:29 via pinfall:

This match only existed to put Nakamura on the card and to set up a CHAOS vs Bullet Club match at Wrestle Kingdom. Nakamura isn’t about to take unnecessary risks this close to WK so it was up to Yano and his antics to carry the match which he managed to do in somewhat amusing fashion. Inevitable Yano Low Blow sets up Hall for a Boma YĆ© and then Takahashi ran in to take out Nakamura which led to a three on one beat-down on Yano. This in turn sets up the aforementioned match where it will be Hall, Fale and Takahashi vs Yano and two mystery partners. Average match but fun angle.

Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Katsuyori Shibata and Michael Elgin defeated Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Kazushi Sakuraba and YOSHI-HASHI in 17:17 via pinfall:

Very good and entertaining match which should come as no surprise given many of the wrestlers involved are in contention for most (not WWE) end of year top 10 lists. Elgin continues to impress and has been nothing short of outstanding so far in NJPW. Add to that the fact he is super-over with the Japanese crowds and you will understand why NJPW decided to give him his big moment at WK 10 (against Jay Lethal for the ROH title but more on this later). Of course there were also Okada/Tanahashi moments and the crowd lapped those up. That WK 10 main event is gonna be something else and, interestingly, the crowd was firmly behind Okada here, which might give us a hint about how that match is gonna look like. And if all that wasn’t enough, Shibata, after delivering another excellent performance, scored the pin on NEVER Champion Ishii to set up HIS Wrestle Kingdom title match which is a move I couldn’t agree with more. Great stuff all around.

WTL Finals: Togi Makabe and Tomoaki Honma defeated Tetsuya Naito and EVIL in 21:36 via pinfall to win the 2015 World Tag League:

None of those two teams was really a clear favorite to win here which helped make this another very good match. Makabe was taken out with some dirty tactics which put Honma once again in the role of ultimate underdog he plays so well. To say the crowd was 200% behind GBH is actually an understatement, they popped for everything,g Honma did. Once Honma made the inevitable hot tag to Makabe all hell broke loose for Los Ingobernables as Makabe and Honmaa went absolutely crazy here while the crowd roared its approval. Doomsday Kokeshi got a huge pop, BUSHI’s green mist attempt was countered and Makabe hit the King Kong Knee Drop on EVILE, leaving Honma to nail the final top rope Kokeshi for the win. Great match with some excellent booking choices, having Honma pick up the win was clearly something the crowd wanted. Honma’s emotional reaction afterwards was a great touch and it was awesome to see how happy the crowd was for him.

 

While the tournament .in itself was somewhat underwhelming (the first few days aside), the final certainly delivered. Good to great matches, more build-up towards WK 10, good angles setting up interesting matches and a final that was amongst this year’s World Tag League best macthes, NJPW certainly hit all the boxes here. Very good show, check it out if you can.

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