Sunday, November 15, 2020

NJPW: World Tag League/Best of Super Juniors 2020 Night One Review - November 15th, 2020

NJPW World Tag League/BOSJ Night One Double Header 
November 15th, 2020 

The pandemic set everything back a few months so New Japan is combining the World Tag League and Best of the Super Juniors into one tour and in smaller blocks. This is one of the few joint shows with both tournaments hosting matches on the same event and is the kickoff event for both.

1) Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (CHAOS) vs. Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens (Bullet Club) - World Tag League Tournament Match 

It’s been a whiiiiile since we’ve seen Fale & Owens and I can’t say I’ve necessarily missed them. Owens pie faces Ishii to start and gets knocked on his ass before the classic bullet club tactics allow he & Fale to isolate the stone pitbull. Ishii fires back and throws Owens with a suplex and gets Yano in. Yano & Fale work for a bit. We get a clever bit for the finish with Owens going to break up a pin, Yano moving and then jumping on top of both Owens & Fale for a quick three count. This was exactly what it should have been because if this had gone much longer it probably would’ve been a huge stinker, but for what it is here, it’s harmless. 

Match rating - **

Fale destroys Yano post match. 

2) Master Wato (w/ Hiryoshi Tenzan) vs. Yuya Uemura - Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match

Uemura is getting the opportunity of a lifetime here as he’s the replacement for an injured Yoshinobu Kanemaru. The young lion charges Wato at the bell and locks him into the Boston crab in the middle of the ring to a huge reaction from the crowd as it looks like he may have stunned Wato and be able to clench a victory. Wato eventually gets the ropes but that was a strong start to this match. It’s not long before Wato regains control and hits Uemura with a nasty couple of moves to get the pin. Lord that was brutal. Another extremely short undercard match, but this definitely made the absolute most of its time! 

Match rating - **1/4 

3) Great O Khan & Jeff Cobb (EMPIRE) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare - World Tag League Tournament Match 

Jeff Cobb was a mystery partner for Khan as it was advertised as Khan and “X” representing Will Ospreay’s new stable The Empire in this tournament so it got a nice pop from the fans and commentators alike when Cobb walked out. Cobb & Khan charge Tanahashi & Henare before the bell and this thing gets underway. Henare looks awesome in the early going, but gets thrown to Cobb and eats a tour of the islands followed by the pin. This didn’t last no time. They just threw Tana to the floor and ate the rookie for breakfast. Good way to establish the dominance of the new team of Cobb & Khan. 

Match rating - **1/4

Cobb & Khan assault Tana after the match. Empire on top I guuuuuess. 

4) Robbie Eagles vs. DOUKI - Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match 

ROBBIE!!! Eagles is the only non Japanese competitor in the tournament this year and that definitely says something for where he stands with NJPW. His entrance feels big and he gets a warm reception. DOUKI charges him before the bell (that seems to be a trend tonight), but Eagles goes nuts and flies around and drops DOUKI with a head scissors, a leg lariat then a big dive to the floor. DOUKI hits a neck breaker on the floor using a bat to gain the advantage and he works Eagles over for a little bit. Eagles fights back and seems to have a target on the leg as he hits a flying drop kick to the leg. They do an awesome spot where Eagles goes for a 450 and gets caught in an arm breaker from DOUKI not to mention a sick lariat exchange that left us with a stalemate. Turns out the 450 miss and leg work all led us to the finish where Eagles hits the 450 on the leg and locks him in a submission immediately out of it that forces DOUKI to tap. This is the first match that got time to develop tonight and it was well worth it. 

Match rating - ***1/4

5) Zack Sabre Jr & Taichi (Suzuki-gun) vs. Hirooki Goto & YOSHI HASHI (CHAOS) - World Tag League Tournament Match 

This one is pretty highly anticipated, at least for me. These four were all involved in a great 6 man tag for the NEVER titles on the Road to Power Struggle Night One event. Plus, it’s IWGP Heavyweight Tag Champs vs. two thirds of the NEVER Openweight Six Man Tag Champs. Goto gets isolated early and the Dangerous Tekkers do what they do best which is working this formula and keeping Goto away from Yoshi and a tag to save the match. Though, eventually, the hot tag is made and Yoshi LAYS into Taichi for a minute or two. Sabre is in and they have a heated exchange. Things really break down at this point and it rules. Sabre & Taichi being the sneaky, cheap heels they are manage to find an opening as Goto & Yoshi are about to hit their finisher and Taichi chokes Goto in the corner as Sabre catches Yoshi in a pinning combo for the three count. Another good match involving all these guys and this just makes you wanna see Goto & Yoshi Hashi finally get a win over Sabre & Taichi even more.

Match rating - ***1/4 


6) BUSHI vs. SHO - Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match 

It’s been a minute since we’ve seen Sho since his Roppongi 3k partner Yoh has been injured so I’m pretty stoked on this. Sho had an amazing showing in last year’s BOSJ particularly in his match against Shingo Takagi that got a lot of well deserved high praise. This match is pretty fast paced from the start and both guys trying to one up the other. It never quite kicks into that next level though, but the finishing sequences are pretty great. SHO wins with the package piledriver! 

Match rating - **3/4

7) SANADA & Shingo Takagi (LIJ) vs. EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi (w/ Dick Togo) (BULLET CLUB) - World Tag League Tournament Match 

BC jumps SANADA & Shingo at the bell. They soon regret it as Shingo whoops their ass for a second. SANADA gets in and the BC boys are able to isolate him for a little bit. Shingo gets the hot tag and RULES it like usual. I didn’t realize it at first, but this kinda has a lot of backstory as it’s LIJ against EVIL, former LIJ member and traitor. Plus, EVIL and SANADA used to be tag partners so there’s a good bit of history here. This doesn’t develop into anything that deep though. And it’s the usual BC cheap own garbage. EVIL hits a low blow on pins SANADA with darkness falls. 

Match rating - **1/4 

8) El Desperado vs. Ryusuke Taguchi - Best of the Super Junior Tournament Match 

Fun fact, Desperado’s first ever NJPW match came against Taguchi back in 2012 where he lost. I didn’t expect this to have much history behind it, but that just shows I am not the New Japan facts master by any means. Taguchi has been a mainstay in the junior division for a good ten years or so and is a former junior champion. I admittedly am not super into either guy so it took a minute for me to get into this but they did a good job of making me get invested especially in the final minute or two. Couple of great near falls and exchanges. They trade cradles and next thing you know Taguchi grabs the pin. Crowd was hot for Taguchi like always and made this pretty fun especially around the finish. 

Match rating - **3/4 

9) Juice Robinson & David Finlay vs. Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)(w/ Jado)  (BULLET CLUB) - World Tag Team Title Tournament Match 

There’s some hype around this one due to the past matches they’ve had. Those of which I haven’t seen but will going back to watch very soon. GoD is normally super hit or miss so I’m interested to see how this goes down. FinJuice won last year’s tournament which I didn’t watch much of so they will be fresh to me as a team. This was honestly action packed the entire time with there never really being a dull moment. They did a lot of sick stuff, and you can tell these two teams have an undeniable chemistry as not many people are able to pull this fun of a match out of GoD. Not to shit on them because I love the characters and visual of them I can just count on one hand the amount of memorable matches they’ve had. None the less, solid stuff here with a really cool finish from FinJuice who take the victory! 

Match rating - ***

10) Taiji Ishimori vs. Hiromu Takahashi - Best of the Super Juniors Tournament Match 

These two are undoubtedly the aces of this year's tournament. Ishimori is the current junior heavyweight champion and Hiromu is... Hiromu. An actual insane person. After a solid show with no real outright bad matches, this show needed that boost. It needed that next level main event and this was it. Just absolutely brutal and full of moments that will make you gasp. These two had a classic in the BOSJ finals in 2018 and a good, albeit underwhelming one back in August (for me), but this one was back on part with the level of competition you'd expect from them. 

Ishimori hit one of the most nasty looking piledriver on the apron spots on Takahashi that almost made me jump out of my seat. Moments later Takahashi returns the favor with a michinoku driver of sorts to Ishimori ON THE FLOOR. These two men laid it all out on the line and set the bar for what this tournament is gonna be about and I am excited for all of their upcoming matches. Lots of stiff chops, lariats, and throws. Ishimori even locked in a crossface type hold that seemed to be coming close to drawing a submission out of Hiromu. HOWEVER, Hiromu would not die and fired back tenfold and gets the huge victory over the champion on Night One of the tournament. Hiromu to win the whole thing PLEASeEE. He missed last year's tournament due to injury so it would be such a sweet victory.

Match rating - ****

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