It’s time for the most overlooked tournament in the calendar year for NJPW. They rarely put much focus on the tag team division in the company, but World Tag League always comes. 10 teams enter the mix, a few steady units, some factions thrown together, and a chance for anyone to shine. There is no TenKoji or Great Bash Heel this year due to a smaller field, but it should be a great tournament even without any NJPW dads.
World Tag League 2020 Match: Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii vs. Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens
Bad Luck Fale is back in NJPW for World Tag League, and Toru Yano will once again look to slay a giant using his playbook of tricks. Ishii will look to simply smash the giant, and is historically a very great partner for Yano, them being former champions. Chase Owens rounds this one out with his technical skills, and it will kick off World Tag League with a bang!
While in the G1, Yano had no-one to bring serious edge, fans were quickly reminded that Ishii balances him out perfectly. This match was equal parts hard hitting and comedic. Yano worked to get Bad Luck Fale off his game, while Ishii & Owens did the bulk of the actual wrestling in the match.
In the end, Ishii would shove Fale down as he tried to scoop slam Yano, Yano landing in a pin. Owens jumped in to break the pin, Yano dodged and then used the extra weight of Owens to pin Fale. A fun, light hearted opening match for this tournament. Yano & Ishii gain their first two points.
Match Rating: 2.5/5 (** ½)
World Tag League 2020 Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toa Henare vs. Great O-Khan & X
With Kota Ibushi getting ready for the Tokyo Dome already, Hiroshi Tanahashi has turned to the hard hitting Toa Henare for a partner. They will face Great O-Khan of The Empire, but they don’t know who Will Ospreay has gotten for his partner until they come to the ring. Turns out, Jeff Cobb has joined The Empire, something few saw coming.
Khan & Cobb quickly established themselves here as a powerhouse duo to be feared. They’d take Tanahashi out, Henare tried to make the save, and was dropped with an easy Tour of The Islands. This was less a match, more of a statement being sent. Fear The Empire, and their two points.
After the match, they would look to injure the leg of Tanahashi, potentially taking him out of the tournament with a chair shot.
Match Rating: 1/5 (*)
World Tag League 2020 Match: YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto vs. Dangerous Tekkers (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi)
YOSHI-HASHI has had an incredible year performance wise, even winning his first championship. Alongside Goto, he took the reigning IWGP Tag Team Champions to their limits, but fell short. Now they have another chance, can he & Goto notch a win over Dangerous Tekkers?
This was another great performance from YOSHI-HASHI, and it’s very possible that by the end of this tournament, he and Goto are a top team. Tonight though, just when everything was going their way, HASHI would be caught with his eyes on Taichi when ZSJ was legal. One rollup and three seconds later, and this one ended just as it was getting moving.
Never bet against Dangerous Tekkers, as they gained their first two points of what should be a dominant tournament for them.
Match Rating: 3.25/5 (*** 1/4)
World Tag League 2020 Match: Shingo Takagi & SANADA vs. EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi
Are you sick of Los Ingobernables members having to deal with their defector EVIL yet? No? Good, because here’s one last go of it. EVIL & SANADA are usually a default team for this tournament, so seeing them across the ring from each other will be interesting. Add in Shingo, and this could be an interested part of a tired feud.
This was exactly what everyone expected. EVIL would brawl and cheat, SANADA put on a great performance, Shingo smashed things with lariats, and Yujiro played the role of EVIL’s partner. It went a bit longer than needed, but told a good story all things considered. In the end, SANADA took his eyes off EVIL to try and finish off Yujiro, got hit with a low blow into the STO, EVIL getting his team their first two points.
Match Rating: 3/5 (***)
World Tag League 2020 Match: FinJuice (David Finlay Jr. & Juice Robinson) vs. Guerillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa)
FinJuice are the defending champions of the World Tag League, but history is not on their side in their first match. G.O.D have a 5-1 record over FinJuice, the only blemish being back at Wrestle Kingdom when FinJuice won their first IWGP Tag Team Championships.
While other teams in this tournament will gel by the end, this was the only match on the card fought between two well established tag teams and it absolutely showed. Both teams had chemistry to spare, and the quality of the in-ring action was well above all over WTL matches on this night.
It’s nice to have Guerillas of Destiny back in Japan, as their time away makes it easier to appreciate just how good they are. This was an excellent back and forth tag team match, full of near falls and tag team moves, ending with FinJuice nailing a Doomsday Device to pick up their first two points.
Match Rating: 4.25/5 (**** ¼)
What was your favorite match from the tournament tonight? Let us know what you think in the comment section down below.