11/25 NJPW “World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League 2022” results: Vetter’s review of TJP and Francesco Akira vs. Bushi and Titan, Ace Austin and Chris Bey vs. Sho and Dick Togo, Douki and Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask, Ryusuke Taguchi and Clark Connors vs. El Lindaman and Alex Zayne, Lio Rush and Yoh vs. Kushida and Kevin Knight in World Tag League matches

By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

New Japan Pro Wrestling “World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League 2022”
November 25, 2022 in Gunma, Japan at Kiryu Civic Gymnasium
Streamed live on New Japan World

NJPW is running both the Super Junior and World Tag League simultaneously over 17 shows across a 24-day span. The 10 teams will compete in a round-robin format, so each team has nine matches, with the tournament winners earning a title shot at Wrestle Kingdom. Each win is worth two points. We have Japanese only commentary on this event.

This is a large gym, and the floor appears full, with seats in the risers fairly empty. I’ll put the crowd in the 600 to 1,000 range, on par with Wednesday’s show in a similar venue.

1. Togi Makabe, Ryohei Oiwa, and Kosei Fujita defeated Tomoaki Honma, Oskar Leube, and Yuto Nakashima at 8:03. Honma’s team worked over Fujita early on. Leube and Makabe traded hard forearm shots; it’s hard not to like Leube just for his size. Togi hit a top-rope kneedrop to the head to pin Leube. What you’d expect here.

2. Taiji Ishimori, Gedo, and Chase Owens defeated Master Wato, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and Jado at 9:31. Again, the storyline here is that Wato and Ishimori are two of the four competitors who will fight Jan. 4 for the juniors title, and they started against each other, then Jado and Gedo checked in at 1:00. Chase got in and the Bullet Club worked over Jado. Wato re-entered at 6:00 and traded quick reversals with Ishimori. Ishimori hit a handspring-back-spin kick. Tenzan tagged in for the first time at 7:30 and he hit some Mongolian Chops on Chase. Wow, he was really slow while running across the ring. Tenzan applied a CM Punk-style Anaconda Vice on the mat. Chase nailed a running knee to Tenzan’s jaw for the pin.

3. Hiromu Tanahashi, Sanada, and Shingo Takagi defeated Minoru Suzuki, Taichi, and Desperado via count-out at 8:52. I said this the other day, but I do like that NJPW is rotating roster members for these undercard matches, as we saw Lance Archer compete on Wednesday, and now Suzuki here. Taichi and Shingo are once again feuding over the KOPW trophy, while Desperado and Hiromu are also in that juniors four-way match on Jan. 4. All six brawled immediately, with three separate fights on the floor.

Finally in the ring, Desperado and Hiromu traded quick reversals at 2:00.  Sanada entered and hit a basement dropkick on Minoru’s knee. Suzuki applied a cross-armbreaker, and Sanada immediately dove for the ropes. They traded hard overhand slaps to the chest. They traded Mafia Kicks and both were down at 6:00. Shingo and Taichi got the hot tags and they brawled, with Shingo hitting a shoulder tackle. All six brawled again on the floor. Shingo hit a snap suplex on the floor and dove back in the ring before the 20-count. This paralleled what happed Wednesday.

4. Lio Rush and Yoh (4) defeated Kushida and Kevin Knight (2) in a tournament match at 10:43. Kushida and Yoh opened with mat reversals. Knight and Lio entered and they picked up the speed. Knight and Kushida worked together on twisting Lio’s left arm. Lio and Yoh then worked over Knight. Knight hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker over his knee on Yoh at 6:30. Kushida hit a handspring-back-elbow on Yoh. Kushida hit a basement dropkick to Lio’s face, then he applied a cross-armbreaker, and Lio shreiked in pain.

Lio nailed a spin kick to Kushida’s face for a nearfall at 9:00. Knight nailed his picture-perfect dropkick to Yoh’s face. Lio hit an Asai Moonsault on Kushida to the floor. Meanwhile in the ring, Yoh hit a superkick on Knight, and Lio immediately nailed his top-rope frogsplash to pin Knight. This was a tremendous match to open tournament action on this show.

5. El Lindaman and Alex Zayne (4) defeated Ryusuke Taguchi and Clark Connors (2) in a tournament match at 10:41. So far, Taguchi has avoided his stupid comedy bits in this tournament, so let’s hope that continues. Connors pounded a beer before the bell. Lindaman and Connors started. It was noted in the Best of Super Juniors tournament that Connors has to be the biggest of the juniors, and it’s evident here, as Lindaman is much, much smaller. Taguchi hit a running buttbump in the corner on Lindaman.

Zayne entered at 4:00 and hit a hard kick to Taguchi’s back. Zayne went for a sunset flip, and Taguchi pulled out the stupid humor, yanking down his pants to reveal his red underwear, and trying to sit on Zayne’s face. UGH. Taguchi hit his buttbump with his pants still around his thighs. Lindaman hit a T-Bone Suplex on Connors. Connors speared Lindaman. Taguchi missed a running buttbump on Zayne. Lindaman hit a German Suplelx on Taguchi, and Zayne got a jackknife cover for a believable nearfall at 9:00.

In some silliness, Connors lured Zayne away from the ring with tacos. Zayne ate on the floor his back to the ring, while Taguchi and Connors continued to beat up Lindaman in the ring. Zayne hopped back in the ring and pushed Connors’ face into Taguchi’s butt in the corner. Zayne then hit a flipping faceplant on Connors for the pin. Well, at least the right team won, but this match had really bad comedy.

6. Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask (4) defeated Douki and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (0) in a tournament match at 8:37. We see Hiromu Takahashi has joined the commentary team. Douki and Tiger Mask started. The heels beat up Tiger Mask on the floor early on. TM hit a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker on Douki on the floor at 4:30. Eagles made the hot tag and he dove through the ropes onto Kanemaru. Back in the ring, Eagles tied up Douki’s legs. Kanemaru hit a basement dropkick on Eagles’ knee at 7:00, and the heels took over.

Douki hit a double stomp to the chest on Eagles, then a plancha to the floor on Tiger Mask. Kanemaru hit a top-rope moonsault on Eagles for a nearfall. Eagles got a rollup out of nowhere to pin Kanemaru. Not that good, but I’m glad to see the boring Kanemaru start out 0-3.

7. “The Bullet Club” Ace Austin and Chris Bey (6) defeated “The House of Torture” Sho and Dick Togo (0) in a tournament match at 9:36. These squads are loosely-aligned heels, but the crowd is cheering the Bullet Club. They went to do the “too sweet” hand gesture together but Sho and Togo attacked instead. Ace hit a plancha to the floor on Sho. Sho and Togo began working over Bey, with Sho applying a cross-armbreaker at 3:30. Sho slammed Bey shoulder-first into the corner, and Bey sold pain in his left arm. Ace made the hot tag and hit a dropkick on Sho.

Sho tied Ace in a bow-and-arrow, then he applied a modified Triangle Choke. Bey accidentally bumped the referee at 8:00. Yujiro Takahashi and EVIL immediately hopped in the ring and they all beat up Bey, as they hit the Magic Killer swinging faceplant. Bey hit a spin kick to Togo’s head. Bey hit a flip dive over the top rope on all the heels. In the ring, Bey hit a stunner, and Austin followed it by hitting The Fold/flipping faceplant to pin Togo. Not really good, but once again, the right team won. I assume Sho and Togo will start winning some matches through cheating, and I presumed they were winning here for parity’s sake.

8. Bushi and Titan (4) defeated “United Empire” TJP and Francesco Akira (4) in a tournament match at 14:37. These two fought over the title just a month ago, with UE retaining. TJP and Titan opened. The UE both applied Tarantulas in the ropes at 2:30, and they worked over Bushi early on. TJP began trying to untie Bushi’s mask. Titan made the hot tag at 6:30 and hit a springboard dropkick, then a flip dive to the floor on both UE members. TJP hit a Tornado DDT out of the corner. Titan hit his own tornado DDT and they stood nose to nose, then traded stiff forearm shots. TJP leapt off the top rope and caught Titan for another DDT at 9:00.

TJP hit the Mamba Splash frogsplash for a nearfall, but Bushi made the save. Akira entered and hit a shotgun dropkick in the corner on Titan. Titan caught Akira with a kick to the jaw. Bushi hit a missile dropkick, then a DDT for a nearfalll on Akira at 11:30. Bushi nailed a Lungblower. Titan hit a missile dropkick for a nearfall. Titan jumped off the top rope, but TJP caught him with a superkick. The UE hit their team X-Factor faceplant on Bushi. Titan hit a springboard frogsplash on Akira for a believable nearfall at 14:00.

Titan dove through the ropes and barreled into TJP. In the ring, Akira hit a Dragon Suplex. Titan hit his double stomp to the back as Bushi held him in place, and Bushi made the cover on Akira for the pin. Really good match; TJP and Akira have delivered in the main event slot on three straight opportunities. Bushi spoke on the mic (in Japanese) after the win.

Final Thoughts: Two strong tournament matches to bookend the show, with three fairly mediocre ones in the middle. I have written in each review that I don’t expect junior tag champions TJP and Akira to win the tournament, so they needed to get a loss or two. With their loss here, it leaves just Ace Austin and Chris Bey at 3-0, but five more teams at 2-1.

While Kushida and Knight will likely finish 4-5 or 5-4, I predict that Kushida is never pinned. He’ll hit the big move in their wins, but Knight will wind up eating their losses, which makes sense. Likewise, I expect Tiger Mask to take the pins, not Robbie Eagles.

I don’t mind that we have two teams at 0-3, and it would be nice for New Japan to break from typical booking and let them finish at 2-7 or even 1-8. The House of Torture is just so cold, and neither Sho and Togo, nor Yujiro and EVIL, have won a match after four shows.

The World Tag League (the heavyweights) are back in action Saturday, then the two tournaments will combine for a huge show on Sunday with 10 matches on that event.

SPECIAL EPISODE

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