12/2 NJPW “World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League 2022” results: Vetter’s review of Aussie Open vs. Tetsuya Naito and Sanada, TJP and Francesco Akira vs. Clark Connors and Ryusuke Taguchi, Titan and Bushi vs. El Lindaman and Alex Zayne, Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer vs. Mikey Nicholls and Shane Haste, Chris Bey and Ace Austin vs. Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask

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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League 2022”
December 2, 2022 in Osaka, Japan at Municipal Central Gymnasium
Streamed live on New Japan World

NJPW is running both tag team tournaments simultaneously over 17 shows across a 24-day span. However, this is just the second (and final) “super-show,” where all teams from both tournaments will compete. This is 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.

This is overall show #9 of 17 in the tournament, as we have topped the half-way point. Just for clarification, at the end of this event, the Super Juniors will have completed 6 matches each, while the World Tag League will have completed five matches each.

The big news before we begin is that Chase Owens has withdrawn from the tournament, as he is returning to the U.S. due to a death in the family. Owens and Bad Luck Fale were 2-2, and I presume were going to finish 4-5, and certainly no better than 5-4. So, “The Bullet Club” will instead be forfeiting their remaining matches and finish at 2-7.

This is a larger venue, and the lights are low. We have Japanese-only commentary. I want to point out we have five Super Junior teams that are 4-1, and none of them have lost to the lower-tier five teams, as NJPW has really separated them.

1. Douki and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (2) defeated Kushida and Kevin Knight (2) in a Super Junior tournament match at 8:00 even. Both teams brawled on the floor early on. Douki and Kushida hit simultaneous crossbody blocks and were both down at 5:00. Knight made the hot tag and brawled with Kanemaru. Knight went for a frogsplash, but Kanemaru got his knees up. Kanemaru hit a brainbuster to pin Knight. Both teams are now 1-5 and are eliminated.

2. Toru Yano and Hiroshi Tanahashi (6) defeated Gabriel Kidd and Alex Coughlin (0) in a World Tag League tournament match at 6:07. Kidd and Coughlin, the recent Young Lion grads, have been entertaining but winless; they attacked at the bell. They worked over Tanahashi. Kidd missed a moonsault at 5:00, and Tanahashi immediately hit a Sling Blade clothesline for a nearfall. Tanahashi hit a plancha to the floor, then the High Fly Flow frogsplash to pin Kidd. Short, solid, to the point.

3. “House of Torture” Sho and Dick Togo (2) defeated Yoh and Lio Rush (8) in a Super Junior tournament match at 3:05. I am now on ‘upset alert,’ as HoT is the last winless team, and Sho and Yoh have a rivalry going back two years now. HoT, with Yujiro Takahashi, attacked Yoh and Lio before they got in the ring. (I start my stopwatch at first contact or the bell, whichever is first.) Togo and Sho dragged Yoh into the ring and stomped on him. Yoh hit a high knee on Togo, and they hit their modified Big Rig on Togo, but we had no referee! He had been beat down on the floor. EVIL dragged a new referee to the ring, and the bell officially rang about 3:00 minutes in. Sho hit a package piledriver to pin Yoh. Yes, this match was officially about 10 seconds.

4. “United Empire” Great-O-Khan and Aaron Henare (w/Gideon Grey) (6) defeated “House of Torture” EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi (w/Sho & Dick Togo) (0) in a World Tag League tournament match at 10:07. The HoT attacked from behind and they all brawled on the floor, and they worked over Henare in the ring. (This is essentially heel-heel, as Henare just doesn’t draw crowd sympathy during this extended beat-down.) GOK tagged in at 3:30 and he hit his Mongolian Chops on EVIL, and he applied an Anaconda Vice move on the mat.

Great-O-Khan hit a Mafia Kick on Yujiro at 5:30 and he tagged Henare back in. Henare hit his Sheamus-style blows to the chest as Yujiro was tied in the ropes. Yujiro hit a fisherman’s suplex for a nearfall. Henare hit a Blue Thunder Bomb for a nearfall, and he applied the Full Nelson. Sho distracted the referee, and Yujiro hit a low blow to escape. All four HoT members beat down Henare. Gideon hopped in the ring and hit a low blow punt kick on Yujiro. Henare hit a low blow uppercut on EVIL. Henare then hit a Death Valley Driver to pin Yujiro, and keep the HoT winless, while the UE move to 3-2.

5. “The Bullet Club” Ace Austin and Chris Bey (10) defeated Tiger Mask and Robbie Eagles (4) in a Super Junior tournament match at 9:25. Ace and Eagles started, then Bey battled Tiger Mask. Eagles hit a Tornado DDT at 4:30; this has been quick in-and-out tags by both teams. Eagles hit a mid-ring Sliced Bread on Bey and tagged in TM. Tiger Mask hit a top-rope Tiger Suplex, then a Tiger Bomb on Bey at 7:00.

Bey hit a stunner to the floor on Eagles. Tiger Mask got a rollup in the ring for a believable nearfall on Austin, and he cranked on Ace’s arm. They hit simultaneous spin kicks to the head. Ace hit The Fold/spinning faceplant out of nowhere for the pin. I really liked this; they just kept going. So often, matches have a slow build to a hot tag spot, and this match broke from that pattern. At 5-1, the Bullet Club remains in first place; we’ll see if anyone else joins them at that mark.

6. “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls (8) defeated Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer (6) in a World Tag League tournament match at 1:48. These teams are tied in second place at 3-1. Archer and Suzuki attacked before the bell, and all four immediately brawled to the floor. Nicholls hit a plancha to the floor on Archer. Meanwhile, in the ring, Suzuki and Haste brawled, and Suzuki went for a Gotch-style piledriver, but Haste escaped. Haste rolled up Suzuki and scored the surprising pin out of nowhere! Haste and Nicholls bolted to the back, while Archer and Suzuki fumed in the ring.

7. El Lindaman and Alex Zayne (10) defeated “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Bushi and Titan (8) in a Super Junior tournament match at 9:27. Both teams are 4-1 and tied for first place entering the show; one will keep pace with Bey and Austin. Lindaman and Titan opened with some quick lucha reversals. Zayne entered and hit a dropkick on Bushi at 2:00. LIJ began working over Lindaman, with Bushi applying a leglock around Lindaman’s head. Zayne made the hot tag at 5:30, and he hit his summersault kick to the back of the head on both LIJ members.

Zayne hit his Frankensteiner out of the corner. Titan nailed a springboard dive to the floor on both opponents at 7:30. LIJ began working over Zayne in the ring. LIndaman hit an Exploder Suplex on Titan, then a German Suplex on Bushi for a nearfall. LIndaman nailed a flip dive to the floor on Titan. In the ring, Zayne hit a pumphandle sit-out powerbomb on Bushi for the clean pin. That was really good, too.

8. “United Empire” TJP and Francesco Akira (10) defeated Ryusuke Taguchi and Clark Connors (4) in a Super Junior tournament match at 11:44. TJP and Connors started. Akira hit a plancha to the floor. TJP tied up Connors’ legs in the ring. The UE kept working over Connors, as Taguchi held out a can of beer, trying to hand it to his partner. Akira hit a Doomsday senton at 5:30. Connors nailed a spear on TJP and he finally made the hot tag.

Tagichi and Akira traded offense, with Taguchi hitting his butt-bump. In typical sophomoric Taguchi comedy, he pulled down his green pants to reveal his red underwear, and he sat down on TJP’s face for a nearfall. Connors then pulled down his trunks to reveal he also is wearing red underwear. They hit front-and-back buttbumps on TJP for a believable nearfall, but Akira made the save at 10:00.

Connors and TJP traded forearm shots, and Connors hit a powerslam. Akira hit a top-rope doublestomp to Connors’ chest for a nearfall. UE hit their team X-Factor faceplant on Taguchi then their front-and-back running kicks to Connors’ head to pin him. I can do without the eye-rolling comedy, but at least the right team won.

9. Yoshi-Hoshi and Hirooki Goto (6) defeated Chase Owens and Bad Luck Fale (4) in a World Tag League tournament match via forfeit. I put this here just to display point totals of everyone in the tournament. Goto and Yoshi-Hoshi improve to 3-2 to stay in the hunt.

10. “Los Ingobernobles de Japan” Tetsuya Naito and Sanada (6) defeated “Aussie Open” Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher (8) in a World Tag League tournament match at 20:22. AO is the last undefeated team at 4-0. Davis and Sanada opened with intense standing reversals. Davis hit a senton on Naito at 2:30. Sanada tagged in and hit a dropkick on Fletcher. Sanada tied Fletcher in the Paradise Lock and he kicked him in the butt to free Kyle. AO picked up their opponents and rammed their backs into each other at 7:00.

AO began working over Sanada, with Davis hitting another senton. Sanada hit a suplex on Fletcher, and he made the hot tag to Naito at 9:30. Naito hit a basement dropkick on Davis’ left knee, then a Rude Awakening standing neckbreaker on Fletcher for a nearfall. Naito applied a headscissorslock on Fletcher, but Kyle reached the ropes at 11:30. Fletcher fired back with a half-nelson suplex, and they were both down. The crowd was really hot. Davis tagged in and nailed some stiff chops on Naito. Naito hit a tornado DDT.

Sanada and Naito hit simultaneous kicks to Davis, with Sanada getting a nearfall at 14:00. AO began working over Sanada. Sanada locked in a Dragon Sleeper and did an ariplane spin on Fletcher, but he missed a moonsault. Fletcher immediately hit a tombstone piledriver for a nearfall, but Naito made the save at 16:30. Davis accidentally clotheslined Fletcher! Naito made the hot tag and he hit an enziguri on Davis then a second-rope Blockbuster.

AO went for the Korealis swinging faceplant, but Naito escaped. Sanada hit a plancha to the floor on Davis. Fletcher and Naito traded kicks in the ring. Naito hit a Tornado DDT, then a mid-ring Destino for the pin. The last undefeated has fallen! Naito spoke to the crowd.

Final Thoughts: No surprise, that main event was really, really good and best of the show. I anticipated Naito and Sanada winning here, largely because I couldn’t imagine them falling to 2-3 and behind six other teams. Ace and Bey’s win was second-best, with Lindaman/Zayne’s match earning third best.

So, TMDK and Aussie Open are now tied for first place at 4-1 (eight points), with five other teams in the hunt at 3-2 (six points.) That leaves Owens & Fale, EVIL & Yujiro, and Coughlin & Kidd, who are all eliminated. On the Super Junior side, tag champs Akira & TJP are at 5-1 (10 points), and are joined in first place by Bey/Austin and Zayne/Lindaman. With their losses here, Lio Rush/Yoh and Bushi/Titan are still in the hunt at 4-2 (eight points). Realistically, the other five teams are eliminated or pretty close to it.

Just like the last ‘super-show,’ we had more shorter matches, including a couple that clocked in at under four minutes. So, with the cancellation of the Bullet Club match as well, the show clocked in at two-and-a-half hours. No rest for the wicked, as the World Tag League is back in action Saturday and the Super Junior Tag League returns Sunday.


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