12/9 NJPW “World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League 2022” results: Vetter’s review of Tetsuya Naito and Sanada vs. Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer, Aussie Open vs. Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toru Yano vs. Yujiro Takahashi and Evil, Yoshi-Hashi and Hirooki Goto vs. Gabiel Kidd and Alex Coughlin in World Tag League matches

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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League 2022”
December 9, 2022 in Kochi, Japan at Kochi Prefectural Gymnasium
Streamed live on New Japan World

NJPW is running both World Tag League and Super Junior Tag League tournaments simultaneously over 17 shows across a 24-day span. 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 #14 of 17 in the tournament. At the end of this event, each team will have completed eight tournament matches.

Just a reminder that Chase Owens has left Japan for a death in the family back in the United States, so he and Bad Luck Fale have forfeited their final five matches to finish at 2-7 (four points). This is another large gym, but there is seating in risers, and it appears fairly full. I’ll put this crowd in the 1,200-1,500 range. We again have Japanese-only commentary.

1. Bad Luck Fale defeated Yuto Nakashima at 4:02. Fale continues his quick domination of the Young Lions after Owens bowed out of the tournament. Just like in the other matches, he hit the Grenade/pop-up heart punch for the pin. What you’d expect here.

2. “United Empire” Great-O-Khan and Aaron Henare (8 points) defeated Ryohei Oiwa and Oskar Leube at 9:51. The United Empire picks up two points here from the Owens/Fale forfeit, so they improve to 4-4 entering the final day of tournament action on Sunday. O-Khan choked the Young Lions with his long braid, and he hit his Mongolian Chops. Leube hit his Hogan leg drop for a nearfall, and the kids were fairly competitive. Henare hit his football tackle/spear on Leube for the pin. Decent action.

3. Tomoaki Honma, Master Wato, Kevin Knight, and Kushida defeated “Bullet Club” Taiji Ishimori, Gedo, Ace Austin, and Chris Bey at 8:34. I have said this before, but I really like how they are rotating the roster for the non-tournament undercard matches. Gedo and Honma started. Bey and Austin took turns working over Honma. Wato finally made the hot tag at 5:30 and traded quicker offense with rival Ishimori. Ishimori hit his handspring-back-spin kick.

Knight made the hot tag at 7:00 and hit a flying shoulder tackle on Gedo. Ace and Bey again entered and hit some quick team moves on Knight. Knight hit his dropkick to Gedo’s face, then a jumping DDT to pin Gedo; I think that may be his first time scoring a pin in Japan. Kushida technically never entered the match.

4. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Shingo Takagi, Hiromu Takahashi, and Titan defeated Douki, El Desperado, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru at 9:45. Rivals Hiromu and Desperado charged at each other at the bell and traded forearm shots. The heels began working over Hiromu. Hiromu hit a dragon screw leg whip on Desperado at 5:00 and finally made the hot tag to Titan. Titan hit a springboard dropkick on Kanemaru, then a mid-ring dropkick on Douki.

Kanemaru hit a tornado DDT on Shingo. Douki hit a top-rope doublestomp on Shingo, then he applied the Douki Chokey triangle choke, but Shingo reached the ropes at 8:00. Shingo nailed a Pumping Bomber Clothesline on Douki for a nearfall, but his teammates made the save. Shingo nailed a standing powerbomb on Douki, then he applied a submission hold around the neck, and Douki quickly tapped out. I don’t know if I’ve seen Shingo use that finisher before.

5. Yoshi-Hoshi and Hirooki Goto (12) defeated Alex Coughlin and Gabriel Kidd (2) in a tournament match at 11:35. Goto and Kidd started and traded shoulder tackles, and Kidd hit a dropkick. Kidd hit a senton on Yoshi-Hoshi. Coughlin entered and hit his impressive gutwrench suplex on Yoshi-Hoshi, then a back suplex for a nearfall at 3:30. The youngsters beat up Yoshi-Hoshi on the floor.

Goto made the hot tag and brawled with Coughlin, and Goto hit a running bulldog for a nearfall at 6:30. Coughlin hit a running Death Valley Driver. Goto hit a short-arm clothesline on Kidd, and they were both down. Yoshi-Hoshi hit a standing neckbreaker on Kidd. Coughlin hit a fallaway slam on Yoshi-Hoshi. Goto hit his neckbreaker over his knee on Kidd. They then hit the Shoto team slam on Kidd for the pin. Goto and Yoshi-Hoshi are likely still in contention for one of the slots in the finals.

6. “The House of Torture” EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi (w/Sho, Dick Togo) (4) defeated Toru Yano and Hiroshi Tanahashi (8) in a tournament match at 8:34. The HoT attacked before the bell, and they worked over Hiroshi early on. Hiroshi hit a swinging neckbreaker on Yujiro, and he made the hot tag to Yano at 4:00. Yano immediately removed a corner pad and traded some cartoonish antics with Yujiro.

Tanahashi hit his second-rope summersault onto EVIL at 6:30, then a Dragonscrew Legwhip. Hiroshi applied a Texas Cloverleaf. The ref got bumped and Sho and Togo interfered. Yano jumped in and hit low blows on them. Hiroshi hit a sling blade clothesline on EVIL for a nearfall. Hiroshi hit a top-rope crossbody block on EVIL. He went for the High Fly Flow frogsplash, but EVIL got his knees up. Sho hit Hiroshi with his wrench, and EVIL immediately nailed the Everything is Evil uranage for the tainted pin.

7. “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls (12) defeated “Aussie Open” Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis (w/Gideon Grey) (14) in a tournament match at 14:21. NOTE that I have already given AO their two “forfeit points” ahead of Sunday’s round-robin finale. Nicholls and Davis opened, and Nicholls hit a delayed vertical suplex early on, showing off his power. The AO slammed their opponents’ backs into each other. Nicholls hit a DDT on Davis on the ring apron at 4:00. TMDK began working over Fletcher.

Davis finally made the hot tag at 8:00 and he hit a double clothesline. He hit a diving elbow in the corner on Haste, then his modified Angle Slam for a nearfall. TMDK hit a team superplex move out of the corner on Fletcher for a nearfall at 10:30. Fletcher hit his second-rope stunner for a nearfall. Everyone hit kicks and suddenly everybody was down.

TMDK hit a team faceplant move for a nearfall on Fletcher at 13:00. Davis accidentally cotheslined Fletcher! TMDK hit their team DDT move to pin Fletcher. I have consistently underestimated TMDK this entire tournament. Even with the loss, Aussie Open already had secured a slot in the finals with a 7-2 record (including their win via forfeit this Sunday.)

* With TMDK’s win, it officially eliminates Tanahashi/Yano and Henare/O-Khan.

8. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Tetsuya Naito and Sanada (12) defeated Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer (6) in a tournament match at 15:53. Archer and Suzuki attacked before the bell, and all four immediately brawled to the floor. Archer screamed at a six-year-old girl, who went hiding behind her parents. He dragged Sanada into the ring. Sanada hit a dropkick to the knee, then to the chest, to drop Archer. Archer hit a Pounce on Naito. Archer and Naito brawled to the floor and toward a wall, away from the ring. Archer slammed a chair across his back at 2:30.

Back at ringside, Archer whipped Naito into a guardrail. Sanada and Suzuki also were brawling on the floor, but the cameras mostly focused on Archer-Naito. In the ring, Suzuki began working over Naito, with a stiff kick to the back for a nearfall at 4:00. Archer missed a mid-ring splash, and Sanada made the hot tag; the ref missed it and ordered Sanada back to the ring apron, as the heels kept beating down Naito. Suzuki hit his overhand chops. Naito hit a basement dropkick on Archer’s left knee, and Sanada made the hot tag at 9:00.

Sanada also hit a basement dropkick on Archer’s knee. Sanada hit an impressive snap suplex on the big man, but he couldn’t tie him in the Paradise Lock. Archer hit his mid-ring crossbody block and he tagged in Suzuki. Naito entered and hit his swinging dropkick on Suzuki in the corner. Suzuki applied an anklelock in the middle of the ring on Naito, and Naito teased tapping out. Suzuki set up for the Gotch-style piledriver at 14:30, but Naito escaped. Sanada hit a back suplex, and Naito got a jackknife rollup for a believable nearfall. Naito then hit an awkward-looking Destino to pin Suzuki.

Final Thoughts: A decent show, but nothing really stood out as really good here. TMDK-AO earn best match, followed by the main event.

So, Aussie Open finishes 7-2 and is in the finals. Naito/Sanada and TMDK and Goto/Yoshi-Hoshi are all 6-2, but just one will advance to the finals.

Saturday preview: The final day of round-robin play for the Super Juniors features five teams tied at 6-2. I have said — since before the tournament began — that I anticipated tag champions TJP and Francesco Akira would NOT win the finals. Likewise, their most recent opponents, Titan and Bushi, shouldn’t win, as they just had their shot. Both teams are 6-2, and I expect them both to lose Saturday and be eliminated. Unfortunately, I think Alex Zayne and El Lindaman lose early in the show to also finish at 6-3, rather than create a three-way tie at 7-2. So, I am predicting the finals on Wednesday will feature Yoh and Lio Rush vs. Ace Austin and Chris Bey.

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