12/10 NJPW “World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League 2022” results: Vetter’s review of Chris Bey and Ace Austin vs. TJP and Francesco Akira, Lio Rush and Yoh vs. Bushi and Titan, El Lindaman and Alex Zayne vs. Douki and Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Clark Connors and Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Dick Togo and Sho, Kevin Knight and Kushida vs. Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask in Super Jr. Tag League matches

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

New Japan Pro Wrestling “World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League 2022”
December 10, 2022 in Ehime, Japan at Uwajima City Overall 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 #15 of 17 in the tournament. At the end of this event, each team will have concluded all nine tournament matches, with the top two point-getters headed to the finals on Wednesday.

The quick summary as we head into the show is we have a top tier of five teams all at 6-2. I know there are tie-breakers, but I presume that three of these teams lose today, leaving just two at 7-2.

This is another gym, with most seats on the floor, and just six or so rows in the upper deck. Once again I’ll put the crowd in the 800-1,000 range.

1. Kosei Fujita and Ryohei Oiwa defeated Oskar Leube and Yuto Nakashima at 7:50. I admittedly don’t care for these never-ending matches where the Young Lions face each other, as they stick to basics and fundamentals. Fujita applied a Boston Crab, and Yuto tapped out.

2. Lance Archer, Minoru Suzuki, and El Desperado defeated Tomoaki Honma, Yoshi-Hoshi, and Master Wato at 9:10. Yoshi-Hoshi and Suzuki traded stiff forearm shots early on, and Suzuki applied a cross-armbreaker in the ropes. Meanwhile, Archer and Honma were brawling on the floor, and Archer again screamed at kids and terrified them. In the ring, Suzuki-Gun were working over Yoshi-Hoshi, with Archer making the cocky one-foot cover at 4:00 for a nearfall. Wato made the hot tag and traded offense with rival Desperado, with Wato laying in some Yes Kicks. Desperado hit a back suplex, and they were both down at 6:30.

Archer and Honma entered, and Honma hit some chops that had little effect. He tried a bodyslam but he couldn’t budge Archer, so Archer hit his own bodyslam. Yoshi-Hoshi hit a flipping slam to knock Archer down, and Honma hit his Kokeshi falling headbutt on Archer. Honma went for a move off the second rope, but Archer hit a punch to the face. Archer applied a claw to the head, slammed Honma’s head repeatedly on the mat, and scored the pin. Good, fast-paced match.

3. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Hiromu Takahashi, Shingo Takagi, and Tetsuya Naito defeated “Bullet Club” Taiji Ishimori, Bad Luck Fale, and Gedo at 9:17. Rivals Hiromu and Ishimori started and charged at each other at the bell. The BC began working over Hiromu in their corner. Fale stood on Hiromu’s stomach at 2:30. Hiromu hit a Falcon Arrow on Ishimori and he made the tag to Shingo at 5:30. Shingo and Fale immediately traded shoulder tackles with neither man budging, until Shingo finally dropped him with a third one.

Gedo entered, but Shingo dropped him with a DDT. Naito entered at 7:00, and he hit his swinging dropkick in the corner. Fale hit a running Stinger Splash on Naito, and Gedo got a nearfall. Gedo got brass knuckles from the corner, but Hiromu caught Gedo with a superkick before he could use them. Naito hit an enziguri, Shingo hit the Pumping Bomber clothesline, and Naito got the jackknife rollup to pin Gedo. Fun sequence, and a good undercard match.

4. Kushida and Kevin Knight (4) defeated Robbie Eagles and Tiger Mask (4) in a tournament match at 11:22. A disappointing tournament for both teams. Kushida and Eagles started with standing reversals. Knight hit a plancha to the floor on Eagles at 2:30. In the ring, Eagles hit a nice dropkick on Knight, and they worked Knight over. Kushida made the hot tag and hit a mid-ring crossbody block on Eagles, and they traded stiff forearms and kicks.

Tiger Mask and Knight traded offense. Knight got a backslide for a nearfall at 9:00. Tiger Mask applied an arm submission hold, cranking back on it; Kushida finally made the save. Kushida hit a handspring-back-elbow on Tiger Mask. Knight hit his picture-perfect dropkick to Tiger Mask’s face, then a jumping DDT to score the pin. Knight celebrated getting a pinfall for the second straight day! A nice feel-good moment to end the tournament for this team.

5. “House of Torture” Sho and Dick Togo (4) defeated Ryusuke Taguchi and Clark Connors (6) in a tournament match at 13:12. The HoT attacked before the bell and threw Connors’ beers. The usual juvenile humor of Connors getting his face shoved into Taguchi’s butt. Sho and Connors brawled onto a stage far from ringside. Back in the ring, the HoT worked over Connors. Connors hit a spear on Sho at 5:30 and tagged in Taguchi.

Taguchi hit his flying mid-ring buttbump on Togo, then the Three Amigos rolling suplexes for a nearfall. The HoT began working over Taguchi in their corner. EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi sauntered to ringside at 8:30 as the ref got bumped. All four HoT put the boots to Taguchi in the ring. Connors made the save and brawled with the heels. Taguchi got to his feet but was stumbling. He hit some drunken-fist style silly offense, and the crowd enjoyed this.

Taguchi and Connors yanked down their pants to reveal their red underwear. They then yanked down the back of their underwear and sat bare-butt on their opponents’ faces and got nearfalls. (The camera is focused on the ropes, so you don’t get any nudity. However, it caused me to miss the finish. Sho scored the pin on Taguchi. I never enjoy Taguchi’s comedy, but the crowd seemed happy with the match.

6. Douki and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (8) defeated Alex Zayne and El Lindaman (12) in a tournament match at 10:14. I am expecting the heels to win here, and they attacked at the bell. Lindaman hit a dropkick on Douki. Kanemaru hit a DDT on the floor on Lindaman. In the ring, the heels worked Lindaman over. Zayne finally made the hot tag at 4:30 and he hit a clothesline on Kanemaru, then his summersault kick to the back of Kanemaru’s neck. Zayne hit his jump-up huracanrana out of the corner (he didn’t quite get all of it.)

Lindaman entered and hit a DDT on Douki for a nearfall at 7:30. Kanemaru hit a Mafia Kick on Lindaman. Zayne hit a superkick on Douki; Lindaman hit a German Suplex for a nearfall. Douki applied the Douki Chokey triangle choke. Kanemaru hit a tornado DDT on Zayne. Douki got a cool backslide move for a nearfall, then a Dragon Suplex with a high bridge to pin Lindaman. Good match. I called this one correctly, as it eliminates Zayne and Lindaman, and it means the winners of the final two matches advance to the finals on Wednesday.

7. Lio Rush and Yoh (14) defeated “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Titan and Bushi (12) in a tournament match at 12:16. Rush and Bushi started. Titan entered and he and Rush traded quick reversals. Yoh dropped Lio stomach-first onto Titan for a nearfall at 2:30. LIJ began working over Yoh. Bushi applied an STF, but Yoh reached the ropes. Lio finally made the hot tag at 6:00 and he hit his spin kicks on Titan. Lio hit an impressive second-rope Asai moonsault to the floor on the LIJ members. In the ring, Lio hit a Spanish Fly for a nearfall at 8:30. They set up for their modified Big Rig, but Titan avoided it.

Titan hit a flip dive to the floor to take out both Rush and Yoh. Bushi hit a Lungblower on Lio; Titan set up for his doublestomp finisher but Yoh cut him off. Lio hit his stunner out of the ropes for a nearfall. Lio set up for a frogsplash but Bushi moved. Yoh caught Bushi with a superkick at 12:00. Yoh hit a neckbreaker over his knee. Lio nailed the frogsplash to pin Bushi, and they have advanced to the finals. Really good match as both teams blocked each others finishers as they went.

8. “Bullet Club” Ace Austin and Chris Bey (14) defeated “United Empire” TJP and Francesco Akira (w/Gideon Grey) (12) in a tournament match at 14:50. Ace and Akira started, with Akira hitting some quick moves, so Ace bailed and regrouped. TJP and Bey entered at 1:30 and traded quick reversals. The BC began working over Akira. Ace hit a gut-wrench suplex at 5:00. They hit their moonsault-and-legdrop combo for a nearfall. Akira nearly made the hot tag, but TJP was yanked off the ring apron, and the BC continued the beatdown.

TJP finally got the hot tag at 7:30 and he hit a springboard forearm, then a tornado DDT for a nearfall on Ace. He hit a running knee in the corner. UE hit their team X-Factor faceplant for a nearfall. Austin hit his punt kick on TJP from the ring apron. Akira nailed a dive to the floor. TJP hit a Mamba Splash on Ace as Austin was lying on the top rope, and he got a nearfall at 10:00. Akira hit a half-nelson suplex, then a German Suplex. Suddenly, all four were down.

TJP and Bey traded stiff forearm shots. Akira and TJP hit superkicks on Bey. Bey nailed a modified Death Valley Driver on TJP for a nearfall. Ace hit a Pedigree for a nearfall. TJP got a nice Crucifix takedown for a believable nearfall on Bey at 13:00. Akira hit a second-rope missile dropkick, then a swinging neckbreaker for a nearfall. UE set  up for their front-and-back kicks, but Bey ducked it. Ace nailed The Fold, then a Fosbury Flop to the floor. Bey hit a mid-ring Small Package Driver to pin Akira. (Seth Rollins used to use that as a finisher when he was Tyler Black.) Fantastic match, just fantastic.

Yoh and Lio Rush walked down the ramp. Ace and Bey yelled angrily at them, saying this was their main event slot and they earned the right to talk. They stood nose-to-nose in the ring and jawed. They began to shove each other and needed to be separated. Lio and Yoh left. Ace got on the mic and said: “I am going to tell you right now why they call me the inevitable. It’s because of what you just saw right there, when we pinned the IWGP junior tag team champions.”  He continued by saying they will win on Wednesday. Bey got on the mic and said, “Lio, you got lucky in the past, when you beat Ace Austin and Chris Bey. When the lights are on bright, we will run the night and lead the fight.”

Final Thoughts: My review a day ago called everything correctly, that Zayne and Lindaman would lose to avoid the messy three-way tie and tiebreaker scenarios. I have wrote throughout the tournament that the champions (Akira and TJP) and their most recent challengers (Titan and Bushi) should not win, so the winners of the final two matches made total sense.

This was a fantastic tournament. It really paid off having two tournaments running simultaneously, as I think that helped everyone recover with more days off between each match. We had zero injuries, zero forfeits, no matches canceled by COVID or health reasons, and of course, it built nicely to a final day of round-robin action that came down to the final two matches. This was well booked all-around.

The World Tag League’s final day of round-robin action is Sunday, heading into the big finale on Wednesday. I guess in theory Aussie Open might be out via a tiebreaker, but I highly doubt that happens. With a title shot on the line at Wrestle Kingdom against FTR, I still believe it comes down to Aussie Open or Naito and Sanada. That said, I have consistently underestimated The Mighty Don’t Kneel since the start of the tournament (I had them pegged at 5-4), and they could still win it. I am more doubtful of Yoshi-Hoshi and Hirooki Goto’s chances — they are solid wrestlers but don’t reach that extra gear.


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