12/11 NJPW “World Tag League & Super Jr. Tag League 2022” results: Vetter’s review of Tetsuya Naito and Sanada vs. Evil and Yujiro Takahashi, Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toru Yano vs. Aaron Henare and Great O Khan, Yoshi-Hashi and Hirooki Goto vs. Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls, Gabriel Kidd and Alex Coughlin vs. Minoru Suzuki and Lance Archer 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 11, 2022 in Hyogo, Japan at Arcrea Himeji
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 #16 of 17 in the tournament. At the end of this event, each team will have concluded all nine 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). We again have Japanese-only commentary. This is a large convention hall with all seating on the floor. Attendance is perhaps 1,200-1,500 — it really is a big space, but no risers or upper deck.

The quick update as we enter the show is that Aussie Open is 7-2, having picked up two todays already for the forfeit. Three other teams are 6-2. Just like a day ago, I now assume that Tetsuya Naito and Sanada lose early in the show to avoid a three-way tie. Thus, the final match of TMDK vs. Yoshi-Hoshi/Goto will determine the other finalist. Let’s see if I’m right!

1. Bad Luck Fale defeated Kosei Fujita in 1:43. Fale continues to destroy the Young Lions in the wake of Owens’ dropping out. This was shorter than the past few, but it was the same ending, with Fale hitting The Grenade/pop-up heart punch for the pin.

2. “Aussie Open” Mark Davis and Kyle Fletcher (w/Gideon Grey) (14 points) defeated Oskar Leube and Ryohei Oiwa at 10:02. AO had a strong tournament. Leube hit a big bodyslam on Davis. Oiwa escaped Davis’ Angle Slam and hit a nice dropkick. I can’t put into words how much more enjoyable these Young Lions matches are on than when they are fighting each other. Leube hit his Hogan Legdrop for a nearfall. Davis hit an enzuigiri on Leube. Fletcher hit a twisting Tombstone Piledriver on Leube to score the pin.

3. El Desperado, Douki, and Yoshinobu Kanemaru defeated “The Bullet Club” Taiji Ishimori, Gedo, and Ace Austin (w/Chris Bey) at 8:38. Ace and Kanemaru started. Rivals Desperado and Ishimori traded offense at 4:30, and Desperado applied the Stretch Muffler. In a nice fluid motion, Ishimori escaped and applied an STF. Desperado hit a Spinebuster. Douki and Gedo tagged in for the first time at 6:30, with Douki hitting some quick armdrags. Bey (not in the match!) hopped in the ring and helped Austin to beat up Douki. Douki hit a top-rope doublestomp on Gedo, then he applied the Douki Chokey triangle choke, and Gedo tapped out.

4) “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Bushi, Titan, Hiromu Takahashi, and Shingo Takagi defeated Clark Connors, Ryusuke Taguchi, Tomoaki Honma, and Master Wato at 10:11. Titan and Connors started. Shingo and LIJ began working over Taguchi. Taguchi hit his mid-ring buttbump on Bushi at 4:00 and made the hot tag to Wato. Rivals Wato and Hiromu traded much quicker reversals, then they switched to hard chops. Hiromu hit a Falcon Arrow and they were both down.

Honma tagged in at 7:00 to face Shingo, but he missed his Kokeshi falling headbutt. Taguchi and Connors jumped in the ring to beat up Shingo. Honma hit the Kokeshi. Shingo fired back with a sliding clothesline, then a Death Valley Driver for a nearfall. Titan hit a flip dive on the floor onto several wrestlers. Hiromu hit a superkick on Honma, and Shingo nailed the Pumping Bomber decapitating clothesline for the pin. Solid undercard match.

5. Lance Archer and Minoru Suzuki (8) defeated Gabriel Kidd and Alex Coughlin (2) in a tournament match at 9:28. Deeply disappointing tournament for Archer and Suzuki, who are on a four-match losing streak. Kidd tried to lure them to the back before the bell. They started fighting on the floor, with Archer paired with Coughlin. In the ring, Suzuki hit a Helluva Kick on Kidd and made a cocky one-foot cover for a nearfall at 3:30. Coughlin got in and tried to knock Archer down with shoulder tackles. Alex hit a clothesline to the back of the head for a nearfall.

Archer hit a running back elbow in the corner. Suzuki set up for a Gotch-Style piledriver, but Kidd made the save at 7:30. Coughlin couldn’t bodyslam Archer. The youngsters hit a team delayed vertical suplex on Archer. Suzuki applied a sleeper on Kidd. Archer hit the Black Out/flipping Razor’s Edge for the pin. Good action; the recent Young Lion graduates consistently had great matches throughout the tournament, even if it resulted in a 1-8 record.

6. “United Empire” Aaron Henare and Great-O-Khan (w/Gideon Grey) (10) defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toru Yano (8) in a tournament match at 10:25. Both teams are 4-4 so only one will finish with a winning record. Tanahashi and Henare — who have teamed up in prior World Tag Leagues — started. O-Khan entered and choked Yano with his braid. Henare hit some Sheamus-style blows to the chest on Yano and got a nearfall at 4:00, and the UE worked Yano over. Tanahashi entered and hit a flying forearm on O-Khan.

Tanahashi hit a second-rope summersault slam for a nearfall on O-Khan. O-Khan pushed Tanahashi into Yano, and the UE began working over Tanahashi’s left leg. Yano tagged back in at 7:30 and hit a belly-to-belly suplex on Henare, and he got a schoolboy rollup for a nearfall. Tanahashi hit a plancha to the floor. In the ring, Henare hit his football tackle on Yano for a believable nearfall. O-Khan hit a running stunner as Henare held Yano, and Henare scored the pin. These two teams finished exactly where I pegged them to be when the tournament began.

Kyle Fletcher, Mark Davis and Gideon Grey posed with Henare and O-Khan at the entrance, but then those three sat down in the front row to watch the final two matches. Interesting. Will they be a factor in handing a loss to one of the three teams tied at 6-2??? Aussie Open have showered and are wearing suits, so they aren’t dressed to fight.

7. “The House of Torture” EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi (w/Sho and Dick Togo) (8) vs. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Tetsuya Naito and Sanada (12) in a tournament match at 16:43. HoT attacked to start the match. LIJ worked over EVIL’s left arm. On the floor, EVIL rammed Sanada’s back into the guardrail at 3:00. He did it again, but this time right next to where Kyle Fletcher was seated. In the ring, the HoT was in control and worked over Sanada. Sanada hit a high back suplex on EVIL at 6:00 and made the hot tag.

Naito hit quick offense on both opponents. Naito applied a leglock around EVIL’s head and shoulders but EVIL reached the ropes at 8:00. Togo tripped Naito, allowing HoT to take control. Naito hit a swinging neckbreaker on Yujiro and he made the hot tag to Sanada. Sanada hit a pair of dropkicks on Yujiro. Sanada put Yujro’s feet on the ropes and hit a swinging neckbreaker at 11:30, but he missed a moonsault.

Sanada applied the Skull End sleeperhold. The lights went out!!! When they came back on, Sanada and the referee were out on the mat. The four HoT members hopped in the ring and put the boots to Sanada. Yujiro hit the Pimp Juice jumping DDT for a believable nearfall at 13:30, and the crowd popped for the kickout. Naito hit a tornado DDT on EVIL. Sanada nailed a roaring forearm on Yujiro then a TKO stunner for a nearfall, but EVIL made the save.

Sanada again applied the Skull End in the middle of the ring, but Togo hopped on the ring apron, distracting the referee from seeing Yujiro tap out!! Sho hopped in the ring and hit a low blow uppercut on Sanada. EVIL nailed the Everything is Evil uranage on Naito, who rolled to the floor! Yujiro then nailed the Pump Juice jumping DDT to pin Sanada. Lots of trickery from the HoT, but Aussie Open never left their seats. As I predicted above, Sanada and Naito needed to lose here so the final match determines who advances to the finals, with no messy three-way tiebreakers.

8. Yoshi-Hoshi and Hirooki Goto (14) defeated “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls (12) in a tournament match at 14:20. Yoshi-Hoshi and Haste started, and TMDK beat up Yoshi-Hoshi on the floor, right in front of the Aussie Open. In the ring, TMDK extensively worked over Yoshi-Hoshi. Yoshi-Hoshi finally hit a Blockbuster out of the corner and made the hot tag at 8:00. Goto entered for the first time and hit a hard clothesline on Nicholls, then a bulldog for a nearfall.

Nicholls hit a bulldog. This pace is really slow and I wonder if they are going to push the 30-minute time limit. Yoshi-Hoshi hit a Rude Awakening standing neckbreaker on Haste. Nicholls hit a sliding clothesline for a nearfall on Yoshi-Hoshi at 11:00. Goto and Nicholls traded forearm shots as the energy picked up. Nicholls hit a Death Valley Driver and TMDK hit their team DDT move for a believable nearfall at 13:00. Haste accidentally hit Nicholls, and Yoshi-Hoshi hopped in the ring and hit a clothesline. Yoshi-Hoshi and Goto nailed Shoto/team slam to pin Nicholls.

* Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis got in the ring and Fletcher grabbed the mic. “We have the utmost respect for the both of you,” Fletcher said. He acknowledged that Goto and Yoshi-Hoshi won World Tag League last year, but that’s only because Aussie Open wasn’t here. He declared that AO is the best tag team in the world. AO left the ring with no punches thrown. Yoshi-Hoshi then spoke on the mic.

Final Thoughts: Wow that was an underwhelming final match. A day ago, Bey/Ace-TJP/Akira tore it up with one of the best matches of the whole tournament. Here, the main event stayed in first gear way too long before they ramped up and quickly finished. No one will call that among the best matches of World Tag League. I admittedly find Goto/Yoshi-Hoshi to not be elite performers; they don’t produce “four-star matches” anymore.

I really entered this show anticipating that TMDK was winning the final slot. After all, TMDK just beat Aussie Open a few days ago, and they could have played off that match in the rematch on Wednesday. As soon as the teams were announced for the tournament, I declared Aussie Open was the frontrunners (not exactly going out on a limb on that pick!), and I firmly believe that’s the case headed to Wednesday, to set up a re-match against FTR at Wrestle Kingdom.

Also on Wednesday, Karl Anderson will return to defend (and presumably lose) his Never Openweight Title against Hikuleo. There also is a six-man tag match that features Jay White and Kazuchika Okada. The rest of the card will likely be unveiled in the next 60 hours.


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