Ten heavyweight teams to battle over November and December
The World Tag League will get underway on November 21, with ten teams vying to be the best heavyweight duo, and likely book their ticket to Wrestle Kingdom 17 in the process. Before the dual Super Jr. and World Tag League tours get underway, the lineups can now be revealed!
Bishamon (Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI) (1x IWGP Tag Team Champions, 2021 World Tag League winners)
First are the 2021 World tag League winners in Bishamon. Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI continued a strong historical performance for the World Tag League winners at Wrestle Kingdom this year, deposing Dangerous Tekkkers as IWGP Tag Team Champions, but their reign was shorter than hoped, ending at V1 at the hands of Jeff Cobb and Great-O-Khan. Now they’ll seek to go back to back in WTL, and get their tag titles back in the process.
HOUSE OF TORTURE (EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi) (2021 World Tag League finalists. EVIL 2x IWGP Tag Team Champion, 2x World Tag League winner. Yujiro 1x IWGP Tag Team Champion)
The World Tag League finals in 2021 saw EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi come within a hair of what would have been EVIL’s third set of trophies. Their 16 points were hardly fairly earned, but that has never bothered HOUSE OF TORTURE, who will do what it takes to become number one contenders that couldn’t be any more divorced from IWGP Tag Team Champions FTR’s straight fighting style.
Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA) (1x IWGP Tag Team Champions. Naito 2x IWGP Tag Team Champion, SANADA 3x IWGP Tag Team Champion, 2x World Tag League winner)
Denied in the G1 Climax, and in his IWGP United States Championship challenge to Will Ospreay at Battle Autumn in Osaka, Tetsuya Naito is on the outside, looking in to the Wrestle Kingdom title picture. SANADA is in the same position, having been eliminated from the NJPW World TV Championship tournament, but both could find success in the tag ranks instead. Last summer, Naito was ‘reminded how fun tag team wrestling can be’ when he teamed with SANADA, and now that joy could take former champions to the WTL trophies.
United Empire (Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan) (O-Khan: 2x former IWGP Tag Team Champion)
After a hard fought battle with Great-O-Khan against FTR in Osaka November 5, Jeff Cobb has stepped back from World Tag League competition, but Aaron Henare will be more than a capable substitute. The Ultimate Weapon and the Dominator went to an impressive 14 points in last year’s league, and now seek to go a step further to the trophies.
Be-Bop Tag Team (Toru Yano & Hiroshi Tanahashi) (Yano: 3x IWGP Tag Team Champion, Tanahashi: 3x IWGP Tag Team Champion)
The combination of an Ace’s sense of justice, and a master thief’s devious wiles, the Be-Bop Tag Team of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Toru Yano was as popular as they were successful in last year’s World Tag League, racking up an impressive 14 points. Could Hiroshi and Toru go a step further and make the top two to compete in the December 14 final?
Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher) (1x NJPW STRONG Tag Team Champions)
If there’s one team that will be circled by most pundits as the favourites of World Tag League 2022, it’s Aussie Open. In the midst of a breakout year, Kyle Fletcher and Mark Davis have stunned audiences in RPW, AEW, IMPACT and NJPW STRONG this year alone, the latter seeing the two become the first ever STRONG Openweight Tag Team Champions. Having come so close to seizing gold in a tag team classic with FTR in London back in October, the Aussie duo are intent on earning their rematch, and will be using World Tag League to do just that.
Suzuki-Gun (Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki) (2011 G1 Tag League winners. Archer: 3x IWGP Tag Team Champion, Suzuki: 1x IWGP Tag Team Champion)
Winners of the last G1 Tag League before the series was renamed the World Tag League in 2012, Lance Archer and Minoru Suzuki have been an imrpessive and intimidating tandem for a decade, always connected with a close bond even as Archer competes in AEW on the regular and Suzuki goes wherever his freelance bloodlust takes him. Part of Suzuki-Gun from near the every start, Archer will be looking to assist the King in smashing through the competition as the sole Suzuki-Gun side in the heavyweight tag league this year.
BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens 1x IWGP Tag Team Champions)
Now in their fifth World Tag League, and fourth consecutive, Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens are the most experienced pairing when it comes to WTL competition in this year’s lineup, and have made significant improvements year on year. 2022 saw their best year as a tandem yet, as they claimed the IWGP Tag Team Championships albeit for a brief spell back at Dontaku. Now with a taste for gold, they’ll be gunning for the belts again.
TMDK (Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls)
The cornerstone combination of TMDK, Shane Haste and Mikey Nicholls are finally back together for World Tag League, Histerical Haste and Mad Mikey reunited after Nicholls took time away following their NJPW STRONG Tag title tournament exit. Nicholls and Haste are former GHC Tag Team Champions in NOAH, and now look to pick up where they left off as TMDK continues to grow as a force in NJPW.
Gabriel Kidd & Alex Coughlin
Finally, “The Android” Alex Coughlin and Gabriel Kidd represent the LA Dojo fight team in World Tag League 2022. Both Coughlin and Kidd are in the tournament after lengthy absences; Coughlin returning at Rumble on 44th Street from injury that sidelined him since the summer, and Kidd re-emerging at Royal Quest with a clear focus and reset disposition. With a lot to prove, this is a duo with a lot of strength and ability, and one that could well make a run for the top two spots.