Ten junior heavyweight teams to battle over November and December
The Super Junior Tag League will get underway on November 21, with ten teams vying to be the best junior 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!
Catch 2/2 (Francesco Akira & TJP) IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions
The IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag team Champions lead the way in Super Jr. Tag League. The ceaselessly creative champions won the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships on their first attempt, and then put together defences both against former champions Six or Nine and the LIJ side of BUSHI and Titan over the last two months. There is no doubt that Akira and TJP have the biggest targets on them and will be the team to beat over the month long campaign.
CHAOS (Lio Rush & YOH) (YOH: 5x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Champion, 3x Super Jr. Tag League winner)
Back at Rumble on 44th Street, YOH was the victim of a post match HOUSE OF TORTURE assault when Lio Rush made a surprise appearance to clean house and form the first team to officially throw their hats in the tag league ring. Having paired with the Man of the Hour on STRONG, Rocky Romero proved to be the social grease to this tag team wheel, and this duo, with a former three time tag league winner combining with a man who has had Japan as his goal since his STRONG debut, will be a hard one to beat.
Los Ingobernables De Japon (BUSHI & Titan)
Though they ultimately came just shy of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag team Championships at Battle Autumn, BUSHI and Titan showed just what an effective new team they are all the way through the previous tour. The Angel Del Inmortal tag team finisher, coupled with a dynamic high flying style will make them ones to watch as this NJPW and CMLL combination are sure to wow the crowds and be in the top flight come the end of the tour in Sendai.
BULLET CLUB (Ace Austin & Chris Bey)
One of the most popular figures in this year’s Best of the Super Jr. series, Ace Austin was a phenom through the tour, and one that gained many an admirer for his dynamic in ring style, easy charisma with the fans, and close friendship with Alex Zayne. The latter two were thrown to the wind at the tour final however, when Austin turned his back on Zayne by aligning himself with BULLET CLUB. The Inevitable then brought his new factional allegiance with him to his home base in IMAPCT Wrestling by forming an effective combination with Chris Bey, who makes his own Japanese debut this tour. A powerful force in IMPACT, there’s every chance Bey and Austin could walk away with an early Christmas present of the Super Jr. Tag League trophies come December 14.
Flying Tiger (Robbie Eagles & Tiger Mask) (1x IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champions)
Former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag team Champions Flying Tiger came together in last year’s Super Jr. Tag League, and despite heading into the tournament as underdogs, their combination of youth, experience, strikes and submissions quickly turned heads, eventually earning them the tag titles later that year. With both Tiger Mask and the Sniper of the Skies looking to make their mark at Wrestle Kingdom 17, Super Jr. Tag League certainly seems to be the place to mount another successful run.
HOUSE OF TORTURE (Dick Togo & SHO) (SHO: 5x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Champion, 3x Super Jr. Tag League winner)
There is no doubt that every rule will be pushed to breaking point by SHO and Dick Togo in this league, but this HOUSE OF TORTURE tandem is not one to be overlooked. SHO is a multiple time former champion and tag league winner alongside former partner SHO, while Dick Togo proved in his combination with Gedo in last year’s league that he can still be one of the smoothest junior heavyweight operators in the game; albeit not the most successful in a fair fight.
Wild Hips (Ryusuke Taguchi & Clark Connors) (Taguchi: 7x IWGP Jr. Heavyweight Tag Team Champion)
For Ryusuke Taguchi, Super Jr. Tag League snuck up at the end of the year as the calendar turned over to November. When asked who would be teaming with him during his regular YouTube show, Taguchi made a quick phonecall to Rocky Romero about reforming the Mega Coaches, but was denied by Romero, who made the claim that ‘well, when it’s you and me, we always lose’. Rocky had a backup though, in the form of Clark Connors. The Wild Rhino had an impressive match with Taguchi during Best of the Super Jr., and stated he had a lot to learn from the Coach, leading to the birth of the ‘Wild Hips’ tag team. How will this combination of tactical wiles and brute force power fare?
Suzuki-Gun (DOUKI & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (Kanemaru: 6x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, 2021 Super Jr. Tag League winner)
With regular partner El Desperado part of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight four way match at Wrestle Kingdom 17, Yoshinobu Kanemaru will team with DOUKI during Super Jr. Tag League. DOUKI has made incredible strides in the ring this year, and Desperado has suggested that Kanemaru can provide the same mentoring force for Japones Del Mal that the Heel Master was to Desperado. The further progression of DOUKI will be something to watch over the next month.
Kevin Knight & KUSHIDA (KUSHIDA: 2x IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion, 2012 Super Jr. Tag Tournament winner)
Kevin Knight hits Japanese NJPW rings for the first time during Super Jr. tag League, and couldn’t ask for a better partner than the returning KUSHIDA. After leaving WWE, KUSHIDA’s first move was to the west coast, in order to best support the LA Dojo talent. The Timesplitter has seen the potential in Knight, potential that the NJPW STRONG audience has been witness to over the last two years. Knight may be the best pure athlete in both tag leagues, and with KUSHIDA’s mentorship, could rack up the points.
El Lindaman & Alex Zayne
El Lindaman returns to NJPW alongside Alex Zayne to complete the tag league lineup. OWE and #STRONGHEARTS’ Lindaman has been a revelation this year, and was one of the brightest spots of Best of the Super Jr. 29. Lindaman did so with Alex Zayne in the opposite block during his own breakout tournament, but more links the two than a common booking. Zayne’s first trip to Japan came with Lindaman, #STRONGHEARTS and the OWE organization, and Zayne would reunite with the #STRONGHEARTS crew in GLEAT earlier this year, and now this pairing should be one of the most dynamic teams of the ten.