More loud and live crowds in Korakuen to see the start of WTL 2022
On November 22, the second straight night of cheering crowds in Korakuen will see the first night of World Tag League 2022. Ten teams will be vying for superiority over the coming month; who gets the first points Tuesday?
Main event: Los Ingobernables De Japon (Tetsuya Naito & SANADA) vs United Empire (Aaron Henare & Great-O-Khan)
Direct tag record: 1-0 United Empire
The main event of the evening will see Tetsuya Naito and SANADA seek WTL 2021 revenge on Great-O-Khan and Aaron Henare. O-Khan and Henare’s victory over the former IWGP Tag Team Champions was one of the bigger wins for the duo in last year’s campaign, and the United Empire side will be looking to repeat tonight, while Henare will be seeking to one up an electric performance against naito during the G1 Climax specifically with a win over El Ingobernable. Meanwhile as Naito and SANADA are both on the outside looking in to the Wrestle Kingdom picture, a successful WTL campaign is crucial, and the LIJ side, victorious in their opening bout last year, will be needing a win tonight.
7th Match: Be-Bop Tag Team (Toru Yano & Hiroshi Tanahashi) vs Aussie Open (Mark Davis & Kyle Fletcher)
Aussie Open might be facing their first direct tag team match in an NJPW ring on Japanese soil, but they are perhaps the clear favourites for World Tag League this year. The buzz surrounding the team is palpable, and the hunger from the two for a rematch from Royal Quest II with FTR is undeniable. Yet they have a tough opening bout as they face a trap game against the Be Bop Tag Team. Toru and Hiroshi put together an impressive debut WTL run last year with their combination of ability and wiles, and could upset the Aussie Open apple cart before it even sets off down the track Tuesday night.
6th Match: Bishamon (YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto) vs HOUSE OF TORTURE (Yujiro Takahashi & EVIL)
Direct tag record: 3-1 Bishamon
The third of five World Tag League rematches in Korakuen Hall sees a rematch of the 2021 tournament final, Bishamon’s Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI taking on HOUSE OF TORTURE’s EVIL and Yujiro Takahashi. Just as with SHO and Dick Togo’s presence in the Super Jr. Tag League, all HOUSE OF TORTURE opponents have to be aware of every eventuality in the ring, but Bishamon have had H.O.T’s number in direct tag matches to date. Does that change as WTL 2022 gets underway?
5th Match: Suzuki-Gun (Lance Archer & Minoru Suzuki) vs BULLET CLUB (Chase Owens & Bad Luck Fale)
Lance Archer and Minoru Suzuki will be looking to recreate the same success they had way back in the final G1 Tag League of 2011 when they start their WTL campaign against Chase Owens and Bad Luck Fale. Now the most experienced duo in World Tag League when it comes to pure number of tournament appearances, Fale and Owens will be looking to chart a path to their second IWGP Tag Team Championships via WTL 2022.
4th Match: LA Dojo (Alex Coughlin & Gabriel Kidd) vs TMDK (Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls)
The LA Dojo fight team is represented in World Tag League by Alex Coughlin and Gabriel Kidd, who return to Japanese competition very different men to the Young Lions Japanese audiences might think of them as. With Coughlin’s immense power and Kidd’s technical ability and fighting spirit, this dup is a dark horse contender for the trophies, but they have a very difficult opening match on their hands. Expectations will be high for TMDK to be in the top of the table running by December 14 in Sendai, and this well established side will present quite the hurdle for Coughlin and Kidd.
3rd Match: Los Ingobernables De Japon (BUSHI, Hiromu Takahashi & Shingo Takagi) vs Suzuki-Gun (DOUKI, El Desperado & Taichi)
Six man action will see LIJ and Suzuki-Gun collide in Korakuen. As Shingo Takagi and Taichi continue to be at loggerheads over the KOPW 2022 stakes, what will happen next?
2nd Match: Great Bash Heel (Tomoaki Honma & Togi Makabe) vs Oskar Leube & Kosei Fujita
Two time World tag League winners GBH are not involved in the 2022 lineup, but will be teaching some strict lessons to Young lions throughout the tour when it comes to tag team competition. Newcomer Leube will have to learn fast alongside Fujita tonight as GBH will be bringing the hits to the Noge duo.
1st match: Ryohei Oiwa vs Yuto Nakashima
Singles record: 4-4-9
Tied at four wins and nine draws apiece, Young Lions Ryohei Oiwa and Yuto Nakashima will each be looking to gain an advantage over the other tonight. As 2022 nears its climax, which Young Lion will be receiving the better end of year report card?