Tag tournament gets underway, new Young Lion to debut
World Tag League gets underway from Korakuen on November 20, with the eight teams of A Block getting their first matches underway. With this perhaps the most heavily stacked and competitive lineups in some years for the tournament, all eyes will be on what teams new and familiar will be a part of the action.
Main event: WTL A Block- Ren Narita & Shota Umino vs United Empire (HENARE & Great-O-Khan)
The first main event of the tournament pits Great-O-Khan and HENARE against Shota Umino and Ren Narita. On the run-up to Power Struggle, Umino and Narita often found themselves tagging against United Empire forces. The autumn tour ended poorly for all concerned in this matchup, with Shota Umino suffering an emotional but hard fought loss to Will Ospreay, Great-O-Khan falling in a bloody brawl to Jon Moxley, and HENARE coming short of the NJPW STRONG Openweight Championship against Eddie Kingston in Las Vegas. With stakes high in World Tag League, all four of these men are eager to make a statement from night one.
7th Match: WTL A Block- Ryohei Oiwa & Kaito Kiyomiya vs BULLET CLUB War Dogs (Gabe Kidd & Alex Coughlin)
Things will get heated from day one in the World Tag League when Gabe Kidd and Alex Coughlin face NOAH’s Ryohei Oiwa and Kaito Kiyomiya. While fans are no doubt excited to see Oiwa back in an NJPW ring for the first time since he challenged for the NJPW World TV Championship earlier in September, the real powder keg looking to explode here is between Kidd and Kiyomiya. A wild fight in the G1 saw both men counted out, brawling all over the Ota City Gymnasium, and both men are hungry for part two tonight.
6th Match: WTL A Block- CHAOS (Tomohiro Ishii ＆Toru Yano) vs HOUSE OF TORTURE (EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi)
Tag record: 1-0 HOUSE OF TORTURE
The long war between CHAOS and HOUSE OF TORTURE continues, and with two points on the line at the start of World Tag League. EVIL and Yujiro hold a WTL win over Yano and Ishii from 2020’s league; will Ishii and Yano even the ledger to start this year’s?
5th Match: WTL A Block- TMDK (Shane Haste & Mikey Nicholls) vs Gates of Agony (Bishop Kaun & Toa Liona)
Hotly anticipated since the lineups were first announced, the Gates of Agony make their NJPW debuts in the first World Tag League match of the tournament. Two thirds of the ROH 6 Man Tag team Champions, Prince Nana’s charges are a tough team on a rapid ascent, but they have more than their work cut out for them in the face of Haste and Nicholls. Who gets the first two points of the tournament?
4th Match: CHAOS (YOH, YOSHI-HASHI & Hirooki Goto) vs Guerrillas of Destiny (El Phantasmo, Hikuleo & Jado)
With Hikuleo and El Phantasmo taking on Bishamon in a battle of NJPW STRONG and IWGP Tag Team Champions Wednesday in Yokohama Budokan, here we see a preview of that champion versus champion main event.
3rd Match: Just Five Guys (Yuya Uemura, Yota Tsuji & SANADA) vs Los Ingobernables De Japon (Yota Tsuji, Z & BUSHI)
Korakuen Hall will get their first exposure to Yota Tsuji’s tag team partner for the series in what is a big preview of Yokohama Budokan on Thursday. Yota Tsuji and Yuya Uemura will be the story heading into Yokohama, especially after Tsuji pinned Uemura back at Power Struggle to continue asserting an advantage he feels he’s held since before the two went on excursion. They’ll pick up where they left off in Osaka tonight, but there are a lot of additional X (indeed, Z) factors to be aware of here.
2nd Match: Alex Zayne, Lance Archer, Minoru Suzuki & Yuji Nagata vs BULLET CLUB (Bad Luck Fale, Jack Bonza, Taiji Ishimori & Gedo)
While this match certainly carries the theme of strange unions in Korakuen for the first time, Minoru Suzuki teaming with Yuji Nagata, while the Rogue Army of Bad Luck Fale and Jack Bonza arrive in Japan, there is also the theme of reunion here. Nagata faces off against his former protege and final G1 opponent in Fale, while former Suzuki-Gun teammates, and partners in last year’s league, Lance Archer and Minoru Suzuki team again, before they are opponents later in the league.
1st Match: Soberano Jr. & Atlantis Jr. vs Just Five Guys (TAKA Michinoku & DOUKI)
After Soberano Jr. made a turn on his tecnico allies in CMLL recently, and called out Atlantis Jr. post match, what was going to be an intriguing enough CMLL side in World Tag League now has the dynamic of relevos increibles- a rudo and tecnico tandem. While it seems the two are on the same page for now, will they have enough to defeat a well oiled, albeit junior heavyweight team of DOUKI and TAKA?
Kickoff Match: Oskar Leube vs Shoma Kato
30 minutes before official bell, at 6PM local, the first event of World Tag League kicks off with the first steps in a NJPW ring in anger for Shoma Kato. 20 year old Kato will give up a fair bit of size and experience to Oskar Leube, but the young man, a graduate of kazuchika Okada’s reality TV show The Spirit will be looking to show the benefit of his months of training in the biggestmoment of his young life.