Hiroshima’s Green Arena to see World Tag League winners crowned
After 120 matches across 17 events, the World Tag League will come to an end on December 8 in Hiroshima. Trophies won’t be all that’s at stake in the Green Arena however; with less than one month to go until Wrestle Kingdom 14 hits the Tokyo Dome on January 4 & 5, every single wrestler on the NJPW roster will be looking to make a crucial statement.
EVIL & SANADA win their match = EVIL & SANADA win the league.
GoD lose, FinJuice beat EVIL & SANADA= FinJuice win the league
GoD and FinJuice win= Three way tie at 26 points
Main event: FinJuice (12-2) =2nd vs EVIL & SANADA (13-1) 1st
Taking prior results into account and the current point standings in the league, match makers have appointed FinJuice’s clash with EVIL & SANADA the main event on the last night of World Tag League.
EVIL & SANADA are used to this position. This is the third year that they’ve been in the main event of the last league day; wheras before though, top points scorers have gone on to one final match, in 2019 it’s the top overall points scorer that walks away with the league, and every team has only one chance at the others. Both teams need to make it count and scoop a win; last year FinJuice did just that by defeating EVIL & SANADA in the league, only to see the LIJ team win by tournament’s end. This time, circumstances depending, it could be winner take all, including a much sought after slot on the Tokyo Dome card January 4 or 5.
7th Match: Tomohiro Ishii & YOSHI-HASHI (10-4) 4th vs Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) (12-2)=2nd
Tomohiro Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI started strong in the World Tag League, but couldn’t keep their momentum going to the final night. They can’t win the league, but they can play spoiler, and they will take great delight in spoiling GoD.
The Guerrillas of Destiny may be dominant five time IWGP Tag Team Champions, but the World Tag League continues to be elusive to them. Ishii and YOSHI-HASHI remember how close they came to beating GoD in Beppu back in September, where they only lost out as a result of KENTA’s interference. Stopping Tonga and Loa getting the WTL trophies for another year will feel incredibly sweet for the CHAOS pair.
6th Match: CHAOS (Kazuchika Okada, SHO & YOH) vs Kota Ibushi, Tiger Mask & Jyushin Thunder Liger
It’s Kazuchika Okada’s job as IWGP Heavyweight Champion to appear unflappable in the face of challengers. Certainly opposite Kota Ibushi, Okada has claimed his pulse has barely risen, but one wonders with every successful blow or even near miss, the Rainmaker doth protest too much. Can Ibushi rattle his cage hard enough on the last night of the tour. Then there’s Jyushin Thunder Liger, who this week has bidden farewell to a town he had strong attachment to in Osaka, his home of Fukuoka, and now wrestling his last match in his birthplace of Hiroshima. With just four weeks left of the legend’s career, things are getting progressively more emotional for us onlookers if not the man himself.
5th Match: Minoru Suzuki & Lance Archer (8-6) =6th vs KENTA & Yujiro Takahashi (8-6) =6th
As World Tag League draws to a close, KENTA only has HIRO(oki Goto) in mind. Are his thoughts anywhere near this match? If not Suzuki and Archer will earn his and Yujiro’s attention rather quickly. This match marks the first time that Suzuki has come into contact with a post BULLET CLUB KENTA, and the first time that they have met in anything less crowded than a six man tag since a 2005 singles match in NOAH. The NEVER Champion may be an ideal person for Suzuki to make a statement against as he seeks his path to Wrestle Kingdom after being shunned from the main card in 2019. Then there’s US Champion Lance Archer, who may use his time in Hiroshima to demand a dance partner for January 4 or 5 if the tag titles are no longer within reach.
4th Match: HenarACE (2-12) 15th vs Hirooki Goto & Karl Fredericks (3-11) 14th
While Hiroshi Tanahashi will doubtless be disappointed at not grabbing all the headlines in World Tag League as he counts down to a meeting with Chris Jericho in 28 days on January 5, Toa Henare has to be wincing the most at the mere four points he and the Ace have racked up. On a tour where the Maori Warrior was hoping to get some wins under his own steam against higher level opposition, HenarACE have scored two wins, both from Tanahashi pinfalls, and lost 12 times, all with Henare legal at the time. As hard as Henare has fought, he needs more than just a consolation prize to set up his 2020, and needs an emphatic win to close things out. For Fredericks, and especially Goto, KENTA and Friday’s interference might be further forward in the mind than Henare and Tanahashi.
3rd Match: Jeff Cobb & Mikey Nicholls (7-7) 9th vs Shingo Takagi & Terrible (6-8) =10th
Two new teams in this years league, both Cobb & Nicholls and Shingo & Terrible have put in impressive, if not quite trophy worthy, league campaigns. For both teams, a chance to finish strong in Hiroshima, and to deliver a powerful message as the road to the Tokyo Dome progresses. Takagi and Cobb brought the very best out of one another during the G1, and this should be a fierce collision Sunday.
2nd Match: Toru Yano & Colt Cabana (8-6) =6th vs Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens (6-8) =10th
Fale and Owens are insisting that they’re all serious heading into their final league match, in contrast to their opponents, who the ‘conspiracy busters’ have dubbed ‘comedians’ in Yano and Cabana. Certainly that supposed seriousness has paid off in recent matches in the league, a hot streak only coming to an end against Goto and Fredericks Friday night when KENTA interfered to draw a DQ.
All that said, Yano and Cabana will be hard to beat and strongly motivated. They’ve beaten two of the top three contenders in the league in the IWGP Tag Team Champions GoD and the back to back league winners EVIL and SANADA. Even if the tag titles are out of reach January 4 or 5, these ‘jokesters’ will be looking to cement their case for a tag title shot somewhere in 2020.
1st Match: TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima) (4-10) 12th vs Yuji Nagata & Manabu Nakanishi (1-13) 16th
A Third Generation Derby kicks off the evening’s action and rounds out the World Tag League for these two teams. All the way back in 2000, it was TenCozy who ended Nagata and Nakanishi’s sole IWGP Tag Team Championship reign, and while those past glories may feel a long way away, you can guarantee these four will be wrestling their hearts out just as they were two decades ago.