Roppongi 3K vacate titles; 62nd champions to be determined in four team league.
As a result of a knee injury sustained on June 23, YOH, one half of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions Roppongi 3K, has been out of action for the past two months. With a return date still undetermined, SHO has elected to vacate the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships.
As a result new champions will be crowned during the New Japan Road tour, which kicks off in Saitama on September 3 and runs for one week until Korakuen Hall on September 11. Starting on the second night of the tour in Chiba on September 5, there will be four teams participating in a six match league across three nights of the tour. Two points will be awarded to winners, zero to losers with one point each in the event of a draw; after the final league match in Sendai on September 9, the top two point scoring teams will then face off in a championship match on September 11 in Korakuen Hall.
The teams are as follows:
Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato
NJPW hontai’s two junior heavyweights will team up to be a part of the league. Master Wato will be recovering from a bruising loss to Yoshinobu Kanemaru at Summer Struggle in Jingu Stadium. After a mixed record in his first couple of months on the roster, Wato now has a chance to produce in a major way and scoop his first NJPW championship, and he has a tremendous partner at his side. Coach Taguchi is a six time junior heavyweight tag team champion himself, and his experience edge in big tag title matches will add physical support to the mental encouragement that Wato’s heavyweight mentor Hiroyoshi Tenzan traditionally provides.
Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI
Hiromu Takahashi is another man nursing a crushing loss in Jingu stadium, but having lost the singles IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship to Taiji Ishimori, Hiromu now shifts focus to tag team action. He and BUSHI formed an effective team throughout 2017 and the early part of 2018, but were unable to seize IWGP gold before Hiromu suffered his neck injury in San Francisco. While Hiromu was away, BUSHI did capture the tag belts with Shingo Takagi as his partner, and both he and Hiromu have stated a huge desire to win the titles together. Can they do it on September 11?
El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru
If there is a clear favourite in this four team league, it has to be Yoshinobu Kanemaru and El Desperado. The wily Suzuki-Gun duo have already come just barely short of the junior tag championships this year, after pushing Roppongi 3K to their very limits at New Beginning in Osaka back in February. Three time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion Kanemaru had his most successful reign with El Desperado; in fact at 304 days it was one of the most successful reigns in the championship’s entire history, being the longest in two decades. The most proven effective combination in the league, can they convert to their second reign together?
Taiji Ishimori & Gedo
New IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion Taiji Ishimori now looks to expand his trophy collection further by entering into the tag team league to boot. While his regular tag team partner El Phantasmo is still absent as a result of global events, Gedo will be his partner here. While Gedo is less active of late, teaming with one of the greatest junior heavyweight tag team wrestlers of all time is a good substitute for Ishimori; his recent performance in the handicap match against Okada has proven that Gedo is still more than capable of an amazing Superfly splash, and should other competitors have a physical edge, Gedo is a master of the mind games, and breaking the rules where needed.