Ten teams to do league battle starting Sunday in Aichi
Running aslongside Best of the Super Jr. 27, World Tag League will see ten teams face off in league competition in the coming weeks, starting Sunday November 15 in Aichi and running through to Friday December 11 in the Nippon Budokan.
Here are your ten entrants!
FinJuice (Juice Robinson & David Finlay): 3rd entry 3rd consecutive, 2019 winners
Defending World Tag League Champions David Finlay and Juice Robinson lead off the entrants to World Tag League 2020. Last year FinJuice took the WTL trophies right into a victorious title challenge against the Guerrillas of Destiny in the Tokyo Dome, but their time at the top of the tag team mountain was brief, as GoD retook control of the gold the very next month in Atlanta. Since then, with the pandemic and injuries playing a part, Juice and Finlay haven’t teamed together, but with effortless chemistry and a deep seated will to win, they’ll be looking to go back to back.
Dangerous Tekkers (Zack Sabre Jr. & Taichi): 2nd entry, 2nd consecutive. IWGP Tag Team Champions
Tag team champions Dangerous Tekkers have been a formidable combination ever since last year’s World Tag League. In 2019’s tournament, Taichi and ZSJ had phenomenal chemistry and big wins under their belts, and although they didn’t make it to the Tokyo Dome together, they did form a pact to jump to the head of the line when the time was right.
The time was right when Kota Ibushi and Hiroshi Tanahashi won tag gold in February, and as soon as NJPW returned to action in the summer they seized their chance, dominating on the way to victory at Dominion, and retaining against Golden☆Ace in Jingu Stadium. They went on to have another strong defence against YOSHI-HASHI and Hirooki Goto in Korakuen Hall, and appear set to wear their tag titles into the Tokyo Dome in January. They could well be favourites to hold the trophies there as well.
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa): 5th entry, 5th consecutive. 6 time former IWGP Tag Team Champions
The franchise team of New Japan Pro-Wrestling, Guerrillas of Destiny have spent the last several months competing Stateside on NJPW STRONG where they have been dominant and eager for stronger competition.
They’ll get just that in World Tag League 2020, a tournament where GoD seem to have been cursed since their 2016 debuts. Despite six IWGP tag title wins and a who’s who of tag team wrestling when it comes to big match victories, Tonga and Loa have never won the WTL, nor have they won a title match inside the Tokyo Dome. 2020 has been all about trends being bucked however, and for the Guerrillas this year is far from over.
HenarACE (Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi): 2nd entry 2nd consecutive
Hiroshi Tanahashi and the returning Toa Henare will reform their WTL2019 combination this year. Henare has been out of action since the global pandemic struck in February, resulting in a planned singles main event with Tomohiro Ishii in Korakuen Hall being cancelled. 2020 had the potential to become a breakthrough year for Henare, but after close to ten months on the shelf, the Kiwi will instead settle for a breakthrough tag team tournament to set the table for 2021.
Tanahashi has tasted IWGP Tag Team Championship gold in 2020 alongside Kota Ibushi, but after struggling with some rough results, instead rebuilt to a strong G1 Climax 30 run. His match with KENTA for the IWGP US Heavyweight Right to Challenge resulted in disappointment, but one can never discount the Ace when it comes to putting together big plans for the Tokyo Dome. Alongside a similarly hungry Henare, this could be a dark horse team to find their way to a shot at tag gold on January 4 or 5.
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI: 2nd Entry, first in two years
After YOSHI-HASHI teamed with Tomohiro Ishii last year and Hirooki Goto partnered with Karl Fredericks, WTL 2020 will see the two reform their WTL 2018 combination as they look for victory again. On November 2, the two challenged Dangerous Tekkers for the IWGP Tag Team Championships in a match that had Korakuen rocking, and believing that new champions could be crowned, but they just fell short at the prize. After a revelatory year for YOSHI-HASHI in NJPW, the Headhunter wants to add more gold to his collection, and with NEVER 6-Man Championship chemistry with Goto, and a huge array of double team maneuvers, that just might happen.
Toru Yano & Tomohiro Ishii: 3rd entry, first in two years
Toru Yano and Tomohiro Ishii reform a combination that proved hard for many teams to deal with in 2017 and 2018 as they seek their first trophies together. This team actually formed in the wake of World Tag League 2016, when, after Great Bash Heel won back to back World Tag League trophies, Yano snuck in the back door and made off with the hardware in a shock Korakuen appearance, allowing for he and Ishii to enter a Tokyo Dome three way with GBH and GoD, a match they won to capture the IWGP tag gold. Now they look to recapture that success four years on.
Shingo Takagi & SANADA: First entry
After SANADA and EVIL’s back to back World Tag League combination was ended when EVIL joined BULLET CLUB, SANADA now forms a new partnership with NEVER Openweight Champion Shingo Takagi. Shingo and SANADA have paired extremely well on several live events this year, and will now test their mettle against the WTL gauntlet; could Shingo potentially be a double champion when all is said and done at Wrestle Kingdom? And already a finalist in G1 Climax 30, could SANADA go one step better in tag team competition?
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi: First entry
As SANADA teams with LIJ’s Shingo Takagi in World Tag League 2020, his former partner EVIL looks within BULLET CLUB to Yujiro Takahashi. It was Yujiro together with Gedo that first welcomed EVIL into BULLET CLUB, playing a part in the King of Darkness’ New Japan Cup 2020 win, and during the G1 Climax, EVIL alluded to a deeper connection and loyalty from the Tokyo Pimp. With the two forming an effective combination on the road in the last few weeks, this is certainly a team to keep a close eye on through WTL 2020.
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens: 3rd entry, 2nd consecutive
The Rogue General Bad Luck Fale returns to the front lines for World Tag League 2020, as he combines with regular partner Chase Owens. Owens and Fale have undeniable tag team chemistry, and an extremely dense tactical playbook, one that they will put to full use, even if it means hitting their opponents over the head with it. Though Fale has been away from Japanese rings since the pandemic struck, his training efforts in the NJPW New Zealand Dojo will see him come back in arguably the best shape of his career, and this combination of power and wiles will be hard to stop.
Great-O-Khan & X
Rounding out the WTL 2020 field is a team representing The Empire, and consisting of Great-O-Khan and a mystery partner. After Power Struggle in Osaka, Will Ospreay made allusions to a new, third active member of The Empire, and we will find out just who that is when the World Tag League gets underway on November 15. Speculation is sure to run rampant, and with a literal X factor in the league, this will be a team that’s impossible to gameplan for.