Jordan’s NJPW World Tag League Finals 2017 Review
NJPW World Tag League Final 2017 Review
Team New Japan Dads (Jushin Thunder Liger, Yuji Nagata, Manabu Nakanishi, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and Satoshi Kojima) vs. Team Makabe and Young Lions (Togi Makabe, Henare, David Finlay, Katsuya Kitamura, and Hirai Kawato)
My Thoughts: This was a well done opening tag match. Everyone got some shine, it was paced well, pretty cleanly worked, and while it wasn’t anything particularly special, it was fun. The dads got to hit their signature spots to get the crowd excited and the young lions actually got a decent amount of offense in, although Makabe led the pack. Kawato also sold the shit out of Kojima’s signature lariat which looked great. Good way to kick off the show.
Bullet Club (Hangman Page, Yujiro Takahashi, Chase Owens, and Leo Tonga) vs. War Machine, Jeff Cobb, and Michael Elgin
My Thoughts: I liked this match. The team of War Machine, Cobb, and Elgin provided for a lot of fun power moves as expected. This match kept a strong pace, never really dying down as the Bullet Club heat segment wasn’t painfully boring nor was it too long. Leo Tonga looked good in this as well, the fact that a man standing at 6’10 can do a nice looking dropkick is incredible. I think we can expect to see more Jeff Cobb in New Japan in 2018 and I expect to see Hangman Page get a decent push in 2018, possibly even making G1. Another good tag match here tonight.
BUSHI vs. Bad Luck Fale
My Thoughts: This is a really weird match to be happening, and you may not think that if you aren’t a super regular NJPW viewer. New Japan usually doesn’t run singles matches like this in the early goings of the show, let alone not for a title. On top of that, this is a heavyweight vs. a junior heavyweight in a singles match which isn’t something we see too often in NJPW. This wasn’t all that good at all, granted I wasn’t expecting much out of it due to the size difference. If Fale was a better performer overall (he’s not bad, he’s just not very good). This was mostly just a beat down from Fale with little offense from BUSHI until he managed to spit mist in the eyes of Fale to counter the Grenade followed by a low blow to cause a DQ. BUSHI then hit the MX afterwards which was a shock to see as I expected pure decimation from Fale, not for BUSHI to walk out standing tall. Nonetheless, this was extremely skippable.
Best Friends (Beretta and Chuckie T) vs. Juice Robinson and Sami Callihan
My Thoughts: This was a very good tag match. I’m not a huge fan of Sami Callihan but he worked hard in this tournament and he and Juice have great chemistry together as a team. Another guy I’m not too big on when it comes to singles wrestling is Chuck Taylor, but I really enjoy him in the Best Friends and other tag scenarios and he stepped up his game big for this tournament as well. This was a competitive and enjoyable match that had an exciting final few minutes but a kind of dead finish because the cameras missed an APRON PILEDRIVER from Chuck to Juice. Overall though I really liked this match and would love to see these two teams work each other in the future. This would be awesome in PWG as well.
Suzuki-Gun (Minoru Suzuki, Lance Archer, Davey Boy Smith Jr., and El Desperado) vs. CHAOS (Hirooki Goto, YOSHI-HASHI, Tomohiro Ishii, and Toru Yano)
My Thoughts: This was an overall solid outing that thankfully featured the best members of Suzuki-Gun (SO happy Desperado was here instead of Iizuka). They built to what I’m sure will be the NEVER Openweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom, Goto vs. Suzuki here and they did a good job at it with both men beating the hell out of each other when getting the opportunity to. Not a must-see match but not a downer match, this was perfectly fine.
Kota Ibushi and KUSHIDA vs. Bullet Club (Cody and Marty Scurll)
My Thoughts: While not a spectacular match, this was a good effort from all men involved with an enjoyable closing stretch. This was nice in helping build Cody vs. Kota for Wrestle Kingdom. I’m interested in that match. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Cody is good but not great, but if anyone besides Okada could pull a really good match out of Cody, it’s gotta be Ibushi. I liked the Cross Rhodes on the stage but this didn’t need a bullshit finish where Scurll threw powder in KUSHIDA’s face. KUSHIDA was put into a 2 on 1 situation, Scurll could’ve easily just pinned KUSHIDA or made him pass out to the Chicken Wing if you didn’t want him to tap heading into Wrestle Kingdom.
The Elite (Kenny Omega, Matt Jackson, and Nick Jackson) vs. Roppongi 3K (Rocky Romero, Sho, and Yoh)
My Thoughts: This was an overall entertaining match that just wasn’t as great as I was expecting it to be. This really should’ve been one of the best 6 man tags this year considering how great all 6 of these men are and while I liked it, it didn’t come close to that. There were some nice spots and the teams worked cohesively, so I’m not by any means criticizing the performers involved as they still put on a watchable, good match. The outcome was exactly what I expected and what it should’ve been as well and Romero taking the fall was obviously the right call. The post-match was the real story here. Marverlously done, Jericho bloodied the shit out of Omega and then hit the Codebreaker on Don Callis. Jericho vs. Omega is going to be a sight to see.
Tetsuya Naito and Hiromu Takahashi vs. Kazuchika Okada and Will Ospreay
My Thoughts: This was probably the best match on the show so far as we got a very good match out of these 4 as one should expect. The Okada and Naito interactions continue to build excitement for their monumental match at Wrestle Kingdom. We got some really exciting encounters between Ospreay and Takahashi here as well. They kept this going strong with little down time and kept me invested the whole time so good on them.
The Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tanga and Tonga Loa) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL and SANADA) in the World Tag League Finals
My Thoughts: This match really represented what the 2017 World Tag League was: mediocre. This was mostly heatless, they did nothing to pull me in, it felt really flat for most of it, and it had totally unneccesary bullshit. I still don’t like the GOD’s. While they have improved as a team I still think Tonga Loa is slow and clearly forgets where the fuck he is at points. Tama Tanga just doens’t do it for me, he just has this incredible ability to suck the life out of any situation. He’s technically a good wrestler, which is why I call him the best bad wrestler in the world, and he doesn’t often fuck up, but I just don’t enjoy him as a performer. SANADA has to be working hurt, his involvement here and in other WTL matches was very limited. The best praise I can give this match is I loved how Tama kept countering the Magic Killer because he knows it so well and even kicked out when they did hit it. I liked the Magic Killer through the table as well. Overall I thought this wasn’t a worst match of the year contender but it was definitely a let down and the worst match on an average show.
Overall Thoughts: This was a perfectly inoffensive show with a letdown of a main event. Nothing must-see but there were a few matches that are worth the watch if you have time. I wasn’t expecting a blockbuster show less than a month before Wrestle Kingdom so I can’t really say I expected any more than what we got.
Overall Rating: 5.5/10
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