For full results of World Tag League finals, you can check right here, but otherwise... on with the show!
As always, I’ve got a very simple five point scale laid out where a 1 is total skip, 2 you can probably skip unless you love one of the folks in it, 3 is a match that’s worth watching but not necessarily worth making time for, a 4 is a solid recommendation to make time for if you can, and a 5 is a must-watch.
Mind you, these are not star ratings. They’re not meant to be absolute ratings in any sense, but rather a simple (and hopefully sensible) way to determine if a match is worth your time. A one is not necessarily a bad match, but rather just one I feel like you’re best off skipping. I have my biases, of course, but hopefully I can make it easy for you to adjust for them.
Ayato Yoshida, Shota Umino, Toa Henare, & Togi Makabe vs. Manabu Nakanishi, TenCozy (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima), & Yuji Nagata (2): Pretty standard opening match fare here-- lotta fire from the young lions, the dads are grumpy, etc, etc. It’s a fun time and surprisingly intense late in the match, but not really anywhere near essential. Watch accordingly.
Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T), Jeff Cobb, & Michael Elgin vs. Suzuki-gun (Davey Boy Smith, Jr., Lance Archer, Minoru Suzuki, & Takashi Iizuka) (2): Chaos from the bell in the inimitable Suzuki-gun style, Elgin leading the charge to pull his team out of the hole and that gives way to Cobb hossing KES around. Cycling through the matchups, some surreal Chuck/Minoru action, SZKG take charge and we head to an early finish. This is enjoyable enough while it lasts and I like the ongoing story of Chuck Taylor snapping, but there’s just not much here.
Chaos (SHO, Tomohiro Ishii, & YOH) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, & Zack Sabre, Jr.) (2): Sabre and Ishii to start, a little preview of their impending RPW British Heavyweight Championship match, cycling through the junior matchups, back to Tom and Zack for some absolutely bonkers exchanges. The match breaks down a little, the Chaos men fend off some shenanigans and we head right for the finish. This was really good in the time it got, but it felt like they cut it off right as it might have become worth a strong recommendation.
Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI, Shingo Takagi, & Tetsuya Naito) vs. the Elite (Chase Owens, Hangman Page, & Yujiro Takahashi) (2): No Limit explodes early as former tag partners Naito and Yujiro go at it, exchanging underhanded tactics but their familiarity with each other prevents an alliance. After an extended heat segment, Takahashi makes the tag and Page clears house hot. Everybody gets a little time to shine on our way to the finish and much like the previous match, this has a bunch of good action to speak for it but it feels like it never gets quite enough time to develop.
Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, “Switchblade” Jay White, & Taiji Ishimori) vs. Chaos (Kazuchika Okada & Toru Yano) & KUSHIDA (2): Babyfaces taking it hard to the Bullet Club team out the gates, Okada and KUSHIDA acting like a well-oiled tag team after just a few matches paired up. Working through the matchups, we get a nice little Rainmaker/Switchblade exchange before Yano comes in for his usual beloved turnbuckle pad shenanigans on Fale and the match breaks down shortly thereafter.
And so we’re really getting into a groove here of matchups featuring heavily-anticipated matchups that nonetheless never quite get into gear, here.
FinJuice (David Finlay & Juice Robinson), Hiroshi Tanahashi, & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. the Elite (Kenny Omega, Marty Scurll, Matt Jackson, & Nick Jackson) (3): Scurll and Taguchi starting us off with shenanigans but soon enough the match breaks down and the Elite take advantage of all four of Team Ace going for planchas at the same time to gain control. Finlay eats a beating at length but eventually tags out and we get a preview of our IWGP Heavyweight Championship match at Wrestle Kingdom 13, but it doesn’t last and the match breaks down again and stays pretty well broken down all through the closing stretch.
So, very much a match of a kind with the last few, but I’m going just a smidge higher here because I feel like of all the preview segments tonight, Tanahashi and Omega had the most exciting even in their brevity.
Taichi vs. Will Ospreay (NEVER Openweight Championship #1 Contender’s Match) (5): Taichi blindsides Ospreay before the bell and hammers his injured ribs with his mic stand! The rout isn’t forever, though, and Will recovers and starts fighting back, but it’s a real uphill battle with a target painted on his midsection and his ribs constantly hurting. And that’s the entire story of the match-- simple, classic, and well-told.
Ospreay’s selling is on point as usual, Taichi’s at his best when he’s called on to just be a dumb mean bastard, really good stuff all around. Watch it!
Hirooki Goto (c) vs. Kota Ibushi (NEVER Openweight Championship) (5): Fast-paced right from the jump, and a rough landing on a spill to the floor gets Ibushi right where Goto wants him, which is to say with an injured neck ready to be softened up for a good 80% of the champion’s offense. Hirooki gets a good long heat segment, Kota fires up and takes things outside and the match enters an escalatory phase, ebbing and flowing periods of control.
Trading pins, trading strikes, trading escapes, trading just about everything, this is another really good match that deserves your eyes on it, folks.
Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (EVIL & SANADA) (World Tag League 2018 Finals) (4): Guerrillas of Destiny with the attack before the bell, taking things outside for a brawl before the action settles down in the ring. That prettymuch sets the tone of the match, with Tonga and Loa working first SANADA and then EVIL over, reasserting control with the assistance of Jado at ringside when necessary. SANADA eventually gets a strong rally and things become more back and forth as the match escalates to a fever pitch.
The early goings of this are a bit of a slog, but it heats up enough in the end to be well worth a watch.
There you have it, folks
Agree? Disagree? Feel free to toss in your two cents below, Cagesiders.