Sat. Jun 22nd, 2024

By Chris Vetter, Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Super Jr. Tag League 2023”
October 25, 2023 in Tokyo, Japan at Korakuen Hall
Streamed live on New Japan World

This is the second consecutive night in this venue and it appears to be a packed house. Chris Charlton provided solo commentary as the show began.

As the show kicks off, “parity” is the word of the day, as only tag team champions “Bullet Club War Dogs” Drilla Moloney and Clark Connors are 2-0, while only “Just 5 Guys” Taka Michinoku and Douki are 0-2. The other eight teams are all 1-1. In my preview, I noted that everyone should finish between 7-2 and 2-7.

1. Shota Umino, Ren Narita, and Boltin Oleg defeated “United Empire” Callum Newman, Henare, and Great-O-Khan at 8:34. Boltin had a good showing a day ago in a loss to Zack Sabre Jr., and he opened here against O-Khan, hitting a fireman’s carry and tossing GOK around. I can’t stress enough what a wide upper body Boltin has. Henare entered and hit a senton at 4:00 for a nearfall. Ren made the hot tag and he hit a running back elbow, then a Northern Lights Suplex for a nearfall on Henare. Henare hit a Samoan Drop on Narita. Shota and Callum tagged in at 7:00. Callum hit a running penalty kick for a nearfall. Shota fired back with a running neckbreaker for a nearfall, then an Ospreay-style Hidden Blade forearm to the back of the neck for the clean pin. I got to believe that finish was sending a message.

2. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Hiromu Takahashi and Yota Tsuji defeated “Bullet Club” Taiji Ishimori and Gedo at 9:17. Hiromu has a DDT “24/7 title” belt as well; geez I thought we got rid of all of those. Hiromu and Taiji opened and immediately traded rollup attempts. Charlton said he presumes that if Hiromu is pinned, he would lose the DDT belt. Ishimori hit a handspring-back-spin kick on Yota at 1:30. On the floor, Gedo shoved Yota into the ring post, and he hit him with a chair. In the ring, the BC kept Tsuji in their corner. Hiromu made the hot tag at 5:00 and he hit a basement dropkick on Ishimori for a nearfall. Tsuji hit a backbreaker over his knee on Ishimori, then a Mafia Kick on Gedo. Yota hit a superkick, then a spear to pin Gedo. The crowd was into this.

* Ishimori tried to roll up Hiroshi to steal his DDT belt. Yota tried to roll up Hiromu! Yuto Nakashima, providing security at ringside, rolled up Hiromu for a nearfall. Hiromu ran to the back in a panic, clutching his two belts. While I don’t care for 24/7 titles as a rule, if they must exist, put them on someone with that sort of manic personality who comes across as paranoid.

3. “Just 5 Guys” Sanada, Taichi, and Yuya Uemura defeated Tomohiro Ishii, Hiroshi Tanahashi, and Oskar Leube at 10:13. Sanada and Tanahashi opened with basic mat reversals. Leube entered at 3:30 and hit an impressive dropkick on Sanada. Taichi grounded Tanahashi. Ishii hit a suplex on Yuya. Ishii chopped Taichi; Taichi hit spin kicks to the thighs, until they were both down at 8:00. Yuya hit a dropkick on Oskar in the corner, then an enzuigiri. Yuya hit his belly-to-belly overhead suplex with a bridge to pin Leube. Good action. Taichi and Ishii kept jawing at each other after the bell.

* Once again, Henare has joined Charlton on commentary. I’ll reiterate that his voice is often a bit too quiet but I’m glad to have a conversation in the booth. We also see Hiromu Takahashi on commentary so I wonder if there will be any more rollups to steal his 24/7 title.

4. DKC and Ryusuke Taguchi (4) defeated “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Kosei Fujita and Robbie Eagles (w/Zack Sabre Jr.) (2) in a tournament match at 12:00 even. I admittedly have these two squads among the three teams in my “lower tier” that will likely finish 2-7 or 3-6, so one of them is about to be off to a 2-1 start. DKC and Fujita opened with some fast reversals and a standoff. Taguchi and Eagles entered at 2:00 but they played to the crowd. Taguchi pulled down the back of his pants to show off a pink thong, and Charlton wondered where he gets these items. DKC and Taguchi hit knife-edge chops on Eagles’ chest. Fujita entered and hit a bodyslam on Taguchi for a nearfall at 4:30.

Taguchi hit his buttbumps on Eagles. DKC entered and hit a running flipping cannonball; he bent Eagles over his knee and hit his knife-edge chops to the chest at 7:00. DKC hit a double DDT. Fujita hit a spin kick on Taguchi. DKC hit a second-rope legdrop on Fujita. Eagles hit a mid-ring Sliced Bread on DKC, but DKC rolled to the floor to avoid being pinned. Taguchi hit an enzuigiri on Fujita and they traded rollups. Taguchi got a Gedo Clutch rollup to pin Fujita. Okay match.

5. Yoh and Musashi (4) defeated “Catch 2/2” TJP and Francesco Akira (2) in a tournament match at 14:02. Akira and Musashi traded deep armdrags early on. Akira hit a senton on Yoh. TJP has the top of his back taped up, selling an injury from yesterday, and he hit his Facewash kicks in the corner on Yoh at 3:30. Yoh hit a senton to the floor on TJP. In the ring, Musashi and Yoh hit a team suplex on TJP and kept him in their corner. Musashi hit a running dropkick into the corner for a nearfall. Yoh hit a standing neckbreaker and he grounded TJP. Akira made the hot tag at 7:30 and he hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall on Musashi.

They got up and traded forearm strikes. Akira hit a German Suplex for a nearfall at 9:00. Yoh and TJP re-entered and they hit hard forearm shots. TJP hit a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall. TJP applied a mid-ring Octopus stretch. Yoh hit a German Suplex with a bridge for a nearfall. Yoh hit a Falcon Arrow for a nearfall, but Akira made the save. Musashi hit an enzuigiri on Akira; Akira hit a doublestomp to Musashi’s chest. C22 hit their team X-Factor faceplant on Yoh, then their running front-and-back kneestrikes for a believable nearfall at 12:00, but Musashi made the save.

TJP got Yoh on his shoulders but he collapsed with pain. Musashi hit a plancha to the floor on Akira. Yoh nailed a backbreaker over his knee on TJP for a believable nearfall; I thought that was it. TJP blocked the Direct Drive double-arm DDT. Yoh hit a jumping knee to the chest, then he nailed the Direct Drive for the pin! A very good match. If TJP is going to be selling an upper back/neck injury this early in the tournament, it spells major trouble for Catch 2/2, and Charlton just reiterated that point, saying it’s a long two weeks if you have a nagging injury.

6. “House of Torture” Sho and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (4) defeated “Just 5 Guys” Douki and Taka Michinoku (0) in a tournament match at 12:25. J5G get to face their treasonous partner Kanemaru here. They all brawled to the floor at 1:30. In the ring, the HoT worked over Taka. Douki finally made the hot tag at 7:00 and he hit a huracanrana on Kanemaru, then a springboard double-back-elbow on both heels. Douki hit a top-rope doublestomp to Kanemaru’s chest for a nearfall, but Yoshinobu blocked the Daybreak sllingshot DDT. Douki locked in the Douki Chokey triangle choke.

Sho got his wrench but Taka blocked it. Douki and Taka hit stereo Asai moonsaults to the floor at 11:00. Taka applied his chinlock and Sho tapped out, but the ref was knocked down. Sho hit a low blow, then he hit Taka in the head with the wrench, then he nailed the Shock Arrow cross-arm piledriver for the cheap pin. This one didn’t do much for me.

7. Kevin Knight and Kushida (4) defeated “Bullet Club War Dogs” Drilla Moloney and Clark Connors (4) in a tournament match at 12:48. Henare is still seething at Moloney for turning on the United Empire and he told Charlton he might have to hold him back. Knight, back in his orange warmup pants, opened against Connors with some quick mat reversals. The BCWD worked over Knight in their corner. Moloney nailed a superkick for a nearfall at 6:30. Knight hit a D’Lo-style Sky High and he tagged in Kushida, who hit a series of kicks on Connors and a Pele Kick. Drilla hit a brainbuster on Kushida. Kushida hit a handspring-back-double elbow at 9:30.

Knight hit a coast-to-coast missile dropkick. Kushida hit a Northern Lights suplex on Connors for a nearfall, but Clark got a foot on the ropes. Moloney hit a spear on Kushida, then an enzuigiri. Connors hit a powerslam on Kushida. The BCWD hit a front-and-back spear on Knight for a believable nearfall at 11:30. Knight leapt off Kushida’s back and hit a drokick in the corner, then a flip dive to the floor on Connors. Kushida hit a fastball punch on Moloney. They traded rollups, and suddenly Kushida got the three-count on Moloney! Kushida celebrated in the crowd that this was a big deal, while the BCWD were stunned in disbelief in the ring. I liked this a lot.

8. El Desperado and Master Wato (4) defeated “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Titan and Bushi (2) in a tournament match at 17:52. Desperado still seems annoyed with his teammate; he’s really not into this pairing and he refused a high-five before the bell. Desperado and Titan opened but he shook Titan’s hand! Funny. Good feeling-out process and a standoff at 1:30. Wato and Bushi entered and they immediately traded chops. All four brawled to the floor and up into the risers and traded more chops in front of the fans. Titan and Bushi hit stereo dives off the entrance area down onto their opponents at 5:00. The ref finally ordered them back to the ring.

In the ring, Bushi worked over Wato. Titan entered and kicked at Wato’s thighs, and Wato was clutching at a sore left elbow. Titan hit a basement dropkick at 8:00. Wato fired back with a leg lariat and they were both down. Desperado entered and he hit a back suplex on Titan. Desperado hit a brainbuster for a nearfall at 10:30. Titan hit a tornado DDT and they were both down. Wato and Bushi got back in and they traded forearm strikes. Wato hit his springboard flying back elbow for a nearfall. Bushi applied a Trailer Hitch leglock on the mat at 13:00, but Wato reached the ropes.

Wato hit his double-arm driver for a mousetrap rollup for a nearfall. Titan shoved Wato into Desperado. Titan hit a springboard huracanrana on Desperado, then a dive to the floor on Desperado. In the ring, Titan hit a top-rope kneedrop onto the base of Wato’s neck. Titan hit his springboard doublestomp to the back for a believable nearfall. Wato hit a German Suplex with a bridge for a nearfall on Bushi. Desperado nailed a flip dive through the ropes onto Titan on the floor. In the ring, Wato hit his double-arm driver into the mousetrap rollup for the pin on Bushi! That was really, really good and I felt it could have gone either way.

* Desperado vanished. Wato got on the mic and he said they would win the tournament as a pair.

Final Thoughts: After a somewhat lethargic first night of the tournament, these two at Korakuen Hall have really been good. That was a really good main event and earns best match. Knight/Kushida’s big win earns second place, with TJP/Akira vs. Yoh/Musashi taking third. The other two tournament matches were a bit sub-par, but the top three were excellent. Also, NJPW has done a good job rotating wrestlers in and out of the undercard matches, as we had Naito and Shingo yesterday, while today we had Ishii and Tanahashi. The tournament continues Thursday with Japanese-only commentary before the next off-day on Friday.

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The post NJPW “Super Jr. Tag League 2023” results (10/25): Vetter’s review of El Desperado and Master Wato vs. Titan and Bushi, Kushida and Kevin Knight vs. Drilla Maloney and Clark Connors – Pro Wrestling Dot Net appeared first on WorldNewsEra.


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