Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

By Chris Vetter, ProWrestling.net Contributor (@chrisvetter73)

New Japan Pro Wrestling “Super Jr. Tag League 2023”
October 30, 2023 in Niigata, Japan at Tsubame-shi Physical Education Center
Streamed live on New Japan World

The venue is a large gym, and most of the crowd is seated on the floor. The crowd is maybe 1,200 to 1,500. We once again have Japanese-only commentary. A reminder that many of the top NJPW stars are in Las Vegas and aren’t here.

There are 10 teams in Super Junior Tag League. We are already past the halfway point in this two-week, round-robin tournament. Each team faces all nine opponents, with the top two meeting in a rematch on Saturday. As this event begins, the unlikely pairing of El Desperado and Master Wato are leading at 4-1 (8 points), but there are four other squads at 3-2 (6 points.) With such a limited roster, the three undercard matches are the same as Saturday’s show.

1. Tomaki Honma, Hiroyoshi Tenzan, and Togi Makabe defeated Oskar Leube, Yuto Nakashima, and Boltin Oleg at 9:05. Tenzan and Yuto opened. Honma entered and applied a half-crab. Honma hit a DDT on Oleg at 4:00. Togi tagged in and repeatedly punched Oleg in the corner. Togi and Leube traded mid-ring forearm strikes, and Leube hit his Hogan legdrop for a nearfall at 7:00. Leube hit a running powerslam on Togi for a nearfall. Togi nailed the top-rope kneedrop to Leube’s forehead for the pin. Basic. As I noted Saturday, the results would be very different three years from now.

2. Ren Narita and Shota Umino defeated “United Empire” Great-O-Khan and Callum Newman at 8:24. The UE attacked at the bell. O-Khan choked Ren with a white strap. Shota finally got the hot tag at 4:00 and hit a flying forearm on Great-O-Khan and a nice dropkick on Newman, then a fisherman’s suplex on O-Khan for a nearfall. Newman hit a running penalty kick on Shota at 6:30. Shota hit a Castagnoli-style pop-up European Uppercut, then an Ospreay-style Hidden Blade to the back of Newman’s head for the pin. These first two matches were fairly identical to Saturday’s action.

3. Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, and Yoshi-Hashi defeated “House of Torture” EVIL, Yujiro Takahashi, and Dick Togo at 8:50. The HoT attacked to start the match and everyone brawled. EVIL jabbed Yano with a chair on the floor. Togo raked Ishii’s eyes and the HoT worked over Ishii in their corner. Yoshi-Hashi entered at 5:00 and he nailed a flying Headhunter/flipping neckbreaker on EVIL. Yano entered at 7:00 and battled Togo. Yano got a rollup for the win. Just … not good.

4. “House of Torture” Sho and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (8) defeated The DKC and Ryusuke Taguchi (4) in a tournament match at 11:14. Taguchi hit a mid-ring buttbump on both heels. DKC and Taguchi hit their knife-edge chops on Sho’s chest. The HoT began working over Taguchi’s left knee. DKC finally got the hot tag at 5:30 and he hit his mid-ring cannonball on Sho. He bend Sho over his knee and hit more knife-edge chops to the chest. Sho pushed the ref into Taguchi, and the ref was down. Sho went to get his wrench but Taguchi got it first, and he jabbed it into Sho’s ribs at 8:00.

Taguchi ran to the back, apparently expecting the rest of the House of Torture to attack. However, EVIL, Togo and Yujiro snuck in the other way and they stomped on DKC. Taguchi returned, but they all stomped on him, too. Sho made a cover on DKC; the ref awoke and counted a nearfall. Sho nailed the Shock Arrow cross-arm piledriver for a believable nearfall; I thought that was it. Kanemaru got his bottle of whisky but Taguchi avoided it. Taguchi and DKC hit front-and-back buttbumps on Sho for a nearfall at 10:30. Kanemaru sprayed whiskey into DKC’s eyes. Sho hit a second Shock Arrow to score the pin. At 4-2 (8 points), the House of Torture remains in the playoff picture.

5. “Bullet Club War Dogs” Drilla Moloney and Clark Connors (8) defeated “Just 5 Guys” Taka Michinoku and Douki (2) in a tournament match at 10:13. The War Dogs should be livid after losing on Saturday and my guess is they are about to take it out on J5G. Sure enough, they stormed to the ring, got in and immediately attacked J5G. They brawled to the floor. Douki and Connors went up a staircase and brawled among the three rows in the balcony. Connors teased throwing Douki over the railing. Meanwhile, Drilla was stomping on Taka in the ring, and the BCWD worked Taka over. Douki finally made the hot tag at 4:30 and hit a head-scissors takedown on Connors. Douki hit a top-rope doublestomp on Connors’ stomach for a nearfall, then he applied the Douki Chokey.

Connors pushed Douki into Taka, then Connors hit a powerslam on the dazed Douki. Taka entered and cranked back on Drilla’s head. Drilla hit a doublestomp on Taka’s chest. Drilla hit an enzuigiri at 9:00. BCWD hit their front-and-back spears for a nearfall on Taka. They hit the Full Clip (Taka held upside down with Connors hitting a spear) for the pin.

6. “The Mighty Don’t Kneel” Robbie Eagles and Kosei Fujita (6) defeated Yoh and Musashi (4) in a tournament match at 12:08. The losing team will be essentially eliminated. Musashi and Fujita opened. Eagles and Yoh locked up at 1:30. Yoh and Musashi worked over Eagles. Musashi hit a running dropkick in the corner for a nearfall at 5:00. Fujita finally got the hot tag and he hit some chops on Yoh and a flying knee for a nearfall at 7:00. Yoh hit a plancha to the floor on Fujita.

Musashi hit a spin kick/leg lariat on Fujita at 9:00. Yoh re-entered and hit a dropkick on Fujita. Yoh and Musashi nailed stereo Falcon Arrows for a nearfall at 10:30. Eagles hit a mid-ring Sliced Bread on Yoh. Musashi hit a superkick on Eagles, then a faceplant on Robbie for a nearfall. Eagles hit a series of kicks. Fujita hit a flip dive to the floor on Yoh. In the ring, Eagles hit a 450 Splash and he tied Musashi in the Ron Miller Special leglock, and Musashi tapped out! I’ll call that a big upset as Yoh is all but eliminated now.

7. “Los Ingobernobles de Japon” Bushi and Titan (6) defeated “Catch 2/2” TJP and Francesco Akira (6) in a tournament match at 13:27. TJP still has medical tape on his neck, selling a tournament-long injury, as he opened against Titan, with them trading lucha reversals. TJP snapped Titan’s left arm backward at 1:30. LIJ began working over TJP. Bushi hit a basement dropkick for a nearfall at 4:30, and he ripped off the medical tape, as TJP continued to sell his neck injury. Akira made the hot tag at 6:30 and hit a flying head-scissors takedown on Bushi, then a top-rope crossbody block for a nearfall.

TJP nailed the Mamba Splash frogsplash on Titan for a nearfall at 9:30. Bushi draped TJP over the top rope and Titan hit a doublestomp on Titan’s back. Titan hit a springboard frogsplash for a believable nearfall at 11:00, but Akira made the save. Titan went for his springboard doublestomp but he landed on Bushi! TJP tied Titan in an Octopus. The ref got bumped. C22 hit their team X-Factor faceplant on Titan at 13:00. Titan rolled up TJP with a creative move for the pin out of nowhere. Good match, and LIJ needed that win to remain in the running.

8. El Desperado and Master Wato (10) defeated Kushida and Kevin Knight (6) in a tournament match at 24:51. Wato and Kushida opened with mat reversals. Knight entered at 2:30 and kept Wato grounded. Knight hit a flying splash for a nearfall at 6:00. Knight hit several kneedrops on Wato’s left elbow. Desperado finally tagged in at 9:00 for the first time and he hit a neckbreaker on Knight. Wato applied a head-scissors lock on Knight at 12:00; this match has been all on the mat and rather slow. Desperado hit a back suplex on Knight. Knight hit a double Pele Kick. Kushida got the hot tag at 14:00 and he worked over Wato’s left arm.

Wato hit a top-rope flying forearm for a nearfall. Kushida applied a Hoverboard Lock on Wato, but Desperado jumped in and applied a Stretch Muffler on Kushida. Wato hit a back suplex for a nearfall, but Knight made the save, and everyone was down at 18:30. Knight hit a flip dive to the floor on Wato, then a springboard clothesline on Desperado for a nearfall. Knight hit his impressive dropkick, then a D’Lo Sky-High on Desperado for a nearfall at 20:00. Desperado nailed a spinebuster for a nearfall and he immediately applied the Stretch Muffler, but Knight reached the ropes at 21:30. Desperado hit a back suplex and a Saito Suplex for a nearfall, but Kushida made the save.

Desperado set up for Angel’s Wings but Knight blocked it. Desperado again applied Stretch Muffler, but Knight somehow turned it into a triangle choke! Knight hit a Canadian Destroyer for a nearfall at 23:30. Wato hit a flip dive to the floor on Kushida. Desperado finally hit the Angel’s Wings on Knight, then a second one, for the clean pin. A good match but it took far too long to get rolling.

* Desperado spoke on the mic, then Wato spoke on the mic.

Final Thoughts: I’ll take Catch 2/2 vs. LIJ for best match. I had a sense that LIJ was going to win only because losing would have dropped them to 2-4 and out of the running. As I noted above, it was literally nine minutes before Desperado even got into the main event. The unlikely partners of Wato and Desperado are now 5-1 (10 points) and should reach the playoffs, and there are just two teams (War Dogs, House of Torture) at 4-2 (8 points), so even those at 3-3 will have a big challenge leaping into a playoff spot. The tournament continues Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The top two point-getters will meet again on Saturday to determine the winner of Super Junior Tag League.

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The post NJPW “Super Jr. Tag League 2023” results (10/30): Vetter’s review of Kushida and Kevin Knight vs. Master Wato and El Desperado, Titan and Bushi vs. Francesco Akira and TJP – Pro Wrestling Dot Net appeared first on WorldNewsEra.

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