Friday’s episode featured two tag team matches from November 21, 2015 in Korakuen Hall. Both matches are in the World Tag League 2015 Tournament. Big time players in this one, so without further delay let’s review.
The first match is a Block B Official Match featuring Tatsuya Naito and EVIL taking on Karl Anderson and Doc Gallows. EVIL comes to the ring wearing a purple and black cloak and hood, carrying a plastic scythe. Naito comes out wearing his silver skull mask. He gets to the ring and takes the mask off. Instead of Naito, it’s the masked wrestler Bushi. Crowd cheers despite Bushi having apparently now joined Los Ingobernables. Anderson and Gallows of The Bulletclub come out flying solo. Before the bell rings, all four men attack one another in an all out brawl. The bell rings and Anderson and Gallows isolate EVIL, getting him out of the ring. Then Naito gets attacked and dumped outside as well. In front of Bushi, Gallows throws EVIL into the guard rail.
In the crowd, Anderson puts a hurting on Naito. Crowd in a rare frenzy. Anderson throws Naito out of the steel exit door and then joins Gallows ringside, who is beating EVIL with a chair. They get EVIL in the ring and Anderson takes control. Gallows goes to his tag corner. Naito is shown making his way slowly through the crowd. They spill outside the ring. EVIL puts a chair around the neck of Anderson and throws him into the steel post. Back in the ring, EVIL starts biting Anderson. This one is less of a wrestling match and more of a free-for-all. Ref is really letting them get away with everything but murder here.
After a commercial break, EVIL and Anderson are actually wrestling in the ring. Spine buster by Anderson and he crawls towards Gallows for the tag. Gallows knocks Naito off the apron and kicks EVIL to the mat. Naito gets the tag and drops Gallows. EVIL comes in and they tag team Gallows into a cover after knocking Anderson off the apron. Two count. Naito attacks the ref in the corner. EVIL is down. Gallows and Anderson tag team Naito. Huge powerbomb by Gallows and a cover. EVIL breaks it up before the three count. Gallows and Anderson get EVIL out of the ring and continue double-teaming Naito. Gallows and Anderson try a Gun Stun. EVIL breaks it up. Kick by Naito on Gallows and then Bushi mists him on the apron. Gallows gets hit with a Tranquilo and Destino by Naito (try saying that five times fast) and Naito covers for the win. Interview afterwards shows EVIL and he says, “Everything is evil.” Bushi says he has decided to follow Naito.
The second match is from Block A of the tournament. The team of Hiroshi Tanahashi and Michael Elgin go up against Kazuchika Okada and Yoshi-Hashi. Elgin and Yoshi-Hashi kick off the bout. Elgin throws Yoshi-Hashi across the ring and flexes his bicep. Yoshi-Hashi against the ropes, tries a shoulder tackle but Elgin doesn’t move. He slams Yoshi-Hashi and then drops him with a gorilla press. Vertical suplex and Yoshi-Hashi is reeling. Cover by Elgin, but a kick out. Tanahashi tags in and calls out Okada. Yoshi-Hashi tags him in and they go at it, eventually spilling out of the ring an into the crowd. Ref starts a 20 count. Both get back to the ring at 18. Okada tags Yoshi-Hashi in and he plants Tanahashi, who seems to be singularly focused on Okada. Tanahashi fights back and gets Elgin tagged in. He punches Yoshi-Hashi multiple times and slams him into a cover. Kick out at two. Yoshi-Hashi blocks a powerbomb attempt and tags in Okada. Okada goes to work on Elgin but he manages to tag in Tanahashi who puts Okada down and locks in a cloverleaf submission. Okada fights out and the two keep battling as we head to a commercial break.
When we return, Yoshi-Hashi and Elgin are fighting. Yoshi-Hashi gets a quick cover on Elgin but he kicks out early. Okada and Yoshi-Hashi tag team Elgin. They plant Elgin and Yoshi-Hashi tries another cover, but Elgin kicks out. He turns the tables and picks up both men. He slams them both and the crowd applauds. That was a really great spot. The crowd starts a chant for Elgin. Elgin then powerbombs Yoshi-Hashi off the top rope. Cover, but Okada breaks it up before the ref can count to three. Yoshi-Hashi rolls up Elgin and almost gets a pinfall. Yoshi-Hashi hits a reverse DDT and then climbs the top rope. He tries a dive off, but Elgin rolls out of the way and Yoshi-Hashi hits the mat hard. Multiple kicks by Yoshi-Hashi and he puts Elgin down for another near fall. Elgin and Tanahashi team together to put Okada down. Elgin powerbombs Yoshi-Hashi into a cover and gets the three count. After the match, Okada and Tanahashi stare each other down. Tanahashi gets on the mic and says Elgin is an amazing partner.
Very fun episode of New Japan Pro Wrestling. When you see really good tag team action, it makes you remember how weak some other promotions tag divisions are. Tanahashi and Elgin, although fighting their first match as a team, really put on a great show. They are a good duo. Both matches were entertaining and told excellent stories. Thanks once again to Jim Ross and Josh Barnett for their wonderful commentary that only adds to the program. As of right now, my DVR shows another new episode will be on next Friday. We’ll see you then.
Article by Jamie Curtis Baker