The third and final round of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Title Tournament!
This is it! The matches today determine which two teams face off AGAIN, but for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championships!
NOTE: NJPW no longer wants to feed AXS TV now that it is with Anthem and Impact Wrestling. But never fear, I will cover NJPW in the spirit of AXS in providing the most important matches of the show.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Tournament: Gedo & Taiji Ishimori VS Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato; Gedo & Ishimori win, tied with Taguchi & Wato at 1-2.
- IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Tournament: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado VS Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI; Kanemaru & Desperado win, tied with LIJ at 2-1.
PLAY BY PLAY
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Tournament: Gedo & Taiji Ishimori VS Ryusuke Taguchi & Master Wato!
Bullet Club is 0-2 and has NO CHANCE of entering the championship match! But they can be spoilers for the #OneOrEight combination! Will Gedo and the Bone Soldier Reborn ruin things for the Funky Weapon and Grand Master?
The teams sort out, and Taguchi wants to make sure there are no leather belts that can be used to lash them. Taiji’s belt is part of his tights, so Taguchi accepts things are safe. After a Low Sweet and a parody of low fist bumps, Gedo starts against Wato. Fans cheer as Gedo and Wato circle. Gedo kicks at Tenzan but Tenzan gets on the apron. Taiji attacks from behind! Red Shoes reprimands but Bullet Club mug and double whip Wato. Taguchi saves Wato, Wato boots back! They double whip Gedo in return, dropkick the legs out to basement dropkick! They double whip Taiji, double drop toehold and double basement dropkick! The #AssMasters pose and egg Gedo on. Wato drags Gedo up, kicks and kicks and kicks, then kicks Gedo off his feet!
Fans fire up with Wato but Gedo wants a time out! Gedo baits Wato in and throws him out of the ring! Taiji whips Wato into railing and Gedo sucker punches Taguchi! Red Shoes tries to get order, but Gedo DID have a belt! Gedo LASHES Taguchi on the back! Taguchi is up against railing and Gedo LASHES him while Taiji is in Red Shoes’ face. Gedo does the same to Wato! Gedo leaves them both down and even eggs on Tenzan. Taiji leaves Red Shoes alone as Gedo brings Wato up. Gedo rakes Wato’s eyes and chokes him at the ropes. Red Shoes counts, Gedo lets up, claiming innocence. Gedo drags Wato up, feeds him to Taiji’s boot, and then tags Taiji in. Taiji kicks Wato around but Wato CHOPS back. Taiji shrugs it off to CHOP Wato!
Wato leans on the ropes, Taiji cravats and chokes Wato on the ropes with a straddle! Red Shoes counts, Taiji lets up for just a moment then chokes more. Red Shoes counts again, Taiji stops to snapmare and choke Wato on the mat! Red Shoes reprimands but Taiji claims he’s covering. Taiji tags Gedo, that buckle pad has moved again, and Gedo taunts Taguchi as he brings Wato up. Red Shoes keeps Taguchi back as Gedo bumps Wato off the bare buckle! Gedo toys with Wato again, but Wato CHOPS. Gedo rakes Wato’s eyes! Red Shoes counts, Gedo stops at 3 to tag in Taiji. Taiji drags Wato up, snapmares him and CRANKS the neck! Gedo likes that one! Wato kicks and writhes but Taiji toys with him again.
Taiji drags Wato up to another cravat, jams his shoulder in again and again, then drops Wato with a neckbreaker! Cover, Taguchi breaks it! Gedo protests but Taiji tags him in. Tenzan and Taguchi coach Wato but Gedo throws Wato into the bare buckle! Gedo stomps Wato, snapmares and drops a fist! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as Wato toughs it out, but Gedo wraps on a chinlock. The fans rally up as Wato endures, fights up, and throws body shots! Wato is free, runs and dodges Gedo but Taiji gets a cheap shot in! Gedo throws Wato out and Taiji distracts Red Shoes again as Gedo gets his belt back. But Taguchi comes around to SMACK Gedo with his wet towel! And again! Taiji comes in but gets SMACKED by the towel!
Taguchi SMACKS away on Bullet Club, and does locker room style whipping! Red Shoes reprimands, Taguchi gives him the towel, and then uses Gedo’s belt! Taguchi gets a belt shot in on Gedo but Red Shoes sees that. Taguchi gives up the belt, to then grind Gedo into the railing. Taguchi puts Gedo in, Wato follows and hot tags to Taguchi! Fans cheer as Taguchi springboard missile hips! Taiji kicks and whips but Taguchi dodges to hip attack Gedo at the ropes! Then a hip attack for Taiji! Fans fire up as Taguchi gets the hip train going! One for Gedo, another for Taiji, and back again! Taiji flops out, Taguchi gives Gedo an apron hip attack! Cover, TWO! Taguchi keeps his focus as he drags Gedo up.
Taguchi suplexes, uno amigo! Then dos amigo! Taguchi wants tres, but Gedo slips out to waistlock. Taguchi drop toeholds to the ANKLE LOCK! Gedo flails, scrambles, reaches, but grabs at Red Shoes! Gedo throws Red Shoes, Taguchi avoids the mule kick, and DISCUS- NO! The Funky Weapon gets an atomic drop! Gedo DECKS Taguchi with that right hand but both men fall! Gedo crawls, hot tag to Taiji! Taiji runs corner to corner at Taguchi for double knees! Taiji snapmares, runs and SHINING WIZARDS! Cover, TWO!! Taguchi survives and Taiji grows frustrated. Taiji throws haymakers on Taguchi then runs, but Taguchi follows. Taiji dodges the hip attack but Taguchi stays up! Taiji realizes, runs and sunset flips, but Taguchi rolls through to basement dropkick!
Fans fire up as both men are down. Taguchi crawls, hot tag to Wato! Wato uses Taiji to leap and uppercut Gedo! Taiji body shots and whips, drops down and hurdles, but Wato leaps over and comes back. Wato huricanranas Taiji out of the ring! Fans cheer as Wato builds speed to FLY! TORNILLO!! Down goes Taiji! The fans fire up with Wato more and Wato puts Taiji in the ring. Wato aims from the corner, springboards and FLYING UPPERCUTS! Cover, TWO! Wato keeps his cool, drags Taiji back up and wrenches. Taiji resists the Mouse Trap, elbows free and ducks the back hand to knee low. Taiji whips, Wato reverses but Taiji handsprings to the PELE! Taiji drags Wato back up, gut wrenches, but Wato slips out to feed him to hip attack! Wato leaps for a neckbreaker! Cover, TWO!
Taiji survives but #OneOrEight coordinates. Wheelbarrow and Wato climbs! Gedo goes after Wato and trips him up! Taiji victory rolls and STOMPS Taguchi down! Taiji goes to Wato, drags him off the top, but Wato resists Bloody Cross! Wato shoves Taiji into Gedo, Taiji blocks a roundhouse but Wato blocks a kick to DREAMCAST KICK! Wato drags Taiji up, hooks him up, MOUSE TRAP DRIVER!! Cover, Gedo breaks it in time!! Fans cheer as this continues. Wato dodges Gedo and dynamic dropkicks him out! Taguchi TRIANGLE PLANCAHS Gedo! Wato has Taiji, lifts but Taiji resists to back drop. Wato susnet flips, Taiji drags him into a cover, TWO! Taiji has the ghost pin, TWO, into YES LOCK!!
Wato endures, fights up, reaches and crawls, and fans fire up as he gets closer and closer! Taguchi tries to help, but Taiji rolls Wato away! Wato endures all over again, Gedo stops Taguchi, Taiji shifts to the overhead chicken wing, GargaNo Escape style!! Wato endures the #BoneLock, but taps! Bullet Club wins!!
Winners: Taiji Ishimori & Gedo, by submission; improve to 1-2, Taguchi & Wato fall to 1-2
Bullet Club just ELIMINATED Taguchi and Wato from the running!! They are satisfied with at least having done that. Will either team here have another chance down the line?
IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Championship Tournament: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado VS Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI!
No matter what happens, Los Ingobernables de Japon is in the championship match! But will they go in with a dominant 3-0, causing a three way tie among the others? Or will Suzuki-Gun win to then force a rematch for the titles?
The teams sort out, and “Despy” wants someone to step up. The LIJ fist bump gives the Timebomb the start. Fans are fired up with the bell as Hiromu and Desperado circle. They approach but Hiromu backs off to tag out to Bushi. Fans cheer in appreciation of Hiromu playing games with Desperado. Desperado figures there’s no point, either, so he tags in Kanemaru. Bushi and the Heel Master circle, tension builds, but then Bushi tags out to Hiromu. Fans cheer as LIJ keeps Suzuki-Gun off balance. Desperado talks trash as Hiromu circles with Kanemaru. Hiromu blasts past Kanemaru to sunset flip over Desperado! Desperado desperately holds ropes but Bushi attacks Kanemaru! Hiromu can’t bomb Desperado so he trips him up and whips him into barriers!
Bushi clubs Kanemaru down and fans cheer as LIJ regroups. LIJ drags Kanemaru up, double whips, mule kicks, dropkicks and basement dropkicks! Hiromu stomps Kanemaru, taunts Desperado, then stomps Kanemaru more. Hiromu bumps Kanemaru off buckles, tags Bushi and Bushi stomps Kanemaru in the corner. LIJ bring Kanemaru up, Hiromu chops him and they whip. Kanemaru holds ropes, boots Bushi and dumps Hiromu out. Kanemaru goes after Bushi as Desperado attacks Hiromu! Desperado whips Hiromu into railing! And then more railing! Kanemaru brings Bushi out to do the same! Kanemaru stomps Bushi while Desperado leaves Hiromu behind. Kanemaru RAMS Bushi into railing, then gets back in the ring.
Desperado confiscates the timekeeper’s hammer while a ring count starts. Desperado hits Hiromu in the stomach with the hammer! Red Shoes notices, Desperado gives the hammer back but he stands on Hiromu’s head. Red Shoes pauses the count, Bushi gets in and Kanemaru stomps him down! Kanemaru brings Bushi up for a high and hard suplex! Cover, TWO! Kanemaru tags Desperado in and Desperado brings Bushi up to the top rope. Desperado climbs up, Kanemaru is in Red Shoes’ face, and Desperado goes after Bushi’s mask! Hiromu protests as Bushi holds on desperately! Desperado stops and Bushi falls to the mat. Desperado stomps Bushi’s leg and yanks on it. Tag to Kanemaru and Kanemaru SMASHES the knee into the mat! Suzuki-Gun DOUBLE SMASH both knees!
Kanemaru dropkicks Hiromu down then drags Bushi up. Kanemaru whips Bushi and dropkicks the legs out! Kanemaru gets the bad leg and uses it to turn Bushi over for a Half Crab! Bushi endures, Desperado goes after Hiromu on the outside and RAMS him into railing! Bushi powers up and gets the ropebreak! Kanemaru lets off fast and stomps Bushi. Tag to Desperado and Desperado toys with Bushi. Bushi gets up, but Desperado kicks him down! Cover, TWO! Desperado drags Bushi around, hooks the leg for the knee breaker! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as Bushi toughs it out. Kanemaru tags in and Desperado goes after Hiromu again.
Kanemaru rakes Bushi’s eyes, Desperado comes back and Suzuki-Gun double whip. Kanemaru runs in but misses, then Bushi boots Desperado! Bushi hits a bulldog dropkick combo! Fans rally up, Bushi crawls to the corner, hot tag to Hiromu! Hiromu whips Kanemaru, forearms, rope jack and shotgun, but he misses! Desperado returns, Suzuki-Gun double whip but Hiromu ducks and sends them into each other! Hiromu lifts Kanemaru and uses him to huricanrana Desperado! Fans cheer as Hiromu whips Kanemaru. Kanemaru reverses but now Hiromu huricanranas Kanemaru! Fans fire up as Hiromu is on the apron to shotgun dropkick Kanemaru into Desperado and Desperado into railing!
The fans fire up with Hiromu as he drags Kanemaru back up and in. Hiromu suplexes Kanemaru for the FALCON ARROW! Cover, TWO! Hiromu drags Kanemaru back up, fireman’s carries but Kanemaru blocks. Kanemaru elbows, runs but into a fireman’s carry! Hiromu heads for a corner, Kanemaru slips off and shoves Hiromu to the corner. Hiromu dodges Kanemaru then comes back to corner clothesline! Hiromu rolls Kanemaru but misses the basement dropkick! Kanemaru runs at Hiromu but into a back elbow. Hiromu swings, Kanemaru dodges and tilt-o-whirl DDT’s! Both men are down and fans fire up again! Kanemaru crawls, tags Desperado in, and Desperado drags Hiromu up. Desperado turns Hiromu for a neckbreaker!
Desperado talks trash, drags Hiromu up and suplexes high and hard! Cover, TWO! Fans cheer as Hiromu lives, but Desperado keeps on him. Desperado whips Hiromu corner to corner, hits a BIG corner clothesline, then whips him back the other way. Hiromu OVERHEAD suplexes Desperado into buckles! The fans rally up as both men are down. Hiromu heads for his corner, tag to Bushi! Bushi heads up top as Desperado stands, missile dropkick! Bushirooni! Then slingshot huricanrana! Bushi is fired up and the fans join in! Bushi takes off the shirt to throw it at Desperado and stomps him. Bushi puts Desperado in, drags him up but sees the counter punch coming to DDT! Cover, TWO!
Bushi keeps his cool as he drags Desperado back up. Desperado denies Fisherman Screw but Bushi denies the German Suplex. Bushi runs, Desperado uses Red Shoes as a shield! Bushi pushes Red Shoes aside, Desperado kicks low and DECKS Bushi with that right! Desperado fires up, drags Bushi up while talking trash, but Bushi fires off hands. Desperado ROCKS Bushi, reels him in and hooks him up, but Bushi slips out of the Guitarra! Bushi waistlocks, Desperado elbows out and runs, but into a dropkick! Both men are down and the fans fire up again! The fans rally as Bushi stands first. Bushi drags Desperado up, whips him but Desperado reverses to SPINE BUSTER! Kanemaru BOOTS Hiromu off the apron and shouts to Desperado.
Kanemaru drags Bushi up, whips him to a corner, and runs in to elbow. Kanemaru feeds Bushi to the lift, dropkick back suplex! Cover, Hiromu breaks it in time! Kanemaru throws Hiromu out, Desperado drags Bushi up. GUITARRA DEL ANGEL! Cover, TWO!! Bushi survives and fans fire up again! Kanemaru argues the count but also distracts Red Shoes. Desperado prepares his loaded punch but Bushi dodges it! SUPERKICK from Hiromu! Kanemaru hits LIJ, but runs into the SUPERKICK ENZIGURI combo! Hiromu runs at Desperado for a corner clothesline, roll to the dropkick sandwich! LIJ coordinate, suplex to BOMB NECKBREAKER! Cover, TWO!! Desperado lives but LIJ looks to end it now!
LIJ double wheelbarrows but Kanemaru attacks to save Desperado! Kanemaru runs, Hiromu follows and shotgun dropkicks him out! Hiromu rams Kanemaru into railing, Desperado weakly hits Bushi. Bushi mocks him, then ROCKS him! Desperado flounders around, still tries to hit back, but Bushi enziguris hard! Bushi drags Desperado up, for a DESTROYER!! Cover, TWO!! Desperado survives and fans cheer! Bushi heads to a corner and heads up as fans rally more. Desperado rises, Bushi aims at him, M X- NO! Desperado moves, Kanemaru goes after the mask! Red Shoes is distracted, LOW BLOW!! Mouse Trap! Kanemaru intercepts Hiromu, Suzuki-Gun wins!!
Winners: Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado, by pinfall; improve to 2-1, LIJ falls to 2-1
The 2-1 draw means this match happens all over again in the finals!! Desperado and Kanemaru will have to outsmart LIJ a second time to take those titles! If they did it once, can they do it again? Or will LIJ rebound and get revenge on top of getting those belts?
A really good way to wrap up the round robin, though maybe just a touch predictable in some ways. Bullet Club being spoilers on Wato and Taguchi made it pretty clear what was happening if you thought about the way the table went. There was no extra time scheduled for there to be a Triple Threat playoff of the three tied teams, so things would be settled today. And as soon as Taguchi and Wato fell to 1-2, LIJ could no longer go 3-0. If Bullet Club went completely winless, well that would be pretty bad for the faction really. But at least then, there would be a bit more drama to Suzuki-Gun VS LIJ.
LIJ winning meant a rematch of them and Wato and Taguchi. LIJ losing meant a tie of three teams at 2-1 and that could’ve been a Triple Threat Tag for the finals. But at the same time, NJPW likes keeping things as balanced, from 1v1 to 2v2, etc. But LIJ VS Suzuki-Gun again on 9/11/20 for the titles will be an even greater match than today’s, and that’s for the best.
My Score: 8.4/10