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NJPW World Tag League 2018

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Most exciting event in NJPW's calendar year is about to begin and here are the teams:

EVIL & Sanada
Taichi & ZSJ
Suzuki & Iizuka
Killer Elite Squad
Hangman Page and Yujiro
G.o.D.
Best Friends
Juice & Finlay
Yoshida & Shota Umino
Elgin & Cobb
Makabe & Henare
Ishii & Yano
TenCozy
Nakanishi & Nagata

It looks like it is going to be single block like Jr. Tag League as well so 13 matches for each team.

Only actually exciting thing in this tournament is this:

 

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I honestly don't see any viable winners outside of Evil/Sanada. I guess in theory it could also be GoD and they'd call out YBs after winning whole thing, but... damn. Sure, there are some solid teams, but whole thing looks like someone in the office said "ah, fuck it, who cares".

Only fresh and interesting thing is Zack/Taichi team.

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26 minutes ago, Archibald said:

I honestly don't see any viable winners outside of Evil/Sanada. I guess in theory it could also be GoD and they'd call out YBs after winning whole thing, but... damn. Sure, there are some solid teams, but whole thing looks like someone in the office said "ah, fuck it, who cares".

Only fresh and interesting thing is Zack/Taichi team.

I thought we were definitely getting a ZSJ/MiSu team that could go all the way but what happens now? Could we really see Zack and Suzuki in the NEVER Gauntlet? That would suck. I really don’t see them slotting into any singles matches.

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32 minutes ago, Archibald said:

I honestly don't see any viable winners outside of Evil/Sanada. I guess in theory it could also be GoD and they'd call out YBs after winning whole thing, but... damn. Sure, there are some solid teams, but whole thing looks like someone in the office said "ah, fuck it, who cares".

Only fresh and interesting thing is Zack/Taichi team.

They're not going anywhere with the Taka scandal.  

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Oh man, they put Elgin and Cobb together again.

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Was Shibata ever punished for those hilarious leaked texts (obviously not so funny for his wife, mind you)? Chappin' chappin'.

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1 hour ago, FlaeBlazer said:

I thought we were definitely getting a ZSJ/MiSu team that could go all the way but what happens now? Could we really see Zack and Suzuki in the NEVER Gauntlet? That would suck. I really don’t see them slotting into any singles matches.

For all we know they might do Ishii/Yano vs Zack/Suzuki for RPW tag titles at the Dome. Or have Zack/Suzuki lost them already to someone?

1 hour ago, alstein said:

They're not going anywhere with the Taka scandal.  

I don't expect them to do very good, but they are only team that we haven't seen before so it will be interesting to see how their matches go. Technically Yoshida/Shota are also new team, but they are probably going 0-12 so who cares.

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ZSJ and Taichi will be fun for all the right reasonas, whereas Elgin and Cobb will be for the wrong ones.

Mostly, I wonder if they could really make Evil and Sanada viable tag aces, and if doing so would help the division. I don’t think either guy is getting to the main event as a singles—both because of weaknesses/limitations they have, and the fact that New Japan seems to telegraph their main eventers very quickly—but perhaps they could inspire the world with goth/punk solidarity. (I like both quite a bit, so this isn’t as backhanded as it may read.)

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9 hours ago, EVA said:

Oh man, they put Elgin and Cobb together again.

That stood out to me as well.

I also find it odd that Sanada is a heavyweight, while Shingo is considered a junior.

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According to official stats Sanada is a bit taller and a bit heavier than Shingo.

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Seems like Goto will defend the title on this tour—dropping it to Ospreay, if he’s healthy, seems the likely thing. Whether it’s intentional or not, champions challenging Ibushi is becoming a regular thing, and quite the put-over for him. 

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Do you mean the NEVER title or the heavyweight tag title? (Or both)

Also Shingo going toe-to-toe with Hino in the Carny had me convinced he was like BJW strong style heavyweight dude. 

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Looks like NJPW did another poll on who people would like to see winning WTL:

LiJ team getting close to 50% votes isn't surprising considering that there aren't that many interesting teams here, but I find it somewhat surprising that KES are in second place. I guess I'm not only one who actually likes them.

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Whoever put Honma on commentary today... woof. Every time that undead archlich sounding motherfucker spoke it felt like a goose walking over my grave.

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On 11/13/2018 at 2:31 AM, Belgian_Waffle said:

Do you mean the NEVER title or the heavyweight tag title? (Or both)

Also Shingo going toe-to-toe with Hino in the Carny had me convinced he was like BJW strong style heavyweight dude. 

NEVER. Once your champ is nominating contenders and they don’t think your title is worth the challenge, you’ve got a garbage title.

Shingo as a heavyweight is way more interesting, imo. Hopefully he makes the change soon.

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At least it ain't at the Dome. Will must be progressing nicely.

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Ospreay as plan A, hopefully Taichi as plan B followed by ZSJ giving Ospreay some poisoned horse meat.

 

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I thought that Zack/Taichi team was pretty fun all things considered. And holy shit did they destroy Ishii. Looking forward to Zack/Taichi vs Evil/Sanada. And Evil/Sanada vs Elgin/Cobb was pretty good.

Whole Goto/Ibushi thing... I don't know, maybe they needed few more days to figure out if Ospreay will recover or not, but this now looks a bit weird with Ibushi saying that I don't want it then agreeing due to Goto talking him in.

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I will probably go back and watch all of the Zack/Taichi matches and maybe a few of the other matches worth a damn once it's all over (likelier: during Christmas break). Will watch the finals on December 9th the day of though (thankfully it's a Sunday) as I have faith that Goto and Ibushi will have a great match. Too bad ZSJ is challenging Ishii for the British Commonwealth belt at Wrestle Kingdom, as he and Taichi making it to the finals to lose to EVIL/SANADA would've been terrific.

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LIJ/Elgin and Cobb was pretty disappointing.  I guess I’m gonna have to come to terms with the fact that every Elgin/Cobb match is going to be structured to put Elgin over and not the other way around.

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First match yesterday had a horrid Young Lion bump on a double backdrop to Uemura (didn't rotate enough and got spiked on his head) - they went home early after that.

 

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Watched vod matches from yesterday and surprisingly Makabe/Henare picked up a win. I guess they ain't doing 1-12 run with them after all, good.

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Since it looks like I'm only one watching this thing then I guess I might give some status report on how things are going on:

I think that on the average matches are okay, none of them are going to enter conversation for MOTY, but it is decent wrestling all things considered. Teams that look good deliver better matches than teams that don't so no surprises there. To me so far best three matches were Yano/Ishii vs Zack/Taichi, Evil/Sanada vs Elgin/Cobb and Evil/Sanada vs Zack/Taichi.

Granted many wrestling fans today watch only ****+ matches and don't have time for average matches that might not be significant at all so in terms of significance I'd highlight first and last of my mentioned matches. First one serves as a "road to WK" for Ishii and Zack and last one continues low key feud between Evil and Zack.

I actually ended up liking new format. Sure, now there are more matches, but they are doing less shows. What does that mean? Less space for warm up tags. For example, today they did 7 league matches and one special tag between Okada/R3K and LiJ. That makes it pretty decent show since as average as these matches are they are still better than most 10 men clusterfucks that we'd get otherwise and show flows better due to that. 

I'm so far pleasantly surprised by Taichi's booking here. Sure, Zack is someone NJPW is seriously investing in so when they got to lose you can be sure that Taichi is going to eat it and when they win then Zack has to pick it up. But taking that in mind I think that Taichi is getting about as strong booking as possible in such situation. Some people wondered if he won't end up like Yujiro after losing NEVER title so quickly, at the time I think that is very unlikely.

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