Iwate is home to this year’s World Tag League Finals.
Guerrillas of Destiny and the team of EVIL and SANADA will battle tonight in the main event, both getting to 20 points and advancing to the finals. If EVIL and SANADA manage to defeat Guerrillas of Destiny, they’re practically a lock to challenge the champions at Wrestle Kingdom 13. If the champions themselves win, which doesn’t happen often, they will be able to name their future challengers.
Meanwhile, Hirooki Goto and Kota Ibushi will battle for the NEVER title. Goto threw the challenge to Kota Ibushi and after initially refusing the match, eventually accepted.
But what is more interesting is that there will be a number one contender’s match that will take place tonight, with the winner getting a title shot likely at Wrestle Kingdom 13. The former champion, Taichi, will challenge Will Ospreay, who has been out of action since October 14 after injuring his ribs in a match.
The Young Bucks also return to New Japan tonight, They will team up with Marty Scurll and Kenny Omega to take on Hiroshi Tanahashi, Juice Robinson, David Finlay and Ryusuke Taguchi.
Join us for live coverage starting at 1 a.m. Eastern time. Kevin Kelly and Excalibur will be on commentary.
SATOSHI KOJIMA, HIROYOSHI TENZAN, YUJI NAGATA & MANABU NAKANISHI DEFEATED TOGI MAKABE, TOA HENARE, AYATO YOSHIDA & SHOTA UMNO (8:27)
Standard opener, with all the veterans hitting their trademark stuff. Double lariat from Makabe. Mongolian chops from Tenzan. Diving tackle from Henare.
Kojima hit Yoshida with a DDT, machine gun chops, and a Koji cutter. Yoshida got a nearfall off a backslide, but Kojima nailed him with a lariat for the pin.
MINORU SUZUKI, TAKASHI IIZUKA, LANCE ARCHER & DAVEY BOY SMITH JR. DEFEATED BERETTA, CHUCKIE T, MICHAEL ELGIN & JEFF COBB BY DQ (10:12)
Suzuki-gun jumped before the bout. While six guys brawled outside, Smith and Elgin had a really nice exchange in the ring. Smith hit a knee strike and a kip-up. Smith hit a top rope superplex.
Cobb and Archer tagged in and exchanged blows. Cobb hit an Angle Slam into a double down, then Chuckie and Suzuki tagged in.
Chuckie traded strikes with Suzuki. Well, he tried to. Suzuki laid him out, then tagged Iizuka, and removed his muzzle. Chuckie hit soul food, then tagged Beretta.
Suzuki-gun cleared the apron, then assaulted Beretta 4-on-1. Elgin jumped in to break up a pinfall. Iizuka grabbed the iron glove, but Chuckie jumped in with a chair, went nuts, and attacked everyone, including his own teammates.
SHO, YOH & TOMOHIRO ISHII DEFEATED EL DESPERADO, YOSHINOBU KANEMARU & ZACK SABRE JR. (11:12)
Good match. This was a tease for Sabre and Ishii at the Tokyo Dome for the Rev Pro title.
Ishii and Sabre kicked thinigs off. Ishii trapped Sabre’s left arm, then tagged SHO. Sabre didn’t deal with Ishii’s grappling, but quickly reversed SHO’s attack, and tagged Desperado.
SHO and YOH hit some tandem offense on Desperado. SHO hit the ropes, but Kanemaru grabbed his legs from the outside and pulled him to the floor. Kanemaru hit a legdrop on SHO over the barricade. Suzuki-gun left all three members of CHAOS laying on the floor.
Back inside, Kanemaru worked over SHO with stomps. Kanemaru hit a DDT for a nearfall, then tagged Desperado. SHO hit a suplex, but Kanemaru jumped in for the double team. SHO hit a spear, but Sabre jumped in to cut him off.
SHO finally made a tag to YOH. YOH hit a back elbow on Desperado, and a dragon screw on Kanemaru. YOH hit a neckbreaker, then a low dropkick on Desperado for a nearfall.
Desperado hit a spinebuster into a double down, and Sabre and Ishii got tags. Ishii had a counter for all of Sabre’s offense, and hit him with a brainbuster. Sabre hit a northern lights suplex, sent him into the corner, then tagged out.
Suzuki-gun tripled up on Ishii. Kanemaru hit deep impact, but SHO made the save. SHO hit a lariat on Desperado. Sabre jumped in and beat up SHO, then went after Ishii.
Kanemaru tried to spit whiskey at Ishii, but Ishii ducked it. SHO and YOH hit stereo planchas to take out Sabre and Desperado. Ishii hit Kanemaru with a brainbuster, and got the pin.
TETSUYA NAITO, SHINGO TAKAGI & BUSHI DEFEATED HANGMAN PAGE, YUJIRO TAKAHASHI & CHASE OWENS (8:53)
Another good match. All action.
Owens and BUSHI began, with Owens getting the best of the exchange. Owens hit a backbreaker. Yujiro and Naito got tags. BUSHI jumped in for an assist, and Naito hit a dropkick on Yujiro.
Shingo got a tag, and hit a shoulder block. LIJ tripled up on Yujiro. BUSHI choked him with his t-shirt. Shingo used a front facelock. Yujiro fired back with strikes, and hit an inverted DDT.
Page tagged in. He hit a springboard lariat on BUSHI, a pescado to Naito. He missed a buckshot lariat on Shingo, but hit a regular lariat. Shingo went for a release german, but Page landed on his feet. Page blocked one pumping bomber, but Shingo hit him with a second.
Owens and BUSHI tagged in. Naito jumped in for a double team, but Owens slammed BUSHI onto Naito with a uranage. Shingo broke up a package piledriver attempt. Naito hit a swinging DDT.
Owens blocked a destino, but Naito hit a flying forearm, then hit destino for the pin.
SWITCHBLADE JAY WHITE, BAD LUCK FALE & TAIJI ISHIMORI DEFEATED KAZUCHIKA OKADA, TORU YANO & KUSHIDA (11:01)
Good match, similar to all of the Okada tags on this tour, like a house show main event. The post-match was interesting, with Makabe making the save for CHAOS.
Okada and KUSHIDA cleared the ring of the Bullet Club at the opening bell. KUSHIDA hit a cartwheel dropkick. When the dust settled, KUSHIDA and Ishimori ended up the legal men. KUSHIDA worked over Ishimori’s left arm.
Ishimori came back with a seated senton on KUSHIDA, while White and Okada fought on the ramp. White applied a single-leg crab, leaving Okada on the ramp.
Back in the ring, the Bullet Club worked over KUSHIDA. They cut the ring in half and went to work in their corner. KUSHIDA made a comeback, and Ishimori and KUSHIDA tagged out to White and Okada.
White hit a suplex on Okada, right into the corner pad. White hit a Saito suplex, then tagged Fale. Okada hit Fale with a dragon screw, then tagged Yano. Yano untied a corner pad, and used it as a weapon on Fale. Fale whipped Yano into the exposed buckle.
Fale cleared the apron, then the Bullet Club went three on one against Yano. Fale hit a splash, but KUSHIDA broke up the pinfall.
The match broke down. Okada missed a dropkick, escaped a blade runner, then hit an air raid crash on White. Yano used a backslide for a nearfall, but Fale recovered, and hit Yano with a grenade for the pin.
After the match, Okada hit White with a dropkick, but White laid him out with a suplex, dropping him right on his head. Ishimori hit a bloody cross on KUSHIDA. Makabe ran in to make the save with a chain, and cleared the ring.
KENNY OMEGA, THE YOUNG BUCKS & MARTY SCURLL DEFEATED HIROSHI TANAHASHI, JUICE ROBINSON, DAVID FINLAY & RYUSUKE TAGUCHI (13:12)
A really good match. A nice mix of comedy and serious stuff with Tana and Omega teasing their title match.
Taguchi and Scurll started off with some comedy. Nick Jackson and Finlay tagged in. Juice jumped in for a double team, and they hit a double bulldog. Matt Jackson came in, but ate a double hip toss.
Taguchi’s team hit their clothesline train spot in the corner on Nick. They teased a quadruple dropkick, but Nick hung on to the top rope. Taguchi’s team went for stereo planchas, but they all missed, and The Elite took over the match.
Omega hit a kotaro krusher. The Bucks worked over Finlay with tandem offense. Scurll stomped on Finlay’s left arm. The Elite cut the ring in half and worked Finlay over in their corner. Finlay came back with a backbreaker over the knee on Omega, then tagged Tana.
Tana hit a dropkick to Omega, then a dragon screw. The Bucks hit Tana with stereo superkicks. Tana escaped a double enziguri, and The Bucks hit Omega. Tana blocked a v-trigger, but Omega hit a snap dragon suplex into a double down.
Juice hit everyone with a series of jabs. Scurll cut him off, but Taguchi jumped in and hit everyone with hip attacks. Juice hit a cannonball on Matt. Omega hit a rana on Taguchi. Tana hit Omega with slingblade, then hit a plancha. Scurll ran into a double flapjack. The Bucks hit a double dropkick. The Elite hit a four-way superkick on Taguchi, but Tana broke up the pinfall.
Tana ran into a v-trigger, and Taguchi ran into an indytaker for the pin.
NUMBER ONE CONTENDER MATCH FOR THE NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP: WILL OSPREAY DEFEATED TAICHI (17:03)
The story here was Ospreay making his comeback after the rib injury. It was a slower match focused on Ospreay’s selling. His selling was excellent, but the people didn’t seem to be into the match until the last couple of minutes.
Taichi jumped Ospreay with his mic stand before the bell. Taichi stomped on Ospreay’s taped ribs. Ospreay hit a monkey flip, and Taichi rolled to the floor. Ospreay hit a springboard elbow off the barricade.
Ospreay hit a suicide dive, and the action spilled to the ramp. Back inside, Ospreay went for a springboard attack, but Taichi whipped the referee into the ropes, knocking Ospreay off. Taichi dropped Ospreay over the barricade.
Taichi ripped off Ospreay’s tape and used an abdominal stretch. Ospreay came back with a handspring kick, an enziguri, a 619, and a springboard forearm for a two count.
Ospreay teased a storm breaker, but his ribs gave way, and he couldn’t lift Taichi. Taichi hit a pair of kicks, dropping Ospreay. They exchanged strikes, and Taichi dropped Ospreay with a mid kick. Ospreay caught another kick, but Taichi hit a buzzsaw kick for a nearfall.
Taichi took his pants off. Ospreay hit a side suplex, then went to the top. Opsreay went for a shooting star, but Taichi got his knees up, then used a Gedo clutch for a nearfall.
Taichi hit an axe bomber for a nearfall. Taichi went for a last ride, but Ospreay escaped. He went for an Oscutter, but Taichi blocked. Ospreay hit the Robinson special, then went for another Oscutter, but Taichi turned it into a high angle suplex. Taichi hit a last ride for a nearfall, as the crowd started getting into the match.
Ospreay hit a Canadian destroyer for a nearfall. He went for the storm breaker, but Taichi blocked it. Ospreay went for it again, but Taichi slipped out. Ospreay hit a standing spanish fly. Ospreay hit a kick, then hit the storm breaker for the pin.
NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH: KOTA IBUSHI DEFEATED HIROOKI GOTO TO WIN THE NEVER OPENWEIGHT CHAMPIONSHIP (16:54)
They shook hands at the opening bell. Goto used the handshake to go for an ushigoroshi, but Ibushi blocked it. Ibushi hit a mid kick and Goto went down. Ibushi hit a snap rana, and Goto rolled to the floor.
Goto jumped back inside and hit a lariat, and Ibushi dropped on the apron on his head and neck.
Goto went after the neck, hitting a hanging neckbreaker off the top. Ibushi used a rope break to stop a pinfall. Goto used another neckbreaker. Goto applied a headscissors, but Ibushi forced a rope break.
Goto used a leg sweep, then applied an octopus on the mat. Ibushi reached the ropes, forcing a break.
Ibushi hit a dropkick, and Goto rolled to the floor. Ibushi hit a golden triangle. Back inside, Ibushi hit a standing moonsault for a close two count. Goto hit a high kick, then used a suplex for a nearfall.
Goto hit a leg lariat, then went to the top rope. Ibushi cut him off, and they traded shots on the ropes. Goto went for a code red off the top, but Ibushi flipped out of it. Ibushi hit a big lariat, into a double down.
Ibushi was first up. Goto blocked a last ride, but Ibushi hit a high kick. Goto blocked a kamigoye, and hit an ushigoroshi. Goto used a sleeper. They traded cradles for nearfalls. After a series of GTR attempts and reversals, Ibushi hit a headbutt.
Goto blocked a straight jacket suplex attempt, but Ibushi hit a knee strike, a headbutt, and hit the kamigoye for the win.
Ospreay came out after the match and cut a promo. He challenged Ibushi to face him in a dream match for the title at Wrestle Kingdom. They shook hands.
2018 WORLD TAG LEAGUE FINAL: EVIL & SANADA DEFEATED TAMA TONGA & TANGA LOA TO WIN THE 2018 WORLD TAG LEAGUE (27:01)
A really good tag team main event.
Jado hit EVIL with a kendo stick before the opening bell. They fought into the crowd. Tonga sent SANADA into the arena wall. Loa stomped on EVIL, and slammed him on the floor. Tonga and SANADA beat the count back inside at 19.
SANADA missed a standing moonsault, and Tonga hit a back elbow. Tonga and Loa worked SANADA over in their corner, while EVIL was still out on the floor. Loa hit a running powerslam for a two count.
SANADA missed with a dropkick, and Loa hit an elbow drop for two. SANADA hit a dropkick off the second on Tonga, but Tonga was able to tag Loa, and keep the pressure on SANADA.
SANADA finally got a tag to EVIL, and EVIL ran wild. He hit a bulldog and a senton on Loa for a nearfall. EVIL went for a fisherman buster, but Loa countered into a suplex. Loa hit a superplex. SANADA jumped in to help out, and dropkicked Tonga off the apron.
Tonga broke up a magic killer with a spear. Tonga hit a gun stun and Loa covered EVIL for a nearfall. Loa sent EVIL outside, and Jado nailed him with the kendo stick. Loa whipped SANADA into the barricade.
Back inside, Tonga hit a jumping elbow drop for a two count. Tonga worked EVIL over with right hands. Tonga hit a standing frog splash for a nearfall on EVIL.
Loa got a tag. EVIL backdropped out of a powerbomb attempt. He went for a tag, but Tonga jumped in and knocked SANADA off the apron. Tonga and Loa hit guerrilla warfare. Tonga and Loa went to the top rope. SANADA cut off Tonga, and Loa missed a diving headbutt.
They did a stacked up superplex spot, and all four men ended up down in the ring. Loa covered EVIL for a two count. EVIL blocked one lariat. Both hit simultaneous lariats. They did a misdirection spot, and EVIL hit a lariat, enabling both men to tag out.
SANADA took out Jado with a plancha, then hit planchas on both Tonga and Loa. SANADA and Tonga botched a moonsault spot. SANADA used skull end, but Tonga used a standing switch. SANADA hit the ropes, and Loa tripped him.
Loa and Tonga hit SANADA with an assisted neckbreaker, but SANADA kicked out. SANADA escaped a magic killer, but ran into a kendo stick shot for a nearfall. Tonga and Loa hit a magic killer, and EVIL jumped in to break up the pinfall.
EVIL ran into a spear from Loa. Tonga hit a splash in the corner. They went for a super powerbomb, but SANADA countered with a rana. EVIL jumped in, and they went for the magic killer. Tonga kicked SANADA off into the ref, who took a bump.
Jado jumped in with the kendo stick, but got hit with a magic killer. SANADA reversed a Tongan twist into skull end. Loa broke up the submission attempt.
EVIL hit Loa with everything is EVIL. Tonga went for a gun stun, but EVIL blocked it. They hit Tonga with a magic killer, but Tonga kicked out.
EVIL hit darkness falls on Tonga, and SANADA hit a moonsault, then covered Tonga for the pin.
The Young Bucks came to the ring after the match. Matt Jackson said EVIL and SANADA were the best team in the tournament, but that The Bucks are the best team in the world. Matt said they never got their rematch after losing the titles, and that they should be the next challengers.
EVIL said how about a three way at Wrestle Kingdom? The Bucks left without official word, but that certainly appears to be the match at the Tokyo Dome.