NJPW World Tag League 2018 12/6 Live Blog – Featuring Excalibur’s NJPW Commentary Debut

Excalibur at PWG.

New Japan Pro Wrestling presents the World Tag League 2018 at the Yamagata Big Wing in Yamagata, Japan, featuring the commentary debut of Pro Wrestling Guerrilla’s very own Excalibur. To celebrate this occasion, I did a live blog for the event.

New Japan Pro Wrestling’s World Tag League 2018 from Yamagata can be seen on NJPW World.

1:23 AM PST: Well, it’s raining right now here in the Los Angeles area. We’re a few moments away from the start of the show. It’s really great to see Excalibur getting a shot in NJPW as a commentator. Lately, NJPW has been trying out various commentators to be part of their English speaking broadcast team. One guy who was brought in was Lanny Poffo, brother of the late “Macho Man” Randy Savage. He legitimately sounded a lot like Teddy from Bob’s Burgers, so Excalibur is already a huge improvement over him. And the show hasn’t even started!

1:28 AM PST: NJPW’s fan etiquette video is hilarious.

1:35 AM PST: Kevin Kelly and Excalibur welcome us to the show as we begin.

World Tag League – Tournament Match – 30 Minute Time Limit
Chaos (Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano) vs. Shota Umino & Ayato Yoshida

1:36 AM PST: Ishii and Yano vs. a pair of Young Lions. This should be fun!

1:39 AM PST: Ishii was playing nice with Umino, allowing him to chop him several times before blasting him with one of his own.

1:46 AM PST: This was more fun then I expected. I figured it’d mostly be Chaos destroying the Young Lions  I mean, they did, but they also gave the Young Lions a good amount of offense and near falls before Chaos got the win. Excalibur had a good showing on commentary here. Also, the ring bell is obscenely loud.

World Tag League – Tournament Match – 30 Minute Time Limit
Manabu Nakanishi & Yuji Nagata vs. Jeff Cobb & Michael Elgin

1:51 AM PST: I’m not joking about that bell. It is insane.

1:56 AM PST: Nakanishi is 51 and takes stiff strikes better than most workers half his age. And at age 50, Yuji Nagata is a better overall worker than most guys half his age.

2:00 AM PST: Cobb and Elgin get the win in a fun heavyweight match. Excalibur has been doing very well so far on commentary so far. I hope NJPW brings Nagata to SoCal the next time they come out here.

World Tag League – Tournament Match – 30 Minute Time Limit
Hangman Page & Yujiro Takahashi vs. Killer Elite Squad (Davey Boy Smith, Jr. & Lance Archer)

2:03 AM PST: Davey Boy Smith, Jr. came out wearing a bulldog mask to pay tribute to the late Dynamite Kid, who was his dad’s (Davey Boy Smith) tag team partner as the British Bulldogs.

2:09 AM PST: This match is a showcase of underrated guys. The Killer Elite Squad are a really fun tag team, and Hangman Page is one of the best prospects in professional wrestling right now.

2:16 AM PST: The Killer Elite Squad get the win. They’re now in a three-way tie for first place in the World Tag League with the Guerrillas of Destiny and Chaos. Lance Archer screamed at little kids. He’s the best.

World Tag League – Tournament Match – 30 Minute Time Limit
David Finlay & Juice Robinson vs. Suzuki-gun (Zack Sabre, Jr. & Taichi)

2:18 AM PST: Zack Sabre, Jr. and Taichi are the dream team I never knew I wanted.

2:29 AM PST: ZSJ and Taichi are such a fun heel team. Taichi is one of my least favorite performers to watch in NJPW, but he’s great in this team.

2:31 AM PST: Taichi gets the win for his team. Finlay and Juice Robinson have been eliminated. This was a fun match.

World Tag League – Tournament Match – 30 Minute Time Limit
Toa Henare & Togi Makabe vs. TenKoji (Hiroyoshi Tenzan & Satoshi Kojima)

2:36 AM PST: Tenzan and Kojima are two other guys I’d like to see NJPW bring out the next time they’re in SoCal.

2:48 AM PST: Kojima gets the win after hitting Henare with a Lariat. This was an okay match, but it got sloppy at times. I’m really not sold on Henare at this point. He seems pretty generic and basic. I know he recently graduated from the Young Lion system, so hopefully he’ll improve in the future.

World Tag League – Tournament Match – 30 Minute Time Limit
Los Ingobernables de Japón (Sanada & EVIL) vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka)

2:53 AM PST: Kevin Kelly is giving Excalibur advice on how to avoid a beating from Suzuki-gun. He even encouraged him to knock over old ladies and children. This is the best. I’m also really looking forward to this match.

2:58 AM PST: There is nothing better in this world than Minoru Suzuki beating up the Young Lions.

3:00 AM PST: I’m watching a match involving Minoru Suzuki and EVIL during the Witching Hour. This is the devil’s match.

3:01 AM PST: Iizuka biting Sanada’s hand while Minoru Suzuki had him in a hanging armbar on the ropes was such a great moment.

3:10 AM PST: L.I.J. got the win after hitting a Magic Killer on Iizuka to set up Sanada putting him in the Skull End. This was a pretty fun match. There was a lot of brawling during the match. Also, Parts Unknown is supposedly a suburb of Detroit.

World Tag League – Tournament Match – 30 Minute Time Limit
Best Friends (Chuckie T & Beretta) vs. The Guerrilla Of Destiny (Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga)

3:12 AM PST: Lots of questions surrounding Chuckie T’s mental state.

3:19 AM PST: Jado is at ringside with the Guerrillas of Destiny. So far he’s attacked Beretta with a kendo stick a few times.

3:23 AM PST: Beretta has been doing a lot of the work in this match so far, taking a lot of heat from the G.O.D.

3:31 AM PST: Referee Red Shoes got taken out, leading to Jado running in to hit Beretta with his kendo stick again. The G.O.D. were beating down Beretta before Chuckie T ran in for the save with a chair. Chuckie would blast Tanga Loa in the head with the chair several times. Tanga looked as if he was busted open hard way. Looks like Chuckie T has snapped again.

3:33 AM PST: The Best Friends with a huge upset win over the G.O.D. after Chuckie T’s rampage. This was a really fun match. Psycho Chuck Taylor rules.

3:34 AM PST:  We now have a four-way tie for first place in the World Tag League standings.

Eight Man Tag Team Match – 30 Minute Time Limit
Hiroshi Tanahashi, Kazuchika Okada, Kushida, and Rocky Romero vs. Bullet Club (Jay White, Bad Luck Fale, Taiji Ishimori, and Gedo)

3:38 AM PST: Jay White has really evolved this past year. Before, he just seemed like some bland emp guy. Now he comes off as a legitimate main event heel. NJPW has done a great job at building him up.

3:44 AM PST: I’m loving how Jay White, Fale, and Ishimori were letting Gedo get destroyed by the babyface team until they could move in for an attack.

3:54 AM PST: The story of the match was Bullet Club trying to keep Okada out of the match. Okada eventually got tagged in and went at it with Jay White in a fun sequence.

3:56 AM PST: Kushida and Ishimori also had a fun segment together. This was a good way to build to their Wrestle Kingdom match.

3:59 AM PST: Bullet Club gets the win after Ishimori pinned Kushida. Once again, the dream team of Okada and Tanahashi could not overcome Jay White and the Bullet Club. This was a really fun main event.

4:02 AM PST: Jay White cut a promo about Bullet Club being 6-0 against Okada and Tanahashi as a team. Jay also hyped up his match against Okada at Wrestle Kingdom to close the show.

4:09 AM PST: Well, that does it for the show. Excalibur really shined in his commentary debut. He was sharp, articulate, informative, put over the action and stories well, and had great chemistry with Kevin Kelley. I really hope NJPW uses Excalibur when Don Callis and/or Kevin Kelly aren’t available. He’s way better than the guys NJPW has tried out so far. The show itself was good. It was your typical NJPW C-Show card. None of the matches were great, but they were all good. It also didn’t go too long, which is a major plus. This show is worth skipping unless you want to hear Excalibur calling the action.

Okay. I’m done now. Time for bed.

 

Current standings
Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa18
Sanada and Evil18
Tomohiro Ishii and Toru Yano18
Lance Archer and Davey Boy Smith Jr.18
Michael Elgin and Jeff Cobb16
Zack Sabre Jr. and Taichi14
Juice Robinson and David Finlay14
Beretta and Chuckie T.14
Minoru Suzuki and Takashi Iizuka10
Togi Makabe and Toa Henare8
Hangman Page and Yujiro Takahashi8
Hiroyoshi Tenzan and Satoshi Kojima8
Yuji Nagata and Manabu Nakanishi4
Ayato Yoshida and Shota Umino0

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