From April 4th to April 18th, Pro Wrestling NOAH holds the Global Tag League ! After four years of holding the tournament in a single block format with the top two teams facing each other in the final, the tournament goes back to the two blocks format, last used in 2015.
The rest of the rules being the same as usual, let’s dive into this preview !
A block :
- Mochimaru (Naomichi Marufuji & Masaaki Mochizuki), 1st team participation, GHC Tag Team Champions
The veterans champion team holds A LOT of tag team experience, besides not having that much experience together as a duo. Marufuji already won the tournament three times with three different partners, while Mochizuki has had countless tag titles runs in various promotions in the past. Due to them being champions, they look like the favourites to come out of the block, in what remains the most open of the two.
- Unchains (Kaito Kiyomiya & Shuhei Taniguchi), 1st team participation
Here we have the only other men in this block to have won the tournament before, and they are teaming together now. Kiyomiya and Taniguchi already had one tag titles match against AXIZ last July, but they kept teaming together regularly since then, thus gaining some more habits together. Also favourites to win the block, you can be certain they will be in the running.
- Kongoh (Kenoh & Masa Kitamiya), 1st team participation
Then we have the third team I consider to be the potential A block winners, the Kongoh team of Kenoh and Kitamiya. The latter won’t be teaming with his usual partner Inamura this year, but this doesn’t mean there isn’t a strong bond with his leader Kenoh, as they teamed up many times and had more than enough time to build chemistry since the group formed last year. Both men also have a rich past tag team experience which they can always count on.
- Sugiura-Gun International (Rene Dupree & El Hijo De Dr Wagner Jr), 1st team participation
Last, but not least, A block’s wild card team, or Sugiura-Gun’s B team of Dupree and Wagner Jr. This looks to be a completely new tag team, so in terms of how the two men will work together remains to be seen. However, it probably wouldn’t be wise to underestimate this duo, which could very well cost one of the three other teams a place in the tournament final.
Val’s A block prediction :
This is quite hard given how open this blocks looks, as three teams are clearly looking like potential finalists, and betting on any of them doesn’t sound like the worst idea in the world. However, I will go with the more experienced team in terms of how long they have actually been teaming together and pick Kiyomiya and Taniguchi winning A block. Both men gave AXIZ a real run for their money last year for the tag titles which leads me to think they can build off that performance to have a strong tournament.
B block :
- AXIZ (Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima), 2nd consecutive team participation, 2019 finalists
Starting off with the former GHC Tag Team champions and last year’s finalists, AXIZ are the obvious favourites here. Most likely still frustrated from the manner in which they lost the titles to Marufuji and Mochizuki, Nakajima and Shiozaki most likely also want to erase last year’s loss in the final by winning the tournament, meaning they have to win B block first.
- The Anti Wrestlers Alliance (Masao Inoue & Akitoshi Saito), 3rd consecutive team participation
Surprisingly or not, this is your most experienced team in terms of Tag League appearances, and just like last year where they handed AXIZ their only tournament loss besides the final, Inoue and Saito should be able to get an upset win to prevent one of the other teams from advancing, at the very least.
- Sugiura-Gun (Takashi Sugiura & Hideki Sekine), 1st team participation
The other three times Tag League winner Takashi Sugiura returns to defend his crown, this time with another partner and newest Sugiura-Gun member in Hideki Sekine. A very dangerous team of two strong grapplers which is the other favourite to advance. After all, Sugiura has had lots of success in the tournament in the past, proving he could win even with someone he hadn’t teamed up with too much before, and this time, his partner is as, if not more dangerous and scary than he is, if that’s even possible.
- Muscle Toughness (Daisuke Sekimoto & Yoshiki Inamura), 1st team participation
Lastly in B block, the relatively surprising team of Sekimoto and Inamura, who faced each other last december during the Kongoh produce event. This time, Inamura will get to team up with a veteran and tag team expert, which should be a great experience regarding his growth. In terms of results however, this team is an interesting enigma we’ll have to look out for, as they may very well pull off an « upset ».
Val’s B block prediction :
This block isn’t exactly as open as the other one, but still is interesting and not so easy to predict. The possibility of AXIZ not winning the block, even if hard to expect, isn’t to rule out, but they remain my pick to advance. At this point in time, they are the most established and strongest team in NOAH, champions or not. I will even go as far as say that they are the big favourites to win the whole tournament, which is the only thing missing from their resume since joining forces.
Key block matches :
- Naomichi Marufuji & Masaaki Mochizuki vs Kaito Kiyomiya & Shuhei Taniguchi (April 4th)
- Takashi Sugiura & Hideki Sekine vs Daisuke Sekimoto & Yoshiki Inamura (April 4th)
- Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Masao Inoue & Akitoshi Saito (April 10th)
- Kenoh & Masa Kitamiya vs Naomichi Marufuji & Masaaki Mochizuki (April 12th)
- Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Takashi Sugiura & Hideki Sekine (April 12th)
- Naomichi Marufuji & Masaaki Mochizuki vs Rene Dupree & El Hijo De Dr Wagner Jr (April 15th)
- Kaito Kiyomiya & Shuhei Taniguchi vs Kenoh & Masa Kitamiya (April 15th)
- Go Shiozaki & Katsuhiko Nakajima vs Daisuke Sekimoto & Yoshiki Inamura (April 15th)
- Takashi Sugiura & Hideki Sekine vs Masao Inoue & Akitoshi Saito (April 15th)