New Japan Pro Wrestling sent out the following:
World Tag League 2021 teams set
12 team league begins November 14
The lineup for World Tag League 2021 has been finalised, with 12 teams set to face off in the single block league starting November 14. The top two point scoring teams will meet on December 15 at Ryogoku Sumo Hall to determine who walks away with the WTL trophies and faces IWGP Tag Team Champions Dangerous Tekkers at Wrestle Kingdom.
Guerrillas of Destiny (6th entry, 6th consecutive. 2020 winners)
Seven time IWGP Tag Team Champions Guerrillas of Destiny head into their sixth World Tag League brimming with confidence that comes from having broken their dual winter curses. For years, despite their record setting tag team championship legacy, G.o.D had never won World Tag League nor had they secured victory in the Tokyo Dome. Last year, both curses were lifted, and while G.o.D head into WTL 2021 without the IWGP tag Team Championships, they do so having accomplished successful G1 Climax campaigns that turned a lot of heads. Could the Guerrillas be at their most well rounded, and dominant this year?
Dangerous Tekkers (3rd entry, 3rd consecutive, IWGP Tag Team Champions)
IWGP Tag team Champions Dangerous Tekkers are in the hunt to secure their first World Tag league trophies, and to call their own challengers for titles that they have no doubt helped to elevate over the course of 2021. Zack Sabre Jr.’s run of success in the G1, ending with an extremely competitive challenge to Shingo Takagi at Power Struggle, will only put more eyes on him and his team’s titles this year. Yet after rib injuries and a difficult middle stretch to his G1 campaign, question marks may circle around Taichi. Can the two come together to come out on top in Ryogoku?
Great Bash Heel (6th entry, 1st in two years. 2015, 2016 winners)
Back in the World Tag League mix after Togi Makabe was away from the ring last year, he and Tomoaki Honma are hunting for their third World Tag League trophies. While they are two of the older statesmen of this tournament, the bonds that bring Makabe and Honma are even thicker than most families, and the loyalty GBH have for one another could see them to success.
TenCozy (9th entry, 1st in two years)
Six time IWGP Tag Team Champions, a record second only to G.o.D, TenCozy have not won World Tag League in its current incarnation, but have in its G1 Tag League era. That speaks to the combined experience of Satoshi Kojima and Hiroyoshi Tenzan, who up to last year had been in every single World Tag League tournament since its 2012 inception. Now looking to get back to the top, can an impressive and hard fought 2021 for both men end with a fairytale victory?
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI (3rd entry, 2nd consecutive)
The CHAOS combination of Hirooki Goto and YOSHI-HASHI have come close to the gold on several occasions through 2021 and now rejoin World tag League after threatening the top spot last year. Goto and the Headhunter will be doubly motivated having lost the NEVER Openweight 6-Man titles at Power Struggle, and YOSHI-HASHI especially will be gunning for his second ever championship. Could it be Shoto-Lights Out-for the competition?
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi (2nd entry, 2nd consecutive)
After Yujiro was one of the first members to welcome EVIL to BULLET CLUB, assisting the King of Darkness to his New Japan Cup 2020 victory, and EVIL returned the favour by making him a core member of HOUSE OF TORTURE, the two became two thirds of the NEVER Openweight 6-Man Champions at Power Struggle, and now join their second consecutive World Tag League. Could more gold be dragged to HOUSE OF TORTURE hands?
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens (4th entry, 3rd consecutive)
Bad Luck Fale and Chase Owens had their difficulties in gaining traction in their third World tag League in 2020 but would gain ground when they came up with the Grenade Launcher tag team finisher. The devastating move might be even more effective this year as Owens has had an impressive year that saw him to the KOPW 2021 trophy briefly and brought him some successes in the G1. With Fale returning to rings after the bulk of the year working in the New Zealand Dojo, can they pick up where they left off and become a feared combination?
Tetsuya Naito & SANADA (debut entry)
The first of five new combinations to the World Tag League, Tetsuya Naito and SANADA are the most effective as a team, having already secured a brief IWGP Tag Team Championship reign earlier in the summer. They want to prove this was no flash in the pan, and with Naito now fully healed from his knee injury incurred during the G1, they’re ready to take the trophies, and take back the gold.
Hiroshi Tanahashi & Toru Yano (debut entry)
It’s been three years since a rift created by the defection of Switchblade Jay White eventually led to CHAOS and Hontai forming an allegiance. Some strange combinations have been birthed from that union, and perhaps this is the strangest of them all. Yano and Tanahashi have had bitter feuds circling around stolen title belts and non consensual haircuts barely a decade ago, and now make an odd couple tandem. Could they be the most unlikely World Tag League winners of all time?
Great-O-Khan & Aaron Henare (debut entry)
After the Ultimate Weapon joined United Empire early in the spring, Aaron Henare now teams with Great-O-Khan as the group’s representatives in this tournament. As Will Ospreay and TJP have combined effectively in the US, and combinations of Jeff Cobb with both O-Khan and Henare have both been successful, not to mention Aussie Open waiting in the wings in the UK, United Empire seem to be at their very most dangerous when in the tag team space. O-Khan and Henare ave already racked up wins on the Road to Power Struggle tour, and could be very much in the mix come December 15.
Yuji Nagata & Tiger Mask (debut entry)
Tiger Mask is already one half of the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champions with Robbie Eagles, and could potentially become half of the heavyweight champions as well, as he combines with fellow veteran Yuji Nagata for the World Tag League. These experienced strikes could well kick their way to the front of the line.
Minoru Suzuki & TAKA Michinoku (debut entry)
Minoru Suzuki returns to domestic action after a long tour in the United States, and does so with the returning TAKA Michinoku! Michinoku has been away from NJPW rings for over two years, but has been heading up the Just Tap Out promotion and dojo, and will be looking to make his opponents do the same- but how will TAKA interact with former protege Zack Sabre Jr?