Juice Robinson and David Finlay captured New Japan Pro Wrestling’s World Tag League tournament on Sunday, defeating reigning back-to-back tourney champions EVIL and Sanada in the main event at Hiroshima Green Arena.
The victory of the round robin tag tourney secures a spot at Wrestle Kingdom 14 for Robinson and Finlay. They are now set to challenge the Guerrillas of Destiny for the IWGP tag titles at the Jan. 4 Tokyo Dome show.
“I’m in the right place to do big things because I’m next to my best friend Debbie,” said Robinson, who affectionally calls Finlay by the nickname of “Debbie,” which is the way David is often pronounced in Japan. “This World Tag League win is a reminder to the New Japan office that we are going to be the guys in this tag division. I can’t wait to see me and Debbie on that Wikipedia page as FinJuice and listed as tag team champions.
“If we don’t beat G.O.D. at Wrestle Kingdom on January 4, then our World Tag League win is like a fart in church. If we don’t win, it’s going to suck, so all our focus is on Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa. ‘Cause if we do win, there’s something special about accomplishing this with your best friend. It’s a little different than doing it alone, especially knowing that he’s been out.”
Finlay missed the majority of 2019, suffering a torn left labrum on February 23 in Tokyo during a match against the Briscoe Brothers. He returned in October at the King of Pro Wrestling show to make the save for Robinson when he was taking a beatdown from Lance Archer.
Now, the 26-year-old fourth generation star, who is currently in the best shape of his career, picked up his most memorable win on Sunday night in Hiroshima. Although both Finlay and Robinson and the team of EVIL and Sanada ended the tournament with 26 points, Finlay and Robinson held the tiebreaker with their win. The pair picked up the victory when Finlay hit his Sliced Bread finisher on EVIL just past the 24-minute mark in the match and made his mark on a tournament that dates back to 1980.
“This is the biggest moment in my career,” said Finlay who is the son of wrestling legend David “Fit” Finlay. “And we can top this moment less than a month from now by winning the tag team titles at the Tokyo Dome. It wouldn’t get much bigger than that.”
The World Tag League win came on the same night Jon Moxley returned to New Japan, challenging Lance Archer to a Texas Death Match for his IWGP United States title. Moxley had held that title until he was forced to relinquish it in October when travel complications caused by a typhoon prevented him from defending the belt against Robinson at at New Japan’s “King of Pro Wrestling” show.
The title was declared vacant, and Archer defeated Robinson to become the new champion. Moxley and Robinson had engaged in a feud since May, and their story is still seeking closure. The winner of Moxley-Archer will face Robinson on January 5, which is the second half of this year’s two-day Wrestle Kingdom event.
“There was a typhoon, Moxley didn’t show, Archer kicked my ass, and all I’ve thought about then is World Tag League,” said Robinson. “Mox has to deal with Lance Archer, who is a pissed off mother----- with a chip on his shoulder. Moxley should focus on January 4 against Archer. I’m focused on January 4 against G.O.D. That’s all I care about.
“Now if I see Moxley on January 5, and he wants a piece of my ass, that’s no problem. I’ll walk into the Tokyo Dome on January 5 in front of 40,000 people, fight that mother-----, and get my belt back.”
Looking ahead to their tag team title match at Wrestle Kingdom, Finlay reflected back on his friendship with Robinson.
“We’re road wives,” said Finlay. “Our hotel rooms are right next to each other, we have the same schedule, we’re always together. It started four years ago, after our workouts in the New Japan Dojo, when Juice would be going out drinking with Red Shoes and then come back at six or seven in the morning throwing rocks at my window to come in my room because he was too afraid to wake up Liger in his room. It’s turned into a genuine best friendship.”
Robinson has one request for their tag title match against the Guerrillas of Destiny: he wants a clean match with no outside Bullet Club interference.
“Tama Tonga and Tanga Loa, let’s have you mother------ wrestle a clean match against us,” said Robinson. “Shove your kendo stick up your ass. I’m so tired of that bulls--- and I think the fans are, too.
“So let’s go into the 20-by-20 and do it in the ring, in between the ropes, and have a f------ professional wrestling match to see who the best tag team is in New Japan Pro Wrestling.”