It’s another full show from the Best of Super Juniors, and it’s back to Korakuen Hall as block B takes centre stage!
Shota Umino & Katsuya Kitamura vs. Tomoyuki Oka & Hirai Kawato
Ah, I love the unbridled innocence of these Young Lions, continually thinking they can win with a body slam. One day they’ll graduate and learn!
We start with Umino and Kawato as the smaller men in both teams grappled, before opting to just beat the piss out of each other with chops. Umino chokes and forearms Kawato in the corner, before Oka tagged in and issued a couple of receipts, punching “Black Shoes” in the gut before slamming him down really hard.
Eventually Umino took down Oka with a dropkick before bringing in the big hoss Kitamura, who busted out a gutwrench suplex to rock Oka. Kitamura chops the hell out of Oka, showing why thirty years ago, he’d probably be a main eventer in WWE already. Hell, today he may well be champion if given the chance! Anyway, Oka lands a spinebuster before unwisely bringing Kawato in as Goliath was easily felled by a chop. Umino tied up Kawato in a single-leg crab before Oka broke it up, but order was quickly restored, allowing Kawato to land a dropkick before rolling Black Shoes into a Boston crab… but Kitamura breaks it up yet again.
A big back body drop (cheers!) from Kawato takes down Umino again after some shots, as a Boston crab finally forces the submission. Good stuff from the Young Lions, and I like the gradual progression of Kawato, learning a new move and getting battered after the match by Oka for doing so! **½
Suzuki-gun (Taichi & TAKA Michinoku) vs. Will Ospreay & Jado
Taichi’s gotten overly confident because of his block wins so far, and he’s lipsyncing his entrance more than usual… and gets caught out when they fade the music out… then back in!
We get the jump start as Taichi uses his mic stand to throttle Ospreay at the bell, but Will managed to bounce back and bring in Jado… who traded shoulder tackles with TAKA that neither man budged for early on. Taichi pulled Jado to the outside for a plodding throw into the ring post as that mic stand came back into play, and now we’re into the usual Suzuki-gun shenanigans…
Of course, Taichi’s gotten the bell hammer hidden in his gear, and after raking Jado’s eyes he distracted the referee so he could bonk Jado in the head with it. The referee seemed more bothered by Will Ospreay having a shin on the wrong side of the ropes than the assault that was going on, but Ospreay’s continued arguing just left Jado open for a low blow the hapless officiating continued.
Finally Ospreay comes in and connects with the handspring overhead kick to TAKA, before tripping him for the Shibata diving dropkick. A standing shooting star press gets a near-fall, before Ospreay walked up Taichi and lands an enziguiri to knock down Suzuki-gun’s favourite lip-syncer. Taichi gets caught in a crossface by Jado, but TAKA’s able to distract the referee with the mic stand as Taichi tapped… the useless ref is blind to Taichi using the mic stand as he almost snatched a win, before actually doing so with a superkick. I wasn’t expecting that to be the finish, but the match wasn’t too bad, despite Japanese Chris Roberts being in charge! **¾
After the match, Taichi made a point of attacking Ospreay – which is a bit premature given they don’t have their block match until Sunday!
Bullet Club (Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa), Yujiro Takahashi & Marty Scurll) vs. War Machine (Raymond Rowe & Hanson), Ricochet & David Finlay
Ricochet joined in with the face painting, and he started out with Scurll as the pair exchanged shoulder tackles before the Villain caw’d like a bird.
There’s a failed bit of double-teaming as Scurll and Takahashi tried to attack War Machine from behind, but that just opened the doors for the Guerrillas to do that as the match spilled to the floor, before Scurll returned to work away on Ricochet’s arm. Marty ends up running into a big boot as Ricochet came agonisingly close to making a tag out, before he returned that favour, eventually scoring with a sunset flip for a near-fall.
The “Just Kidding” superkick plants RIcochet to the mat, only for him to rebound with a roll-up into a dropkick as Yujiro made the tag in… and promptly got flattened with a springboard back elbow. Finlay and Tama Tonga come in next, with Tonga leapfrogging over Finlay before the series ended with a diving uppercut to Tanga Loa… and then came the War Machine!
Or more specifically, Hanson’s corner-to-corner lariats for his daily cardio, but Marty jumped in to grab a sleeperhold… which didn’t slow down Hanson at all. At least until Scurll found a way to grab the hand and snap Hanson’s fingers. Hanson recovered to cartwheel away from a chicken wing attempt and land a clothesline as Rowe kicked the hell out of Tonga, before headbutting away a series of forearms from Scurll.
More finger snapping was avoided as Rowe flipped over Marty for a knee, before we blasted through a series of kicks across all teams, ending with Finlay and Ricochet combining for a spell, until a shooting star press from Ricochet’s turned into a Gun Stun by Tama Tonga! Tonga’s quickly caught though as a double-team clothesline earned a near-fall, before Marty put an umbrella up to block the Fall Out.
That was novel, and allowed for Yujiro to whack Rowe with his pimp cane as another Gun Stun got the Bullet Club the win. A fun tag match, and it’s really clear that Marty is revelling in his debut tour of Japan. After the match, an enraged War Machine trash-talked the Guerrillas, warning them they’d have nobody to help them when the titles were on the line. ***½
Satoshi Kojima, Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Dragon Lee & Juice Robinson vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, Hiromu Takahashi, EVIL & SANADA)
Poor SANADA, the only Ingobernable here to not get his own entrance. Poor Intercontinental title belt, as Naito again threatened to mistreat it, but he resisted throwing it against the ring post, instead opting to show that he’d smashed the central plate… so New Japan’s replacing that soon, right?
The title mistreatment sparked Jushin Liger – of all people – to go after Naito with great fury! Such fury from Liger saw him land a Liger bomb early as his team-mates were being fought on the floor, which eventually led to some shenanigans as SANADA and EVIL tripped Liger to turn things around in a match that was quickly becoming hard to follow.
Naito tries to rip apart Liger’s mask, before grabbing him by the horn as EVIL joined in for a spot of double-teaming. Things settle down with Takahashi grounding Liger with a sleeperhold, which is eventually elbowed out of before Naito gets a shot in from the apron as our Japanese Chris Roberts just watches on and lets it all happen.
Some tiltawhirl backbreakers get Liger a measure of revenge before he tagged in Dragon Lee to lay into Takahashi in the corner with stomps… then a shotgun dropkick for a near-fall. The two of them had an enjoyable sprint, ending with Dragon getting an overhead belly-to-belly into the turnbuckles, before SANADA came in to try and unmask him… After resisting being tied into a ball, Lee tagged in Kojima to light up SANADA’s chest with rapid-fire chops, before scoring with a running elbow… only to get the rope kicked into his crotch as he looked to go to the top rope. SANADA grabs the nose and has the favour returned, before he reverses a Skull End into a sheer-drop brainbuster.
Juice comes in to pepper EVIL with some Dusty punches, before laying out Naito with a side Russian legsweep and returning to batter EVIL with a cannonball in the corner. Some misdirection from EVIL leads to him scoring with a clothesline as SANADA and Takahashi clear the opposing apron, and we’re back for some triple-teaming as a trio of basement dropkicks almost win the match for EVIL. Who didn’t deliver one.
Liger returns with a Shotei to make the save from an EVIL STO as the tempo cranked up, allowing Dragon Lee to wipe out SANADA and Takahashi with a tope con hilo, before Kojima saved Robinson from a double team press slam. Instead, a Strong Arm lariat from Kojima wiped out EVIL, and left him open to get drilled with the Pulp Friction as Juice picked up the win. Another fun Ingobernables tag, with plenty of highlights and a minimum of fluff. ***¾
Best of the Super Junior 24, Block B: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Volador Jr.
Kanemaru’s out with his booze again, and he went move-for-move with Volador early, shoving down the luchador as he went for a springboard to lead us into some early brawling around the ring.
We see a Drive By-esque dropkick to knock Volador off the apron, as the referee had to keep an eye on TAKA who was hovering around ringside with intent, before Volador was forced to crawl to the ropes to escape a Boston crab. They head outside again as Kanemaru cracks Volador with a DDT on the floor, before we return to another submission hold, this time in the form of a camel clutch.
Volador escapes it and followed up with a tope con hilo after sending Kanemaru to the outside, before rolling Kanemaru almost into a seated surfboard when they made it back in. Kanemaru’s cheating almost won him the match as he reversed a sunset flip into the corner and held the ropes… but that only got him a two-count before he went back after Volador, and missed with a top rope moonsault.
From that, Volador snuck in with a La Magistral cradle for a near-fall, before scoring with a superkick and a back cracker for another near-fall… with Kanemaru grabbing the ref’s arm to hold up the count! After some more involvement from the ref, Kanemaru scores with a scooping reverse DDT for a near-fall, before TAKA handed him the bottle of Tequila which was used on Volador, before a diving DDT off the top rope secured the Suzuki-gun member the win. That was quite enjoyable, and that they limited the shenanigans to the end made this all the better to watch. Kanemaru moves to a 2-1 record, whilst Volador slips to 1-2. ***½
Best of the Super Junior 24, Block B: ACH vs. Tiger Mask
This one had a slower start than you’d expect, with ACH grounding Tiger Mask rather than launching into anything. When that didn’t work, he just turned up the tempo and dropkicked Tiger to the outside, before baseball sliding outside and into a thrust kick from Tiger Mask as the tables turned.
ACH returned fire eventually with a baseball slide to knock down Tiger Mask, eventually taking him to the outside for a plancha and a trio of topes to send his foe several rows into the crowd. For some reach, ACH refused to take a win by count-out, and leapt outside at the count of 18 to roll Tiger Mask back inside so he could land a springboard stunner that almost win the match.
A couple more kicks left Tiger Mask down, but he popped back up for a double underhook superplex as ACH climbed to the top rope, before landing a Tiger Bomb for another near-fall, We go back to the kicks as both men looked to wear the other down, with a clothesline from ACH eventually putting Tiger down for a two-count… but the finish came swiftly after when Tiger Mask ducked a series of kicks before avoiding a clothesline and turning it into a crucifix for the win. A good outing, but one that I’m likely to not remember much of after the fact. ACH goes to 1-2 whilst Tiger Mask gets the inverse as he gets a share of the lead for now. ***
Best of the Super Junior 24, Block B: El Desperado vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Both these men came into this with a 2-0 record – so someone’s losing their 100% run, and the other is taking the lead… unless they draw!
Taguchi uses Desperado’s t-shirt at the bell to taunt him like he were a bull, and that just got him taken down early, before an attempt at a hip attack led to Taguchi jumping into an atomic drop before Desperado Brookes’d him, throwing Taguchi to the back of the floor seating. He tries to bury Taguchi in chairs to get a count-out win, but Taguchi beat the count… only to get thrown into a chair that’d been surreptitiously wedged in the ropes.
The referee tries to remove it, which gives Desperado a chance to sodomise Taguchi with a drill bit. That is a sentence I did not expect to say. Ever.
With his rear end now slightly bigger than it was, Taguchi was caught in a single leg crab as Desperado tried to force the issue even more, utilising a leg spreader, before he just stands on Taguchi’s knee to inflict more pain. Another hip attack gets turned into an atomic drop as Taguchi finally manages to come back by landing a hip attack to knock Despy off the apron, then score with a plancha of sorts.
Taguchi flies again, landing a tope con hilo, then a flying hip attack for a near-fall before he pulled out a Blue Thunder Bomb as a counter-to-a-counter from the Dodon. That Dodon’s tried again, but Desperado wheelbarrowed out of it into a Stretch Muffler, keeping it on for what felt like an age until Taguchi wriggled towards the ropes.
A figure four variation follows as Desperado tries to get the tap-out, but he escapes and grabs an ankle lock that forced Desperado to shoot for the bottom rope as quickly as he possibly could. A Bomaye follows, as does a Dodon lungblower, but Despy kicks out, before he tries to wheelbarrow out of another Dodon… that leads to Taguchi sitting down on it for a near-fall, before going straight back to the ankle lock… but Desperado pulls the referee’s head to the matm and actually unmasks!
The mask gets thrown at Taguchi, and the referee catches him with it as Red Shoes seems to think that Taguchi did it. In the meantime, TAKA (I assume) throws Desperado a second mask, which allowed him to return to low blow and land the Pinche Roco (Angel’s wings) for the win. That was remarkably enjoyable, with a nice twist on the usual Suzuki-gun shenigans… and I guess we now know that Taguchi’s rear end is made from some material that drill bits cannot damage! Desperado’s now going to end the day at the top of block B, whilst Taguchi goes to 2-1. ***¾
Yes, Tomoyuki Oka iced Taguchi’s groin again…
Best of the Super Junior 24, Block B: BUSHI vs. KUSHIDA
Someone’s going to get their first point today, even if we have a draw! Oh, and my shift key is going to get worn out too!
After hemming and hawing over the offer of a handshake, KUSHIDA quickly gets wiped out with a dropkick as he went for the handspring off the ropes, leading to BUSHI taking him outside for a spot of stomping. KUSHIDA turns things around by putting BUSHI in a chair and dropkicking him out of it, only for BUSHI to use his t-shirt back in the ring as he choked KUSHIDA, before delivering a rope hung DDT onto the apron. Someone watched his Josh Bodom/Donovan Dijak!
Another chair comes into play as BUSHI issues a receipt for that earlier dropkick, before trapping KUSHIDA with a STF in the middle of the ring, at least until he made the ropes. A missile dropkick keeps BUSHI on top, but he telegraphs a back body drop and gets kicked away, leading to KUSHIDA delivering a Downward Spiral into the turnbuckles.
The tempo ratchets up quickly with a tope con hilo into the front row – taking out BUSHI too – before he countered a Codebreaker into an armbar back inside! That’s turned into a triangle choke, then back into an armbar, before BUSHI again escaped and went for an eye rake. KUSHIDA kicks away after that, then returns the eye rake with gusto before handspringing right into a back cracker!
BUSHI keeps up the pressure with a tope, before catching KUSHIDA with a Codebreaker as he re-entered the ring. From there, he perched himself on the middle rope for an MX, only to abort it and switch into a backslide for a near fall as KUSHIDA hit back with an overhead kick as he fell to the mat.
The pair exchange vicious strikes for a spell, sending KUSHIDA to his knees as BUSHI almost took the win with a Destroyer! The MX follows next, but KUSHIDA kicked out at two, before countering a leap off the top rope from BUSHI with a Codebreaker of his own. From there, KUSHIDA rolled across the ring to catch BUSHI in a Hoverboard lock, before rolling BUSHI into the middle of the ring to keep the hold on. Regardless, BUSHI kept clawing away, only to get rolled back to his feet as KUSHIDA surprised us all with a small package driver for the win! That looked nasty, but finally it breaks KUSHIDA’s curse as he picked up his first win of the tournament in a really good main event. ***¾
Updated standings after three matches each:
Block A: Dragon Lee, Marty Scurll, Ricochet, Taichi, Will Ospreay (2-1; 4pts); Hiromu Takahashi, TAKA Michinoku (1-2; 2pts); Jushin “Thunder” Liger (0-3; 0pts)
Block B: El Desperado (3-0; 6pts); Ryusuke Taguchi, Tiger Mask, Yoshinobu Kanemaru (2-1; 4pts); ACH, KUSHIDA, Volador Jr. (1-2, 2pts); BUSHI (0-3; 0pts)
Like with most Korakuen shows, this was a remarkably easy watch, with the four block matches being value for money. So far, this year’s Best of Super Juniors hasn’t disappointed, and long may that record continue!
Block A returns on Tuesday for a show that’ll air with tournament matches on tape delay, featuring Ricochet vs. Dragon Lee in the pick of the bunch. The next live show on New Japan World is next Monday (May 29th), again from Korakuen Hall, and it’s one we’ll be covering on delay most likely due to us being at Super Strong Style 16…