After being spoiled with a full show from Korakuen, it’s back to just the tournament matches for the sixth day of action!
We’re looking at block A today, and unless Jushin “Thunder” Liger can pick up a win, his final Best of Super Juniors tournament is going to end with an almighty whimper.
Best of the Super Junior 24, Block A: Marty Scurll vs. TAKA Michinoku
Marty’s magical fun tour of Japan continued in earnest here against TAKA, featuring such goodness as Marty pulling on TAKA’s spiked fringe in a bid to escape a headlock, before he hammed up a sunset flip reversal… which the crowd in Tochigi ate up!
In the end, Marty turned the sunset flip into a jack-knife roll-up for a near-fall, only for TAKA to poke him in the eyes as he went to choke the Villain in the ropes. A game of “got your nose” followed as TAKA looked to get the win with a step-up knee in the corner, before keeping up the pressure with a variety of punches and whatnot. Marty of course fought back with a chop to the throat, before he was tripped into a crossface…
TAKA tried to pull him away from the ropes, but Marty snuck out into a crucifix roll-up for a near-fall, then levelled TAKA with the “Just Kidding” superkick. Marty then goes all Kid Lykos as he calls for a brainbuster, but he instead gets an arm whip as TAKA rolled to the outside… where he took a superkick off the apron for an eventual near-fall.
TAKA kicks away from a chicken wing as his footwork confused the Villain, leading to him taking another knee strike for a near-fall, before the pair rolled around in a small package ball that led to a near-fall for Marty. And dizziness. Another eye poke from TAKA earns him a finger snap, which the Japanese reacted to with horror, before the inevitable chicken wing earned the submission. Chalk up another decent match as Marty’s first tour of Japan continues to go swimmingly! That loss puts TAKA on the bubble – with any more defeats likely to end his tournament, whilst Marty goes to 3-1 and the top of the leaderboard. ***¼
Best of the Super Junior 24, Block A: Will Ospreay vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger
Oh Will, you’re not going to end one of your hero’s dreams, are you? Well… if it goes anything like their rather fun match at Rev Pro’s Global Wars last year… yes. Except this time, Ospreay didn’t wear a Liger costume.
The crowd are solidly behind Liger at the start, and he pushed the issue on, tripping up Ospreay into a hammerlock as the pair exchanged holds in the opening stages. Ospreay’s backflip/leapfrog just earned him a dropkick to the head as he tried showing off, but Liger just decided to give him a Romero special for the hell of it as the crowd roared. Ospreay launched back with a forearm off the ropes, as he went to work on Liger, tying him up with Eddie Guerrero’s old Lasso from El Paso. That didn’t get a submission, but it did get him some chops as Liger tried to offer some resistance, ending with a tiltawhirl backbreaker and a rana off the top rope as the veteran collected a near-fall.
Ospreay ducks a Shotei and replied with a handspring overhead kick as Liger was sent to the outside… for a picture perfect Space Flying Tiger Drop! From there, Ospreay followed back with a running shooting star press for a near-fall, before wearing him down in the corner for a Shibata-esque dropkick attempt… but a clothesline quickly thwarted that! Liger looked to bounce back, eventually landing a Koppo kick and a Ligerbomb for a near-fall. A superplex attempt was nullified as Ospreay turned it into a Cheeky Nando’s, before landing a shooting star press that almost ended Liger’s tournament.
From the kickout, Ospreay rushed in with a diving corkscrew kick, before landing an OsCutter that sealed the veteran’s elimination. A perfectly fine outing, but you could hear the crowd deflate as the result was confirmed. Why did Liger have to go out in defeats like this? Answers on a postcard… ***½
Best of the Super Junior 24, Block A: Taichi vs. Hiromu Takahashi
Like an idiot, Taichi jumped Hiromu before the match, whipping him with his own title belt rather than with, say, his mic stand. Takahashi’s response is to wander into the crowd, which made for a great visual on these fixed camera shows, as we finally pick them up wandering around ringside before Taichi finally grabbed his mic stand. Hiromu barely beat the count back inside as Taichi continued to choke away on him in the ropes. Yep, this isn’t exactly gripping stuff…
Finally Hiromu started to unload with some forearms, shrugging off another eye rake before taking down Taichi with some headscissors, following up with a shotgun dropkick off the apron to the floor. When they returned to the ring, Taichi gave Takahashi what looked like a pair of black trunks, which of course he put on over his ring gear. That didn’t hinder him though, as a Fisherman’s suplex gets him a near-fall before those trunks ended up over Taichi’s face!
Taichi snapped back in with a slam and a kick to the back as they went outside yet again, with Takahashi getting thrown into the ring post before a chair was pulled out of the ring and used on him. In full view of the referee. Yet that’s not a DQ. Do your job… A swift headkick from Taichi perhaps could have won it, but he pulled up Takahashi for a folding powerbomb instead to get a two-count. He tries for it again, but it’s eventually countered into an Air Raid Crash, only for Taichi to get back to his feet and spark a back-and-forth superkick battle.
One of those superkicks earned a near-fall after he knocked Takahashi on his back, but Takahashi finally fired back with a trio of superkicks that had the same effect. As did a clothesline as he then set up for the Time Bomb that picked up a near-fall whilst TAKA Michinoku perched with the intent of jumping in. A running death valley driver into the corner, followed by a second Time Bomb did the trick though, as Taichi wasn’t able to pick up another upset in a match that I felt was too disjointed to really get anywhere. ***
Best of the Super Junior 24, Block A: Dragon Lee vs. Ricochet
Well, isn’t this another of block A’s wonderous (on-paper) matches??
Ricochet started by working the arm as an excuse for Dragon Lee to cartwheel around as the pair tried to fly and ended up nullifying each other in the opening stages. Of course, we ended with the usual missed dropkicks and a roll-up into a pose, as Rip Rogers probably smirked about how patterned these things can be. A hotshot leads Ricochet into a neckbreaker on Dragon Lee as the pair tried to keep it on the mat… and by that, I meant “not for long” as Ricochet leapt into a back leg kick to Dragon’s head as he slowly but surely wore down the luchador. That quickly changed by way of a knee to the gut as Dragon Lee then targeted Ricochet with a STF, but it was way too early in the match as Ricochet was able to drag his way to the ropes to force a break.
We got an impressive counter as Ricochet landed on his feet as Dragon Lee went for an inside-out ‘rana, but the luchador’s next dive went as planned as he connected with a tope con hilo into the aisle. Back inside, the pace continued to fluctuate between “slow and steady” and “flat out bonkers” as both men adjusted the tempo to suit themselves. More knees from Dragon Lee set up for a sunset flip, but that’s rolled through as Ricochet eventually dumped him with a Regalplex for a near-fall. A tiltawhirl DDT from Ricochet is caught and turned into the suplex/powerbomb Desnucadora for another two-count as the momentum shifted.
After swearing at Ricochet in Spanish, Dragon Lee missed a double stomp and ended up taking a Destroyer as his Fly Swatter attempt went awry. Ricochet followed in with a Galleria before aborting a shooting star press as he instead took a snap German suplex off the ropes, then a Spanish fly for another near-fall. In the end though, Ricochet tried for a top rope ‘rana and got caught, allowing Dragon Lee to spike him with a Del Rio double stomp for the win. That leaves us with a three-way tie at the top of the group as Ricochet joins Hiromu Takahashi with a .500 record after four matches. As a “main event” of sorts, this was rather special, and you can add these to to the list of guys I’d like to see matched up again, albeit in a grander setting with a little more time. ****
Updated standings after day six’s matches:
Block A: Dragon Lee, Marty Scurll, Will Ospreay (3-1, 6pts); Hiromu Takahashi, Ricochet, Taichi (2-2, 4pts); TAKA Michinoku (1-3, 0pts); Jushin “Thunder” Liger (0-4, 0pts). Eliminated: Liger
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)
This isn’t a round of matches that you should be dismissing – all you need to do is skip Taichi, and you’ve got a trio of good BOSJ matches. Heck, skipping Taichi is probably sound advice for anyone watching wrestling! I’m sure there’s plenty of people annoyed – out of sentimental reasons more than anything else – that Liger’s “last run” ended in such a non-event, but I guess we have to wait and see if there’s anything coming out of the end of this once the tournament concludes next month.
Block B returns to action on Thursday (May 25) in Ishikawa, with those tournament matches appearing on-demand later that day as we enter the second half of the tour!