We’re into the “tournament matches” only portion of this year’s Best of the Super Juniors tournament – so here’s the action from the third day of the tour, featuring block B’s second round of bouts!

Today’s matches come from Matsusaka, and pleasingly are all around the ten minute length…

Best of the Super Junior 24, Block B: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. ACH
Kanemaru’s got his tequila again for some reason, and he starts by cheapshotting ACH in the ropes, before shoving the anime lover to the floor as he went to hit a springboard dropkick with Kanemaru on the apron.

That leads to a spell of extended action outside the ring, with Kanemaru throwing ACH into ringposts, before we get a camel clutch back inside. Another dropkick sends ACH careering head-first to the floor from the apron, before returning to the ring, where he dropkicked Kanemaru to the floor – albeit after stalling it!

ACH goes airborne with a tope into the aisle, before slingshotting back in with an Ace crusher for a near-fall, as a bridging German suplex almost does it… a clothesline SHOULD have won it for ACH, but Kanemaru grabs the referee’s arm to hold up the count in a nice piece of cheating. Somehow that’s not a DQ, and ACH goes to check on the ref, and that allowed Kanemaru back into it with a satellite DDT.

In the end though, Kanemaru got a near-fall out of a low blow and a reverse DDT, before braining ACH with a top rope DDT to secure the win. Basic, but pretty good for the time they had. Both men go to 1-1 records with 2 points after this match. ***

Best of the Super Junior 24, Block B: KUSHIDA vs. Tiger Mask
We start with KUSHIDA trying to ground Tiger Mask with wristlocks and front facelocks, before scoring with the hiptoss/dropkick combination as a standing moonsault gets KUSHIDA an early near-fall.

After hanging Tiger Mask’s arm across the top rope, KUSHIDA tries to wear him down with an armbar, but Tiger manages to roll him up for a near-fall before the kick-out took him back into the hold. From there, KUSHIDA switched the body part, going after the legs with an Indian deathlock, before switching it into a Muta lock to force the veteran to crawl for a rope break.

Once he’d avoided a springboard, Tiger Mask quickly fell to a handspring back elbow as KUSHIDA looked for the finish, but his moonsault was blocked by some knees as Tiger Mask came back into it, only to get crotched on the top rope with a cartwheel kick. KUSHIDA tried to capitalise by throwing Tiger down into another armbar, but the veteran fought free of it and landed a crossbody…

But KUSHIDA rolled through on impact and into a Hoverboard lock! Tiger Mask quickly reversed his way into the ropes, only for KUSHIDA to roll him back into the ring. Tiger Mask made the ropes though, so KUSHIDA goes back in for some over-the-shoulder armbreakers, only to get caught in a scoop tombstone piledriver as both men were left laying.

A Tiger suplex is teased, but KUSHIDA kicks his way free, only to get dropkicked as he went for another handspring, which led to a Tiger Bomb for a near-fall! Seconds later though, Tiger Mask picked up KUSHIDA for a Tiger suplex, and that was enough for the surprise win! Tiger’s up to a 1-1 record whilst KUSHIDA goes to 0-2 – and continues his losing streak in singles matches in Japan since that Hiromu match. This was pretty good, and told a good story that’ll continue to blossom throughout the tournament no doubt. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 24, Block B: BUSHI vs. El Desperado
The battle of the lower-end members of Suzuki-gun and Los Ingobernables de Japon here, and it’s BUSHI who lays into Desperado at the bell, landing a dropkick, before a missile dropkick sees BUSHI rattle through his usual checklist.

Desperado throws his way free of a t-shirt choke, before BUSHI leaps over a dive to the outside, and with the referee too busy disposing of a dangerous t-shirt, Desperado swats away a dive by using a chair. Yeah, that sucked. They continue the fight in the crowd, who quickly scatter as BUSHI gets tossed into the second row, with Desperado doing his best to clear the rest of those seats just for the hell of it.

BUSHI beats the count-out though, and as the fans go back to their seats, he finds himself whipped into a chair that’d been wedged between the top two ropes. Despy tries to do it again, before instead opting to unlace BUSHI’s mask in a bid to reveal the man behind the all-white attire.

The punishment continues as BUSHI’s leg gets dropkicked in the ropes, before he recovers to backdrop Desperado to the outside for an eventual slingshot into a ‘rana on the floor! Back inside, BUSHI spikes Desperado with a DDT and a dropkick for a near-fall, before a swinging neckbreaker got him another two-count, only for Desperado to catch him in a Stretch Muffler that lifted him off the mat… Eventually there’s a rope break, as BUSHI countered a Guitarra de Angel into a backslide, before we skip forward into a Destroyer for a near-fall from BUSHI.

BUSHI looked to end things with an MX, but Desperado pulled the referee in front – and yanked off the mask – which meant that all he had to do was roll-up BUSHI for the win as keeping his identity secret was more important than a win. A solid match here, with a good story throughout – and perhaps if Suzuki-gun vs. Los Ingobernables de Japon becomes a thing, then we’ll see more from these two, as their post-match skirmish seemed to suggest, especially as Desperado left with BUSHI’s mask… BUSHI’s now bottom with KUSHIDA with a 0-2 record, whilst Desperado tops the group with a 2-0 run. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 24, Block B: Volador Jr. vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Volador’s back for the main event of today’s block matches, and we have a show of respect to start as both men shake hands at the bell.

A second handshake wasn’t quite as respected though, as Volador’s attempt at a cheapshot saw them go back and forth in search of full nelsons, with Taguchi’s funky weapon breaking it up. Taguchi just watches as he has Volador run and springboard off the ropes, but eventually the luchador wises up and puts the brakes on and reverses the roles… with Taguchi quickly gassing and collapsing.

With Taguchi supposedly tired, Volador gets a near-fall from a La Magistral cradle before the Funky Weapon comes into use, sending Volador to the outside for a tope con hilo! Back inside though, Taguchi looks to go for a version of his ankle lock, sending Volador to the ropes, before dropping a leg on the ankle as he looked to keep the luchador grounded.

Volador rebounded though, taking Taguchi outside and following up with a tope, before scoring with a crossbody and a ‘rana back inside for a near-fall. Taguchi sits down on a sunset flip to get another near-fall as he unloads with a series of hip attacks against the ropes, only to get dropkicked as he went to lean back in the corner a la Nakamura.

One day, Taguchi will learn!

Something approximating a top rope ‘rana gets Volador a near-fall, but from the kick-out Taguchi gets an ankle lock that Volador breaks with an enziguiri. They continue back and forth, with a back cracker getting Volador a near-fall, before his moonsault gets nothing but feet as Taguchi rushed in with a Bomaye/Kinshasa for a near-fall… then landing the Dodon facebuster for the win. That puts Taguchi at the top of the group with Desperado on a 2-0 record, whilst Volador slips to 1-1 as a day of good, but not great action wrapped up in kind. ***

So, our standings after everyone’s had two matches…

Block A: Dragon Lee (2-0); Hiromu Takahashi, Marty Scurll, Ricochet, Taichi, TAKA Michinoku, Will Ospreay (1-1); Jushin “Thunder” Liger (0-2)
Block B: El Desperado, Ryusuke Taguchi (2-0); ACH, Tiger Mask, Volador Jr, Yoshinobu Kanemaru (1-1); BUSHI, KUSHIDA (0-2)

This was an easy day’s action to watch – nothing horrible, but nothing spectacular on offer either, aside from the BUSHI/Desperado skirmishes. With block B being considered the weaker of the two, it’s clear that the “spotlight” matches will be few and far between… but as long as they’re inoffensive and have some bright moments, I doubt there’ll be too many complaints!

Block A is in action on Sunday, with the matches appearing on New Japan World on tape delay, before block B returns with a live show on ‘World on Monday.