We’re back in Aichi for the second night in a row – and it’s block B’s turn to get in on the action!

Best of the Super Junior 25, Block B: El Desperado vs. Marty Scurll
So, you’ll be shocked to hear that El Desperado jumped Marty… or at least tried, as the match started with Marty sidestepping him and taking down the “Rogue Luchador”, working over the arm in the early stages.

An eye rake from Desperado had some effect, but a butt bump from Marty broke a waistlock as he went straight back in with an Octopus hold, turning it into a sunset flip for a near-fall. A monkey flip’s next for Despy, who then blocks a second by lifting Marty to the outside as we have our first Brookes’ing of the day.That gave way to a lot of crowd brawling as the referee didn’t start counting, nor do anything else when Marty got beaned in the face with a bottle of water.

Suckering Desperado into the crowd, the masked man takes a spill down some stairways as Marty fought back, but they continue to give us a tour of the Nagoya Congress Centre as Marty’s whacked with a bin as now the referee starts a count, prompting them to make their way back towards the ring. After trapping Marty’s leg in the rope, Desperado rushes in with a dropkick then an Indian deathlock of sorts, as he continued to wear down on the Villain’s knee.

Eventually Marty began a fightback with an uppercut, before lowbridging Desperado to the floor and following up with an agonised apron superkick. Back inside, a knee stomp and a La Magistral continued to get Marty back into it, before he blocked one from Despy and turned it into the Ghostbuster 2.0 for a near-fall.

An eye rake cuts off a chicken wing, allowing Despy to return fire with a spinebuster before switching the kick-out into the Numero Dos, which ultimately was too close to the ropes. After crotching Desperado up top, Marty catches him with a superplex, then chases Desperado outside to kick away a chair that was meant to block the apron superkick… but Desperado turned it into a leg sweep anyway as another chair comes into play, whacked across Marty’s knee.

Back inside, the referee disarms Desperado just in time to count a near-fall from a roll-up as Marty started to go to work on his hands… but going for the umbrella threatened to be an undoing as Desperado shoved a chair between the ropes, and got sent into it himself. We’ve a ref bump as Marty puts Desperado in the chicken wing… and although Despy taps, it’s for nought. The chair comes into play again, but Desperado again swings and misses as Marty tries it… and again gets disarmed.

A low blow from Despy is caught and met with a finger break, which left this effect:

…and left him easy prey for the chicken wing as he was given no choice but to tap. A fun bad guy match, with Desperado’s villainous ways perhaps a little too predictable. It sure is looking like his win over Hiromu was more of an upset than anything else though… ***

Best of the Super Junior 25, Block B: Dragon Lee vs. Chris Sabin
We’re straight in with the basics as Lee and Sabin exchanged headlock takedowns and armdrags in the early going, keeping things at a nice pace as they headed into the staple of all matches in 2018: duelling dropkick staredowns!

They’re outside next, with Sabin nailing an apron PK before wiping out Lee with a nice missile dropkick that went ¾s of the way across the ring! An exchange of running boots into the corner follow, which Sabin wins out on as he took Lee up top for a superplex, as his attempt to stay on top of the luchador came to a halt with a rope break.

Lee quickly turns it around with a ‘rana, sending Sabin outside for a tope con giro that woke up the crowd, returning to the ring to blast Sabin with a hanging dropkick in the corner for another two-count. After missing an enziguiri, Sabin rolls Lee up for a near-fall, before taking him into the corner with a dropkick of his own. They resume on the apron as they traded forearms, until a superkick from Sabin took him to the floor, where a flying ‘rana’s only delayed as Sabin opted to follow up for a cannonball.

Back inside again, Sabin retained the upper hand, until he ran into a STO and a double underhook backbreaker as the tide quickly swung again. Speaking of swinging… reversing tombstones led to a backbreaker as Sabin and Lee eventually left each other laying, before a Sabin superplex effort was thwarted with the double-stomp out of the corner. Sabin falls too close to the ropes and just reaches out to it to break the cover, before he elbowed out of a powerbomb and returned with a springboard tornado DDT for a near-fall. Lee still had his wits around him to escape a death valley driver and take down Sabin for a PK.

The Descunadora’s countered into a DDT by Sabin, who’s then rolled up as he looked for Cradle Shock… but a lariat and some thrust kicks soften up Lee, as the Cradle Shock finally gets the win! A decent match, with Sabin perhaps upsetting Lee – whose unbeaten run is now toast. Well worth going out of your way to see, especially if you’ve somehow lost track of Chris Sabin… ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 25, Block B: SHO vs. KUSHIDA
It’s a rather tentative start from SHO, who paces around and tries to stop an early tie-up attempt, only to get taken to the mat as KUSHIDA looked to roll with him.

KUSHIDA leaps into SHO as he looked for another way to tie-up, instead being forced to bridge up from the mat and catch SHO in body scissors after suckering him in to a neck bridge-breaker attempt. We’re still at a stale mate though, as KUSHIDA’s early attempt at a Hoverboard Lock is shrugged off, so KUSHIDA turns up the pace a little in a bid to catch out SHO.

There’s a lot of evasion here, as we had each guy attempt cross armbreakers, only for KUSHIDA to get free and start to wear down the arm a little more. Some ground and pound sees KUSHIDA thrust palms into SHO’s face, but another cross armbreaker from the Time Splitter’s countered as SHO stands up and wheelbarrowed himself free. In response, SHO tries to work down on KUSHIDA’s arm, before inviting a chop battle… by which I mean he takes two then locks KUSHIDA into a sleeperhold in the middle of the ring.

SHO switches up into a heel hook, but KUSHIDA’s able to drag himself to the ropes, and return fire with a knee bar of his own. That’s reversed as the pair tried to alternate knee bars, but in the end it’s SHO who has to reach for the ropes to keep things going, only to get caught with a slingshot DDT and some armbreakers as KUSHIDA went right back to his game plan.

A leaping DDT sees KUSHIDA transition nicely into the Hoverboard Lock, but SHO quickly dragged into the ropes, only for KUSHIDA to go right back to the hold, bodyscissoring the former junior tag champ in the process… which allowed SHO to escape in a unique way: with a Dominator! Some rolling powerbombs get SHO free again as KUSHIDA again went back to the arm, before they slugged it out again, with SHO trying his luck now with rolling German suplexes, before dropping him into a cross armbreaker.

KUSHIDA rolls up, but he’s tripped right back down as SHO went for a double armbar, but we finally get a rope break as KUSHIDA’s forced to fight away from a German suplex, flipping out of it before floating over SHO into another Hoverboard Lock! SHO escapes, only to get clocked with a Pele, before another Hoverboard Lock attempt led to SHO getting a foot to the ropes.

SHO’s almost run out of steam as his forearms have little behind them, but he is able to escape another Hoverboard Lock, before KUSHIDA decided to go “sod it” and opted for the Back to the Future instead, planting SHO for the win. This will probably be a Marmite match for some, as the endless ground work will undoubtedly turn some people off… but I liked SHO’s resilience here, and despite defeat, this was very much a character-building performance as his partners was against Will Ospreay earlier in the tour. ***¾

Best of the Super Junior 25, Block B: Hiromu Takahashi vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
The last time these two met was almost a year ago… for what is now Defiant Wrestling as part of their Pro Wrestling World Cup. The last time it was in a Best of the Super Juniors though, was six years ago, in the one and only time so far Taguchi would go on to win the tournament outright.

There’s a lot of scurrying early on as Hiromu tried to escape Taguchi, remembering only too well from Taguchi’s title challenge last March, just how dangerous his ankle lock was. Hiromu tries a sunset flip powerbomb early, only for Taguchi to sit on him before he missed a hip attack off the apron, as we’re taken into the crowd once again, where poor Hiromu’s suplexed onto the floor before Taguchi runs the length of the building… to miss a clothesline and crash into a wall. Idiot.

Taguchi barely beat the count back into the ring, and was rolled into a two-count as Takahashi kept up the offence, colliding with a low dropkick for a near-fall, before he had the rope kicked into him as Takahashi catches him with a brief tarantula. We’re back outside for a wheelbarrow facebuster from the apron to the floor, then a missile dropkick off the apron as Hiromu was in firm control. Back inside, a flying back senton’s enough for Hiromu to pick up a near-fall, before he stuffs some hip attacks by turning them into atomic drops. A third one finally connects though, before another hip attack takes Hiromu to the floor for a Golden Triangle-like plancha. Another hip attack takes Hiromu outside again, this time for a tope con giro, as Taguchi’s bringing his A game today!

Taguchi gets himself all excited for the Bummer-ye, but Hiromu counters it with a simple roll-up before a Blue Thunder bomb from Taguchi got him back on track… only for Takahashi to kick away an ankle lock. His attempt at the overhead belly-to-belly into the corner’s stopped too, but he is able to catch Taguchi with a German suplex as he tried what looked to be a flying hip attack.

The pair exchange forearms and fists as Taguchi tried to work his way into the Dodon, but instead he has to make do with a hip attack as Hiromu escaped… before Takahashi replied with a lariat as both men again crashed to the mat. Hiromu finally hits the belly-to-belly into the turnbuckles, before the Dynamite Plunger gets him close to victory. They continue with some more back and forth, with Takahashi countering a hip attack into another German suplex, only for a lariat from Taguchi to lead him into the Dodon facebuster, almost getting the win with that!

From the kick-out, Takahashi’s caught in an ankle lock, before he wheelbarrowed out of another Dodon. Taguchi’s almost spamming that move now, but he counters another counter into a tombstone before going right back to the ankle lock, throwing in some stomps for good measure, before Hiromu finally got himself to the bottom rope! A desperation ‘rana gets countered into… yep, another ankle lock, before Taguchi rolls through a wheelbarrow for another near-fall.

The next wheelbarrow’s good for a near-fall as Hiromu keeps on pushing, taking Taguchi into a triangle armbar, but when Taguchi’s unable to powerbomb himself free, we have a quick submission as the Funky Weapon was all spent. This was all kinds of fun – Taguchi actually being serious for once almost got him the win, but it was Takahashi who had that little bit extra in him to drag out the win. ****¼

Standings
Block A:
Flip Gordon, Tiger Mask (3-1)
ACH, Taiji Ishimori, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Will Ospreay (2-2)
BUSHI, YOH (1-3)

Block B:
Dragon Lee (3-1)
El Desperado, KUSHIDA, Chris Sabin, Marty Scurll, SHO, Hiromu Takahashi (2-2)
Ryusuke Taguchi (1-3)

Well, look at that – the two blocks sort-of mirror each other now! BUSHI, YOH and Taguchi are on the bubble, you’d have to think, but as for the top of the group… even though there’s clear leaders, everyone’s within touching distance, which is going to make for an exciting second half of the tournament.

Today’s card was better than the prior night’s, with the main event definitely being one to go out of your way to see. That being said, just about everyone had tagged block B as being superior, outside of the “names” in block A, so it’s living up to expectations and then some, thanks to the juniors having plenty of time for their matches this year. With the crew having Monday off, we resume in Tuesday in Tochigi, with Will Ospreay and Yoshinobu Kanemaru headlining in block A. Wednesday in Fukushima sees the return of block B, with KUSHIDA and El Desperado closing out that particular card.