We’re working backwards with a look at night five of the tour, featuring some surprises up and down the card.
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Hiromu Takahashi pinned Ryusuke Taguchi in 5:23 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Kevin Knight pinned BUSHI in 5:23 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: TJP pinned SHO in 8:46 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Clark Connors pinned Francesco Akira in 8:33 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: DOUKI submitted Lio Rush in 5:43 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Robbie Eagles pinned Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 10:07 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Mike Bailey pinned Titan in 9:56 (****)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Master Wato pinned Dan Moloney in 7:48 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Taiji Ishimori pinned KUSHIDA in 13:30 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: YOH pinned El Desperado in 20:24 (****)
We’re at the Sun Plaza Hall in Sendai, with Kevin Kelly running solo on the English language call. At least until Kevin Knight picks up that second headset halfway through…
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Hiromu Takahashi
Taguchi’s opening up the show in his home town as his tournament chances look increasingly precarious, up against a Hiromu that has he’s never beaten since he came back from excursion.
Taguchi looked to end this one quickly, having scored a Bummer-Ye, but Hiromu had similar ideas as he went for pinning attempts. Heading outside, Taguchi nails a tope con giro, then a Blue Thunder Bomb back inside after an ankle lock almost had Hiromu in the ropes. We’ve a wacky frog splash from Taguchi for a near-fall as he looked to be set for victory… following up with Oh My & Garankle again… before a Tiger suplex out of a Dodon left Hiromu laying. From there though, a Taguchi lariat spins Hiromu down for a near-fall, before Hiromu rolled through a Dodon… it’s countered into a Crucifix for a near-fall, before Unnamed Hiromu Roll snatched the victory. Taguchi looked good here, but his luckless run in the tournament continues, sadly. ***¼
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: BUSHI vs. Kevin Knight
Much like Taguchi, BUSHI’s yet to win in the tournament so far, and Knight was intent on making sure it continued that way as he jumped BUSHI at the bell.
BUSHI’s able to take it outside for a tope suicida as he began to wear down Knight… a see-saw DDT through the ropes is blocked though, as Knight instead fought back with a plancha. A top rope ‘rana attempt is avoided as BUSHI charges back in, landing a dropkick to the knee before Knight struck back with a Sky High for a near-fall. BUSHI takes an ugly landing from a top rope ‘rana, which is exacerbated seconds later with a jumping DDT as Knight took home the points. **¾
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: SHO vs. TJP
We all know it’s coming. Bullet Club Shenanigans.
SHO goes to TJP’s eyes early on but TJP’s able to withstand that… at least until EVIL got involved, choking him with the United Empire towel. The after effects of that allowed SHO to control things, before TJP came in with a ‘rana and a springboard crossbody.
Some face-washing boots clean up SHO, but TJP couldn’t avoid a superplex… nor a cross-armed piledriver… but was able to escape a Shock Arrow and land a leaping spin kick. The Final Cut gets TJP a near-fall, before SHO took TJP’s wrist and threw it at the ref. That opens the door for SHO to get his wrench, Bobo, out, but TJP’s gotten a tool of his own as well. SHO drops to the mat and feigns being hit, then rolled up TJP as the ref came to… there’s more distraction as EVIL grabs the ref to try and mask a SHO low blow, but to no avail as TJP lands a tornado DDT instead, then a Mamba splash for the win. The House of Torture continue to stutter as their cheating just doesn’t get the job done, but who’s surprised? ***
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Clark Connors vs. Francesco Akira
Looking to win this in short order, Connors charges out of the corner at the bell, then landed a suplex before he tried to throw Akira over the top to the outside.
Akira escapes, but gets knocked back down as we headed outside anyways, with Akira getting bounced off the ring post. The crowd’s forced to scatter as Akira’s thrown into the chairs, which led to a count-out tease that Akira beat just in time. An attempted fightback from Akira ends with him getting launched into the corner pad, ahead of a wheelbarrow German suplex that threw Akira across the ring. Connors keeps it going from there, before a bunch of misdirection ended with Connors getting tripped by Akira’s dropdown. Another wheelbarrow’s countered with a roll-through and a stomp from Akira, who adds a tijeras to take Connors outside for a wild plancha.
Back inside, Connors eats a crossbody off the top before he had ti kick out from a cradle… only to return with the Trophy Kill spear and the No Chaser as Connors picked up the win. ***
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: DOUKI vs. Lio Rush
Lio’s coming in with an unbeaten run – but DOUKI’s always a threatening banana skin of an opponent…
Lio, erm, rushes into an early advantage, taking DOUKI outside for a tope… only for DOUKI to return the favour instantly. Back inside, Lio pushes on only to get caught with a swinging Northern Lights suplex by DOUKI. Rush manages to get back in, but his Final Hour lands him in the Italian Stretch #32 – the DOUKI CHOKEY – which Rush turned into a jack-knife cradle for a two-count. DOUKI’s quickly back with a snap Dragon suplex, before an attempt at Suplex de la Luna was fought out of… so he goes back to the DOUKI CHOKEY… and holy hell that’s enough to get the stoppage as Rush couldn’t escape! An upset as Lio’s forced to submit, and that’s a big two points for DOUKI – if only for the potential damage that’d cause Rush’s run-in. ***
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Robbie Eagles vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
An attempted jump start from Kanemaru backfires as Eagles took him outside… but Kanemaru uses Kosei Fujita as a tackling dummy to avoid a dive.
Kanemaru uses the ring post again as he threw Eagles’ leg into it, then focused on the knee some more back inside as he threw it into the mat. A knee bar forces Eagles to the ropes, only for Kanemaru to stay on him with a knee breaker that really slowed down the Aussie for a spell. Eagles is floored with a kick to the knee from Kanemaru, but manages to return with an elbow strike, then with the running double knees into the corner – which hurt Eagles as much as it did Kanemaru, it seemed. Pushing on, Eagles goes for a Turbo Backpack, but gets cradled after the landing as Kanemaru finds a way in with a Figure Four instead.
The ropes save Eagles, who’s able to dig deep to hit a springboard dropkick to Kanemaru’s knee, then a Turbo Backpack… but couldn’t make the cover. Instead, Eagles tees up for a Trigger knee, and that’s enough to get the win as Eagles dove on top of Kanemaru for the pin. ***
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Mike Bailey vs. Titan
Titan and Bailey get the crowd going at the bell, but it’s Titan who’s the early aggressor, taking Bailey outside…
Except Bailey snuck off as Titan flipped to the floor, allowing Speedball to blindside the LIJ man with a running kick. Back inside, Bailey scores with some Vader Bomb knees out of the corner, before chops going back-and-forth led to the scissor kicks from Speedball. Returning the offence, Titan’s able to land a springboard crossbody back into the ring, then a swinging DDT… but Bailey pushed off before blasting him down with another kick. Titan rolls away from a standing shooting star press, then came back with a swinging DDT before the pair exchanged dives, with a wild tope suicida from Titan almost going into the front row. Bailey adds a triangle moonsault that almost turned into a reverse DDT on landing, before another trip up top ended with Titan knocking Bailey back to the floor for a tope con giro.
That led to a double count-out tease, with both men beating it… but Titan’s knocked off the top rope as Bailey ended up getting knocked onto the apron with an overhead kick. A follow-up slingshot stomp misses, as Bailey trips Titan for moonsault knees onto the side of the ring, before Ultima Weapon missed. Not sklpping a beat, Bailey rolls up Titan as the pair traded pinning attempts, before Titan’s attempt to pull ahead led to him getting caught on the top rope… then brought down to earth with a thud as the Flamingo Driver got the win. A breathless sub-ten minute outing keeps Speedball’s push at the top of the block alive – and his fantastic New Japan (in Japan) debut going. ****
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Dan Moloney vs. Master Wato
Moloney starts this one all aggressive, knowing that another loss would give him an uphill task to make the semi finals.
A snapmare and a kick to the back of Wato led to some grounded bodyscissors as Moloney took time to showboat, but Wato’s able to drag himself to the ropes to force a break. Strikes from Moloney light up Wato, who returned fire with a bulldog and a leaping neckbreaker. Wato’s dropkick lands next, before he tried to fire off a German suplex… only to get chopped down. Moloney adds a spear for a near-fall, but Wato’s able to respond with the Vendeval to force Dan into the ropes. Back-and-forth kicks follow, but it’s a roundhouse enziguiri from Wato then the high-angle German suplex that lands, giving Wato the quick win. I’d have liked this to have been a little longer, but Wato’s establishing that German suplex in rapid fashion. ***
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Taiji Ishimori vs. KUSHIDA
These two are 1-1 – with the last meeting coming just before KUSHIDA went to WWE. They were meant to have met last year, but illness cancelled the match…
We’ve a tentative start, as KUSHIDA took down Ishimori by the arm as he was seemingly preparing for an eventual Hoverboard lock. Ishimori ducks a gamengiri and hangs up KUSHIDA’s arm as he had a similar gameplan, but first.. Time to remove a corner pad! Ishimori hits a backcracker-like move to KUSHIDA’s left arm, but on the outside KUSHIDA’s able to use the ring post to try and level things up. The exposed corner’s put into play as KUSHIDA’s shoulder was thrown into it, while a shoulderbreaker afterwards planted KUSHIDA ahead of a low dropkick.
KUSHIDA fights back with a dropkick, then with a cross-legged Dragon screw out of the corner as then added a kneedrop off the top, landing on the side of Ishimori’s knee. The change of game plan sees KUSHIDA lock in a knee bar, but Ishimori reaches for the rope to force the break… only for KUSHIDA to go back to the arm. A mounted Hoverboard Lock’s broken as KUSHIDA’s dumped into the Cipher UTAKI… recovering with a swinging reverse STO before he caught Ishimori with his take on a Bone Lock. Cradling free, Ishimori manages to return with a La Mistica, before the pair jockeyed for a submission… only for Ishimori to apply the Bone Lock, with KUSHIDA rolling into the ropes.
Ishimori adds a reverse Bloody Sunday DDT from there for a near-fall, before the pair went back to submission moves. KUSHIDA’s Hoverboard Lock’s countered again, this time with a Bloody Cross, and despite the delayed crawl and cover, it’s enough for Ishimori to get the win in an even match – and one that kicks KUSHIDA closer to the exit door in this year’s tournament. ***½
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: YOH vs. El Desperado
YOH’s main eventing in his home town, and he’s being very playful with Desperado, bopping him on the head until Despy slapped him silly. Perhaps knock that off, eh?
Desperado clears the crowd as he whips YOH into the third row, before a whip into the ring post was avoided as YOH opted to head back inside and prepare for a finger-wagging plancha. After wiping out a cameraman while trying to post Desperado, YOH begins to work over Desperado’s legs… sending him back outside briefly. Back inside, a neckbreaker is good for a two-count as YOH almost dared Desperado to do something… before he instead worked over Despy’s leg in the ropes. A low dropkick targets the knee as a leg-spreader forces Desperado to drag his way to the rope… with more playful kicks from YOH producing a murderous look of rage from Desperado.
Desperado fires back with chops, then with a sidewalk slam off the ropes, before he began to wear down YOH’s arm and leg, leading to a leg-spreader of his own. YOH lands a snap German suplex, then a Falcon arrow as he tried to get back into it, only to get met with a spinebuster… then the Numero Dos as Desperado looked for a finish. YOH’s able to wriggle to the ropes to force a break, but couldn’t avoid a Guitarra del Angel as Desperado planted him in the middle of the ring for a near-fall… YOH’s back on top with the calf slicer, that he’s branded the Out Of Print, but again, the ropes save the day. Another struggle looks to lead to a Dragon suplex, but Desperado resists… only to get met with a Dragon screw in the ropes before an over-the-knee Falcon arrow left Desperado laying.
The crowd roars behind Hiromu as he ragdolls Desperado in a Dragon suplex for a near-fall, but Desperado goes back to the knee. We’re back to them exchanging strikes, with YOH’s superkick landing flush, but he’s not able to follow up as we end up with the pair teasing finishers… Pinche Loco’s blocked, as a kiss on the head led to YOH hitting a ripcord leaping knee. Alright, if it works! From there, YOH roars up into the Direct Drive… and that’s enough to take home the win! This took a while to get going, and YOH’s weirdness in this tournament sure as hell isn’t for me, but this was a cracker of a main event. ****
Your standings after five matches:
Mike Bailey, Taiji Ishimori, Lio Rush (4-1 / 8pts)
Hiromu Takahashi, Titan, TJP (3-2 / 6pts)
DOUKI (2-3 / 6pts)
KUSHIDA, SHO (1-4 / 2pts)
Ryusuke Taguchi (0-5 / 0pts)
Robbie Eagles (4-1 / 8pts)
Francesco Akira, Clark Connors, El Desperado, Master Wato, YOH (3-2 / 6pts)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Kevin Knight, Dan Moloney (2-3 / 4pts)
BUSHI (0-5 / 0pts)
Night five was a solid show in the tournament – although the short run times that have pervaded the tournament mean that you’re having to almost having to work a sprint in order to stand out this year. Still, this kept up the motif of having at least one good match to watch every night – making this a tournament rich for the cherry pickers.