After a day off, Best of the Super Junior returns, with a battle at the top of block A headlining as Taiji Ishimori and Lio Rush put their unbeaten records up against each other.

Quick Results
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: YOH pinned Clark Connors in 6:44 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Titan submitted Ryusuke Taguchi in 9:21 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Robbie Eagles pinned BUSHI in 9:10 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: TJP pinned DOUKI in 8:22 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Francesco Akira pinned Dan Moloney in 8:27 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: KUSHIDA submitted Mike Bailey in 9:26 (***¾)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: El Desperado pinned Kevin Knight in 8:42 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Hiromu Takahashi pinned SHO in 7:50 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Master Wato pinned Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 9:38 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Lio Rush pinned Taiji Ishimori in 16:56 (***¾)

We’re live on stream from the Akita Prefectural Budokan in, where else, Akita. Commentary comes from Kevin Kelly, with Robbie Eagles joining later… and yes, I’m deliberately trying to keep this brief today!

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Clark Connors vs. YOH
It’s 2-1 vs. 1-2 here, and I wouldn’t expect this opener to go too long…

Early attempts at a Trophy Kill are leapt over by YOH, who decided to play Toru Yano today. Hey, isn’t impersonations Taguchi’s gimmick? Connors swats YOH with the corner pad, before he posted YOH on the outside. YOH recovers with a tijeras to take things back outside for a Liger-esque cannonball off the apron… my feed gives out, and returns just in time for YOH to escape a dawdling Connors and snatch the win with a Five Star Cradle. **¾

Post-match, Connors finally hits his No Chaser implant DDT on YOH, before delivering a conchairto to YOH, who was nestled against the corner pad.

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Titan vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Taguchi’s still looking for his first win of the tournament, while Titan’s part of that group that’s in joint second, but four points off the pace before today’s show.

Titan tries to gas out Taguchi early on with some rope running, but Taguchi’s able to find a way in with a step over toe-hold, which morphed into a modified stump puller. Titan got to the ropes to force a break, before he scored with a springboard crossbody into the ring. A dropkick takes Taguchi outside for a tope suicida, only for Taguchi to grab hold of Oh My & Garankle back inside.

Taguchi goes back to the ankle, pulling Titan into Dodon… it lands, even though it looked like it was blocked, before Taguchi threatened a Vertebreaker. Titan thankfully escapes, but jarred his leg after leaping off the top and almost lost to a Bummer Ye… before he came back and trapped Taguchi in a Muta Lock for the submission. Taguchi’s bad run continues, and I think he’ll be going back to the ha-ha before too long… **¾

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Robbie Eagles vs. BUSHI
BUSHI’s coming in as one of three still yet to get a point… while Robbie Eagles started the day with a share of the lead in block B.

As Kevin Kelly chatted about his upcoming co-commentator’s nomadic existence in New Japan (three factions in five years), Eagles caught BUSHI by surprise with a tope. Back inside, BUSHI’s able to chip away at the Aussie, at least until Eagles scores a diving kick for a two-count.

Running knees into the corner splat BUSHI for a two-count, before a Ron Miller Special was blocked by the ropes. Eagles’ Tiger Feint Kick resumed the focus on the knee, but a BUSHI dropkick created some space between the two, before a MX attempt was countered… eventually into a Ron Miller Special. The ropes save BUSHI again, before Eagles popped up from a DDT… and fell to a Fisherman neckbreaker for a near-fall. Eagles gets sent into the side of the ring with a see-saw DDT, before Eagles escaped a Code Red, then a backslide… before another the Trigger Knee got the win. This was a little “meat and potatoes”, but perfectly fine against an Akita crowd that’s sounding a little flat today. ***

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: TJP vs. DOUKI
Whoever wins this one pulls ahead to a 50-50 record after four matches…

TJP surprises DOUKI at the bell, almost winning in seconds with a Mamba splash before taking things outside… a quick return sees as second Mamba splash land into the DOUKI CHOKEY. The ropes save TJP, but he’s outside and into the path of a tope as they head up the aisle, with TJP throwing DOUKI into the entry way.

DOUKI blocks and throws TJP into the entry way’s frame, before he got suplexed on the ramp. No, the ref’s not counting. Back inside, DOUKI scores with a stomp off the top for a two-count, then a Daybreak DDT, before TJP avoided Suplex de la Luna. Face-washing kicks help turn things around, only to get caught in the DOUKI CHOKEY once more. TJP tries to escape and turn it into a Pinoy Stretch, before he turned another Suplex de la Luna attempt into the Final Cut. From there, TJP finally hits that third Mamba Splash, and that’s all as DOUKI’s continued insistence on going for Suplex de la Luna cost him. ***

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Dan Moloney vs. Francesco Akira
It’s the second meeting of the year between these two – with Moloney winning at the Revolution Rumble… an outing that led to him being offered a spot in the United Empire.

They keep it even in the early going, but it’s Akira’s speed that looked to be the differentiator… at least until he ran into a Moloney dropkick, as that allowed Dan to dip into his power game. A suplex gets Moloney a two-count, as did a series of chops, before Akira returned with a wheelbarrow stomp.

A tijeras from Akira takes Moloney outside for a plancha, while a crossbody back inside drew a near-fall. Moloney’s spear gets a near-fall as Akira escapes a Drilla Killa… only to get chopped back down, ahead of a Fisherman buster that almost got Dan the W. Another crack at the Drilla Killa’s escaped, as Akira’s able to catch Dan with the Fireball for the win in a solid match – even if the result perhaps slots Dan in the Empire’s pecking order. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Mike Bailey vs. KUSHIDA
KUSHIDA’s 0-3 so far in his tournament – and you’d have to think if he’s going to make something resembling a comeback, this is the match to start it in. Sorry Speedball!

KUSHIDA’s got new tights, which remind me of early-day John Cena. Maybe it’ll bring a change of fortune… it brought a bad landing for sure as a leglock on Bailey ended with the two rolling onto the apron, then to the floor as KUSHIDA looked to be neutralising Bailey’s left leg in the early going.

It worked as well, as Speedball was forced to scoot towards the ropes… he’s able to find enough to fire off a series of scissor kicks, before KUSHIDA went to the arm, forcing Bailey to grab the ropes. Speedball returns with a head kick to lay out KUSHIDA, who nearly lost to a standing 10-count, only to beat the count… and get rolled down into a cross armbreaker.

Bailey adds moonsault knees to KUSHIDA, then went back to the cross armbreaker as the ropes again keep the junior tag champion in it. KUSHIDA tries to force his way back in with a Cobra Twist, but a roundhouse kick into the corner looked to lead to an Ultima Weapon. That misses, allowing KUSHIDA to go to the arm with a Hoverboard Lock, before he switched it up with a cross-legged heel hook to force the stoppage. A lovely change of pace that caught me off-guard – Bailey picks up his first L as KUSHIDA dominated him with the ground game. ***¾

Post-match, KUSHIDA badgered Kevin Kelly for Scott D’Amore’s phone number… seems someone has designs on something to do in Impact?

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: El Desperado vs. Kevin Knight
Desperado’s coming in with a bad wheel… but Kevin Knight’s also been dogged with attacks in this tournament. Not that you’d know by them doing leapfrogs and lucha roll throughs…

Heading outside, Knight leapfrogs onto the apron for a slingshot plancha, before Desperado accidentally cracked the ring post as he swung with a chop. Back inside, Knight tries to push on, but gets caught as Desperado began to work over the knee with a leg lock. Knight pulls an Okada, dropkicking Desperado off the top rope to the floor, then followed up with a tope con giro… a springboard crossbody back in almost goes awry for Knight, but he’s still able to get a two-count.

Knight keeps pushing on with a Sky High… but Desperado catches him with Numero Dos. The ropes save Knight, but Guitarra de Angel’s next as Desperado looked comfortable. See-saw pins take us back to Numero Dos… but Knight cradles Despy for a near-fall thanks to an out-of-position ref, only for Pinche Loco to finally land for the win. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: SHO vs. Hiromu Takahashi
EVIL heads to ringside ahead of this one, apparently to join the Japanese commentary team, but there’s no chair for him. Good to see him trying out other wrestling roles. Plan B and all that.

SHO’s out in street clothes (and with Bobo) because the prior night he’d flushed Hiromu Takahashi’s head down a toilet backstage… so he’s looking to claim the forfeit win. The “nichtantritt”, if you go on Cagematch. SHO reads out “a statement from Hiromu,” then threatened the ring announcer to announce the forfeit… before Hiromu finally appeared as SHO was heading to the back.

Hiromu’s had his arms taped up (like a certain YouTuber-come-boxer’s shorts)… the Young Lions free Hiromu, who hits the ring as our match finally gets going. Of course, EVIL can’t help but get involved, as SHO grabbed the ref to try and mask a chairshot. SHO pushes Hiromu into the ref (and a chair) as the double-teaming begins in earnest, featuring chairshots before SHO hit a powerbomb symphony to Hiromu… but it doesn’t get the win as the returning ref counted two.

A Boston crab’s next from SHO, but Hiromu makes it to the ropes to force a break as EVIL grabbed the timekeeper’s bell at ringside. Hiromu’s able to get back in with a Falcon arrow, before he threw SHO onto the apron ahead of a sunset bomb… but EVIL jabs Hiromu in the ribs with a chair as the ref was unsighted.

SHO adds a clothesline and teases a Shock Arrow, but Hiromu ‘rana’s out of it and trapped SHO in the D. EVIL distracts the ref, handing off Bobo to SHO, but Hiromu disarms SHO, then pulled an Eddie Guerrero as he feigned being hit. EVIL’s knocked down with Bobo, before Hiromu pulled an Everything is EVIL… then Time Bomb II… then a regular Time Bomb to spike SHO for the win. The match itself wasn’t too bad, but I’m beyond done with the House of Torture stuff at every tournament. **¾

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. Master Wato
Kanemaru needs a win to retain that share of top spot in the block, but he’s taken outside by Wato early on.

Wato’s not able to capitalise though, as Kanemaru begins to work over the knee as they headed back inside… and it’s not long before Kanemaru trapped Wato in a modified, almost arm-scissored version of the Figure Four. The ropes look to save Wato, but Kanemaru holds on as long as he can before breaking, as Wato was struggling to mount any kind of comeback.

Another Figure Four forced Wato to roll into the ropes for a break, before a slam led to a moonsault that Kanemaru misses. Kanemaru looks to have jarred his knee on the landing, as Wato’s able to come back with a springboard European uppercut, before rolling through for a Recientemente for a near-fall.

Kanemaru goes back to the knee, kicking Wato ahead of a roll-up, only for Wato to return with a roundhouse kick. A lofty German suplex followed… and holy crap that’s the win! I was NOT expecting that to be the finish, particularly since it’s not one of Wato’s usual finishers, but again… you’ve got to be ready for anything to win. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Taiji Ishimori vs. Lio Rush
Barring a weird result or a draw, we’re going to have one man stand alone at the top of block A after this… and given nothing on the undercard touched ten minutes, I’d not be shocked if this one went long.

We’ve a tentative start as Rush and Ishimori’s exchange of chops broke down, with Rush’s enziguiri taking Ishimori outside for a teased dive… which ends with Ishimori popping Rush into the ring post. Ishimori focused on the left arm of Rush from there, leading to a baseball slide German suplex as Ishimori looked comfortable as we crossed the five-minute mark.

A quick switcheroo from Rush sees him take Ishimori outside for a low-pe, beating the 20-count as he stayed on Ishimori back inside with a Falcon arrow, only for Ishimori to take Rush back into the ring post, running him shoulder-first after he’d removed a corner pad. The old-school shoulderbreaker’s next, as was a Mistica and a Bone Lock… pushing Rush back into the middle of the ring as he was almost in the ropes.

Rush tries to cradle out for some pinning attempts, but Ishimori keeps the hold on like a dog with a bone (lock), before Rush finally rolled free into a roll-up. A double clothesline left both men laying, but it’s Rush who pulls ahead with a TKO, before he went up top for the Final Hour. Except Ishimori gets his knees up, and stayed on the chest with a Cipher UTAKI for another near-fall…

A leaping knee from Ishimori cuts off a Rush Hour, ahead of the reverse Bloody Sunday DDT as we’re keeping the near-falls coming thick-and-fast. Rush counters a second Cipher UTAKI into a Sega Mega Driver… before the Rush Hour springboard stunner and Final Hour frog splash finally got the win in a good main event, albeit one I really wish they’d had a reactive crowd for. ***¾

Your standings after four matches…

Block A
Lio Rush (4-0 / 8pts)
Mike Bailey, Taihi Ishimori (3-1 / 6pts)
Hiromu Takahashi Titan, TJP (2-2 / 4pts)
DOUKI, KUSHIDA, SHO (1-3 / 2pts)
Ryusuke Taguchi (0-4 / 0pts)

Block B
Francesco Akira, El Desperado, Robbie Eagles (3-1 / 6pts)
Clark Connors, Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Dan Moloney, Master Wato, YOH (2-2 / 4pts)
Kevin Knight (1-3 / 2pts)
BUSHI (0-4 / 0pts)

Best of the Super Junior returns on Wednesday in Miyagi has El Desperado vs. YOH on top, Thursday in Iwate has Robbie Eagles vs. Master Wato main eventing, while Friday in Aomori is topped by TJP vs. Hiromu Takahashi – I’ll be skipping Wednesday and Thursday, so we’ll see you on Friday!

A solid, but not spectacular night of action in Akita saw the Best of the Super Junior roll on – but this was perhaps a show that you’d be cherry picking from as we were dangerously close to clap crowd territory.