We’re down to the final four matches in block A as the play-off picture began to take shape.
Great O-Khan & TJP pinned Yuto Nakashima & Oskar Leube in 9:57
El Desperado & Ryohei Oiwa submitted Kosei Fujita & Robbie Eagles in 10:50
Francesco Akira & Dan Moloney pinned Gedo & Clark Connors in 8:49
Kevin Knight, Master Wato & YOH pinned TAKA Michinoku, Taichi & Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 9:21
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Ryusuke Taguchi submitted KUSHIDA in 12:07 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: SHO pinned DOUKI in 10:33 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Mike Bailey pinned Lio Rush in 16:43 (****¼)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Titan submitted Hiromu Takahashi in 16:43 (***¾)
It’s the first of two nights back-to-back at the Osaka Prefectural Gym #2 at Edion Arena Osaka – and we’ve got a full undercard that I’m skipping over, other than the results above. We’ve also got an injury withdrawal after Taiji Ishimori was diagnosed with an injury to his cervical vertebra following his match on Sunday. His scheduled match with TJP today is off, with TJP taking the two points.
English commentary comes from Kevin Kelly, initially flying solo before Robbie Eagles flew in for the tournament matches.
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Ryusuke Taguchi vs. KUSHIDA
It’s a basement battle as block A’s more disappointing campaigns come to a head…
KUSHIDA takes Taguchi to ground early on, but we’re quickly at a stand-off before Taguchi took KUSHIDA outside… only for KUSHIDA to walk away from a teased dive. They do laps of the ring as KUSHIDA then failed with a sneak attack… only to get pulled onto the apron as an ankle lock from Taguchi was attempted.
Getting back into the ring sees Taguchi take that kick to the arm as KUSHIDA began to target that body part. A stranglehold’s wiggled out of by Taguchi, who rolled back in with a hip attack, while a low dropkick took KUSHIDA outside for a dive. Taguchi’s springboard hip attack back in’s countered into a cross armbar, before he sat down on a Magistral attempt as dualling clotheslines proceeded to leave both men laying.
Taguchi’s knocked down with a handspring back elbow as we passed the ten-minute mark, before Taguchi escaped a double wrist-lock… then pulled KUSHIDA into a Dodon. It’s good for a two-count, as he then morphed into Oh My & Garankle, while having his tights pulled down into a full moon. Taguchi’s oblivious to the arse… and keeps the hold on as KUSHIDA submits, ensuring Taguchi didn’t end the tournament pointless. ***¼
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: SHO vs. DOUKI
Go on then… what wacky shenanigans will SHO, Bobo and the House of Torture get up to this time?
SHO tries to run to the back and dragged DOUKI out from the back… except that didn’t look like DOUKI. Instead, Ryohei Oiwa’s been dressed and painted up in DOUKI’s mask as SHO rang the bell and pretended to have his match, pulling “DOUKI” into a Snakebite… the real DOUKI runs out, all taped up to break it up, and our match gets going.
A tijeras takes SHO into the corner ahead of a leaping headbutt before Kosei Fujita was used as a human shield by SHO. The ref got in on the action too as SHO tried to avoid a Daybreak DDT, then took things outside the main hall, where DOUKI got thrown in the bin. That led to a count-out tease after DOUKI had been pulled out of the bin, but DOUKI easily makes it back in time as SHO looked to stay on top.
DOUKI’s taken into the corner, but fought back before we got a ref bump… that allows SHO to go for Bobo, but DOUKI’s got an even bigger pipe. Oo-err missus. The duel ends with DOUKI laying into SHO with his pipe, before a double stomp off the top drew a near-fall… with DOUKI rolling SHO into the DOUKI CHOKEY.
EVIL runs out with a towel, which distracts the referee… DOUKI lets go of the hold, allowing SHO to remove a corner pad. SHO runs DOUKI into the corner, but couldn’t get the win from a cross-armed piledriver. EVIL again interferes, but couldn’t prevent a Daybreak DDT to SHO, before Suplex de la Luna lands. Except Yujiro Takahashi ran out and pulls out the ref, allowing EVIL to make the count. So it doesn’t matter. Yujiro’s in to hit a low blow, while Everything is EVIL lands… and that’s all. Your usual House of Torture over-saturation at the end, as my blood runs cold thinking of EVIL & Yujiro as potential tag champions. Go on Gedo, let the world burn. **¾
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Mike Bailey vs. Lio Rush
It’s not quite “winner goes through” as there’s a possibility of us needing a play-off to make the play-offs…
Rush and Bailey rush into a stand-off on the apron, before they gave chase around the ring… we’re back in with Speedball on top, chopping Lio into the corner before a ducked buzzsaw kick led to the scissor kicks instead. A second Buzzsaw kick’s caught and turned almost into a Ki Krusher, taking Speedball outside for a couple of low-pes.
Bailey’s knocked off the apron with a handspring kick, as a third low-pe sent him crashing backwards. Back inside, we’ve a game of cat and mouse as Rush tried to stay out of diving range of Bailey, only to get knocked to the outside for the springboard corkscrew moonsault. Springboard double knees from Bailey bring Rush back into the ring with a bump, before Rush rolled up out of a Flamingo Driver for a near-fall.
A cross armbar from Bailey looks to force a stoppage, but Lio again rolls out, only to get caught with the moonsault double knees. We’re back to the armbar, but this time Rush makes the ropes to force a break, as Bailey retained focus with a series of kicks. More moonsault knees miss as Bailey landed on the mat instead… he ducks a sudden hook kick from Rush, but couldn’t avoid a big lariat.
An exchange of kicks left both men laying, before a spear from Rush cut-off Bailey’s corkscrew kick into the corner. That takes the Canadian outside again, where Rush adds a Spanish fly on the floor, before Bailey took things up top for a Spanish Fly off the top rope. That’s good for a near-fall, as Rush adds a superkick… then a Final Hour frog splash… but Speedball got the boot up and cradles Lio for a near-fall!
Another head kick from Bailey looked to set up for the Ultima Weapon, but to no avail as one final burst saw Lio land the Rush Hour… only to miss a Final Hour frog splash! The corkscrew kick chases Rush into the corner, and from there Lio’s unable to escape a Flamingo Driver as Speedball secured top spot in block A. A fantastic outing, but Bailey’s only made it to the play-offs – he’s got two more matches to win if he’s to win that winged trophy… ****¼
Tetsuya Naito heads out to join the Japanese commentary team ahead of the main event…
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Titan vs. Hiromu Takahashi
It’s effectively winner-goes-through here… and these two are 1-1 in the past in singles matches, although Titan’s win came when Hiromu was a Young Lion in 2013.
An even start breaks down early with the pair trading strikes, only for Titan to pull Hiromu to the outside with bodyscissors as a sunset bomb was being teased. Hiromu recovers to hit a powerbomb onto the side of the ring though, as the reigning junior champion just about took the better of the opening five minutes.
Titan ducks a clothesline as he turned things around, taking Hiromu outside with a dropkick before a tope suicida saw Hiromu crash into the Young Lions. A Trailer Hitch follows back inside, but Hiromu makes it to the ropes to force a break. Titan stays on Hiromu, only to see his swinging DDT get countered into a Falcon arrow… but there be no covers here, nor deals.
Titan’s back to throw Hiromu onto the top rope, before an overhead kick knocked Hiromu to the floor for a tope con giro. A Dynamite Plunger out of nowhere puts Hiromu back in it, before Titan fought out of a Victory Royale and returned with a swinging DDT. El Inmortal looks to follow, but Titan couldn’t quite grab Hiromu’s head, opting for the hair instead before Hiromu got back to the ropes.
Hiromu blocks a springboard from Titan into the “Time Bomb 1.5”, before a Hiromu-chan Bomber looked to set up for Time Bomb 2… but it’s cradled out of. More cradles keep the near-falls coming, before a superkick from Titan and a double stomp off the top crushed Hiromu. Llave En Immortal followed again, this time with a firm grip around Hiromu’s chin… and that’s enough to force the submission! Titan goes through to Friday’s semi-finals, taking on the winner of block B, as Hiromu Takahashi’s dreams of a Best of the Super Junior dynasty fell at the final hurdle. ***¾
So this is how block A ends up – I’m not filtering through for tie-breakers…
Mike Bailey (A1) (7-2 / 14pts)
Titan (A2), Lio Rush, Hiromu Takahashi (6-3 / 12pts)
Taiji Ishimori, TJP (5-4 / 10pts) * Ishimori had to withdraw due to injury
SHO (4-5 / 8pts)
DOUKI (3-6 / 6pts)
KUSHIDA (2-7 / 4pts)
Ryusuke Taguchi (1-8 / 2pts)
El Desperado, Master Wato, YOH (6-2 / 12pts)
Robbie Eagles (5-3 / 10pts)
Francesco Akira, Clark Connors (4-4 / 8pts) * eliminated
Kevin Knight, Dan Moloney (3-5 / 6pts) * eliminated
Yoshinobu Kanemaru (2-6 / 4pts) * eliminated
BUSHI (1-7 / 2pts) * eliminated
Tomorrow is the finale for block B, but the match order there isn’t announced as we have a similar logjam at the top, with El Desperado, Master Wato, YOH and Robbie Eagles all gunning for those two spots.
Looking just at the block matches, block A finished as you’d expect – match-quality wise – but I’d have swapped the top two matches around… all-LIJ finale be damned.