We’re into the final third of the tournament, as TJP and Dan Moloney look to cause upsets in their blocks today.
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Master Wato pinned Clark Connors in 6:10 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: DOUKI pinned Ryusuke Taguchi in 7:46 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Robbie Eagles submitted Kevin Knight in 8:45 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: SHO pinned Titan in 7:38 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Francesco Akira pinned Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 4:09 (**½)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Lio Rush pinned KUSHIDA in 8:38 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: YOH pinned BUSHI in 8:10 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Taiji Ishimori submitted Mike Bailey in 10:27 (****¼)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: El Desperado submitted Dan Moloney in 9:35 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Hiromu Takahashi pinned TJP in 20:46 (****¼)
Deep breath… we’re in Aomori today, at the New Aomori Prefecture Sports Park Maeda Arena Sub Arena. The sign writers are cashing in on that one, lads. Kevin Kelly’s on commentary… with Robbie Eagles joining him later on.
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Clark Connors vs. Master Wato
Wato starts the day with a share of the lead in his block… while Connors’ run has been plagued by unenforced errors.
Connors threw aside Wato early on as chops and uppercuts kept Wato on the back foot… at least until Wato scored with a tijeras and a springboard uppercut. Another ‘rana takes Connors outside for a plancha… but it’s caught on the landing as Wato got introduced to the ring post repeatedly… and the feed dies? Back inside, a powerslam sets up Connors for a spear… but he dawdles again on the No Chaser on the orders of Gedo at ringside. A second spear lands, but a third one sees Clark get tripped into the ropes before the high-angle bridging German suplex got the win. Something tells me Gedo’s lost his touch as a strategist since Jay White left the territory… **¾
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: DOUKI vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Taguchi’s already out – but he’s running out of chances to score points as the last man remaining with the goose egg next to his name.
Taguchi looked to dive early on, but DOUKI avoids a plancha… then scored with a rebound DDT on the floor. A DDT back inside’s good for a two-count, before Taguchi struck back with a cartwheel hip attack. That took DOUKI outside for a springboard body press, but Taguchi’s able to turn it around back inside, setting up for a Bummer-Ye… which misses as DOUKI pulls him into the DOUKI CHOKEY. DOUKI’s forced to let go as Taguchi got to the ropes, before a Daybreak DDT’s sidestepped and countered into Oh My & Garankle… then pulled into a Dodon. Taguchi rolls through the roll-through and goes back to the ankle lock, only for DOUKI to switch back into his DOUKI CHOKEY, pulling Taguchi to the mat… but Taguchi powers up and walked through the hold, going back to the ankle lock.
DOUKI fought free, and nearly wins with the backsliding Widow’s Peak… before FINALLY landing the Suplex de la Luna. Wow, that’s how you know you’re at the bottom of the pile, when DOUKI struggles to hit that all tournament and finally gets it on you! ***
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Robbie Eagles vs. Kevin Knight
Eagles needs a win to keep pace atop the group, but it’s Knight who was the early aggressor, working over the arm.
Knight stays on Eagles with a bodyslam, but he celebrated way too early and got tripped into a Ron Miller Special, thankfully by the ropes as a break was forced. We’re quickly heading outside with a plancha from Knight, but Eagles manages to get back into things, scoring with a dropkick to Knight’s knee… and you can see where he’s going from here. That being said, I sure as heck wasn’t expecting a stump puller… Eagles runs into a dropkick from Knight, who was hobbling as he leapt into the corner, before a tiltawhirl backbreaker earned him a two-count. See-saw pins looked to lead to another Ron Miller Special, as Knight looked to be wise to it… only to get caught with another low dropkick to the knee.
Knight tries one more time with a top rope ‘rana, but Eagles leaps down to avoid it, catching Knight on the mat with the Ron Miller Special for the eventual stoppage – as this loss could well set up a junior tag title defence against Eagles and… who? ***
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: SHO vs. Titan
They’ve been playing the “SHO’s falling out with the House of Torture” card on this tour, but I just don’t buy it… even if this time EVIL’s the one who’s dishing ou the cold shoulder.
SHO attacks Titan before the bell as he dragged him over to EVIL at the time keeper’s table. Except EVIL looked like I do when the House of Torture comes out. Very non-plussed. We get going anyway as SHO’s thrown outside for Titan’s non-dive… before he blocked a tijeras and powerbombed Titan onto the side of the ring. Back inside, SHO goes for Titan’s mask, before he threw Titan outside… and yet again, EVIL won’t get involved. A boot from Titan leads to a swinging DDT before some bodyscissors dragged SHO to the outside for a springboard moonsault… with EVIL once again refusing to take the bullet for SHO.
Titan’s caught with a spear after SHO used the referee as a human shield… and now it’s time for SHO to go for Bobo. EVIL just watches on as Titan ducks the wrench, then rolled SHO into El Inmortal as Titan’s take on a Muta lock finally led to EVIL getting involved, distracting the referee as SHO tapped. Titan takes a swing at EVIL, knocking him down with an overhead kick, before kicks took SHO down ahead of a missed double stomp. SHO eats another swinging DDT seconds later for a near-fall, before EVIL snuck in a chair shot to Titan in the ropes. It’s not caught by the ref, and SHO only gets a two-count from it, before a Shock Arrow got the win. **¾
Post-match, SHO and EVIL put the boots to Titan, then rip off his mask. Ryohei Oiwa makes the save, but has the mask put on him as he’s beaten up, forcing the mask-less Titan to make his own save. EVIL and SHO hug it out, and now I’m entirely justified for feeling more invested in Oskar Leube’s interest in Kevin Kelly’s onion. Not a euphemism.
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Francesco Akira vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
Akira’s got some help with him today, in the form of Great O-Khan, the champion of the British.
Kanemaru jumps Akira before the bell, but a tijeras takes Kanemaru outside… he quickly returns for a low dropkick as Akira took too long on the dive. Back outside, Akira’s thrown knee-first into the ring post, as Kanemaru began to work over the Italian’s leg. Akira manages to get back in it with a double stomp, before a drop down tripped up Kanemaru ahead of a roll-up… we keep going with the see-saw pins, but it’s Akira who manages to win out as Kanemaru’s tournament is threatening to end with a whimper. **½
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Lio Rush vs. KUSHIDA
KUSHIDA’s pretty much eliminated – but a loss to Lio Rush would make that mathematical…
Rush doesn’t want to play into KUSHIDA’s games, ordering him to stand up as KUSHIDA kept going to ground. Eventually, Rush joins him for a sit-down knuckle lock, before he frustrated the junior tag champion, avoiding strikes ahead of a springboard ‘rana. On the apron, KUSHIDA ties up Rush’s arm, but Lio turns it around as he proceeded to attempt a sunset bomb off the apron… only for KUSHIDA to sit down and lock in a cross armbar. Back inside, KUSHIDA stays on the arm, then scored with a hiptoss and a cartwheel dropkick before Rush avoided a kick to the arm… and raced back in to land a low-pe. EXCEPT… KUSHIDA goes back to the arm with a Hoverboard lock attempt on the floor! A double clothesline leaves both men laying as we began a double count-out tease.
Rush is pulled out, allowing KUSHIDA to beat him to the punch, kicking the arm before nailing an overhead kick. KUSHIDA’s take on an Irabu punch is blocked as Lio’s Rush Hour springboard stunner is countered into a cross armbar. Kicks leave both men laying, but Rush is able to capitalise with a Final Hour – first scoring it as a crossbody – before a frog splash version of it got the win. This felt a little scrappy towards the end, but Lio keeps his dreams of making the play-offs alive. ***½
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: BUSHI vs. YOH
YOH’s perhaps got an outside chance of the play-offs – and he started this one brightly, taking BUSHI outside before he faked out a dive.
“Cena” YOH gets spun to the mat courtesy of a low dropkick to the knee, before a chinlock stretched him out. Grounded headscissors end in the ropes, as YOH looked to fight back, scoring with a leaping forearm before a Liger-esque cannonball off the apron met BUSHI on the outside. Back inside, a corkscrew Vader Bomb senton gets a two-count, while another dropkick sets up for the Falcon arrow that picks up a near-fall. Deal, not quite done. BUSHI charges back in with a dropkick by the ropes, following up with a back cracker and an enziguiri, as a swinging neckbreaker picked up a near-fall as Kevin Kelly charted out the remainder of BUSHI’s match.
Skipping ahead to the MX was a bad idea as YOH sidesteps… but BUSHI’s attempt at a BUSHI Roll is blocked before he ran into a superkick. It’s YOH who hits the MX first, before the Direct Drive put away BUSHI – as YOH then went on to celebrate by wearing BUSHI’s overmask… ***
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: Taiji Ishimori vs. Mike Bailey
There’s only been one prior meeting here – in 2017 at Differ Ariake for the Impact X-Division title. A lifetime ago.
Ishimori tripped Bailey as he went for a Bone Lock early, but Speedball’s able to return with some scissor kicks… resuming those as Ishimori spilled outside. The ring post comes to Ishimori’s aid as he threw Bailey into it… then into the crowd as Ishimori proceeded to remove a corner pad. Of course he throws Bailey shoulder-first into it upon returning to the ring, as Ishimori looked to set up for the Bone Lock once more. An overhead armbar weakens Bailey more, but he tries to go for a handspring… only for Ishimori to kick away the arms. Kicks finally create an opening for Bailey, leading to a running shooting star press that jarred Bailey’s arm on the landing. Ishimori exacerbates that with a throw to the exposed corner, then with a shoulderbreaker, before Bailey snuck out a near-fall with some bodyscissors.
Speedball tries an Ultima Weapon, but Ishimori rolls away… the scissor kicks return, ahead of an enziguiri. Bailey blocks a throw into the ring post as he knocked Ishimori back outside for a springboard corkscrew moonsault. Bloody hell Mike, I wasn’t expecting that! He added a missile dropkick to Ishimori back inside, taking him into the corner for a Flamingo Driver… but Ishimori tries to cradle out, only to take the moonsault knees. Those set up for Ultima Weapon… but again Ishimori evades it and applies a Bone Lock on the landing. We keep going as Bailey cradles out, then hits some thrust kicks… only to hit a running kick to the exposed corner. Ishimori tries to capitalise with a reverse Bloody Sunday having picked Bailey out of the corner, before a La Mistica and a Bone Lock drew the submission in a hell of a sprint. We’re back to at-least a three-way tie at the top, and perhaps some questions over Speedball’s remaining matches? ****¼
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block B: Dan Moloney vs. El Desperado
Moloney’s out with a taped-up shoulder ahead of a surprise semi-main event…
Shoulder tackles start us off hot, before Moloney missed a dropkick and had to scurry to the ropes to avoid a Numero Dos attempt. Coming back, Moloney slams and suplexes Desperado, sending him to the outside as the pair exchanged chops around ringside… before Moloney ran Desperado hard into the ring post. We’re back to the chops as a winded Desperado looked to be in trouble, before he managed to dig deep and hit a suplex. A clothesline traps Moloney in the corner, before he’s BOUNCED with a back suplex coming out of it, as Desperado proceeded to lock in the Numero Dos… right by the ropes.
Desperado kicks the knee out as he went for Guitarra de Angel… but Moloney slips out to hit a dropkick instead. A deadlift Fisherman suplex is next for a near-fall, before Desperado tries his luck with El Es Claro. It’s only good for a two-count as we’re back to the strikes, but Moloney’s knee is causing him big trouble as he’s sent into a spinebuster… then the Guitarra de Angel for another near-fall. Moloney throws away a Pinche Loco and hits a double stomp/back senton combo to fire back, while a spear almost got the three-count…
Moloney goes for a Drilla Killa, but Desperado rolls free as he switches into the Numero Dos… trapping a free arm before Moloney was forced to tap out, ending his feint chances of making the top two. ***½
Best of the Super Junior 30, Block A: TJP vs. Hiromu Takahashi
Winner of this joins a four-way tie at the top as we hit the home stretch…
A tentative start sees both sides swing and miss early on, as the pair began to work on each other’s wrists. TJP spins out though, taking Hiromu down to the mat with headscissors, before the pair ended up upside down and slapping each other ahead of a stand-off.
The pair engaged in a game of chicken as they sat, then laid down, before Hiromu burst into life… and got caught with a manjigatame in the ropes. Back inside, TJP levers away on Hiromu’s arm, before Hiromu managed to clip TJP’s taped-up shoulder with a dropkick… except it’s not bad, and TJP suckers Hiromu with a cradle for a near-fall. A hattrick of half-hatch suplexes get TJP a near-fall, before a Hiromu tijeras took TJP into the corner for a clothesline and a low dropkick. TJP rolls outside, but into the path of a shotgun dropkick off the apron, while Hiromu almost does the deal back inside with a Falcon arrow. We cross the ten minute mark with TJP having hit a rear spin kick to Hiromu, while a springboard forearm took Hiromu into the corner for some face-washing boots.
TJP misses a Mamba splash, but got back in it with a Busaiku knee after the pair had traded shotgun dropkicks… only for Hiromu to return by pulling TJP into the D. That ends quickly in the ropes though, as TJP then tried his luck with a cradle… only for Hiromu to kick out and land a clothesline in response. Hiromu teases a suplex from the ring to the floor, but TJP pushes free and instead hit a Mamba splash as Hiromu was hung across the top rope. TJP adds in a Fireball – Akira’s running knees – for a near-fall, before another Mamba splash sees TJP land back in the D. TJP escapes and applies a Pinoy Stretch instead, as the crowd roared behind Hiromu during his crawl into the ropes.
Pushing ahead, TJP ends up getting caught with a Dynamite Plunger as Hiromu rolled through his list of moves. We’re past the 20-minute mark, which prompts TJP to go for a triangle armbar… Hiromu powerbombs free, then charged back with the Hiromu-chan Bomber as a Time Bomb proceeded to put TJP away. A cracker of a main event, with TJP coming super close to the win… but it’s Hiromu who eked out the decision in the end. ****¼
Everyone’s down to their final two matches, which’ll be split across Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday’s shows, before Friday’s semi-finals and next Sunday’s final. Your standings, then…
Mike Bailey, Taiji Ishimori, Lio Rush, Hiromu Takahashi (5-2 / 10pts)
Titan, TJP (4-3 / 8pts)
DOUKI, SHO (3-4 / 6pts)
KUSHIDA (1-6 / 2pts) * eliminated
Ryusuke Taguchi (0-7 / 0pts) * eliminated
El Desperado, Robbie Eagles, Master Wato, YOH (5-2 / 10pts)
Francesco Akira (4-3 / 8pts)
Clark Connors, Kevin Knight (3-4 / 6pts)
Yoshinobu Kanemaru, Dan Moloney (2-5 / 4pts) * eliminated
BUSHI (1-6 / 2pts) * eliminated
We’ve a day off, yay! Sunday sees the tour return to Korakuen Hall for a ten match card – but only five of those are block matches, with El Desperado and Francesco Akira main eventing.
This was another solid night on the tour – but we’re clearly at the point where the crunched up schedule is leaving its mark, as a lot of the roster are taped up… I’d not be surprised if we get forfeitures teased at this stage in the game, but for those left, things are shaping up for a hell of a run-in.