Wednesday saw the third round of Block A matches from the 23rd Best of Super Junior Tournament, with the Ichinoseki City Gymnasium playing host to the fifth day of the tour.

As with all of the minor shows here, only the tournament matches were posted on New Japan World – and if you’re still confused to the numbers, remember, a win gets you two points, and a draw just the one point.

Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block A: Gedo [2] vs. Matt Sydal [2]
A match-up between two guys with 1-1 records here, and Gedo started by attacking Sydal during the ring announcements, before taking him out to the floor, where he was thrown into the crowd. In the first spot of the match. Good luck going up from there!

Gedo throws Sydal into the chairs some more, then into the ringpost, before Gedo slides in and out of the ring to break the count, as Sydal eventually made it into the ring… and walked straight into an eye rake. More heel moves from Gedo, until Sydal countered with a leg lariat, before chopping away at Gedo’s legs with kicks. Sydal turned a tiltawhirl slam effort from Gedo into his legdrop-assisted reverse DDT, then a standing moonsault for a near-fall.

Gedo crotched Sydal on the top rope as he went for a shooting star press, and dropped Sydal with a DDT whilst draping him off the top rope for a near fall. A jawbreaker and a kick to the head scored Gedo another two-count, before Sydal escaped a camel clutch and nailed a lariat to get him a two-count.

Sydal scored the win with a leap-up hurricanrana whilst Gedo was sat on the top rope, before nailng the shooting star press for the three-count. A simple match, but I really could have done without the opening minutes being outside the ring. **¼

Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block A: BUSHI [0] vs. Kyle O’Reilly [4]
BUSHI came into this still looking for his first win of the tournament, and you’d have to think that a third loss would make it tough for him to come back. The match started with BUSHI standing on the turnbuckles, killing time like he did in his previous match, but that didn’t work well as he was immediately taken down by O’Reilly in the ropes… which we didn’t see much of until BUSHI dropped him with a hotshot in the middle rope. Thanks, fixed camera guy!

BUSHI went for a chair (but again, we missed this), before taking O’Reilly back into the ring where he was choked with a t-shirt, and following up with a Dragon Sleeper-like choke in the ropes. A neckbreaker scored BUSHI a near-fall, before O’Reilly fired back with knees and kicks to send BUSHI to the mat, following up with two butterfly suplexes and a butterfly-facebuster for a two-count of his own.

O’Reilly gets low bridged to the outside, where BUSHI nails him with a tope, as O’Reilly took his time to return to the ring, only to be met with a dropkick after being draped across the top rope. The pair revert to trading forearms, before a knee from O’Reilly decks BUSHI, following up with a bridging Regal-plex for a near-fall. BUSHI gets caught in a Triangle-like choke, but rolls through for a near-fall as he tried to surprise O’Reilly.

O’Reilly took down BUSHI for an armbar, forcing his masked opponent into the ropes, before going back to work with some kicks. We see a ref bump as BUSHI shoved O’Reilly into the official, but O’Reilly ducked as BUSHI sprayed the evil mist, before landing a brainbuster for a near-fall, then scoring the submission win with another armbar. Another good match from these two guys, although the finish did seem rushed – but this was worth going out of your way to see. ***½

Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block A: David Finlay [0] vs. KUSHIDA [0]
File this one under “if KUSHIDA loses, he may as well vacate the belt” – this is possibly the biggest mis-match of the tournament, with the only surprise being that KUSHIDA was coming into this on the back of two losses.

KUSHIDA grounds Finlay early on, before they trade reversals, and KUSHIDA scoring a one-count from a pinning attempt. KUSHIDA went to work on Finlay’s arm, hoping to block the uppercut, before dropkicking him out of the ring, and meeting him on the floor with a plancha. Back inside, KUSHIDA kept Finlay grounded with chops, before working an armwringer that got turned into an armbar, following up with a hiptoss and an attempt at the Hoverboard lock that Finlay tried desparately to block.

Finlay fired back with right hands, but was chopped down by a single KUSHIDA kick, before catching a handspring attempt with a waistlock, nailing the champion with a German suplex. More forearms from Finlay, who lands a backbreaker for a near-fall, before KUSHIDA elbows out of a Finlay roll attempt. A Pele kick downs Finlay, but his attempt to come off the middle rope with a clothesline sees him land in an armbar, and eventually roll to the ropes for the break.

KUSHIDA follows up with an armbreaker and a kick to Finlay’s left arm once more, but he sees his attempt at a hurricanrana blocked and turned into a Stretch Muffler. Is Finlay finally escaping the Young Lions’ curse of only being allowed to use one submission move?!

KUSHIDA makes the ropes to break the hold, and nearly gets surprised by a couple of roll-ups from Finlay, but ends up ending a sequence of leapfrogs into a Hoverboard lock, before rolling Finlay into the centre of the ring where he was left with no option but to tap. A fun match, and again, Finlay’s getting more credibility in defeat as he’s being more than just a squash guy here. KUSHIDA snaps his losing streak, whilst Finlay stays at the bottom of the table. ***½

Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block A: Rocky Romero [4] vs. Ryusuke Taguchi [4]
We end day five’s matches with someone about to lose their 100% streak, with Romero and Taguchi both coming into this with 2-0 records (and thus, four points). This time, Taguchi’s wackiness is limited to… just a white t-shirt and a Roppongi Vice-baiting eyepatch. Such a let-down after his inflatable Big Bird in the first match.

Simple stuff early on, as they trade wristlocks, before Taguchi gets a rope break. Taguchi lands a hip attack on Romero, followed by two more in the corner, until a third corner hip attack is met by a clothesline from Romero, who takes the fight into the crowd.

Taguchi gets thrown into some seats, before a chop sends him into one, where Romero runs up for a dropkick (or something similar), only for Taguchi to pop out of the seat and meet him with… yes, another hip attack. So far, Taguchi’s coming across like that guy we all know who plays wrestling video games, but knows only how to do one move.

They both make it back into the ring at 19 after Romero tried to hold Taguchi outside, where the strikes continue, with Taguchi rolling through a sunset flip attempt and connecting with a low dropkick. More hip attacks follow as Romero is stunned against the ropes, finishing off with a baseball slide to the outside, and a leaping hip attack from the floor to the apron. Seriously, enough of that move already!

Romero kicks out at two after all those butt blasts, before Taguchi remembered how to do another move, landing three rolling suplexes, getting a near-fall in the process. Romero then slapped Taguchi in the corner, and then set him up for his Shinsuke knees to the midsection, hitting three of them in a row, before draping Taguchi on the top rope and landing a springboard dropkick for good measure, and a near-fall.

Taguchi downs Romero with a Dragon Screw after catching a kick, but Romero’s successful with a reversed enziguiri at the second attempt, before landing a jumping knee as Taguchi came off the top rope. Some reversals follow as Taguchi blocks a Shiranui, before Romero counters yet-another-damned hip attack with an atomic drop.

Taguchi nearly gets pinned after Romero rolled through an ankle lock, before Taguchi took an uppercut, then countering with a release belly-to-back suplex on Romero. A shining hip-attack (sigh) gets another near-fall, before Romero countered the Dodon (chicken-wing facebuster) into a roll-up for a two-count. Another hip-attack was changed in mid-air as Taguchi switched into an ankle lock, before scissoring the leg to force a tap-out. Another pretty good match, but I’m hardly a fan of Taguchi at the best of times – and whatever goodwill I got from his match with Sydal went right out of the window with his hip attack spammings here. ***

After another good day’s worth of action, New Japan have completed three rounds in block A. Both Kyle O’Reilly and Ryusuke Taguchi lead the way on six points, with Rocky Romero and Matt Sydal on four. KUSHIDA’s win takes him onto the scoreboard with Gedo on two points, as BUSHI and David Finlay prop up the table with zero points. Block B, after Tuesday’s events (and 2 matches each), remains Beretta, Jushin “Thunder” Liger and Ricochet on four points; Chase Owens and Volador Jr. have two, and Bobby Fish, Tiger Mask and Will Ospreay have zero.

With New Japan World only showing selected cards from the Best of Super Junior tournament in full, we’ll be mirroring them – providing coverage of those shows (when they air) and tournament matches (when they aren’t live) shortly after they’re available…