We’re going back to the B-block for the second round of Best of Super Junior matches, as New Japan entered the Yonezawa Municipal Gymnasium.
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 B: Volador Jr  vs. Tiger Mask 
Just like Monday, we opened up the tournament matches with a battle of guys looking for their first win – opening with Volador Jr (and his tighty-whiteys) against Tiger Mask.
Tiger flips out of the opening lock-up and takes down Volador with an armdrag, with the luchador returning the favour from a waistlock. Volador then takes a monkey flip, but lands on his feet, before Tiger drops him with a tiltawhirl backbreaker, and goes to work with some legscissors.
After sending Volador to the mat with some kicks, Tiger sees a whip into the corner reversed, where Volador follows up with an enziguiri in the corner, a dropkick, and then a somersault plancha that sees him disappear out of frame from the fixed camera, and into the front row of fans.
Volador returns to the ring and takes off his mask, before going back outside with an Asai moonsault to Tiger Mask, with Tiger only just making it back to the ring at the count of 17. Tiger tried for a roll-up off the ropes, but Volador blocked it into a Crossface, forcing Tiger to make the ropes again.
Volador goes for a moonsault, but lands on his feet as Tiger rolled out of the way, before being dropped with a powerbomb. Tiger Mask then went for a Tiger Bomb, scoring a near-fall in the process, before going for a Rings of Saturn like move on Volador, which the luchador broke via the ropes.
Tiger Mask missed a kick, then took a superkick from Volador, who then bent over Tiger Mask and held him in a double-arm lock with a knee to the back of the head for good measure, forcing the win via submission. Good back-and-forth match here, with my only criticism being the fixed camera… ***¼
Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block B: Chase Owens  vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger 
Or “Beast Thunder Liger” as Google Translate tells me… Chase Owens came into this with a win over Will Ospreay last time out, and he’s gunning for a second upset, with Yujiro Takahashi accompanying him to the ring today.
They trade hammerlocks in the early going, before Owens tries a wristlock, only for Liger to reverse out and tie him up in a seated surfboard stretch. More back and forth ended with Owens being back body dropped to the outside, where Liger’s attempt at a move off the apron ended with Owens pulling one of the yellow-shirted Young Lions in front of him, then drops him with a superkick.
Chase returns to the ring after superkicking another Young Lion, and despite the restraining from Takahashi, Liger just about makes it in at the count of 19. Takahashi gets involved, choking Liger with a boot on the apron as Owens has the referee distracted, before Owens dropped Liger with a fireman’s carry into a double-knee gutbuster for a near-fall.
Owens misses a moonsault, before a superkick is blocked and returned with a rolling heel kick by Liger, and then a running shotei into the corner. A super hurricanrana gets Liger another near-fall, but Takahashi leaps onto the apron for a distraction, allowing Owens to hit a neckbreaker for another two-count. Another distraction allows Owens to mule kick Liger, but Liger wriggles out of a package piledriver, and hits a crucifix roll-up to get the pin.
Decent match, although I wasn’t crazy about the involvement of Takahashi in the match – nor his post-match beatdown, where Liger ended up taking the package piledriver and was actually stretchered out of the ring afterwards. Liger did pick up a neck injury on the ROH tour earlier this month, and going by the results of the Hiroshi Tanahashi beatdown on Saturday’s show, this could mean a few forfeits in block B… **¾
Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block B: Ricochet  vs. Bobby Fish 
Fish started off with a wristhold, but Ricochet easily flipped out to counter it, before Fish rolled out to the floor. Ricochet went to the apron and hopped over some attempts at a leg sweep by Fish on the floor, before going up for a moonsault.
Back inside, Ricochet dazes Fish with chops and a forearm, but gets kicked in the midsection as he tried for the kip-up headscissors. Fish took over with punches to the midsection, before Ricochet switched a suplex into a mounted sleeperhold… that saw him rammed into the turnbuckles. Ricochet did get back up to drill Fish with a jumping DDT, then followed up with a 619 in the corner and a flying cross body for a near-fall.
Ricochet avoided a tiltawhirl slam and dropped Fish with a Russian legsweep, before locking him in a seated Octopus hold – the same move he beat Tiger Mask with in this first tournament match – forcing Fish into the ropes for the break. From the outside, Fish catches Ricochet in a sleeperhold, and drills him with forearms from the floor, before tackling Ricochet into the turnbuckles.
Fish hits an Exploder on Ricochet into the turnbuckles, getting a near-fall from that, but found an attempt at a normal suplex blocked as Ricochet connected with a head kick, before being caught on the top rope as he went for a high risk move. Fish met Ricochet up top after crotching him, but was knocked down from a superplex attempt, as Ricochet landed on his feet from a shooting star press. A Northern Lights suplex, then two rolling suplexes got him a two-count, before transitioning back to the seated Octopus hold with Fish again making the ropes.
The two traded forearms and kicks as they went into the home straight, with Fish drilling Ricochet with a knee, then a Falcon Arrow for a near-fall, before going straight into a heel hook as Ricochet made the ropes. Fish tried to go for the heel hook again, but Ricochet kicked his way free, only to be taken down by a Dragon Screw, before countering another heel hook into a pinning combination, as Ricochet got a two count.
A kick to the face, then a jumping knee set up Ricochet to deliver the Benadryller (fireman’s carry into a roundhouse kick) on Fish to score his second win of the tournament. This was a really good match, and at under 15 minutes long, is one you must go out of your way to see ****
Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block B: Will Ospreay  vs. Beretta 
Or Ospreay vs. Valletta, if you believe Google Translate. Will Ospreay. Will doesn’t stand a chance against the capital of Malta (yes, I’m going to keep making this joke)… Ospreay got a good reaction from the Yonezawa crowd.
The two CHAOS members started off with Beretta taking Ospreay into the corner with a collar-and-elbow tie-up, before Beretta caught the Englishman in a wristlock, just yanked him to the mat after the see-saw kip-ups. They patronised each other with pats on the head after exchanges, before Ospreay skinned the cat to get back in the ring after Beretta tossed him out. Ospreay then saw an attempt at a handspring press to the floor caught as Beretta made it back inside the ring and dropped him with a back suplex.
Beretta stayed on top of Ospreay, whipping him hard into the buckles, then grounding him with a rear chin-lock. Ospreay’s effort at a springboard DDT from the outside-in was blocked and turned into a Northern Lights suplex for a near fall by Beretta, whose tornado DDT follow-up had little effect on Ospreay, who returned fire with a handspring into a kick.
A Phenomenal Forearm sent Beretta to the outside, as Ospreay finally connected with a handspring into a back flip from the inside out, before hitting a Code Red on the way back in to get Ospreay a near-fall. Beretta got back on top when he shoved Ospreay to the mat with his feet, as the two rolled onto the apron and exchanged forearms and chops. That quickly went badly for Ospreay, who took a release belly-to-back suplex onto the apron, with Beretta going back into the ring in search of the count-out win.
Ospreay just beat the 20 count in, as Beretta jumped on him for a near-fall upon re-entry. Beretta went for a superplex, only for Ospreay to work himself free, hit the superkick in the corner, then a reverse ‘rana and a corkscrew kick for a near-fall. Will set up Beretta for a moonsault, but found himself crotched when Beretta popped up, with Beretta’s back superplex aborted and turned into a release German superplex.
Beretta grabbed a near-fall from a Shining Wizard after the German superplex, but nearly got shocked by a backslide, only to drop Ospreay with the back-to-belly piledriver and pick up the win. Another really good match, as Will Ospreay finds himself in the same situation as another pre-tournament favourite in KUSHIDA, in being 0-2. ***¾
In my mind, round two from block B usurped the second round of block A matches, with Fish/Ricochet and Ospreay/Beretta well worth going out of your way to see. Already we’re getting
So, after two rounds, we’ve got a three-way tie in block B: Beretta, Jushin “Thunder” Liger and Ricochet all have four points; Chase Owens and Volador Jr. have two, and Bobby Fish, Tiger Mask and – surprisingly – Will Ospreay remain in search of their first wins. Block A has the trio of Kyle O’Reilly, Rocky Romero and Ryusuke Taguchi on four points, Gedo and Matt Sydal on two points, and BUSHI, David Finlay and KUSHIDA with zero.
We’ve already got some interesting stories developing here – will Jushin “Thunder” Liger be forced to forfeit his remaining matches? Will KUSHIDA and/or Will Ospreay be able to climb back from two defeats in their opening two matches? Will a Japanese star win the Best of Super Junior tournament this year, or will it be a gaijin? There’s a lot more action to come, and plenty more stories left to be told, I’m sure!
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…