It’s time… it’s time… it’s block B time, and we’re going to be looking at matches from Nagoya on Thursday, where things looked to tighten up in the Best of Super Junior tournament.
We’ll be saving any in-depth analysis of the blocks until the review of Friday’s live show from Korakuen Hall. Going in to the show on Thursday, block B had Ricochet ahead on 6 points, Will Ospreay at the bottom with 2 points, and everyone else having 4.
Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block B: Chase Owens  vs. Volador Jr 
Simple stuff to open with, with headlocks, shoot offs and shoulder tackles, as Volador for some reason today looks like a mixture of Kalisto and the Killer Bees. Volador ducks a head kick after he went for a handspring, before sending Owens to the outside where he connected with a tope.
Volador returned to the ring and met Owens with a cross-body off the top for a two count, but Owens countered by shoving the luchador into the turnbuckles, before hitting a backbreaker for a near-fall. Owens takes the action to the floor, as he tries to suplex Volador on the unprotected floor, but that comes to nought, before Owens hits a Fireman’s carry flapjack on the apron, getting a near-fall from it.
Owens unmasks Volador and puts the mask on himself for cheap heat, before choking Volador with a boot for good measure. Another backbreaker gets Owens another two-count, before declaring that “I can fly”… and missing a moonsault. Just for kicks. Volador impressively kicks off his own mask from Owens, getting a count of two from a superkick, before evading a kick from Owens and countering with a backcracker for a near-fall.
Yet another Owens backbreaker followed, before Volador fought out of a package piledriver attempt. Volador slips as he goes for a split legged moonsault out of the corner, and Owens rolls him up for a near-fall, then turns a hurricanrana attempt into a gutbuster. Owens takes Volador to the top and hits the Diamond Dust for a two-count, but the end comes when he’s caught on the top rope, and Volador takes him down with a super hurricanrana to score the win.
Good match with these two, save for the slip on the moonsault – proving that without the Bullet Club fluff, Owens can have a good match in these situations! ***¼
Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block B: Tiger Mask  vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger 
The Beast God is back! After a tentative handshake, they start, with a Tiger Mask dropkick sending Liger to the outside, following up with a tope in a frenetic start. Liger makes it back inside, and takes a Tiger Driver for a near-fall, then a couple of kicks, before Liger catches Tiger Mask in an abdominal stretch, and rolls through for the flash pin! That barely went a minute, so this rating may seem harsh, but what else can I give a blink-and-miss-it match?! *
Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block B: Will Ospreay  vs. Bobby Fish 
Oh God, it’s that hideous music. Please, Will, get someone in the New Japan office to change it! Will needs a win here to stay alive, as a loss will almost surely eliminate him from this block, and he’s in his pink Kris Travis-tribute gear here.
Ospreay starts by repeatedly transitioning between hammerlocks to confuse Fish, who responds with an armwringer, before Ospreay turned it up a notch with dropkicks and headscissors, sending Fish to the mat. Will took a page out of the Marty Scurll playbook with an Octopus hold with some finger manipulation thrown in, but Fish was able to power his way towards the ropes for a break.
Fish shoots Ospreay into the ropes, and Will’s attempt at another Octopus hold was thwarted with a death valley driver. Fish went to the floor for cover from kicks from a grounded Ospreay, but of course, that wasn’t any safer as he was met with a tope, before Fish dropped Ospreay with a tiltawhirl backbreaker inside.
They went outside and we just about saw an exploder from Fish as the fixed camera angle’s weaknesses became evident. More chops and kicks to the chest from Fish followed, as Fish punished Ospreay with snap suplexes. Will downs Fish with a handspring kick off the ropes, before a standing corkscrew splash got him a two-count. Ospreay followed that up with a moonsault press to the outside as the match went to the floor once more, but he found himself caught on the top rope, as Fish crotched him with a kick, but Ospreay sunset flipped down and went for a superkick to the head, only for Fish to move away and sweep the leg. Will followed up with a shooting star press off the apron to the floor after Fish went outside, leading to the two of them doing the usual count-out tease.
Fish got knocked to the floor after trading shots on the apron, but he charged back in at Ospreay, driving him into the turnbuckles and then throwing him with an Exploder into the corner for a near-fall. Ospreay hung onto the ropes to avoid a heel hook, which gave him an opening to take down Fish with an enziguiri, before going for a Rainmaker and missing, instead getting peppered with shots and a suplex… which Ospreay switched in mid air into an Ace Crusher.
Fish went for the heel hook and lost it pretty quickly, before taking down Ospreay with kicks and a Falcon arrow for a near-fall. Ospreay caught Fish up top and nailed a superkick to the head, then rolled him up for a two-count, before leaping out of a Dragon Screw attempt and landing a corkscrew kick, then a springboard ace crusher for the win! Will Ospreay stays alive after another solid showing – even if they did venture to the floor a little too often for my liking. ***¾
Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block B: Beretta  vs. Ricochet 
We wrap up Thursday’s action with Ricochet looking to reclaim the top spot that he’s now sharing with Volador and Jushin “Thunder” Liger after their wins earlier in the day. A win for Beretta means that he’d join Ricochet & co on six points as part of a congested lead.
They start by going to the corner with a collar-and-elbow tie-up, with Ricochet breaking cleanly, before a spot of chain wrestling leads to Ricochet scoring a near-fall. Beretta rolls to the outside to regain composure, and for once this doesn’t lead to a dive spot!
A stiff chop from Beretta downs Ricochet, and after faking out a dive, Ricochet found himself on the receiving end of some mounted punches, before rolling to the outside as Beretta faked out a dive too. Ricochet was kept grounded with a rear chin-lock, before Beretta powered him into the air with a back body drop for an eventual two-count.
Ricochet fired back with a roll through into a DDT, before landing a cross body off the top rope for a two-count of his own. Beretta went for a tornado DDT but was unable to nail the landing, with Ricochet instead hitting a Northern Lights suplex and a standard suplex for a two-count, but completely missed a shooting star press, as Beretta came back with a diving double knee.
Ricochet scored a two count from a backslide, but hung on through a roll-up, and finishing with a facsimile of a crucifix bomb from the backslide. They traded kicks and knees, with Ricochet scoring a two-count from a reverse Bloody Sunday, before getting crotched on the top rope. Beretta failed at a back superplex attempt, before RIcochet flipped out of a German superplex attempt, with Beretta forcing a near-fall after a package tombstone piledriver.
Rolling to the apron wasn’t the best idea for Ricochet, as Beretta landed a half-nelson suplex onto the apron, before imploring the referee to start the count, and Ricochet just made it back in at the count of 19… only to take a diving knee for a near-fall, with Ricochet scoring the win with a roll-up in response to that. A good final sequence, especially the count-out tease, but this match felt like it was missing something. ***½
With five matches gone, Block B now looks like this, with no clear winner or eliminations yet!:
Ricochet (4 wins, 8 points)
Jushin “Thunder” Liger, Volador Jr. (3 wins, 6 points)
Beretta (eliminated), Bobby Fish (eliminated), Chase Owens, Tiger Mask (eliminated), Will Ospreay (2 wins, 4 points)
Due to their losses to Ricochet, Bobby Fish, Tiger Mask and Beretta are all unable to make the finals.
Block B is back on Sunday, in Takasaki, with Beretta vs. Tiger Mask, Jushin “Thunder” Liger vs. Will Ospreay, Bobby Fish vs. Chase Owens and Ricochet vs. Volador Jr. Block B ends with Monday’s finale in Sendai, with the card featuring Volador Jr. vs. Will Ospreay, Chase Owens vs. Ricochet, Bobby Fish vs. Tiger Mask and Beretta vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger.
I’ll call it now – Ricochet and Ospreay will finish on 4 wins/8 points, with Will Ospreay heading into the final from block B, with his win over Ricochet a week ago being the tie-breaker…
After five matches, Block A looks like this:
Matt Sydal, Ryusuke Taguchi (4 wins, 8 points)
KUSHIDA, Kyle O’Reilly (3 wins, 6 points)
BUSHI (eliminated), Rocky Romero (2 wins, 4 points)
David Finlay (eliminated), Gedo (eliminated) (1 win, 2 points)
The remaining block A matches are on Friday and Monday, with Friday’s Korakuen Hall show seeing Gedo vs. Rocky Romero, Kyle O’Reilly vs. David Finlay, BUSHI vs. Ryusuke Taguchi and KUSHIDA vs. Matt Sydal. Monday’s finale in Sendai features David Finlay vs, Matt Sydal, Kyle O’Reilly vs. Rocky Romero, Gedo vs. Ryusuke Taguchi and BUSHI vs. KUSHIDA.
If you’re looking to join up to New Japan World for the remainder of the tournament, here’s your schedule for the remaining dates:
Block B – Sunday June 5 – New Sunpia Takasaki, Gunma @ 1600 JST, 0800 BST; 0300 EST; 0000 PST
Both Blocks – Monday June 6 – Sendai Sun Plaza, Sendai @ 1830 JST; 1030 BST; 0530 EST; 0230 PST
Tournament Final – Tuesday June 7 – Sendai Sun Plaza, Sendai @ 1830 JST; 1030 BST; 0530 EST; 0230 PST
We’ll have reviews of all of the live shows as soon as we can – schedules permitting!