The 23rd Best of Super Junior tournament rolled on this past Sunday and Monday, with further matches from the round-robin portion of the tournament. Fortunately, New Japan World’s only added those matches to the service, so there’s no need to pick and choose!
Annoyingly, instead of adding the tournament matches as one big video, these matches have been added as individual clips – so be prepared for a lot of clicking through, if you’re following along! Starting off on Sunday at the colourful Kiramesse in Numazu, we had the opening night in block B, with the tournament matches stuck firmly in the middle of the card.
Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block B: Ricochet  vs. Tiger Mask 
Well, the Kiramesse Numazu looks very funky, with a weird white and light green mosaic backdrop to the building. Nice and bright and colourful – the exact opposite of the dark arenas we’re used to for wrestling. Unfortunately, we’re getting the fixed camera/zoom treatment here, so I’ve a bad feeling about this match, and all of the high flying stuff from this show, in honesty.
Simple stuff to start us with, was Ricochet worked an armwringer and a hammerlock, which Tiger Mask freed himself with via a kick to the side, before returning the favour with a headlock. The zoomed in camera just about caught Ricochet faking out a dive with a moonsault into the ring,
After returning, Tiger Mask took down Ricochet with a tiltawhirl backbreaker, before working over a grounded Ricochet in the corner. Ricochet caught a leapfrog attempt from Tiger Mask and turned it into a backbreaker of his own, before sending Tiger Mask into the middle turnbuckle via a drop toe hold. A standing shooting star press got Ricochet a near-fall, before a brief flurry of offence from Tiger Mask saw Ricochet flip out of a German suplex and take a kick to the head for a near-fall. Ricochet quickly recovered though, but missed a cross body that Tiger Masked turned into the Rings of Saturn.
Ricochet got back into it again though, setting up Tiger Mask for a corkscrew moonsault, but Tiger rolled out of the way, and returned fire with another head kick then a superplex (I think, they were just off screen for the move!). A Tiger Driver followed for a near-fall, but Ricochet came back with a spinning cutter for a near-fall, before a nailing a reverse slingblade and locking Tiger Mask in a grounded Octopus hold for the win via submission. That was not the way I was expecting Ricochet to win, but I’ll take it – a good, basic match **¾
Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block B: Bobby Fish  vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger 
The zoomed-out camera means we don’t see much of Fish’s entrance, but we did see the pair swapping hammerlocks as an opener, before Fish grounded Liger with a headlock.Liger eventually goes into the ropes and takes a kick from Fish, but manages to ground him with a hiptoss at the second attempt.
Fish gets Liger in a Figure Four early on, but Liger rolls through to the ropes to free himself, as Fish summons the ref to start counting Liger out of the ring. Of course, Liger made it back in, and caught Fish in a surfboard stretch, before grounding the ROH TV champion with a hammerlock. A diving double-knee drop off the top rope kept Fish down, but a second attempt misses as Fish rolled away, giving him an opening to work on Liger’s left leg with leg whips and a Dragon screw.
Fish’s comeback ended when he took a tiltawhirl backbreaker from the veteran, before kicking out of a Ligerbomb at two. Liger whiffed on a hurricanrana off the top rope, as Fish held on, before Fish connected with a missile dropkick and a back elbow off the ropes. A T-bone suplex got Fish a near-fall, before catching Liger in a heel hook. Liger made the ropes, but Fish went for the heel hook again, only for Liger to roll through for the pin and score what has to be an upset. Good match, with a good story to it ***
Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block B: Beretta  vs. Volador Jr. 
Or “Volador Jr vs. Valletta”, as Google Translate tells me. That’d be interesting, Volador Jr. vs the capital of Malta…
Beretta tried to keep Volador grounded early on, but took an early powder and headed up the aisle, before returning to lose a battle of armwringers, with Volador grounding him. Somehow Volador ended up outside, but on the other side of the hard camera, but we did see Beretta hit a double stomp off the apron to the luchador’s back.
They brawl in the crowd, which we manage to see when the fixed camera tilts around, but Beretta returns to the crowd to try and take the count-out. Volador makes it in at the count of 19, and goes straight into some ground and pound from Beretta, who then misses a dropkick, as he’s propelled into the turnbuckles.
Volador whips off his black trousers and busts out some lucha flips, taking down Beretta in a headscissors, before meeting him outside with a somersault plancha. They both return to the ring at the count of 18, where Volador whips off his mask now… and he hasn’t got much left to remove. Uh oh.
Volador nails Beretta with a back cracker for a two-count, but gets nothing but boots with a top rope moonsault, as Beretta connects with a flying dropkick for a near-fall of his own. Beretta follows up with chops to Volador on the apron, but Volador leaps over a baseball slide and crashes down to Beretta with an Asai moonsault for another count-out tease.
Back inside again, Beretta drops Volador with an enziguiri, before dropkicking him low, only for Volador to get a near-fall from a La Magistral cradle. However, a lariat off the ropes decked Volador, who replied by catching Beretta up top with a super hurricanrana, but that only got him a two-count. The end came out of nowhere when Beretta caught an oncoming Volador with a backdrop, before holding on and nailing the Dudebuster (belly-to-back piledriver) for the win. Good match, but I could have done without at least one of those count-out teases! **¾
Best of Super Junior Tournament, Block B: Chase Owens  vs. Will Ospreay 
As much as I don’t like the Young Bucks, Nick Jackson vs. Will Ospreay was a much more attractive prospect on paper…
Ospreay goes all white meat babyface before the bell (“how you all doin? We all going to have some fun tonight? WHOO!”), as Owens goes all generic heel and demands silence from the crowd. Ospreay gets caught in a wristlock and does the see-saw kips ups to free himself and ultimately reverse the hold. They remain grounded, going for headlock takedowns and headscissors, before Owens scurries to the corner to avoid a head kick from Ospreay, who then goes for an Octopus hold, which Owens makes an early rope break for.
Ospreay sends Owens into the corner and rapidly follows up with a forearm, before going to the outside, where he’s met by a dropkick through the ropes by the Bullet Club member. Owens teases whipping Ospreay into the fans, but instead throws him back inside, where he drops him with a backbreaker for a count of one.
Owens drops Ospreay with a slingshot off the apron into a codebreaker for a near-fall, but Ospreay gets a foot back into the match courtesy of a jawbreaker, before decking Owens with a handspring off the ropes into a head kick, and following up with AJ Style’s Phenomenal Forearm for a near-fall. Owens then got taken out with a handspring into a twisting press on the floor, then a corkscrew moonsault in the ring for a two-count. Owens ducked an attempt at a Rainmaker, and rolled up Ospreay for a near-fall, before drilling him with a backbreaker for another two-count.
Ospreay escaped a superplex attempt and drilled Owens with a superkick, but he missed another twisting corkscrew kick, before a springboard stunner was met with a superkick, and then a fireman’s carry into a gutbuster for a near-fall by Owens. One package piledriver later, and Chase Owens picked up what has to be the surprise win. A really good match, perhaps the best of this day’s tournament bouts, but Owens would have been picked by few beforehand… hopefully he’s not getting all the wins that Nick Jackson would have had, otherwise there’ll be a lot of discontent fans! ***
So that’s Chase Owens, Beretta, Jushin “Thunder” Liger and Ricochet on two points/one win after the first round – we’ll keep track of block B after everyone’s done two matches!
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…