Another show at Korakuen Hall as the Super Junior Tag Tournament finished off the quarter-finals!
Bullet Club (Yujiro Takahashi & Leo Tonga) vs. Juice Robinson & David Finlay
It’s weird that this show doesn’t have any of the Young Lions jerking the curtain… in fact, only Kawato makes this card, so it’s back to David Finlay to reprise his old role here.
Simple stuff early sees Finlay draw first blood with a diving uppercut, before Leo Tonga waded in to drop Juice and David with a double-clothesline. We’ve said it before, but Finlay is long past the point where he needs to be given something of substance in this company, with that six-man title run being a long distant memory. He’s isolated by the Bullet Club after Tonga whipped him chest-first into the corner, but Finlay finally gets to the tag… although Juice’s offence is quickly cut short by Yujiro.
Tonga tries to finish Juice with a slam, but instead he gets planted with a double-team flapjack before Pulp Friction put Leo down for the count. Pretty basic as an opener, but fun enough – it’s curious that Juice is somewhat floating right now, but you’d hope that he’s part of the World Tag League next month with a decent enough partner too. **¼
Toru Yano & Hirooki Goto vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka)
It’s been, ooh, days since we’ve seen Minoru Suzuki trying to commit live murder. Yup, he’s going straight for Yano, and we’re out on the floor, where Minoru uses a fan’s umbrella to try and choke out Yano.
Yes, Yano tries to go through his usual shtick, and Suzuki isn’t having none of it, booting him in the gut and going for an armbar in the ropes when Toru wanted a break. You’d think he’d learn. Except he doesn’t, and Yano rushes to the ring to break the count… and runs straight into a whole lot of joint manipulation instead. Like before, Goto was useless as a partner, watching from the floor as Suzuki and Iizuka double-team Yano. Of course, once Yano got back into it, then Goto wanted in… not much happens there as the focus stays on Yano and Suzuki, with Toru finally grabbing a chair to give Suzuki a taste of his own medicine.
Yano tries to win with a low blow and a roll-up, but Suzuki’s having none of that, quickly breaking it up before trying to strangle the Sublime Master Thief with the bullrope. The ref tries to stop it, but Suzuki shoves him down, and that’s a DQ… in the melee as the Young Lions tried to stop it, Yano manages to untie himself and strap the bullrope onto Katsuya Kitamura’s ankle. Not much of a match, but they’re at least being consistent. **½
Poor Kitamura. Despite the crowd chanting for him, his time was a short one… He got hung by the rope, whilst it was still tied to his ankle!
Bullet Club (Kenny Omega, Chase Owens & Marty Scurll) vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Beretta & Will Ospreay
They do the weird “one from your team, one from their team” intros to highlight the Ospreay and Scurll match next weekend. Of course, they start us off going through some roll-ups before Will chased all three members of the Bullet Club off the apron… prompting Marty to tag himself out to Chase Owens.
We go through the usual tag formula, rotating around partners, with Chase Owens (and his pumpkin-themed tights) having a good spell against YOSHI-HASHI, before Comedy Kenny came in to chop through YOSHI-HASHI. I may be reading too much into things again, but it’s telling that Kenny didn’t have anything Bullet Club-related on… unless that Brandit shirt is for yet-another-subsection of the group.
The Bullet Club trio were playing for laughs as Kenny Omega used his t-shirt to save Marty Scurll from a drawn-out sunset flip. An umbrella didn’t work either, and YOSHI-HASHI finally took him down with a spin kick as we went back to Ospreay and Owens. Will tried a Sasuke Special, but Owens cut it off as this somehow segued into a Just Kidding superkick.
The ring fills for a Parade of Moves, with a neat spinebuster rebounding off the top rope into a death valley driver from Owens, before Ospreay finally got off his Sasuke Special. Omega goes after Beretta, powerbombing him onto Owens’ knees for a near-fall, but in the end it was the former Trent who picked up the W, landing a Dudebuster onto Owens for the pin. Decent stuff, and not too much comedy… but a curious win-getter here, eh? ***
Well, we found out afterwards, with “as generic as possible a promo”. Beretta challenges Omega for the US title at Power Struggle. Omega didn’t answer, but as he tried to enter the ring, Beretta kicked the ropes into him, and posed with the title. Parts of the crowd (rightfully) booed that…
Kota Ibushi, Titan & Dragon Lee vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, KUSHIDA & Hirai Kawato
After Ibushi and Tanahashi had to be separated at the start, we began really swiftly with Titan and KUSHIDA… who reminded me that I really need to rewatch their match from ROH London at some point. Acrobatic, high-speed and energetic stuff from these two get the crowd going, as did Kawato’s skirmishes with Dragon Lee.
A snap German suplex from Lee nearly ended it early, and the punishment for Kawato continued when Ibushi wrenched him in almost a single-leg Lion Tamer until the Young Lion made the ropes. Kawato finally got himself a lifeline with a dropkick to the “Golden Star”, and now we get Tanahashi/Ibushi! Tana clears the aprons so there’s no chance of interference as he pelts Ibushi with forearms and elbows, but we’ve got another week to wait for their match so it’s only a brief altercation.
Titan’s back with a swandive crossbody to Kawato, followed by a Dragon screw and a modified figure four. That doesn’t lead to the submission but it’s not for long as Dragon Lee nearly murders Kawato with a La Mistica-style takedown, before rolling him up for the pin. Yeah, that was a nasty head-drop from Kawato at the end, but all seemed okay afterwards. Pretty good stuff for a build-up match, and Kawato is another of those Young Lions who are continuing to shine! ***¼
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL, SANADA, BUSHI & Hiromu Takahashi) vs. Kazuchika Okada, Tomohiro Ishii, Rocky Romero & Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH)
During the entrances, Hiromu came out with a self-made “contract” – because he wants tomorrow’s tournament match with Roppongi 3K to be for their tag titles. I don’t think that’s going to happen…
We did at least get the skirmish between SHO and Hiromu early as they threw forearms, before we went to YOH and BUSHI chopping the hell out of each other. It’s not long before the ring fills and empties, with Naito taking Okada all the way to the back whilst SHO’s getting choked in the ring. It’s pretty much one-way traffic for LIJ here, especially once SHO had to contend with EVIL and Naito.
Eventually some had enough of this, as Ishii got involved, promoting a CHAOS fightback as tags apparently became a novelty. With Naito beaten down by Ishii, of course Okada wanted in…
Rocky Romero gets involved, going sky high for a ‘rana to SANADA, following up with some Forever lariats before Roppongi 3K filled the ring to double-team SANADA. BUSHI and Hiromu eventually even up the numbers as the pace gradually quickens, leading up to a suicide dive from SHO. That proved to live up to its name though, as SHO took out pretty much everyone, leaving nobody free to rescue Rocky Romero when he fell into a Skull End, forcing the submission. Enjoyable stuff, and we’ll have quite a few more of these to come as WrestleKingdom looms large., Roppongi 3K didn’t sign Hiromu’s bit of paper, so their semi-final tomorrow won’t be for the titles… ***¼
Super Junior Tag Tournament 2017 – Quarter-Final: Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado) vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Tiger Mask
Liger and Tiger get jumped in the aisle, so this one starts in the crowd, where the good guys surprisingly used some of the Suzuki-gun tactics against them. Liger even grabbed a table and bounced Desperado into it as Liger displayed some rare aggression.
That aggressive side persisted as Desperado got thrown repeatedly into an exposed turnbuckle, to the point where Kanemaru came in to try and break it up, only to get slapped. This is weird watching a docile Liger roar up! Problem was, Suzuki-gun quickly went back to their old ways, with Kanemaru trying his best to unmask the Tiger whilst Desperado Brookes’d Liger. Now we’re back to normality!
Desperado uses chairs on Tiger Mask’s knees to try and stop him from getting back to his feet, which gives them another chance to try and unlace Tiger’s mask. Liger returned to break it up, but that just put his mask at jeopardy, – and Desperado actually managed to rip out the jaw of the mask as the quest to remove masks continued in earnest.
A chin lock from Kanemaru nearly forced Liger to submit, but he held on and made the ropes, before bringing Tiger Mask back in. Some brief offence ended when, yes, Kanemaru tried to go for the mask, but Liger stopped it as a butterfly superplex and a Tiger driver almost got the veterans the win. Desperado breaks up a double armbar as he tried once again for the mask, but that almost backfired as he got caught in a Ligerbomb for another near-fall…
A Shotei fended off some interference from Kanemaru, as Liger’s brainbuster garnered another near-fall, but in the end it’s typical Suzuki-gun cheating that got them back on track, as a spray of whiskey from Kanemaru, then a bottle shot from Desperado got a near-fall before Pinche Loco got the pin on Liger. This started out really good with the aggression from Liger and Tiger, but as the Suzuki-gun pair got into it, it quickly settled into form. ***½
Super Junior Tag Tournament 2017 – Quarter-Final: Suzuki-gun (Taichi & TAKA Michinoku) vs. Super 69 (ACH & Ryusuke Taguchi)
It seems that Taguchi only has one pair of tights, since he’s still got a hole in his crotch after Taichi, erm, violated him on Monday.
Yes, Taichi goes straight for the ruined tights as he mocked Taguchi from the off, but things turned around when ACH mounted a series of avalanche clotheslines to a cornered Taguchi, stopping only for a time-out. Somewhere in this, Taichi’s smuggled the bell hammer, which he again jams into the Funky Weapon, before that ripped gear was torn apart even more.
TAKA tags in and busts out his offence, which seemed to be “I’ll try and shove my boot into your arse”, while Taichi made sure that ACH couldn’t get the tag in. There’s a LOT of arse kicking, literally, before ACH made the tag in to clear out Taichi, landing a discus avalanche clothesline ahead of a PK to TAKA on the apron. The offence continued when Taguchi came back in, grabbing an ankle lock before hitting what could best be described as a Dodon into a low blow for a near-fall, as Taichi pulled out the ref and cleared house with his mic stand. TAKA tries to capitalise with a Bully choke, but it eventually ended with a rope break.
Then a tag to Taichi, who looked to mock Taichi’s “tribute” to Shinsuke Nakamura, which drew boos and duelling hip attacks. Things go wrong when ACH overshoots a plancha and takes down Taguchi, before the pair ate a huge Asai moonsault from TAKA into the crowd as Suzuki-gun looked to be coming back into things, with a lariat and an enziguiri almost booking Taichi’s spot in an all-Suzuki-gun semi.
However, another Taguchi ankle lock put the brakes on Taichi’s hopes, at least until he grabbed the ref as TAKA hit the ring with a chairshot. They headed back-and-forth, with Taguchi almost snatching victory with a La Magistral clutch, before a series of hip attacks left Taichi down for a Dodon and a 450 Splash. Taguchi took way too long to follow-up with a Bomaye knee, as TAKA broke it up, but after they got rid of him, the Super 69 (Dodon/Facebuster combo) proved to be enough for the win! Once they got past the early fixation on Taguchi’s rear end, this was an enjoyable main event as we’re set up for a Super 69 vs. Kanemaru/Desperado semi on Monday at Korakuen Hall! ***½
All in, this was a solid, yet unspectacular show as Power Struggle loomed ahead. A shadow of Monday’s Korakuen outing, but there’s still stuff on here worth your time, as the Super Junior Tag Tournament continued to produce decent matches.