The Super Junior Tag League returned to Korakuen for the first of two shows as the Road to Power Struggle continued!
We’re going to Larry this and only touch the tournament matches as we’re on our holidays still… commentary comes from Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton and Gino Gambino.
Super Junior Tag League 2019 – Tiger Mask & Yuya Uemura vs. Birds of Prey (Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles)
Uemura and Eagles start out, with Uemura looking to work over Eagles with a headlock early, before he landed a slam as Eagles had trouble getting past the Young Lion.
Ospreay comes in to help out as a wishbone leg splitter had Uemura in trouble, as did some chops and kicks as the IWGP junior heavyweight champion turned it around. Eagles is back in as the pace stayed low, with Eagles stalling on a Figure Four as Uemura just kicks him away, then took down the Aussie with a dropkick. Ospreay and Tiger Mask come in, with the latter looking for a Tiger suplex, before instead making do with a tiltawhirl backbreaker for a near-fall. A shooting star press from Ospreay lands in Tiger Mask’s knees, as an armbar had Ospreay in trouble, before Tiger Mask had to deal with some double-teaming… successfully, mind you!
Tiger Mask follows by taking Ospreay up for a butterfly superplex, but instead Ospreay shoves away and hands a handspring enziguiri on the mat. Eagles is back, but he runs into a leaping knee before Uemura begged to be tagged in… and got it! Uemura charged Ospreay off the apron before he went to work on Eagles, scoring a two-count from a leaping elbow drop, but Tiger Mask comes in for a Tiger Driver to help Uemura on his way.
An overhead capture suplex nearly gets the Young Lion the win, as did a simple sitting down on a roll-through, before he blocked a Turbo Backpack and rolled into a single crab. Ospreay dove in to break the submission, before a 619 knocked Tiger Mask off the apron as some double-teaming had Uemura in trouble. The monkey flip/kick has Uemura in deeper trouble, before a missile dropkick to the knee and a Ron Miller Special forced the submission. Some really good stuff here with Uemura teasing a historic win, but in the end things went to form. ***½
Super Junior Tag League 2019 – Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs. TJP & Clark Connors
After losing yesterday, Suzuki-gun badly need a win to stay in touch with the pack. TJP and Desperado start off, with TJP using his headscissor takedown early on before neatly flipping out of Despy’s counter.
TJP ties up Despy in a pendulum version of a Boston crab before a Muta lock ended in the ropes, as Clark Connors tagged in to try and push ahead. A slam’s good for a one-count from the American Young Lion, while a hiptoss drew a two-count, before Kanemaru dragged Connors outside and tossed him into the nearest guard rail he could find in Korakuen. Desperado just Brookes’ TJP instead, as the shenanigans had Suzuki-gun back in the driver’s seat.
Back in the ring, Connors remained on the defensive, taking slams as Desperado and Kanemaru slowed down the pace of the match. A telegraphed back body drop gave Connors hope, but Kanemaru’s right back on him, only for TJP to get the tag back in as he cleared house. A drop toe hold takes Kanemaru into the ropes for a slingshot dropkick on the apron, with TJP following up with a frogsplash-like crossbody for a near-fall. Kanemaru’s back with a low dropkick though, spinning TJP to the mat as Suzuki-gun were back in charge briefly, only for TJP to hit a release Regalplex to dump Desperado.
Connors tags back in and hit a big back body drop, before a Boston crab had Desperado desperately scrambling for the ropes… only for Kanemaru to try and stomp it apart. Connors held on as TJP locked in an Octopus stretch, leaving Desperado with no choice but to crawl to the ropes for the break. After getting free, Despy’s met with a scoop slam for a near-fall, but a Doomsday Blockbuster’s stopped by Kanemaru as Desperado fought back in with a spinebuster. From the kick-out, Despy rolls into a Numero Dos, and with the referee distracted by a whiskey bottle in the ring, Yoshinobu Kanemaru hit a Suntory Surprise on Connors, who had to tap due to the stinging eyes and the Numero Dos. Shenanigans as always, but a decent outing for Suzuki-gun as TJP slowly started to show signs of frustration at the end. ***¼
Super Junior Tag League 2019 – Volador Jr. & Titan vs. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori)
Titan’s got a new mask after his was ripped yesterday. Hopefully it’s not made out of paper mache this time…
Ishimori and Volador start, trading lucha-style armdrags, kip-ups and takedowns before Titan and ELP came in. Titan’s headscissors take ELP outside, following up with a Sasuke special that hit nothing… as Ishimori just waffles the luchador with a knee off the apron instead. The Bullet Club double-team backfires as Titan’s missile dropkick finds it smark, before Volador came in and pushed on, lifting Titan into another dropkick before he dove into ELP and Ishimori on the outside.
Titan flips over the top rope so he can hit a springboard moonsault… but he looked to jar his knee on the landing. Everyone’s back to their feet though, and back in the ring too as Titan peppered Ishimori with kicks. My feed gives out, and recovers as the Bullet Club were back on top, with Ishimori trying to undo Titan’s mask. I think we saw more yesterday… ELP keeps that going, before he just pulled Titan into the Tree of Woe for the Gas Pedal, but after getting released Titan’s able to reply by Matrix’ing away from a clothesline, only to run into an enziguiri as Phantasmo began to tease other Bullet Club finishers. A One Winged Angel’s turned into a reverse ‘rana by Titan, before tags brought in Ishimori, whose attempts to confuse Volador ended in him taking a back cracker. Titan and Volador combine for a pair of big splashes, but Titan just leaps willingly into Ishimori’s knees on his part for a near-fall.
Titan nails a through-the-corner clothesline before he armdragged Volador into a cannonball on Ishimori for a near-fall. Ishimori’s quickly back with a Shadowfax baseball slide German suplex though, turning the tables as ELP tags in to trade chops with Titan, going back and forth until he caught a chop and went rope-walking. Phantasmo walks into Volador’s corner, but gets stopped with a Spanish fly as the bad idea went real bad, with Titan adding to that with a springboard legdrop as the luchadors almost snatched victory.
A springboard stomp from Titan follows for a near-fall on ELP, but Phantasmo’s back with a top rope ‘rana, and a big splash… which nearly ends it as Volador was being held back on the outside. Phantasmo goes for a CR2, but Titan counters with a small package for a near-fall, before Phantasmo just turned around the mask to blind Titan, following up with the CR2 for the win. Pretty good stuff, even if some of those signature spots are increasingly becoming Bret Hart-like – appearing in every match to the point where you don’t really feel like we’re nearly done until they’ve been checked off. That’s not a bad thing, by the way… ***½
Super Junior Tag League 2019 – Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi
It’s teacher versus students, and we’ve a tentative start as YOH grabbed hold of Rocky with a headlock, before Rocky spun out in search of a Shiranui, only to have to make do with the dropkick standoff instead.
SHO and Taguchi tag in, with a low dropkick knocking SHO down as the coaches pulled ahead, taking SHO into the corner for a running hip attack that started a barrage from Taguchi. That forces Taguchi to beg off, before he whipped SHO into Rocky’s arse… they try to switch places, SHO just just dropkicked Taguchi away. Taguchi tries to rush in with a leaping hip attack, but Roppongi 3K just sidestep him as YOH looked to isolate his coach. Rocky’s held in a camel clutch, as Taguchi fails to break it up… and the pace for this one seemingly had ground to a crawl. A double back elbow knocks down Rocky for a near-fall, but Rocky’s back with a springboard crossbody and some headscissors to knock down his mentees.
Taguchi’s back in at the ten minute mark, running into YOH with hip attacks. My feed drops again as YOH returned with a Final Cut, before SHO came in with a clothesline and some short kicks for a near-fall. Another hip attack’s stopped as SHO looked to counter into a German suplex, only for Taguchi to roll through into an ankle lock, and again my feed drops. It’s back as Rocky’s in with Forever clotheslines to his buddies, dropping SHO and YOH with a double lariat, with Taguchi’s Bummer-Ye almost sealing the win.
SHO’s tossed into Taguchi’s arse again, before Rocky used it for a tornado DDT and a Falcon arrow armbar, only for SHO to powerbomb his way free. Forearms from SHO looked to have Rocky, erm, rocked, but Romero replies with kicks before he ran into another forearm. Duelling hip attacks have SHO back down though, before YOH ran in for the save, superkicking Taguchi to start some new double-teaming. The Dominator/neckbreaker’s stopped, but Rocky can’t avoid the leaping knees, nor SHO’s deadlift German as the former junior tag champs almost picked up the win.
Rocky tries to fight back off the top rope, but he’s caught in a flying knee-assisted Burning Hammer for a near-fall, with Taguchi making the save. Taguchi’s quickly met with a 3K, but Rocky avoids the same fate before he simply countered SHO’s spear with a rude knee. A rewind enziguiri awaits SHO from there, but SHO lands his spear regardless before a Shock Arrow piledriver nearly secured the win. Rocky countered a powerbomb for a near-fall as he began to rack up flash in attempts… a backslide’s good for a near-fall too, before a palm strike dropped SHO, only for him to recover with a German suplex and a lariat before a nasty Power Breaker dropped Rocky for another near-fall! SHO looks for a Shock Arrow, but it’s perhaps telegraphed as Rocky slips free and surprises him with a small package for the win! This started off awfully slowly, with perhaps too much respect shown by Roppongi 3K, but it blossomed beautifully towards the finishing stretch, with the finish truly coming out of nowhere! ****
After the match, Rocky cut the post-show speech, interestingly labelling Roppongi 3K “the silver standard” (a little bit of shade there) in tag team wrestling, before bowing down to his students.
A pretty decent quartet of junior tag league matches, with the tour picking up (as expected) for the Korakuen swing. We’ve still got a tie at the top though, but there’s a lot of momentum building for the final week of the tournament as the top two teams go through to the finals at Power Struggle.
1. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori); Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi (4-1; 8pts)
3. Birds of Prey (Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles); Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru); Volador Jr. & Titan (3-2; 6pts)
6. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) (2-2; 4pts)
7. Tiger Mask & Yuya Uemura (0-4; 0pts)
8. TJP & Clark Connors (0-5; 0pts)
We’ve got Roppongi 3K vs. Tiger Mask and Yuya Uemura as the “odd match out” thanks to the cancelled show earlier in the tour, for those wondering…
It’s back to Korakuen on Monday, with the “super coaches” again taking star billing, this time against Robbie Eagles and Will Ospreay. That should be a cracker.