The Super Junior Tag Tournament finalists were decided as New Japan went back to Korakuen Hall for the second time in as many days!
Suzuki-gun (Taichi & TAKA Michinoku) vs. Jushin “Thunder” Liger & Tiger Mask
The sound guy messed around with Taichi here, stopping and starting his music for the fun of it. We start with Taichi going after Liger with a chair, whilst TAKA played hide and seek with Tiger Mask… also with a chair in hand. It’s an unusual way to start off a match…
Despite being choked and left for dead, Liger beat the count… and went straight into some more choking from TAKA and Taichi. It’s the usual stuff as Suzuki-gun’s lesser team wore down Liger, before utilising some rather sneaky stuff… like Taichi rolling with the referee in a compromising position to stop him from seeing some cheating.
Taichi shoved Tiger Mask under the ring in a bid to get the count-out… but Tiger Mask crawled all the way through the ring and out the other side, before sliding in and sneaking TAKA with a crucifix for the win! Not much of a match, but I popped for the inventive finish. **
Toru Yano & Hirooki Goto vs. Suzuki-gun (Minoru Suzuki & Takashi Iizuka)
Aah, it’s been… a day since we saw Minoru Suzuki try to kill Yano. Yesterday he ended up hanging a Young Lion after Yano escaped being tied to the bullrope. Will we see something different today?
Yeah, Yano’s jumped and instantly taken outside… but this time he tries to use a chair on Suzuki. No dice there, as the current NEVER champion immediately tied Yano to the bull rope and took him into the crowd, keeping him on a leash. As for Goto and Iizuka, they were a non-issue here, with Goto doing little of note, like the rest of their matches.
The camera crew actually lose Yano and Suzuki in the crowd, for a spell, but rest assured Minoru’s throttling him with the rope, before finally going to the ring. Suzuki shoves down the referee as he continued to throttle Yano… and just to make sure, he boots the ref, killing him for what I thought would be a DQ… but the time cues kept coming.
Suzuki continues to throttle Yano until Goto made the save. He’s quickly dispatched with a choke sleeper and Iizuka’s Iron Fingers/funky oven glove, and now extra referees arrive as the carnage continues… just so they can wave for the DQ. Just in time for Suzuki to tie-up Yano in the ropes so he could leave with his belt for once. A winner was… none of us. Least of all the Young Lions who got killed by MiSu afterwards. DUD.
Bullet Club (Kenny Omega, Chase Owens & Marty Scurll) vs. YOSHI-HASHI, Beretta & Will Ospreay
Last night we got the addition of Kenny Omega vs. Beretta to the Power Struggle card, so why not re-do this match? It was Hallowe’en dress-up for the Bullet Club, and Aladdin was the theme. As was a LOT of tape for Kenny Omega’s ripped crop top…
Poor YOSHI-HASHI took some triple-teaming from the Aladdin Club, featuring Marty Scurll’s Magic Carpet Ride, which came in the form of a piggy-backed big splash. Beretta tried to break up a tender moment between Kenny and Marty, but paid the price as we quickly went to Ospreay and Aladdin. I mean Marty, who actually used the Magic Carpet in a new way – to set up the Just Kidding superkick after pulling the rug on Will – before Kenny just choked Ospreay with it. It’s a little tricky to take this all seriously, but especially given how ridiculous the Bullet Club looked in costumes.
YOSHI-HASHI dumped Marty with a Bunker Buster for a near-fall as the CHAOS trio looked to push for victory, but Scurll stamps on the arm and brought in Omega… who only had eyes for Beretta. Which looked even weirder given Kenny was dressed like Jasmine from Aladdin, with a torn crop top… YOSHI-HASHI kicked off part of Kenny’s gear, allowing Beretta to come in and try and chop the rest of it off. Instead he just pulled it off, which the crowd booed! They should have pixellated it for the hell of it… a facebuster/Kotaro Crusher combo from Owens and Omega’s good for a near-fall, before the ring filled up, just in time for Marty to give Kenny that kiss.
Ospreay hits the ring afterwards and took the lovers outside for a Sasuke Special, before returning for his own version of a Magic Carpet Ride… via a shooting star press! Beretta grabs the rug and uses it as a landing pad for Chase Owens, as the Dudebuster gets him another win. Pretty fun, and not entirely the popcorn match you’d have expected/worried about when the Bullet Club came out in fancy dress! ***¼
After the match, Beretta laid out Omega with a piledriver on the apron, berating the US champion for being a joke. Did someone just hand Beretta some Jericho tweets as a script?
Kota Ibushi, Juice Robinson, David Finlay, Dragon Lee & Titan vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe, KUSHIDA, Hirai Kawato & Katsuya Kitamura
We’re slowly getting more and more between Ibushi and Tanahashi ahead of their title match on Sunday… but it’s just a brief opening flurry before Kitamura and Robinson demanded a tag in… and so it goes! Revolving doors in both corners!
Finlay and Juice double-team Kitamura as the ring filled up… and double-teaming became a bit of a theme as Dragon Lee and Titan tried to pile-on Kitamura for a pin, only to get shoved away with ease. A suplex on Robinson finally gets Kitamura free, and it’s Makabe he brings in, with “King Kong” instantly looking to clear the apron.
A swivelling lariat from Makabe dumped Ibushi, just in time for Tanahashi to come in and pick apart the pieces. Except he doesn’t, as Ibushi roared into life ahead of a sweet exchange between the two, with the pair swapping kicks and slaps. An attempted Cloverleaf from Tanahashi’s broken up, before tags give us a nice flurry between Dragon Lee and KUSHIDA.
Hirai Kawato comes in next to batter Finlay with a high-speed back elbow, before heading up top with a springboard missile dropkick for a near-fall. After a top rope moonsault to the floor from Titan on Kitamura, we saw another flurry of near-falls for Kawato, only for him to get flattened with a Finlay lariat for another two-count. It wasn’t to be for Kawato, despite Korakuen egging him on, as Finlay hit him with a Stunner seconds later for the win… and hey, I keep forgetting David has music! Pretty fun stuff, and a decent way to use the guys who’d been eliminated from that Junior Tag Tournament. ***¼
Los Ingobernables de Japon (Tetsuya Naito, EVIL & SANADA) vs. Kazuchika Okada, Gedo & Tomohiro Ishii
Sadly, Okada didn’t come out dressed up as Gedo – I guess the Bullet Club were the only ones allowed to switch gear tonight!
We start with Okada and Naito again, but they barely touch as SANADA came in… and for once, it’s not a trap! Unfortunately, SANADA probably wished it were, as he was kept on the back foot, at least until he found a way to rake Ishii’s eyes as EVIL saved his bacon. Ishii took punishment from all three members of LIJ, including a vicious back senton that nearly ended the match.
Some miscommunication helped Ishii as he sidestepped a charge from EVIL before eventually getting off a back suplex, as we went back to Okada and Naito for a spell. SANADA takes over, but Okada escaped a TKO before popping up SANADA into a neckbreaker slam. Gedo’s superkick after that nearly gets the win, but SANADA gets up and hits the double leapfrog dropkick before taking an Ishii brainbuster.
You know what this means… Parade of Moves! After an Okada dropkick took Naito out, Gedo tried to beat SANADA with a Gedo Clutch… but EVIL quickly breaks it up before handing Gedo over for a TKO that only gets a two-count. A Skull End follows straight after, and that forces the submission. So far these LIJ tags building up to WrestleKingdom have been alright, but they’ve not done much for me. ***¼
Super Junior Tag Tournament 2017 – Semi-Final: Suzuki-gun (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado) vs. Super 69 (ACH & Ryusuke Taguchi)
The winners of yesterday’s tournament matches face-off to decide one half of Sunday’s finalists… and yes, Super 69 looked a little orange.The ref unmasked Taguchi, drawing boos from the crowd, then laughter as ACH tried to make Oka wear the hood.
We get a jump-start from the Suzuki-gun pair, as Desperado tried to wear down ACH’s taped-up ribs from the off. Super 69 hit back as Taguchi charges into Kanemaru repeatedly, making this an easy night’s work for ACH all things considered. Things go badly wrong when ACH leaps on the top rope, looking to do the Taguchi hip attack spot, and it’s like one big role reversal as ACH gets stomped on instead of Taguchi.
After a back body drop, Suzuki-gun roll ACH to the outside, where he’s helpless as Desperado turfs Taguchi into the crowd. Back inside, Taguchi recovers and tried to help matters with some hip attacks, but he wasn’t the legal man… and it just gets ACH in more trouble as Desperado uses chairs on him ahead of another Brookesing.
ACH barely beats the count, and gets instantly rolled into a Boston crab by Kanemaru… ACH finally breaks free and tags in Taguchi, just in time for the Suzuki-gun guys to eat a series of hip-attacks in the ropes. Taguchi flies too, with a pair of tope con hilo before a springboard hip attack nearly put away Desperado. A counter to a countered hip attack left Desperado in an ankle lock, which he escapes and followed up with a spinebuster as those two went back-and-forth.
Another hip attack led to a German suplex to Taguchi, who brought ACH back in for a comeback… only for his ribs to play a part in keeping him down. That wasn’t helped by a spear from Desperado as a tiltawhirl DDT from Kanemaru nearly gets the win, as does a top rope moonsault, but Super 69 clung on!
Desperado pulls the ref to the outside so Kanemaru could use his whiskey bottle… it doesn’t work, nor does the whiskey spit, as Desperado got the alcoholic mist instead. He’s able to recover to make the save after ACH’s 450 splash, but a Dodon/Facebuster combo’s able to do the trick as Super 69’s self-named finisher booked their spot in Sunday’s tournament finals! Pretty good stuff on show – I liked how ACH’s ribs were a focal point throughout, and potentially into Sunday’s final too. ***½
Super Junior Tag Tournament 2017 – Semi-Final: Los Ingobernables de Japon (Hiromu Takahashi & BUSHI) vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH)
Rocky Romero was back with his Ghostbuster fire extinguisher as the LIJ pair had a chance to knock out the new tag team champions… even if Hiromu didn’t get his wish of having this become a tag title match.
We had an even start as all four men were tagged in in the opening stages, leading to a series where Hiromu presented YOH with his “contract”. Which got thrown away without question… so they just chop the hell out of each other. Poor YOH… his chest looked like he’d already been through the wars before he’d even started!
Hiromu came off worse, as he was left down after a brief double-team, before SHO started to pelt him with kicks. Things turned around as LIJ took the match to the outside, where SHO gets thrown into the crowd, whilst YOH just had a ringpost to land into. Back inside, YOH eats a double-team hiptoss facebuster as SHO’s worn down into the ropes by the Ingobernables.
A double STF from BUSHI and Hiromu’s forced to be broken up as the ref called it illegal, but that didn’t stop BUSHI keeping his on until there was a rope break. YOH eventually makes a comeback, propping Hiromu across some turnbuckles for a double knee stomp, before avoiding an MX from BUSHI as the match became delicately poised. BUSHI avoids some double-teaming and hits a missile dropkick before wiping out YOH with a tope… Hiromu returns as SHO takes a double dropkick for a near-fall, but Roppongi 3K nited and went airborne with a pair of tope con hilo to take down LIJ. A trio of German suplexes from SHO nearly does it, before the double-team Dominator forces another kick-out from the weary BUSHI.
Hiromu makes a save from a double-team Flatliner, as we broke into a mini Parade of Moves, ending with just about everyone down on the mat, teasing a double knock-out… but BUSHI and YOH get back to their feet as the match kept on.
A BUSHI Destroyer’s broken up for a near-fall, earning SHO a pop-up powerbomb from Hiromu… but SHO makes the save as LIJ went for another finish, before dropping Hiromu with the double-team Flatliner they’re labelling the Roppongi Driver. Another one of those to BUSHI, and we’re done – a really good tag match to close out the main event, but my real criticism here is that R3K are too “new” in this current role to really have the crowd behind them. Give them time, and it’ll all work out for the best… It’ll be Roppongi 3K vs. Super 69 in a sleazy Super Juniors final on Sunday, and the stage is set for a potential show-stealer in Osaka! ***¾
Another decent, if not earth-shattering show from New Japan, as the Super Junior Tag Tournament semis took centre stage. With no more streamed shows until Power Struggle on Sunday, we had the “wrap up” of some tour-long stories, including Minoru Suzuki retrieving his belt, even if it meant coming at the cost of one of the worst “matches” this year. At least the bullrope match on Sunday is no-DQ, I suppose…