Rocky Romero got a main event on his birthday, as the Birds of Prey took on the “super coaches”…

We’re still Larry-ing this, so it’s only the tournament matches we’ll review today. Commentary comes from Kevin Kelly, Chris Charlton and Gino Gambino, who hopefully will refrain from the play by play beers.

Super Junior Tag League 2019 – Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) vs. Tiger Mask & Yuya Uemura
Suzuki-gun have hit the skids lately, but still are mathematically alive. It’d be a heck of a shock if they lose here, especially because that loss could well eliminate them…

The jump start comes on Suzuki-gun, but the former junior tag champs quickly took the match outside, where Uemura clung into the ring post to smartly avoid a Brookesing. An eye rake takes Uemura back outside as Kanemaru decided to toss him into the crowd barriers instead, while Despy whacked a chair off of Tiger Mask’s knee. The ref’s count gets underway, with Uemura getting suplexed on the floor, but of course that’s not it as Uemura got in and tried to fight back. He’s quickly snuffed out though, with Kanemary and Desperado trapping him in their corner. A suplex from Desperado’s good for a near-fall, before Uemura ran so fast into a back body drop he nearly crumpled Kanemaru. Tiger Mask comes in, but gets his mask pulled apart, so Uemura’s left on his lonesome as the one-sided beating continues.

One of the Young Lions finds a new Tiger Mask mask, and so he’s back in play, tagging in after Uemura dropped Kanemaru with a dropkick. Kicks take Kanemaru into the corner, before a butterfly suplex led to a two-count… and a Kimura as Tiger Mask looked to force a submission. Desperado comes in to try and rip apart the second mask, but he’s stopped as Tiger Mask’s head began to look like a stack of Russian dolls. Kanemaru’s enziguiri takes Tiger Mask down as Desperado returned with a spear, then a dropkick-assisted sidewalk slam. Tiger Mask’s back with a Tiger Driver, before he tagged Uemura back into it. A dropkick from Uemura has Despy down, before a switcheroo led to Desperado getting caught up top with a butterfly superplex from Tiger! Uemura tries to capitalise with a Boston crab, but Kanemaru just dropkicks it away.

Regardless, Uemura stays on Despy with a half crab, which almost led to the submission as Desperado made the bottom rope at the last possible moment. The Capture suplex gets blocked by Despy, who instead came in with a spinebuster for a near-fall before he rolled Uemura into Numero Dos… Kanemaru throws a chair into the ring to distract from another Suntory Surprise, and since the ref can’t smell whiskey (or the rat), Uemura’s forced to tap. Decent, but I’m not a fan of these guys needing shenanigans to beat the bottom-placed team, no matter how much you’re putting behind Uemura. ***¼

Super Junior Tag League 2019 – TJP & Clark Connors vs. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori)
ELP took the English commentary mic during his entrance and declared this’d be “two easy points”. Uh oh.

Clark Connors leapt into Ishimori with a dropkick at the bell, while TJP took down ELP on the outside with a plancha… back inside, a running spear on Ishimori almost got Connors the flash win, forcing Ishimori outside as the Bullet Club were struggling to get going.

With ELP taken into the ring post, TJP and Connors continue to work over Ishimori, at least until Phantasmo trips TJP in the ropes, and that’s where the turnaround begins, featuring ALL THE RAKES. My feed gives out as TJP fought back with a tornado DDT on Phantasmo, but Connors quickly gets overwhelmed by Phantasmo’s chops, before Ishimori hung him in a Tree of Woe ahead of the Gas Pedal.

Connors got free and brought TJP back in, with TJP landing a nice springboard forearm before he hit a springboard armdrag/rana on the Bullet Club pair. A deathlock/Cobra Twist traps the Bullet Club again before a German suplex nearly pinned Ishimori, who then took a Doomsday Blockbuster for a near-fall. Phantasmo runs in to boot TJP off the apron as Connors got double-teamed, which led to the inevitable CR2 tease that he somehow rolled out of and turned it into a Boston crab. TJP tries to trap Ishimori, but Ishimori just got free and used TJP like a Terry Funk ladder to break it up as ELP hit back with a knee-assisted whirlibird neckbreaker for a near-fall.

Connors goes for a spear, but he’s caught with a leaping stomp from Ishimori, who followed in with a Bloody Cross as ELP’s big splash flattened him for the win. As ever in this tournament, this was decent stuff, but it didn’t quite get close to the higher gear – but it’s a missed banana skin for the Bullet Club, who look set to make Sunday’s finals. ***½

After the match, ELP ruins a fan’s picnic…

Super Junior Tag League 2019 – Titan & Volador Jr. vs. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH)
A loss for Roppongi 3K eliminates them despite having a match in hand.

We start with SHO taking Volador into the ropes, before lifting the luchador onto the apron… only for Volador to reply with a gamengiri and some headscissors… but SHO caught them and saw his counter countered ahead of a stand-off. YOH and Titan are in next, with Titan landing the first blow, only for YOH to return fire on those chops.

YOH’s taken outside, but he avoids a Sasuke special… misses his own dive, then got taken into the crowd by Titan as my feed drops. It recovers as Roppongi 3K were on top, with SHO inviting Volador into the ring only to toss him out as YOH returned to work over Titan’s leg. SHO’s back to stomp on Titan’s leg as it was trapped in a leglock, but Volador Jr’s able to tag in and help clear the ring as duelling topes con giro took Roppongi 3K into the crowd.

Volador and SHO beat the count-out, before they began waffling each other with kicks, ahead of a lariat from SHO that ended that exchange. YOH’s back with a corkscrew forearm that grazed Volador. Titan’s back with kicks that made more of a connection, including a kip-up Pele kick ahead of a corner clothesline and a Combinacion Cabron dropkick for a near-fall on YOH. The springboard stomp from Titan misses, allowing YOH to capitalise with the Star Gazer calf slicer, while SHO trapped Volador in a cross armbar… but Titan’s able to get to the ropes for a break. A step-up elbw to Titan in the corner sets up for the Dominator/neckbreaker combo for a near-fall, before Volador’s springboard dropkick cleared the deck ahead of a massive tope to SHO.

YOH stays in the ring and almost loses to a roll-up, before an O’Connor roll nearly eliminated the former junior tag champs. La Mistica and another roll-up keeps YOH on his toes, but in the end Titan gets caught with a German suplex before a Dragon suplex eliminates the luchadors. This was fine, but my live feed kept cutting out and made it tricky for me to get into. Titan stayed down for a while after the match, seemingly having aggravated his neck on that final Dragon suplex, which was a little concerning… ***

Super Junior Tag League 2019 – Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Birds of Prey (Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles)
It’s the end of three nights of tournament action for the “super coaches”, who’ll eliminate Ospreay and Eagles with a win here.

We’ve got a split crowd for Ospreay and Taguchi at the start. Taguchi pirouettes to try and confuse Ospreay, as their opening sequence led to both men mocking the other’s poses. Ospreay’s made to run the ropes, before he switched around to give Taguchi some cardio ahead of a low dropkick, as Ospreay got caught on the hop. A struggle over Irish whips led to Rocky charging into Ospreay in the corner with elbows as the crowd sang him the royalty-free birthday song. That wasn’t quite the present Romero wanted, as Robbie Eagles came in to take some royalty-free Forever lariats from Taguchi, which ended with Ospreay sneaking in a Cheeky Nando’s to Taguchi as the Birds swung the match around.

Duelling pescados led to the Birds living up to their name, flying outside as Ospreay kept up the birthday celebrations with some birthday bumps. In the way of forearms and chops to the birthday boy. Eagles returns to work over Rocky’s leg, but a Ron Miller Special’s stopped with a hip attack before some double-teaming took Taguchi off the apron. Eventually Rocky tried to fight back, knocking Eagles off the apron before more double-teaming put him in a problematic spot, with a monkey flip/kick getting a near-fall. A proper Spanish Fly’s attempted off the top rope, but Rocky fights free, elbowing Ospreay off the top rope before flying down with a knee drop to the elbow. Taguchi tags in to go hog wild with hip attacks, folding Ospreay in half with a springboard hip attack for a near-fall on the “Aerial Arse-Assin”. Two butt puns in one from Chris!

Taguchi keeps up the pressure with an ankle lock, only for Will to roll free and land a handspring enziguiri. Eagles tags back in and hits a dropkick to Taguchi’s knee for a near-fall, before Rocky came in for the save, lifting Taguchi up top for another hip strike. Eagles puts on the brakes, before Ospreay tried to make the save and just leapt into the rear end like he was doing a Kokeshi. Good LORD.

Taguchi builds up momentum with a Bummer-ye for a near-fall, before a barrage of Eagles kicks and a Taguchi enziguiri left both men down. Rocky’s back with Forever lariats, with mixed success as he has to float out of a counter before dropping Eagles, following up with a springboard stomp as Robbie was draped across the top ropes. A Parade of Moves breaks out as the Birds trap Taguchi with enziguiris ahead of an assisted standing Shiranui to Romero, before a HIGH shooting star press almost got Ospreay the win. Ospreay goes for the Storm Breaker, but Rocky counters by spiking him with a ‘rana for a near-fall… and with Taguchi holding Eagles in the ropes, Rocky almost snatched the win with a small package!

From the kick-out though, Ospreay just gets sandwiched with hip attacks, before a Dodon/lungblower combo drew another two-count on Ospreay. Eagles tries to run in, but gets lifted to the floor for a body press from Taguchi, as a running Shiranui put Romero a little closer to victory. A cross armbreaker from Rocky’s resisted as Ospreay powers up into a Ligerbomb to break free. Commentary seemed to nod off during a strike exchange, before Ospreay handed Rocky off into a Turbo Backpack, following up with an OsCutter for a near-fall as Taguchi dove in in time. Taguchi tries to deal with Eagles with a Dodo, but Eagles rolled into a Ron Miller Special before Ospreay obliterated Rocky with a Hidden Blade, then finished him off with a Storm Breaker for the win. A very unhappy birthday for Rocky, in spite of a cracking main event as we now have a log-jam in second, with that Suzuki-gun/Birds of Prey match on Friday very much looking like a second-place play-off. ****

1. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori) (5-1; 10pts)
2. Birds of Prey (Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles); Rocky Romero & Ryusuke Taguchi; Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (4-2; 8pts)
5. Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) (3-2; 6pts)
6. Volador Jr. & Titan (3-3; 6pts)
7. Tiger Mask & Yuya Uemura (0-5; 0pts)
8. TJP & Clark Connors (0-6; 0pts)

The tour’s got a day off, and returns with a live stream from Shizuoka on Wednesday with that “missing” match between Roppongi 3K and Tiger Mask & Yuya Uemura. There’ll also be one match on Thursday’s card in Aichi, while the remaining three block matches round off Friday’s card in Osaka – ahead of the final at Power Struggle this Sunday in Osaka!