We start the VOD portion of the tour, with a pair of matches from Niigata, with the Birds of Prey looking to get on the board.

It’s not fixed camera, thankfully, but there’s no commentary on these VOD matches either…

Super Junior Tag League 2019 – Tiger Mask & Yuya Uemura vs. Bullet Club (El Phantasmo & Taiji Ishimori)
Hmm, the IWGP Junior tag champs against the always-doomed veteran and Young Lion pairing. I hope Uemura at least gives a good accounting of himself…

Uemura took exception to having ELP’s shirt thrown at him… so he throws it into the crowd, making Phantasmo retrieve it. We’ve got barriers here, so clearly they’re not expecting dives on this show. We start with Uemura and Ishimori trading wristlocks, before a shoulder tackle sent Ishimori scurrying into the corner as both men tagged out. A monkey flip propels Phantasmo into the ropes, before he sent himself outside, with Tiger Mask being forced to abort a dive attempt. Rushing back in, ELP gets tripped as the Bullet Club team were starting to stutter, only for them to pick it up when Uemura came in and found himself taking ALL. THE. RAKES.

They’re only enough for Phantasmo to get a two-count from, before Uemura was taken outside and into the railings while the referee was distracted. Back inside, Phantasmo continued to wear down Uemura by generally being a shithouse, but Uemura got free and tagged in Tiger Mask, who had a bit more luck with things, rolling Phantasmo into a knee bar… but ELP’s back with an enziguiri before bringing Ishimori back into the fray. Ishimori just runs into a tiltawhirl backbreaker, just as Uemura got back to his feet, demanding he be tagged back in. Uemura does well, before a Tiger Driver would have led to a win… but instead Uemura picks up Ishimori again and goes for the overhead capture suplex, almost snatching the win. On the outside though, ELP whips Tiger Mask hard into the barriers, and it’s pretty much decisive from there as Ishimori fought back with a handspring enziguiri on Uemura… before ELP reversed a small package to nearly get the win for his team in the shithouse-st way possible.

Instead, ELP goes up for a whirlibird neckbreaker on Uemura, getting a near-fall, but it was a Bloody Cross from Ishimori that gets the job done. Decent enough, but I think the real interesting thing in this tour is whether both Young Lion-and-pro teams leave with no points, or just one… ***

Super Junior Tag League 2019 – Volador Jr. & Titan vs. Birds of Prey (Will Ospreay & Robbie Eagles)
It’s been a surprisingly slow start for the Birds of Prey, losing both of their opening matches… a loss here would pretty much put them up against it for the remainder of the tour.

Ospreay and Titan start off at speed, trading headlock takedowns and escapes until they hit the obligatory stand-off. Another headlock ends with some rope-running as Titan handstands his way into some nice swinging headscissors, taking Ospreay outside for a faked-out dive, only for Ospreay to land a baseball slide dropkick. Things pick up as Volador’s taken outside, with Eagles’ tope con giro smashing the luchadors into the guard rails… Back inside, Eagles tags in as Titan’s taken to the corner, but the Aussie quickly has Titan reaching for the ropes, before Ospreay returns. Double elbows and a wishbone leg splitter keeps Titan in trouble, as it was clear that the CHAOS pairing were isolating the masked luchador. Of course, Titan fought back, blocking a slingshot into the corner and switching it into a DDT on the apron for Eagled, before he springboarded back in for a crossbody on Ospreay.

Volador gets the hot-ish tag back in, handspringing into a German suplex that he escaped from before a satellite headscissors almost put away Ospreay. Will responds with a springboard of his own, but he needs an enziguiri to take down Volador for a near-fall, before he blocked Volador’s headscissors and caught him with a hook kick. Volador replies by superkicking away Ospreay’s handspring as both men were in dire need of a tag. Eagles comes in, but Titan counters a Shiranui into a Samoan driver for a near-fall. The Aussie heads up top, but ends up needing Will Ospreay’s stomping dropkick to save him as Titan gets rolled up into a Ron Miller Special that Volador eventually breaks apart. Titan tries to fight back again, but he runs into a superkick and an assisted standing Shiranui for a near-fall by Eagles.

Again, Volador breaks it up and gets sent outside as Eagles stayed on Titan, hitting a springboard dropkick to the knee before another Ron Miller Special was countered with a small package. Eagles kicks out in time, and retaliates with another barrage of kicks before he got taken into the corner for a diving clothesline and a Combinacion Cabron. Titan looks to continue the momentum with a springboard stomp, but Eagles gets away and quickly lands a Turbo Backpack for a two-count, then rolled him into a Ron Miller Special for the submission. Decent stuff here, even if it was a little low-key in terms of the flying, but these junior tags shouldn’t always be about the dives… ***¼

A solid pair of matches, but as is always the case with these tours, the “village stops” are likely to be skippable, with the tour set to kick into a higher gear when it returns to Korakuen Hall next weekend.

It’ll be a while before everyone’s had the same number of matches, so our standings are going to look a little wonky. With half of the field having had three rounds, here’s the table:

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

Next up for the tour is a stop in Akita, with the rejigged schedule meaning we have just the ONE tag match there, with Roppongi 3K taking on TJP and Clark Connors. Tuesday moves to Iwate, with only Suzuki-gun vs. Rocky Romero and Ryusuke Taguchi on tap, while the coaches are back in action on Wednesday in Fukushima, taking on the Bullet Club tandem – it’ll not be until Korakuen Hall next Sunday when all teams are back in action again.