After Tuesday’s stormer of a show, Korakuen Hall plays host to the second round of the Super Junior Tag League!
As usual, Kevin Kelly and Rocky Romero are on commentary (at least for the start of the show).
Ayato Yoshida, Yota Tsuji & Yuya Uemura vs. Tomoaki Honma, Shota Umino & Ren Narita
Can this top yesterday’s red-hot Young Lions’ opener? There’s a slight tweak to the line-up, with Tomoaki Honma swapping with Toa Henare, as the master of the Kokeshi continued this comeback.
Umino and Yoshida get us underway, as we head to the ropes… but Umino throws a chop upon the break, which is quickly returned as the pair were throwing bombs early. Good lord, those chops rang throughout Korakuen, before Yoshida scored with a shoulder tackle as we began to cycle through tags.
Narita and Uemura are next in, going straight to the mat as they grappled, with Narita edging ahead with a snap fireman’s carry takeover before he grabbed an arm as Uemura got to the rope. Honma comes in next to put the boots to Uemura, but his time in was brief as he quickly tagged back out to Umino as the two Young Lions double-teamed Uemura, complete with a blasting low dropkick for a near-fall.
Umino made light work of a snapmare as Uemura’s caught in a sleeperhold, but again we end with a rope break before Honma returned to start throwing chops. The pace grinds to a halt as Honma goes for a suplex, before he instead ran into a dropkick as Uemura tags in Yoshida to try and pick up the pieces. A Slingblade-like clothesline takes down Honma, who’s caught in the corner with a knee before a PK to the back drew a two-count. Honma catches a second PK and mounts a comeback with an elbow and a Kokeshi, but he tags in Narita rather than go for a cover. Narita’s a proverbial house on fire with a shoulder tackle, but Yoshida quickly turns it around with a kick to the chest, before PKs to the back and front almost had Narita down for the count. OW.
Narita’s luck to escape another head kick, before he catches a Shining Wizard as he turns it into an overhead belly-to-belly… and now we finally get Tsuji into the match. Big dropkick to Umino from Tsuji, who followed up with a leaping forearm and a slam for a near-fall. The ring fills and clears quickly as we’re back to Umino and Tsuji trading shots, but overhand chops from Tsuji have Umino rocked briefly, as a shotgun dropkick from Shota turned it back around.
Again the ring fills and clears as Umino suplexed Tsuji, before a Boston crab looked to force a submission… but Yota manages to drag himself to the rope right as Shota was trying to pull him further away. Shota keeps up with a missile dropkick, and it’s back to the Boston as we have the quick tap. A step below yesterday’s, but the Young Lions again delivered… even if it meant that Honma looked distressingly out of place here. **¾
There was some scuffling after the bell, as Yoshida and Umino stared off… while Uemura and Narita actually came to blows!
Bullet Club Elite (Kota Ibushi, Yujiro Takahashi & Chase Owens) vs. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Togi Makabe & Toa Henare
With no Kenny Omega on this tour, we’ve got Kota Ibushi in as a proxy to continue the build for WrestleKingdom… which is something given how King of Pro Wrestling went down.
Makabe and Yujiro start by trading shoulder tackles, until Yujiro kicks low and changes it up. Chase sneaks in a cheapshot on the apron as the regular Bullet Club members put the boots to Makabe… while Ibushi refused to join in the fun. Just as well really, as Makabe came in with a double clothesline before Ibushi ran in and was barged down with ease.
Toa Henare tags in and scares Yujiro with a Haka – and we end up spilling to the outside as the Elite team started to find their feet. A back suplex/neckbreaker combo gets a near-fall on Henare, before Ibushi returns to the fray. There’s a snapmare and a kick to the back of Henare for a two-count as Ibushi wanted to do things “the right way”, stopping his team mates from taking any shortcuts.
It kinda worked, as Henare was kept cornered… but he manages to land a back body drop on Owens… who’d previously knocked his partners off the apron. More double-teaming nearly works as a standing moonsault draws another two-count for Ibushi. Finally Tanahashi gets the tag in, and he goes to town on Ibushi with a Dragon screw, only to get caught with a flurry of palm strikes and kicks as Kota refused to be put down. A standing shooting star press nearly nicks the win for Ibushi, as Tanahashi countered with a small package, only to get taken down with a ‘rana as both men were left on the mat. Owens tags back in, but his initial offence on Tanahashi sees him clip the Ace with a running knee for a two-count. Henare tags back in, not too long after he’d tagged out, and he’s quickly caught with a pump kick from Owens, before returning with a leaping shoulder tackle.
Henare keeps up with a clothesline in the corner, then a suplex and a falling chop before Makabe and Tanahashi return to help triple team Chase. A Samoan drop gets a near-fall as Yujiro and Ibushi make the save… and after whiffing on a crossbody off the top rope, Henare’s days are numbered as he’s quickly caught in a package piledriver for the win. This was okay, but the Tanahashi/Ibushi series was the brightest spell in what was otherwise a throwaway match. **¾
Bullet Club OG (Jay White, Bad Luck Fale & Guerrillas of Destiny (Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa) vs. Kazuchika Okada, Toru Yano & Best Friends (Beretta & Chuckie T)
Jado’s got the airhorn again. Yay, I guess.
Okada jumped Jay White as we have a Pier Six brawl before the bell, settling down into… Fale against Yano?! Okay, I guess. Yano removes the turnbuckle padding and bops Fale on the head. Yeah, that goes as well as you’d expect. Jado gets involved with a Kendo stick as Yano was begging for a break in the ropes, and we’re back outside again as White throws Okada into the crowd, before returning to the ring as he throws Yano into that exposed corner.
Tama Tonga comes into to take shots at Yano, as did Tanga Loa, who did a pretty good job of isolating him. Tama again whips Yano into the exposed corner, before he took an inverted atomic drop as Beretta tags into the match… crashing into Tama with a crossbody. The pair dodge each other for a while before a German suplex takes Tama outside… where Tanga Loa makes a save as Beretta was teasing a dive. Chuckie T’s in to combine with his tag partner as a leaping knee and a tornado DDT has Tama down, before a Gobstopper shining wizard almost gets Beretta the win. Some misdirection gets Tama back in it as my feed stutters. Luckily, it recovers as White and Okada hit the ring, but Jay quickly tags out to avoid Okada, who instead blasts Tanga Loa with some forearms, then a flapjack for good measure.
Tanga Loa tries to resist a neckbreaker slam, and retaliates with a short spear as Fale hit the ring for some double-teaming. Heck, the rest of the Bullet Club join in on Okada, who takes a big splash from Fale for a near-fall as Yano breaks up the cover. A Parade of Moves breaks out, with Yano dragging down Tama by the hair before Okada manages to slam Fale! There’s another dropkick, this time for Tanga, before a tombstone piledriver followed. White tries to make the save, as he and Okada go back and forth… before Gedo comes in and punches out Okada with some brass knuckles for the blatant DQ. Eh. It is what it is, but the “Westernised bollocks” is becoming increasingly evident. ***
Post-match, White tries to lay out Okada with a Blade Runner, but Tanahashi runs out for the save.
Super Junior Tag League: Soberano Jr. & Volador Jr. vs. Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask
Both teams had differing fortunes last night, and we’ve got a quartet in masks, with Volador still coming out in a hood after his recent head-shaving.
Soberano and Tiger Mask start us off, with the pair going to ground early on as Soberano looked to force an early submission. Tiger Mask tries to turn up the pace, but Soberano just leaps over a monkey flip as the pair reach a stalemate before tagging out. Volador removes his mask, revealing a taped-up ear after he got busted open last night, before the luchadors go airborne with a Sasuke special from Soberano – who went over Volador – ahead of an Asai moonsault to the floor from the recently-shaved one.
Back inside, Volador puts the boots to Liger’s knee, before Soberano kept up the pressure, forcing Liger into the ropes. There’s some double-teaming as Volador kicked away Liger’s knee as the match again returned to the mat, with Liger being kept far away from a tag. Volador seemed to spit on Tiger Mask, before some miscommunication got the veterans back into it as Volador accidentally clocked Soberano with a superkick. Liger and Volador exchange tiltawhirl backbreakers before they tagged out, with Soberano taking a third backbreaker, this time courtesy of Tiger Mask. Soberano and Volador manage to combine again though, with Soberano landing a corner dropkick, then a Tornillo off the top for a near-fall on Tiger. Liger broke up that cover but seemed to injure his knee, as Tiger Mask ended up pulling off a Victory roll to avoid a Doomsday crossbody.
The wackiness continued as Liger crashed into Volador with a cannonball off the apron before a crucifix bomb almost puts away Soberano… as a tombstone piledriver from Tiger Mask just takes Soberano into the corner. A Shotei from Liger, then a Ligerbomb plants him, as the Tiger Driver almost gets the win, but Volador dove in for the save in the nick of time. In the end though, it’s a Tiger Suplex that puts Soberano away, as the veteran team picked up the W. Decent in spells, but this one seemed a little rough at times – something commentary tried to pin on jet lag. ***¼
Super Junior Tag League: Bullet Club OG (Taiji Ishimori & Robbie Eagles) vs. ACH & Ryusuke Taguchi
After an impressive debut yesterday, Robbie Eagles will be looking to make it two wins out of two for his team.
Taguchi and ACH are all about the rugby life, with ACH even ditching his jacket for a rugby shirt today, and we start with Taguchi working his way into a wristlock as Eagles couldn’t believe his luck. A rope break follows as Taguchi rolled his way there, but Eagles keeps up the pressure with some chops and a dropkick as Taguchi begged for a time-out.
ACH tags in, as does Ishimori, as the flips start to flow with the pair of them trying some mind games. Taguchi’s hip attack takes the Bone Soldier outside, where ACH is waiting for him with a plancha… but it looked to go awry as ACH is doubled over on the floor, with Ishimori using a chair as commentary surmised that ACH may have popped a rib. That’d be two New Japan guys in a week then… Undeterred, Ishimori drags ACH to the ring and goes for a cover, but still ACH continues as he took a double-team camel clutch/low dropkick for a near-fall. The Bullet Club pair keep him in the ring though, with Ishimori standing on the knee as the focus shifted somewhat. Eventually ACH gets the tag out to Taguchi, who starts with hip attacks… and continues with them like they were going out of style.
A reverse DDT/regular DDT combo helps Taguchi get a two-count on Eagles, before the Three Amigos suplexes put the Australian back on the mat for another near-fall. Taguchi switches it up with a springboard hip attack that misses, before dumping Eagles with a front suplex, only for a Bummer-Ye diving hip attack to miss as Eagles hit back. Somehow ACH is back to his feet, and back in the match as he faced off with his tag partner from this tournament two years ago. Ishimori’s got to kick out of an elbow drop as ACH looked to gut through the pain, even trying for a deadlift German suplex, before they started a chop battle. A handspring back elbow from Ishimori’s countered into a German suplex for a near-fall, but Ishimori’s able to come back with a baseball slide German suplex that left ACH in a heap.
Ishimori and Eagles combine to trap ACH with a shotgun dropkick into the corner, before Eagles’ 619 to the knees and a running double knees flattened ACH as Taguchi had to make the save. Taguchi’s taken outside as Eagles barely clips him with a tope con giro, while Ishimori tries to finish off ACH… reversing stuff back and forth before a tombstone gutbuster nearly got Ishimori the win. A Bloody Cross quickly follows, and that’s it. The Bullet Club team go 2-0 after a pretty good match, but one that almost derailed after ACH looked to get injured in the early stages. ***½
Chuckie T joins commentary in place of Rocky Romero for the rest of the show…
Super Junior Tag League: Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Shingo Takagi) vs. Chris Sabin & KUSHIDA
Another battle of teams with opposing fortunes from night one – and you’ve got to expect Shingo will continue to impress himself on the roster here.
BUSHI and Sabin start the match off, but it’s Sabin who draws first blood with a trip and a low dropkick for a near-fall. KUSHIDA quickly comes in, as does Shingo, who took the IWGP Junior heavyweight champion into the ropes for a clean break. KUSHIDA goes for the arm and groundes Shingo in a double armbar, before he looked for a regular armbar, only for Shingo to slam himself free.
BUSHI returns as KUSHIDA’s double-teamed, but he’s able to sneak in a tag out to Sabin, who leaps in with a crossbody as the double-teaming just had a different suspect. Still, Sabin’s able to outdo the pair of them, combining a spinning DDT and an enziguiri before he runs into a double hiptoss as LIJ took over again. Shingo’s back to slow things down as he drives a knee into Sabin’s gut as LIJ isolated him in the wrong corner… but an enziguiri to BUSHI helps to get him free before he wheelbarrowed Shingo and got the tag out. KUSHIDA’s back in to try and turn it back around, but rather than moonsault onto BUSHI from the top rope, he leapt onto Shingo on the floor instead!
BUSHI recovers with a rewind enziguiri to knock down KUSHIDA… Sabin’s back with a swinging DDT off the top rope for a near-fall on Shingo, before he gets a two-count from a deep jack-knife cover on Shingo. BUSHI broke up that cover before he’s double-teamed with a camel clutch/cartwheel dropkick combo, before Shingo spikes Sabin with a pop-up death valley driver out of nothing.
Shingo tries to put away Sabin with the Last of the Dragon, but instead he pushes Sabin into a BUSHI enziguiri, then a spinebuster/backcracker combo for a near-fall. BUSHI goes flying with a tope headbutt to KUSHIDA on the outside, before Sabin counters a Gory bomb into a La Magistral for a very close two-count! The Gory bomb quickly follows as Shingo plants the No Shigami, before a brutal Pumping Bomber lariat flattened Sabin for another near-fall. The Last of the Dragon quickly follows, and that’s enough to keep LIJ’s 100% record – another solid match, but much like yesterday I wasn’t completely invested on this match, which started off pretty slowly before reaching its stride. There’s just something about Shingo in LIJ that isn’t clicking for me yet (and yes, I’m in the minority). Sabin looked to have had his bell rung with that Pumping Bomber, which could be making today very injury-laden… ***¾
Super Junior Tag League: Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH) vs. Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru)
A rematch from Dominion (and many times before it), we begin with a jump start as Desperado and Kanemaru came through the crowd to attack Rocky Romero before the bell.
We’ve the usual Suzuki-gun stuff at first, with SHO and YOH getting thrown into the ring posts before Rocky retaliated with a ‘rana to Desperado on the outside. Kanemaru and SHO start us off in the ring, with Roppongi 3K quickly cornering and isolating Kanemaru as they looked to give the Suzuki-gun pair a taste of their own medicine.
Desperado drags SHO to the outside before shoving him deep into the crowd, as we’re back to those shenanigans, with YOH getting slammed hard onto the floor. Of course the tag champions use plenty of chairs, while SHO just gets thrown into the steel barricade at the bottom of the tiered seating. Meanwhile, Kanemaru and YOH are back in the ring, with a big back body drop being dished out to YOH, who was left on his lonesome as SHO was kept on the floor in the aisle. Double-teaming became the order of the day too, especially as YOH’s attempts at a fightback looked increasingly desperate. There’s a camel clutch for YOH from Kanemaru, which ends as YOH got a foot onto the rope as commentary mused how different 2018’s tournament was for Roppongi 3K, who ran the field in the tournament’s prior bracketed format a year ago.
Eventually YOH fought back with a flying forearm, before making the tag out to SHO who unleashes with forearms of his own. A legsweep dumps Kanemaru onto the apron as a baseball slide took him to the floor, before a spear caught Desperado unawares ahead of an attempted deadlift German suplex that Desperado elbows free from. A big spinebuster from Desperado ends that offence, but Kanemaru couldn’t capitalise as YOH comes back in to throw some rights ahead of a Dragon screw that took Kanemaru down hard. There’s a big boot to YOH, but he shrugs it off and dumps Kanemaru with a neckbreaker as the ring began to fill, with Desperado coming in without a tag as he tried to chop his way past Roppongi 3K… who then dispatched him with leaping knees.
SHO and YOH wait for Kanemaru to get up… but Rocky Romero’s rolled into the ring, which provides a distraction as Kanemaru hits first with the whiskey spray before scoring a near-fall with a top rope moonsault on YOH. Kanemaru heads back up top though for the Deep Impact DDT, and plants YOH with it for another near-fall.
Some more double-teaming follows as a dropkick-assisted back suplex connects for Kanemaru and Desperado, before a wacky Prawn hold with a bridge got YOH the win out of nowhere! That felt very much out of the blue, as a rather disjointed match came to a hurried end. This was a result that was far from definitive as Suzuki-gun quickly put the boots to them after the bell, perhaps frustrated that this is opening up yet another title shot for Roppongi 3K. ***¼
So after two matches, this is how the Super Junior Tag League stands:
Bullet Club OG (Robbie Eagles & Taiji Ishimori); Los Ingobernables de Japon (BUSHI & Shingo) (2-0; 4pts)
Jushin Thunder Liger & Tiger Mask; Roppongi 3K (SHO & YOH); Soberano Jr. & Volador Jr.; Suzuki-gun (El Desperado & Yoshinobu Kanemaru) (1-1; 2pts)
ACH & Ryusuke Taguchi; KUSHIDA & Chris Sabin; (0-2; 0pts)
The tour has a two day break now before it continues on Friday in Hiroshima. The show itself won’t be live-streamed, but the tournament matches are being made available after the fact via New Japan World. We’ll have coverage after they drop, and also for tournament matches in the days that follow before the tour returns to Korakuen Hall next Friday (October 26th).
Overall, night two was a marked step down from the tour opener, with Kevin Kelly perhaps summing it up best by saying there was a different atmosphere in the room. From the off, this was a crowd that perhaps wasn’t as up for it as on Tuesday – and it kind of reflected in the in-ring action. If you came into this expecting lots of flips and dives in the junior tag team tournament, you’ll probably be feeling let down, but at least the action we are getting is solid – if not overtly spectacular.