Hiromu Takahashi and Robbie Eagles squared off in the main event of the latest round of the Best of the Super Junior tournament.
Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma pinned Gabriel Kidd & Yuji Nagata in 7:52 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Ryusuke Taguchi submitted Yuya Uemura in 11:27 (***¾)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – El Desperado submitted DOUKI in 15:24 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – SHO pinned Master Wato in 13:00 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Taiji Ishimori submitted BUSHI in 15:26 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Hiromu Takahashi pinned Robbie Eagles in 26:01 (****½)
After a short while away, the tour’s back at Korakuen Hall for the first of two shows as the finishing line is in sight for both of these tournaments.
Yuji Nagata & Gabriel Kidd vs. Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma
Kidd and Honma start us off today, throwing elbows as Kidd managed to pull ahead with a shoulder tackle – but it doesn’t even get a one-count.
Kidd stays on Honma with elbows, but he ends up getting charged down and thrown into the corner as Kojima came in to stomp some mudholes in him. Kojima keeps Kidd under his boot and brings Honma back in, as the momentum didn’t change much… until Kidd blocked a suplex, then slipped out of one to hit a dropkick. A tag brings in Nagata who cleared house, focusing on Honma with kicks before an Exploder was elbowed away. Nagata knees Honma in the gut, then went back in with kicks… only to get caught and spun into a DDT. Kojima’s back to try his Machine Gun chops, which landed… as did Nagata’s Exploder.
A missile dropkick off the top from Kidd lands, as does a brainbuster, but the double underhook suplex was blocked as Kojima countered with a back body drop. Kidd’s back with elbows and a back suplex, before he rolled Kojima into a Boston crab… Honma tries to break it, but he gets caught in the old school Nagata Lock 1 as Kojima had to crawl to the ropes himself.
Kojima comes back with elbows, but Kidd rolls him up as he avoided taking the Cozy lariat yet again, but eventually he’s caught with it as Kojima leaves with another win. This started slow but got pretty good by the end. **¾
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Yuya Uemura vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Uemura’s already eliminated – while Taguchi is as good as out, starting the day with four points.
We start with a lock-up which Taguchi switched into the ropes… but his dancing back allows Uemura to charge in with a takedown that forced him to roll outside. One breather later, and Taguchi went for the leg… but Uemura rolled through and took him down for some mat-based grappling as the pair looked for a body part, but to little success as they eventually rolled into the ropes. Uemura manages to trip Taguchi again, but this time Taguchi scrambles to the ropes… he’s pulled back in as Uemura tried to take guard, instead opting for the arm and a side headlock, before Taguchi got up and wrestled him down in an overhead wristlock. That transitioned to the ankle lock, but that ends in the ropes.
Taguchi stays on top of Uemura with hip attacks in the ropes, but the Young Lion’s had enough arse and comes right back with a dropkick. Elbows pin Taguchi into the corner, as does another dropkick, which almost got Uemura the win. An attempted Boston crab ends in the ropes before Uemura could roll him over, as Taguchi tried his luck with the ankle lock again… except this time Uemura rolled through for one of his own before transitioning it into a Boston crab. Taguchi’s not able to hand-walk to the ropes as quickly, but the break’s eventually called for. They look for a waistlock, but Taguchi surprises with a reverse DDT instead, then threw in the Three Amigos – landing them all without any hassle for another two-count. Taguchi then goes all Nakamura on us, setting up for a Bummer-ye… but Uemura countered with a roll-through, then a big armdrag of the ropes, only for Taguchi to roll through that for another go at Oh My Garankle. This time Uemura manages to stand up and counter into a cross armbar, that also ended in the ropes.
A Kanuki suplex is attempted, but Taguchi elbows free, sparking a back-and-forth clapped exchange of elbows, before a sneak hip attack was countered into a picturesque bridging German suplex for a near-fall. Uemura goes back for the Kanuki, but a lucha roll through takes Taguchi back to Oh My Garankle, then pulled him up for a Dodon… but it’s rolled through for back and forth two-counts, until Taguchi switched back to the ankle lock, dropping an elbow and crossing the legs for the eventual submission. I’ll likely be the high man here, but this blew me away – from the early grounded stuff, through to the upset teases… Uemura came close, but barring a bad excursion and/or return gimmick, this lad looks to be a nailed on star by the end of this decade. ***¾
Best of the Super Junior 27 – DOUKI vs. El Desperado
The first half closes out with an all-Suzuki-gun match – with DOUKI taking on the man he replaced in this tournament last year.
We start out with Desperado going for a waistlock takedown, as they went at each other at quite the pace. DOUKI’s armdrags and led to a wacky counter to a sunset flip, before Desperado puts on the brakes. A side headlock is pushed out of as Desperado ends up running into another armdrag, then gets dropkicked to the outside as DOUKI faked out a dive. DOUKI eventually joined Desperado outside for a scrap, but a poke to the eye stops things as Despy then went for Despy’s pipe – and threw the referee into the rails to do so. DOUKI disarms Despy, which sounds like a tongue twister… and ends up with DOUKI nailing Desperado!
Some pipe choking is next as the referee came to, as a trip to the guard rails followed before they made it back inside. DOUKI mouths off as he stood on Desperado’s head, but Despy’s able to hit back with a suplex eventually, before a Dragon screw out of the corner had DOUKI down in agony. Desperado tries to follow up with Numero Dos, but DOUKI’s in the ropes before the hold could be fully applied. Despy looks for Guitarra de Angel, but DOUKI slips out and tried his luck with chops… only to get elbowed back. They go back-and-forth until a throat thrust from DOUKI finds its mark, but he just ends up running into a spinebuster as Desperado tries for Numero Dos once more… but that too ends in the ropes.
Some double knee drops keeps Desperado’s focus on the left leg of DOUKI, before an attempted low dropkick was avoided, with DOUKI leaping over it as he rolled Despy into Italian Stretch #32. DOUKI rolls to keep the hold on, but Desperado manages to make it to the ropes… so DOUKI heads to the apron in search of Daybreak, but Desperado catches him and drops him back on the apron.
A low bridge from DOUKI has Despy on the apron with him, and takes him down with a monkey flip that saw Desperado clip the edge of the ring on his way to the floor. DOUKI capitalises with a big back senton off the top rope to Desperado on the floor as he was throwing all caution to the wind. Back inside, DOUKI nails Daybreak for a near-fall, before Suplex de la Luna was countered out of, with Desperado rolling through and back into Numero Dos for the eventual submission. This was a really spirited match with DOUKI performing beyond what you’d expect from him given his spot in the pecking order. And hey, that pipe proves to be a really useful walking stick after you’ve had a beating… ***½
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Master Wato vs. SHO
SHO’s looking for a win to keep in touch with the top of the block – that, at least at the start of the day, Wato was part of.
Wato feints some kicks early on, but SHO swings back and is forced to back off into the ropes as Wato went for a roundhouse. Another kick looked to take Wato in for a German suplex, but he pushes away and manages to knock SHO outside with a kick, but had to abort a dive as SHO moved away.
Back inside, SHO sweeps the leg and dropkicks Wato off the apron, before he followed up with an apron PK to the arm. Wato’s thrown back inside as more kicks keep him down, followed up with a stomp to the elbow. An overhead wristlock and a legs weep has Wato down again, with SHO going for a key lock, but it’s right by the ropes as Wato’s able to force the break. More kicks from SHO keep Wato down, but Wato kicks his way out in the corner, following up with a tijeras to take SHO outside ahead of a tornillo. The springboard uppercut back inside drops SHO for a two-count, with Wato looking for the abdominal stretch driver… but SHO rolls through and eventually came back with a spear.
SHO throws some more kicks as he maintained wrist control, before countering Wato’s counter into a cross armbar. More kicks eventually get caught as Wato elbows them away, them came back with kicks of his own before another attempt at that abdominal stretch driver was countered into an armbar. Wato tries to roll his way out of it, but SHO hangs on as they get to the ropes again. From there, SHO went for a Power Breaker, but Wato rolls through and nearly nicks the win, before a corkscrew kick took SHO down. Now we get the abdominal stretch driver for a near-fall, before Wato went up top for the RPP, but he crashes and burns. Still, Wato’s back up as he takes a battering with some elbows from SHO, before a spinning backfist from Wato offered hope. As did a pair of head kicks before he looked for the Tenzan Tombstone Driver.
SHO slips out and decks Wato with a clothesline, before bouncing Wato with a Power Breaker for a near-fall, with a Shock Arrow getting the win seconds later. A good outing for SHO, as Wato’s quickly becoming infuriating to watch – if only for his inconsistency. He’s got flashes of brilliance, but too often shows signs of what some would call “sloppiness” in terms of missed moves or what have you. Slow it down kid, you’ll find your way in the end. ***½
Best of the Super Junior 27 – BUSHI vs. Taiji Ishimori
BUSHI tries to jump Ishimori before the bell, knocking him outside… but the dive’s kicked away in the ropes as the match begins on the floor.
Ishimori wraps BUSHI’s arm around the guard rails, before they made it back inside… but of course the referee refuses to count the pin. So Ishimori takes off BUSHI’s shirt and chokes him with it, before using it to wrench away on the shoulder some more, as the focus remained on that left arm. Knees to the shoulder follow on the mat, as Ishimori then looked to lever the arm, before a neck twist leaves BUSHI down for another two-count. Ishimori keeps going by throwing BUSHI shoulder-first into the corner pads, before a crucifix roll-up led to a near-fall… with Ishimori going right back to that arm. They switch it up, with Ishimori chopping BUSHI into the corner, but BUSHI comes back with a tijeras as we see he never switched off the LEDs on that entrance mask of his. Hopefully the batteries don’t run flat quickly…
The pair trade elbows before BUSHI took Ishimori outside for a big tope suicida. Back inside, a low dropkick staggers Ishimori ahead of a DDT for a two-count, before a back cracker out of the corner left Ishimori on his knees. BUSHI measures up for a Codebreaker, but it’s pushed away with Ishimori rolling him into a Yes Lock, but that is quickly broken in the ropes. A shoulderbreaker followed before Ishimori rolled BUSHI into a crossface, but that ends in the ropes. A handspring enziguiri from Ishimori followed, but BUSHI catches Ishimori in the corner with a springboard ‘rana that almost ends things. Ishimori escapes a Fisherman neckbreaker, but gets caught in the ropes with a dropkick as BUSHI followed him onto the apron with a see-saw DDT.
Back inside, Ishimori looks to hit back with a Bloody Cross, but instead the pair trade elbows before a back suplex has BUSHI ahead again. A Destroyer DDT’s next from BUSHI, before he heads up for a MX… but Ishimori catches him and countered back with Cipher UTAKI. The Bloody Cross followed, but BUSHI tries to counter into a BUSHI Roll… only for Ishimori to come back with a Bone Lock. He stops to roll BUSHI back into the middle of the ring, and there’s the submission. The finish felt a little anticlimactic, but given how much Ishimori had been working the arm, it made sense – as Ishimori becomes the first entrant to make it to ten points in either tournament. ***½
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Hiromu Takahashi vs. Robbie Eagles
Hiromu needs a win to regain top spot – something he’d edge Ishimori out on with tiebreakers by way of that opening night win… but a loss would effectively eliminate Eagles on tiebreakers.
We open with a lock-up as Eagles took Hiromu into the ropes, but he misses a chop on the break as both men came back, looking for low dropkicks before Eagles rolled Hiromu through for an early Ron Miller Special, ending with Hiromu scarpering to the outside. Back inside, Hiromu chops Eagles, but falls to a springboard armdrag as the Aussie came back with a tijeras, taking Hiromu right back outside… but he returns to run into a spinning heel kick as Eagles flew with a tope con giro that saw him catch the rails. They return to the ring with Eagles getting a two-count as he began to work away on Hiromu’s leg… only to get pushed outside as Hiromu’s search for a Sunset bomb ended with him powerbombing Eagles on the edge of the ring. A chop from Hiromu followed as he went tit-for-tat with Eagles, then stomped away on him as they briefly went back inside… going back outside as Eagles could get thrown into the guard rails.
Hiromu hits a running shotgun dropkick to knock Eagles through the gate, before he busted out the cloverleaf backbreaker move he used against Uemura last week. A camel clutch keeps Eagles humble, stopping to do the “Robbie Robbie Robbie” chant, punching Eagles on all of the “ois”. That popped me.
Hiromu keeps going with a slingshot into the bottom rope, then with some chops, as Hiromu managed to get the “Robbie Robbie Robbie” claps going. Lifting Eagles onto the apron went bad as Hiromu charged into a gamengiri, before a springboard dropkick to the knee took Hiromu into the ropes for a 619. Eagles hits a springboard elbow next, then a diving leg lariat for a near-fall, with running double knees into the corner almost putting Hiromu away. Eagles goes for a Shiranui next, but Hiromu clotheslines him, then dropkicked him outside for another shotgun dropkick, this time off the apron. A low 619 from Eagles is avoided, but he’s able to keep going as he teases a Turbo Backpack, before busting out a twist on a Dragon screw – almost like an Overdrive meets a Dragon Screw – taking Hiromu down to the mat. The 450 splash to the knee is next, but Eagles can’t follow up quickly, as he resorts to trading kicks with the former junior champ.
An elbow in the ropes stops Hiromu briefly, before he ran into a leg lariat. He’s back with an overhead belly-to-belly into the corner, ahead of a Dynamite Plunger for a near-fall. A death valley bomb into the corner follows as Hiromu built up a head of steam, but his Time Bomb’s countered out of into a jack-knife roll-up as Eagles almost nicks it.
Eagles goes right back to the knee, but a pair of superkicks cuts him off, as Hiromu then lifted him onto the apron for another superkick… then… SUNSET BOMB! Except Hiromu’s knee gives out, and he can’t finish the move! Heading back to the apron, Eagles kicks out Hiromu’s knee and then heads for a Shiranui off the ring post… but the Sliced Bread is blocked, so Eagles just switches up and dumps Hiromu on the edge of the ring with a Turbo Backpack. Bloody hell lads!
Hiromu barely makes it back inside in time, but manages to stop Eagles on the top rope, teasing a German superplex… only for Eagles to counter with an avalanche Shiranui instead for a near-fall. A 450 splash aiming for the leg gets Hiromu’s back instead as he rolled away, but it gets Eagles another two-count before he looked for the Ron Miller Special… which is countered with an inside cradle for a near-fall. Eagles kicks out the leg again and finally applies the Ron Miller Special, dragging Hiromu away from the ropes… but Hiromu’s able to gut through it to force the break. A tornado DDT’s blocked as Hiromu’s knee gives out again… and Eagles smells blood. Kicks and another low dropkick have Hiromu down briefly, with a pair of clotheslines offering some resistance.
Hiromu muscles his way through as he looked for a Time Bomb, but Eagles counters out with a trio of kicks, only for a ‘rana to get countered as Hiromu powered through into Victory Royal. From there, Time Bomb 2 lands, and that’s enough to get the win – and force Eagles’ elimination. Easily the best match of this tournament so far, with Hiromu’s knee being aggravated early on, curtailing what he could do by the end of the match. A shame Eagles is eliminated already, but he’s been the most consistent performer in this tournament, which should bode well for the future. ****½
World Tag League 2020
SANADA & Shingo Takagi; Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.; Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (4-2; 8pts)
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi; Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb; Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI; Juice Robinson & David Finlay; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (3-3; 6pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens (2-4; 4pts)
Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi (1-5; 2pts) * eliminated
Best of the Super Junior 27
Taiji Ishimori, Hiromu Takahashi (5-1; 10pts)
El Desperado, Master Wato (4-2; 8pts)
BUSHI, SHO, Ryusuke Taguchi (3-3; 6pts)
Robbie Eagles (2-4; 4pts) * eliminated
DOUKI, Yuya Uemura (0-6; 0pts) * eliminated
The tour continues at Korakuen Hall on Monday, with the World Tag League returning as last year’s winners of David Finlay & Juice Robinson main event against Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. They always seem to step it up for these Korakuen shows, and this was no different. Starting with Uemura putting on almost a career performance in defeat to Taguchi, this was a strong card that was bookended with cracking matches. Carve out two and a bit hours in your day and make sure you get this one watched!