The Best of the Super Juniors picks up in Gunma, with a seven-way tie at the top looking to thin out a little…

Quick Results
Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma pinned Gabriel Kidd & Yuji Nagata in 8:00 (**¾)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Taiji Ishimori submitted Yuya Uemura in 10:36 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – BUSHI pinned Robbie Eagles in 11:24 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Hiromu Takahashi pinned DOUKI in 16:33 (***¾)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – SHO pinned Ryusuke Taguchi in 17:05 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Master Wato pinned El Desperado in 14:33 (***½)

The tour’s headed to Gunma’s G Messe for this stop, with the usual “Japanese live commentary with English to follow” that’s become the new normal.

Yuji Nagata & Gabriel Kidd vs. Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma
Speaking of “new normal”… this match, amirite?

Kidd talked his way into having Kojima start with him, and they open with a lock-up into the ropes before they began to trade elbows. A shoulder tackle from Kidd has Kojima down, before a suplex was escaped, with Kojima returning the favour. Honma tags in to put the boots to Kidd, then keep him at close quarters with a cravat, following up with a snapmare and a neck crank.

Kojima tags back in to boot Kidd in the corner, before Honma came back with chops… which in turn led to a dropkick from Kidd. A tag brings in Nagata to land an Exploder for a two-count, following that up with a Nagata Lock 2 that quickly ended in the ropes. Kojima’s back to take Nagata to the corner for Machine Gun chops, following up with the forearm in the corner… but this time Nagata press slams him off the top to avoid the elbow.

Kidd wants back in, and hits a back senton for a two-count on Kojima before he charged down Honma with an elbow. Clotheslines follow to Kojima as Kidd pushed on, only for Kojima to counter a suplex with a DDT for a two-count. Nagata and Honma have a brief scrap that ends with a leaping Kokeshi from Honma, before Honma and Kojima ate a dropkick from Kidd.

From there, Kidd goes for the double underhook suplex, but Kojima blocks it and returned with a Koji cutter for a near-fall, before a Cozy lariat was countered with a roll-up for a near-fall. Kidd keeps going with chops, but just ends up running into a Cozy lariat for the win. These openers really aren’t meant for the completists, as they’re playing *largely* the same match with slight tweaks for all of these tour stops. **¾

Best of the Super Junior 27 – Yuya Uemura vs. Taiji Ishimori
This should be straightforward for Ishimori, who starts by taking Uemura to the mat as he looked to work the leg of the Young Lion.

That takedown floats over into a side headlock, which Uemura rolled out of… only for Ishimori to return with a key lock attempt that Uemura looked to block. Instead, a front facelock grounds Uemura, who’s then rolled into a guillotine-like choke, before Ishimori dragged him into a Fujiwara armbar.

Uemura gets to the ropes to force a break, but Ishimori instead drops a knee into the shoulder, before they took things outside, with Uemura getting thrown into the guard rails, then the ring post. Back inside, elbows follow ot the arm, then a Codebreaker-like double knees as Ishimori stayed on the arm.

Ishimori eventually gets caught out with a dropkick, but he struggled to follow up, eventually blasting Ishimori with elbows in the corner before a second dropkick knocked him down for a two-count. Despite Ishimori’s efforts, Uemura’s able to roll him for a half crab – but with only one arm Uemura couldn’t get full grip on as they end up in the ropes. A Kanuki suplex looks to follow, but Ishimori counters it with an old-school shoulder breaker before a Yes Lock almost ended in the ropes. Ishimori tries to hit a Bloody Cross, but Uemura counters with a cross armbar, forcing the champion to scramble into the ropes.

A release German suplex is next as Uemura keeps going for it, following that up with a cross armbar… but Ishimori rolls free and after weathering a storm, he countered a Kanuki suplex by rolling through into the Bone Lock – the Gargano Escape – for the quick submission. Decent effort from Uemura, who gave Ishimori a scare, but in the end this went the way everyone largely expected. ***¼

Best of the Super Junior 27 – BUSHI vs. Robbie Eagles
I think BUSHI’s come as a knock-off of Chris Jericho’s “Painmaker” today…

BUSHI tries to jump Eagles before the bell, but gets knocked outside… he comes back in to beat a dive, before getting taken down with tijeras and a spinning heel kick. BUSHI knocks Eagles outside for a tope suicida, following that up with a neckbreaker back inside for a two-count.

A chinlock keeps Eagles down, then some headscissors as the Aussie made it to the ropes. Some t-shirt choking forces the referee to separate the pair. My feed drops, and returns with Eagles hitting a diving kick to BUSHI for a two-count, then some double knees in the corner before a 619 took out BUSHI’s knee.

More running knees get Eagles a two-count, with a Turbo Backpack getting blocked as BUSHI rakes the eyes. Kicks take BUSHI down, but he’s quickly back with a dropkick that sent Eagles into the ropes for a see-saw DDT. Eagles escapes a Fisherman neckbreaker and returned fire with more kicks, before Eagles countered a Destroyer into a Turbo Backpack for a near-fall. BUSHI responds with an overhead kick in the ropes and a missile dropkick, following up with a back cracker… but the Codebreaker’s blocked as Eagles rolls BUSHI into a Ron Miller Special, throwing some kicks to the back for good measure as BUSHI eventually dragged his way to the rope.

Eagles keeps going with kicks to the leg, before a toe hold was pushed off… he draws BUSHI between the ropes for a kick, but a springboard dropkick to the knee’s cut off with another dropkick, as BUSHI then spikes Eagles with a Destroyer for a two-count. From there, BUSHI heads up top for the MX, and that’s a win that cuts off the Aussie’s recent momentum! Pretty good stuff as Eagles continues to show why some are raving about him as a potential MVP for the tournament – even if the result didn’t go his way here. ***½

Best of the Super Junior 27 – DOUKI vs. Hiromu Takahashi
A first-time meeting here, and we’ve a jump start as DOUKI bumps the referee and knocks Hiromu to the outside… but Hiromu switches around to take DOUKI into the railings before the bell.

DOUKI backs away from a back senton off the top, then sidesteps a dropkick off the apron as he managed to crack into Hiromu with a tope suicida. From there, DOUKI heads up top to hit his back senton, which looked to go through Hiromu’s face as he found his mark. Hiromu needs to use a lot more of that 20-count than you’d think to get back in, but DOUKI stays on top as he chokes Hiromu into the corner with his boot.

An eye rake keeps Hiromu down, as did a running double stomp, before Hiromu stuck back with some tijeras, taking DOUKI down. Taking things outside, Hiromu hits a wheelbarrow facebuster on the floor, dragging DOUKI off the apron for the impact, before a shotgun dropkick off the apron knocked DOUKI through the gate at ringside. Back inside, Hiromu lifts up DOUKI for a suplex, but it’s escaped as Hiromu instead wheelbarrowed his way into a Complete Shot for a near-fall. A Gory bomb looks to follow, but Hiromu escaped before he was rolled into the backsliding Widow’s Peak for a near-fall. Daybreak looks to follow, but Hiromu blocks it before his powerbobm was countered into the Italian Stretch #32.

Hiromu quickly breaks that in the ropes, but DOUKI held on for a little longer as he headed to the apron for a Daybreak attempt. It lands at the second attempt, getting DOUKI a near-fall, before Hiromu came back in with an overhead belly-to-belly into the corner. He keeps it going with a Dynamite Plunger for a two-count, before Hiromu overcame some cheating attempts and rolled DOUKI into the corner with a death valley driver.

An attempted Time Bomb’s countered into the Italian Stretch #32 again. Hiromu almost got to the ropes, but instead has to power up and break the hold with Victory Royal, before they went back-and-forth with elbows on the mat. A superkick from Hiromu stalls DOUKI briefly, before the pair traded lariats… but it’s DOUKI who inches ahead as he took down the former junior champion with a clothesline of his own.

Suplex de la Luna looks to follow, but Hiromu elbows out before he’s knocked spark out by DOUKI. From there, he pulls Hiromu into a modified Widow’s Peak for a near-fall, before a Suplex de la Luna was countered with a roll-through for a near-fall. It’s back to strikes next, with Hiromu clotheslining through DOUKI before a second lariat get him closer to a win… with the Time Bomb getting him over the line. A really good outing for DOUKI here, who more than brought it here – but unfortunately the pecking order kinda gave him little chance. Hopefully one day that’ll change because his tournament outings here have belied his roster spot. ***¾

Best of the Super Junior 27 – SHO vs. Ryusuke Taguchi
Taguchi’s in a jovial mood, dancing at the bell, before the pair went to the mat, scrambling for a hold.

SHO manages to calm things down, working a wristlock on Taguchi, before headscissors and an escape took us into some rope-running and a shoulder tackle as SHO inched ahead. Taguchi gets an idea and makes SHO run the ropes, guiding him endlessly until SHO clung on… which meant a dizzy Taguchi ended up diving into the corner.

SHO continues to spin Taguchi, sending him staggering to the mat for an easy two-count, before he returned fire with a hip attack. A whip takes SHO into the corner, with Taguchi baseball sliding to the outside for an ankle lock on the apron, then another one around the ring post. SHO recovers to hit a baseball slide dropkick to knock Taguchi off the apron, following up with an apron PK… Playing slightly dirtier than usual, SHO wrapped Taguchi’s arm around the ring post, before ignoring Taguchi’s plea for a time-out, as he continued to go after him around ringside. Back inside, it’s back to the wrist and arm with a Corning hold, then a standing wrist lock before SHO swept the leg to trip Taguchi for a two-count.

SHO then kicked Bishop Brennan in the arse. Repeatedly. That fires up Taguchi, because of course he draws power from his arse, shrugging off an atomic drop to hit a hip attack… then leap into another atomic drop. A rolling hip attack knocks SHO down to the outside for a springboard plancha.

Taguchi rolls SHO back inside for a springboard hip attack, before the Three Amigos were curtailed as SHO broke free, only to get rolled into Oh My Garankle. SHO gets to the ropes, but Taguchi hits a knee breaker before a Bummer-Ye’s rolled through with SHO teasing a German suplex… eventually coming back with a spear instead.

Going back to the arm, SHO wrenches it over his shoulder, before some back-and-forth saw the pair trade elbow strikes until Taguchi got caught with two rolling German suplexes, then a cross armbar. He counters out of that back into the ankle lock, but SHO deftly counters the counter, only to get rolled up for a near-fall. Taguchi goes back to the ankle lock, dropping the elbow for extra effect, before the finisher teases continued.

A back body drop sees Taguchi counter out of a Shock Arrow, before he pulled down his own trunks to reveal boxer shorts as SHO looked for a roll-up. Taguchi learns. Pulling down the tights again, Taguchi hits a hip attack, only for SHO to return with a lariat, before a cross-armed piledriver dropped Taguchi for a two-count… before Shock Arrow planted Taguchi for the win. Really good stuff this, without ever threatening to hit that upper echelon as Taguchi’s tournament-long storyline has now led to him wearing underwear. ***½

Best of the Super Junior 27 – El Desperado vs. Master Wato
A somewhat odd choice of main event as Master Wato headlines as a singles act for the first time.

Desperado was mocking Wato for coming “with his dad”, and we get a bump to start as Desperado knocks Wato to knock him off the apron. Wato quickly hits back with some kicks to knock down Desperado, following up with an Arabian clutch, then a camel clutch before things were broken in the ropes. Elbows from Wato help knock Desperado into the corner, before Despy uses the referee to knock Wato to the floor mid-springboard… and here comes the shenanigans. Wato’s thrown into the guard rails, then the ring post, before Desperado wrapped Wato’s legs around it. Somehow, Desperado’s gotten the timekeeper’s mallet and pulls a Taichi, using it on Wato while hiding it from the referee…

A slam keeps Wato down, as does a series of knee drops and splashes to the leg, before Desperado tied up Wato with a leg spreader. Wato’s able to drag his way to the ropes to force a break as Desperado was largely dominating here… and sure enough, that’s the cue for Wato to hit back with a tiltawhirl backbreaker.

That takes Desperado outside for the tornillo, with Wato quickly following up with a tope con giro for good measure, before they returned to the ring as Wato nails a springboard uppercut for a two-count. More kicks rock Desperado, who returned with a low dropkick to take out Wato’s leg again, before Desperado borrowed a page from his stable mates’ playbooks and ripped at Wato with Dragon screws in the corner.

Numero Dos is next, with Wato being dragged away from the ropes, but he’s able to get his way back there to force the break. A waistlock from Wato’s broken up, as Desperado comes back in with elbow strikes before some kicks knocked him back down, leading to the abdominal stretch driver for a near-fall. Wato tries to follow up with RPP, but Desperado rolls out of the way, and returned with Guitarra de Angel for a near-fall.

Desperado looks for Pinche Loco, but Wato back body drops free, as the pair begin to trade strikes, with back-and-forth elbows. A high kick from Wato stops Desperado in his tracks, before a Tenzan Tombstone Driver was escaped by Desperado, who headed into the corner to obscure the ref’s eyesight as a mule kick low blow and a right hand KO’d Wato. Wato’s pulled up for Pinche Loco, but he rolls out and hits some satellite headscissors, rolling through into a jack-knife pin to snatch the win. Not as long as most matches you’ll see in this spot – but Wato more than held his own, and didn’t get exposed by it going overly long… and with both Wato and Taguchi having pinned Desperado, that’s pretty much a sign that we’ve got a junior tag title match set. ***½

World Tag League 2020
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi; Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb; SANADA & Shingo Takagi; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa (3-1; 6pts)
Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI; Juice Robinson & David Finlay; Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr.; Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (2-2; 4pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens; Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-4; 0pts)

Best of the Super Junior 27
Taiji Ishimori, SHO, Hiromu Takahashi, Master Wato (3-1; 6pts)
BUSHI, El Desperado, Robbie Eagles, Ryusuke Taguchi (2-2; 4pts)
DOUKI, Yuya Uemura (0-4; 0pts)

We’re back tomorrow in Fukushima, as the World Tag League portion resumes – and for a change, it’s not Suzuki-gun in the main event as we get Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI facing Shingo & SANADA on top instead.

This was a steady, if not explosive, stop on the Best of the Super Junior tour, as the pack continues to remain somewhat bunched up. Given the top two go through to the finals, we’ll be hitting the halfway point before we start to see eliminations – which should make for a more open and enjoyable tournament as we reach the business end of things.