A run of shows at Korakuen Hall begins, as the Best of the Super Junior tournament picks up!
Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma pinned Gabriel Kidd & Yuji Nagata in 8:24 (**½)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – BUSHI pinned Yuya Uemura in 9:57 (**½)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Master Wato pinned Robbie Eagles in 12:37 (***)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – SHO pinned DOUKI in 16:26 (***½)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Taiji Ishimori pinned Ryusuke Taguchi in 11:33 (***¼)
Best of the Super Junior 27 – El Desperado submitted Hiromu Takahashi in 23:10 (****)
Yuji Nagata & Gabriel Kidd vs. Satoshi Kojima & Tomoaki Honma
With all due respect, only one person can be called “junior” in this one!
Nagata and Kojima start us off, throwing elbows for fun before Nagata pulled Kojima down into an armbar. It’s quickly released as Nagata worked an arm breaker, then tagged in Kidd to leap in with a double sledge to Kojima’s arm. Honma comes in to trade shoulder tackles with Kidd, who followed up with elbows, before Honma charged Gabe down.
Boots from Honma, then elbows, have Kidd in the ropes, with Kojima returning to help with more of the same. Honma’s back with a double-team shoulder tackle and an elbow drop for a two-count, before a slam led Kidd in position for a Kokeshi… which of course misses. Kidd’s stopped from making a tag out, as he then blocked a Honma suplex, throwing elbows instead before landing the move himself.
Kidd finally manages to tag out to Nagata, who charges at Honma with a running big boot, before the pair went back to elbows. Nagata tried to go back to the arm, but is stopped with a leaping Kokeshi, with Kojima tagging back in to go to town with some Machine Gun chops. Kojima heads up top and actually lands the elbow drop for a two-count, but Nagata is quickly back with an Exploder.
Kidd tags back in to elbow away on Kojima, following up with a slam and a back senton for a two-count. The double underhook suplex is blocked by Honma, who ends up getting charged down as Kidd finds a way to a Boston crab on Kojima, but that quickly ends in the ropes. From there, Kojima responds with a Koji cutter for a near-fall, before a Cozy lariat was countered with a Kidd dropkick for a two-count. Another crack at the double underhook suplex is escaped though, with Kojima coming right back with a Cozy lariat for the win. A pretty decent opening tag, but one that underscores the need for fresh blood out of the dojo… **½
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Yuya Uemura vs. BUSHI
We’re straight into tournament action now, and we start with Uemura charging into BUSHI with a spear before looking for roll-ups and an early Boston crab.
Much like in his opener with Master Wato, Uemura’s trying to win this quick, but BUSHI manages to be resilient and begins to wear down the Young Lion. A slam gets a two-count, with a Boston crab following as Uemura had to hand-walk to get to the ropes, eventually doing so after having been pulled away.
Uemura tries to elbow back into it, but he’s met with a back suplex from BUSHI for a two-count, before he fired back, taking BUSHI into the corner for stomps and a dropkick. A Boston crab follows, again dragging BUSHI into the middle of the ring, but the masked man makes it to the ropes for the break.
A dropkick from BUSHI gets him back in it though, as does a swinging neckbreaker, but Uemura’s back with a dropkick and a German suplex for a two-count of his own. The Kanuki suplex looks to follow, but BUSHI escapes with an enziguiri, then a lungblower for a near-fall, before what looked like a F5 into a Codebreaker landed for the win. Save for the hot start, this was a pretty standard match, with BUSHI getting the expected win. **½
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Robbie Eagles vs. Master Wato
Both men started out with a win on Saturday – and they both started evenly here, with Eagles working a wristlock on Wato early on, which of course got reversed.
From a hammerlock, Eagles countered out into another wristlock, taking Wato to the mat, only for Wato to counter by tying up the legs as he rolled back into a wristlock while my player buffered relentlessly. A back elbow and a rear spin kick from Wato gets him back in it, as do some elbows to the neck, before headscissors and a spinning heel kick from Eagles turned the tables.
Wato heads outside, where he’s met with a tope con giro that almost went into the crowd. They head back inside, with Eagles getting a two-count before he took out Wato’s knee for a sliding elbow to the back of the head. Eagles mocked Wato’s pose as he wore down the “Grandmaster” with kicks, before a springboard attack into the ring was cut off with a dropkick.
This time it’s Wato’s turn to dive as he hits a tornillo to the outside, then a springboard uppercut back inside for a near-fall. Wato follows up with a leaping high kick to Eagles for another two-count, before an Alley Oop turned into a Phoenix-plex, which was rolled through,with Eagles almost getting the pin. From there, Eagles rolls through a wheelbarrow and traps Wato in a Ron Miller Special, but Wato’s able to get to the ropes.
The pair trade kicks from there, with Eagles finding a way through with a flurry that ended with a head kick and an enziguiri. Wato shoves off a Shiranui to hit a head kick in response, before the pair kicked each other’s legs at the same time. Eagles shrugs it off, leaping to the apron for a gamengiri, before a springboard dropkick to the knee looked to set up for another Ron Miller Special, but Wato rolls him up for a two-count.
More kicks follow from Wato, but he’s caught and flipped into a Turbo Backpack, before a 450 splash to the knee ended up getting both knees as Wato almost snatched the win… following that up with a TTD and a RPP as Wato loved the TLAs to get the W. This took a while to get going, and looked rough at points, but the pair eventually found a groove with some brief exchanges before Wato’s two-shot kill of the Tenzan shoutout and Spiral Tap got the win. ***
Best of the Super Junior 27 – DOUKI vs. SHO
DOUKI jumped SHO at the bell – he’s learned a lot from his unit, clearly!
SHO recovers, lifting him onto the apron before a baseball slide dropkick took DOUKI to the floor, then followed that up with a massive PK off the apron. Ow. They head back inside, with SHO keeping up on the stomps before he looked to work over the arm with a Corning hold. A leg trip takes DOUKI down for a two-count, before a key lock quickly saw DOUKI squirm into the ropes… but DOUKI then low bridges SHO back to the outside, where the obligatory Irish whips took the former junior tag champion into the guard rails.
DOUKI grabs his pipe, shoving aside the referee in the process as he went to use the pipe as an aid for a neckbreaker on the floor. That leads to a count-out tease, but SHO easily beats the count and ends up getting elbowed for a spell as DOUKI tried to build momentum. A back elbow off the ropes gets a two-count, and then it’s down to a chinlock as DOUKI was going the “slow and steady” route it seemed.
SHO gets to the ropes to break the hold, but quickly gets caught with a DDT for a two-count after he tried to build back. A suplex gets blocked by SHO, who then came back in with a spear before he elbowed DOUKI into the corner, following up with a clothesline and some kicks to the chest. Those get another two-count for SHO, but the tide quickly turns as his search for a German suplex was rolled through, with DOUKI coming back with Italian Stretch #32… albeit right by the ropes.
DOUKI keeps going, setting up for the Daybreak DDT, but SHO catches him, then shrugged off clotheslines before DOUKI took him down with one of his own. A suplex from SHO keeps things even, as do back-and-forth elbows… until an enziguiri from DOUKI took SHO into the ropes.
Another Italian Stretch #32 traps SHO in the middle of the ring, but he powerbombs his way free, chaining it into a nasty Power Breaker for a near-fall, before a Shock Arrow was flipped out of, and back into the Italian Stretch. This time, SHO tries to back into the ropes, but DOUKI rolls him back into the middle of the ring to re-apply the hold, which brought him to the mat… but again, SHO gets to the ropes.
The Daybreak DDT followed as DOUKI almost snatched an unlikely win, before Suplex de la Luna was escaped. DOUKI racks SHO ahead of as spin-out side slam, which still only gets a two-count before a German suplex from SHO left both men down. Back to their feet, the pair trade elbows again, but SHO pulls forward until he ran into a throat thrust.
Another lariat from SHO stops DOUKI in his tracks though, leading to cross-armed piledriver for a near-fall. From there, SHO calls for – and hits – a Shock Arrow, and that’s your lot. A decent outing from DOUKI, who’s come on in leaps and bounds since his debut in last year’s tournament, but unfortunately his lot right now is likely to leave him towards the bottom of the table. ***½
Best of the Super Junior 27 – Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Taiji Ishimori
The last time these guys met in February 2019, Taguchi took the piss out of Ishimori’s past as a Sailor Boy… and did the same today, doing the dance to start things off.
Once he calmed down, Ishimori went for a headlock, but got shot into the ropes and fell for Taguchi’s endless rope running trick… before Ishimori missed a low dropkick. Chops quickly give way to Taguchi just poking Ishimori into the ropes, but a resulting hip attack attempt ended with Taguchi being lifted onto the apron, then stun gunned to the floor.
Ishimori follows him outside for the obligatory whips into the railings, before Taguchi tried to log roll across the ring as he was sent back inside. Stopping him with a choke forces the referee to start counting, before Ishimori had to stop another log roll, this time by standing on Taguchi. A cravat followed to keep Taguchi at close quarters, with a neck twist coming next, as this seemed to be pretty much one-way traffic. A chinlock’s fought out of, but Taguchi’s taken into the corner for some chops before he sidestepped a splash… then found a hip attack got countered into an atomic drop. Second time was the charm though, with Ishimori being sent sailing to the outside for a plancha, before a springboard hip attack back inside nearly got the win for Taguchi.
Taguchi followed that up with an attempt at the Three Amigos, but the third one’s countered as he instead went for a reverse DDT. Oh My Garankle takes Ishimori into the ropes for a break, ahead of a gourdbuster and a Bummer-Ye which actually hit its mark, getting Taguchi a two-count. From the kick-out, he rolls back into the ankle lock, but Ishimori switches out and pulled him into a Yes Lock… rolling Taguchi away from the ropes for good measure as the submission seemed to loom.
A rope break saves Taguchi, but he’s taken into the corner for a shotgun dropkick and running double knees, before the Cipher UTAKI tombstone gutbuster got a near-fall for Ishimori. In response, Taguchi once again went for the ankle lock, dropping an elbow to the knee as he tightened up the hold, before he pulled Ishimori up for Dodon… which was countered with a wheelbarrow roll-up… Taguchi reverses it, but Ishimori un-did that, and grabbed a handful of tights to get the win. Ishimori steals one in a match that was fine, but never really kicked into a higher gear. ***¼
Best of the Super Junior 27 – El Desperado vs. Hiromu Takahashi
A long-storied rivalry wraps up today’s show, and it’s one that Desperado won last time it took place under this tournament’s banner.
Neither man charges out of the blocks at the bell, instead opting to soak up the crowd before they stared off with the simple stuff. Wristlocks going back-and-forth, before a trip from Hiromu took them to the mat for side headlocks and roll-ups. A lock-up followed, with both men trying to back the other into the ropes, but then the pace rockets as Hiromu took Desperado outside, then flung him repeatedly into the guard rails.
Back inside, Hiromu chops Desperado, who fought back with some scuffling on the mat before they rolled into the ropes… then back outside as those guard rails took a beating. Hiromy got whipped through the gate at one point as the chop battle almost threatened to get the pair counted out… but they stopped to beat the count… then went back outside as Hiromu was thrown towards the commentary team, ahead of a wild tope con giro from Despy.
Back inside, Desperado undoes a corner pad as the referee was counting out Hiromu… of course, Hiromu makes it back inside, and gets thrown into the exposed corner. On the mat, Desperado looks to work over the leg, but Hiromu gets to the ropes pretty quickly, then sparked a brief chop battle that ended with him being taken down as Despy hits a splash to the leg for another pin attempt.
Hiromu tries to recover with a trapped headbutt, but instead has to make do with landing some tijeras to take Despy down, following that up with a clothesline in the corner and a low dropkick. That takes Desperado outside, as a shotgun dropkick off the apron flew him into the guard railings, following up with a Falcon arrow back inside for a two-count.
Desperado wriggles out of a Dynamite Plunger attempt, then caught Hiromu’s knee in the corner with a low dropkick and a Dragon screw, as his game plan became apparent. A chop from Desperado starts another back-and-forth, ending with a kick to the knee again as Desperado pulled Hiromu into Numero Dos… but was forced to break it via the ropes almost instantly.
Pinche Loco followed, but Hiromu ‘ranas out for a near-fall, then dumped Desperado with a lariat. A Dynamite Plunger followed for a two-count, but Desperado escapes a Time Bomb before he got flung into the corner with an overhead belly-to-belly. Another crack at the Time Bomb’s escaped, this time via a rake to the eyes, before Desperado used the referee as a human shield… only to get superkicked and lariated down as his low blow attempt failed.
Despy’s back with a clothesline moments later, only to take one in return, as a Victory Royal from Hiromu drew a two-count. Time Bomb 2 gets countered, but Hiromu blocks a spear… then takes a spinebuster as Despy went back to Numero Dos, looking to trap both arms in the process before Hiromu got to the ropes.
Hiromu blocks Pinche Loco again and this time found a way free with a back body drop. A brief exchange of strikes sees Hiromu pull ahead with a pair of superkicks, only to get caught with a straight right hand. Another crack at Pinche Loco is blocked, as Hiromu instead rolled through to take Desperado into the exposed corner with a death valley driver… only for Desperado to come close with a sneak roll-up after that.
We get a ref bump next as Hiromu’s thrown into the exposed corner, sandwiching Red Shoes Unno in the process… he even falls crotch-first onto Desperado’s foot too for a nice two-for-one… and the shenanigans begin. Desperado heads outside for a chair, which he eventually uses, whacking Hiromu’s knee repeatedly before he rolled the referee back inside. The Numero Dos follows once more, with Hiromu being kept away from the ropes, and that eventually forces the verbal submission. While not as wild as their prior outings, this was a nice, spirited scrap between two long-time rivals – and also planted the seed for the remainder of the tournament with Desperado leaving Hiromu laying after those shots to the knee. ****
World Tag League 2020
EVIL & Yujiro Takahashi; Taichi & Zack Sabre Jr. (2-0; 4pts)
Great-O-Khan & Jeff Cobb; Hirooki Goto & YOSHI-HASHI; Juice Robinson & David Finlay; SANADA & Shingo Takagi; Tama Tonga & Tanga Loa; Tomohiro Ishii & Toru Yano (1-1; 2pts)
Bad Luck Fale & Chase Owens; Toa Henare & Hiroshi Tanahashi (0-2; 0pts)
Best of the Super Junior 27
SHO, Master Wato (2-0; 4pts)
BUSHI, El Desperado,Robbie Eagles, Taiji Ishimori, Ryusuke Taguchi, Hiromu Takahashi (1-1; 2pts)
DOUKI, Yuya Uemura (0-2; 0pts)
It’s back to Korakuen Hall tomorrow for a World Tag League show, with Sabre and Taichi once again in the main event shot, this time against Shingo Takagi and SANADA.
Up until the main event, this was threatening to be a real “Gentleman’s Three” of a show – with matches that at best were feeling rather limited. Still, the main event here more than held up its end of the bargain. If you’re pushed for time, just watch that – and you’ll be glad you did.