Sunday’s Best of the Super Juniors card took place from Yamagata with five B Block tournament matches and headlined by Ryusuke Taguchi taking on Bushi.
In the first tournament match, Rocky Romero submitted Ren Narita 12:29. This match was terrific, and Romero is on a roll following the match with Will Ospreay. Narita had one arm taped, but Romero attacked the good arm with kicks and Narita sold the arm effectively. Narita built up to one big near fall when he countered a Magistral cradle, which the audience bought into. Romero kicked at the arm and there was a struggle before Romero locked on the armbar. Narita instantly tapped due to the compounded damage.
I loved the match, both guys were tremendous, and it was the second-best match of the show.
Next, Bandido pinned Douki 9:56 to get his first two points of the tournament. Douki has been presented as a mysterious wildcard in the tournament, but Bandido knows Douki from Mexico and has him scouted. Bandido immediately landed a suicide dive, but Douki took over from there. Bandido was more on point in this match and they worked a good match. Bandido reversed the Suplex de La Luna and landed his GTS and 21 Plex for the win. It was good but didn’t blow me away, which has been the general opinion I’ve had of Douki’s matches.
El Phantasmo defeated Robbie Eagles in 10:20 in the battle of Bullet Club members. Eagles assumed the role of the babyface. Phantasmo went after Kevin Kelly and was stopped by Eagles, who was sent into the ring post. Phantasmo stood on his groin in the tree of woe position before taking a suplex off the turnbuckle. Eagles landed a 450 splash for a two-count. Phantasmo stopped the Turbo Backpack, blinded Eagles with his bandana and hit CR II to pin Eagles.
Phantasmo cut a promo on Will Ospreay, who is his next opponent. The match was alright, it didn’t have a lot of heat.
In the best match of the night, Will Ospreay defeated YOH in 24:44. Both were excellent and was YOH’s best match of the tournament and one of the best of his career. YOH worked on Ospreay’s knee to eliminate the flying elements. YOH used the calf crusher, which Kelly cited as AJ Styles’ move. During Ospreay’s comeback, YOH grabbed hold of his tights to prevent the OsCutter. They both went down from a head kick and superkick to one another. Ospreay rallied at the end with a standing shooting star press followed by the Storm Breaker. He was unable to hit the OsCutter after several tries and was grounded by YOH.
It was a tremendous match and it was the most fire I’ve been displayed by YOH, who has been outpaced by SHO over the past year and this was a big spotlight for him.
In the main event, Ryusuke Taguchi defeated Bushi in 14:57. This didn’t have a chance of following the last match and I didn’t get into it anywhere close to the level of a main event. Bushi used a chair on Taguchi’s ass after Taguchi did comedy at the start of the match. Bushi hit the mist after referee Red Shoes had been knocked down, so Taguchi’s face was completely covered. Taguchi kicked out of a bridging backslide and hit the Dodon for a near fall. After the kick out, he went back to the ankle lock and Bushi submitted.
If this had gone on anywhere else but last, it would have been received much better as Taguchi has been very good in the tournament. It was likely the third best match on the show behind Ospreay vs. YOH and Romero vs. Narita.
The tournament breaks until Wednesday and then it’s the intense schedule with 40 tournament matches in five days. Here are the tournament matches for Korakuen Hall on Wednesday:
*Taiji Ishimori vs. Taka Michinoku
*Bandido vs. Ren Narita
*Jonathan Gresham vs. Titan
*YOH vs. Rocky Romero
*Dragon Lee vs. Tiger Mask
*Bushi vs. Douki
*SHO vs. Yoshinobu Kanemaru
*Ryusuke Taguchi vs. Robbie Eagles
*Shingo Takagi vs. Marty Scurll
*Will Ospreay vs. El Phantasmo
Here are the updated standings:
A BLOCK: Shingo Takagi and Taiji Ishimori (6 points), Dragon Lee, Marty Scurll, Tiger Mask (4), Titan, SHO, Jonathan Gresham (2), Yoshinobu Kanemaru and Taka Michinoku (0)
B BLOCK: Will Ospreay, El Phantasmo, Ryusuke Taguchi (6 points), Robbie Eagles (4), Bandido, YOH, Douki, Rocky Romero (2), Bushi and Ren Narita (0)