New Japan Best of Super Juniors report 5-30 Tokyo Korakuen Hall

By Andrew Kessler

Here are some quick notes and results for Night 4 of the New Japan Best of the Super Junior XX at Korakuen Hall in Tokyo.  I arrived about 10 minutes before bell-time and the only tickets still available were the second most expensive ($70 USD) but I think this is just what they do since there seemed to be a lot of empty seats.  I would estimate crowd at 1,800 fans, and I bought 5th row less than 10 minutes before the start of the show.

1. Block A: Taichi [4-0 - 8 points] pinned Hiromu Takahashi [0-4 - 0 points] in 7:08 with a knee to the face with his knee brace.  Shortly before the finish Taichi threw the ref to the ground and he missed Takahashi pinning Taichi for a 3 count.  There were a lot of good near falls by Takahashi with small packages before he got pinned, and I thought for sure we were going to get the upset.  Fun opener.  ***

2. Block B: TAKA Michinoku [3-1 - 6 points] pinned Brian Kendrick [1-2 2 points] in 7:39  with the Michinoku Driver II.  A fun, fast-paced match.  At one point TAKA was working over Kendrick with eye rakes, and boots to the face as Kendrick screamed "my face!! my face!!"  After he was done, Kendrick, who was done screaming, muttered just loud enough for everyone to hear, "my face, you asshole".  Everyone laughed.  ***1/4
3. Block B: Tiger Mask [2-2 - 4 points] pinned BUSHI [3-1 - 6 points] in 7:19 with a jumping tombstone piledriver followed by the "Destroy Suplex Hold".  Tiger Mask was really aggressive and both looked good.  ***1/4 

4. Block A: Jyushin Thunder Liger [2-2 - 4 points] pinned Titan [1-2 - 2 points] in 8:27.  Liger hit a running palm strike and Liger Bomb for a great near fall and right after Titan kicked out, Liger finished him with the Vertical-Drop Brainbuster.  This was the best match so far, which included 2 dives by Titan.  Both looked good.  ***1/2
5. Karl Anderson & Bad Luck Fale beat Hiroshi Tanahashi & Captain New Japan when Fale pinned Captain in 9:33 after the Choke Lariat Slam.  He hit the Choke Lariat Slam on Tanahashi just before the finish to take him out as well.  Tanahashi's video when he came out introduced him as "A one man of talent in 100 years".  You would think after Tanahashi and Captain went winless in the tag tournament, Tanahashi would have learned, but he didn't, and he still tagged Captain into the ring.  He was pinned about 2 minutes after he got in the ring for the second time.  Not as good as you would think with Tanahashi and Anderson in there since Captain and Fale were also in there.  **3/4

6. Block B: KUSHIDA [2-2 - 4 points] pinned Alex Koslov [2-1 - 4 points] in 10:45 with a roll-up,  There were a lot of great near falls with roll-ups, backslides, and small packages, and the crowd was buying into them and a good looking roll-up wound up being the finish.  Excellent near falls and false finishes.  ***1/2
After the fall, Rocky Romero hit the ring to attach KUSHIDA which brought out Alex Shelley.  Shelley and KUSHIDA did a bunch of cool tag moves and once order was restored, this led directly in to the next match...

7. Block A: Alex Shelley [1-2 - 2 points] pinned Rocky Romero [2-2 - 4 points] in 14:03.  This was the best match so far and there were a lot of great near falls, including Shelley doing a cross-legged brainbuster that I don't know the name of shortly before the finish.  Shelley finally pinned him after a superkick and then an Emerald Frosien.  This was a great match.  ****

8. Block B: Ryusuke Taguchi [1-3 - 2 points] pinned Kenny Omega [0-3 - 0 points] in 13:23 with the Dodon.  I think these would be 2 of the pre-tournament favorites to go to the Final 4 and both were winless coming into the match so this was a big one.  There were a ton of big moves in this match and it was fantastic.  There was way too much to describe but both looked excellent.  ****1/4

9. Block A: Prince Devitt [4-0 - 8 points] pinned Ricoche [1-2 - 2 points] in 13:27 with the Avalanche-Style Bloody Sunday. This match was the drawing card for me since I heard a lot of great things about Ricoche but had never seen him, either live or on TV, and Devitt is awesome.  The match was really good, and Ricoche is spectacular but he is not as solid as anyone else in the last 3 matches like Omega, Devitt, Shelley, or Romero.  Or maybe he is and this was an off night.  But a lot of his stuff was mis-timed or weak looking.  But Devitt is awesome.  They relied on a lot of outside interference from Anderson, Fale, and Tama Tonga which hurts a New Japan main event.  Hurt it a lot actually and made it hard to get into.  To the point that I don't want to see another Devitt main event in this tournament.  3rd from the top would be fine.,  This was the third best match of the night, and Ricoche had a lot of fans, but not enough to sell the place out.  In a few years though I could see him as being the best out there.  ***3/4

Best of the Super Jr. Standings after Night 4:

Block A:
1. Prince Devitt [4-0 - 8 points]
1. Taichi [4-0 - 8 points]
3. Jyushin Thunder Liger [2-2 - 4 points] 
3. Rocky Romero [2-2 - 4 points]
5. Alex Shelley [1-2 - 2 points] 
5. Baretta [1-2 - 2 points] 
5. Ricoche [1-2 - 2 points]
5. Titan [1-2 - 2 points]
9. Hiromu Takahashi [0-4 - 0 points]

Block B:
1. BUSHI [3-1 - 6 points]
1. TAKA Michinoku [3-1 - 6 points]
3. Alex Koslov [2-1 - 4 points] 
3. Jado [2-1 - 4 points]
5. KUSHIDA [2-2 - 4 points] 
5. Tiger Mask [2-2 - 4 points]
7. Brian Kendrick [1-2 - 2 points]
8. Ryusuke Taguchi [1-3 - 2 points]
9. Kenny Omega [0-3 - 0 points]
All in all, a really fun show with nothing bad and a couple of 4-star matches.  The worst match of the night was Tanahashi's match and I'm a huge fan of his.  None of the tournament matches were close to bad.  I'm looking forward to the rest of this tournament, and hope to go to the remaining 2 shows at Korakuen Hall if I can.

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