Night ten of the 25th Best of the Super Juniors featured an interesting match order, as the tournament's B Block took center stage.
KUSHIDA and El Desperado closed Wednesday's show, held in Fukushima at the Big Palette Fukushima.
Looking at the card beforehand, I would have put Marty Scurll and Dragon Lee on last. With the benefit of hindsight, I would have closed the show with Chris Sabin and Hiromu Takahashi, as they delivered the performance of the night.
Here are the results from the show.
- YOSHI-HASHI & Will Ospreay defeated Tiger Mask & Shota Umino when YOSHI-HASHI submitted Umino with a Butterfly Lock
- Chase Owens & Taiji Ishimori defeated ACH & Tomoyuki Oka when Owens pinned Oka after a Package Piledriver
- Yoshinobu Kanemaru & Minoru Suzuki defeated YOH & Gedo when Kanemaru pinned Gedo after a Deep Impact
- Tetsuya Naito & BUSHI defeated Flip Gordon & Toa Henare when Naito pinned Henare after a Destino
B Block Matches:
Marty Scurll defeated Dragon Lee
They opened with some nice chain wrestling, with neither man gaining a clear advantage. Scurll bent the fingers back, then took control of the match, hitting a kick to the quadriceps, and a backbreaker. Scurll tied the top of Lee's mask to the bottom rope and attacked, focusing on the left arm.
Lee made a comeback, sending Scurll to the floor, before hitting a tope con hilo. Back in the ring, Lee connected with a dropkick in the corner, and got a nearfall. He hot a double underhook backbreaker and a running knee for another nearfall.
Dragon went for another dive, but Scurll cut him off. He hit an enziguri on the apron, and a superkick, sending Lee to the floor. Marty got a nearfall off a knee strike, and connected with a throw from the top rope.
Scurll missed a moonsault. He teased the finger break spot, but Lee hit a DDT gor a nearfall. A nice exchange of strikes and lariats led to a double down. Lee used a sleeper and a knee strike for a nearfall, but Scurll countered with the finger break spot.
Lee was able to cradle Scurll for a nearfall. Scurll countered with a Code Red, but could not get a three count. Lee hit a double footstomp from the top, but Scurll countered with a DDT and a fisherman's buster for a nearfall. Dragon hit a standing Spanish Fly, as the exchange of nearfalls continued.
The finish saw Scurll connect with an inverted superplex, before locking on the chicken wing for the submission.
They worked a different match than I expected, with Lee not doing nearly as much flying as usual. It was still quite good, but I am perplexed as to why working Dragon's left arm never really led to anything.
Ryusuke Taguchi defeated SHO
This is worth seeing if only for the spot where SHO was shooting invisible arrows at Taguchi,
They started with the standard comedy built around Taguchi's butt. SHO worked over the left arm, including applying a post-assisted armbar. He spent the next several minutes working a variety of holds, from abdominal stretches, to a triangle, to what I think was supposed to be a figure four.
Taguchi made a comeback with hip attacks, and a pair of really nice dives to the floor. He went for Three Amigos, but SHO countered, hitting three rolling suplexes of his own. Taguchi hit a dropkick, but ate a lariat. He was able to rebound and apply the ankle lock, but SHO reached the ropes.
Taguchi did his Nakamura impression, but when he went for the Bomaye, he ran into a suplex. SHO hit a lungblower for a nearfall, but Taguchi backdropped out of his finish and hit an exploder. He applied the ankle lock again, but SHO reached the ropes after rolling through several times.
The finish saw Taguchi hit a nice bridging Korriyama, picking up the pinfall victory.
This went too long for my liking, but some of the comedy at the outset worked, and the crowd was into seeing Taguchi win.
Hiromu Takahashi defeated Chris Sabin
Hiromu went after Sabin at the bell, but Sabin responded, hitting a monkey flip, followed by a senton from the apron to the floor, and a high cross. Hiromu responded, and after initially countering a sunset bomb attempt, Sabin ended up taking a powerbomb on the apron. Hiromu took control.
He used a tarantula in the ropes, before hitting a shotgun dropkick from the apron to the floor. He methodically worked on Sabin's head and neck in the ring, using more brawling tactics than usual. Those tactics left an opening for Sabin, though, who responded by winning a striking battle, before planting Hiromu with a DDT.
Sabin hit a missile dropkick, a Yakuza kick, a reverse Frankensteiner, and a tornado DDT, but Hiromu took all of it, and regained control with a powerbomb and a Dynamite Plunger. They traded superkicks and lariats, as the match reached the home stretch.
The finishing sequence saw Sabin score a nearfall with a powerbomb into a jackknife cover, but he was unable to score a pinfall after an All Hail Sabin. He went for another, but Hiromu countered, and slapped on a triangle choke, forcing Sabin to tap.
This was a good match, my favorite on the show to this point. Sabin has been impressive in this tournament. He can't work at the pace of the best in the world, but he brings a lot of other things to the table.
KUSHIDA defeated El Desperado
KUSHIDA warded off the trademark opening attack from Suzuki-gun's Desperado, and connected with a cannonball to a seated Desperado on the floor. Desperado quickly gained the upper hand, as the action spilled into the audience. He used a handcart, and pushed KUSHIDA around the building, taking out row after row of chairs.
They teased a countout, and KUSHIDA sold his left leg as a result of the assault. Desperado sent KUSHIDA into an exposed buckle, and continued working the leg, using a half crab. KUSHIDA made a comeback, hitting a tope con hilo to the floor, and a handspring into a back elbow in the ring. Desperado cut him off, and continued to attack the leg.
Desperado pulled a Bill Watts and pulled up the padding at ringside, and teased a superplex to the floor. That seems like an exceedingly bad idea for a spot. Someone will try it soon, I'm sure. KUSHIDA was able to counter, and hit a flying cross armbreaker to the canvas.
Desperado went for a rolling senton, but bumped Red Shoes in the process. KUSHIDA turned the senton into a Hoverboard Lock, and Desperado tapped, but with the referee out, no dice. He gave up the hold, allowing Desperado to hit a drop toe hold onto a chair, followed by a chair shot. He hit an Angle Slam as Red Shoes was revived, bit only got a two count.
The finishing sequence saw Desperado go for a Guitarra de Angel, but KUSHIDA coutered, and sent him into the exposed buckle. KUSHIDA hit a scary looking springboard Frankensteiner, almost spiking himself right on his head, and rolled into a cradle for a nearfall. He immediately followed with Back to the Future, and got the pin.
As a matter of personal preference, I would rather the Suzuki-gun chicanery to take place earlier in the card, rather than closing the show. This was fine, even good, but I'm still waiting for a trademark KUSHIDA performance in this tournament.