As the B Block competitors prepared to enter into the second match of their campaigns, it all seemed up for grabs as the best of the super juniors continued to heat-up in their 4th night in Japan’s Northeastern Tohoku region. Whilst the main event, was a ringing endorsement of the power of a free spirit over bitterness and contempt, a couple of friends threatened to steal the show in what turned out to be an un-missable night of Best of the Super Juniors.
Match 9 – Ryusuke Taguchi tapped-out DOUKI with an Oh My & Garankle
As if to prove his Suzuki-gun credentials, DOUKI wasted no time taking his fight to his opponent, Ryusuke Taguchi. Prior to the match, DOUKI had been expressing a great deal of bitterness towards what he perceived to be the Bourgeois comfortability of New Japan’s establishment, a system he saw as being embodied by the cheeky, but good-natured Taguchi. With this resentment in the forefront of his mind, DOUKI took his iconoclastic rage out on his opponent, the Young Lions, referee Red Shoes Unno and even threatening the fans sitting ringside. By the 10-minute mark, poor Taguchi had barely managed a single strike and was still wearing his rugby cap. By this point however, the funky weapon had had enough of his bolshy opponent, unleashing the the rarely seen three amigos as well as a textbook Dodon.
With his fully operational Funky Weapon up and running, the balls were firmly in Taguchi’s court. However, just when Taguchi seemed to gain the upper hand, trapping DOUKI with an “Oh My & Garankle”, Taichi, who had been providing commentary ringside, slithered into the ring. Steel chair in hand, he targeted Taguchi’s most funky of weapons whilst the oblivious Red Shoes was distracted. From there, DOUKI almost forced a ref-stoppage with his signature neck-tie choke hold, targeting not only Taguchi’s neck, but also his will to fight. Sensing an advantage, Taichi once again hopped onto the ring apron sliding a steel chair to his Suzuki-gun teammate, but this time to no avail. An enraged Taguchi had seen enough and employed his vicious ankle lock, holding it long after DOUKI had tapped out. Post-match, Taguchi told some of his signature dirty jokes, before parodying some of New Japan’s top stars including YOH, SANADA, Tanahashi & Taiji Ishimori.
Match 8 – Will Ospreay pinned Rocky Romero after a Storm Breaker
In their first singles match since their meeting in Revolution Pro Wrestling, February 2015, Ospreay came into this match as the firm favourite. The two may have been friends and teammates, but tonights they found themselves in opposite corners. The prize of being crowned the “Best of the Super Juniors” being too lucrative to pass-up. Once the match started, however, it was the self-proclaimed “King of Sneaky-style” that was able to use his years of experience over the Aerial Assassin to counter his opponent’s technical and physical superiority. By the 5th minute, the British man had managed to transition the match into a more strong-style match-up, culminating in a vicious chop to Romero which sent him flying into the corner pads. Despite a vicious DDT, Ospreay was able to use his cat-like reflexes to land on his feet after a sustained assault from Romero. Sensing a need to change tactics, Romero decided to target Ospreay’s left arm, causing the Aerial Assassin to retaliate, pulling out the stops trying out some rare moves such as the Space Flying Tiger and Kawata kicks.
Romero’s tactics seemed to have paid off, however, when he managed to isolate Ospreay’s weakened arm into an arm-bar, but it was in the 19 minute mark when Romero was fully able to tap into his reserves of energy, using his Forever Clotheslines in spectacular fashion. A move often derided as a joke, the Forever Clothesline turned into a display of intelligent wrestling as feign and counter-feign ended in the veteran’s favour. From there, Romero was seconds away from victory time after time, but Ospreay managed to wriggle his was out each opportunity. By the time the 25 minutes call came, the crowd were completely enraptured by one of the best Junior bouts of the year, before Ospreay finally managed to overcome his “sempai” to emerge victorious.
Match 7 – El Phantasmo pinned BUSHI after a CR II
In a display of what we choose to assume was a gesture of good sportsmanship, BUSHI chose to start the match with a solid handshake. A rare gesture indeed, but ultimately one that was met with a reciprocal display of graphic expectoration from his opponent. As if to prove himself worthy of his new BULLET CLUB affiliation, Phantasmo proceeded to humiliate and belittle BUSHI at any expedient opportunity. BUSHI for his part, found himself put on the back foot, playing catch-up, but by the 8th minute, he had recovered enough to attempt an MX. That was until ELP’s counter by means of a brace of suicide dives and a top-rope splash. The match ended with a low-blow, ensuring that Phantasmo maintained his perfect record in a fashion his BULLET CLUB stable-mates could respect.
Match 6 – YOH pinned Bandido with a Dragon Suplex
Although the IWGP Junior Tag team champion came into the match the favourite, he quickly found himself struggling against the luchadore. YOH ended-up having to adapt his style to match the aggressive, high-flying style of Bandido. Despite landing a falcon arrow on his opponent at the 10 minute mark, a 450 splash from Bandido shook the man that calls himself “high and mighty.” YOH ended up having to resort to the move that won him his championship, breaking out the Dragon Suplex to get the win.
Match 5 – Robbie Eagles pinned Ren Narita after a Turbo Backpack
Despite his tournament debut coming 2 days prior, it was this match in front of his friends and family in Aomori that Narita was as the biggest match of the tournament. The sniper of the skies, however, was able to leverage his superior experience to the 21-year old and was able to counter much of Narita’s offence., including escaping his signature bridging back suplex hold. By the end of the match, Eagles managed to land a series of open palm strikes ending in his signature Turbo Backpack.
Match 4: Tetsuya Naito & Shingo Takagi defeated TAKA Michinoku & Yoshinobu Kanemaru when Naito pinned TAKA after a Destino
Shingo Takagi (2-0) and Yoshinobu Kanemaru (0-2) have one of the more intense rivalries in the junior division. With their respective tag team partners both being rudo luchadores, it often fell to the two of them to try and get the deciding move in their numerous confrontations in the Junior tag division. However, it was a sign of the changing times, that Shingo managed to maintain his as yet un-pinnable reputation at the expense of his great tag-team rival, with the ungovernable Naito securing the victory personally against TAKA Michinoku.
Match 3: TOA Henare, SHO & Jonathan Gresham defeated Shota Umino, Juice Robinson & Dragon Lee when Henare pinned Umino after a TOA Bottom
Before the match the mysterious Biker’s video once again haunted the flamboyant one. Never the less, he didn’t let this put him off his game as he put up a sterling performance against his opponents. Shota, however, succumbed to the Maori warrior Henare, when he was attacked by a TOA Bottom.
Match 2: Brody King and Marty Scurll defeated Yota Tsuji and Tiger Mask when King pinned Tsuji after a Gonzo Bomb
Tiger Mask (2-0) and Marty Scurll (1-1) faced off in a preliminary tag match ahead of their match on Saturday. The match ended when Scurll’s ally and Villain Club underling, Brody King demonstrated his power with an awe-inspiring Gonzo Bomb, which followed-up by taking his anger out on the assembled Young Lions.
Match 1: Gedo and Taiji Ishimori defeated Yuya Uemura and Titan when Gedo pinned Uemura with a School Boy
The word “Gedo” is a Japanese Buddhist term meaning “the other path” (as opposed to the path of enlightenment) and refers to people who have chosen a life of spiritual darkness. It was fitting then, that the man who chose to embody this concept, recorded his first pin fall in many months by biting Yuya Uemura’s ear before pinning him with an illegal schoolboy. Titan and Ishimori also clashed ahead of their match on Saturday.