June 1st, 18:00 from Nagoya Congress Centre Event Hall, Aichi
The B Block decider.
The results of today’s matches will determine who wins B Block and advance to Saturday’s final, and with all eight men tied on 6 points, everyone is still in the running! Let’s get to it.
B Block – Current Standings
- ACH – 6
- BUSHI – 6
- El Desperado – 6
- Yoshinobu Kanemaru – 6
- KUSHIDA – 6
- Ryusuke Taguchi – 6
- Tiger Mask IV – 6
- Volador Jr. – 6
Barring draws (we’ll cross that bridge if we come to it), there will be four wrestlers tied on 8 points after today’s matches. It will be the wrestler with the most number of wins over those in the tied group who advances to the final. With that in mind, and taking as read that they must win their own match, here’s everyone’s possible route to the final:
- El Desperado requires Taguchi to win
- ACH requires BUSHI and KUSHIDA to win
- BUSHI requires Volador Jr. and Kanemaru to win
- Yoshinobu Kanemaru requires Tiger Mask and ACH to win
- KUSHIDA requires Taguchi and Kanemaru to win
- Ryusuke Taguchi requires Tiger Mask and Volador Jr. to win
- Tiger Mask IV requires ACH, KUSHIDA and El Desperado to win
- Volador Jr. requires ACH and El Desperado to win
Here we go…
- Suzuki-gun (TAKA Michinoku & Taichi) defeated Jushin Thunder Liger & Hirai Kawato **1/2
- Los Ingobernables de Japón (Hiromu Takahashi, EVIL & SANADA) defeated Taguchi Japan (Dragon Lee, Ricochet & Juice Robinson) ***
- Bullet Club (Bad Luck Fale, Tanga Loa & Tama Tonga) defeated David Finlay, Hanson & Raymond Rowe **3/4
- Bullet Club (Marty Scurll, Yujiro Takahashi & Kenny Omega) defeated CHAOS (Gedo, Will Ospreay & Kazuchika Okada) ***1/2
B Block – Round Seven
Yoshinobu Kanemaru vs. El Desperado
Suzuki-gun explodes! Taichi (second for Kanemaru) and Taka (second for Desperado) were present too, and unlike their encounter on Day 2, Kanemaru and Desperado had no issues starting the match, with the former trying to steal a win before dropkicking Desperado’s leg. The seconds tried to help their man and the whole thing broke down, culminating in Desperado being tossed into the chairs and then the ringpost. Kanemaru slammed him on the floor, and the camel clutch was applied in the ring. After making the ropes, a knee lift allowed Desperado to hit a Death Valley Driver for two (Kanemaru caught the ref’s arm), then a mix-up with Taichi’s whiskey mist led to a spear and a flipping suicide dive. Desperado used a chair on Kanemaru (and Taichi and Taka!), but found himself reverse DDT’d on the outside. Taichi did his man a favour and blocked Desperado from getting in the ring, meaning Kanemaru won by count-out!
After some cajolling, Desperado reluctantly fist-bumped his stablemates. I know plenty of people don’t like the Suzuki-gun shenanigans, but I’ve found them effective during the tournament and have genuinely enjoyed the two SKG vs. SKG matches. There was plenty of nonsense here and it got a smile from me. **3/4
That result means El Desperado, Tiger Mask IV and Volador Jr. are out of the running.
Ryusuke Taguchi vs. ACH
Taguchi went low – and by low I mean to ACH’s ass – but was twice caught with an atomic drop and got a flick to the groin for his troubles. ACH followed-up with FOUR suicide dives and Taguchi broke the count at 18, then was able to make the comeback with ass-focused offence before switching attention to ACH’s legs in readiness for the ankle lock. An atomic drop earned two, but ACH soon fired back with his strike combo, and although Taguchi blocked a dive, he was caught with a Death Valley Driver for two. He did, however, block ACH’s attempted groin flick between his legs (somehow) and this led to a springboard hip attack and the ankle lock. ACH quickly made the ropes, but his legs were gone, and a big jumping hip attack put both men down. Taguchi headed up top, but ACH leapt up and brought him down with a superplex for a near-fall! Lariat from ACH, BomAss Ye from Taguchi. A victory roll reversal sequence saw Taguchi come out on top and it earned him the three-count!
ACH is out. Both men seemed a little off their game, but are likely tired after a tough tour. Still, the effort was there and I’d certainly describe it as decent. ***
Tiger Mask IV vs. BUSHI
Tiger got the immediate tombstone for two(!) then locked in the chickenwing, forcing Bushi to stretch for the rope-break and roll outside to regroup. Bushi was able to drag Tiger outside by his leg and used the t-shirt choke to take control, before applying a single-leg crab in the ring and landing a missile dropkick. Tiger, at the second time of asking, was able to bring Bushi down from the top-rope with an armdrag, and a victory roll earned two. Tiger Driver! Two-count only. A series of kicks ended when Bushi went back to the leg, and his reverse swinging neckbreaker got two. Tiger countered to a guillotine choke, then set Bushi up top after the rope-break and connected with the butterfly superplex! Bushi kicked the leg to block the Tiger suplex, the ref was bumped, and a chair-aided Codebreaker got the near-fall. Diving Codebreaker (aka MX) from Bushi and the three-count was academic.
Rock solid match here, with the legwork playing a part until the finish and both men looking equally likely to pull off the win. I enjoyed this one. ***1/4
That result eliminates both Tiger Mask IV and Taguchi, and Kushida goes into this last match knowing that a win will take him to the final.
KUSHIDA vs. Volador Jr.
Counters and more counters to begin, with Volador not keen to mix it up on the mat and Kushida losing the lucha exchanges. Headscissors sent Volador to the apron, but he hit back with a ‘rana after removing his extraneous mask, then flattened Kushida with a tope con hilo. He was caught with an armbreaker over the top-rope, though, and Kushida hit a springboard dropkick and followed with a tope of his own. Diving moonsault – two-count only. Superkick from Volador and a nice lungblower out of the corner for two. Back-and-forth strikes, then Kushida caught Volador off springboard, countering into an armbar, but was forced to relinquish the hold after getting rolled-up. On the apron, Volador displayed incredible timing to leapfrog a baseball slide and go straight into an asai moonsault, then back in, with both men on the top-rope, Kushida connected with a super hurricanrana for a near-fall! He headed back up, but this time Volador caught him with his own super hurricanrana for a near-fall! Elbows up from the knees, reverse frankensteiner from Volador, one, two, no! A series of pinfall attempts and counters resulted only in two-counts, then Kushida connected with La Mistica and applied the double-wristlock. He lifted Volador to his feet then crunched him with Back to the Future for the win!
KUSHIDA wins B Block!
Will Ospreay was out to congratulate Kushida and declared he would beat him in the final, to which Kushida replied: let’s go crazy. After Ospreay left, Kushida did his traditional Japanese end to the show. This was an out-and-out spotfest, certainly more of a Volador match than a Kushida match, but that does speak to the latter’s versatility. Some groundwork would’ve helped give the spectacular closing stages more weight, but I appreciate that’s not the lucha style, and taken at face value this was an enjoyable main event. ***3/4
B Block – Final Standings
- KUSHIDA – 8
- BUSHI – 8
- Yoshinobu Kanemaru – 8
- Ryusuke Taguchi – 8
- ACH – 6
- El Desperado – 6
- Tiger Mask IV – 6
- Volador Jr. – 6
The Best of the Super Juniors 24 final: Will Ospreay vs. KUSHIDA
Final thoughts: Not the equal of A Block’s final show, but there were several decent matches here and B Block have already over-delivered during the course of the tournament. The main event was the best match on the show and sets up a third meeting between Will Ospreay and the man he was twice unable to beat for the Junior title in 2016.
On Saturday the winner of Best of the Super Juniors 24 will be decided. See you then.