NJPW Best of the Super Juniors XXIII: Day 12

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June 5th, 16:00 from New Sunpia Takasaki, Gunma

The story so far…

Today’s card also featured four multi-man tag matches, but I’ll only be reviewing the tournament matches.

B Block – Current Standings

  • Ricochet – 8
  • Jushin Liger – 6
  • Volador Jr. – 6
  • Barreta – 4
  • Bobby Fish – 4
  • Will Ospreay – 4
  • Chase Owens – 4
  • Tiger Mask – 4

Here we go…

B Block – Round Six

Tiger Mask vs. Baretta

Tiger Mask     Beretta

Baretta stroked Tiger’s furry mask, then, whilst cowering in the corner, had Tiger rub his sideburns in the same fashion. Baretta then taped Tiger’s hands around the ringpost and called for the referee to count him out, which he wouldn’t, before trying to remove Tiger’s mask. More of the same in the ring, and a neckbreaker got two. They went for a walk towards the edge of the arena (a hockey rink), where Baretta laid Tiger on the barrier only for Tiger to fight him off and connect with a diving crossbody. Back in the ring, a moonsault from Baretta missed the mark, and Tiger hit a Tiger suplex and seated kick for a near-fall. After a back-and-forth, Baretta hit the Busaiku Knee for two, then a double stomp from the top for another near-fall. A low-blow with the referees knocked down brought a two-count, before a double underhook superplex and a Tiger Bomb from Tiger Mask kept Baretta down for… 2.9. Very close on that one. Tiger locked in the scissored armbar and Baretta was forced to give up. Post-match, Baretta kicked Tiger in the balls for having the temerity to beat him. Hard fought match, great effort from Tiger Mask in particular. ***1/4

Jushin Thunder Liger vs. Will Ospreay

Liger     Ospreay

Liger faked-out on a dive early on, then locked in the Romero Special to a charging Ospreay. The Englishman ducked a charge, sending Liger to the floor, and followed with a shooting star press from the apron. Liger made it in at 19. Ospreay worked over Liger with some hard elbows, before running into a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker and the Shotei and Liger Bomb were delivered for a two-count. Super frankensteiner, also for two. Michinoku driver and a standing SSP from Ospreay for two, then the Cheerio Motherfucker forearm connected for (yep, you guessed it) two. A shooting star press from the top hit the knees, but a brainbuster attempt was flipped out of, and the corkscrew roundhouse hit the mark for yet another two-count, then the OsCutter connected for the three. As you can tell, this was heavy on moves, light on psychology, but an enjoyable sprint nonetheless. ***

Bobby Fish vs. Chase Owens

Bobby Fish     Chase Owens

A solid enough outing, Owens spent the majority of the match targeting his opponent’s leg, culminating in a nicely-applied inverted Indian Deathlock, but it was Fish’s heel hook – outta nowhere – that got the win. Well-constructed but a little dull. **1/2

Ricochet vs. Volador Jr.

Ricochet     Volador Jr.

The opening exchange here was so crisp and quick it was like a dropped-frame fight scene in a Kung Fu movie. They even shook hands to celebrate their skills. Ricochet then took control after delivering a closed-fist and began to wear Volador down with a couple of submission holds, before a charge met a super kick and he was sent to the outside. Volador moonsaulted from the apron, almost piledriving himself in the process, but both men made it in before the count. It was then Volador’s turn to be tossed to the outside, and Ricochet connected with an Asai moonsault running from the apron and springing off the middle turnbuckle – very impressive. Back in, Volador garnered a near-fall with a lungblower, then Ricochet struck back with a couple of near falls off a Regalplex and his suplex combo. With both men on the top-rope, Volador attempted a hurricanrana, only for Ricochet to flip out and land on his feet. The crowd loved that one. Volador hit a victory roll driver for two, then Ricochet fought back with strikes, but was caught out of the corner with a spinning inverted hurricanrana, and that was enough for three-count. Tremendous. ****

A Block standings after Round Six

  • KUSHIDA – 8
  • Kyle O’Reilly – 8
  • Matt Sydal – 8
  • Ryusuke Taguchi – 8
  • BUSHI – 6
  • Rocky Romero – 6
  • Gedo – 2
  • David Finlay – 2

B Block standings after Round Six

  • Ricochet – 8
  • Volador Jr. – 8
  • Will Ospreay – 6
  • Bobby Fish – 6
  • Jushin Liger – 6
  • Tiger Mask – 6
  • Barreta – 4
  • Chase Owens – 4

Final thoughts: I really enjoyed the main event, it’s worth checking out. Right, so, Volador, Ricochet and Ospreay are the remaining candidates to win B Block because of their for/against record. In A Block it’s a four-way tie with a multitude of possible outcomes. In brief, Taguchi and KUSHIDA need to win their own match while the other loses, and Sydal and O’Reilly need to win their respective matches and hope that two of their competitors lose. It’s crunch time.

Tomorrow is a joint-block show, as we find out who advances to the Finals. See you then.