Three top table as tournament reaches midway point
Taiji Ishimori, Master Wato and Hiromu Takahashi top the Best of the Super Jr. 27 table after five matches wrestled, as the tournament enters its second half with much still to play for.
Yuya Uemura and Hiromu Takahashi started the league action for the night, Uemura needing to win despite his underdog status to be in with any chance of the Budokan final. Uemura threw everything he had into knocking Hiromu down in ring, and landed a rare plancha from the apron on the floor, but his advantage only lasted until Hiromu sent him into the ringside steel.
Takahashi kept the pressure up on Uemura’s lower back in the ring, locking in a half Boston Crab that saw the Young Lion barely make the ropes. Uemura was able to fire back with a dropkick, and transitioned from a backdrop suplex into a straight arm bar. As the Imabari native tried to follow up, a huge elbow rocked Hiromu, but was met with a superkick in response; Uemura hit his Overhook Suplex for the first time in the tournament and tried for more offense on the run, but was met with a lariat, a Falcon Arrow and a stiff high angle Boston Crab.
DOUKI was another competitor needing his first win over Master Wato in Niigata, and to that end, went straight for Wato with his steel pipe before the bell. As DOUKI was turned away by Wato, the young man attempted a dive on the rudo, but DOUKI misdirected Tsuji into Wato’s fight path. DOUKI took control, attacking Tenzan at ringside, and choking at Wato until the blue haired blur sprinted into a head scissors on the floor and a tornillo.
DOUKI stopped Wato’s momentum with the Italian Stretch #32, and even though Wato put the brakes on a first Daybreak DDT attempt, the second time of asking saw Wato eat the mat. A rattled Wato managed to summon the will to get Reientemente for two, but DOUKI escaped a TTD attempt, instead kicking Wato into the referee. Wato still managed to kick out from a pair of clean shots with the steel pipe, and the TTD was followed by RPP for the victory.
Ryusuke Taguchi and BUSHI faced off back from break, with both wrestlers looking to stay on pace with the top of the league. More important to the Coach seemed to be having a little fun with BUSHI at the start of the match though, something BUSHI took advantage of, before crotching Taguchi around the ring post.
Taguchi was able to turn the tables in disturbing form when a sunset flip from BUSHI saw his rear exposed, Taguchi scoring with the naked hip attack and a plancha, the dreaded rear admiral then taking to the air with a springboard assault. BUSHI used a low bridge to turn away the B-Trigger from Taguchi though, and followed up by hanging Taguchi out to dry over the top rope before hitting his apron DDT.
Taguchi’s maneuverability saw him escape the Codebreaker, and counter a Dodon block into Oh My and Garankle, but BUSHI couldn’t avoid a running Codebreaker or the MX for BUSHI’s third win.
The night’s semi main event saw former partners collide as Taiji Ishimori took on Robbie Eagles. After Eagles turned away a nostalgic Too Sweet, he had control of a high paced open, but the champion’s ring awareness would pay off with effortless movement through the ropes before a springboard senton connected. A trademark Sliding German kept the pressure up as Ishimori remained in control, but Eagles found an explosion of speed to go low to the champion’s knees and then high to the back of his head.
Eagles peppered the Bone Soldier with kicks and the lope con giro created high returns for Robbie’s high risks. As Eagles built momentum the springboard dropkick scored to the champion’s knee, but Ishimori was able to fire back with a handspring elbow and a John Woo dropkick at the ten minute mark, before burying both knees into Eagles’ left shoulder and turning La Magistral into the Yes Lock.
As Eagles escaped, each man prevented signature moves, as Bloody Cross, the Asai DDT and Cipher Utaki were all denied before Eagles trapped Ishimori in the Ron Miller Special. When Ishimori too escaped, the BULLET CLUB member tried to go back to the shoulder, but a 450 across the arm was stopped by the Sniper. A flurry of kicks followed, as did the Turbo Backpack for Eagles, but a rope assisted Asai DDT was stopped, as Ishimori went to the Bone Lock, and then hit Bloody Cross for the three.
The main event saw SHO take on El Desperado, SHO looking to join the top group at eight points while Desperado wanted to stay on pace. A thumb to the eye angered SHO early as he took Desperado down and forced him to the ropes. SHO found a weakness in Desperado’s arm, but the masked man found his own edge on the floor as he shoves SHO into the guardrails before sending his knee ringing off the ringpost. Using a chair as a diversion for the referee, Desperado accepted the referee’s warning and instead bounced the ring hammer off SHO, hobbling the CHAOS member before an Indian Deathlock did further damage.
SHO eventually summoned the strength for a vertical suplex to Desperado, and heavy kicks rang of the masked man’s chest at the ten minute mark. Desperado stopped SHO’s deadlift German however, and went back to the knee before looking for Numero Dos. Refusing to submit, SHO battled to his feet, hitting heavy elbows and sacrificing his knee for the Powerbreaker.
Desperado tried to draw the referee for a low blow as SHO went for the Shock Arrow; SHO countered, but a momentary flinch from official Unno gave the masked man enough time to punch SHO square in the jaw. A Pinche Loco followed and Desperado secured his third win.