KATSUYA KITAMURA, SHOTA UMINO, TETSUHIRO YAGI vs. HIRAI KAWATO, TIGER MASK IV, & TOMOYUKI OKA - 4/10
The young-boys all looked fine. The most surprising part of this was that Tiger Mask IV didn't walk out with the winning fall.
ACH & VOLADOR JR. vs. SUZUKI-GUN (Yoshinobu Kanemaru & El Desperado) - 6.75/10
This match only went eight and a half minutes but felt like it was almost twice that long. That's not necessarily a bad thing in this case, though. El Desperado hit Volador Jr. with a cellphone. In 2017. Look... I'm not saying that getting hit in the head with a cellphone wouldn't hurt, but it it's not going to put someone down, either. This isn't Paul Heyman's gigantic monstrosity from the early 90s. ACH needs to stop doing that ball-tap spot if he is going to be a babyface. My big takeaway from this match was that I am quite disappointed that El Desperado and Volador Jr. aren't going to get to have a singles block.
WAR MACHINE & DAVID FINALY JR. vs. BULLET CLUB (The Guerrillas of Destiny & Yujiro Takahashi) - 5.75/10
Very good match for the time it got.
SATOSHI KOJIMA, RYUSUKA TAGUCHI, JUICE ROBINSON, & KUSHIDA vs. LOS INGOBERNABLES DE JAPON (Tetsuya Naito, BUSHI, Sanada, & EVIL) - 5/10
The heels got the heat on Taguchi which made it really hard for me to care about this match because every time he got an opening to make a comeback he would throw his ass at his opponent and immediately get beaten down again. BUSHI pinned KUSHIDA and then beat him down. So let me get this right: KUSHIDA does an angle in New Japan where gets beaten very quickly by Hiromu Takahashi. Then he goes to ROH and beats some top guys and wins the ROH TV Title, and then he goes right back to Japan and does a bunch of jobs. Why, exactly, did Delirious put the title on him instead of just leaving it on Scurll, who is at least in a block with a bunch of guys we're likely to see in ROH at some point in the near future so his losses in this tournament can at least be paid off in title defenses?
BLOCK A MATCH: TAKA Michinoku vs. Taichi (w/Miho Abe) - DUD!
The two stablemates stall forever, teasing locking up but then not doing so. This doesn't get heel heat. This gets "f*ck you for wasting my time" heat, and it makes me just as angry at the promotion or letting them do it as I am with the wrestlers for doing it. Then they do a sequence where they try to hit a bunch of strikes but they all get ducked. This is the sort of thing that would have been extremely cool except that the previous three minutes of teasing touching each other but then pulling back have just made this feel like part of that rather than a cool action sequence. Now Taichi is taking a powder. Then they switch places and TAKA is the one trotting around on the outside. Now they've switched again. I'm at the point where I'm about to give up on this and give it at the very best a DUD.
Taichi finally gets back in the ring and as he is doing so TAKA kicks the middle rope up into his crotch. Why can't they just f*cking wrestle each other? They blocks were announced at least a week ago. They knew this match was coming. Why can't they just act like adults and have their f*cking professional wrestling match because they both want to win the tournament? And of course, Taichi bumps right back to the outside and stumbles back into the aisle and TAKA doesn't try to follow up on his cheating because f*ck you for actually expecting to see wrestling.
They do another switch and Taichi lures TAKA into the same trap. At least TAKA falls into the ring, which marks the first time both men are in the ring in what must be minutes. Taichi takes off the turnbuckle pad. They then take turns missing running clotheslines, which results in TAKA running into the ringpost with his shoulder. Taichi takes forever lining TAKA up for a superkick, which is, predictably, ducked. Taichi managed to hurt his knee while throwing the superkick so now they're both down selling. F*ck this. If the idea here is that they don't want to hurt each other because they're stablemates then 1) they blew it with the low blows, and 2) they shouldn't have both entered the tournament!
Anyway, it turns out Taich was faking it, and he manages to kick TAKA in what looked like the groin and then pin him with the Taichi Clutch. This was utterly miserable to watch, and no, I don't think anything will come of these two stablemates kicking each other in the nads because the last two G1s have featured a match where members of Bullet Club betrayed each other in important spots and neither of those matches led to anything at all, either.
BLOCK A MATCH: Marty Scurll vs. Dragon Lee - 8/10
Excellent Junior Heavyweight action. I am getting a bit concerned that Scurll is becoming too much of a cartoon character with his thing that he does with his arms where it looks like he's trying to fly away.
BLOCK A MATCH: Jushin "Thunder" Liger vs. Hiromu Takahashi - 8/10
Liger dominated from the opening bell, nailing Takahashi with a big lariat, then a rolling body block off the apron, then a brainbuster on the outside. Takahashi did eventually take over and Liger went into awesome babyface Liger mode. He began his comeback with some fighting spirit no-selling, which is something I cannot recall the last time I saw him do, which made this feel special. You listening, Ishii? And half of the indy wrestlers in North America?
Liger got some great nearfalls in but Takahashi eventually picked up the win, and the image of Liger kicking his legs up by unable to force Takahashi off him was almost heart-breaking. I so badly want to see Liger win this thing.
BLOCK A MATCH: Ricochet vs. Will Ospreay - 9/10
Just lots of crazy stuff, but at a much slower pace than you'd expect from these two, which not only made the moves feel like they meant more, but also made this match go long enough that a time-limit draw did feel like a real possibility. I shudder to think of the number of wrestlers who injure themselves trying to do that spot they did on the apron. You'll know the one I'm talking about when you see it.
The top names of the Best of the Super Juniors tournament deliver once again. This year is shaping up to be quite insane, and we still haven't seen match-ups like Scurll vs. Takahashi, ACH vs. Volador Jr., ACH vs. KUSHIDA, Ospreay vs. Dragon Lee, Volador Jr. vs. KUSHIDA, Scurll vs. Liger, KUSHIDA vs. Kanemaru... this tournament is going to be SO AMAZING.