Friday, June 3, 2016
People are getting officially eliminated and the herd is being thinned out as we inch towards the finish line. Before a big A Block show tomorrow, B Block hosts four matches and most are pretty intriguing.
Right from the start, Volador frustrated Owens by outwrestling him. He also hit a nice dive to the outside and looked to be in firm control. Owens did manage to turn the tide and he went old school by moving the mats outside to expose the concrete. He also removed Volador’s mask to put it on himself. It was rather comical to see him work with it on, highlighted by a moonsault where he shouted “I CAN FLY!” The moonsault missed, leading to a more balanced back and forth final few minutes. They went up top where Volador scored on a super rana to gain the win. Solid enough match. Volador was as good as expected, but Owens’ hijinks were an added bonus.
The two super veterans of the tournament. Having Liger’s actual theme makes everything so much better. Quick start as Tiger Mask hit a suicide dive within the first few seconds. He went for more offense inside the ring, only to be caught into the Ground Cobra Twist, giving Liger the quick three count. This usually happens at least once in NJPW tournaments (Toru Yano is the master in heavyweight tournaments) and I think here was a good place for it. They shook hands after the bell. Too short to really rank.
Another Will Ospreay match, another that I was really looking forward to once the blocks were announced. These are my two favorite guys in B Block. Their early exchanges were great, as Fish came off like an angry old man with a big forearm in the middle of it. Ospreay did his flippy stuff and came down gingerly on the leg, which I was hoping Bobby would target. He didn’t really and Ospreay kind of forgot about it. Fish ended up trying to go after it, but Ospreay did his best to keep him away. I didn’t like that Ospreay still got in all of his flashy flips regardless. Normally, Ospreay isn’t guilty of this, especially back in his classic with KUSHIDA at Invasion Attack. Their closing battle was pretty fun before Ospreay won with the springboard cutter. I thought the overall story they told was fine but it felt like the leg selling only came into play when it was convenient.
Both guys have been pretty good throughout this tournament, though Beretta has hit a slump after a 2-0 start, just like Rocky Romero over in A Block. Similar to when Romero met Matt Sydal, it was clear that these two have chemistry and know each other well. Ricochet was too fast for Beretta early on and was kind of a dick about it, so Beretta slapped him. That kind of was the story the rest of the way. Ricochet’s speed would really trip up Beretta, who would get frustrated and try to hit Ricochet hard. They built to some good drama, which is missing at times from the tournament. Beretta’s desperation to try and rack up a win was great, as he came close to a late countout. Once Ricochet got back in, Beretta hit the running knee and covered, but Ricochet turned him over for a crucifix to steal it and find himself atop the standings. Another really strong match that was probably among the top five in the tournament.
Overall: One of the better single camera shows so far. We started with a pretty entertaining opener before getting a short match out of the way. That gave the next two really good matches more time to breathe and it worked out well.