As this tournament winds down, things have taken shape. We know Taichi will have bad matches (except one), we know Hiromu will wow, we know Liger will lose and we know Marty will be over. Anyway, on this night, we have one of my most anticipated matches of the entire tournament as Hiromu Takahashi takes on Marty Scurll.
TAKA Michinoku has been a surprising treat in most matches, while Ricochet has been the performer you’d expect. Ricochet came in prepared for some of TAKA’s antics. He avoided getting the rope kicked into his nuts, but still got taken down into the crossface. TAKA in control was solid and a lot of his stuff came off smoothly. Ricochet made a comeback, which the crowd ate up. He survived another crossface and avoided the Michinoku Driver, before winning with the Benadryller in 7:41. Another good match from the A Block. It didn’t overstay its welcome, featured crisp work and had a hot crowd.
I’d call this another of my most anticipated matches. Liger’s winless but still super over, as always. He had a game plan to ground Lee, but that quickly went awry and Lee nailed a nice tope con hilo. That led to one of the best countout teases of the tournament. That’s all Liger needs, right? A countout loss on top of everything. Liger got his signature stuff in, like Shotei, the cannonball and the Liger Bomb, but Lee was resilient. The legend made a crucial mistake by taking Lee to the top. Lee fought him off and hit the tree of Joey Lawrence double stomp. He added a diving double stomp to seal the deal in 7:54. Two of the most consistent guys in the block delivered again. It was a sprint full of action that made sense. I also dug Lee using double the finishers because Liger is awesome.
It’s two of my least favorite wrestlers in the block. Though one is clearly better than the other. Guess how this started? Taichi jumped Ospreay and there was some ringside brawling. There really is no originality here. Ospreay brought his brand of flippy offense. Like Ricochet and Dragon Lee before him, he desperately tried bringing some form of excitement to this match. Alas, unless your name is Hiromu Takahashi, you’re not getting something watchable out of Taichi. The typical ref bump came, which allowed Desperado and Kanemaru to get cheap shots in. Taichi then won after a mic stand shot and powerbomb at 10:08. I’ve never seen someone so consistently shitty. Taichi is the worst. I’m not big on Ospreay, but he put in some effort, unlike Taichi. Too much nonsense in this one. Also, where was CHAOS? Why does nobody try to combat the Suzuki-Gun shit?
These two had a match I gave ***½ in RevPro recently. Marty went after the arm, trying to set up the Chicken Wing down the line. He also had Hiromu well scouted and blocked the sunset flip bomb. Hiromu did a good job selling the arm work. It wasn’t the best sell job I’ve seen, but it did the trick and he still got to hit his key stuff. What made this match work was more than just the things done in the ring. It’s the charisma of both men, which added to things. I like that Hiromu has had to fight from behind in some of these matches, because it gives us something different from his title defenses. Scurll kicked out of a modified Time Bomb near the end, which I didn’t like. He applied the Chicken Wing, but Hiromu managed to counter into Time Bomb for the win at 13:07. I liked all this. Good selling, great back and forth, fun action, an invested crowd and a sense of urgency because they knew that the loser would basically be done.
With that loss, Marty Scurll joined Jushin Thunder Liger and TAKA Michinoku as the eliminated folks. Everyone else has eight points. Here’s how the final night of A Block action breaks down. Ricochet needs to win and have Ospreay lose. Ospreay needs to win and have Taichi lose. Taichi needs a win and losses by Ricochet and Hiromu. Hiromu must win, while Ricochet and Lee lose. Lee must win with Ospreay and Taichi losing.
Overall: Pretty much the standard for A Block. Three good matches and one shitty Taichi appearance. Liger’s final run has been a blast, despite his record. Ricochet/TAKA was fun and the main event delivered. The booking has set up for an intriguing final A Block show, which is good.
|Ricochet||8 (4-2)||El Desperado||6 (3-2)|
|Will Ospreay||8 (4-2)||Yoshinobu Kanemaru||6 (3-2)|
|Dragon Lee||8 (4-2)||ACH||6 (3-2)|
|Hiromu Takahashi||8 (4-2)||Ryusuke Taguchi||6 (3-2)|
|Taichi||8 (4-2)||Tiger Mask IV||4 (2-3)|
|Marty Scurll||6 (3-3)||KUSHIDA||4 (2-3)|
|TAKA Michinoku||2 (1-5)||BUSHI||4 (2-3)|
|Jushin Thunder Liger||0 (0-6)||Volador Jr.||4 (2-3)|