The tournament continues with B Block action. Only the tournament matches are on NJPW World and they’re all shot in single camera format.
I dig ACH but have never enjoyed much of Kanemaru. Bless ACH, he tried here. His offense won the crowd over and he’s done well in every NJPW appearance so far. Kanemaru worked the Suzuki-Gun style of brawling outside and trying for a cheap win, including via countout. ACH brought out some of his big offensive guns but couldn’t keep Kanemaru down. His suicide dive spot got the best reaction of the match. However, Kanemaru won following a low blow and some DDT variations at 10:26. I wanted to like this more. Kanemaru continues to bring little to no effort to his matches, so despite ACH’s efforts, this lacked a lot.
The veteran Tiger Mask against the man who just had his position as the ace of the division ripped away from him. Tiger Mask had his elbow wrapped, which became a target for KUSHIDA. It made sense as KUSHIDA could apply the Hoverboard Lock at some point. When he did lock it in, Tiger Mask found a way to escape. From there, he turned things around. One of our resident junior dads got the crowd behind him despite KUSHIDA’s popularity. The Tiger Driver got a near fall and I expected KUSHIDA to put the submission back on and win. Instead, a tiger suplex was hit and KUSHIDA fell to 0-2 at 10:41. I thought this was a strong match. They told a good story and Tiger Mask overcame the arm injury to pick up the upset, while KUSHIDA’s struggles continue.
Desperado is the best of the Suzuki-Gun juniors (with TAKA second) and BUSHI is the unfortunately overlooked member of LIDJ. BUSHI began hot until running into a chair shot from the dastardly Suzuki-Gun member. Desperado took over on offense and it was much better than what we got from his stablemate earlier. BUSHI did a good job selling the work before making a comeback. It was odd seeing him positioned like that, since it’s usually reserved for faces. It was a bit awkward here and the crowd didn’t know how to react. They did wake up when Desperado removed BUSHI’s mask and rolled him up to steal it at 9:47. Another solid match, but I think the dead crowd kind of hurt it. BUSHI is probably the most underrated guy in NJPW, while Desperado was solid for his second straight showing.
I couldn’t figure out why this was the final tournament match. Maybe because they both have points or maybe because Taguchi has been heavily featured in recent months. This was an odd match. They mixed styles a few times and never really stuck with one. There was some back and forth, some comedy spots and some faster paced offense. Volador shined in the fast paced stuff, but didn’t get in enough offense for it to truly matter. I was surprised to see Taguchi kind of dominate this one. He won after hitting Dodon at 9:58, in a match that just never clicked with me. About on par with Taguchi’s first tournament match. It tried to be too many different things and none of them stuck around long enough to be very good.
Overall: A nothing set of matches that can be skipped. BUSHI/Desperado was fun and KUSHIDA/Tiger Mask was better than expected, but the other two matches don’t need to be seen at all. Watch them if you’re being a completist. If not, you can just see the middle two outings.
|Dragon Lee||4 (2-0)||El Desperado||4 (2-0)|
|Hiromu Takahashi||2 (1-1)||Ryusuke Taguchi||4 (2-0)|
|Marty Scurll||2 (1-1)||Volador Jr.||2 (1-1)|
|Will Ospreay||2 (1-1)||Yoshinobu Kanemaru||2 (1-1)|
|Ricochet||2 (1-1)||Tiger Mask IV||2 (1-1)|
|Taichi||2 (1-1)||ACH||2 (1-1)|
|TAKA Michinoku||2 (1-1)||BUSHI||0 (0-2)|
|Jushin Thunder Liger||0 (0-2)||KUSHIDA||0 (0-2)|