We’re back with our continuing coverage of Best of the Super Juniors XXII! Yes, I know the tournament is over, but future generations will undoubtedly be interested in a full, accurate accounting of the tournament — to say nothing of any extraterrestrial visitors who may one day stumble upon our humble rock and want to know more about the culture that inhabited it. So, you know, bear with us. Night 8, like most of the tournament shows, was put on New Japan World after a one-day delay, and only the tournament matches were uploaded to the service. Now, let’s traverse time and space! The destination — Kiramesse Numazu, May 31! Wait! Before we go, here are links to our coverage of the previous tournament shows:
1. Ryusuke Taguchi, Yohei Komatsu, and Sho Tanaka defeated Mascara Dorada, David Finlay, Jr., and Jay White in 11:34 when Taguchi submitted White.
2. reDRagon defeated Rocky Romero and Barbaro Cavernario in 9:45 when Bobby Fish pinned Cavernario.
3. Chase Owens [A, 4 points] pinned Gedo [A, 4 points] in 7:57. There was a lot of stalling early, but Gedo took control with trickery and chicanery. Owens, no slouch in that area, attempted to use referee Marty Asami to shield himself from an attack, then took advantage of the confusion with a dropkick that got him the heat. Owens whipped Gedo into the turnbuckles and worked a chinlock, but the former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Tag Team Champion avoided a blockbuster and hit some jabs. Owens came back with a lariat, but Gedo turned the tables with a Complete Shot. Owens avoided the Gedo Clutch and hit a backbreaker, but when he attempted the Package Piledriver, Gedo threw him over with a back body drop. Owens got up and fired off a kick, which Gedo threw to Asami. The referee caught the kick, allowing Gedo the opportunity to hit a low blow and roll-up. The former NWA Junior Heavyweight Champion kicked out after two, but Gedo stayed on him with kicks and punches. Owens managed to hit a blockbuster, though, then nailed the Package Piledriver for the pin. Unfortunately, given the time and the slower style both guys were working, this didn’t really get any better than average. **1/2
4. Jushin Liger [A, 4 points] pinned Beretta [A, 4 points] in 7:55. They started out with some good mat wrestling, but Liger got the upper hand with a seated surfboard. Beretta escaped and they traded shoulder tackles, with Liger knocking Beretta out of the ring. The CHAOS member avoided a baseball slide attempt, shoved Liger into a cameraman, then nailed him with a superkick. The 11-time IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion didn’t make it back in until after 19, and when he did, Beretta went to work. He hit a running knee in the corner, then a lariat for a two count. He missed a second running knee in the corner and fell out of the ring, allowing Liger to hit the baseball slide, then follow up with a somersault attack from the apron. Back in the ring, Liger got a hurricanrana off the top rope, but Beretta rolled through for a near fall. He followed up with a Tornado DDT, but Liger came back with a shotei. Liger climbed up top and Beretta intercepted him, but before he could hit the belly to belly superplex, Liger shoved him down to the mat. Liger jumped off, but Beretta caught him with a dropkick on the way down. Beretta hit the Busaiku Knee for two, then attempted the Dudebuster, but Liger rolled out. They briefly traded roll-ups, and Liger managed to pin Beretta with one. Post-match, they shook hands. This was a short match, but it was exciting. ***
5. Kazuchika Okada and Jado defeated Yujiro Takahashi and Cody Hall in 112:25 when Okada pinned Hall.
6. KUSHIDA [B, 8 points] submitted Tiger Mask IV [B, 6 points] in 11:44. Both guys shook hands as the bout started, then went straight into the wrestling. They continued the good sportsmanship with clean breaks, but when things got more fast-paced, KUSHIDA hurt his leg on a cartwheel. He rolled to the outside to recover, but when he came back in, Tiger Mask went straight for the leg. He worked it over with kicks, stomps, a heel hook, and a half crab, and when Tiger Mask tried an Irish whip, the Time Splitter simply fell to the mat. Still, he managed to hit his backflip-over-the-ropes kick, but it didn’t count for much — Tiger Mask dropkicked him to the floor, and while the B Block leader managed to avoid a dive, Tiger Mask connected with a dragon screw. When they got back to the ring, KUSHIDA used an arm wringer to take control, then powered through the pain with a series of kicks. He tried for the Hoverboard Lock, but couldn’t get it, so he applied a cross-armbreaker. Tiger Mask got to the ropes, then fought back, leading to simultaneous head kicks that floored both men. KUSHIDA took control with a handspring elbow, but when he attempted a floatover into the Hoverboard Lock, Tiger Mask caught him with a Tombstone. He followed up with the butterfly superplex for two, then hit a Tiger Suplex, but the Time Splitter got his foot on the ropes to avoid being pinned. The B Block leader got to his feet, slid between Tiger Mask’s legs, pulled his arms under to flip him over, then slapped on the Hoverboard Lock for the submission victory. Afterwards, both guys shook hands again. Something about this match didn’t work like you’d expect — I think it was the fact that KUSHIDA was hamstrung by the fake leg injury, no pun intended, and couldn’t wrestle his usual style. **3/4
7. Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, and YOSHI-HASHI defeated Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, Togi Makabe, and Captain New Japan in 16:10 when Nakamura pinned Captain New Japan.
That’s Night 8! It wasn’t the best show of the lot, but there was still stuff to enjoy. We’ll be back soon (hopefully tomorrow) with Night 9, but before we go, here are the current standings — well, the standings through Night 8:
Block A —
Kyle O’Reilly — 6 points
Jushin Liger — 6 points
Chase Owens — 6 points
Ryusuke Taguchi — 6 points
Beretta — 4 points
Barbaro Cavernario — 4 points
Gedo — 4 points
Yohei Komatsu — 0 points
Block B —
KUSHIDA — 10 points
Nick Jackson — 6 points
Mascara Dorada — 6 points
Rocky Romero — 6 points
Tiger Mask IV — 6 points
Bobby Fish — 4 points
Alex Shelley — 2 points
David Finlay, Jr. — 0 points