We’re back with our continuing coverage of the 22nd annual Best of the Super Juniors tournament! Yes, the tournament’s over, but the coverage is continuing for as long as it takes us to finish! The ninth show came from Mito’s Ibaraki Prefectural Sports Center on June 2 and hosted four more tournament matches, with the end drawing near — and a four-way tie for leadership in Block A — what would happen in Mito?
Before we get to the show, here’s our coverage of the previous events in the tournament:
1. Chase Owens pinned Sho Tanaka in 8:23.
2. Jushin Liger and Tiger Mask IV defeated KUSHIDA and Jay White in 8:57 when Tiger Mask pinned White.
3. Rocky Romero [B, 6 points] pinned David Finlay, Jr. [B, 0 points] in 10:50. Romero worked a headlock to start, but Finlay came back with a dropkick. Romero turned to brawling, and when he got sent to the ropes, he held on, taunting Finlay to come after him. Finlay did, and Romero moved, sending the rookie out of the ring. Hey, more experienced guys have made that same mistake. Romero hit a jumping knee from the apron, but back inside, Finlay got a monkey flip. Romero rolled out of the ring, selling his leg, but got back in after the count of 11. Finlay kept working the leg, using a half crab and a grapevine. Romero tried to fight back with an enzuigiri, but Finlay remained in control, sending Romero to the corner and mocking his repeated running lariats. Romero came back with a lariat of his own, then got a high cross body for two. He attempted a shiranui, but Finlay escaped, then dropkicked Romero’s bad leg. Finlay attempted a stretch muffler, but Romero got a roll-up for two. Finlay tried to come back with a powerbomb, but Romero seemed to be reversing it into a hurricanrana… until Finlay stopped him and turned it into a stretch muffler. Romero got to the rope, but Finlay kept working the leg, then hit a British roll for two. Both guys fought over a brainbuster, but Romero ended up lifting Finlay up, draping him over the top rope, and nailing him with a missile dropkick. He tried to follow up with a German suplex, but Finlay rolled up him for two. Romero came back with another enzuigiri, then hit the Kurayami Piledriver for the pin. This was a good match — Finlay continues to show more and more, and Romero is always good. ***
4. Ryusuke Taguchi [A, 6 points] pinned Yohei Komatsu [A, 0 points] in 11:33. They started out with amateur-style wrestling, then moved into holds. The pace picked up, with Komatsu getting a hurricanrana and a dropkick. Then, using his mind, he began to work over the behind of Taguchi. Unfortunately, it wasn’t a sustainable plan, and Taguchi soon drilled Komatsu with the Funky Weapon, sending him to the outside. He hit another Funky Weapon off the apron, and Komatsu couldn’t get back in the ring until after the count of 17. Back inside, Taguchi kept utilizing his rear end. He grabbed a chinlock, but soon went back to butt drops. When he started slingshotting himself over the ropes dropping the Funky Weapon, though, Komatsu got his knees up, leading to a painful situation for the former IWGP Junior Heavyweight Champion. Painful in his balls, I mean. You know, in case you were wondering. Komatsu came back with a dropkick, a flying forearm, and a somersault attack. He hit the front facelock suplex for two, and when Taguchi came back with a Funky Weapon, everyone’s favorite young lion no-sold it. Taguchi took Komatsu down with another Funky Weapon, then hit running ass strikes against the ropes. Komatsu hit a dropkick and they traded forearms until the young lion hit another hurricanrana. He rolled Taguchi into a half-crab, but Taguchi got to the rope. He tried for a Dodon, but Komatsu turned it into a roll-up. Taguchi kicked out and hit an enzuigiri, then followed up with a front suplex. He climbed the turnbuckles and hit a top rope Funky Weapon, then tried the Dodon again, but Komatsu rolled him up again. Taguchi grabbed the Ankle Lock (which is now called “Oh My & Garankle), and when Komatsu escaped, he drilled him with Dodon’s Throne (a Dodon on his knees). Komatsu kicked out, but Taguchi followed up with the Dodon for the pin. This match dragged a bit toward the middle, but the ending sequence was great. ***
5. Kazuchika Okada, Beretta, and Jado defeated Yujiro Takahashi, Nick Jackson, and Cody Hall in 14:19 when Okada pinned Hall.
6. Kyle O’Reilly [A, 6 points] pinned Barbaro Cavernario [A, 4 points] in 7:50. O’Reilly jumped Cavernario with a running big boot, starting the match off hot — he did, however, take time to audibly declare himself “the best.” Well, the facts will prove or disprove that. Both guys ran and crisscrossed until Cavernario hit a hurricanrana, sending O’Reilly out of the ring. He then took out the Ring of Honor star with a step-up plancha. Back inside, Cavernario hit a guillotine into a suplex, then did Mascara Dorada’s corner-rope-walk-dropkick-thing that really needs a name. Barbaro Cavernario kept in control until O’Reilly came back with strikes, then hit a backbreaker, a second rope knee drop, and a snap suplex. O’Reilly tried to mock Cavernario by doing the worm, but that worked out about as well as it usually does for heels. Cavernario attempted a sunset flip, but O’Reilly turned it into the Armageddon. Cavernario got to the ropes, then the two men collided with a double lariat. Cavernario came out in control, powerbombing O’Reilly into the corner, doing the worm properly, and hitting a Vader Bomb for two. The Mexican National Welterweight Champion came off the second rope with a dropkick, but O’Reilly avoided it, slamming Cavernario to the mat, and applied a Sharpshooter. Cavernario got to the ropes and they traded strikes, with BC getting a superkick, but O’Reilly rebounding with the McGuinness lariat. He then hit the cradle backdrop to score the three count. This match got short-changed on time, but they made up for it by keeping the whole thing exciting. **3/4
7. Bobby Fish [B, 4 points] pinned Mascara Dorada [B, 6 points] in 10:43. Dorada worked Fish’s arm to start, but soon upped the pace, hitting a standing moonsault. He out lucha-ed Fish, who rolled out of the ring to get his crap together. When he got back in, he tried to get a high-five from Dorada, but of course, it was a ruse. Fish kicked the CMLL World Welterweight Champion and tried to work him over, but Dorada came back with a hands-free hurricanrana that sent Fish to the outside. Dorada looked for a dive, but Fish avoided it, so the masked man headed out to the apron. Fish caught him with a sweep kick from the floor, taking control and working Dorada over on the outside. Back in the ring, Fish kept working Dorada’s midsection and back, hitting a suplex and a tope atomico. He applied a body scissors hold, but Dorada got to the rope. Fish hit a running knee in the corner, but Dorada came back with a lariat and his corner-rope-walk-dropkick-thing, sending Fish to the outside. Dorada followed him the hard way, hitting a hands-free somersault plancha that kept Fish out until after the 16 count. Inside, Dorada hit a springing back elbow and a moonsault press, but Fish came back with a backdrop, an exploder suplex into the turnbuckle pad, and a Samoan drop. Fish went up top and tried — well, something — on Dorada, but the CMLL World Welterweight Champion got his feet up. Dorada scooped Fish up and tried to hit a fireman’s carry into a Michinoku Driver, but Fish escaped and got a dragon screw. He followed up with a running forearm, then hit a Falcon Arrow for the pin. This was the strongest match on an enjoyable show. ***1/4
8. Hiroshi Tanahashi, Hirooki Goto, and Great Bash Heel defeated Shinsuke Nakamura, Tomohiro Ishii, Toru Yano, and YOSHI-HASHI in 18:09 when Tanahashi pinned YOSHI-HASHI.
With Night 9 done, we’re three-quarters of the way through the round-robin tournament! Who will finish strong, and who will blow it all? Find out (or, you know, read about it) at King of Sports! Before we go, here are the standings through Night 9:
Block A —
Kyle O’Reilly — 8 points
Ryusuke Taguchi — 8 points
Jushin Liger — 6 points
Chase Owens — 6 points
Beretta — 4 points
Barbaro Cavernario — 4 points
Gedo — 4 points
Yohei Komatsu — 0 points
Block B —
KUSHIDA — 10 points
Rocky Romero — 8 points
Bobby Fish — 6 points
Nick Jackson — 6 points
Mascara Dorada — 6 points
Tiger Mask IV — 6 points
Alex Shelley — 2 points
David Finlay, Jr. — 0 points