Tokyo Differ Ariake
1. Best of the Super Jr. - Block A: Fujita "Jr." Hayato vs Taichi - B: 4 G: 4
Brian: Taichi showed he could deliver some meaty kicks of his own. Being physically smaller than Taichi makes the battle seem that much more agonizing for Fujita who has to scrap for everything. I prefer the uses of submissions as finishers in Japan over the WWE variety, feels more organic, just seizing an opportunity, etc. such as Hayato busting out his "K.I.D." guillotine choke.
Geo: I really enjoyed the element of stiffness here. Of course, the name Hayato and stiffness go hand-in-hand, but Taichi wasn't to be ignored in this aspect as he laid in his shots like a beast. I loved Hayato's attitude throughout the match as he was taking no shit like usual. Fin came in nicely as well.
2. Best of the Super Jr. - Block B: Daisuke Sasaki vs Ryusuke Taguchi - B: 5 G: 5
Brian: Daisuke's suicide dive had some real stank on it -- like a festering roast beef sandwich left in the sun for days. Sasaki hit a big flying crossbody off the top and played up the impact on his own ribs well. Taguchi's eyes were wide like he just saw the ghost of Tom Joad as he started to piece together a comeback. I think these guys make good dancing partners; I'm finding Sasaki much more appealing here than on the first night. Ryusuke uses to Milano–saku Dodon's Throne to score another victory and the way the match was structured Sasaki still looked strong in defeat.
Geo: I loved Daisuke's performance here. He started it off hot with the dive and continued on his hot streak throughout the match with his selling. Taniguchi ate him up, though, as his offense was crisp and executed well. I love his finisher, a modified gut buster than knocked Daisuke off his chest like Flubber.
3. Best of the Super Jr. - Block A: Davey Richards vs Jado - B: 3 G: 4
Brian: I've been watching Jado matches since Davey played firefighter in his backyard with a water hose. Richards targets the leg like Jeremy Piven targets naive girls at a hotel bar. Davey feigns aplomb but I rarely genuinely buy him as a tough guy. Davey mewing for the camera and making faces while having Jado in a sleeperhold was a hoot. This was fine and all, basically a one-man show with Davey at the steering wheel.
Geo: Davey is evidently playing up as heel, gesturing to the fans and shoving the ref down. Jado looks crispier than anything being served at KFC. Davey's firey attitude is always nice to see, and I loved it.
4. Best of the Super Jr. - Block B: TAKA Michinoku vs Gedo - B: 3 G: 4
Brian: Gedo's face while extending his hand in attempt to get TAKA to shake was great pure cheese, to quote Michelangelo (from the episode "Attack of the 50-Foot Irma", it was "6.5 on the Ricotta scale". The pace was less hurried than a lot of stuff we've seen which I didn't mind. The finishing stretch was a bunch of roll-up counters and reversals that seemed half-hearted and made this come off derisory.
Geo: I liked this slightly better than my friend here simply due to the change of pace. Gedo's troll face reminds me of Gran Akuma and a slightly less disgusting version of Hoggle from Jim Henson's film The Labyrinth. To your point on the pacing, it was a nice change of...pace. I did like how Gedo targeted the neck of Taka. If it wasn't for the decent neck work by Gedo I would've bumped it down a notch. TAKA spent too much time on defense, though.
5. Satoshi Kojima, Togi Makabe & Tomoaki Honma vs Toru Yano, Takashi Iizuka & Tomohiro Ishii - B: 3 G: 3
Brian: Could the outcome have been any less in question? Ishii is such a downer that when he puts his mouth over your asshole people stop laughing at your farts. Honma plays a good Ricky Morton just with deeper scar tissue. Someone needs to donate Iizuka's goatee to science. Makabe eats a "Pedigree" better than Undertaker. Kojima seems to be riffing and having fun like an older man who gets out once every month or two to jam with his old buddies in the garage drinking Shiner Bock and smoking pot. Tomohiro goes down to a lariat to the surprise of nobody.
Geo: Couldn't agree more about Ishii. Watching him with the likes of Honma is like getting a golden ticket into Wonka's factory and finding out it was a fraud. The fake tickets make the chocolate taste terrible. How good was Honma's selling though? Really loved his groping of the ropes to pull himself up from the mat. Too bad he's in there with the likes of Ishii. Nothing to write home about in the least. Makabe's punches to his own hand while holding Iizuka's forehead pissed me off. Dude, this is prowres. None of that shit.
6. Best of the Super Jr. - Block A: Koji Kanemoto vs Kenny Omega - B: 6 G: 6
Brian: I liked the stuff out on the narrow entrance bridge, it helped break up the monotony found in many of these longer format shows. I assume Omega used to select Kanemoto frequently when playing Fire Pro Wrestling. Koji tried to roll out of harm's way during a running Shooting Star Press by Omega but still got crushed in a minor botch. Koji targeting the leg was good strategy and saw Kenny take one of those Hennig bumps where you're holding onto the top rope and your opponent kicks your legs out from behind and you fling yourself back onto your own head. Omega's selling of the leg seemed adequate until he started doing Street Fighter II shtick instead. I love both these guys and loved the finish with Kenny countering Koji's Victory Roll and using his leverage for the pin.
Geo: I was looking hella forward to this match. Loved how much Koj was laying in those forearms, causing Omega's lion-esque hair to whip backwards. Omega's energy is through the roof. He's easily one of the most energetic gaijin's I've seen in a long time. Really dug the ramp spot, too. Watching Omega's selling closer, I love how much he looked like he was in agony while he was in the ankle lock. How neat was that snap dragon suplex, too? Koj laid out like he was tanning on Shikoku and getting some rays. That shooting star botch was not too glaring, but it was something worth pointing out. Koj would not let go of that ankle hold, despite how hard Omega tried to get out of it, and Omega's Hennig bump and inability to run the ropes after a whip made it that much better. Higher end of 'six' for me.
7. Best of the Super Jr. - Block A: Prince Devitt vs TJP - B: 4 G: 4
Brian: This is a "dream match" of sorts to a very particular breed of bizarro fan out there. Devitt's kicks look about as effective as Tum-Tum's in 3 Ninjas Knuckle Up. I'll judge this match on the merit of how effectively it can district me from the Long John Silver's variety platter I'm about to go get for lunch. Man, bringing up bad '90's kids martial arts films, and I'm not being facetious or flippant here, but given TJP's current look he'd have fit in perfectly in Surf Ninjas. Who knew bumping in a puka shell necklace could be so en vogue? TJP ate a double-foot stomp like a Koopa Troopa. Fergal wins with the Bloody Sunday in an ineffectual ending.
Geo: I am a bizarro fan, haha. I love the fluidity and displays being shown. Wasn't much in terms of psychology, but I loved the mix of high flying and solid striking. It was a really fun match to sit there and watch unfold as the two really played well off of one another. I wish it would've gone longer, but what we got was pretty good. The ending was anti-climactic, though.
8. Best of the Super Jr. - Block B: KUSHIDA vs Kota Ibushi - G: 5 B: 5
Geo: We got back on the ramp and I liked where this was going. Kush hit Ibushi with a slap so hard you'd think he was putting him in his place. Ibushi has really won me over. I know Brian is a fan. I always used to think his moveset was more redundant than Sarah Palin jokes, but he's seriously rising in my fave list. His selling is really great. He always looks so out of energy and in pain, then BOOM, he hits something crazy out of nowhere. He totally whiffed his hand spring double kick in the corner, though. KUSHIDA shined, too. His technical ability is good and he has a good look. I think the future will hold big things for him,
Brian: Yes, back to the ramp, and being a DDT transplant Ibushi knows how to fashion or eat a garbage bump with the best of them, taking a neckbreaker on it with zest. Kota's aim was worse than a Cobra soldier's flying into the ropes wildly off of his handspring backflip kick. Color me surprised as I was stunned when KUSH (as I've affectionately dubbed him) got the win over perennial favorite Ibushi with his Midnight Express corkscrew moonsault.
9. Best of the Super Jr. - Block B: Jushin Thunder Liger vs Great Sasuke - B: 8 G: 7
Brian: This was fucking great and everything I love about professional wrestling. Liger's silver and white outfit is mesmerizing and grandiose and that white mane just so pimp. The opening mat-work was some of the finest and most authentic feeling we've gotten. Sasuke sold a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker with the skill of Geoffrey Rush, and while throwing out comparisons, later Sasuke delivered a piledriver that'd make Terry Funk blush. Sasuke takes a nasty backdrop on the apron, but puts himself through more pain, climbing to the top rope and dropkicking Liger off the apron which causes him to take another big back bump on the hardest part of the ring. Sasuke's high-angle senton bomb from the top to the floor looked better than ever, he gets more air than an NWA flight in Soul Plane. Liger, for fuck's sake, sells Sasuke's flying pointed dropkick off the top to his arm (which he used on night one) like he just had the damn thing amputated. After the armbar further weakened the arm Sasuke got the submisison victory with an abdominal stretch variant. I love the build, the characters, the sporting drama, and the clean finish.
G: My God, I adored Liger's garb. How beautiful was that white outfit? What can I say about the selling here? So fucking much. Sweet baby Jesus. First, Sasuke. His vocal selling was some of the best. I was watching this match with a keen eye seeing as how much Brian pimped it, and man alive did it deliver. Sasuke sells a palm strike better than anyone I've seen, flipping back on his neck and folding in half. That vocal selling was off the chain. Liger hit a knee breaker and went right to a leg submission, which flowed great and made sense. Sasuke shows more of his insanity by hitting a missile dropkick from the ropes to the apron, taking a flat back bump on the hardest part of the ring just because he can~! Sasuke also tried valiantly to get up to the top buckle only to stagger a bit, which hence made Liger wait on the ground to catch him. I completely agree with your review. This was Junior action defined. Great performing and athletic prowess shown by two puro legends.
Bonus Match: Hiromu Takahashi vs. Takaaki Watanabe - B: 1 G: 1
Brian: Is this the future? Will Watanabe be on the main event of a Tokyo Dome show in a decade? I posed these queries as my Magic 8-Ball began to melt. Isn't there a JTG match from WWE Superstars I should be watching?
Geo: An atrocity. This was not good. I really can't think of anything else to say about it. The future is meh at best. Sorry about your damn luck with the 8-ball, B.