Tokyo Differ Ariake
1. Best of the Super Jr. - Block B: Mascara Dorada vs Gedo - B: 4 G: 3
Brian: Dorada got too ambitious and tried to walk around the top rope like it was the sidewalk and of course lost his balance appearing foolish. Dorada's got as much a chance of winning this whole thing as Ghost Hunters does of ever presenting credible paranormal evidence. Mascara picks up the mallet they use to ring the bell which looked like a miniature croquet club giving the illusion Mascara was a towering giant -- no CGI required. Dorada used a flashy corkscrew somersault senton bomb for the win.
Geo: Ambitious is the best way to describe Dorada's offense; his willingness to laugh at any thoughts of trepidation are highlighted here as he botched a rope walk worse than an alcoholic botches a line walk on the interstate next to his favorite trooper; however, that ambitiousness is actually something that really works in his favor because fans give the reaction of: "Well, props for trying." Jado played it safe here as his performance was generally lacking and he was coasting. Again, props to Dorada. When he does hit something he looks like a veteran diver making a tiny splash.
2. Best of the Super Jr. - Block B: Daisuke Sasaki vs TAKA Michinoku - G: 4 B: 3
Geo: Props here for slowing it down to start with the grapple for the advantage. Another youngster vs. vet feel -- seems to be an overarching theme in this tourney. Taka's selling of the arm was good -- liked how he grabbed it and hunched over clutching it in the center of the ring. Liked Taka throwing Daisuke off of from the headscissor attempt into the crossface. Taka's arm was ok after he got on offense. Wanted more sustained selling on his part. Sick crossface for fin.
Brian: Not much happening for a seven minute match. We got a dive from Sasaki and some goofy facials by TAKA including my favorite where he kept perplexedly counting his own fingers.
3. Best of the Super Jr. - Block A: Fujita "Jr." Hayato vs TJP - G: 5 B: 5
Geo: Strike exchange to start? Fuck yeah. Youngster vs. Youngster feel. Hayato hurts his own foot by kicking TJ so hard on the apron, haha. This match had this really nice "I can do better than you" vibe to it with both guys seeming like they were trying to top one another. I liked some of the offense TJP broke out, including the nice northern lights variation. The German into the running knee by Hayato was sicker than Bushwhacker Luke's underwear drawer. Came really close to giving this a 'six'.
Brian: This was a fun little match although it didn't even break eight minutes and the finish sort of sprung up unexpectedly. Agreeing with Geo there did seem to be a sort of competitive rivalry here between the two youngsters. I liked what we got but it was like tapas a tantalizing taste leaving you desiring more. Another submission finish: is this a trend for the night? Interesting factoid on Hayato is he was trained in wrestling by Jinsei "Hakushi" Shinzaki and in MMA by "KID" Yamamoto.
4. Best of the Super Jr. - Block A: Jado vs Kenny Omega - G: 4 B: 4
Geo: This match was interesting. There were two elements that I dug the most: first, the energy. Kenny Omega and the words "fun and energetic" go hand in hand. You simply can't have fun when watching a match of his. This was no different. Second: the neck psych. Jado got his necked worked over by Omega, who kept going back to the neck. Overall, the match seemed like it got more time even though it didn't break 10 minutes, which is kind of a cool little spark. Really torn between a 4 and a 5 here.
Brian: I liked Jado trying to use a chair early out on the floor and one of the DDT boys grabbed it, like, "Not on our buddy, jerk!" I was jumping up and down cheering on my boy Kenny. I hope Omega ends up like Steve Martin with the ability to never age. I liked Jado's determination to get the Crossface of JADO locked on and it was successful when he finally did. I enjoyed this but it felt way short.
5. Special Tag Match: Hiroshi Tanahashi & Hiroyoshi Tenzan vs Hirooki Goto & Tomoaki Honma - G: 4 B: 4
Geo: This isn't just a tag match, it's fucking special~! Honma is looking much more golden since the last time I saw him. Probably been in the fryer too long. Tana hit a dropkick on Goto that looked like it wouldn't have even injured a newborn. Made me laugh in an arrogant, assholish way. Like I could do better. Really dug the face off between Goto and Tanahashi -- it was evident they both got that prowres rush, capped off with Goto nailing Tanahashi with an errant right forearm that send the mullet man flying. A steady flow throughout the match lent to a rather flat finish.
Brian: I knew this would be disposable going into it but I was having fun the whole time even though it never really took off. I was very interested in Tanahashi and Honma squaring off which we never really got. Goto was the workhorse, the one dishing out punishment on the good guys, and the one selling for them as well. Tanahashi is such a compelling performer but he didn't break a sweat this night. Goto beating Tenzan clean as a sheet with the Shouten Kai was totally fine with me.
6. Best of the Super Jr. - Block A: Koji Kanemoto vs Davey Richards - G: 5 B: 3
Geo: I really, really want to see Koji stiff the shit out of Davey's face. Loved that slap he delivered so eloquently to Davey's mush after Davey obviously headbutted his own hand. The concept of working over the opponent's lower back worked here. I dug Davey using the diving headbutt to Koji's spine. Koj went for Davey, selling all of his offense. Wish he would've gotten more in, though. Liked the fighting spirits. Davey's lariat looked nice as hell to cap things off.
Brian: I'm surprised you didn't mention the huge back suplex Kanemoto ate on the apron that was cringe-inducing. Koji was game to sell but lots of Davey's offense looked like shit. The "throwing opponent into empty rows of chairs" bit felt so '05 PWG and inappropriate here. Koji was clutching his mid-section, grimacing, and kicking his legs like he just had some of Adam's mom's enchiladas. Poor Koji, he goes from wrestling in the unaired opener at Wrestle Kingdom this year to getting his ass beat by this lunkhead. Not sure how Davey's clothesline capped this off when the match went three more derivative minutes after that with Davey eventually winning by countering a backslide.
7. Best of the Super Jr. - Block B: Kota Ibushi vs Great Sasuke - G: 4 B: 6
Geo: Going in this match has a really cool feel. Ibushi is one of the best young lions on the damn scene, and you'd better believe that Sasuke is a legend. Bush went to the ribs first and Sasuke felt it, clutching at them like an obese child clutching the last piece of pizza. Ibushi showed his shit with the Sasuke Special -- so damn clean and well executed. Ibushi went for that back handspring pele kick and whiffed -- Sasuke had to get his own head in position to take it; seems like Bush took the DDT on the apron extra hard on the head to make up for it. Selling was good here, especially Sasuke's staggering like a drunk, but we didn't get much prolonged selling, which is always welcome in my house. Also, Razor's Edge fin? Haha, alright.
Brian: Ibushi came out rocking a Sasuke mask which was a nice touch. Two of my favorites in this competition. Kudos to Sasuke for still doing the Randy "The Ram" shtick when most of us have soured on that movie by now. I loved Sasuke doing that rolling flip off of the apron to the floor and Ibushi dodging it -- nobody ever does that. Of all moves to ape why'd Tommy Dreamer steal that one? Ibushi's missile dropkick makes Molly Holly's look bush league. Geo, I'm astounded you ranked the Davey Richards match higher than this, and in terms of sustained selling, Sasuke sold those ribs harder than Abdullah sells babyback variety in Atlanta. Lastly, as a puro fan Geo, surprised you didn't get the significance of that finish, that was a Thunder Fire Powerbomb, one of Sasuke's trademark finishers, being used against him by a man who grew up watching him as an idol even wept when Sasuke entered the ring at the start of the match. Great, great stuff.
Geo: Ah, yes. Keen eye, sir. Good little addition to the match to add to a bit of a story-telling element, too. I suppose I always think of stumbling drunks when I see that move now, unfortunately.
8. Best of the Super Jr. - Block A: Prince Devitt vs Tiger Mask - B: 4
Brian: This wasn't too bad. Tiger showed some more aggression than normal and his control segment was better for it. He had some top-shelf offense like a big flying crossbody off the top to the floor, a double underhook superplex off of the top, and some nifty submissions. My biggest complaint was the transition into the finish with Devitt winning with the Bloody Sunday didn't feel particularly well set up feeling like the match changed gears abruptly to rush to an end.
9. Best of the Super Jr. - Block B: KUSHIDA vs Ryusuke Taguchi - B: 3
Brian: KUSHIDA working the main? Sure. Why not? KUSHIDA did a sort of quizzical flipping dive off of the entrance ramp that strangely called to mind Cactus Jack of all people, except Foley would have landed on the concrete by his own design. Wonder if KUSHIDA has a trophy wife, too? Oh, burn! Some miscues and sloppiness by both guys. This is one of the first matches from BoSJ this year that's done next to nothing for me. A real cooperative nature to it and some of the worst execution. 10 minutes I could have spent watching R.L. Stine's The Haunting Hour. Taguchi gets the win with Milano–saku Dodon's Throne in an ending flatter than the love note Al Wilson folded and passed to Dawn Marie while they were at the spa getting dual facials.
Bonus match: Kyosuke Mikami vs. Hiromu Takahashi - B: 4
Brian: Of these bonuses this one was the best as it actually pulled me in guessing who was going to when down the stretch. They make these guys wear all black during their early days as they haven't earned displaying a personality yet so the only thing keeping us engaged is the sense of athletic competition (although to be fare I could have driven down the street to Crawford Woods and watched kids play baseball and got the same satisfaction). Is it wrong I liked this more than the main event? 10 min. time-limit draw.