The Junior Heavyweight tournament continues it’s starting nights as we get the first night of B Block action. This show gave us action from YOH, Taguchi, Bandido, Ospreay, El Phantasmo, Robbie Eagles, Rocky Romero, BUSHI, DOUKI and Ren Narita. This was the second show from the Sendai Sunplaza Hall and provided another five tournament matches and the NJPW debut of Brody King in the undercard as a part of Villain Enterprises. Let’s get into it.
Yoshinobu Kanemaru, TAKA Michinoku & TAICHI defeated Yota Tsuji, Jonathan Gresham & Tiger Mask via Seitei Jujiro on Tsuji
Dragon Lee & Juice Robinson defeated Shota Umino & SHO via High Angle Boston Crab on Umino
Brody King & Marty Scurll defeated Gedo & Taiji Ishimori via Black Plague on Gedo
Shingo Takagi & Tetsuya Naito defeated Toa Henare & Titan via Destino on Henare
Block B Tournament Match: DOUKI vs Ren Narita
The first contest for the B Block was everything it needed to be as it established the two late comers to the tournament. It built Ren Narita, the favourable Young Lion, to be a gutsy fighter who never gave up whilst painting DOUKI as a treacherous master of his craft who is unafraid to break the rules. The match saw Narita break away from the Young Lion move-set to bust out new submissions and try to go for his Bridging Belly to Belly. Unfortunately for him, DOUKI had Taichi with him and ended up using him to beat him with a chair. In the end it came down to a battle of the Suplexes as DOUKI hit the Suplex de La Luna following a vicious Slingshot DDT. DOUKI cemented himself further as a bad guy after the match by attacking Narita with his pipe after the match. This had everything it should have as it kept plenty of mystery around DOUKI and gave Ren Narita a fighting match despite the expectation he would lose. DOUKI is still an enigma in this tournament so it’ll be exciting to see him going forth.
Block B Tournament Match: Robbie Eagles vs Rocky Romero
This could very well be a sleeper hit of the tournament. Both men had amazing chemistry, the match was given time to breathe and offered a dazzling mix of high flying, striking and technical wrestling. Eagles worked to wear down the knee of Romero whilst Rocky targeted the arms and tried to hit whatever he could to knock Eagles off his game. The pair traded Sliced Bread attempts, strike battles and kicks. Romero was able to reverse to Turbo Backpacks and kick out of a third whilst Eagles crippled the Forever Clotheslines as Romero couldn’t run them. In the end Romero’s leg would be hit with a 450 from the ropes and trapped in the Ron Miller Special, forcing him to tap out. It’s hard not to enjoy this one as it gave everyone a bit of everything. Eagles went out for his first tournament appearance and Romero was trying to prove he still had it. Eagles made a statement at the end of the match about Rocky now knowing who the Eagles family are now as he left him crippled in the ring.
Block B Tournament Match: El Phantasmo vs Bandido
Match of the night here as both men had something to prove and gave it everything to impress the audience. Heel Phantasmo is a joy as he flips of kids and seems to love breaking the rules. He was on fire moves wise two as he and his opponent traded Destroyers, Ranas and Topes as well as showcasing their strength and agility. The match went around the ring and featured countless shows of strength and speed as Phantasmo hit his Spinning Neckbreaker and Bandido pulled off a Pop-Up Cutter and his Moonsault Press Suplex type move that was seen at G1 Supercard. The finish came from shenanigans though as ELP grabbed the ref and used the distraction to push Bandido’s mask up. A thrust kick and the CR II later and the match was over. From a pace and awe standpoint this is by far the best match of the night. Both men delivered so much to impress the audience and went out of their way to be the memorable match of the night. Both men have such diverse move-sets that make them fun to watching fighting each other and hopefully will have the same effect fighting others.
Block B Tournament Match: Will Ospreay vs BUSHI
BUSHI and Ospreay have history and it showed during this match. Ospreay has been screwed out of victories by BUSHI before and he refused to let it happen again. Both men were incredibly focused for this one as there were reversals galore, flips galore and power moves galore. This worked as an excellent reminder match that BUSHI can do more than mist and pose. We got both in this match but it was mixed in with a slew of Codebreakers, Ranas and strikes. BUSHI got his shirt choke in on Ospreay and Ospreay knocked BUSHI’s lights out with the Hidden Blade. It was a masterful match of back and forth that saw BUSHI eventually target the neck of Ospreay with a DDT on the apron and Ospreay overcome to avenge his losses in the past and put one over on his LIJ rival with Stormbreaker. It was a frantic bout that showcased the best aspects of both wrestlers. People often overlook BUSHI but he made this his match and was only stopped by the resilience and agility of Ospreay. Another sleeper hit from night two.
Block B Tournament Match: Ryusuke Taguchi vs YOH
On paper, this is a very odd main event given that matches before it but somehow it worked. YOH made himself look like a star as Taguchi worked to bring the best out of him. It started comedic as Taguchi managed to crotch himself on the bottom rope and YOH took advantage by putting him in an “Atomic” Paradise Lock. The pair soon transitioned into a more serious match though as Taguchi went for his usual funky weapon attacks but would be reversed and punished. He gets serious and starts reversing YOH’s daredevil offense into hip attacks, hits a Plancha to the outside and eventually even catches YOH with the Bummer Ye and OH my and Garankle. YOH targets the knee, hits a series of strikes and even kicks out of the Dodon. Since the regular Dodon didn’t work, Taguchi puts YOH on his shoulders and hit Dodon the End to put him down for the three count. It’s always nice to see a serious Taguchi match as it brings out his veteran instinct and shows that he is more than a comedy act. He put YOH over on countless occasions and offered a show of respect after the match. The two hometown heroes brought the house down for the main event and even got a little celebratory Taguchi dance to end the night.
So that sums up another night of BOSJ action. We got some excellent matches with high spots, drama and comedy. The main event was a surprise joy as Taguchi was in serious mode and brought the best out of his opponent. Bandido and Phantasmo tore the house down for their first showing and BUSHI made Ospreay work for a victory. Despite the crowd being reserved, the show was a lot of fun to watch and left a decent impression of the B Block competitors that will hopefully carry on across the tournament.
DOUKI – 2 (1-0-0)
Robbie Eagles – 2 (1-0-0)
El Phantasmo – 2 (1-0-0)
Will Ospreay -2 (1-0-0)
Ryusuke Taguchi – 2 (1-0-0)
Ren Narita – 0 (0-0-1)
Rocky Romero – 0 (0-0-1)
Bandido – 0 (0-0-1)
BUSHI – 0 (0-0-1)
YOH – 0 (0-0-1)
(All images courtesy of njpw1972.com)