The Man Comes Around
Starting today, Let the discussion begin.
Wasn't surprised that ACH and Scrull won since it was their debut and it probably would hurt them long term if they lost their first matches while Bushi and Ospreay will recover easily from this.Lot of surprises in the first day.
ACH over Bushi
Scurll over Ospreay
Dragon Lee over Hiromu
El Desperado over KUSHIDA
Still quite a few neat upcoming matchups too.
Seems like Marty Scurll could be the gaijin darkhorse here. Don't know if he's planning to work Japan more soon, but he just dropped the ROH TV title and joined Bullet Club. I feel like he could be in line for an IWGP JHC push. Ospreay would prob be the best match for Hiromu at Dominion though imo.
Dragon Lee gave IWGP jr. champion Hiromu Takahashi his first loss since returning to Japan to open up the 2017 Best of the Super Juniors tournament on 5/17 at Korakuen Hall.
The first of four Korakuen Hall shows in 12 days, the only show that features everyone in the tournament in a singles match, drew a sellout of 1,729 fans.
Every match was good, although only two–the two expected beforehand, hit great, as an opening night they brought in just about the best in-ring regular U.K. feud as Marty Scurll debuted beating defending champion Will Ospreay, and the best in-ring Mexico feud of recent years with Lee and Takahashi in the main event spot.
The match was great, but very different from their previous matches. It was smarter worked and better paced. With no ramp and stage, a lot of their Arena Mexico spots can’t be duplicated in Japan. Unlike their match earlier this year when it appeared their goal was to make sure they weren’t wrestling by the age of 30, this toned way down on dangerous spots and was paced a little slower. It still had some crazy stuff and the chemistry these guys have is among the best in wrestling. Really, with the exception of Tanahashi vs. Okada, which is the rivalry of the generation, and Kevin Owens vs. Sami Zayn, these two probably have had as good a long-term singles feud as there’s been in pro wrestling in the last decade.
Lee beating Takahashi was predictable since Takahashi beat him to defend his title earlier this year and Gedo likes to book attention getting upsets on the opening night of his tournaments. Scurll beating Ospreay made sense since it was Scurll’s debut.
The big surprise, which again shows how small the world is, is that a lot of the crowd knew Scurll and did the “whoop, whoop” for him from when he came out, and many others did before the match was over. A lot of the crowd knew the chicken wing submission and the breaking fingers spot, and he was over from the moment he came out.
New Japan put the show up live for free, although didn’t advertise that until several hours before the show, in an attempt to get both Japanese and foreign fans into the tournament so they’d be interested and want to subscribe.
There were no other major stories on the first night, which opened with Jushin Liger, who probably got the biggest reaction in his final tournament, losing to Taka Michinoku. That doesn’t preclude Liger being a major part of the tournament, but one of the big keys in the 1996 G-1, Riki Choshu’s final tournament, which was so big mainstream was because he beat IWGP champion Shinya Hashimoto on the first night.
1. A block: Taka Michinoku pinned Jushin Liger in 8:33. Liger did a flip bodyblock off the apron. Michinoku did a long crossface submission spot and Liger did a tremendous job teasing tapping. He was tapping in the air but since his hand never hit the mat it didn’t count. He finally made the ropes. Liger’s selling in this match was incredible. Michinoku kicked out of a Liger bomb and won with an eye poke and a cradle. ***
2. B block: Volador Jr. pinned Tiger Mask in 9:48. Volador did a running flip dive early in the match and looked to have hurt his left elbow and shoulder. He does that move constantly in Mexico and never gets hurt and on the opening day of the tour after a couple of week vacation, he got hurt on it. You could see in his face how mad he was. Tiger reversed an armdrag off the top rope and got a near fall with a Tiger driver. Tiger did a tombstone, but missed a diving head-butt. Volador won with a top rope Spanish fly. He was holding the left shoulder and elbow after the match. ***1/4
3. A block: Ricochet pinned Taichi in 8:56. Taichi stalled for several minutes like he was Larry Zbyszko’s son. Ricochet finally had enough of it and hit a tope about two minutes in. Miho Abe, Taichi’s groupie, distracted the ref and Taichi was choking Ricochet with his mic stand and threw Ricochet into the post. The crowd was strong into Ricochet’s comeback. He won with a jumping kick and a shooting star press. **3/4
4. B block: ACH pinned Bushi in 10:47. Bushi opened strong with a plancha into a huracanrana. Bushi did a DDT on the apron. Bushi used a backstabber off the ropes and then came off the top rope into a dropkick by ACH. ACH won with a hard lariat and the Midnight driver, which is like a Michinoku driver. ***1/4
5. B block: Desperado pinned Kushida in 11:43. Kushida came out with the ROH TV title belt. This match started out hotter than anything up to this point. Desperado did a tope con giro and threw Kushida into chairs and jabbed a pen into his brain. Kushida, who technically has to be one of the top wrestlers in the world, looked so good in his comeback. Desperado used a submission which was a standing stretch muffler with double armbars. Kushida made the ropes. They were trading elbows while sitting on the top rope. Both ended up standing on the top rope and Kushida took him off the top with a tremendous flying armbar. Desperado made the ropes. The finish took it down a notch. Kushida finally got the hoverboard lock but there was a ref bump. Desperado was tapping like crazy but there was no ref. Kushida went to help up the ref. Desperado got the ROH TV belt and went for a belt shot, but Kushida ducked and hit a Pele kick. But Desperado came back and used a pedigree on the belt. Kushida kicked out of that, but Desperado followed with his usual finisher, the Guitarra del Angel, and got the pin. ***1/4
6. A block: Marty Scurll beat Will Ospreay in 12:11. Just super while it lasted. Ospreay went for a shooting star but Scurll got his feet up. Scurll superkicked him off the apron. They went back-and-forth with elbows. Scurll body slammed Ospreay into the ropes and he landed almost on his head. Scurll went for the chicken wing but Ospreay escaped, went for a standing shooting star, but Scurll got his knees up. Ospreay used a flip into a stunner and a space flying tiger drop. Scurll did the broken fingers spot. Scurll clotheslined Ospreay, who did the spin bump but landed on his feet and hit the spinning kick. Ospreay did Randy Orton’s RKO pose and actually tweeted Orton a few hours before the show to tell him to watch this match. Somehow I’m guessing Orton didn’t do that. He went for the Oscutter, but Scurll moved and caught him in mid-air with the chicken wing for the submission. ****1/4
7. A block: Ryusuke Taguchi pinned Yoshinobu Kanemaru in 11:27. Taguchi did a lot of his usual early comedy. He did the triple leapfrog and drop down spot. He did a spot where he kept running the ropes until he got exhausted and collapsed. Then he did it again. Kanemaru was kicking Taguchi’s ass, which takes away his big weapon. Taguchi still came back with the hip attacks. Kanemaru is one of those guys who is technically excellent but lacks charisma, so people don’t notice him, like Brad Armstrong or Fit Finlay used to be. He did a great tornado DDT, followed by a reverse DDT and finally came off the top rope and gave Taguchi a DDT. His timing was perfect on everything. Taguchi got Kanemaru in the ankle lock. Michinoku jumped on the apron and distracted the ref and Kanemaru broke the ankle lock with a low kick. But as Taguchi fell backwards from the low blow, he landed on Kanemaru’s groin so both were down. Taguchi kicked Kanemaru into Michinoku, knocking him off the apron and Taguchi got the pin with a small package. The finish got over great. After the match, Tomoyuki Oka was told to put the ice pack on Taguchi’s groin since he was still selling the low blow. The crowd laughed at that one. ***1/4
8. A block: Dragon Lee pinned Hiromu Takahashi in 18:56. Very intense excellent main event. Both started by chopping the hell out of each other forever. Lee finally got the better of that. Lee did the spot where he went from the ring, jumped over the top rope, gave Takahashi a huracanrana while Takahashi was on the apron, sending him to the floor. He followed with a running flip dive over the top. You could see that they toned everyone down on dives as there were way less on the show than you’d think. The crowd was going crazy for Lee. Takahashi used an overhead belly-to-belly into the turnbuckles and then went after Lee’s mask. Lee did a sunset flip power bomb to the floor. I’m not a fan of that spot because of the high concussion risk, but that said, Lee flew so high in doing it that it looked great. Lee did a power bomb for a near fall but missed the Del Rio double foot stomp spot. Takahashi then set Lee up for the Del Rio spot but Lee did the sit up from that position and Takahashi missed. Then they traded German suplexes. They traded six straight German suplexes until both were knocked loopy. When they recovered, they went back to trading hard chops. Lee did the Del Rio double foot stomp but Takahashi was in a backwards position draped off the top rope so he nailed him in the back and not the chest for a great near fall. Takahashi did a Death Valley bomb into the corner and went back after the mask. They traded some more moves and got lost at one point. But they got it back together and Takahashi used a Canadian Destroyer off the top rope that Lee kicked out of. Takahashi did another Death Valley bomb into the turnbuckles and a wheelbarrow German suplex. Lee finally hit a Death Valley bomb into the turnbuckles of his own and got the pin with a Phoenix plex. Lee then closed the show with an interview in Spanish where he vowed to win the tournament. ****1/4
Give some info. I had classes over lunch so hoping to find out what to look out for. Starzz or a recommended list?In my opinion second day was better with pretty much everyone getting better matches than on opening day.
Still holding my hopes up for Liger winning this and doing another match with Hiromu at Dominion.
Yeah and he's been around forever and he's done nothing. He's grey and boring and NJPW shouldn't bother with him.You probably mixed him with someone else, Ricochet is only 28 years old.